[MUD-Dev] Cultural impact on Muds (was: Star Wars Galaxies)

Eric Hu eric at ttic.com.tw
Tue Feb 11 14:11:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

On Fri, 31 Jan 2003 15:42:54 -0800
"Koster, Raph" <rkoster at soe.sony.com> wrote:
> From: Eric Hu
>> On Wed, 1 Jan 2003 17:59:28 -0800 
>> "Koster, Raph" <rkoster at soe.sony.com> wrote:
>>> From: Marian Griffith

>>> The primary differences between the US and the Korean game
>>> markets are in how the players play, not in the game
>>> itself. Specifically, the "bangs" or Net cafes/game rooms are
>>> the heart of the difference. The fact that this difference is
>>> invisible to us watching here from the States makes us want to
>>> label the game design itself as (shades of Fu Manchu!) 
>>> "inscrutable" since we cannot see the appeal.

>From my perspective, National Culture shape his people's philosophy
and thinking, thinking shape the game's design, game's design shape
the player's style, then players' style back to shape the game

>> Trust me, they are very different in the core of design. It just
>> like a westerner could distinguish a Japanese from Korean,
>> Chinese and Taiwanese, but we orientals could.

> I find this statement somewhat distressing. There's an automatic
> assumption that I am speaking from the perspective of a (sadly
> typical) American with little experience of other cultures,
> running all through your post. I do not mean to claim that I am
> thoroughly familiar with Asia or its many cultures, but at least
> grant me some credit. I speak two languages fluently and read
> three more (at varying degrees of competency); I have lived abroad
> for a third of my life, in multiple different countries; I'm a
> UNICEF brat, in fact.
> My statement is that the RULES of Lineage are not incredibly alien
> or different. But that the way in which players PLAY Lineage
> is. That the very real and significant cultural differences reside
> more in the players than in the game design.

To be honesty, I cannot argue that. Some results are too complex to
say what exactly effect them. I don't know how american play the
Lineage.  What I will say is -- the play style of asia players of
Lineage, is different with the style of asia players of EQ or UO. I
would like to suggest that is caused by the game design. You design
this feature, you attract this kind of players. You design that
feature, you attract that kind of players.

If the play style of USA players of Lineage is the same with Korea
players of Lineage, we know where the root is. Sadly, I don't have
USA friends who play Lineage. :P

> Even further, I would agree with the statement that different
> rulesets will appeal to different cultures. I think there is ample
> evidence of that.  Lineage's ruleset certainly appears to be more
> appealing in Asia than say, EverQuest's.
> That said, if there are significant cultural differences in the
> *rulesets* of Lineage versus other hack n slash muds, I've missed
> them. Would you expand upon the cited "differences in the core of
> design"? The whole point of this list is to attack statements like
> "trust me, they are very different" and analyze the actual
> differences so that we can all learn from them. If there are
> significant rule differences, I want to know more about them.

I had try to find a way to explain how different the core of Lineage
and most western MMORPG is, but I failed. Take apple for example, I
could tell you the slices I ate came from 2 different apples. Maybe
I distinguish them by the sweet or juicy, but I don't know how to
describe it by verbalism. I am so sorry.

According the designer of CrossGate of Enix (sorry, I don't know how
to spell his name in english :P), Japan players appreciate the
quests and adventure events, Taiwan players prize the communication
and not-too-complex combat, Korea players value the combat and

  (CorssGate had servers in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and China, he had
  good chances to observe the cultures' impact.)

Let me brief a interesting design in Lineage. When you was killed
(by PC or NPC), some of your equipments will eject from you. Since
they droped on the ground, anyone could loot them away. These
ninja-loot players were called "bone collecter" in chinese
language. This feature made a lot of chaos in Lineage
server. Players complaint and rant in forum.  This design raise a
lot of strifes. Did NCsoft change the design? No. Is it too hard to
modify? No. Why they refuse to modify the code? There must be a good
reason, but it beyond my ability.

In the other hand, there are a lot of EQ players here, we all knew
what the history of the command Consent and Corpse Retrieve. How
Verant treat the same arguments? That is a significant difference.

There are serval other interesting features in Lineage, but it just
escape my grasp now. I would brief them when I remember. NCSoft
spent a lot of effort designing the skills related to Kill. To be
bluntly, it remind me about the PK mud. The only possiblity I could
think is -- NCSoft want a chaos, bloody world.

To compare with the effort Korea designers spent in combat, Lineage
lack the luxury storyline, background, plently quests of EQ, UO,
DAoC, AC1 and AC2. The tale-telling is terribly suck in Lineage. You
don't need to care about the background and story, all you need to
know is how to storm the castle, and kill the guys who dare to block
the path.

Is it a single event about a Hack-n-Slash mud? not exactly. Another
hot MMORPG, the Ragnarok Online, is not a hack-n-slash mud but
lacking the story telling ability, too.

By my experience, what the designer of CrossGate said is truth.

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