New OOTS products from CafePress
New OOTS t-shirts, ornaments, mugs, bags, and more
Results 1 to 14 of 14
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Social game vs. competitive game

    The conclusion that this article reaches will not be new to most of you guys, but I thought it was an interesting article to think about. In fact, I'm pretty sure I'll get a torrent of "dude, common sense" posts.

    One of the main complaints that a lot of people have about 3.5 is that it's incredibly poorly balanced, to the point that you will often see people suggest against using certain classes or combination simply because it is not viable.

    the D&D system, by virtue of it's emphasis on rewarding character effectiveness, can in some cases almost be construed as a competitive game in the right context.

    Now, you'd think that in a competitive game where class balance is horribly off, you'd see far less of an audience for the game after a while. And yet, 3.5 is probably one of the most popular D&D games to date.

    if we were to follow the logic of the article above, we delineate why that is.

    the central theme of this is that even games of competition can have a social element in them, and usually they are a product of not the game mechanics, but who we're play with. In the case of D&D, we are playing with friends, people who we generally want to get along with to get on with our lives.

    In this particular case, it means that even if a player were to "lose", (or in the context of D&D, just be ineffective and have no chance to shine) they can still enjoy the game because it's about creating a shared moment and shared memory in game.

    Perhaps, balance is not as important to the success of the game as we thought.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    drengnikrafe's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Within my own Insanity
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    Yes. You are right. People play fighters, and melee classes instead of optimized cleric cheese, or other, more powerful but less logical classes. Not because they're foolish, but because they're there to have fun, and because they're there to play it like it makes sense. Heck, I had a druid running around as a ferret for a whole day because he liked that form better. It couldn't fight worth a crap (and I took away Natural Spells as feat), but it was extremely fun. In fact, everything in that campaign is poorly balanced, absolutely absurd, and whatever-entered-the-top-of-my-PC's-heads-at-the-time, and it's the best campaign to date.

    Lots of people go to parties, and get inebriated, or something, to have fun. Me? I sit at home with a small collection of friends and pretend to be something I'm not, ignoring balance through and through.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Zaydos's Avatar

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Erutnevda

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    Me I will admit I like to play casters. That said I've never played a god caster, at least not intentionally, and have played wizards who mainly shot things with a crossbow (and had the campaign lasted long enough was considering Rapid Reload as a feat). I've had some that were strong for the party, but never really tried to be the "best" in the party. I will sometimes get competitive, comparing my character to somebody else's and seeing which is better in a fight, but I don't play to say ha ha I win, I play to be with friends.

    Actually I normally end up being DM and playing to lose but go down swinging. I enjoy being with friends not being the best. Besides a powerful character is pointless without a personality to play him with, or other people to have him interact with.

    PS: I play casters because I love magic (yes even Vancian, although Vance did a better job of it in his books, no X of each level but more X levels total), not because of any sort of power. I play them in Basic and 2e where you have 1 spell and then you die, they're just fun though. I sometimes play fighters but generally want something supernatural to my character.
    Peanut Half-Dragon Necromancer by Kurien.

    Current Projects:

    Group: The Harrowing Halloween Harvest of Horror Part 2

    Personal Silliness: Vote what Soulknife "Fix"/Inspired Class Should I make??? Past Work Expansion Caricatures.

    Old: My homebrew (updated 9/9)

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    that is what I'm saying. D&D has succeeded not because of it's balance factor or it's ability to create extremely deep gameplay mechanics, but rather because of the fact that it is fundamentally a skill-based social game which the primary population of those having fun are those who are in it for the social factors.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Decoy Lockbox's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Maryland, USA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    Our group stopped playing 3.5 because of the balance and rules problems. To reference the article (which was very interesting), we had a mix of dominance players and social players, which worked out very poorly. The dominance players would basically have to make bad characters of purpose in order to not overshadow the social players, and the whole thing was a giant mess. Seems to me that you want all dominance or all social players in any given game.
    Decoy Lockbox, you win the internet metal award. You are a metal god.
    My Guide to Metal

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    HereticNox's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    I would have to agree with Decoy on several points. That was an interesting article and the sources appear to be interesting as well.

    It seems that for the largest amount of fun is to have all social players, or all dominant players.

    The rest of thoughts will have to wait for the morning though, probably after a nice cup of coffee.
    Spoiler
    Show

    Domantra 09

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Ogre in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    that is definitely true. and a lot of the grief that a lot of group has with character strength disparity essentially comes from player dynamics issues. Which, to oversimplify it, is essentially the mixing of dominance and social players.

    the interesting question to ask then is, can a dominance player switch to social and vice versa?

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    PaladinGuy

    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Elsewhere
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    I am a "social" player. I am also a "social" dungeon master - which means, if I got a "dominance" player, I probably wouldn't be able to challenge him or her. I have two players in my current group who are extremely effective min-maxers, and, like many here on the boards, entertain themselves by coming up with new and exciting ways to break the game.

    But they don't, at least not when they play my game. Because I ask them very politely not to, and they want to play. So, instead, they play things like half-elf greatsword barbarians and orc bards with wrestling and unarmed strike feats (this is in 4E, incidentally), and they don't overpower the rest of the party, and everyone has a good time.

