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

Damion Schubert damion at
Tue Jan 14 12:05:05 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

[ Marc Fielding ]
> [ Damion Schubert ]

>> Sure it can.  You simply need to do something to limit how far
>> players can go how fast.  UO's "Power Hour", while imperfect, was
>> a good example of how that can be done.  The exponential
>> advancement curve is simplistic and evil.  Think past it.
> While a step in the right direction, the "Power Hour" doesn't
> address the stated need of casual powergamers to remain
> "competitive." As long as a given shortcut is available to all
> players, both hardcore and casual, it does *nothing* to alleviate
> the disparity in advancement rate. To put it another way, speeding
> up a train accelerates all passengers equally.

If you can only advance your character for one hour per day, then
the hardcore will find that the other 9 hours a day he plays, he
will have to find something else to do.  If the casual gamer can
find an hour a day, he can keep up.  If he can only find an hour
every other day, he can keep up.  Or in short, if you are firm with
limitations on advancement, PH could potentially *absolutely*
alleviate the disparity in advancement rate.

"Power hour"-like mechanisms also means that you can flatten your
advancement curve, instead of having a ridiculously exponential one,
since pure exp gain over time is no longer possible.  Which means
that that hour a day of exp gain will translate into a meaningful
gain of level.

"Power hour" isn't perfect, by any means.  In fact, UO has since
changed their model to one which I am not as familiar with.  But the
general philosophy behind it is quite a step in the right direction.
One improvement, though, would be to have the mechanism that limits
the player be more generous to the 'weekend warriors' - those who
cannot play at all over the week, and make it up with long sessions
on Saturday and Sunday.
> A useful modification to the "Power Hour" would be to assign them
> to those with limited playtimes. For example, any player that has
> played less than, say, 20 hours in the previous week would be
> eligible for a few "Power Hours" during the current week.

If you don't have some kind of limiter on normal exp gain to limit
power hour, then some kind of mechanism like this does become
necessary.  The trick, as you pointed out, would be to ensure that
the hardcore don't find ways to exploit the system.  (The most
obvious is that they now have time to boost multiple characters in
an MCS system, but lets not start that debate up again. =)


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