*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 01, 2014, 05:50:13 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 54 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1] 2 3 4
Print
Author Topic: Tony's Standard Rant #2: Disagreement != Dysfunction  (Read 11386 times)
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« on: May 28, 2005, 06:28:32 AM »

Reading Ben Lehman's excellent blog-post on Social Agenda I came upon this statement:
Quote from: This is my Blog
In terms of grief players, well, we don't have anyone at the Forge claiming to be a grief player, so I can only talk about how they are discussed by others, not how the represent themselves. A grief player (AKA an obstructionist) is someone who is getting their joy out of damaging other people's play if another player is having less fun, the griefer is having more fun.

Well, I'm going to make a one-word modification:  Replace "damaging" with "threatening."  Given that modification?  I am a Griefer and I am proud.

The social contract of many games treats players as if they were helpless, fragile little things who can't bear the slightest touch of adversity or disagreement.  By all means, make their characters miserable, but only if it's voluntary, only if it's the misery that the player wants.  Never, ever, should anything happen in the game which has the potential to make the player unhappy.  And certainly you should never seek to do anything which, if you succeed, will make the player unhappy.

Codswollop.

We're not children.  Even when we were children, we weren't this fragile.  The motto of the defeated shouldn't be "You big meany!  How could you do that?"  It should be "Oh, I am so going to get you next time!"

One of the truisms of gaming is that if your character achieves something without any opposition, the achievement is less enjoyable than if they achieve it against great odds.  Well guess what... same thing applies at the player level.  If I know that I'm going to get what I need to be happy (whatever that is) because everybody is invested in my happiness then there is no achievement in doing it.

So what if the thing you need in order to be happy is a sense of achievement in the face of people who want you (as a player) to fail?  What if what you really need, actually, is to sometimes fail to have fun?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with providing a credible threat to the fun of another player.  On the contrary, if it is an accepted part of the social contract then that threat will energize and engage them.  To be credible, that threat must occasionally come true.  If you flip a coin a hundred times and it comes up heads every time, nobody has any sense of tension about the 101st flip.  So, to energize and engage your fellow players you sometimes need to make them not have fun.  Take something they really like, and squash it.  Oppose a goal they were really hoping for, and prevent them from achieving it.  Go read Michael Miller's Manifesto on Mastery.  This style of interaction isn't some special case, unique to My Life with Master:  It can be a functonal tool in any type of game.

And it's particualrly powerful, of course, when you as player have a reason for wanting to ruin someone else's fun.  For instance, maybe the two of you disagree about how the game should proceed.  You don't need to reach consensus.  Consensus is for the birds.  If you have a system that lets you decide "I win, you lose, I get my way and you don't" without rancor then that is better than consensus.  It's cleaner, it's simpler, and it makes your player achievements into achievements in the face of adversity.
Logged

Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2005, 06:51:49 AM »

Tony --

I'm pretty much right behind you.

Two things.

1) You aren't a griefer.  Saying that you're a griefer is like saying I'm a duck, because if you replace "human" with "duck" in the sentence "I am a human" you get "I am a duck."

2) If you were playing, say, a chess game, and made a brilliant move that would win you the game, would you describe that as "threatening the other player's fun?"

yrs--
--Ben
Logged

Jasper
Member

Posts: 466


WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2005, 08:09:10 AM »

Following on Ben's #2: I'd replace "threatening another player's fun" to "threatening another player getting just what he wants."  Because  you're not actually talking about aiming to threaten fun per se--as an end in itself--but as a means to engaging the other players.

If I'm RPing and what I want gets threatened or even doesn't come true...that can still be fun. I can still enjoy the overall experience. If my fun in RPing is ruined just because I don't get what I want, then it's me who has the problem, not a threatening, wannabe-griefer like Tony :)
Logged

Jasper McChesney
Primeval Games Press
Grover
Member

Posts: 82


« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2005, 09:38:21 AM »

I agree that disagreement != dysfunction, but I'd never call you a griefer.  In my opinion a griefer is someone who derives their enjoyment of the game by demosntrating their power, and they demonstrate their power by making the other players unhappy.

Steve
Logged
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2005, 11:16:55 AM »

I wonder whether people quite grasp that I'm talking about targetting the players creative goals, rather than their goals for their character.  This isn't "I am threatening Sydney's chance to be happy," it is "I am threatening Joe's chance to portray Sydney as a competent super-spy."

So, to take Ben's metaphor:  If I make a brilliant chess move then, no, I'm not targetting the player.  But if I know that Eddy likes to play a free-wheeling, fast-moving game and I play a locked, rigid pawn structure to utterly frustrate that, then yeah I'm targetting his fun (as well as pursuing my tactical goals).

