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

Dave Rickey mahrinskel at brokentoys.org
Wed May 7 15:19:38 New Zealand Standard Time 2003


From: "John Buehler" <johnbue at msn.com>
> Dave Rickey writes:

>> You sidestepped my point: Why did the players desire these goods?
>> Because they represented *power*.  To them, you were the
>> mechanism by which their time (measured in currency) could be
>> converted to power.  From their point of view, it would have made
>> very little difference if they had purchased them from an NPC
>> (not completely, I hope that they themselves were more
>> entertained by the process of personal interaction through which
>> they managed the conversion.  But many of them argue the point).

> Actually, I just stuck with my original point.  It doesn't matter
> why other players are interested in buying my items.  I was
> underscoring why *I* was interested in making them in the first
> place.  It wasn't due to power and time considerations.  As a
> result, power and time are not the sole source of game
> entertainment.

I never claimed that they were.  But the assumption provides a solid
place to stand while building the intricacies that do seem to
provide entertainment.

> I understand that you believe that power and time as the basis of
> entertainment in the game is what makes my character's career as a
> craftsman viable.  I don't believe that, because if I can derive
> entertainment from being a craftsman independent of the power and
> time structure that crafting uses (specifically, in Dark Age of
> Camelot), then I can derive entertainment from being a warrior
> independent of the power and time structure.  In fact, I did.
> That may be pointlessly anecdotal, but it certainly influences my
> view of these games.

Okay, I think I see where the conceptual break is in the discussion.
You believe I'm claiming that entertainment is equivalent to the
process of empowerment.  I'm not, I'm simply stating that treating
it as if it was seems to provide a useful approximation when looking
at it from 50,000 feet.

> I am a believer in achievement as a source of entertainment.  I
> don't believe for a second that it is *the* prime mover of
> entertainment in multiplayer games.

It certainly seems to be the leading contender, most of the
alternatives are really just quibbling over how to measure
achievement.

>> It wasn't my first choice for the crafting system.  But in all
>> truth, I didn't have the time or resources to really pursue
>> exploring alternatives, and it was more important to me that the
>> system *work* than that it was new and different.

> I have the same goals.  I want it to work.  I want to find
> entertainment.  Given my accumulated aversion to Yet Another
> Treadmill, the assumption that time and power formulae are *the*
> way to provide entertainment is dismaying, to say the least.

If you think that's dismaying, try this one: It appears that what we
think of as free will is actually nothing but random chance.  Most
of our decisions are formulized results of our conditioning, and
those that are not are made *exactly* as if we simply consulted a
random number generator.

--Dave


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