Think that a PvP tactic is dishonourable? Or an MMO zone’s not fun?
It probably comes down to one thing.
You’re certain what will happen.
That’s the thesis that Random Average is advancing today in a lengthy but fascinating essay on uncertainty in gaming, and just how big an impact it has on the entire gameplay experience -
“Over many (many) years of gaming, I’ve managed to figure out (one situation at a time) when something I was doing was killing fun by making the results (good or bad) a foregone conclusion. (Sometimes this was a question of mechanics; sometimes it was a question of “the inviolate plot.”) It also helped me identify what was going wrong when I wasn’t having fun as a player, both at a table or online.
Slamming my head against the same raid boss over and over, when it’s clear we don’t have the right group or the proper gear to succeed? Not fun.
Fighting that same raid boss when we’re this close to pulling off a win, and every attempt might go for us or the bad guys? Exhilarating.
Farming that boss once we have all the best gear, know the fight backwards and forwards, and all the surprises are gone? Boring.
Wandering around the newbie starter zone with my max-level character, picking flowers to level my Herbalism? Boring.
Sneaking through a zone 10 or 20 levels too high for me, running for my life in an effort to get a specific location or find a special macguffin? Fun!
Getting insta-killed out of nowhere when you unknowingly walk your new character into a high-level PvP zone? Frustrating.
I think we get the point. It’s something to keep in mind when you’re running or playing a game in which you have any kind of input (usually tabletop, but not always). Are you bored? Add challenge to what you’re doing by changing the choices you make. Are you hopelessly frustrated by never-ending failures? Change things up, or take a break, right? ”
Random’s an EVE blogger, and the second half of his post deals with EVE – but in a manner that’s both accessible and interesting to the non-EVE player. He’s discussing the way in which many EVE players stay away from risk at all costs – and suggesting that maybe they’re shooting their own game experience in the foot by doing so.
From the central thesis to its ramifications for all gaming and gamers – highly recommended.
What do you think? Does it all come down to uncertainty?