But hey, if people totally get what I'm saying and it's non-controversial... okay, actually, I must admit that I'd be mildly disappointed that my "rant" didn't incite much discussion.  But I'd also be pleased to hear that this sentiment is one that makes sense to people.
Logged

Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Jasper
Member

Posts: 466


WWW
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2005, 11:33:25 AM »

Quote
But if I know that Eddy likes to play a free-wheeling, fast-moving game and I play a locked, rigid pawn structure to utterly frustrate that, then yeah I'm targetting his fun (as well as pursuing my tactical goals).


I thought I was getting you, up until this. So we're talking about completely different approaches to a game? This seems like saying "Eddy likes to play chess, so I target his fun by forcing us to play Candyland instead." What kind of tactical goal are you achieving?
Logged

Jasper McChesney
Primeval Games Press
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2005, 11:41:35 AM »

No, we're not playing Candyland, we're still playing Chess.  I'm just not allowing him (absent his fighting to make it happen) to play chess in the style he enjoys most.

Tactically:  He's probably really good at playing chess that way, and not as good at playing it other ways.  So why would I just let him play to his strengths?  Kind of hard to translate the tactics of that same example into RPGs though (where people can, often, play their own style no matter what other players do).
Logged

Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Shreyas Sampat
Member

Posts: 970


WWW
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2005, 11:49:12 AM »

Yeah, this wasn't very interesting until you said that thing what Jasper quoted.

Now I am led to think there there are two possibilities.

Possibility 1: This is good for play.
This means that you're really not doing a good job communicating what you're meaning with the chess analogy. Your prior post seems to say, "My behavior is intended to make the achievements of other players more satisfying by providing opposition." That is, you're not in fact threatening the ability of other players to have fun; you are using a method that unreliably makes them have more fun.


And, well, yeah. That's not very interesting, and it's also not griefing by a long shot. It just kinda sounds like you're using "griefing" to try and sound macho and badass.

Then this other post says, "I get my jollies out of making it impossible for other players to have fun." It can't be both of these.

Possibility 2: This is bad for play.
This means that your chess post is the accurate description of the situation, and you're out to threaten the ability of players to have fun, which is to say that you're using a method that unreliably makes people have less fun. If this is the case, then it's not only not very interesting, but also kind of a surprising thing to post.

I'll note that it's possible for these two effects to be present simultaneously. But I'll also note that I'm a bit confused and put off by your presentation of your idea, in terms of your eagerness to say that your goal is to rain on everyone else's parade.
Logged

James Holloway
Member

Posts: 372


« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2005, 12:13:10 PM »

Is "having your creative agenda fulfilled all the time" necessarily the key to fun?
Logged
Sydney Freedberg
Member

Posts: 1293


WWW
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2005, 12:28:55 PM »

I game with Tony at least twice a month. Strong personality? Yes. Systematically out to piss other people off? No.

But.... and I think this is what Tony's trying to get at in his rant.... if there's something you want to have happen in the game -- and I'm talking about you-the-real-person, not your character -- then Tony will often cheerfully threaten it, either as a GM or as a Capes player (which is just distributed GMing). And if you don't defend that which you want skillfully and strongly enough, Tony will quite happily take it away from you.

And remember that word "immersion" everyone throws around without having a meaning? I'm gonna invoke it here. Because this is, I think, the very minimum of immersion, the sine qua non: I the real person like X, my character likes X; my character is worried about X being taken away, and I the real person am worried about X being taken away. If my character is worried and I "roleplay" that brilliantly, but I myself am perfectly happy either way, whatever I am, I'm not immersed. It's the difference between watching football (or playing football) and cheering or groaning at every goal, or sitting there calmly contemplating athletic form.

Yes, in this situation, I the real person am anxious, even potentially unhappy. But it's only by having something at stake that I can be emotionally (as opposed to intellectually) engaged in the game.

Thus:
(a) No threat to my enjoyment at this moment = lower enjoyment overall
(b) Genuine threat to my enjoyment at this moment = higher enjoyment overall
(c) Constant preemptive strikes to disrupt my enjoyment against which I have no defense = no enjoyment

I think a lot of freeform (and Scandinavian!) roleplayers who prize cooperation end up in (a) -- ironically at the expense of "immersion," which they also prize. I think Tony is (b). I think a griefer is (c).

So, sorry, Tony, you're not a bad, bad man.

Okay, and now I've got to go get some boxes to store books in 'cause I'm moving.... curse you, real life!
Logged

Blankshield
Member

Posts: 407


WWW
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2005, 01:29:40 PM »

Tony, it sounds to me like all you're talking about is providing functional opposition.  Seems to me like (lacking more information than is presented in this thread, mind!) that you're talking about gamism at a very fundamental level.

