[MUD-Dev] RE: Treadmills vs. Skill (was re: Brand Loyalty...)

Daniel James d at djames.org
Thu Jan 9 00:50:58 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

On Wed, 8 Jan 2003, Koster, Raph wrote:

> Don't get me wrong, I am not any more fond of repetitive
> treadmills than you are. And I think the idea of rewarding real
> player skill is fantastic.

> The question is how anyone without said skill finds a place for
> themselves in the world.

We (with Puzzle Pirates, which is very much a skill based game) are
hoping that by providing a variety of interdependent activities we
can accomodate a broad range of players with different abilities and
preferences. For example, it's not particularly necessary to be an
excellent puzzler to become a great Captain of a crew -- good social
skills (and lots of time spent recruiting) are more important. I
believe that Planetside is hoping to achieve a similar balance of
roles in the FPS context.

BTW just practising the puzzles to improve ones actual skill
provides a treadmill of sorts...

And in another thread, Raph wrote:

> Treadmills compensate for real life skill. They are the crutch
> that keeps people who below average at the game from quitting. In
> a real skill-based environment, 80% of your players are below
> average at the game.

Why 80%? It seems to me that 50% is a more reasonable average? In PP
performance below this level earns players a rating of 'Able' and
there are no lower derogatory ratings. Players can therefore
generally maintain higher ratings in at least one or two puzzles or
activities (some of which are scored through group
actions). Alongside other aspects of the game, such as trading and
exploration, we're hoping to accomodate a healthy spread of players
(inherently there will be such a spread; everyone can't be Ultimate,
but it won't be healthy if 80% of players who start playing quit in
shame, leaving only a concentration of fiends at the top end).

A couple of thousand more testers and I'll be able to let you know
if it works. Fingers crossed!

- Daniel

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