    If they only way they could have fun is to "win" - that is, they were 100% dominance players - they wouldn't have fun at my games, and I wouldn't have fun at theirs. But, like most people, they are reasonable, and we're able to come up with something that is good for everyone.
    Honor guard at the funeral in the Miko Fan Club.

    Those who are too stupid to run, I salute you.

    Human Male, age 35

    "Have you come to lecture me on my evil ways?"

    "Actually, I brought you some supper. But if you'd prefer a lecture, I've a few very catchy ones prepped; sin and hellfire... one has lepers."

    - Inara and Book, Firefly

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tengu_temp's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    The problem is that DND is not a competetive way the way the article understands it. The article sees a competetive game as one where one of the players wins, or at least establishes his dominance, and the others lose. Roleplaying games don't work like that - most powergamers don't optimize in order to establish their dominance over the other players, but because they enjoy playing powerful characters, and they feel happy when the rest of the group is optimized as well (as long as it doesn't make them feel overshadowed). Only biggest munchkins purposely create characters who are much more powerful than the other PCs, in order to establish their superiority. And that's not a healthy way to play a cooperative RPG.

    Siela Tempo by the talented Kasanip. Tengu by myself.
    Spoiler
    Show





  10. - Top - End - #10
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Somerville, MA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    Quote Originally Posted by HereticNox View Post
    It seems that for the largest amount of fun is to have all social players, or all dominant players.
    Not necessarily. As long as each player has his own niche he won't necessarily be overshadowed by more dominant players. ie A trapmonkey isn't competing with a tank. One of them may be more optimized than the other, but so long as they're sticking to their own role they won't get in each other's way.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    Quote Originally Posted by valadil View Post
    Not necessarily. As long as each player has his own niche he won't necessarily be overshadowed by more dominant players. ie A trapmonkey isn't competing with a tank. One of them may be more optimized than the other, but so long as they're sticking to their own role they won't get in each other's way.
    It's been my experience (though I'm sure - for the sake of humankind - that not all 'dominant' players are like this) that Dominant players take joy in seeing other characters perform on a lower level than theirs, sometimes to the point of dropping thinly veiled put downs =>
    (Dominant Player: You only got an 11 to disable the trap? Damn.... why didn't you get X+Y+Z combination of skills/feats/racial mods to make it +16?
    Social Player: I didn't have enough feats, and I wanted to get "non-optimal feat/skill/racial mods" because I feel it makes more sense for my character.
    Dominant Player: Ah... That sucks...)

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Tengu_temp's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Poland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    Quote Originally Posted by SpikeFightwicky View Post
    It's been my experience (though I'm sure - for the sake of humankind - that not all 'dominant' players are like this) that Dominant players take joy in seeing other characters perform on a lower level than theirs, sometimes to the point of dropping thinly veiled put downs =>
    (Dominant Player: You only got an 11 to disable the trap? Damn.... why didn't you get X+Y+Z combination of skills/feats/racial mods to make it +16?
    Social Player: I didn't have enough feats, and I wanted to get "non-optimal feat/skill/racial mods" because I feel it makes more sense for my character.
    Dominant Player: Ah... That sucks...)
    I've met very few people like that, and I'm a very dominant player myself. Most powergamers (as opposed to munchkins) ask their less optimizing friends why didn't they choose X and Y not because they feel smugly superior, but because they want to help them optimize and not feel useless in comparison to the powergamer's character.

    Siela Tempo by the talented Kasanip. Tengu by myself.
    Spoiler
    Show





  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Kobold

    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Somerville, MA
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    Quote Originally Posted by SpikeFightwicky View Post
    Dominant players take joy in seeing other characters perform on a lower level than theirs, sometimes to the point of dropping thinly veiled put downs =>
    I try not to play with jerks. I'm vaguely aware that these people exist, but I wouldn't play with someone like that. The most dominant optimizers I play with respect your right to roleplay at the expense of optimization.
    If you like what I have to say, please check out my GMing Blog where I discuss writing and roleplaying in greater depth.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Troll in the Playground
     
    ElfMonkGuy

    Join Date
    Jan 2007

    Default Re: Social game vs. competitive game

    The article emanates a vague, pseudoscientific feel to it.

    Aside from that, yeah, gonna have to go with the 'obvious stuff' camp. The article uses some vague, incomplete research, takes huge leaps of logic, throws some evolutionary psychology conjecture in for good measure, and comes up with the following conclusions:

    -People treat their friends differently than they treat strangers.
    -People can play competitive games for fun, and not just as oneupsmanship.

    And frankly, it really doesn't have very much to do with D&D. D&D has competitive elements, but as an RPG it has much more prominent noncompetitive ones.

    Edit: Okay, actually, the article does present one amusing insight in regards to D&D. Specifically, optimization-oriented internet contests are games of skill with a luck element played among strangers, and such exibitions do tend to be 'dominance'-laden.
    Last edited by Indon; 2009-11-05 at 03:40 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •