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Old 03-01-2004, 08:17 AM   #21
Amnon
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And that's why people get bored of certain muds and move on to find new ones.

When there's no more room for advancement, and you begin doing the same things, you start understanding how everything works.. that's why you see everyone looking for 'new spells and skills', or skillless/leveless, or basically just different stuff that they don't fully understand yet.
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Old 03-01-2004, 10:46 AM   #22
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This thread coincides perfectly with this one.  I think this guy that spent 1400 hours trying to figure out the formulas was just not smart.  Why would you waste that much time *working* when it is supposed to be fun.  I will never understand the mentality of the power gamer.
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Old 03-01-2004, 11:01 AM   #23
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Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Gihnral @ Mar. 01 2004,09:46)
This thread coincides perfectly with this one. I think this guy that spent 1400 hours trying to figure out the formulas was just not smart. Why would you waste that much time *working* when it is supposed to be fun. I will never understand the mentality of the power gamer.
You don't understand. That is fun to some people. I can remember many days of my youth spent with graph paper mapping out dungeons in my favorite crawlers so I could find out where the secrets, enemies, deathtraps and everything was. Similarly, figuring out what makes these games tick is a great joy to some people, myself included, not just power gamers. Actually using what you've learned to form viable, off-the-wall strategies is quite rewarding and reason enough for me to give players all formulas used in my game.

EDIT: Oh yeah, and quite a few people in that thread are jackasses for thinking their definition of fun applies to everyone else.

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Once I come to that conclusion, every time I kill that master troll, it's gonna be the same thing. I'll know exactly how much I need to do, it'll get extremely repetitive, and I'll just get bored of killing him!
No, your figuring out the formulas is not what makes the game repetitive. It's either that the master troll will always do the same thing under the same circumstances, or that there are no other variables to make combat interesting that skewer your play. To extend the chess analogy to which you replied, of course chess is going to be boring if you take only a single part of it and base your decisions around that one part: While the actual slaying of the bishop isn't particularly enjoyable, this slaying in relation to the overall strategy is what makes the game fun. Of course if you're playing a mud called "Troll Hunter 2004" and slaying trolls is predictable and repetitive, then I think the designers have quite a problem on their hands.
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Old 03-01-2004, 12:09 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Gihnral @ Mar. 01 2004,15:46)
This thread coincides perfectly with this one. I think this guy that spent 1400 hours trying to figure out the formulas was just not smart. Why would you waste that much time *working* when it is supposed to be fun. I will never understand the mentality of the power gamer.
This is one of the player types that I cater to when designing a game; a higher order of the Explorer archetype, ones that like to explore the game rather than the world.

One of my fondest moments in my mud coding career occurred after I had added some rudimentary gemology to the mud. I had given a class of players* the ability to mine gems in addition to other ores, and to "cut" them. These gems could then be attached to player-made equipment to enhance them in some way. Very Diablo, yes.

My release of this change was essentially "There's a bunch of gems you can do stuff with. Have fun!"

One player in particular began cataloguing these new gems and their properties in earnest. Indeed, she had found fifteen of the sixteen gem types out there. Then, something unexpected happened. She had practiced gemcutting (and had increased the ability through repeated use) to such a degree that a part of my code kicked in, producing a "perfectly" cut gem instead of a "carefully" cut gem, changing its properties significantly. This, as the game-explorer type, pleased her greatly as she had not exhausted this new feature at all! The ensuing statement "Wow!" pleased me, as the designer of the system, even more greatly.

In an earlier post, I gave a choice of two schools of thought, both of which ultimately lead to the same conclusion. In this post I wish to make the point that these are not fixed philosophies. It is perfectly fine to give away formulae, as long as they work as expected. If you're "85% good" at something, then you'd better succeed 85% of the time. Anything else just doesn't make sense. It's equally possible to make the discovery of the system part of the game itself, however.

Kas.

*the supplier class. A player generally had two classes - one combatitive and one professional. A supplier was responsible for extracting and refining resources to be used in player-made equipment.
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Old 03-01-2004, 01:49 PM   #25
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I'm posting from the perspective of a biased "RP-elitist" type who doesn't like the numbers mostly because I don't have the patience to figure them out, let alone the desire to try. So please consider the source while you read this <grin>

If everyone has the formulae, then everyone will know that the encrypted massive buldoodie flamberge is "the" best possible weapon to use in combat against the most types of critters in the game. And so everyone who hunts, will want the encrypted massive buldoodie flamberge. No one will experiment to figure out what suits their character best, no one will care that it's this hideous shade of green that clashes with their red and silver uniform.

