[MUD-Dev] Acting casual about casual gamers

Travis Casey efindel at earthlink.net
Mon Jul 17 14:27:15 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Saturday, July 15, 2000, 2:30:56 AM, J C Lawrence <claw at kanga.nu> wrote:
> Brian Green <brian at psychochild.org> wrote:

>> So, what creates this problem?  What prevents the casual gamer
>> from enjoying our games?  I think it can be caused by both an
>> unbalanced focus on advancement and an improper handling of the
>> social environment.

> Advancement curves are a problem in so far that we have defined them
> as increases in core abilities.  You are stronger, faster, tougher,
> and able to do more of what you were doing before, and to do it
> better.  Yuore previously extant stat maxes are increased with each
> level.  You become more of what you were.  This is rather than
> gaining new abilities, and new things to do, and new goals to match
> those abilities and activities, your becoming OTHER than what yuo
> were.

> So, you're a sword swinger.  You work hard and are disciplined in
> your craft and now find that your mental concentration and general
> mastery of the chi has grown thru this practice that you are now
> able to perform various mental/biologic feats that were not possible
> before.  You excercise these new abilities, maintaining the rigours
> you learnt in your swordsman days, and find that you are starting to
> develop TK abilities...etc.

> At each stage and level the character becomes more able.  He can do
> more.  Not the same old in a bigger scale, but more variety.  He can
> do the old things, and some new thing.  He also has to work to
> maintain this new abilitiy in addition to his older abilities (no
> rest for the wicked).

I'll note that this is the direction that D&D 3e is moving in -- where
fighters and thieves under 1st and 2nd edition didn't get *new*
abilities, but simply got better at the ones they already had, the
addition of Feats in third edition means that they can gain new
abilities as they go up in levels.

(Also, the new multiclassing rules make it much easier for a fighter
or thief to "pick up" a level or two in some other class, thereby
broadening their abilities.)

>> As Lee said, he feels penalized for only playing a couple hours
>> (only?!?) per night.  Why?  Because he can't keep up with the
>> advancement of other players he knows.  Every hour he's not
>> playing that someone else is is an hour he's behind.  The only way
>> to catch up is to spend an extra hour playing that his friends
>> don't.  If his friends spend 10 hours per day compared to 2 hours,
>> you can see how quickly he falls behind.

> Yeah, this is still a problem with the above, tho differently as the
> the bsic game definition is changing rather than him merely being
> outclassed/juniorified.

There are ways to solve this, but they involve putting some sort of
"brake" on advancement for those who spend a lot of time online, or
having all characters advance with the same swiftness regardless of
time spent online.  These solutions may drive off some other players.

(Of course, there's also the "no advancement" solution, but again,
that will drive off other players.)

I don't think there's a solution to this that will keep everyone
happy.  The best you can hope for is to identify who you want to keep
happy and try to solve the problem for them.

> Thing is, different people will like and use different media.  I
> happen to consider things like ICQ and IRC actively useless if not
> perniciously distracting.  I've looked at both several times over
> the last years and can't find sufficient reason to ever use either
> of them.  I seem to be rather uncommon in that view.  Conversely I
> adore email as a communication medium.  Others loathe email and its
> semi-structured formality and slow pacing, and adore ICQ/IRC-like
> media.  So, offer both, and as many other media, methods, and
> flavours as you can contrive.

Casey's law of significance:

The significant content (not quite the same thing as signal-to-noise)
of any Internet communication group is inversely proportional to the
number of people involved in communicating over it, and directly
proportional to the typical response time (i.e., longer response
time = higher significance). Of the two, the response time tends to

Thus, from highest signal to lowest signal, we normally have:

one-to-one email
mailing lists
one-to-one chat
small group chat
large group chat

       |\      _,,,---,,_    Travis S. Casey  <efindel at earthlink.net>
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_   No one agrees with me.  Not even me.
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