[MUD-Dev] UO rants

John Buehler johnbue at email.msn.com
Thu Aug 24 11:14:38 New Zealand Standard Time 2000


> Brian 'Psychochild' Green
> Sent: Wednesday, August 23, 2000 11:36 PM

> > As evidence, I consider the PvP instances versus the PvE instances
> > 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.

I understand.  But later in your post you state that cooperative gameplay
is harder to implement in a game.  That's a statement that I certainly
agree with.  I guess we don't have a world that provides both cooperative
and competitive gameplay at equivalent levels of 'enjoyment'.  The fact
that those games succeeded in attracting a large group of cooperative
gamers who eschewed the competitive aspect of the game suggests to me
that cooperative gameplay is at least attractive.  I'll still maintain
that cooperative games (PvEs) will be the real means of advancing to the
truly massive multiplayer vehicles.

Note that cooperation can be laced with competition.  That competition
does not have to be 'Lord of the Flies' live-or-die competition.  We have
plenty of competition in our society without ending up with rampant mass
murderers.  In truth, no society can exist without competition.  If two
people are in a room together and all they can do is stand and move, then
they can compete for standing in the best location in the room.  Or they
can compete for air.  Competition is unavoidable.  The question is one
of how far we push competition.  Are PvP wars necessary to keep people
entertained?

> Meridian 59 showed the exact opposite phenomenon;  people more or less
> ignored the non-PK server.  One big reason was because Meridian 59 was
> developed as a PvP game with some PvE elements thrown on top of it. 
> Without the PvP element, the game was quite a bit less interesting. 
> Plus, Meridian 59 didn't have "levels" in the traditional sense.  You
> didn't have 30th level bastards hunting 1st level newbies for "sport". 
> (Although, we did have our share of grief players.)

I'll have to read up on Meridian 59, obviously.

> 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.
> 
> 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.

Excellent observations.  I completely agree.

> > Being on the receiving end of a PvP encounter is never fun, and that's
> > why I don't like PvP worlds.
> 
> I wholeheartedly disagree.  Sometimes being on the receiving end is fun,
> but only in certain circumstances.  Obviously, being jumped by some
> asshole that just wants to hear you scream isn't much fun.
> 
> 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. :)

That particular scenario has no appeal to me personally.  I don't choose
to use violence to enforce my opinion.  As you say, 'Hate is easy to foster'
and 'Cooperation is harder'.  I choose to pursue cooperation.   We've
been doing the other for centuries.

I enjoy the games because of the constructive aspects.  Cooperation with
others to accomplish goals, etc.  The cooperation is a challenge in and
of itself.  As you say, it's harder.

> > 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, power is a difficult word.  Yet your very means of conveying the
various possible interpretations agrees with my own view of the word.
'combat power' versus 'ability to organize' versus 'ability to rule'.
You only use 'power' when referring to an individual's direct ability
to affect others.  This is the power that I'm most concerned with in
these games.  That's because it is our way of putting atomic weapons
in the hands of teenagers.  There's a reason we don't do that in the
real world.

JB




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