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Old 05-03-2008, 11:50 PM   #1
Milawe
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When do you stop reading?

There are all sorts of gamers out there, and I think the AMOUNT of reading someone is willing to do before they get into a game differs greatly. These questions go out more towards people who like a roleplaying environment (mandatory or optional). Let's assume that spelling and grammar are not an issue, and typos are infrequent.

1) How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?

2) About how much text are you okay with seeing before you decide "That's just too much; I'm not reading it."?

3) Are you more interested in knowing about the lore before you get into the game or after you get into the game?

4) Is the lore more important to you at first (while you're developing your character), or are you more interested in knowing about the mechanics?

5) Do you rely on intuition or accessible docs first?

6) What will make you simply stop reading?
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Old 05-04-2008, 12:25 AM   #2
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Re: When do you stop reading?

1. I'm willing to try a game before reading much about it, as long as I know what to expect from the MUD (i.e., feature set, genre, etc.)

2. I guess it depends on the situation. If it's a tutorial or an explanation or a history, I'm willing to read a lot as long as it's meaningful and well-written. If every fight with an NPC is a novel in itself, I'm certain that I'd just skip most of it.

3. Reading backstory and lore doesn't interest me much unless I've already experienced the world. For example, if I'm playing a game and there's an event involving some historical character, I'm likely to search for that character's story and their place in the world after the event takes place.

4. I'd say that mechanics are my point of interest early on. When I'm comfortable with the mechanics, I'll start to explore the world and learn more about its story and lore.

5. I try to rely on intuition.

6. A line with more than 2 colors; large blocks of text without spacing or formatting; lack of correct grammar or spelling; badly written sentences.
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:02 AM   #3
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Re: When do you stop reading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mina View Post
There are all sorts of gamers out there, and I think the AMOUNT of reading someone is willing to do before they get into a game differs greatly. These questions go out more towards people who like a roleplaying environment (mandatory or optional). Let's assume that spelling and grammar are not an issue, and typos are infrequent.
I can't always presume that, but for the sake of the thread, I will. I've seen decade-long games with great lore that still haven't bothered to proofread/typo their docs.

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Originally Posted by Mina View Post
1) How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?
Before I get into the game, I feel it's required reading to at least go over the race I intend to play, quite possibly the race that is most likely to be antagonistic toward the one I'm choosing, the history of the area I'll be spawning in, and any unique class-based or world-based phenomena/conditions that would be common knowledge or fundamental to character development.

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Originally Posted by Mina View Post
2) About how much text are you okay with seeing before you decide "That's just too much; I'm not reading it."?
It's almost never a quantity-based response that makes me stop. If it's interesting, I'll read it all. I'll admit, I have about a five-page buffer for most topics before I say, 'Okay, I have a basic understanding, I'll read the rest later.' I can say that if it's corny, badly wordsmithed, or just stretches credulity, I will generally try to give it a chance to redeem itself and read the whole thing, but if at the end of a doc I'm rolling my eyes at the content or writing craft, I'm probably already on my way out the door. Website docs are the tip of the iceberg, and if they're not well-written, well thought out, or contain info that tells me that the game has elements that don't excite me, I might play, but I enter with very low expectations.
If I like the game, I'll have read all the docs in the first month.

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3) Are you more interested in knowing about the lore before you get into the game or after you get into the game?
Before. I hate looking like a n00b for missing a basic tenet of a world. Still, my strong opinion is that lore should be structured for expository both before and after first log-in, and that sparse up-front lore should be constantly, or at least regularly, added to.
Of course, no one should be spawning on their first day an utter expert on whatever part of the lore suits them best. There should be room for discovery post-login. I greatly prefer a very large ratio of post-login discovery to up-front common knowledge, because I'm going to spend much more time playing that I am website-cruising.
A bit atopical, but ...
If I find once I get in the game that the admins ignore or otherwise undermine their own official lore, unless there's a really compelling reason, I get pretty annoyed, like I would with any bait-and-switch. It doesn't take much effort to update a website if IC changes make lore docs obsolete or misleading. It's also well worth the time to make sure staff are versed in the lore base when training them. Mistakes or inconsistencies only compound if the official message is mixed or contradictory, unless that suits an intentional IC purpose.

