[MUD-Dev] Continuous versus Discrete Functions

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Wed Dec 26 10:26:33 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

----- Original Message -----
From: "John Buehler" <johnbue at email.msn.com>

> That's pretty stupid, I agree.  But you'll note that you have one
> case of competition manufactured from a non-competitive form of
> entertainment.

No, I *provided* one case of competition. I *have* a whole bunch of
them, if you care. I used to work for AOL's tech support. The
support techs competed for:

  - Longest hours worked
  - Longest hold time
  - Longest call time
  - Fastest call handling on average
  - Stupidest customer question
  - Most calls from the same customer
  - Most calls about the same problem
  - Most email

Fastest call handling was actively relevant to our jobs. Handle
calls quickly, and you're seen as a good technician. Everything else
was either meaningless or counterproductive. Trying to keep someone
on hold as long as possible is not just annoying and unfair, it's
also grounds for termination.  (To be fair, not everyone competed on
that particular level. I guess it's sort of like PKers.) Look at
your own job; there are undoubtedly at least half a dozen things
your coworkers do to compete with one another for no good
purpose. If you're unemployed, just look at your FRIENDS.

If you want more examples of competition in noncompetitive
environments, just let me know. I can find them all day. They're

> My point in this is that the creation of entertainment which does
> not focus on competition is perfectly viable and will not retain
> the problems of competition-based entertainment.

There already is a great deal of entertainment that doesn't focus on
competition. As a genre, we call it "single player". Basically,
you're asking for something effectively impossible: a multiplayer
game without competition. You may take the competition out of the
engine, or out of the rules, or out of the system, but you're
*never* going to get it out of the players. As soon as you put two
people in the same room, one of them is going to look at the other
and say "mine's bigger than yours". The other guy will say "nuh
uh!", and you have competition. Don't want competition? Put them in
different rooms.

> I agree with this, in general.  It's simply a question of how much
> competition serves as the basis of entertainment for the service.

This is not in your hands. The *players* determine what is and is
not entertainment on your service. You have absolutely no authority
over that.

> I disagree here.  I think that behaviors are made desireable by
> making them entertaining.

Not in a multiplayer environment. My entertainment only matters when
I'm by myself. Once I'm in the presence of others, it's my status in
the group that matters -- because even if *I* don't care about that
status, other people do. And if I didn't want to interact with other
people, I wouldn't be playing a multiplayer game.

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