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

Robert Zubek rob at
Tue Jan 14 22:52:14 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: Michael Tresca [mailto:talien at]

> There are treadmills lurking in everything we do, every day.  But
> not everyone sees their careers, education, and socialization as
> treadmills because they aren't seeing the big picture.  Maybe they
> don't want to.

I agree that game treadmills are more noticable than the real
life. But this makes me wonder if that's because it's the other way
around - maybe people accept life treadmills exactly *because* they
see the big picture?

I suppose I'm saying that real-life 'treadmills' are *meaningful* -
they have vast and serious consequences, and their successful
performance broadens the action horizon of what we can subsequently
do in the world. Job and career, education and learning, social
development, spiritual development, creative development, and all
the other activities we engage in - even working at the most mundane
job - all change how we live in the world, and make available
completely new livelihoods. And this feeds back into our behavior -
as our lot in life changes, we may find our action horizon
constricting painfully, or to the contrary, we may become able to
see and do things we've never even considered before. Our lives may
be filled with treadmills, but they're exceedingly important to our
future and well-being.

But advancing one's character in a game isn't meaningful. In an RPG,
why should anyone run the built-in treadmills, if that only results
in more of the same? Leveling up or acquiring more gold and weapons
doesn't have interesting or important consequences. It doesn't make
the game world available in novel ways; it only makes possible more
acquisition of XP and gold and weapons.

Ugh, how can game treadmills be anything but inconsequential?


Robert Zubek 

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