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4) Is the lore more important to you at first (while you're developing your character), or are you more interested in knowing about the mechanics?
This is a tough one. Both are important. Quite often, the mechanics are the tools whereby your character can survive long enough to begin interacting in a believable fashion, and reasonably often, some mechanics are directly derived from some lore-based necessity. Example: The world is PK-oriented. I don't want to bumble with my inventory because of command mistakes, and get whacked. Or there is capital punishment for theft. I don't want to type 'sneak' for my escape if the command set is 'hide' then 'skulk'.

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Originally Posted by Mina View Post
5) Do you rely on intuition or accessible docs first?
Docs. If they exist, many times, they run counter-intuitive to modern impulses. Intuition can of course be refined, and I've relied on it at times, but it will only carry you so far. Oftentimes, intuition is baggage from experience with a differing set of game features from previous games. Now, if the mechanics can be easily executed intuitively, I'm a huge fan.

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Originally Posted by Mina View Post
6) What will make you simply stop reading?
This is a list.

1) Poor word-smithing. It's a literary medium. If the docs are substandard literarily, I expect the same people who wrote them will be the ones in game providing the entertainment, and will be likewise substandard.

2) Shallow or corny docs. This is pretty subjective. If I'm rolling my eyes at some of the conclusions drawn in the expository, BIG STRIKE ONE.

3) Excessive attention to tangential or descriptive details. Let's say I'm reading key historical literature about an important figure. If by paragraph three, I know more about his wardrobe than his deeds (Again, sans a compelling intentional reason for that), I'm already skimming toward the end.

4) Published works-based games, VERY often, for two reasons. I don't enjoy games that push me towards literature written by someone with (usually) much much better writing skills than the game designers (especially if the game source is the first time I've heard of the literature), and hearing, "That's our lore base." For the same reason, I stay away from such theme-based games -especially- if I loved the source literature, since the gaming experience is -never- as good. I find such derived games to be crutch-reliant.
Peter S. Beagle's introduction to one of the LotR edition's forwards says it best, roughly paraphrased:
"We'd all like a shot at living in Middle Earth." And in my opinion, thus far, not one of us ever has, because the LotR-based games always fall far short of their lofty aim. There is only one JRRT, and he's not doing game design.
[Edited to add: I am -especially- scornful of games based on pre-published works that do not first obtain the author's permission.]

Conversely, I've played games where the completely -original- docs were as voluminous as many fantasy novels, and something in me responds to that level of creation dedication.

5) If I encounter none of the above, NOTHING will make me stop reading. I love reading great and unique lore.

Last edited by Disillusionist : 05-04-2008 at 04:09 AM. Reason: added a caveat
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:21 AM   #4
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Re: When do you stop reading?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems like you're asking specifically about background text, like stuff you'd have on a website, rather than in-game text, like descriptions and whatnot. With that in mind:

1) How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?

I'm willing to read a fair bit, at a rough estimate 30-40 pages of material not including forum posts (I read a lot of the forums beforehand if I can). Most of it I skim though, so good organization, lists, etc. are key.


2) About how much text are you okay with seeing before you decide "That's just too much; I'm not reading it."?

There's really no limit (see below).


3) Are you more interested in knowing about the lore before you get into the game or after you get into the game?

After, I'm not so much interested in lots of lore as key details to base a character on. So like, "Dromgoog is a citadel of dwarves set high in the mountain pass, the walls built of cloud giant skulls" is what I want to read, not really five pages detailing the geneaology of each keeper of the citadel's keys.


4) Is the lore more important to you at first (while you're developing your character), or are you more interested in knowing about the mechanics?


I guess see the answer to (3), and, I don't care too much about the mechanics, only insofar as it'll affect what my class/race/skill options are as prerequisites or mutually exclusive types and so on.


5) Do you rely on intuition or accessible docs first?

I think you mean, do I look up in your docs what a dwarf is, or do I rely on what I know a priori? I guess it's a little bit of both, depending on how original the concept is. I do look to see what is canon for the game, so to speak (like playing a dwarf on Armageddon, just as an example).


6) What will make you simply stop reading?

10. Stupid names. Ar'aloth. Tandarzi. Eleowenithilin. It's kind of a pet peeve.
9. Bog stock races or ill-disguised bog stock races. "Yes, but our elves are called Aiflorn."
8. Bog stock classes if they're not interestingly presented.
7. Five pages of dwarf geneaologies.
6. 10 pages of gnome geneaologies.
5. Dumb creation myths -- "In the beginning, was the void -- and the void farted."
4. Ugly web sites.
3. Web sites done in Drupal.
2. A stupid mud name: Abysses of Sorrowfulness.

and the number one thing that will make me stop reading...





