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

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Tue Jun 4 22:49:14 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

In <URL:/archives/meow?group+local.muddev> on Wed 29 May, Kwon Ekstrom wrote:
> From: "Clay" <clayf at bu.edu>
>> From: "Ron Gabbard"

>> Why?  Why do we need to be committed to the idea that downtime =
>> social time?  Is it because people started chatting it up when
>> they were bored and had nothing better to do?  Do we need to make
>> people bored in order to make them social?  That doesn't seem
>> like a very good answer.

Socialising is the opposite from being bored.  Well, not the
opposite actually as these are entirely different things, but the
fact remains that socialising implies an entertaining ac- tivity.

> I don't see why a mud needs much downtime.  Actions shouldn't only
> be combat... irregardless of what the player is doing or where
> they're at, there should be something interesting for them to do.
> I've known alot of people who preferred to tinker with skills that
> modify equipment for example.

Socialising is not an activity you can plan. It also is not a single
activity as there are many forms of socialising.  What they have in
common is a time where the primary task of a mud (generally killing
things to increase experience) is interup- ted temporarily to allow
for other activities.  If there are too few players around it will
not happen, but too many play- ers also make it impossible because
of the spam. There has to be enough time to interact with other
players, but some chan- ce for the players to control the amount of
time spent this way, or they will feel restless and bored, or at
least forced into idleness.  If the players are engaged into other
activi- ties they can not socialise (much).  Yet socialising is an
important factor of any multi-player game, and in many ways the
reason of being for them.  Social interaction allows players to form
greater groups. It creates attachment to the game. It forms a social
structure that does protect the game against destructive behaviour
(to a certain extent).

> There needs to be a regeneration period, aka sleep...

Well, there is no intrinsic value in enforced sleep, anymore than
there is in enforcing having to eat and drink.  Players do seem to
expect it, but a game could easily be created were sleep is

> but I'd prefer to keep that to a minimum.  Your players are there
> to play, not sit idle.  The more you force them to sit idle, the
> more you're going to get afk players.

There is a huge difference from enforcing idleness and allowing for
socialisation. If you force players to be idle they sit and do
nothing.  Socialising allows them to do things together that are not
burdened by the frantic pace of the game, and that do not directly
affect the game.

Yes - at last - You. I Choose you. Out of all the world,
out of all the seeking, I have found you, young sister of
my heart! You are mine and I am yours - and never again
will there be loneliness ...

Rolan Choosing Talia,
Arrows of the Queen, by Mercedes Lackey

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