[MUD-Dev] Star Wars Galaxies: 1 character per server

Marc Fielding fielding at computer.org
Wed Jan 1 22:43:15 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


> Temporal Cost -
>   My buddy Joe and I join a new MMORPG. We each take 1 character,
>   and work together to level up faster than we would each playing
>   solo. Especially since we took complimentary character
>   types. Now I get my buddy Joe, with his high level character to
>   drag me around and powerlevel my new mule. I'd not be able to
>   level anywhere near that quickly on my own. Or by working with
>   people my own level, like we did with our original
>   characters. Now I've got a someone to repair our equipment. Then
>   Joe makes a new mule to create potions, and I powerlevel him
>   with my first character. Rinse. Repeat.
>   Temporal cost for parallel-levelling in an single player game
>   world is high. Take 2 players and there's no such
>   restriction. And thus, guild mules are born.

Do you know *boring* it is to parallel-level someone? It's great fun
for the levelee but not the levelor. Casual players might try it a
few times, but the level of effort required to keep your mules in
sync with your mains gets pretty old after a while. Only the
dedicated will pursue this route.

> Large Percentage -
>   Actually, I disagree with the common assertion being made that
>   SCS ruins the casual player. I have seen the casual player leave
>   games because the average player requires muling or joining a
>   guild, to survive.  As you state, the casual player, the large
>   mythical golden market, won't want to handle mules. If that's
>   95% of the player base, then just make the place SCS.

But removing MCS removes the ability of a casual player to explore
different aspects of the game with different characters. All in the
name of preventing "abuse" by a few.
>   Mules are like a virus :) Some players start up with them. As
>   other players advance, and run into not finding X character type
>   when they need one, then they'll start muling. It snowballs. I
>   agree with your statement that the large percentage won't, to
>   START. But that the population as a whole will shift over time.

The percentage shifts over time because most games LOSE casual
gamers as the game ages, whether it's from new MMOGs coming out or
gameplay being targeted at the hardcore level.

> I'm sure this is a testable hypothesis, if someone has access to
> the data. Take a MMORPG and track the average # of
> characters/account over time.  Also track the time to reach the
> median # of characters/account as the game matures.  It would be
> an interesting study, not from a marketing standpoint, and not
> mainly from a social standpoint, but from a developer standpoint.
> Quantify one aspect of a game's evolution, anyone?

Good suggestion.

To make the test valid, the analysis should seek to find the number
of characters per account within a certain level range of the
account's highest-leveled character. Those below that range are most
likely "toy" characters, not mules.


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