[MUD-Dev] an essay on PK
J C Lawrence
claw at varesearch.com
Mon Sep 27 21:06:03 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999
On Tue, 21 Sep 1999 08:31:13 +0100 (BST)
Marian Griffith <gryphon at iaehv.nl> wrote:
> You are apparently assuming that your victims (the whiners) are
> playing the same game as you are. They obviously are not. A large
> part of the shock is coming from the fact that people think they
> are playing a particular type of game and then are suddenly forced
> into an entirely different type of game.
I happen to have spent some time studying Raph's law collection
J C Lawrence's "stating the obvious" law
The more people you get, the more versions of "what we're really
doing" you're going to get.
> Paraphrasing the person who wrote the original article: Players
> think they are safe and that the warning PK allowed does not apply
> to them, until I prove them otherwise.
Hurm. This also parallels the points I made recently on
predictability, or if you wish, the principle that players hate
being surprised with the surprise is to their disadvantage.
Surprise is usually not welcome and in fact is often actively, even
violently campaigned against. One could view consensual play styles
as being modes with minimal "unpleasant surprise" factors.
Pleasing your Players
Despite your best intentions, any change will be looked upon as a
bad change to a large percentage of your players. Even those who
forgot they asked for it to begin with.
This in turn directly relates to Keegan's assertions on the
popularity of Stock MUDs and the general unpopularity of MUDs with
more interesting and therefore unusual design elements.
Over time, your playerbase will come to be the group of people
who most enjoy the style of play that your world offers. The
others will eventually move to another game.
It is very hard to attract players of different gaming styles after
the playerbase has been established. Any changes to promote
different styles of play almost always conflict with the
established desires of the current playerbase.
The ultimate goal of a virtual world is to create a place where
people of all styles of play can contribute to the world in a
manner that makes the game more satisfying for everyone.
The new players who enter the world for the first time are the
best critics of it.
The opinions of those who leave are the hardest to obtain, but
give the best indication of what changes need to be made to
reach that ultimate goal.
Familiarity sells. Predicted surprises sell better:
J. C. Lawrence's "do it everywhere" law
If you do it one place, you have to do it everywhere. Players like
clever things and will search them out. Once they find a clever
thing they will search for other similar or related clever things
that seem to be implied by what they found and will get pissed off
if they don't find them.
Tough sell. You have to be different, but not too different, and
yet you have to allow for discovery, exploration, and the delight of
"safe" surprise -- all without upsetting the Stam Collector's
Dr Cat's Stamp Collecting Dilemma
"Lots of people might like stamp collecting in your virtual
world. But those who do will never play with those who like other
features. Should you have stamp collecting in your world?" We
know that there are a wide range of features that people find
enjoyable in online worlds. We also know that some of these
features are in conflict with one another. Given the above, we
don't yet know if it is possible to have a successful world that
incorporates all the features, or whether the design must choose
to exclude some of them in order to keep the players happy.
J C Lawrence Life: http://www.kanga.nu/ Home: claw at kanga.nu
---------(*) Work (Linux/IA64): claw at varesearch.com
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