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Posted: Apr 23rd 2009 7:34PM toychristopher said

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This is great! I am just waiting for a new mmo. I don't understand why I want to play an mmo but don't really enjoy playing any of the mmos out there but I do and can't wait until someone makes an immersive, changing world.

I would love a game where exploring wasn't just a waste of time and where players actually needed each other and needed something to survive in the game world.

I loved this quote, "Like putting want ads on an auction house, but potentially much more complex" Quests/mission/whatever would be so interesting if it was another player that wanted X and you had to figure out how to get it for him AND you were sufficiently rewarded for your time.

I think if someone made EVE online but in a little bit sci-fi, little bit fantasy, whole lot of present day setting I would be happy.

Posted: Apr 23rd 2009 7:50PM Mr A said

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Good stuff. I agree with him.

Posted: Apr 23rd 2009 7:56PM toychristopher said

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I was just thinking that he failed to mention the 4th girl in mmo gaming- Barbie. Barbie wants to have the prettiest outfit, the best cars and houses, and the perfect boyfriend and have a crowd of adoring fans to look up to her.

I'm not trying to be mean to a certain segment of players (well maybe a little) but Barbie is just as much a part of mmos as Alice, Dorthy, and Wendy are.

Posted: Apr 23rd 2009 8:10PM Tom in VA said

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Hmmm... Interesting. Bartle probably ought to also add "G.I. Jane" as well, for those yearning for PvP. ;-)

In any case, I'm with Dorothy on this one: I want structure; I want a beginning, a middle, and an end -- and a coherent story to bind it all together.

Really, Guild Wars has come the closest to being the MMO I am looking for. Sadly, though, that game is now in a virtual coma -- if you've run through the content, there's nothing left there to do..

I am not sure an "ideal" single MMO incorporating all three lost-girl paradigms is even possible. From my perspective, for example, it would be counterproductive and a waste of time and money for an MMO to spend a lot of time incorporating Alice- and Wendy-type features when I have no interest in them.

Posted: Apr 23rd 2009 9:16PM archipelagos said

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That was a pretty great read, he brings up a lot of points that I hope will be discussed by the development community.

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 3:42AM Russell Clarke said

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Alice? Who the f**k is Alice?

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 4:06AM (Unverified) said

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Just to clarify, I wasn't talking about different kinds of MMO player, I was talking about different kinds of MMO. There are basically three stable kinds of MMO that people play for fun: achiever-heavy (Dorothy worlds); socialiser-heavy (Wendy worlds) and balanced (Alice worlds). If people aren't playing for fun (eg. it's a corporate world used for training) then this doesn't apply. You can get achievers in Wendy worlds, and you can get socialisers in Dorothy worlds, you just get them in different proportions.

Originally, we just had Alice worlds. However, following the schism between socialisers and achievers that was wrought with the creation of TinyMUD, we wound up with Dorothy and Wendy worlds, with Alice sidelined. In philosophical terms, we had a dialectic: designers in the Dorothy and Wendy camps were keen to assert their difference from the other, and from their shared past. This was reflected in their designs, and became established as part of the paradigm; it has been carried forward to the present without much modification.

However, because of these origins and the rapid establishment of the standard way to do things (DikuMUD gameplay, in Dorothy's case), the paradigms are a little too doctrinaire: if you have DikuMUD gameplay at the start, you have it all the way through. You don't actually need to do this, and I'd say you probably shouldn't want to; end-game players sense there's something overly-paternalistic about it. They would be more suited to the Alice style of play than the Dorothy style - but new players are very heavily in favour of Dorothy over Alice. Hence, my entirely obvious suggestion was to start off as a Dorothy game and then graduate to an Alice game. The two are compatible.

What the slides don't say, probably because I was so caught up in my metaphor to notice, is that Wendy can play with Dorothy. It emerged from the discussion after the talk that a number of developers present were building Dorothy games with a Wendy component to their endgame (typically embodied as housing). I'd thought that if you mushed Wendy and Dorothy together you'd end up with Dorothy sub-worlds in Wendy worlds. Now although this happened in LambdaMOO and happens in Second Life (quite successfully in some cases), it's only one possibility. I'd neglected the possibility that you could build self-contained "Wendy houses" in Dorothy worlds. I have an ability to miss the obvious, too...

