[MUD-Dev] UO rants

Matthew Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Thu Aug 24 07:45:50 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

On Wed, 23 Aug 2000, Brian 'Psychochild' Green wrote:

> John Buehler wrote in response to Matthew Mihaly:
> > of EverQuest and Asheron's Call.  While neither is a panacea of gaming
> > experiences, the advantage is clearly in the camp of the PvE instances
> > of those games.
> *laugh*  That's like pointing to a chess set and saying, "See!  People
> don't like computer games!"  EQ and AC were developed from the ground up
> to be PvE games.  PvP was (in some cases literally) tacked on as an
> afterthought.

Exactly. Those games (and UO too) are using PvP 'designs' that are
laughably primitive. They were (rightfully) a lot more concerned with
issues like bandwidth consumption and client security, I suspect. Plus,
they were put out by big corporations, none of whom are known for pushing
the envelope.

> > Your personal preference for conflict is shared by a number of vocal
> > players.  I believe the entire contingent to be in the minority, and
> > certainly not representative of the group of gamers that I am most
> > interested in - those who are not spending their lives in the virtual
> > environment of the game.
> The one thing that everyone seems to forget is that online games are by
> their nature social games.  The only thing that online games can offer
> that single-player games cannot is the chance to interact with other
> players.  Scores, hundreds, thousands, even tens of thousands of other
> players.

Yep, exactly. I've always sort of sarcastically referred to Dikus (and the
big games) as 1.5 player games. They aren't one-player games, but they
are multiplayer games only in the sense that you basically play a
one-player game with other people. The game itself isn't fundamentally
changed. You are just doing it WITH other people now, rather than
including those other people in the challenge of the game.

> The two main methods of interaction between players are cooperation and
> competition.  Game developers tend to focus on the competition because
> it's easier.  Hate is easy to foster;  humans have been doing it for
> centuries.  Cooperation is harder, especially when you consider how
> unfamiliar our communication tools are to the masses.

I really do not think cooperation is hard to foster. Simply giving groups
of players reasons to stick together, and putting them in competition with
other groups is enough to foster cooperation.

> But, consider the case of a duel.  Perhaps the honor of your guild was
> called into question, so you challenge the lout to a duel.  Perhaps you
> have no chance of winning, but you do it anyway.  Why?  Because you get
> to feel what it's like to sacrifice yourself for something you strongly
> believe in.  In the offline world, we only get to do that once, so we're
> usually pretty careful about what we sacrifice ourself for. :)

Quite right. 

> > In the end, only the most powerful players are able to enjoy the
> > experience.  And those tend to be the hardcore gamers.  Like yourself.
> Of course, the definition of "power" can vary greatly.  Perhaps it's raw
> combat power, or perhaps it's the ability to organize a group
> effectively, or perhaps it's the ability to rule over the masses.  Each
> of these levels of power has their strengths and weaknesses. 
> Eliminating PvP eliminates some of the chance for a player to really
> shine.  The accepted truth is that players are magnitudes of order more
> cunning than even the smartest AI could ever be.

Yes! Exactly. AIs are dumb as snot. They certainly can't do anything
interesting in a game like participate intelligently in a political or
competitive economic system (and if they can, then you have designed one
hell of a poor system). 

"He that is wounded in the testicles, or have his penis cut off, shall not
enter into the congregation of the Lord." Deuteronomy 23:1

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