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

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Mon Dec 6 19:02:59 New Zealand Daylight Time 1999

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

> Matthew Mihaly wrote:
> > 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.
> Don't get stuck on the example of a play: as I said, this sort of thing runs
> all through our culture's (US/European) notion of fiction.  There are
> constants of fiction handed down since the Greeks that we all more or less
> just *expect*, and you might be surprised at how codified some of these are,
> and how pervasive across forms of fiction.  If you're really interested in
> this, I *strongly* recommend you get the book "Story" by McKee.  It's
> fantastic -- mainly oriented toward film, but don't let that fool you, or
> stop you.  The lessons run across anything that feels like fiction to us,
> whether open or closed, single or multiple viewpoint.  MUDs are not exempt
> from this.  

Nod, I'm familiar with the pervasiveness of fictional themes. As a
sidenote, anyone know anything about fundamental, say, Chinese assumptions
and themes in fiction? Traditional chinese poetry is certainly much
different than western poetry, but I don't know enough about their
literature to comment. I wonder what a mud that catered to those
assumptions (whatever they may be) would be like,. I'll check out that
book, thanks.

> > 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. 
> No one said that's what they were; I certainly didn't imply it either.
> But nevertheless, MMPOGs are *GAMES.*  People play them for fun, excitement,
> and diversion.  If the game is tedious, frustrating, or apparently arbitrary
> (as in a monster you could not possibly have known about enters the room and
> eviscerates you -- no matter how 'realistic' the monster's presence is), few
> people will play.  If that's what you're looking for, that's cool -- there
> are nano-niches for all kinds of hobbies.  But few people consider a slavish
> correspondence to some view of the real world to be a whole lot of fun.  

It's not an either complete-random-danger or no-random-danger situation
though. Either one is not good I think. Total-random-danger is bad
because, well, it sort of implies constant death. No-random-danger implies
100% predictability within the game insofar as anything that might
possibly hurt you is concerned. That's also bad I think. We definitely
have places in Achaea where there are no posted warnings, but if you walk
in unprepared, chances are, you're going to die. Are they places that rank
newbies can get to? No. Gotta get them addicted before you let reality
knock them upside the head. I guess I just don't see the value in total
predictability in terms of danger, and I don't think players wwant that.

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

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