[MUD-Dev] Thought Experiment: Permanent Monster Death

Sheela Caur'Lir dstgasey at webhiker.dk
Thu Jan 8 20:23:48 New Zealand Daylight Time 2004


From: "J C Lawrence" <claw at kanga.nu>
> J C Lawrence <J> wrote:
>> On Tue, 16 Dec 2003 10:04:44 -0700 Chanur Silvarian
>> <chanur at guildsite.com> wrote:

>>   Where are the dreams?  Where is the embarrassment?  Where are
>>   the Cheshire Cats, the old father Williams, the Emperor's of
>>   America?

> Much more simply:

>   What about whimsy?

> Whimsy begets play, play in the sense of 4yr old children on a
> beach running about with their arms out pretending to be airplanes
> or cowboys and indians, or space fighters doing strafing runs over
> the Death Star.  Ad hoc tissue thin whimsy.  Terribly fun stuff.

> If whimsy is in fact necessary, or even valuable, how can it be
> encouraged, created, fostered?  What does it require?  The history
> of systems like Alphaworld, Habitat, and the early days of
> SecondLife suggest it is possible but poorly understood and not
> explicitly targeted as a desirably attribute.

I think one of the most important properties of whimsy is
spontanious opening for doing something you don't do normally. It
actually happens pretty often in many graphical multiplayer games.

A few examples:

  EverQuest, I was in Freeport and had managed to get high enough
  level to cast the levitate spell and had the sudden urge (whimsy?)
  to try and get up on that roof next to me - So I did ... and the
  next, and the next.  Someone else passes by and wants to do the
  same and within the next half there was 10+ people climbing around
  on roofs !

  EverQuest, If you get a runspeed increasing buff on you and have
  high swimming skill, you can dive into the ocean, and then go up
  fast, in a sinus- like curve and for a few steps, it will look
  like you are actually walking on the water ! Much fun for some
  people. ... heh heh.

  Anarchy Online, for a short while, there was a bug, where you
  could stand on certain types of heavy armor, even while people
  were wearing it. There was people who used hours trying to make a
  human pyramid, just like you see them done in a circus and
  stuffs. They never got higher than the 2nd layer though, but it
  was still quite fun.

In all 3 cases people where doing things in a whimsy when the fancy
struck.  Did they aquire anything ? Nope Did they gain anything in
the game ? Nope Did they have fun ? You bet !

This offcourse also means that the game have to be fairly open ended
in some areas and support a multitude of things, which means lots of
odd programming, which equals money in the end.

Climbing stuff seems to be a particular common whimsy, but also
falling from stuff.  You'd be surprised at how many people have
kiled their characters from a fall because they thought it was
pretty fun to so.

---
Jens L. Nielsen
(aka. Sheela Caur'Lir)
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