Andrew continues the Foundational Principles with #13 Chaos Goes Boing!
"One of the things I remember about the earliest days of MMORPGs was that any time you got a bunch of UO or EQ players together in a room, the conversation would inevitably take a turn towards, “Oh really? Well let me tell you about this crazy thing that happened to MY character…”
Every player’s character had their own story, and that’s something we’ve largely lost in the most recent crop of MMOs. Don’t get me wrong; the last MMO I spent much time playing had a great storyline. It had a meaningful plot. It had villains and heroes. It had moving characters with their own histories and lives, and I cared about them. But that story wasn’t really my story. It was the story the designers were telling me, and they were telling the same story to every character of my class/race/tribe/whatever. I loved their story, but once I got to the end of it I drifted away from the game the same way you’d put a book or movie back on the shelf after finishing it.
When I talk to other people who’ve played that same game, the conversation is more like, “Hey, you should go back and try this other class; it’s got some cool things in it.” There’s not much more to say, other than maybe, “Hey, remember that thing that we all saw? That was pretty cool. Yeah…cool.”
If there’s one overarching goal that I hope we achieve with this game, guiding all the other principles we’ve talked about, it’s to move very firmly back to a place where every character has their own story. For me that’s the appeal of RvR and a player-driven economy — your interactions with other players aren’t going to be the same as everyone else’s.
It’s the motivation for the way we’re designing our crafting system — we want players to be able to craft items that we didn’t exactly and precisely plan out in advance, that aren’t exactly what someone else would make. It’s one of the motivations for player housing — given a chance to make your own home, you won’t express yourself the way anyone else would.
That’s the high concept stuff. But there’s another side to this philosophy that happens at a smaller level, in your minute-to-minute interactions with the world. Mark’s talked about randomness in his Foundational Principle #8, and that’s a big part of this, but you can only take that randomness so far before you risk giving players the feeling that they were beaten by invisible dice rather than their opponent. You never want someone to feel like, because of blind luck, they’re playing a harder game than someone else. And that’s where other systems have to take over — systems that are chaotic, but still completely deterministic. Systems that interact with each other in interesting ways to produce results you couldn’t have predicted, even though they’re following strict, consistent, and predictable and rules. It’s Conway’s Game of Life. It’s the aggregate intelligence of a colony of mindless ants. It’s getting saved from a giant by a really angry mudcrab."
Continue reading here: http://camelotunchained.com/en/foundational-principle-13-chaos-goes-boing/