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

bhoyt47 at bhoyt47 at
Thu Jan 9 18:27:09 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Note: This message was written via the list web archives.  There is
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Original message:

On Wed, 08 Jan 2003 20:38:02 -0800
"Koster, Raph" <rkoster at> 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.

Who says that the two have to be mutually exclusive?  Why not have
some character classes that are driven by player "skill" and others
that are driven by "diligence?"

For example, an FPS could include sharpshooters whose success is
mostly a function of the player's fast-twitch abilities, as well as
medics or casters who have to practice but don't require as much
fast-twitch play.

Just look at the real world, not eveyone who is "successful" or
"powerful" is naturally gifted.  Why not allow players to use real
world $$ to gain in-game buffs(bionic implants, permanent
"blessings", superior equipment)?  These could translate to more
forgiving targeting systems, improved armor, increased likelihood
that bullets will simply "miss", etc.

If you don't like the idea of allowing players to gain this kind of
advantage simply by paying more money to the publisher (there are
decent arguments in both directions on this subject), then allow
these power-ups to come from in-game dilligence.  For instance,
perhaps you get buffs from having more people in your social network
or who are on reciprocal friends lists with you.

The real question is, "will players who don't have a lot of inherent
skill be willing to be dilligent in order to be competitive with
those who DO have in herent skill?"  This is an interesting social
question and I don't know if there has been a good test of it yet.
Let's use Counter-Strike as an example of a game that currently
rewards player skill.  Let's assume that the game includes an option
for a less "skilled" player to get extra armor and a larger
targeting reticle if they play a few training missions.  On the one
hand, it's entirely possible that the less "skilled" players will
simply say, "screw it, I'm no good at this game, I hate it, I'm not
going to play."  On the other hand, they might be willing to put in
the time in order to earn these equalizers.  We can all sit around
and conjecture about which is more likely but until someone tries
implementing it, we won't know.

One more solution is to include some sort of ladder system.  Create
areas that are closed to players of HIGHER ranking and open to
players of LOWER ranking. Eventually, players will simply begin
clustering in areas with players of similar skill levels.

Anyway, just some thoughts off the top of my head.

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