Welcome to Raph Koster's personal website: MMOs, gaming, writing, art, music, books.
Welcome to Raph Koster's personal website: MMOs, gaming, writing, art, music, books.

The whole Web
Raph's Website

These are full-blown essays, papers, and articles.

Slideshows and presentation materials from conferences.

Interviews and Panels
Reprints of non-game-specific interviews, and transcripts of panels and roundtables.

Excerpts from blog, newsgroup, and forum posts.

The "Laws of Online World Design" in various forms.

A timeline of developments in online worlds.

A Theory of Fun for Game Design
My book on why games matter and what fun is.

Insubstantial Pageants
A book I started and never finished outlining the basics of online world design.

Links to resources on online world design.

Why bother having player races if they have the same abilities?

Tue, 27 Feb 2001

...avatars are modes of expression, character classes are modes of expression, professions and pursuits within the game are modes of expression. So are races. Some people feel more comfortable playing a specific racial type within a game because that's the mode of expression they prefer in online games period. Rick Delashmit has been playing strong silent dumb types like trolls for as long as I have known him. That's just his mode of expression.

If your game doesn't provide some adequate mapping to a mode of expression players want, then they will not play there, because they will not feel welcome--or they will try to create said mode of expression within the game. That's why you get vampires in games that don't support it, why orcs and elves popped up in UO despite its supporting only humans, and why Atriarch (which has only newly invented alien species) will have problems. It's why Furry games are popular (Furries are easily mapped to personality traits) and why people demand a thief class in muds that clearly don't support the traditional thief class worth a damn (eg, all of them).

They're all trying to build a mask that presents what they want as their virtual self-image.

Can you map all this onto a human? Sure. We do in the real world, after all. :)

Child's Play

A Theory of Fun
for Game Design

Cover of A Theory of Fun



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After the Flood

Cover for After the Flood CD

Available on CD

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Gratuitous Penguin 2006 Wall Calendar

Gratuitous Penguin 2006 Wall Calendar

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