1. dark grey text on a black background. Even if there are flames for a border. Really people, it's not the mid 90s anymore.
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Old 05-04-2008, 01:28 PM   #5
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Re: When do you stop reading?

1) How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?

Sometimes I find myself willing to read multiple hours, when it the story interests me, and I find myself getting more and more interested. I actually think that has only happened once or twice though.

2) About how much text are you okay with seeing before you decide "That's just too much; I'm not reading it."?

When not getting me interested, I would say about fifteen minutes of reading. At that point I decide whether I'll come back some other day, or if I'm going to enter the game.

3) Are you more interested in knowing about the lore before you get into the game or after you get into the game?

Most of the time I find lore as part of the history more interesting. I like quests which explore some part of the history.

4) Is the lore more important to you at first (while you're developing your character), or are you more interested in knowing about the mechanics?

For some reason the first thing I check out is the available classes and skills, to see whether the mechanic experience will be different from what I've experienced before. Depending on the class I would like to try, I look at how the lore fits and how a simple character would fit in the world.

5) Do you rely on intuition or accessible docs first?

Intuition, as far as it will bring me. However, I always get irritated when there is no documentation about how I can do something in the game.

6) What will make you simply stop reading?

Text that insult in some way players, even if they are twinks. Or insult people that decide not to join...
Also inconsistency in the lore. (Unless the lore is written from different IC perspectives, in which case that should be clearly expressed.)
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Old 05-04-2008, 03:19 PM   #6
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Re: When do you stop reading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milawe View Post
1) How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?
As much that is available that is immediately relevant to my character(both mechanics and lore) and the playing of the low levels of the game.

Quote:
2) About how much text are you okay with seeing before you decide "That's just too much; I'm not reading it."?
Depends on the quality of the writing. I know that when I get to the bottom of the first page and notice a prompt that I'm not even 10% of the way through a document, I tend to groan no matter how good the writing is.

Quote:
3) Are you more interested in knowing about the lore before you get into the game or after you get into the game?
I need to know the lore immediately relevant to the playing of my character before I finish creating it. I also need a basic amount of lore about the world in general, enough to function in it for a few days without making a fool of myself. Whether I get this off a website or from help files during creation doesn't really matter to me.

Quote:
4) Is the lore more important to you at first (while you're developing your character), or are you more interested in knowing about the mechanics?
Mechanics are slightly more important to me than lore, but not much. I need to be able to derive a high amount of fun out of both aspects if I'm going to enjoy playing a character.

Quote:
5) Do you rely on intuition or accessible docs first?
Intuition.

Quote:
6) What will make you simply stop reading?
Poor grammar. Seeing a 5% prompt at the end of the first page. Unnecessary wordiness.

Last edited by outsider : 05-04-2008 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 05-04-2008, 05:27 PM   #7
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Re: When do you stop reading?

This is a great thread! Props to the OP.

1) How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?
Enough to where I feel like I know about my character's race, occupation, location, and local views on the world to be able to play him. I want to be able to try the game out and give it a fair chance, and if I like it, I'll go back and read all the rest of the documentation.

2) About how much text are you okay with seeing before you decide "That's just too much; I'm not reading it."?
Depends on how well it's written and how useful the information is. If it starts getting down into minute details, or rambling on about things that don't hold my focus, I start to skim or skip.

3) Are you more interested in knowing about the lore before you get into the game or after you get into the game?
About half and half. I want to know enough to play, but then I want to play. If I like playing, I'll want to know more.

4) Is the lore more important to you at first (while you're developing your character), or are you more interested in knowing about the mechanics?
I try not to be too concerned with mechanics at first, but lore is important for developing a good character.

5) Do you rely on intuition or accessible docs first?
If there are docs, I'll read them. Intuition only works if you already and understand the environment. Usually, if I'm new, I don't.

6) What will make you simply stop reading?
- Poorly written documents (run on sentences, bad grammar, bad formatting.)
- Overly cliched and unoriginal concepts, or concepts that look like it took someone all of 5 minutes to write up.
- Docs that are too simple and black and white or don't allow for variations at all. (ALL elves are angelic and love forests, EVERY member of orc society is an evil backstabbing cutthroat with no morals.)
- Lack of important docs explaining concepts, or those docs being too short. (A single paragraph on a race isn't enough info for that race to be detailed.)
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:45 PM   #8
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Re: When do you stop reading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Milawe View Post
There are all sorts of gamers out there, and I think the AMOUNT of reading someone is willing to do before they get into a game differs greatly. These questions go out more towards people who like a roleplaying environment (mandatory or optional). Let's assume that spelling and grammar are not an issue, and typos are infrequent.

