[MUD-Dev] RE: Brand Loyalty

Dr. Cat cat at realtime.net
Thu Jan 9 03:00:12 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


From: "Koster, Raph" <rkoster at soe.sony.com>

> 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.

A very cogent point.  And a question I'm determined to find an
answer to - or perhaps multiple ones.

An immediate analogy springs to mind in the world of sports.  Most
fans (a word appropriately derived from "fanatic", here) do not have
the level of exceptional athletic ability to participate in the big
competitions that are at the center of the pastime.  But it succeeds
in getting them to have such a level of emotional involvement that
the hardcore fans always say "us" and "we" when talking about what
their favorite team did, rather than "them" and "they".  And there
is some scope for participating interactively, too - the wave,
painting your face and chest in two colors and going out in forty
degree weather, tearing up goalposts and starting soccer riots.  :X)

The 1/9/90 rule learned from message forums in the 90s applies
here...  Even in a medium where you CAN create, compete, or
otherwise try to be the center of attention...  Most people don't
want to be, and won't try to be.  1% do most of what there is to
see, 9% do the rest, and 90% just watch quietly.

I'm already starting to get a little bored of some of the ideas that
I haven't managed to implement yet, that were "advanced" five years
ago and that The Sims Online and there.com are poised to lay claim
to now...  I'm thinking a lot lately of virtual spectators, a thing
we talked about some back in the early to mid 90s but never really
got serious about.  I think its time is drawing nigh to be a big
phenomenon - I have an opinion column in the works for MOG that has
some things to say about it.  Virtual voyeurism is already on the
rise on television...  Real time and real people without a little
"coaching" from the producer (and that inaccessibility that a mass
audience brings them) can make things much more compelling.

Getting people to be strongly emotionally engaged in what OTHER
players do, rather than just in what they do themselves, is the key
to one of the big treasure chests of the 21st century.

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