[MUD-Dev] The Best Guy on the Mud Thing

J C Lawrence claw at varesearch.com
Wed Sep 15 23:10:23 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


On Wed, 15 Sep 1999 15:40:10 GMT 
Dundee  <SkeptAck at antisocial.com> wrote:

> Even over a given time period, it would mean that if the average
> person uses the skill 10 times a day, then anyone who uses it less
> than 10 times a day is effectively getting worse at it - since
> whether you are "good" or "average" or "terrible" at a skill would
> just depend on where everyone else was.

There's a base player perception principle underlieing this:

  Players expect, even demand, that the game will always reward them
for their time investments, and doesn't remove those awards once
gained.

This is directly parallel to UOL's fishermen who where incensed when 
they found out that they could fish all day and not be able to sell
their caught fish for much more than peanuts.  (Raph, don't you have 
a law here?)

The problem with this of course is that there is no deflation.
Endless inflation is unsupportable over the long term.  

> You'll just be better at the skills you use more often, and worse
> at the ones you don't.

Predictability comes into play here.

I play for a week or so and get to the point that I know that
roughly one fifth of my fireball spells will succeed.  On that basis 
I also know that I can go whup GooGoo without too much bother.  

A few days later others have been beating up on their Fireball
skill, unbeknownst to me, and the ratios, and my position within the 
ratios, have changed.  Now my fireball spell succeeds one tenth of
the time.  GooGoo eats my arse.

Predictability dies.

Supporting predictability, in general, especially if it is player
extrapolation of observed phenomena is a Good Thing as it directly
leads to logical consistency (it does it here, it does it there,
therefor it does it everywhere) and a sense of location and world.
Losing that predictability is actually a betrayal, by the game
designer, of the player, his observations and understanding of the
game world.  This is not necessarily a Bad Thing, but it is not a
thing to do gratuitously and with great selection.

--
J C Lawrence      Life: http://www.kanga.nu/   Home: claw at kanga.nu
---------(*)                Work (Linux/IA64): claw at varesearch.com
 ... Beware of cromagnons wearing chewing gum and palm pilots ...


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