[MUD-Dev] Law of Resource Congestion

Christian Loth chris at gidayu.max.uni-duisburg.de
Sun Aug 6 13:01:05 New Zealand Standard Time 2000

Greetings all,

  Browsing through the "Laws of Online World Design" which is
hosted by Raph Koster, I'd like to throw this one in, which
is from my experience I had with the first MUD project I worked
for, and which led to great player dissatisfaction, and all
proposed solutions at my time were crudges rather than real

  I'd like to start some discussion about this law, and if it
is deemed worthy it might be included to said list of laws ;)

Christian Loth's Law of Resource Congestion

  If your gameworld provides a resource that is limited by an absolute
number, it will become rare with a growing player base, hence leading
to resource congestion. Ultimately such resources might be never ever
again seen in the game. And again ultimately this might lead to a uniform
playerbase where all players just use the common goods.

  A nice example of this e.g. is if you have an item called
"The Sword Excalibur" and you limit this item by the absolute
number of 2. This is okay for maybe 100 players, but now the player base
steadily grows. The scenario here is, that 'old' players fetch the
two available swords, and maybe are never seen again, hence excluding
the precious item from the gameworld forever. This *might* be okay
for a truely unique item, but no matter, if you absolutely limit
resources, and the playerbase grows steadily, the percentage with players
who own the resources steadily decreases, only leaving the 'limitless'
goods available, which tend to be non-special resources like leather armors
and daggers. In the end, considering a steadily growing 
(or rather: changing) playerbase will lead to look-alike players.

- Chris

Christian Loth
Coder of 'Project Gidayu'
Computer Science Student, University of Dortmund
chris at gidayu.mud.de - http://gidayu.mud.de

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