1) How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?
I'll read quite a lot if it's a good story. If it holds my interest. I'm not the only idiot who read 11 books of the wheel of time saga before the author died. And don't even get started about the george r r martin books. That's completely different. really it is.

But when I'm looking for a Mud to play, the background had better be a narrative. Or at least, reading about the background of the mud should be like reading a decent story. I'm not looking to read the D&D player's handbook... I want to read the prologue to a larger tale.


Quote:
2) About how much text are you okay with seeing before you decide "That's just too much; I'm not reading it."?
The ammount of text won't push me away as long as the tag line is good. That is, the first sentence or so, or the section heading, needs to interest me. Otherwise I'll gloss over it, or more likely, go back to google or tmc and search some more. When I roleplay, I want to tell a story. I don't want to start from scratch. I want to have a good background to start with.


Quote:
3) Are you more interested in knowing about the lore before you get into the game or after you get into the game?
Quote:
4) Is the lore more important to you at first (while you're developing your character), or are you more interested in knowing about the mechanics?
I'm not sure what you mean there. I want a taste of what there is to explore and learn... but I don't want to start our playing amud from an omnicient point of view. I would like an idea of what's possible without learning all the secrets.

Quote:
5) Do you rely on intuition or accessible docs first?
A little of both, I think. I guess I want to create a starter, or 'scratch' character to try out the world and then, if I like it, create a real character or flesh out the starter one.

Quote:
6) What will make you simply stop reading?
I guess if it starts to sound like either too much work (you have to create a detailed background for your first character who will almost certainly die a permadeath in the first two hours youplay) or too boring. First and foremost, I want an interesting story.
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Old 05-06-2008, 07:51 AM   #9
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Re: When do you stop reading?

Generally speaking I prefer to be given information in small chunks when I need it rather than having to wade through many pages up-front. It's useful to have a couple of pages somewhere (on a web-site perhaps) talking about the MUD in general and what makes it distinctive, but this is something I would read before deciding to play, not something I would want to read after I connect for the first time.

In terms of the information I'm given up-front, tell me things that are helpful in making the decisions I need to make, and don't tell me anything that isn't (yet). If you're going to make me choose a race and a class then I want to have a reasonably clear idea about what the implications are of that decision. If I'm going to have to choose a starting location, then knowing something about the local politics and the danger-levels of the different options is useful. If there isn't a choice of starting location then finding out about the geopolitics of the MUD world can wait until I'm safely into the game.

Have plenty of information resources available within the game, too - not just help files, but IC sources of information such as libraries and bookshops, or helpful NPCs. (Check out Morrowind for examples of what I mean). You could perhaps have some newbie quests that require the player to do research into the nature of the game world to complete. (Obviously it has to be possible for an experienced player to bypass them).

The thing that would be most likely to put me off would be a ten-page-long creation myth that comes up before I can make a character. Clearly, if all of the information in it is actually immediately relevant to character generation, that's fine; but creation myths rarely tell you anything you actually need to know to play the game.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:17 AM   #10
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Re: When do you stop reading?

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.... (Let's assume that spelling and grammar are not an issue, and typos are infrequent.)*
Note from Jazuela - that's important to me and would actually be a "deal-breaker." I'm glad you clarified!

1) How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?

It depends on the nature of the game. Some games are made such that you can jump in and start, and find out what you need to know as you go along. Other games require that you check out a lot of documentation. If it's a "jump right in" game, then I won't be willing to read too much. If it's a documentation-heavy game, then I'm willing to read plenty.

2) About how much text are you okay with seeing before you decide "That's just too much; I'm not reading it."?

It depends on how well it's presented. Page after page of text, as though it were a novel, will turn me off after the first couple of paragraphs. Easily-found categorized links with cross-references to help files inspire me to read more. It also depends on the color, oddly enough. Funky color is a turn-off (such as fuscia and orange - I've actually seen that combo on a website. YUCK).

3) Are you more interested in knowing about the lore before you get into the game or after you get into the game?

