Saturday, June 23, 2007

Persistence vs. Perception +

Originally Posted by Arili_Opluthi:
If we fail a mission, maybe we should be "locked out" of it for a period of time. There's precedent for this so it shouldn't turn people off too much, and it prevents that whole "throwing yourself at the wall" situation where you try the same dang mission over and over until 3 am.
"Persistence" is absolutely a valid approach to multiplayer design. Some people like to know they can win before they play. In such games, success is directly proportional to effort, which Gamist players recognize as one of their strengths. And we like games that reward what we value about ourselves.

The thing is, that's also true for other kinds of gamers. For the Simulationist players, "learning from failure" is an equally valid design philosophy because learning implies understanding, and the ability to understand, to comprehend, is what these gamers value in themselves.

So I've got absolutely nothing against missions that can be won through persistence. There will be Gamists playing a Star Trek MMORPG, and they need that kind of content. What I'm hoping is that those aren't the only kinds of missions available -- I believe Star Trek Online (or any MMORPG, for that matter) will be a more successful game by also offering "understanding" missions designed to appeal to the Simulationists, and "relating" missions designed to appeal to the Narrativists.

Of course mission design doesn't have to follow this formal breakdown. But it's an interesting yardstick for measuring how appealing a game will be to a broad spectrum of gamers.