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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at
Tue Jan 7 11:02:52 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Travis Casey" <efindel at>
> On Wednesday 01 January 2003 10:07, Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
>> From: "Amanda Walker" <amanda at>

>>> Based knowing a number of people who went from
>>> MUD->EQ->AC1->DAOC->AO->AC2->Neocron->?, I'm beginning to think
>>> that "bolting to the next alternative" has become a game in and
>>> of itself.

>> When wasn't it? Don't we all know one packrat who owns every
>> major PNP system and half of the minor ones? (You can usually
>> spot this guy by asking whether he owns "The Arduin Grimoire".)

> Yes, you all do -- that would be me.  :-)

I thought it was me. SPI's "Universe", anyone? Or perhaps TSR's
"Valley Forge"? ;)

> I'll note, though, that there's a fundamental difference here --
> PNP systems require only a one-time expenditure of money, where
> most of the MMORPGs named above require continuing payment in
> order to be able to play.

I think that would be why people "bolt" between online games, while
they tend to just *add* PNP stuff. I haven't played "Battlelords of
the 23rd Century" since the playtest, but I simply *had* to put it
in my collection.  If I ever meet someone else who has it, maybe
we'll try to set up a game.

> PNP games are generally played with a group, which often meets as
> often as the player who can meet the least often can meet.  Thus,
> there's not the same "falling behind" problem with playing in
> multiple games.

There's also a certain contract with the GM that he at least *wants*
you to succeed. On most online games, the administration doesn't
give a rat's ass on a biscuit whether you succeed, so when you're
not succeeding and hence dissatisfied with the game -- well,
tough. In a PNP game, the GM tends to watch for that dissatisfaction
and throw you a bone if it starts edging into the danger area.

There's also a very definite sense when playing a PNP game that the
GM will make a certain amount of effort to ensure that he provides
something for everyone. On the average online game, my dwarven thief
might have a keen interest in cooking with fungus, but the game
won't respond by using fungus as a form of treasure. In a PNP game,
the GM will almost certainly start setting up situations that rely
on an attraction to fungus as the "hook"; treasures, traps, trails,

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