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

Yannick Jean yannickjean at sympatico.ca
Wed Jun 5 22:50:09 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


[Snippets from differents posts recently seen on the list]

From: Coyote

> Of course, there's always the chance that you DON'T want to be
> around other people, or want to show off that shield made from the
> scales of the dragon. If not, then single player games are ideal.

> The people that play Online games are generally people that want
> the social interaction. Want the chance to show off when they
> accomplish things.  They put up with griefers, campers, and
> technical problems because of this, that they can interact with
> some people that aren't bad.

From: "Marian Griffith"

> 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.

Ok,

I'll jump in the fray here.

Quite many of you recently stated (as seen above) that player who
don't rea= lly like contact with other players are a rarity in
Multiplayer Environnement and that single pla= yer game are the
place they belongs.

Wrong.

I am sorry to say, but it's simply wrong. I know many players in
current MM= ORPG who socialize like any others from times to times
but who mainly shy away f= rom any social obligations like "Forced
grouping", Guilds and they are even reluctant to interact with PC
merchant/crafters.

  Question: how many people solo in EQ and Daoc even though the game
  is openly designed to reward grouping generously and deter soloing
  (granted Daoc is = way better than EQ on this, but still the
  general concept is generously applied= all over the place) ?
  Answer: A whole lot of them...

  Question: how many people on this list are lurker and like to
  watch what's = being discussed without actually interacting
  themselve ?  Answer: Again a whole lot of them... (clearly the
  majority in fact)

Many players like me and many other have limited playing time and
the idea = when logging in is to be entertained. Careful there, I do
not mean cheap entertainement (read mindless hack-and-slash), this
could be meaningful, thought-provoking, entertainement but it should
entertain the player without large time investment. Is this really a
suprise that many players are not entertained by socializing ? 
Online socializing is often as mindless and superficial as the
previously mentionned hack-and-slash and, by the way, ma= ny people
in RL are not at all that found of superficial chatters.

I sincerly think that immersion is what lure and retain playes in an
online= RPG.  Socializer see the chance to meet real peoples (and
that beat any NPCs by f= ar), Explorer hope to see vast persistent
living world (not the realm of single player game), Achiever want to
play a game with an advancement ladder (be i= t be equipments,
levels, skills, etc.) designed to last for months or more, Kill= er
play for the sheer competition of having to compete with other
players... T= he short version, is many player do not play online
game to socialize at all a= nd they haven't the time to dedicate
themselve to any serious social in-game relationship.

The sanbox principle has been stated and overstated, but designers
must rea= lly be careful before pretending to know what peoples
enjoy and do not enjoy ab= out games, particulary games as complex
as current MUD and MMORPG.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings,

Yannick Jean
YannickJean at sympatico.ca

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