[MUD-Dev] curses and grief players

John Buehler johnbue at email.msn.com
Tue Aug 1 11:38:23 New Zealand Standard Time 2000


> Brian 'Psychochild' Green
> Sent: Sunday, July 30, 2000 3:17 PM

> 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.

  Okay.  Fair enough.  I wasn't faced with the tenacity of the players
that you were.  I may well have called it quits after a while as well.

  My basic point about calling it quits with a player interaction is
that something is lost when that interaction fails.  I'm not talking
about a lost customer here.  I'm talking about ill will on the part
of the player base.  Each time a player is put off, there is the
potential for backlash.  To have admins declare that they manipulate
their player base means that the players know this.  So when players
talk to you, they don't know if you're being truthful with them or if
you're manipulating them.  Hardly a scenario inspiring trust and
respect.

> >   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.

  Why?  Aren't you a human being?  Isn't a player a human being?  There
was a point of contention between two people and it was worked out by
enabling the unhappy party to understand what happened.

  If you think of your players as an alternate type of being and not
a peer, then you're doing exactly what I think you're doing: they are
a resource to be managed, not people to be supported.

> >   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.

  And now the players really are a managed resource.  It is the way
that big companies treat their customers, and we all complain about it
to high heaven when we are the customer.  "Heartless corporations!" we
yell.  Yet we will also follow that path when our time comes.

> 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.

  Just to clarify.  I must have misspoke earlier.  I'd never met this
guy before.  I had no idea who he was.

> 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.

  My fear is that if we don't spend the time early to educate players on
the realities of the game, then misinformation and speculation drive the
player base's understanding of the game.  I hardly think that you want
that to be the case.

  An alternate approach to gaming is to build a game that people don't
get addicted to, thus limiting their zeal and perceived injury when
things go wrong.  In other words, maybe this genre is busted.  It
attracts too many selfish people, and they maybe a non-viable business
proposition.

  Perhaps I should say that a far more viable genre of games may exist
that is focused on a slightly different experience.  The expectations
that this hypothetical game sets among the players can be met, reducing
the numbers of players with unreal expectations of the game experience.
Now I'm just ducking out the side of this exchange - even though it is
my believe that the genre needs changing.

JB




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