[MUD-Dev] D&D vs. MMORPG "complexity"

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Thu Apr 17 17:32:59 New Zealand Standard Time 2003


On Wed, 16 Apr 2003, Scott Jennings wrote:

> Still, your initial assertion was that politics don't matter in
> any of the current large-scale MMOs. The problem with that is
> simply by being large in scale, politics *do* matter -- no matter
> what those that run the games in question have to say about the
> matter. Now, you can make the game more interesting by leveraging
> this, but to simply say that "there's no politics, thus the high
> level game is boring" because there are no explicit rules systems
> for voting (you know, for all those democracies in feudal Europe)
> doesn't make much sense.

Doesn't have to be explicit systems for voting. (There were also no
dragons or magic in feudal Europe, incidentally. Realism doesn't
matter.  We all know that.) It'd be nice to support something more
than "I can beat you up or ostracize you so you better not piss me
off." (not that they even really support that.)

> So by your definition, politics in Everquest is non-existent. The
> problem is that Everquest at the high end game is one of the most
> political experiences in modern gaming. Each server has one or two
> guilds that literally control the server. They are the only ones
> capable of tackling the high-end mobs, they control the economy
> both by force (kill-stealing) and by agreement (scheduling), and
> entering these guilds is somewhat akin to joining the
> Mafia. People who don't have access to a high level "uberguild"
> eventually quit.

> Now, mind you, this is about the level of high school/clique
> "politics", but no one said online gaming was a mature entity :)

Yeah, that's probably my problem with them. They are indeed at the
high school/clique level. I'll retract my assertion that they don't
have a political game and just replace it with "They have a poor
political game."

Of course, to be fair, our political systems are also extremely
simplistic when compared to the real world. They still get pretty
interesting though.  I enjoy watching cities try to alter their
constitutions for instance, or argue over what it means to commit
"genocide" in a game without permadeath and how they can punish a
foreigner accused of it. Or the McCarthy-esque politics involved in
trying to root out our equivalent of our communists (in the sense
that everybody believed this group secretly had agents in all
governments...wasn't far from the truth either).

So you're right, the big games do have politics. They're just lame
in my opinion (which is fair enough. Development time wasn't spent
on that aspect.)

--matt
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