[MUD-Dev] Re: pet peeves

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Thu Feb 18 15:11:15 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999


J C Lawrence wrote:

> player records.  Lorry of course argues this from the viewpoint that
> non-permadeath systems allow players to "win" thru mere persistence
> rather than any particular skill or ability at the game.

Which is a pretty lousy argument, you still win by being a persistent early
adopter.  In a commercial context with lots of competition permadeath is a
pretty braindead strategy for anything beyond Quake. There is a limit to how
many times the regular customer will start playing the same first level in
the same game, that would make him truly persistent! It is more fun to play
a new first level in a new game...

Design principle: never take away the investments that locks the user to
_your_ game.

):permadeath removes the core investments: identity, ability to influence
(social standing)

Design principle: don't define the majority of your users (the unskilled) as
loosers. :-/ The majority is, after all, dabblers. You better make being a
dabbler the real game, the real fun...

Btw, this has an analogy in single player games. The original coin-ups used
the "start from scratch" strategy in order to increase addiction, with the
more advanced "insert coin to continue". It made sense in that market as
experience players had invested a lot and got more and more playtime for
their money. This strategy was mistakenly adopted in games on the
home computer for decades! We are only now starting to see the end of this
braindead approach in that market...

Design principle: continued investments better yield perceived gains.

): Permadeath might be ok if the user thinks that a new character will get
him to a better position, if there are no attractive and readily available
alternatives... etc.  In the future, there will be several readily available
alternatives.

(this doesn't apply to avantgarde hobbyist muds, but then again, nothing
necessarily applies to those as they can happily exist without any naive
users at all)
--
Ola Fosheim Groestad,Norway      http://www.stud.ifi.uio.no/~olag/




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