Some cars can tolerate more slop than others. But the least slop the better.. Mama used to say, "Slop is the devil!". If theres play in the ball cup and ball studs, you can either replace the ball cups with RPM ones which are usually better than the ones the cars come with. If the cups are new but they have slop(sometimes happen), you can do the q-tip CA method which involves coating the inside of the ball cup with layers of CA till there is no slop. If the ball cup is too tight on the other hand, you can pinch them with a pair of pliers while it's on the ball end and then pop them on/off a few time and they get looser.
A lot of steering play/slop is not in the steering mechanism itself (ie the bell cranks, linkages and such), but rather it comes from sloppy suspension components - slop between any pivoting joints like the arms on the pin mounts or the slop between the hub and arm, king pin slop between the hub and knuckles, etc. You can get rid of this slop with the use of thin shims, and sometimes filing the part flat then putting in shims. Teflon shims are smoother but wear out quickly if they are thin. Sometimes I use brass motor shims and either file the shim or arm down so it fits perfectly without being too tight or too sloppy.