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

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Fri Jan 10 17:50:54 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Koster, Raph" <rkoster at>

> That said, many of our treadmills are boring. That's not a flaw
> with treadmills. It's a flaw with their implementation. We also
> tend to encourage focusing on one treadmill, and that's also a
> mistake because it undoes a large part of the point, reinforcing
> the monopolization of fun by those with skill (because even with
> handicaps, skill tends to win out, particularly if skilled players
> can get the "handicaps" too).

If skilled players get the "handicaps" as well, why even have them?
It's not balancing the field at that point, simply shifting it up
based on the amount of boost of the handicap.

In most forms of competition handicaps are used to balance the
field.  In all cases it's to allow "fun" competition between
opponents/teams.  These handicaps, however, are not infinite.  No
bowling league will give a 300 handicap, regardless of how bad they
are.  The treadmills-to-treadmill cycle is infinite, and a player
with infinite time will cap out long before the "social" player
does.  This isn't "fun" for the social competitor who perceives
him/herself on the lowest end of the totem pole simply because they
cannot (will not?) spend the thousands of hours to run on the

Who is your target audience?  The treadmillers, of course.  Cater to
the lowest common denomintor who'll spend the max amount of time
paying the max amount of money to the game.  There simply has to be
a "better way" to keep people around or online.

The single most heard reason for people not moving on to the next
generation of MMORPG: "I don't want to spend the time levelling up a
character."  It's not because they're not interested.  It's not that
they dislike anything about the games.  They dislike treadmills.
They may run them, but they dislike them.  People have spent SO much
time in GameX building their persona/avatar, to even consider
"starting over" and running more treadmills turns them off.

Treadmills are driving players AWAY from the games.


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