You don't want to break the game, you just want to make damn sure people have to work for it.  Step On Up at it's simplest level.

James
Logged

I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.

http://www.blankshieldpress.com/
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2005, 02:15:32 PM »

Shreyas:  I think you're excluding some possibilities in your break-down.  Specifically, you seem to assume that I intend the players whose fun I threaten to either succeed or fail at getting their fun.  Either I'm threatening the fun, but always intending them to actually get what they want, or else I'm threatening the fun and always intending to take their fun away from them.

It's not either of those things, as Sydney points out.  I'm threatening and seeing what happens.  If they work hard, and get lucky, then maybe they get to do what gives them pleasure.  If they blow it, or just get unlucky, then they don't.

Sydney:
Quote from: Sydney Freedberg
So, sorry, Tony, you're not a bad, bad man.

I think you and others have correctly judged that I have an unconscious and unstated desire to have people say "No, you're wrong to do that!" so that I can argue against my own inner doubts by way of an external champion.  Insightful lot of folks here.
Logged

Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
John Burdick
Member

Posts: 105


« Reply #12 on: May 28, 2005, 05:00:52 PM »

Tony,

I would find it tedious if you are incapable or unwilling to give it a rest. That would be the same as any one-dimensional attention hogging behavior. Replacing "never" with "always" in your rant, and I see a position as narrowminded and boring as the one you're rejecting.

Since we are making game analogies, let's consider a card game played as partners. It's pretty easy to shaft your partner. Much more challenging is working as a team to dominate the other pair.

If you tell me that you won't enjoy playing unless you can push, that would just narrow the kinds of play experiences one could have with you. If you dishonestly say that you'll play supportively and then shake everything up, that would make you a griefer. Lucy in Peanuts is a griefer when she tricks Charlie Brown into trying to kick the football.

I don't see why you would include rules and structure in Capes for tearing apart ideas in turns if that's what you wanted. Instead you would want to lull the suckers into a false sense of security while you can spoil their every move.

This is the best adversity I can manage at the moment. Hope it helps.

John
Logged
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


WWW
« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2005, 05:17:54 PM »

Quote from: TonyLB
So, to energize and engage your fellow players you sometimes need to make them not have fun.  Take something they really like, and squash it.  Oppose a goal they were really hoping for, and prevent them from achieving it.

Are you sure that's what you mean?

The reason roleplayers tend to harmoginize and not conflict, is the need for credibility. I can't just blow up your half finished castle, because I need your credibility to do that.

Which leads to the most effective way of opposing someone when crediblity is required...give them enough rope so they hang themselves. Giving rope may not seem obvious at first. For example, if you hand me the RP book and I make a fighter with 100 HP's, hey, you didn't give me any rope, right? Well, actually you did...I have now invested in the idea that my character is alive while he has HP. And you now have the tools to remove those HP. Oh, I wonder what will happen next!?

So I don't like your advice as presented, because it skips any mention of the rope step. Making them not have fun? Making something happen with force techniques is easy...all too easy. I think you might be promoting a technique you didn't intend to. Giving them enough rope so they put a noose around their own neck, then pulling it tight? That's horrid and very fun for everyone! But I might be making assumptions of what you mean when you say to make them not have fun.
Logged

Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2005, 06:05:12 PM »

John, Callan, are you each assuming that I am acting from a position of overwhelming power?  Like, the full extent of my effort in destroying the fun of another player would be to say "And then your castle blows up... BOOM!  Teeheehee!"

That'd be downright boring.  I tend to say (at the most raw and unsubtle) "Hah-HAH!  There's a mystic bomb planted in your castle, and you have a pretty decent shot at finding it... but, also, a pretty decent shot at failing.  It'll depend on skill and luck and all that.  And if you fail?  BOOM!  Yes, I know that the castle is something really precious to you, the player.  That's why I'm threatening it.  The clock's ticking, what do you do?"

So, specifically:

John:  I'm not dishonest with anyone.  Why would I be?  I say very clearly (for instance) "I want to damn Kettridge's son to an eternity of torment, because I know that you, Sydney, want to play your character's growth into being a good father, and this would make that much more difficult.  I'm going to do my best to screw you over.  Let's see what you've got to oppose me with."

Callan:  Yes, I'm pretty sure that's what I meant.  I can earn the credibility to blow up your half-finished castle by beating you out at a fair contest.  And I will, if you don't stop me.  I appreciate the technique of giving people lots of rope, but I don't think it's what I'm talking about here.
Logged

Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Pages: [1] 2 3 4
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!