[MUD-Dev] what players want, what I want

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Wed Sep 22 12:11:16 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Tue, 21 Sep 1999, Ilya, Game Commandos wrote:

> In another, I believe it was Matthew Mihaly who
> discussed realism, playability, and how he had
> never met a player who had complained about
> inconsistencies in room descriptions (e.g. "But
> _why_ can't I take the candlestick?  It says
> it's right here!").  This was in response to my
> extolling the virtues of reducing inconsistencies
> whenever possible, and using consistency and 
> realism as desirable means to do so.

I think what I said (or intended to say) was that I had never met one of
my players who complained about such things. It's just a given in Achaea
that there is way more going on than you can physically interact with. I'm
not interested in modeling the entire NPC population of a city, for
instance, as while it'd undoubtedly be cool, it's a waste of time and
resources. Same goes for things like making every item in a room
interactable. I don't argue that it wouldn't be a good thing, just that it
isn't an efficient use of my money and time.

> My experience has been vastly different from both
> of theirs.  I have met many who prefer and enjoy
> roleplaying, and many who have asked just such a
> question as I made up above, and for whom incon-
> sistencies are a problem (and removing those
> inconsistencies is a big plus).

Well, be this as it may, no one has ever said anything to me about it, and
I hae a hard time believing that if it was such a big deal, no one would
have mentioned it to me. Players may, upon initially starting, be annoyed
by such things, but in my experience, they simply accept it as inherent in
the world, and move on, very quickly.

Similarly, I bought a Dreamcast recently, and have been playing Sonic
Adventure. Initially, I grew quite annoyed at all the places that I could
see and not go (this phenomenon is much more in-your-face in a graphical
game than a text game), but after an hour of playing, I no longer cared.
that's just the way the physical laws of that world work.

> (1) it's awfully tempting to extrapolate based on
>     experience sets based substantially on groups
>     and the larger the groups the better (groups
>     whose memberships are likely influenced by
>     factors described in point 2); and

Not only is it tempting, but this is the way that all science of every
type is done, from biology to physics to the soft sciences. Granted, none
of the observations I have made here are supported by the kind of rigorous
analysis that should be performed.

> (2) we _tend_ to meet others like ourselves, or
>     get to know others much better who are more
>     like ourselves.

Hmm, well, I don't really make friends with my users. I occassionally chat
to one of them if he or she approaches me, but aside from that, my
observations are based mainly on player-initiated feedback. They complain
about other things, so I can't imagine why they wouldn't complain about
inconsistencies, if they care. Again, this is obviously completely lacking
in rigor, but then, this list isn't into rigor.

> For the two MUD-Dev'ers I have cited above and
> myself: our sample sizes may be large, but they
> do seem unusually disjoint -- how could we
> possibly be describing the same population, or
> even portions of the same greater population?

I have no idea. I respond mainly to player input, and if they aren't
complaining, I ain't fixin'.

> My two points above are the only guesses I have
> to date.

Perhaps we live in different realities. I like to think that I live in the
Bizarro world, whereas everyone else lives in Superman's world.

MUD-Dev maillist  -  MUD-Dev at kanga.nu

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