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

holding99 at mindspring.com holding99 at mindspring.com
Sun Jan 19 03:21:50 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003


At 04:55 PM 1/15/2003 -0800, Sasha Hart wrote:

> Similarly, classic deathmatches attract a continuous audience. Not
> always a majority audience in the genre of online shooters. What
> online shooters maintain the most popularity? What are some
> possibly important properties of the most popular online shooters? 
> Why is having different game modes and maps so popular?

> I would speculate from this kind of comparative exercise that the
> following are among the important ingredients to social games that
> maintain interest: freedom/getting to do things yourself,
> interesting relations between actions and conclusions, getting to
> generate novel solutions, cooperation, and competition. I think it
> goes without saying that providing multiple games and updating
> content are quite useful as well, though more typically emphasized
> around here.

It seems then, that one of the most important things to developing a
game that will retain players is not so much to worry about
treadmills or such, but instead to develop a system where the
players can first discover a way to succeed (however they define
success) that is either not dependent upon others in the game, or is
sufficiently varied that they can claim it as their own.

Perhaps a true social game isn't about putting a bunch of people in
a party and making them work together to overcome obstacles a
developer has made as much as allowing different people to discover
different successful ways of doing things, and then compare notes,
so to speak. It would seem to me, then, that this facet of
socialization is completely destroyed in the current crop of online
games. There's only one way to level up; there are only n ways to
increase your skill; there's only one way to succeed. Even with
multiple ladders/advancement paths, the small number of finite
combinations for each path means that sooner (rather than later) all
of the ways to advance are found, and thus any possibility of
personal discovery is gone.

Perhaps the "casual gamer" is really the player who wants to be able
to say, "Hmm, I wonder what will happen if I try to make a sword out
of cheese?" and then be able to go find out.

T.H. Cooke


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