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

Caliban Tiresias Darklock caliban at darklock.com
Wed Jan 15 19:04:25 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


From: <szii at sziisoft.com>

> 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.

I think the majority of games see the character as a tool you use to
do things. It seems almost like you log onto a game and find:

   Choose your profession
   1 - Hammer
   2 - Screwdriver
   3 - Wrench
   4 - Sewing Machine

This is entirely backwards, if you ask me. A game might do better to
consider the *character* as what you're doing and the game world as
the tools you're going to use to do it. As long as I see my
character as a tool, then if I mostly play hammers we're comparing a
river rock on that game to a pneumatic drill on this one. Would you
trade a pneumatic drill for a river rock? Hell, no.

But turn the question around for a moment: assume that your
character is a big block of marble, and you're sculpting it with the
hammer and chisel of the game world. Wouldn't you like to get a
brand new hammer and chisel and start carving a fresh new block of
marble? Well, gee... that actually sounds like fun.

It's all in how you look at it. Right now, character development is
the barrier to entry -- and I think we might have better luck
getting new players if we make it the objective, instead.

> People have spent SO much time in GameX building their
> persona/avatar, to even consider "starting over" and running more
> treadmills turns them off.

It's important to recognise, however, that this same unwillingness
to abandon that character *keeps* them on that game paying their
monthly fees -- because not only are they unwilling to get onto
another treadmill, they're also unwilling to get *off* the one where
they've been spending so much time.

> Treadmills are driving players AWAY from the games.

Only the new games. A game that has the treadmill players are *on*
tends to keep them. ;)


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