Brand Loyalty (was Re: [MUD-Dev] Requirements for MM(wasComplexities of MMOG Servers))

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at
Mon Jan 6 19:53:01 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Marc Fielding" <fielding at>
> [ Caliban Tiresias Darklock ]

>> One of the things I'm waiting for is the ability to log in and
>> play for a few hours a week, instead of a few hours a day, and
>> still be able to compete. I'll probably play a few hours a day,
>> but if I need to take a week off for some reason, I don't want to
>> come back and discover that the world has moved on without me and
>> I can't catch up.

> Unfortunately, a casual playstyle really doesn't allow you to be
> highly competitive.

My definition of "compete", in this case, is "perceive myself as
making adequate progress". When I look at the rest of the game, do I
see that enough other people are at about the same level I am? Do I
have an adequate number of peers, with whom I could adventure or (in
a PvP scenario) duel? Do I feel that I am a *part* of this game, or
am I just sitting here looking at thousands of people who
undoubtedly think I'm a loser?

Granted, they're sitting at home with no job playing a video game
and thinking I'm a loser, but the whole point is that I want to be
somewhere that provides me adequate opportunities to interact with
my *peers*. Not people who feel sorry for me and think I need a
little helping hand to get back on my feet. I don't want to be the
in-game equivalent of some guy at a highway on-ramp with a "will
work for food" sign.

> The very fact that your goal is to *compete* rather than more
> casual pursuits like socializing, exploring, or roleplaying puts
> you at a disadvantage

No, it doesn't. I don't want to win, I just want to be in the
race. If I log on to find that the rest of the game is twelve miles
down the road, I'm not in the race anymore.

> to those whose sole focus is "winning the game".

But those people are freaks, and they should *not* be setting the
bar for every other player. They should set the bar for
*themselves*, and leave ours alone.

> Their substantial investment of time will rapidly move them
> forward along whatever character progression path the game offers.
> Unfortunately, that path can't be "short-circuited" without
> cheapening their efforts.

Why is it bad to cheapen their efforts? After all, killing wild
rabbits in the woods will only get you levels for so long; then you
start needing thousands of rabbits to make one level, and you have
to go and do something else. Many games will actually drop the
experience reward for killing wild rabbits all the way to zero,
eventually. Isn't that cheapening the player's efforts?

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