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

Damion Schubert damion at zenofdesign.com
Thu Jan 9 17:01:35 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: Daniel James
> On Wed, 8 Jan 2003, Koster, 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).

I have a fair amount of experience in a skill-based online game
environment (Unreal Tournament, Quake, etc).  The thing that is
becoming very obvious inside of this environment is that the game is
very difficult for new players to get into.  Those of us that got in
first are now godlike in comparison to newcomers who come in now,
and its very, very difficult to break in.  As a result, I notice the
community slowly atrophying - at launch it had 500 CTF servers, now
it's closer to 350.

I'm actually very interested to see how Planetside solves the
problem of what happens when you combine player skill and character
skill.  Can a new player ever compete?  Can he be protected enough
to not completely discourage him?  And will he persevere even if he
initially loses a lot?


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