[MUD-Dev] Winnable MMO

Chris Nielsen cnielsen at newdawntech.com
Mon Apr 7 18:58:15 New Zealand Standard Time 2003

Hmm... first contribution to the list, so be gentle... :)

<EdNote: Please place new text below the quote it refers to and trim
the quote as per http://www.kanga.nu/lists/listinfo/mud-dev/.  I've
fixed this message -- claw>

Threshold RPG wrote:

> Again, I point to sports games, chess, and games like them. There
> is always a loser. If you are bad and play against people who are
> much better, you will always lose.

This is a bit of a misnomer, in that no one (except for that
one-in-a-million masochist) will play a game they always lose at. You lose
and take it cause you know you're getting better and will hopefully win one
day. If you pass that point where the return on investment hasn't come and
the investment isn't worth paying out anymore (no fun, why waste my time?)
then you're not going to play anymore.

Ironically, I reached a point similar to this in EverQuest, which I believe
was categorized in this discussion as a no-win type of game. I got tired of
not gaining recognizable advances with my character only being able to (only
wanting to) spend "casual gamer" hours playing. I felt I wasn't "winning"
and the frustration of this outweighed the fun I got from the actual play
and the interaction that makes up so much of that game. There is a
crowd-influenced focus in that game that sours this kind of categorization,
however. I so much wanted to make the most of each stage I got to, exploring
all the content available for each level range. But no one else did, most
notably my close friends whom I played with. If you're not in the high game
you're not in the game at all. In essence this ruins (at least, severely
diminishes) what EverQuest really has to offer. That game is three times as
big as the players make it. Maybe even more.

This is the danger in trying to shift the focus away from "winning". I think
people *want* to play games where they can win, even if most of the time
they lose. It's because when you do win it makes all the losses worth it.
Very much so.

If EverQuest had been designed with clearly defined "wins" along the level
treadmill do you think people would have made the most of the content if
exploring that content was necessary to winning each of those objectives? I
certainly do. Many wouldn't, but certainly a lot more would.

-Chris Nielsen
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