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kilobug comments on Justified Expectation of Pleasant Surprises - Less Wrong

10 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 15 January 2009 07:26AM

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Comment author: kilobug 18 November 2011 10:37:09AM 1 point [-]

I see two reasons for giving a full description at first, which seem perfectly valid to me in term of fun theory :

  1. Planning. In all its forms : choosing the class initially, then selecting the skills that will combine well with the skills you'll unlock later on, then choosing the equipment that will match those skills, then delaying a specific quest because you know that skill you'll get soon will be very useful in it. If you don't know what we'll come, there is a huge risk of deception : "oh no, if I knew I would get this Avoid Dragon Breath skill later on, I wouldn't have spent that much money buying this Fire Protection amulet that I bought primarily to fight dragons" and so on. This is a similar idea to the one you exposed in Free to Optimize. A significant part of the fun of CRPGs (and most of the fun of Diablo-like games) is in building a character, and for that you need to know in advance which skills you can get to be free to optimize.

  2. The addictive effect/positive expectation effect "yeah, I'm only one level away from unlocking that great skill" gives much more anticipated fun and is a much stronger motivation to continue playing that "yeah, I'm one level away from getting something which I don't know if it'll be useful or not".

That doesn't mean a game can't have some part of randomness, of surprise. If you look at Diablo games (probably the most advanced game of character building, since there is nothing but character building in it, and it still stays fun to play for a while) the skill tree is made public, so you can plan your character development, but the magical items you get are mostly random, giving you the surprise effect. That seems a relative sane equilibrium to me. A huge part of information open so you can plan, a small part of random/hidden for surprise/challenge.