[MUD-Dev] A Founding Father Forgotten

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Sat Mar 29 06:28:14 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Matt Mihaly" <the_logos at achaea.com>

> I would tend to argue, in fact, that they are so different that
> it's harmful to try and apply P&P fundamentals to virtual worlds.

I'll second that. P&P games are designed for a maximum of six to
eight people, with one person constantly altering the game
parameters to keep the game fun; a key element of any serious P&P
game is to locate players that work well together and don't have
contradictory goals. (In its most basic form, Bob can't play an
ostentatiously evil wizard if Joe is going to play a classic
paladin.) In a virtual world setting, you simply can't do this.

Whether this makes P&P games "better" is rather a matter of
taste. On the one hand, the quality of most virtual worlds is
crap. On the other, the quality of most P&P groups is crap. The
major benefit of a virtual world comes in when you examine the
social aspect: when you get desperate enough to settle for a bad
game, you have to spend actual time with actual people who are
largely freaks and losers. In the P&P world, these people often know
where you live and have your phone number. Then they call you at all
hours and come over to your house and disrupt your life; not in a
vicious stalking against-the-law way, just in a clueless loser
don't-you-like-me way, so telling them to get the %#@! out of your
face is sort of like drop-kicking puppies through a window... nobody
likes you for doing it, not even you.

On a virtual world like EQ or AC, you simply don't have this
problem. When a loser follows you around on one of those systems,
you just drop carrier (oops, showing my age there) and go somewhere
else. You also don't run into the various other social difficulties
that go along with regular meetings in other people's houses, like
whether the GM's wife likes to game in the nude. (Yes, that's a real

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