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

Damion Schubert damion at zenofdesign.com
Tue Jan 14 12:25:14 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


>From Sasha Hart
> From Raph Koster

>> One of the flaws of Sims Online, to my mind, is that it's
>> inherently a skill-based game. Social skill, sure, but real life
>> skill nonetheless.
 
> Your more detailed criticism seems to provide ways out ("very very
> few ranking ladders, most of which select for the same
> things"). That suggests that skill-based games can redeem
> themselves if they do it right.

One of the more interesting problems I predicted might occur is that
their ladders become self-fulfilling prophecies.  If your lot is
popular, you are put on a 'top 100' list, which people can see, and
instantly click on your lot to teleport there.  Which makes you more
popular.  End result is that it seems that it would be very, very
hard to break into the top of the list.

I haven't had income lately, though, so I haven't been able to
confirm or deny my hypothesis, though.  Anyone whose playing notice
anything like this?

> I think a cut-off-the-nose solution is to tear out the nasty
> feedback loops created by persistence (you mention resets below),
> e.g., no one has any money, or (different) everyone has the same
> income. A more partial solution is to cut out the differences in
> production based on how much you have, e.g., even playing field,
> so you might keep the inequality but it isn't necessarily the same
> people.

One angle to take is to basically disassociate character success
with these lists.  There are two ways to have money: work the pizza
object type treadmills, or be a superstar on the top 100 lists.  As
such, failure to make it on the lists only reinforces the daily doom
and gloom of your treadmill life.  Hmmm, perhaps this is more like
real life than I originally thought. =)

Instead, theoretically, you could (a) not give cash for top 100
placing (i.e. fame is its own rewards) and/or (b) improve the fun
factor of the treadmill.  The game I was working on recently also
had a third factor, which was to emphasize group fame over player
fame.  In short, if guilds or associations (or in our case, movie
studios) are competing, then a player with marginal skill can latch
into that organization and feel the rewards of being at the top
without having to be the best at anything.  Increasing the number of
'winners' is always good, and besides, teamplay is, as far as I'm
concerned, what makes MMPs fun to play anyway.

--d

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