If everyone knows *exactly* what it takes to be -the- most armored, -the- most agile, -the- most powerful, then everyone will do whatever the criteria is given in ordered to get it. You won't have people "being stuck" with a lousy stamina roll but a really awesome strength roll. You won't have people spending oodles of coins on what -looks- to be a massive damage protecting magickal resistant pair of flying boots, because everyone already knows they're crap and the REAL massively damage protecting magickal resistant pair of flying boots are actually disguised as a pair of pink linen slippers.

If the players are informed by the staff of the game what is what, in which order, to what extent, with which stats, why would anyone bother trying to discover it on their own?

And the people who -do- want to discover it on their own would be hurt by those who already know this stuff, because if they happen to pick up the "vorpal pebble of deth and destrukshun," the "powergamers" will be on their back to PK them and the player will stand there wondering why in the world anyone would want to kill them over a tiny little pebble.

I don't see how knowing numbers can -help- in an RPI kind of game, and I can see how it could possibly -hurt.- And so in my opinion, it just doesn't seem to belong in an RPI.

In a hack-n-slash maybe it's different. I wouldn't know since I don't play them. But in a game that is advertised as a RP game, a pay-for-play in fact, it's the numbers that appear to have caused so many serious RPers to leave and find their gaming enjoyment elsewhere over the past several years.

And it's that "knowing the numbers" that has led to that game's tweaking and re-tweaking and re-tweaking skills and classes to the point where they couldn't go back to the basics even if they wanted to, the system became completely broken, and they had to roll out a whole new version of the game.
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Old 03-01-2004, 02:56 PM   #26
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I don't see how knowing numbers can -help- in an RPI kind of game, and I can see how it could possibly -hurt.- And so in my opinion, it just doesn't seem to belong in an RPI.
In an RPI, that is true, though it is somewhat different in less intensive environments, it's not neccessarily the case. I've seen muds where RP seems only to occur after characters max (for better or worse). For those people who like this style, I imagine formulae would help them get the style of maxed character they want, and allow them to thusly RP the character they want to RP.

However, yes, I object to formulae, or even numbers, in systems I develop. The basic theory, for me, goes as follows: You shouldn't need them. If all the factors that should be involved are (and that's your goal, of course), then players should be able to attack problems intuitively. Further, the difference between sword A and sword B, one of which is slightly better, if unintuitive (such as similar but slightly different swords), is also small, and thus negligible.

Or so the theory goes.
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Old 03-01-2004, 03:08 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ Mar. 01 2004,12:49)
If everyone has the formulae, then everyone will know that the encrypted massive buldoodie flamberge is "the" best possible weapon to use in combat against the most types of critters in the game. And so everyone who hunts, will want the encrypted massive buldoodie flamberge.
I think this represents a design flaw rather than a hide-the-numbers vs. show-the-numbers issue. If all your players (at least within certain class or character type groupings) are trying to collect the same identical kit, then there's probably a real lack of variety in your game's high-end gear.

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No one will experiment to figure out what suits their character best, no one will care that it's this hideous shade of green that clashes with their red and silver uniform.
Unless the game only attracts number-crunching minmaxxers, the players who care about that sort of thing will care, whether the numbers are hidden or not. Just like the players who really obsess about the tiniest variations in armor/weapon performance, will figure out those variations (right down to being able to substitute fairly accurate numerical representations of that performance) even if they never get to see the numbers or formulas involved.

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If everyone knows *exactly* what it takes to be -the- most armored, -the- most agile, -the- most powerful, then everyone will do whatever the criteria is given in ordered to get it. You won't have people "being stuck" with a lousy stamina roll but a really awesome strength roll.
Again, I would argue that this is more indicative of basic design flaws, rather than a matter of whether the players are cognizant of the numbers involved or not. If you want to prevent this sort of character mega-maxxing, it will take more than just hiding the numbers. Hiding the numbers may drive away a certain type player that feels more comfortable being spoon-fed those numbers, but if your game allows players to follow a certain formula to uber-mortaldom, its a hands-down guarantee that they will do it with or without the numbers laid out before them. Most will not even have to figure things out for themselves because they will only need to look at how their fellow power gamers are kitted up.

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You won't have people spending oodles of coins on what -looks- to be a massive damage protecting magickal resistant pair of flying boots, because everyone already knows they're crap and the REAL massively damage protecting magickal resistant pair of flying boots are actually disguised as a pair of pink linen slippers.
Well, granted, if you want the power of some items to be a secret, probably you shouldn't just hand out the numbers to them. On the other hand, again your clever, number-obsessed players will figure out soon enough that none of the game's l33t mastorz of doom ever seem to be interested in those massive damage protecting magickal resistant pair of flying boots and will conclude that they must in fact be crap.

I guess the theme I'm harping here is that there really is no hiding the numbers from the players. The may not know the actual numerical values involved, but the ones who care will certainly figure out relative values quickly enough and then pass on those values to their fellow players who are as number obsessed but perhaps a bit less inclined to figure everything out for themselves.

