One of my biggest pet peeves on this site is how many Only Sense Online readers criticize Yun's actions because she doesn't play like they do. Sure, Yun is made to be a little too much of a doormat (the topic of whether doormat = feminine is an entirely different topic and will make its proponents sound stereotyped/chauvinistic regardless of realism). However, Yun's actions as a gamer does make sense, despite many complaints. And the fact many gamers sees Yun as "un-gamer-esque" is just another showing of how lopsided and poorly balanced many of our gaming environments are, and why many parts of the gaming community is struggling to pull in more players or even stay pertinent for more than a year or two.
Welcome to Bartle's Taxonomy, or the study of the four player types -- achievers, explorers, socializers, and killers -- and how they balance a proper, thriving, and long-term gaming ecosystem
(Yes, if you don't follow Daybreak or couldn't tell thus far, one of my scholarly hobbies -- aside from worldbuilding, history, psychology/sociology/philosophy, and international cultural interactions/relations, is Game Design. It's a topic I suggest any gamer at least dabble in; if nothing else, it's like "psychology for gamers" and allows people to sound more educated/self-aware and less stupid).
So what is Bartle's Taxonomy? Better people than me have explained it. Here (or skip for the tl;dr version):
TL;DR the four types of gamers being. Keep in mind that a player may meet multiple categorizations:
- Achievers: those who want to meet game goals or personal ambitions and are driven by leveling, equipment gathering, ranking, etc. Achievers hate Killers (although a lot of Achievers are also Killers and vice versa -- just like in the real world, power and ambition feeds off one another).
- Explorers: those who are out to explore new worlds and test new mechanics. Explorers self-propagate (one successful expedition only leads to more expeditions) and benefit Achievers and Socializers as they find new goals and bring more topics of conversation into the game, thereby realizing the full potential of a game's contents and extending the game's lifespan.
- Socializers: those who are less all-about-the-game and more about it being an environment to socialize, mingle, and talk. Socializers allow a game to 'slow down' and offer a richer environment to pull players in than just 'grind-kill-grind'; they're the ones who establish that important community (wiki, forums, etc) and allow a game to last longer without new content. Socializers also self-propagate and they hate Killers, who generally gets in the way of them having a good time.
- Killers: those who thrive off trolling others or want to achieve a sense of dominance over others. Killers love killing off Achievers (who get angry) and Socializers (who are easy picking), and are thus attracted by them; however they often find Explorers a pain. Killers are the most disagreeable player base (they're like a virus), but they also serve a key purpose: having some Killers make the game more challenging and exciting without the developers having a tweak everything, so studios can focus on more content instead; but too many Killers will spiral out of control quickly -- just like how games that are too difficult quickly drain the fun out of it.
For a MMO to become successful, it needs a balance of player types -- because they feed off (or ward off) one another. MMOs who lack a good player balance will usually quickly run out of steam and die off as players become bored with it.
This is where I must applaud OSO because it manages to achieve a balance of these four types that we rarely see in MMORPGs, and Yun's mere presence is evidence. He represents the type of player that gives MMOs longevity and the lack of them is why most MMOs start dying within a few months of release.
I classify Yun as a combination between Explorer and Socializer, and you could sort of see why it happens. At home and in real life, Shun is the responsible older sibling who has very little time to think about his own needs. He's too busy worrying about what to buy and what to cook for dinner to go out and explore the world or spend more time with friends; and it doesn't help that Shun's friends/family are mostly gamers (which honestly, is uncommon but not unusual).
In the Explorer type, Yun leans more towards a mechanical explorer than world explorer (Shun is a coward and not good at being outside his comfort zone... which is again, expected as his daily life is very routine and he's happy with it). He is a cook and a curious person, so no surprise, his ingame persona Yun is primarily driven by the opportunity to explore new combinations, new items, new creations! (Ever talked to a cook for more than an hour? They love this). Among the player base, Yun's type serve as the "logistics" of the horde; she provide better supplies so they can tackle harder raids and higher goals without being too frustrated, or create better equipment made from new requirements that the Achievers must now gather, or simply new ideas (like the pets/slimes) that makes other players envious and want one for themselves.
In the Socializer type, Shun is one of those players who doesn't have enough time to meet all his social needs (with his gamer friends). He's not into all those hardcore raids and pvp, but he still needs a shared topic to talk about with them. Yun's experimentation/creations are one conduit; she might be alone at the time of it, but she is generating the discussion content that she lacks -- content that she ends up propagating into the community for the benefit of everyone. This is also why Yun will allow herself to be dragged into adventures every so while -- not because she necessarily likes the activity but because she wants the social hangout (this is typical 'doormat' personality behavior; they don't want it but they also do want it, and since they lack leadership traits to drive the action, they simply end up following along). If Taku was the more sensitive type, he'd take note of this and actually consult Yun more; but unfortunate he's the typical dense-as-a-rock male-protagonist type.
You'll also find other aspects of Bartle's Taxonomy at work in OSO, such as Yun shrugging off Pvp Killers and getting in their way with new discoveries.
So really, it's not that Yun doesn't play like a gamer, it's that Yun isn't an Achiever -- which is only one type of gamer. It is the most common one sure, but it is also the type of gamer that gives very little back to the community.
So stop expecting people like Yun to play like you do. It benefits everyone that she doesn't.
P.S. OSO may be more similar to the MMORPGs of the next generation than you think thanks to the Minecraft generation (actually, we're already starting to see this trend as MMOs increase the prevalence of crafting and increase opportunities for personalized space like homes and shopkeeping).