thread: 2013-10-28 : A Question about Objects

On 2013-11-06, Gordon wrote:

Vincent: If it's merely a distraction that causes you to actually ignore the object, there are no such circumstances (while people might still do it anyway, that's a different level of issue than we're discussing here, I think).

But that's hardly the only way that other goals get into the mix, is it? There are plenty of circumstances where you might perceive the addition of something that supports your variant-goal to be compatible with your own winning, right? (checking the marginalia - yeah, sorta-that)

Importantly, you might be wrong. That's always a danger in limited-information exchanges (I hesitantly point to this theorem and Mechanism Design generally (can't have a second link?), hopefully as useful pointers rather than an appeal to authority - they may undermine my thinking when fully understood by serious students rather than partially-grasped like by dabblers like me). But people will run that risk - the reward is too alluring.

Maybe this bottom line: While it is true that players have to fundamentally include and value the object to be considered as actually playing the game, I think it's smart for an RPG designer to accept that the BEST you can expect from the object you design for the game is that players will include and value it (probabilistically) highly, not deterministically follow it. There's a sense in which that's true even in chess ("keep my pawns"), but I'm more interested in the ways it's particularly true in an RPG.

So - sure, there is a class of "just not engaging with the designed game" behavior. Maybe there's something interesting to be said about that, but I'm not worried about that subset. What I'm worried about is valuing a goal regarding, oh, some aesthetic aspect of the fiction generated in The Doomed Pilgrim as well as or even (almost?) as much as dooming/escaping UnDoomed.

I'll stop now, to see if this is helping again.


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