[MUD-Dev] Player matching in MMOGs (was Blacksnow revisited)

Brandon J. Van Every vanevery at 3DProgrammer.com
Sat Apr 20 00:57:11 New Zealand Standard Time 2002


> Additionally, if you think it's ok to allow money (or various
> other resources) to dictate the game rather than time and skill,
> then would you consider it fair to play Chess against an opponent
> who has Gary Kasparov on the other end of his cellphone?

For some people it would be a value add to see themselves quickly
destroyed with Kasparov's skill.  Some people learn by watching
better people decimate them.  Most, however, don't like getting
beaten quickly.  So IMHO it's really about being matched against the
opponents you want to be matched with.  I don't see any inherent
moral problem with the existence of a superplayer, whether for
reasons of skill or finance.  It's being matched against him when
you don't want to be that's the problem.

So, if you have a scheme for separating very powerful players from
very weak players, I don't really see that the extra-game $$$$
commodity trading affects the game design.  It might affect your
greedy corporate bean counters but it shouldn't affect your game
design.  The problem of MMOGs is probably that they lump everyone
into the same global pool instead of creating local skill matchups.
Back in paper D&D days, some DMs had the philosophy "sure kid you
can have a +5 Holy Avenger" to start out with.  They just scaled up
all the opponents accordingly.  You could play these sorts of scaled
number games forever, and it would be really funny to watch people
blow a lot of money on scalar values that result in exactly the same
game mechanics.  Like, gee, you've got +20 armor so now you're
fighting the +20 Red Dragon.  Same artwork!  Just got cloned into
the local +20 partition of the game.

And of course, you could further devalue the "levelling up" stuff by
allowing players to skip around the local numerical pools for free.
Why should they spend time levelling up?  Why not grant random
access to the entire level-up sequence?

Fear that your product has no value other than tedium, perhaps?

Cheers,                         www.3DProgrammer.com
Brandon Van Every               Seattle, WA

20% of the world is real.
80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.

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