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If the players are informed by the staff of the game what is what, in which order, to what extent, with which stats, why would anyone bother trying to discover it on their own?
They probably wouldn't. So, if such discovery is meant to be an important part of gameplay, maybe it is worth hiding the numbers, keeping in mind that you will always have some players who have an absolutely freakish talent for figuring these things out and that they are unlikely to keep such knowledge to themselves for long.

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I don't see how knowing numbers can -help- in an RPI kind of game, and I can see how it could possibly -hurt.- And so in my opinion, it just doesn't seem to belong in an RPI.
I think most RPIs are designed on the assumption that their players aren't (or shouldn't be) interested in numbers. At the same time, I somewhat suspect that number hiding is just another one of those things like OOC channels and no color text, that is a standard in many RPIs simply because it is a standard in many RPIs, not because its presence would actually harm the RPI environment. Indeed, one could make an argument that an advantage to allowing players to, say, see the numerical values for their stats is that these values would then be very obviously OOC. My own experience has been that in RP enforced settings, less rp-conscientious players are much more likely to make an ostensibly IC statement like "I have a very high agility" than they would something like "My agility score is 9." In the first case, the very fact that they are given an english interpretation of the stat in question will lead some to conclude that it is an appropriate IC reference even when it might not be.
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Old 03-01-2004, 08:48 PM   #28
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I just have to comment on the "I have a high agility" thing..

That is no more IC than saying "Only 20 more pages of my manual before I can train again!"

or (when referring to netlag)

"Oh this weather is horrible."

People don't "have agility" it's not a "thing" that a person possesses. It's a quantitative attribute. Everyone -has- agility. Some people are less agile than others, some more, but unless you're catatonic, your limbs can be moved (whether by your own muscles or someone else moving them for you).

"I am very agile" would express it ICly. "I have a high agility" is just..silly.

And if people are more likely to express it that way, rather than using the numbers given to them, why bother giving them the numbers at all? Why not just have in your "stats" : You are very agile.

or

Your agility is about average. Or.. You are not very agile. Or.. Your agility is absolutely incredible.

Give them a PHRASE they can RP off of, rather than a number they have to hide when making up some explanation of their abilities/weaknesses.
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Old 03-02-2004, 12:14 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ Mar. 01 2004,19:48)
I just have to comment on the "I have a high agility" thing..

That is no more IC than saying "Only 20 more pages of my manual before I can train again!"

or (when referring to netlag)

"Oh this weather is horrible."
I agree completely.  My point is that sometimes when players are given their stats in english they may interpret this to be a permissible IC reference to their in-game talents and abilities, when in fact such a reference may not be appropriate at all.

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And if people are more likely to express it that way, rather than using the numbers given to them, why bother giving them the numbers at all? Why not just have in your "stats" : You are very agile.
Still, you have a potential situation in which stats could be referred to inappropriately.  For example, say you have an agility attribute that breaks down as follows:

1-4: You are extremely clumsy.
5-8: You are a bit of a klutz.
9-12: You aren't exceptionally agile, but then again, you aren't tripping over your own feet either.
13-16: You are very agile.
17-20: You are freakishly agile.

Unless you have some sort of rule in place like "There will never be any IC references made to your character's abilities whatsoever" you will inevitably get situations like this:

Foo says, "I really should take up knife fighting, after all I'm freakishly agile."
Larry says, "Really? I'm just very agile.  I'm freakishly strong though."

In this case the english has just become a substitute for numerical values and would sound just as inappropriate in an RP enforced setting.  True, if Foo knows he has an agility of 18, he may still find some way to discuss this inappropriately IC, but unless he's really dense, he knows he can't just say, "I really should take up knife fighting, after all I have an 18 agility."

Ideally, in an RP setting most players will know that you just don't talk about your character's abilities in certain ways (basically in any way that sounds like you could be describing a game piece).  I just question what seems to be the assumption among many administrators of RP-enforced games that hiding the numbers actually contributes to the RP environment.  I don't really know if the situation described above is common or significant enough to make any case that hiding numbers is detrimental in any way (and I doubt it is), but I do suspect that you could give players of RPIs their stats in purely numerical form without it detracting from anyone's ability to immerse themselves in the game.

The main argument against this would probably be that showing the numbers in some way places more importance on the numbers and perhaps gives the players more of an impression that the game is about numbers.  My response to this would be that if numbers ARE important in a game, a significant portion of your playerbase will play with an eye to number improvement whether or not that is the stated (or even acceptable) goal of the game and whether or not they are allowed to see the exact numbers involved.

