[MUD-Dev] Skill vs Knowledge (was: Re: Brand Loyalty)

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Thu Feb 13 08:01:02 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "ceo" <ceo at grexengine.com>

> But if you go and meet some top Quake players, you'll find that
> the ones who merely have great co-ordination are stuck forever in
> second-place (figuratively speaking), no matter what level they
> play. They are NOT the champions; they compete at the top level,
> but don't win against the best.

I am not talking about knowing general rules and patterns. I am
talking about knowing (for example) where the rocket launcher is --
*specific* knowledge about the *immediate* environment.

If you know the level, then you can *sometimes* beat better-skilled
people who don't know the level. However, if you do NOT know the
level, you will almost *always* lose to a better-skilled player. If
the skill levels are roughly equivalent, the player with more
knowledge of the level will generally win.

Gathering knowledge about the level is a skill. If two players have
no knowledge of a level, the one who is more skilled at gathering
that knowledge will generally win (assuming all other skills are
roughly equivalent). If all skill levels *and* all level knowledge
are roughly equivalent, then the outcome is in serious doubt.

> In the example you give, whenever I've had the opportunity to see
> it played out in real life (by two otherwise approximately equally
> skilled players), during the first few minutes its generally blind
> luck who does best at any given moment: the player in the lead
> swaps frequently

This is exactly as it should be.

> Five minutes later, the player used to using knowledge and
> tactical reasoning is whipping their opponent - although there is
> a gradual handover from "random frags" to "skill-induced frags".

Also exactly as it should be: the player more skilled in gathering
knowledge obtains the advantage, and may be able to defeat a player
better-skilled in other areas.

>> Skill works in *every* level. Knowledge works in one.

> I fear you over-simplify; knowledge most definitely works in every
> level - it just takes a while to "acclimatise" to the level.

Fallacy of equivocation. While knowledge in general does indeed work
in every level, the *specific* knowledge that works in one level
does not work in any other level except by sheer coincidence.

You are really talking about the skill of *gathering* knowledge,
which -- being a skill -- works in every level.

> What you say makes perfect sense, if you believe that the
> Knowledge of every other level ever played has no beneficial
> effect on playing a new one.

Here, you're confusing knowledge with experience. Experience builds
skill.  In this case, the skill of level analysis: powerups tend to
sit in the same general kinds of places, and as you develop
experience in what those places are and how they are normally
accessed, you also develop skill in finding powerups. Once you find
them, you can apply that knowledge rather than the skill -- but that
knowledge does not mean squat when you go to another level, and you
need to obtain different knowledge. The skill of obtaining it, of
course, is useful.

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