[MUD-Dev] UO rants

John Buehler johnbue at email.msn.com
Thu Aug 24 23:15:03 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

> KevinL
> Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2000 10:14 PM

> >>> "John Buehler" wrote
> > There's a problem with citing board games and such in support of either
> > PvP or PvE contexts.  That is one of time investment.
> > 
> > In Quake, I have no real investment in my character.  It takes me seconds
> > to advance it as far as it can go and develop it as much as I can.  Death
> > is a way of life, and when I die, I don't really lose much of anything
> > except the equipment that I got and possibly the position I got myself
> > into in the game world.
> Sorry to interrupt, but this one's been bothering me for a while.  I have a 
> friend here who used to be one of the better players in West Australia - I 
> myself was responsible for setting up possibly the first public Quake server 
> in .au, many moons ago.  I think Quake gets a bit of an unfair deal sometimes
> in these discussions.

The identity in Quake lies primarily with the player, not with the character.
As with Chess, the pieces themselves are not the significant entities.  They
are tools that implement the player's goals.  In Quake and Chess, the piece
or pieces have basic capabilities and the player defines their overall
effectiveness.  In Quake, the player heavily augments the skill of the
character so that it is more or less capable.  In Chess, the various pieces
have a certain set of skills that cannot be augmented, but the collection of
skills of the various pieces can be employed by the player to tackle
strategies.  The pieces deal with the tactics.

In a persistent game, the character itself advances its own skills.  Where
the balance between tactics and strategy lies is up to the game designer,
but the balance tends to be that the character tackles the primitive
tactics (the actual execution of the skills) while the player deals with
the strategic decisions: which weapon to use, where to be, what allies to
make, what quality item to craft, etc.

Because the persistent game advances the character, the character ends up
being the summation, the embodiment, of the player's time.  Obviously, the
player skill in managing the character advances, but the majority of skill
tends to be built up in the character.  It is this difference that I was
attempting to underscore: time investment in the persistent game goes into
the character, while time investment in a game like Quake goes into the
player's skills.  Because the character's skills are fixed.

To bring this back to board games again, I can go from instance to instance
of a board game and not loose a smidge of accomplishment because I carry it
in my head.  I don't leave accomplishments behind.  Well, other than the
places that I've succeeded in positioning my pieces in a game like Chess.
This is an aspect of Quake play that I mentioned as well originally: the
only things lost by the death of a Quake character is the character's
location in the world and its equipment.

No slam was intended against Quake players or the community that they


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