[MUD-Dev] Laws of Competition

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Wed Oct 10 09:17:52 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001


I wrote some Laws for Raph's site, but as they won't be posted there until
the next time he updates it, I'd thought I'd post them here now. My guess
is that the updates happen only every few months because Raph is too busy
having fun playing with all the Boba Fett and Emperor Palpatine action
figures that he gets as a job perk. Lucky git. 

Anyway:

Mihaly's Laws of Competition
----------------------------

1. Law of Inevitable Competition
  "Competition is inevitable."

 - It's an obvious one, but then, Laws should be obvious on reflection.
 - Even in a single-player game, a player can compete against marks he
   sets himself.


2. Law of Pain
  "It hurts more when a player kills you."

 - Or more precisely, it hurts more when a virtual entity you believe to
   be controlled by a player rather than an AI attacks and harms a virtual
   entity you are emotionally attached to.
 - This is distinct to the Law that states that it's more rewarding to
   kill other players.

3. Law of Numbers
   "The greater the number of player participants in a system, the larger
    the victory carrot looks to the competitors.

  - Again, pretty obvious.   

4. Law of Globalization
   "There exists an inversely proportional relationship beween the level
    of globalization of competition player effort and the number of
    players disaffected by that system."

 - This is distinct from the Law of Numbers. Instead of talking about the
   number of elements in a system and its resultant influence on the value
   competitors place on what they see as winning, this talks about the
   the range over which players can effectively exert influence.

 - Example of world with a high level of globalization: Achaea. You can
   run across the main playing part of the world very quickly, and you can
   fairly easily and quickly apply your power most places in the world
   that way. This means that it is easier for a few players to dominate
   that portion of the gameplay. Now, on the other hand, in Everquest, the
   globalization potential is low. There are real travel times, etc.


4a. The Carrot Corollary
  "There exists a proportional relationship between the potential for
   globalization and the size of the carrot."

  - I believe this is the explanation for the willingness of some of
    Achaea's players to pay very high prices to buy various things from
    us, despite our weakness vis a vis the Law of Numbers.

5. Law of Competition and Roleplay
   "There exists an inversely proportional relationship between the level
    of competition and the level of roleplaying."

 - This is because roleplaying is about the process, while competition is
   about the goal. The more competition there is, the more pressure to
   start cutting corners and doing what is expedient rather than what is
   consistent with your character.

 - I actually think that this takes Koster's Law ("The quality of
   roleplaying is inversely proportional to the number of people
   playing.") and goes a level deeper (no offence of course. Not trying
   to step on any toes.) Koster's Law can be directly deduced from the Law
   of Numbers, and the Law of Competition and Roleplaying.


--matt


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