I think the only real argument for hiding numbers in RP enforced games (particularly RPIs) is simply because so many players now have an expectation that that is how it is done.  But in such a case, you aren't really improving the RP environment so much as simply offering a feature set that caters to the expectations of players that are generally drawn to that sort of environment.
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Old 03-03-2004, 07:41 AM   #30
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Once I come to that conclusion, every time I kill that master troll, it's gonna be the same thing. I'll know exactly how much I need to do, it'll get extremely repetitive, and I'll just get bored of killing him!

Sooner or later, I'll get bored of every mob in the game, even the toughest ones, cause I'll have the most perfect strategy to use against them and I'll only use that.
What you are describing is a poor implementation. The appropriate action should be to fix the problem, not hide the symptom. And as has already been pointed out, hiding the numbers won't even hide the symptom, it'll just make it less obvious.

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If everyone has the formulae, then everyone will know that the encrypted massive buldoodie flamberge is "the" best possible weapon to use in combat against the most types of critters in the game. And so everyone who hunts, will want the encrypted massive buldoodie flamberge.
Once again, this is a case of a poor implementation; the problem is with having a "best weapon" - revealing that fact openly just makes the symptoms more obvious.

On the other hand, if you give the players all of the details and yet they all choose different stats and equipment, you'll know that you've done a good job of balancing the mud. And personally I would consider this the obvious choice for any mud still in the testing phase, as it makes life so much easier for playtesters. For a completed mud, it would really depend on the preferences of the implementor/s. There are arguments against revealing the inner workings (just as there are arguments for), but concealing poor implementations is not one that I would consider valid.
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Old 03-04-2004, 03:53 AM   #31
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<Edited in order to correct some grammar.>

Just like several people who have posted here, I don't care about a lot of game numbers by themselves. But I do think that there is a burden - again, as was pointed out - to present the world in a useful fashion in the absence of numbers. Moreover, I think that this removes something significant from a player's knowledge. After all, the reason mathematics is useful in the real world is because the real world has mathematic underpinnings.

If I pick up a baseball, I may not know that if I exert X newtons of force directly upward, it will ascend Y meters, but I have an *instinctive* knowledge that if I throw it with this much force, I can make it go that high. Likewise, a game I sometimes play when walking around involves judging when I will pass somebody based on our respective velocities. I'm not always exactly right, but - like all people, I think - I have an intuitive understanding of how things interact because I have prior experience.

So I think my twenty-five year old character ought to have a similar ability. This is a person who has, depending on his history, seen many different things. He can't say that a longsword does 3 more damage per hit than a dagger, but he *can* say that a longsword, in most cases, will be more dangerous than a dagger - and considerably more dangerous than bare fists. The problem is chiefly one of language, which was brought up earlier.

When I say that the sword is "considerably" more dangerous than bare fists, exactly what does that mean? To what specific degree? The sword is probably also "considerably" more dangerous than a oak club, but I would venture that the oak club is more dangerous than bare fists, too. In the real world I can't see numerical values, but I don't have to rely on linguistic aptitude, either. If I, as the player, know quantitatively that a longsword does base X damage, a club base X-1, and fists base X-3, my character can portray that qualitatively in a far more effective fashion than if I am simply told "sword: excellent damage, club: good damage, fists: poor damage."

To accurately portray something that is, I think, largely intuitive, is at best difficult, and at worst, linguistically cumbersome. It seems far simpler to reveal the numbers pertaining to such matters than to fall back onto, as Atyreus mentions, the standard of disguising them. As a result, when my character says that his sword is more deadly than his fists, it is an IC inability to assign specific values (just as I could not, in real life, tell someone that the my claymore does 20 damage) rather than an OOC ignorance of the game world.
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Old 03-04-2004, 10:25 AM   #32
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A sword is only dangerous when someone is using it. A sword sitting in a weapon rack poses no threat whatsoever. If I have never used a sword before, have no skill in using it, no understanding of the proper grip, stance, or muscles involved in usinng it or even experience picking it up, how could I possibly "intuitively" know anything other than the fact that it's big and sharp? Or sure - bigger and sharper than my fist.

However, if I'm a martial artist, or a big burly beefy brawling buxom babe, WTF would I need with a sword? Make all those fancy swinging motions you want, but I'm gonna punch you so hard in the gut that you puke for a week, and then I'll sell that shiny sword you dropped and trade it for a pretty silk gown.

The point of this? Take a look at everything I just wrote. Tell me where the numbers are. Tell me what numbers have to do with any of it.

The only thing that would happen if you introudce numbers to a scenario like that, is that it would confuse matters, and possibly convince that big burly beefy brawling buxom babe that she should use swords instead of her fists, even though it makes much more sense for her to use her fists.

If the code supports the kind of scenario in the first two paragraphs, then there is absolutely no need whatsoever for numberical displays to the player, and they'd just become a distraction.
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