thread: 2009-07-27 : Resolving Player Conflicts by Reconciling Their Interests

On 2009-07-28, Josh W wrote:

Josh N, perhaps your example is too easy? In real life people don't simply work to people's interests because they just don't know what people want, or because what people want includes ridiculous impossible things that actually relate to conflict itself, like "I won't loose any argument" or something. If the intentions are simple and untangled, then compromise is a straightforward affair. If identity, standing, inconsistent goals, representation and more than say 20 people are involved, then working out where compromises can actually be made is so hard! In politics this is worsened by the idea that incremental change doesn't work because it saps motivation, so people leave stuff broken and contested on purpose!

If your system currently makes cooperation the best choice, then just muddy that by layering different requirements that don't directly effect the player character, but are frequently incompatible with each other, such as being the most ___ or never doing ___.

Vincent, your really on the money here, except for one danger: You think you have all the incentive bases covered, and then someone comes in and is not interested in their character's power! The incentive for playing along with other players is not actually what they want.

Now it may be that this hypothetical person is already warned off dogs, in that the same lack of interest in conflict power and changing their character means they just won't want to play. In fact I suspect the only acceptable game for this person would be one based on strong pre-arranged harmony, where character concepts mesh in every place they are specified.

I think this summarises one feature of this kind of design: If it gets some people really well, it'll just fall apart for others, because it's being based on stuff inside the players, hooking onto some part of their thinking and way of living, and if that is not present in a person, then I'll just clatter to the floor instead. If you can build this kind of game in a way that works for anyone, you'll have uncovered a fundimental about the human condition!


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