Friday, August 26, 2011

Corrupting Improvements

I was reading the comments over at Oestrus's place. I liked several ones of them. It's interesting what kind of enlightened breed of players a game like WoW managed to produce. You certainly wouldn't expect it.

[..] I didn’t find threat fun… but I didn’t find it unfun, either. I find tanking to be fun, and threat was part of that, so I dealt with it. It never entered into my mind to say, hey, let me evaluate this with my funmeter. [..]
Great point, Cynwise!

Humans are really good at accepting the status quo. As long as you think that going five km to the well once a day is what life is, it doesn't cause you any trouble. It's not exactly fun, but if something else, that is fun, depends on going to the well every day, the both things combined can actually be fun.

For example, imagine that every day when going to the well you also meet with friends and you talk about what crosses your mind. There's a good chance that you will miss this when somebody installs a water tap in your home. Now, the tap is a definite improvement of your daily life. But you didn't miss it as long as you didn't have it. And so the improvement is actually not an improvement at all.

However, that doesn't mean that you can turn back time. You can't. Once you got the tap, you won't go to the well. Period. Good memories are all that last.


  1. Good memories are all that last.

    Exactly.... It's not by chance that I consider 99% of all the blog comments against the evolution of the games to come from nostalgia.....

  2. The well was a social hub because everyone had to go there. Assuming that you still want to socialize, the social hubs will form elsewhere and you probably get to spend more time socializing, because you're not walking at least ten miles every day.

  3. Helistar, read the next post ;)

    Hirvox, you are right in that sometimes stuff works out this way. But then, sometimes it doesn't.

    For example, retirement makes a lot of people unlucky. Sure, some can find another goal that requires another journey due to its boundaries, but a lot can not.

  4. Regarding accepting the status quo:

    I make the point to people that the key to happiness is lowered expectations. If you expect to be the richest person on the planet, and become only the second richest, then you are unhappy. If you expect to be beaten twice a day and are only beaten once, you are happy.

  5. It's called managing expectations. Different players require the game designer to spend more/less time doing it.