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Cyan2 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: Cyan2 15 January 2009 03:40:10PM 2 points [-]

If some or all abilities are hidden at the beginning, that forces the player to choose based on incomplete knowledge, and more often that not, leads to regrets: "I wish I purchased that ability which turned out to work in nice synergy with others, and not this one which turned out to be useless..". Especially if there's some finite pool of resources used to purchase these abilities. And that is not fun, even if surpising.

This seems to miss the point -- you're talking about a surprise that isn't a pleasant surprise. Suppose the game was designed so that after achieving a goal, you get an unexpected bonus ability with awesome synergy with the character, no matter how the character had been developed up to that point? As a game designer, ignoring the difficulty of realizing such a design, how would you say the Fun-theoretic potential of this scenario stacks up?

A rule of thumb in game design is to never make players make uninformed choices, as that only leads to frustration. This beats any possible pleasant surpise that might be there.

This rule of thumb is overly broad as stated. It would rule out poker, "fog of war" in RTS games, etc.