[MUD-Dev] curses and grief players

Brian 'Psychochild' Green brian at psychochild.org
Sun Jul 30 12:16:39 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

John Buehler wrote:
> Brian 'Psychochild' Green
> Sent: Saturday, July 29, 2000 2:48 AM

> > These weren't the type of guys to take "no" for an answer.

> And it takes far too much effort to actually work with them to get them
> to understand.

I didn't say "These weren't the type of guys to take "no" for an answer"
to hear myself talk.  Remember, I said they got into this position
because they were perisistent enough to keep complaining until the
higher ups took notice.  Not an easy feat.  I actually did try
explaining to them later why their ideas wouldn't work.  All I got in
response was disbelief in the fact that it wouldn't work (IE, a lack of
respect for *my* ability, knowledge, and experience), and more
insistence that their ideas "were what the players *really* wanted." 
Every player's favorite trump card to whip out is that their idea "is
what the players really want", even though their ideas will eaither a)
benefit them greatly, often at the expense of others, or b) ruin what
little playability the game has left.
>   I once was making a deal with a guy in EverQuest for an item I had.

So, you are stating that one player:another player::admin:players?  I
think we can easily agree this is a completely incorrect analogy.

>   I relate this story to indicate that people can be reached - even the
> l33t d00ds.  

The commercial people are realizing something that the hobbiest have
already known;  sometimes it's just not worth the time to try to reach
everyone.  Sometimes you gotta cut your losses and move on.  Not every
customer is worth the bowing and scraping to keep them around.

It made sense for you to do this to the player.  You probably interact
with the smallest subsection of players in the entire game, whereas the
"admin" have to interact with damned near the whole population.  You
said this guy had been a good customer in the past, and since you
probably had relatively few good customers, it was good for you to try
to bandage over the relationship.

Unfortunately, this type of attention "doesn't scale well."  I simply
couldn't take 20 minutes out of my day to soothe over every person who
felt slighted; there were easily more than 30 people per day that had
some beef, and they would have eaten up 10 hours of my time!  Remember,
I didn't work on a game anywhere near the size of the other commercial
games out there.

> It's draining and at times humiliating.

I choose to do the other draining and at times humiliating activity:
develop online games.  There are only 24 hours per day, and every time I
take time out to bow and scrape to some customer who feels slighted is
time I'm not doing what I "should" be; I'm not doing what the other
thousands of players are paying me to do: improve the game.

And, yes, developing an online game in a commercial setting is draining
and humiliating.  Take a look at Lum the Mad's site sometime.  I'm sure
all the developers mentioned on the site have felt the sharp pain of
humiliation as hundreds of people tear apart your new addition to the
game and pass the judgement of "sucks".

Similarly, I'm sure the times they've read something positive, they've
felt the joys of knowing they touched someone in a positive way.  That's
what keeps most of us going.

>   But I also know that using the technique of swallowing one's pride
> works extraordinarily well.  Imagine an admin being humble before his
> players' onslaught of insults and attacks.  

The problem here is player expectations.  Players want what they
expect.  If you bow and scrape to one person, then don't to the next,
that hurt the feelings of the person you didn't bow and scrape to.  And,
as pointed out above, the more time spent bowing and scraping, the less
time you spend actually working on the game.  At some point, you spend
all your time apologizing and not working on the game, which upsets the
people that play your game expecting things to change.

> > Back to my part-time job of corrupting the youth and plotting the
> > downfall of civilization, one little white lie at a time.  Oh, wait,
> > that's the full time one....
>   Jokingly said, but sadly there's a small element of truth to that...

Who said I was jokin'?

"And I now wait / to shake the hand of fate...."  -"Defender", Manowar
     Brian Green, brian at psychochild.org  aka  Psychochild
       |\      _,,,---,,_      *=* Morpheus, my kitten, says "Hi!" *=*
 ZZzz  /,`.-'`'    -.  ;-;;,_  
      |,4-  ) )-,_..;\ (  `'-'  "Ritalin Cures Next Picasso" 
     '---''(_/--'  `-'\_)               -The_Onion_, August 4th, 1999

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