[MUD-dev] Fun in Games

Ron Gabbard rgabbard at swbell.net
Sun Apr 28 12:58:44 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


From: "Koster, Raph" <rkoster at soe.sony.com>
> From: John Buehler
>> Raph Koster writes:

>>> Right now, the ways which we permit players to act on the world
>>> and have the world actually respond are severely limited. And
>>> because of this, the range of emotions we generate is pretty >>
>>> limited too.

>> What range of emotions do you want, and why do you want to
>> trigger emotions in your players?

...

>> Can you do these things in an interactive medium?

> I sure hope so. Otherwise, the interactive medium is definitely
> poorer and less intriguing than, say, comics, painting, music,
> film, fiction, poetry, dance, or theater. But I don't believe that
> it is.

In the long run, online worlds are going to need to leverage human
behavior rather than artificially impose 'white hat vs. black hat'
conflicts, particularly in PvP environments, if they are going to
reach their full potential.  Else, the conflict has the same
emotional attachment that the player may experience when playing
Warcraft (which I thoroughly enjoyed).

For example: Imagine a world where each side has their 'safe' areas
with a PvP zone in the middle.  The players from each side are told
that the other side is evil.  Rewards are given by the NPC
'government' for killing people from the other side.  In this
situation, the designer has replaced AI with other players which
enriches the combat experience.  However, the kill/loot model still
holds as the primary motivator and will appeal to/impact only a
subset of each side's player base.

Alternatively, have the exact same world, remove the preconceived
'good and evil', and place a resource in the middle, i.e., an ore.
This ore has a material impact on the evolution of the game world as
this ore will allow craftspeople on both sides to create
armor/weapons superior to what is currently available.  Thus, the
conflict now has significance to everyone as the tradespeople can
create/sell more goods and advance their skills, better weapons and
armor allow the Explorers to go into more dangerous areas, and
better weapons and armor provide a competitive advantage in PvP and
improve PvE performance.

You've now presented the players with a Prisoner's Dilemma --
cooperate or defect.  By taking turns harvesting the resource, each
side can yield a greater amount of the resource than if they are
constantly warring and slaying the other side's miners.  The
possibilities for alliances within and cross-race are almost
infinite as each side learns from the other's actions.  Then, you
have renegade PK's that will attack the other side regardless of any
'alliance' created by the general server population that will have
to be addressed through diplomacy and some means of player-driven
justice.  Think of all the interpersonal scenarios that could play
out in this situation.

The quantity and quality of the play possibilities in the second
instance are exponentially greater than that in the first instance
as the players get to develop their own social contracts.  The
players get to decide what is 'good' and 'evil' and what penalties
should be imposed on 'evil' behavior while acting in their own
material best interest.

It doesn't take any fancy coding to get humans to act like
humans... they just have to be given the opportunity.

Cheers,

Ron

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