[MUD-Dev] [DGN] The psychology of random numbers

Ammon Lauritzen ammon at simud.org
Thu Jan 8 01:35:08 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004

On Mon, 5 Jan 2004, Ted L. Chen wrote:

> Working on the loose assumption that displaying some sort of
> measure is inevitable, is there some way we can better manage
> player expectations?

Well, the problem with using some sort of vague measurements is that
people's understandings of words differ, and it becomes difficult to
come up with a good range of descriptions for the values.

Currently, there are 10 different phrases we use to describe a
player's effective skill level (actual skill level modified by stats
- which are some of the very few numbers that the player does
actually see numerically).

This seems to be a pretty good range for our current needs, but what
in the event of expansion onto higher level abilities? Right now, we
cap the description out at 'essentially perfect', but the phrasing
leaves more than a little to be desired.

Another problem we've encountered with the vague descriptions
actually reared its ugly head a few hours ago when I was dealing
with one of our players. He complained that one of his skill had
dropped from 'excellent' back down to 'very good'. What had in fact
happened was that his actual skill level was very near the border
between the two descriptions and he donned a suit of platemail,
severely dropping his dexterity, which modifies the skill.

Even after explaining the situation, it seemed a very arbitrary sort
of thing to him, to have received a downgrade by an entire category
of skill ability. Especially since only the one skill showed the
change (while in reality numerous abilities were affected as a

Ammon Lauritzen
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