[MUD-Dev] In defense of "soloability" [was Law of Diminishing Marginal Utility]

Jeff Cole jeff.cole at mindspring.com
Fri May 31 13:51:27 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

From: Koster, Raph

> People don't seem to like being interrupted when they're making
> decisions.  They tend to complain about people ruining their
> concentration. So it makes for a bad time to try to have an
> in-depth personal discussion with them. If we want more
> socializing, we have to provide breathing spaces in which it can
> occur.

Or, perhaps provide expanded, more uniform (or, at least less
disjunctive) decision-spaces. Downtime is really just a crude and
heavy-handed fix.  And let's not underestimate the over-importance
of an awkward chat interface (the designs of which, I argue, are
merely mediocre at best).

I am trying to resist the inference that "more socializing"
necessarily requires significantly (or any-) more "in-depth personal

I am also trying to resist the inference that it is sufficient to
xeriscape your social environment by passively providing "breathing
spaces."  Why not nurture a more varied and exotic social landscape
by providing players with a richer socialization toolset.

In EQ, a very significant amount of my "socialization" with my guild
and other players organizing and conducting (and helping to-)
multi-group raids (and far too many subsequent corpse retrievals,
heh).  Lots of interaction and lots of decision-making.  Indeed, for
a period of almost nine months, all (or very nearly) of my EQ time
was spent either raiding or training newer players/guildmembers the
finer points of raiding.

Most of my frustrations stemmed not from a
socializing/decision-making tension, but from one of two places: (1)
particularly annoying and needy players (beyond developer control);
and, (2) multiplayer /tells to which it was difficult to efficiently
respond because of the limited chat iterface (well within developer
control--and with potential to assuage the impact of those players
described in (1)).

Yrs. Affcty,
Jeff Cole

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