This isn’t about artistic purity. What we’re looking at is how certain design decisions affect how the game is experienced. Death of the author has nothing to do with it. It’s the difference between arguing about how a book should be read and how a book should be written. Right now, we’re arguing about how the book should be written in order to achieve its desired effect on the reader. That’s what I’m talking about when I keep mentioning design decisions.
It’s also the point that I’m making by referring to re-picking your perks. I’m recommending the writer not to add a certain character, because that character doesn’t mesh with the story that they’ve made so far. He could be really interesting and some people might come to like him, but his presence dilutes the strength of the book as a whole. Now a book is different from a game, but the way you have to carefully pick features is not dissimilar to how you craft a story; they need to fit the kind of experience that you are trying to create. If you’re not careful, adding a certain character to a novel can break the unspoken agreement between writer and reader about the internal world of the book. Adding a wizard to a book that is intended to be a serious story about the pains of transitioning from woman to man, would be jarring and cause the reader to wonder why the wizard doesn’t just fix everything. You could make it work, but it would end up being a very different story compared to the original.
The same applies here. Being able to casually re-pick your perks does not fit with a game that wants to have actions have consequences – the fundamental principle that I was referring to. It causes a contradiction between the feature and the rest of the game, that breaks the agreement of internal consistency between the player and the developer, resulting in the game being less enjoyable to play. This also what the smacking away the king was about. It’s not the point that you’re infringing on the enjoyment of the other player, but that your own enjoyment would only be related to screwing them over and not to the actual playing of the game. You wouldn’t be the winner, because there’s nothing to win anymore.