I'd like to have some understanding of the lore before going in, so I don't make too many grievous errors my first day (trying to RP a bearded dwarf in a game where all dwarves are hairless, or trying to RP my elf as a drow, in a game where the elves are the "topsider" nobility, and only humans live in caves, for a couple of examples).

4) Is the lore more important to you at first (while you're developing your character), or are you more interested in knowing about the mechanics?

Both are equally important, however if the lore is intriguing, I'd create a character whose goals and interests revolve less around mechanics, so I don't have to worry about them as much.

5) Do you rely on intuition or accessible docs first?

I rely equally on both.

6) What will make you simply stop reading?

a) No link to help files. If I have to log into the game and plop my character down idle while I try to sort through in-game helpfiles, I'm not likely to bother ever logging in at all.

ii) Lengthy, novel-like diatribes that tell me more about the world than I need to know, yet are "required" if I want to play. If it's something that I as a player am required to know about, I'd rather just see it listed, succinctly, without the added drama. Such as a time-line to explain that humans aren't a playable race because they were eradicated when a giant demon came with his minions and blew them all to smithereens 450 years ago. Since my character wouldn't have been there at the time, and would not know the details of the event, then I shouldn't have to read the novella just to grasp the main facts of the situation.

The novella would be great as an option for people who like reading them. But the facts should -also- be made available in easier-to-read lists/timelines/FAQs.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:46 AM   #11
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Re: When do you stop reading?

Although I already responded to the thread's questions, I would just like to say to the OP that this thread is genius. I think I've played MUDs so long that, in my mind, these sorts of questions disappear and reading length is taken for granted or history and lore are just assumed to be read. Seeing how people have responded the the questions has made me more aware of how to design and present information.

Thanks Milawe!
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Old 05-06-2008, 04:20 PM   #12
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Re: When do you stop reading?

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Originally Posted by Kepo View Post
Although I already responded to the thread's questions, I would just like to say to the OP that this thread is genius. I think I've played MUDs so long that, in my mind, these sorts of questions disappear and reading length is taken for granted or history and lore are just assumed to be read. Seeing how people have responded the the questions has made me more aware of how to design and present information.

Thanks Milawe!
Thank YOU for participating. The feedback has been really helpful, especially since this is something I'm struggling with at the moment. Everyone likes something different. The key is the ability to have mass appeal.

I obviously started the thread for my own nefarious reasons, and you guys are helping me conquer the... um... you're helping me make a better game!
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:51 AM   #13
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Re: When do you stop reading?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jazuela View Post
1) How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?

It depends on the nature of the game. Some games are made such that you can jump in and start, and find out what you need to know as you go along. Other games require that you check out a lot of documentation. If it's a "jump right in" game, then I won't be willing to read too much. If it's a documentation-heavy game, then I'm willing to read plenty.
While it's hard to disagree with such a reasonable statement I might make one addition, which is that (IMO) there is something to be said for deliberately steering the game in a "jump right in" direction. I don't mean by this that the game should be so simple that you can learn all you need to know in 5 minutes; what I mean is that, given a choice between doing extensive reading up-front and engaging in extensive, step-by-step, in-game tutorials which convey the same information, I quite strongly favour the latter. My concentration span is not what it used to be, and I tend to get bogged down in very long, purely theoretical descriptions of things. I find it much easier to take information on board if I'm given an immediate, practical demonstration of how it applies.

Obviously it has to be possible to bypass in-game tutorials on your second and subsequent times around. And it does, unfortunately, require quite a lot of effort to make in-game tutorials that are genuinely informative and not boring. But, if you get it right, I think it's well worth the effort. I suspect it would also make the MUD more attractive to newbies too.
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:08 AM   #14
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Re: When do you stop reading?

Actually I had "Kingdom of Loathing" in mind when I was writing that. It's not a mud, but it's not a graphics game either. And its "interactive multi-player"ness is...not normal, but it does exist. And it isn't a text-based game..but I still lump it in with muds, sort of.

In any case, it's the kind of game you -could- just jump in and play, without reading any of the documentation at first, and read as you go along. Mostly because nothing's going to kill you while you're checking on a doc file. Unless you break the hippie stone. But I'm not sure how that works since I've never broken mine. On the other hand you might miss all kinds of interesting stuff in the chat room while your attention is averted. But entering chat is optional.

Just one of those things that doesn't compare to any other type of game, really. But it's definitely a game, and it's definitely an online multi-player game. And it does have graphics (okay - stick figure drawings, but still), and it does have text (the chat room, and the zork puzzle). So that's what came to mind when I was posting, and it's definitely a game you can jump right into.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:19 PM   #15
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Re: When do you stop reading?

