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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Tue Sep 28 23:24:59 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On 07:00 AM 9/25/1999 -0700, I personally witnessed Justin Lockshaw jumping
up to say:
>I have found that players are often annoyed and some even baffled
>by the inconstancies. As you both suggest many, if not most simply accept
>any inconstancies as game physics and move on. 

This is the primary key: suspension of disbelief. Those of us who have
played "find the verb" games for years think it's just fine for commands to
work *here* but not *there*, or on *this* item but not *that* item. Normal
people don't. It doesn't make sense to them for "look inside" to work for a
bag, but not a box (because you have to "open" the box first, and then just

>As a specific example one of them stated that he likes the game, at least in
>theory, but he just can't do the things he would want to.

Exactly. This is one reason why roleplaying becomes less useful in online
games. In the gem-covered hallway you mention, most thieves *would* try to
pry loose a gem. Most GMs would respond with something meaningful. On a
MUD, the game responds with nothing. If someone else is in the hall, it may
provide atmosphere to try anyway... if the other players will respond
meaningfully. Otherwise, it's pretty pointless within the game context. You
can emote "Bubba tries to pry a gem loose." all day long, but it will never
result in any game effect, and everyone knows that. 

Personally, I have trouble with the lack of TACTICS. I'm in a mountainous
area, and I see a giant in the next room because I was smart enough to look
before walking into it. Now, it would be REASONABLE for me to attempt an
attack from ambush, which would give me a serious advantage in the ensuing
fight. If I can get a good eight foot drop from cover onto the giant's
occipital plate with my feet braced on the quillions of my broadsword,
there may not BE an ensuing fight. But no! Can I fight smart? Of course
not! I have to march brazenly up to the giant and go "AHAAAARRR!!!" as I
swing my sword valiantly around his ankles. This is just plain STUPID. And
it's not a mob AI problem, it's an interface problem -- the game is just
not capable of supporting intelligent combat. 

And that's why when I want to go out mob-slaughtering, I play Quake. I can
fight smart in Quake. I can attack from cover, I can surprise the opponent,
I can succeed through intellect and cunning instead of racing around with
my guns blazing and hoping the opponent falls before I do. 

| Caliban Tiresias Darklock            caliban at darklock.com 
| Darklock Communications          http://www.darklock.com/ 
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