[MUD-Dev] Removing access to entertainment

Amanda Walker amanda at alfar.com
Tue Nov 25 13:21:44 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


On Nov 19, 2003, at 6:16 PM, apollyon . wrote:

> Honestly, I have to agree with the general point that John is
> trying to make here.  As others have stated, games are about
> fairly and equitably overcoming a challenge.

Nonsense.  Multiplayer games are about storytelling and building
communities through shared experience.

> To a large degree, entertainment in MMOs and other RPGs consists
> of overcoming a challenge.

I disagree completely: MMOs and other RPGs have very few genuine
challenges.  RPG combat isn't decided by skill, it's decided by
level and equipment.  The only thing MMOs really have to offer is
other people.  AC2 was full of challenges, and died on the vine when
people left.  People complain to high heaven about "forced grouping"
and "forced downtime" in EQ, yet it remains the most popular thing
around, even with (by current standards) cheesy graphics and
gameplay.  DAOC's popular for people in guilds, deadly boring for
loners.

> I don't think anyone is suggesting that the above points be
> considered because they're too challenging and we want things that
> have no challenge whatsoever, but rather that the above points be
> considered because they prevent the player from fairly and
> equitably overcoming the challenges for which they play (and pay).

If you want fair and equitable challenges, play Quake 3 or Unreal
Tournament.  Excruciatingly fair, results depend on skill, the whole
bit.

There, now that we've gotten the Collision of Bartle Types out of
the way, on to the multivalency of "fun":

I agree that evenly matched combat is more fun than being trounced.
Being the trouncer is also more fun (for many players) than being
the trouncee.  Personally, I find it annoying for the result of a
contest to be determined by arbitrary game mechanics rather than
skill.  I'd find RPG combat much more interesting if it were more
like, say, a console fighting game (DOA3, Soul Calibur II, etc.).
However, I have good hand/eye coordination and a really fast
Internet connection, so I'm biased.  One of the appeals of RPG
combat for many players is that you can trade persistence for actual
skill, and be able to "win" eventually.  Mezzes, pets, darkness, and
other such effects are part of how that works.

Now for a MUD developer question:

The last year or two on MUD-Dev have been dominated by game play
discussions, not implementation issues (though there have been a few
quite interesting threads).  Is game building now a solved problem?
Are the only interesting issues ones of game balance?

Amanda Walker
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