[MUD-Dev] RP/PG examples

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Tue Jun 3 06:52:36 New Zealand Standard Time 1997

On Mon, 2 Jun 1997 21:23:49 PST8PDT, clawrenc at cup.hp.com wrote:

>In <3391bd5b.32580552 at relay.mnsinc.com>, on 06/01/97 
>   at 09:36 AM, caliban at darklock.com (Caliban Tiresias Darklock) said:
>>Your example is fallacious. The RPer expects the system to stay out
>>of his way. The powergamer uses the system to get his way. 
>You appear to be restating my point.

Let me try a different tactic.

The RPer (in my opinion) does not work 'within' the system. The RPer
works without regard or concern for the system. The system itself is a
necessary annoyance. The RPer is instead concerned with the end result
-- in the word processor example, he wants a document. If the software
is in his way, he will circumvent it and complain about bad design just
as much as the powergamer might. 

The powergamer, on the other hand, is not particularly concerned with
how well the system works, but with how many toys it gives him to play
with. He wants more spells, more classes, more skills and mobs and areas
and locations and quests. The powergamer is more likely to consider an
area based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail acceptable, because it's a
toy and it's cool. The RPer is likely to consider it frivolous and
inappropriate to the standard heroic fantasy setting.

Using a separate example, the powergamer will buy CorelDRAW before
PhotoShop because PhotoShop only has 48 filters or so and doesn't
include a 3-D rendering package or a vector drawing program. It's a
question of relevance. If what you have is a need to modify photographs,
the RPer would select PhotoShop because it supports photo editing very
well. On the other hand, CorelDRAW supports photo editing pretty well,
and adds a bunch of other neat things to the mix, so the powergamer
would more likely choose Corel for its flexibility and versatility even
if he never uses most of the tools. 

It's worth noting here that there is no inherent good or evil to the two
groups; they're just two different sides of the idea. What I take issue
with in your example is that your RPer sounds like some sort of sheep.
What you seem to be saying is that if you hand an RPer a plate of dog
crap, he'll smile and thank you, whereas the powergamer would start
complaining that you gave him dog crap. Nothing could be further from
the truth. The powergamer would probably follow you around screaming
about being given dog crap and demand that you fix him a steak, but the
RPer would figure out some way to sell the dog crap and go to
McDonald's. He won't get a steak, but he won't go hungry either. On the
other hand, if you handed that powergamer a Big Mac, he'd probably sit
around grumbling that he wanted a steak.

My point, lest it be assumed that I'm arguing the relative merits of RP
versus PG, is that the two styles have vastly different needs and wants.
It's not that either style is better; just different. And these
differences show up in the design of the game and its underlying
systems; a game that makes a powergamer happy is not likely to make an
RPer happy, and vice versa. My concern is whether a compromise can be
made in these styles, such that with some adjustments the two camps can

-+[caliban at darklock.com]+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
 I am here to grind your eyes harder into the miasmic bile of life; to 
 show you the truth and the beauty in the whisper of steel on silk and 
 the crimson scent of blood as it rises to meet the caress of a blade. 

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