Re: [ Problem ] Areas changing...

From: Hans H. Hjort (hjort@S-96-226.RESNET.OHIO-STATE.EDU)
Date: 09/02/97

On Tue, 2 Sep 1997, Andrew Helm wrote:

[ snip ]
> No, the viewpoint did not distinguish between things
> which made life hard on the players yet did not increase
> their enjoyment in the end and things which were merely
> hard on the players.

On reflection, I would agree that that point was not explictly made.

> [snip]
> > > Oops, you took a wrong turn here. Good Administrators will know it's not
> > > their job to frustrate the players. Administrators who run their muds
> > > with the proper goal in mind, that is, to only present players with
> > > challenges that will make the players enjoy the mud even more, will not
> > > have to be careful how much they piss off the players, since they
> > > knows better than to take a hostile attitude towards the players as
> > > their job. Is it just playing with words, like you suggest? I think
> > > you'll find that behind most muds that die is an administrator who
> > > got caught up making life hard on his/her players while losing sight
> > > of the fact that when players don't enjoy themselves, the mud fails.
> >
> > A good new challenge will often piss players off. If its a good
> > challenge, the players will probably fail thier first attempt at
> > overcoming that challenge. That only makes the final victory that more
> > sweet.  The trick ofcourse is to make sure the victory will arrive before
> > the frustration levels climb to high.
> Why is it so many people have trouble with my point? I agree
> completely that you need to challenge players. I agree completely
> that they need to fail a couple times before they succeed. Have
> you not been listening? I said they would become frustrated with
> the challenges, not the administration though. That's the sign
> you're doing something right. It's when the administration takes
> the player hostile attitufe, ie- the "us against them" kind of
> attitude, that is at the heart of the idea that you have to
> frustrate players, but not to the point that you make them
> leave.

You are were worried that talking about how "pissed off" the players
were implies a hostile administration.  My argument is that "pissed
off" is consistant with a good administration, and using it does not
imply either sort of administration.

> I noticed you snipped that part out, and it was probably
> the most important point.

I pretty much agree with all your points, its the implications you
have been using that trouble me. In particular:

1.  using "pissed off" implies the administrator is thinking in
player-hostile terms.

2.  Daniel was thinking in player-hostile terms.

These are my points of contention.  If you do not hold these views,
then my only complaint is that you are not clear enough in your
writing to prevent me from getting this mistaken impression. :)

[ big snip ]
> *sigh* Of course life should be hard on the mud, but only insofar
> as it increases player's enjoyment in the end. I don't think you
> understand, something can be hard on the players but not contribute
> to their enjoyment in the end.

In the part you snipped, I gave examples of sources of frustration
that don't contribute to the enjoyment of the mud:

:: Now there are sources of frustration that
:: won't improve the game, such has having an obtuse interface or
:: undocumented commands.  But ofcourse those frustrations cannot be
:: overcome by the player.

I don't think these sources of frustration will ever be confused with
something that is supposed to improve the game.

Upon further reflection, I can think of some "improvements" that might
be good or bad depending.  Something such as terrain that randomly
changes its exits.  I have seen this implimented on some muds as a
random maze.  However something like a random field, or a random road,
might not be so well recieved.  (Name it the Chaos Highway and the players
may still enjoy it though. :)

> I keep trying to get this across, but
> all I ever hear back is that you need to be hard on the players in
> order to have a balanced mud. Duh, I've been saying you need to be
> hard on them all along, but only insofar as you ultimately add
> to their enjoyment when they do succeed (or while they're trying to
> succeed, even.) It's more than some pedantic point or playing
> with words. Administrators, for some reason, seem to quickly lose
> sight of the fact that their player's enjoyment is what makes
> the mud healthy.

Yes the short form of the argument is "Piss the players off, but not
until the point they leave".  You always loose something when you
compress a topic that can easilly fill a large essay into a short
sentence.  Your response would have been much better recieved if
phrased as:

In case anybody gets the wrong idea, proper "pissing off" does not
include doing things that piss off the players without improving
thier enjoyment of the game.

You must remember the context of Daniel's original statement was a
reply to someone who wanted to make a change in his mud that would
improve the players' enjoyment (adding a new area at a logical point)
but was worried that this change might annoy players.  Daniel says
go ahead and make the change.  You then come in and take Daniel to
task for not writing a whole essay on how to administer a mud, worried
that people will get the wrong idea, and worried that Daniel has the
wrong idea.

> [snip]
> > In short, I believe the issue you are concerned with was a non-issue
> > until you brought it up.  I can understand you feel this is an important
> > point to make, but it doesn't do your cause any good to ascribe the
> > opposing viewpoint to Daniel when he never supported it.
> If you feel it is a non issue, then you have not read carefully
> enough.

I'm sorry, I misspoke (miswrote?).  Its not a non-issue, it just wasn't
the issue at hand until you brought it up.

> This is not just something with Daniel in particular, but
> it's a general unhealthy attitude that goes around.

I have yet to be convinced that Daniel has this unhealthy attitude.

> Many
> administrators directly equate being hard on their players with
> increasing their players enjoyment, and such a thing is quite
> silly since not everything which makes life harder on the players
> will increase their overall satisfaction. Let me repeat that
> again: Not everything which makes life harder on the players
> will increase their overall satisfaction. It's such an easy
> point, and so obvious! Yet, I have found it's one of the
> hardest for people to realize. Why is that?

I certainly agree with this point, in fact I would almost say it
goes without saying.  The problem you may have had in convincing
other people may be in the specifics.  For example, my example above
about randomly changing terrain, it may be hard to judge whether it
will improve the players' enjoyment or not.  You could easilly argue
either way.  Perhaps you think people don't realize your point when
infact they agree with it, but have made a different judgement than
you in a specific instance of putting it into practice?

> As for the idea that you make life hard on the players, but
> not to the point that they leave.... well, that's flawed on
> a basic level. If you see your job as approaching the point
> where you make players leave (but not beyond), then you've
> got the wrong goal in mind.

I agree, but designing a good, challenging mud will have the same
effect, that is the players will be frustrated close to the point
that they would leave, but not cross that point.

> > It makes you
> > look like you are just looking for an argument.
> I'm sorry you feel that way. I have refrained from calling names
> or responding to names I've been called. I've tried to make it
> clear where I agree and where I disagree. In other words, I have
> been trying my hardest to have a serious discussion.

I didn't mean to imply you were looking for a fight.  Perhaps I
should have said it makes you look like you are just looking for a
debate. :) The problem is you make it clear that you disagree with
a point that Daniel never advocated, and probably doesn't hold.
Daniel, and I, are trying to argue that Daniel never made the point
you disagree with, and the argument that he implied it is weak at best.

                                                -Hans H Hjort

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