[MUD-Dev] Wilderness

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Tue Aug 7 03:29:17 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

On Mon, 6 Aug 2001, John Buehler wrote:
> Matt Mihaly writes:

>> I used to think that too, but I was wrong. Well, I never thought
>> that things that aren't fun shouldn't be in the world, because
>> it's not just a game, it's a life. Life doesn't have to be a
>> constant high.
> The notion that the game is a life is one that I'm directly
> opposing, regardless of how foolish the old hands believe that to
> be.  I want to make the highs and lows less intense.  I want
> players identifying with the game less strongly.  I want them
> looking at the game as if it was just an alternative to
> Disneyland, with far more engaging experiences than the ones found
> in that park.  This doesn't mean lining up for a ride, but it also
> doesn't mean that people get into the game in order to validate
> themselves, either.  Going to a multiplayer game for validation
> only leads to frustration and the creation of grief players when
> their form of validation doesn't happen.  Or it doesn't happen on
> that particular day.

I don't think it's foolish to suggest that you want a game like
Disneyland. In that context, i agree with most of your points,
though I think you may as well just make a lobby with a bunch of
parlour games and video games able to be played off it.

And as long as you recognize that there are myriad motivations for
playing MUDs, I shan't take offence to your validation argument.
>> This is definitely not true, at least if it is a blanket
>> statement. Consider the modern world. Today, it's fairly easy to
>> get to any major city. I've got a couple friends in Spain right
>> now, walking pilgrimage route hundreds of miles long to get to
>> Santiago (where James, the brother of Jesus, is said to have been
>> buried). It's a traditional pilgrimage route. Why do it these
>> days though? You COULD just catch a flight or rent a car. By my
>> friends' own admissions, the route is long, arduous, and really
>> not particularly exciting. Yet I'm sure they will look back 10
>> years from now and not at all regret that they didn't just rent a
>> car or hop a flight.
> By analogy, that suggests that if teleportation is available in
> the game world, that some people will choose to travel a long
> distance on foot because of the sense of accomplishment that they
> gain upon arrival.

I would. Not all the time, but now and then. I'm sure others would

> I believe that most players are interested in these games for the
> entertainment that they provide.  As a result, I doubt many would
> bother with trying to gain a sense of accomplishment through that
> mechanism.  Again, despite the prevailing wisdom of the seers, I
> claim that these things really are games, and not a life.
> Pursuing the 'life' route will exclude casual players who are
> seeking entertainment.

Yes, casual players don't do well in a 'life' environment.

>> Finding that place on the other side of the Mongo Huge Desert is
>> fun (well, for me and many other people at least). If the big
>> boring desert was there, I wouldn't value finding what's on the
>> other side.

> And 'value' is the key word.  I want players to be able to value
> what they find because it's inherently entertaining.  If you cross
> the desert and nobody else does, you could bring back an
> unidentifiable lump of coal.  But if it had a unique description,
> it would be priceless and a worthy item to have.  Despite the fact
> that there is zero entertainment inherent in it - other than the
> social element of having something that nobody else has.  I don't
> consider that to be a redeeming element of social gameplay (the
> desire to stand apart from or above others).

I see. Eliminating the desire to stand apart or above others will
make for some...interesting...games. No winning or demonstrating
superior ability. That's fine, I guess, though it's not much of a
> I don't have a problem with totally flat deserts.  So long as they
> don't stand in the way of entertainment that everyone wants access
> to.  If the primary bazaar that everyone uses is in the middle of
> that totally flat desert, I see a problem.  If it's simply a handy
> place to go off and write your virtual party invitations, that's
> fine.  Lacking totally flat deserts reduces the impact of the more
> richly-adorned areas.  And having said that, no I don't believe
> that having arduous trips makes non-arduous trips even more
> entertaining.  I think that people's real lives are arduous and
> grief-filled enough and THAT is why they come to games - for the
> contrast.

That's a blanket statement that is incorrect. My life is not arduous
at all (only arduous by choice...hiking, kayaking, etc) and is quite
absent of any serious grief. Yet I'm a huge fan of virtual worlds
and virtual lives. I would, if I were able, be logged into Achaea
24/7 while retaining similar mobility. I'd be invisible to everybody
in Achaea much of the time, but I like being in both places at once,
and able to switch between them at will.


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