This topic made me curious about something, so I thought I'd turn it on its head a little bit.

To admins who run games in which player input is required or optional, such as a background command:

1). What size limit is imposed by your background/history command?
(This limitation sort of answers for me how much reading they're willing to do of a player-generated nature.)

2). Is it player-modifiable at any time?
2a.) If so, what measures are taken to insure that updates are read? And how often is that done?

3.) At what point do you stop reading?

4.) Is it policy or custom to use player backgrounds for plot developments? Plot inspirations? How frequently, if ever, is this done?

5.) Would you consider it a useful tool to have a command, such as consider, viewable only by staff, wherein a player could reveal his thoughts or plans in real time? Would it shape events?
(To all but the player and the staff viewing it, it would simply be a bland "Soandso seems to be pondering something very deeply, or even an exact-message lift for 'ponder', 'think', etc, to prevent ooc knowledge that the player in question is perhaps foreshadowing something to staff...)

6.) What makes you stop reading character backgrounds, or give them much less weight or consideration?
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Old 05-09-2008, 06:37 PM   #16
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Re: When do you stop reading?

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Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
This topic made me curious about something, so I thought I'd turn it on its head a little bit.

To admins who run games in which player input is required or optional, such as a background command:

1). What size limit is imposed by your background/history command?
(This limitation sort of answers for me how much reading they're willing to do of a player-generated nature.)
I'm not sure off the top of my head, but I checked some recently departed characters. (Characters backgrounds/roles are not available publicly until after they die, and even then may be redacted if they deal with current events or other similar information.) Juhldalor had 30 chapters in his background, ranging from a paragraph to a page or so.

(Note: They're numbered 'backwards'-- Chapter 30 is actually the first entry. Always on the list of things to fix, but never gets done.)

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Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
2). Is it player-modifiable at any time?
Players can always add to it, but they cannot modify old background-- we had concerns about people retroactively justifying actions, covering up inconvenient facts, etc. Backgrounds can be written from an IC or OOC perspective, first-person or third-person, etc.

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Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
2a.) If so, what measures are taken to insure that updates are read? And how often is that done?
All Immortals have commands which can sort through additions in several ways-- show me all characters with newly updated backgrounds, etc. In addition, all Immortals are periodically reminded of who has unread entries, etc. (After an Immortal has looked over an entry, they have an optional way of marking it to say "I've read this, and taken steps to reward or otherwise deal with the entry.", so that other people can focus on other characters. Spreads the attention around.)

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Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
3.) At what point do you stop reading?
By far the #1 crime in my book is information that has no bearing on the present character. For example, a background that tells a big story about something that happened before the character was born and is unlikely to ever come up again. If I'm looking over a background, I'm trying to get some insight on how the present-day character should react.

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Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
4.) Is it policy or custom to use player backgrounds for plot developments? Plot inspirations? How frequently, if ever, is this done?
Frequently. There are monthly 'contests' where we essentially seek out characters with exceptional backgrounds, and between that and the aforementioned updating system, we generally tailor rewards to a character. For example, Vehldriss is noted as receiving two otherwise unavailable abilities (called Edges) called 'Sect Champion' and 'Centurion Trainer', which reflected how he could demand more respect from underling NPCs within his particular political group.

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5.) Would you consider it a useful tool to have a command, such as consider, viewable only by staff, wherein a player could reveal his thoughts or plans in real time? Would it shape events?
(To all but the player and the staff viewing it, it would simply be a bland "Soandso seems to be pondering something very deeply, or even an exact-message lift for 'ponder', 'think', etc, to prevent ooc knowledge that the player in question is perhaps foreshadowing something to staff...)
I think it would be useful if the interface was intuitive. In other words, I don't necessarily want to type a specific command just to see if they have anything there, or to find out what they were thinking about two weeks ago. But if it tied in well with our particular interface, that can work.

As is, characters have a way to do the 'think' thing I've seen elsewhere, though with another command, if they want to run a quick thought through their head that an observing Immortal could see.

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6.) What makes you stop reading character backgrounds, or give them much less weight or consideration?
This sounds like #3!
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Old 05-10-2008, 05:13 PM   #17
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Re: When do you stop reading?