So, something people could try is Dorothy to start with, Alice at the end, and Wendy embedded along the way.

Oh, and the "How things were doesn't mean that's how things should be" line is saying that we shouldn't blindly follow the past. There is wisdom there, but there's wisdom in the present, too. I'm not calling for us all to play Alice games, I'm calling for Alice and Dorothy (and Wendy if you like) to play together. The Alice games have their own problems, notably that the complexity they need in order to sustain their emergent gameplay is very rough on newbies. Dorothy is very good in this area, though - yet is weak in precisely the area where Alice is strong.

Richard

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 8:18AM (Unverified) said

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Richard I started a thread in the AoC forums with your presentation, I agree with everything you say:

http://forums.ageofconan.com/showthread.php?p=2347036#post2347036

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 9:07AM Saylah said

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@Bartle - thanks for taking the time to come and expound on areas you feel you missed in your slides. I agree that starting as one model and adding another along the way or the end would be pleasing. For myself, I loved WOW's Dorthy game but the ending (end-game) is unsatisfactory. I'd hoped for years they'd add Wendy components where I could have "retired" so to speak until I felt like starting another Dorthy trip. I kept calling it horizontal game-play. Take my options wide so I can meander, tinker and experiment indefinitely at the end-game stage. I'd still be subscribed to WOW if that had been possible. I'd really love to see an MMO that does something more at the end than hand me a different brand of grind and acquire.

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 12:37PM Aganazer said

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Its amazingly cool to see Richard Bartle posting here on Massively. I have been referencing "Players Who Suit MUDs" article as long as I've been playing MMOG's. I've been wanting to see MMOG's pay more heed to the player types and actively try to balance them better. Back in early days of UO, the player types were surprisingly well balanced, but then everyone split up when more games became available.

I think it may take me a while to consider the Lost Girls and how it applies to the games I play. The idea is awesome though. Especially the part about "Dorothy to start with, Alice at the end, and Wendy embedded along the way". I hope we see it, but I'm not getting any younger and the genre doesn't seem to be making very rapid progress.

Posted: Apr 24th 2009 6:40PM (Unverified) said

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>Its amazingly cool to see Richard Bartle posting here on Massively.

Oh, I'm just grateful to be able to post some place where the people have actually read what they're commenting on.

I think maybe you need to re-examine what you mean by "cool", though!

Richard
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Posted: Apr 24th 2009 2:23PM (Unverified) said

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Well, well, well said.

Let Wendy and Alice play together, Wendy feeds Dorothy, Dorothy rates Wendy.

There are some Dorothy's who feel as though the presence of Dorothy and Alice are a detriment. I would suggest that Wendy can provide Dorothy with a world, and that Alice can make it come alive. But perhaps that's too much metaphor.

Posted: Apr 27th 2009 8:59AM (Unverified) said

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With the Bartle player types, I always felt like everyone was buying into a false quaternity -- like there were probably a lot more than four scales on which to measure a player's motivations. Eventually I learned of a different model by Dr. Nick Yee, a model that made a lot more sense. But people were already familiar with the Bartle categories, so that was the only frame of reference anyone used, no matter how limitied and limiting it was.

Once again I feel Bartle is a bit too tightly focused on the metaphor, and perhaps the analysis suffers because he's already closed off his thinking to considerations that lie outside his initial conceit. (And by conceit, I mean metaphor -- I'm not trying to be insulting.)

I do agree that higher levels would benefit from activities that are less self-centered and repetitive and more meaningful to the game world.

I strongly disagree that a handmade quest is DEAD after the first run-through. If a well-written quest chain has multiple branches and outcomes, it's not going to feel repetitive. But even purely linear quests have replay appeal for a certain sector of the player base (including me), especially if there is some graduated metric other than pass/fail where you can complete the quest better this time than you did before.

I think underlying Bartle's entire argument is the notion that every player would enjoy a sandbox if it had enough "soft" structure in the form of guidelines and player-generated content. But certain design decisions, such as the inclusion of character classes, have a very specific impact on gameplay, and the entire feel of the thing tilts sideways if you take the classes away. The discomfort caused by such a tilt is FAR too uncomfortable for a Dorothy player, and it's not an issue where you can say "you play your way and I'll play mine." One side or the other (or possibly both) would always feel disadvantaged.

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