[MUD-Dev] Fair/Unfair? Scenarios (fwd)

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Mon Dec 6 17:21:32 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

On Mon, 6 Dec 1999, Sellers, Michael wrote:

> JC wrote:
> > ...
> > The idea that the game world (or game designer for that matter) is
> > going to come up to me prior to every "dangerous" section and warn
> > me off (however subtlely), or ensure that I can never trap myself
> > without a means of escape is somehow deeply offensive.
> To you.  I think I can safely say that you're in a tiiiiiny minority who
> feel that way.  The idea that (as they say in the theatre) "a pistol placed
> on the mantel in the first act must be used by the third" is seen all
> throughout our culture's fiction.  A corollary to that is that you don't
> make a pistol that no one's seen or talked about a central piece to the
> story.  Doing that is deeply dissatisfying to most people.  So, in terms of
> the fiction created by our game worlds, it's not surprising that most people
> would find it unfair (dissatisfying/frustrating) to have the centerpiece of
> their story turn on an item or monster that they could not possibly have
> known exists.  Some, of course, will find such uncertainty thrilling and
> anything else annoying and coddling; but most will not.  

I don't feel that a play has much to do with the overall experience of an
MMORPG. A play is a singular experience with a beginning and a definite
end. There's no such thing as the centerpiece of a player's story in a
MMORPG because it's not just a sequence of rigidly defined experiences,
like a play or most videogames are.

> > "Life isn't always fair.  Deal with it."  We've all heard the line.
> > How true is that for our players?  
> People play games as a diversion, escape, or for fun.  Life isn't fair, and
> it often isn't fun.  Why should our games follow the same restriction?  

To me, the goal of MMORPGs isn't to just be a glorified one-player game. 
With all due respect to classical game designers, if that's all MMORPGs
end up being, I and many others will be deeply disappointed. I see no
reason why they cannot eventually be made far more compelling than the
"real" world (I use real derisively there, as I consider an MMORPG world
just as real, though obviously nearly infinitely more limited than what we
term the 'real' world). I want people to use my world (fictional
world...Achaea definitely doesn't cut it here) to live their lives, not
escape from another life or just to have 'fun', and a cotton-candy world
where there are no real risks (a danger you can categorically avoid if
you have the information, and are given the information, is not a risk) is
not a world, but a game. Sure, some people who are the 'victims' of said
dangers will be upset, but it makes the world seem a whole lot more real
for everyone, that that GREATLY outweighs pissing off a few citizens of
your world, imho.


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