For Armageddon, I can answer some of these:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Disillusionist View Post
1). What size limit is imposed by your background/history command?
(This limitation sort of answers for me how much reading they're willing to do of a player-generated nature.)
Backgrounds in initial applications are limited to 2,000 characters. I think this is mainly to encourage characters to describe their concepts concisely and keep it to relevant information about the character, to help staff reviewing the apps. However, characters can expand on their background, history, experiences, personality, etc with biography entries, which are essentially an extended background. The limit to a biography entry is set at 16,384 characters and you can have as many as you want (I've heard of characters with over 70 entries, ranging from a paragraph or so to entire short stories.)

Quote:
2). Is it player-modifiable at any time?
2a.) If so, what measures are taken to insure that updates are read? And how often is that done?
You can add biographies at any time. I'm not sure how staff check for updates.

Quote:
4.) Is it policy or custom to use player backgrounds for plot developments? Plot inspirations? How frequently, if ever, is this done?
In the past, I've had staff create NPCs out of virtual characters I created related to my PC, or have staff-animated characters refer to events in my character's background, so I know this is done. How frequently probably varies from staffer to staffer.

Quote:
5.) Would you consider it a useful tool to have a command, such as consider, viewable only by staff, wherein a player could reveal his thoughts or plans in real time? Would it shape events?
(To all but the player and the staff viewing it, it would simply be a bland "Soandso seems to be pondering something very deeply, or even an exact-message lift for 'ponder', 'think', etc, to prevent ooc knowledge that the player in question is perhaps foreshadowing something to staff...)
It sounds like you're essentially describing a "think" command, which Armageddon and most (dare I use the evil term?) RP muds have. It doesn't echo to other players at all (I'm not sure why it would?)
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Old 05-10-2008, 07:28 PM   #18
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Re: When do you stop reading?

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It sounds like you're essentially describing a "think" command, which Armageddon and most (dare I use the evil term?) RP muds have. It doesn't echo to other players at all (I'm not sure why it would?)
I'm aware of a few that use 'think' or 'thinkto' for telepathic messages, which do echo to other players. Just wanted to make the distinction.
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Old 07-23-2008, 03:31 PM   #19
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Re: When do you stop reading?

1) How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?
-about a page if I have high expectations about the game, else very little, maybe a couple sentances.

2) About how much text are you okay with seeing before you decide "That's just too much; I'm not reading it."?
-Really depends, the quality of the text is importaint. If it is very informative, and consitant with the theme of the MUD, a fair amount. If it is out-of-date, poor, or whatever, none.

3) Are you more interested in knowing about the lore before you get into the game or after you get into the game?
-You should learn most lore in-game. At the begining one should know only the very basics. needed to take the first steps.

4) Is the lore more important to you at first (while you're developing your character), or are you more interested in knowing about the mechanics?
-Lore should explain the mechanics. They should be connected. I should learn both, and learning the lore should be part of learning to play well.

5) Do you rely on intuition or accessible docs first?
-I want to be able to call things up on a help file, a board, or whatever.

6) What will make you simply stop reading?[/quote]
-Too long, not well edited, too much info, out of role info, etc.
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Old 07-23-2008, 10:02 PM   #20
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Re: When do you stop reading?

Quote:
How much are you willing to read before you get into the game?
Depends how interesting the reading is. I'm an avid role-player but I also like interesting mechanics and good gameplay. I'm not inclined to read dozens of pages of world history, in any case.

Quote:
2) About how much text are you okay with seeing before you decide "That's just too much; I'm not reading it."?
Again, it depends how interesting the stuff is. I can't see myself wading through 30 pages of documentation before diving in.

Quote:
3) Are you more interested in knowing about the lore before you get into the game or after you get into the game?
I need to know enough about the world narrative to play a character that fits, but I don't need to memorize every detail before I roll a character.

Quote:
4) Is the lore more important to you at first (while you're developing your character), or are you more interested in knowing about the mechanics?
Enough understanding of game lore is important in the beginning for fitting characters into the context of a fantasy world, but learning quickly how skill and advancement mechanics work usually takes priority with me.

Quote:
5) Do you rely on intuition or accessible docs first?
Some of both, but I rely on documentation a good bit if it's well-written.

Quote:
6) What will make you simply stop reading?
Top five?

1. Poor writing.
2. Poor writing.
3. Poor writing.
4. Poor writing.
5. Reams of background text.

Bottom line: I like well-written documentation that gets to the point sooner rather than later. If a game requires that I read three dozen pages of stuff before I can play, I probably won't.
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