[MUD-Dev] To good to be TRUE, in an MMPORPG?

John Hopson jhopson at nc.rr.com
Mon Jul 30 22:37:04 New Zealand Standard Time 2001

At 01:04 AM 7/30/2001, Koster, Raph wrote:
>> From: Joe Andrieu

> People do tend to organize. But they don't seem to grow in size or
> develop into more complex structures without some prodding or
> need.


> The trick is figuring out what sustenance is. After all, the
> entire premise is leisure to start with. If developing and
> maintaining the social structure becomes too onerous, they'll
> abandon it or its development--either move on to another game, or
> leave it sit.

One of the things I find most compelling in virtual worlds is that
they can explore a wider range of dynamics than are possible in the
real world.  Instead of exploring "economics as it is", we can
create "economics as it might be".  By analogy, we aren't
necessarily limited to "social development as it is".  In the real
world and in existing games, the real game has been survival and
gaining an increasing ability to affect the world.  In our games so
far, player organization is either completely perpendicular to the
real game or it's an advanced layer, squeezing that last 10% out of
the environment.  This is not necessarily how it has to be.  What if
social development and interaction is the game?  What if rather than
being a way to increase the speed of advancement for the players, it
was the way to advance?

For example, individual player stats and abilities could be fixed,
so if you want to take bigger prey you need larger and more
organized player groups.  Right now, the metric is individual
advancement.  Even as far up as the uberguilds, the only way you
know the organization is working is by the level and speed of the
individual members' advancement.  I suspect that if we made the
group's advancement the real metric, we'd see faster development of
more complex social structures.  Of course, the game will probably
never be "How complex a society can we create", so it becomes a
question of how tightly the metric is related to social

I'm not saying that removing individual advancement is enough.  That
just removes the existing game, it doesn't add a new set of goals to
promote complex social interaction.


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