[MUD-Dev] Wilderness

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Thu Aug 9 16:29:45 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


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

> 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.

Except that the environment of a virtual world adds much to the
entertainment value of various activities.  Consider wandering
through the Avenue of Nations (or whatever it's called) at Epcot
Center.  People enjoy that just because they get to briefly and
lightly immerse themselves in a certain setting.  That's something
like what I'm after.  Briefly and lightly.

> And as long as you recognize that there are myriad motivations for
> playing MUDs, I shan't take offence to your validation argument.

I certainly do recognize that.  Heck, our vehement disagreements on
what is fun and what isn't is ample evidence of it.

>> 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
> too.

Sure.  I wouldn't disagree with that.  I just don't consider it
anything close to a mainstream element of entertainment.  And so
long as the players are pursuing that accomplishment for their own
sense of accomplishment, fine.  If they expect the game to reward
them for their accomplishment, then we get into problems again.  Not
unlike your observations about rewarding roleplayers.  I completely
agreed with your post that roleplaying is its own reward.  Just as
striding long distances has to be its own.

>> 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
> game.

Not to you.  As you say, there are myriad motivations for playing
MUDs.  As for winning, I absolutely expect there to be competitions.
But they would be competitions without the hard edge of risk.  When
a casual player plays a game of chess or go, they play and they win
or they lose.  They aren't risking money, future time investment or
any such thing.  That style of competition is just fine as far as
I'm concerned.

The demonstration of superior ability will certainly be there so
long as we have a multiplayer game.  Players can compete to see who
can get their clothes all to purple in the shortest time if they
care to.  I expect to provide more than just that, but I fully
intend to shy away from anything very serious.  If players want to
get serious, that's their business.  I'll try to avoid encouraging
it.  It alienates the casual people.

>> 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.

Okay, I'll put it a different way.  Players come to the games
because they have something that the players aren't otherwise
finding in their lives.  If they were finding it, they wouldn't
bother with the games.  This is one reason that I fear virtual
lives.  They're a bit like hallucinogenic drugs.  Some people will
become so enamoured with their virtual life that they won't bother
with their real one.  Some can handle drugs and not tune out
society.  Others can't.  So I look to the Disneyland model instead
of the virtual life model in hopes of providing a taste of something
entertaining without it naturally tending to draw people into an
environment that they find more appealing than the real deal.

JB

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