[MUD-Dev] Building a \\\'Deeper\\\' MMOG

Marian Griffith gryphon at iaehv.nl
Sun Jun 30 14:05:37 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


On Sat 29 Jun, Ron Gabbard wrote:
> From: "Marian Griffith" <gryphon at iaehv.nl>
>> On Fri 21 Jun, Ron Gabbard wrote:

> OK.  I guess I was working under a different assumption.  My
> assumption was that the player's best self-interest in playing the
> game was to maximize the amount of fun or enjoyment derived from it.

It can be, but it is not necessary.  I can RP a character to see if
I can. Or to try to be shy, or a man. Or an elven queen. Entertain-
ment is one reason to play an RPG,  but experimentation can equally
be a valid reason, as can be socialising.  I.e. hanging out with my
friends, who happen to play a game which I join.
There is no one single way to roleplay,  there is no single motiva-
tion, and these things do vary for each player.  Often during play-
ing a game.

> That desire to have the most fun/enjoyment possible in the game
> would drive the player's in-game actions.  If the character's best
> self-interest is such that the player has to sacrifice fun or
> enjoyment of the game in order to pursue it, I would think that
> there is a flaw in the design.

Why?  It depends on  *why* you are playing the game.  Is it because
you want to have fun?  Then yes,  you are right.  But if I play the
game because I want to roleplay a character,  as deeply immersed as
possible,  then doing boring things  is not a design flaw,  but one
of the things I *as the character* have to deal with, much the same
way that I have to deal with boring things in my own life.  It is a
matter of perspective and intent.

>> That is if you really take on the role of that character.  If I am
>> roleplaying an incurably curious character I would make her check
>> out the strange noise, even if I as a player already know it is a
>> monster lurking around the corner.  The character knows it is not
>> smart, but would not be able to resist her curiosity to find out
>> what it is that makes that funny noise. I as a player know that it
>> is very much not in the best interest of the character to do this,
>> and that it might lead to the character dying because of it.

> What about the situations where your character is not alone and is
> part of a group?  Do you role-play a 'dumb' character that pulls a
> dungeon-full of monsters on the group and gets everyone killed
> and/or ruins a 'raid' for 40 - 60 people?

truth to be told, that kind of roleplaying is rarely,  if ever seen
on a game that requires groups that huge.  Such games generally fo-
cus on rolls, not roles, and as such immersive or acting playstyles
do not really fit. Playing a character that is occasionally counter
productive to the group efforts works best when you are playing
with a small group of friends.

> All 'rationality' says is that people will choose activities/actions
> that return the highest utility (benefit) amongst competing
> activities given their associated costs.  That is their best
> self-interest.  It doesn't get much broader than that.

*shrug*  If you define it that broadly  the definition more or less
loses its meaning in its vagueness.  To me  it basically says  that
people choose whatever they feel like and if pressed to think about
it come up with an explanation.  But then I am no economist so what
do I know about it.

> The game designer can't know exactly what comprises the
> players' best self-interest (especially for 100,000
> individuals)... but the players know (probably more implicitly than
> explicitly).  Give them the opportunity and tools to have
> fun/enjoyment the way they would want and that game would blow any
> existing commercial MMOG out of the water.

I certainly agree with you here, but you will not get any executive
to go for this approach,  as it essentially means giving up any and
all control over the game and the game content.  The potential lia-
bility nightmare alone would make them crawl back under their rock,
shivering with fear.  Of course there are a few developers and even
publishers out there  who have a grander vision than that,  so per-
haps I am being too pessimistic.


Marian
--
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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