For those not familiar with these terms, character knowledge encompasses everything your character could possibly know in their lifetime from their perspective, and player knowledge is what you the player knows. This most often comes up when a player has knowledge that the character has no way of knowing within the game world. As an example, if your current character falls through an illusory floor to his death, your new character has no knowledge of this trap, and may fall in herself. Also, a rural farmhand turned adventurer shouldn't know the secret greetings of the thieves guild you may have learned with a previous rogue character. This goes beyond previous character knowledge into the realm of reading monster manuals for the best way to defeat an Iron Golem, or spying on a new player's character sheet to see if they truly are the ranger they claim to be. (These last two examples are still frowned upon by most gamers though, and discussed later.)
Focusing on the first two examples, we can see this concept doesn't translate well to video games. Aside from the fact there's no ever-watchful GM to keep you in check, there are many cheap deaths that will never allow you to progress without knowing they're there. In video games, playing the game is put above playing the character(s). It's rather expected to learn from your mistakes and prepare better for the adventure once more should the party be wiped out. Character knowledge is never encouraged; however, it is at times strictly enforced.
|Pray? I think I'll try this strange thing you suggest...|
It seems that instead of characters being the point of a game, they are only a means for the player to learn how to beat it. Player knowledge reigns above character knowledge. Imagine if it weren't that way; it's acceptable to make maps of all the dungeons you're exploring, but should your characters die you'd have to throw them away and put aside any memory of the dungeon layout, traps, or treasures. Luckily it's not this way, and we're able to build our knowledge as we go, mapping a little more, learning from failure, and becoming familiar with how best to game the system. Sure we can choose not to do this by handicapping ourselves through creating imperfect characters, not picking the best dialogue choices, and not reloading after every failed attempt to get max HP for each level.
|No? I guess I really can't run away then.|
However, there's part of comparison that still stands for video games, and other entertainment: spoilers. Many feel experiencing a game for the first time shouldn't be spoiled, so we strive to keep experienced knowledge out of the hands of new players. We warn others when discussing a game's inner workings in an open forum, and beating a game on one's own is often seen as better than eliciting help. Whether this is leads to a more enjoyable experience is hard to say when we're continuously trying to explore a dungeon that hundreds or thousands of others have already mapped, or solve a puzzle whose solution is just a few clicks away. Going it alone, as others have, may lead to camaraderie between peers; almost like a shared experience participated in by individuals, throughout the years, this experience is held higher than others. Having a fresh experience is a one time affair, and can never be recaptured again.
|Well, I won't be trying this spot again.|
For those wondering, why yes, my party did die... multiple times. I've made hardly any progress in the nearly 5 hours on Saturday night. I did learn the Pray ability, and tried it nearby to find myself the proud owner of a shiny new silver horn. Some NPCs hinted (not sure how they knew) that a silver horn would remove the snake blocking the path to Exodus. In one iteration I raised my level, which is the only way to get pirate enemies to spawn I learned. The only way to get a ship is to attack pirates and steal theirs. Somehow I ran across Fawn (still can't figure out how), and wow, this town has everything (when I say everything, it even has an inn to save). I was able to get a Bow for Chet, and stocked up on tools.
|I was told to stay away, only one said he ever made it back, that number didn't go up|
|Oh, and I got horsies! Contrary to popular opinion, they do not make traveling faster|