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

Paul Schwanz pschwanz at
Wed Jan 22 13:57:02 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Jeff Freeman wrote:

> Seems like in a game system where the player chooses which skills
> he wants his character to have, you could just have those skills
> increase over time whether he's using them or not.  I mean if
> you're going to guarantee advancement, but also gate it, then why
> not chuck out the whole mess?

> Assumption being that player use their skills, otherwise they drop
> them in favor of other skills.  So instead of tracking skill usage
> and then trapping skill gain which is too rapid (due to greater
> than average usage) or too slow (due to fumbled skillchecks or
> 'casual play'), just keep track of which skills the player has
> selected, assume the player is indeed using those skills, and so
> increase those skills over time at the rate you'd decided is
> "appropriate".

> Ditto for classes, as far as that goes.

> 'Course this assumes the game is fun to play and you're risking
> something in order to gain something totally unrelated to
> character advancement (or at least unrelated to skill/class
> advancement), since you'd be removing character advanacement as a
> 'reward'.

Must it be totally unrelated though?

Character advancement can be very character-centric without totally
negating all effects of player choices.

Suppose every character gets 8 hours per game day to put toward
increasing the skills they've selected.  This happens automatically
whether online or off and is configuarable via a simple interface
where you select the skill you'd like to increase and then assign a
portion of your 8 hours per day to that skill.

Now suppose that the game also offers other aspects of advancement.
A common example might be advancement through getting better
equipment.  You can relate the reward back to character advancement
by, in order to quest for better loot, requiring that the player
risk a portion of the 8 hours per day that the character can put
toward gaining skill.

In other words, on my quest for the great Sword of Slaying, I may
not succeed in the battle with the sword's guardian and may receive
several grievous wounds.  Depending upon the severity of those
wounds, my stats and abilities may be greatly affected.  However, I
can set aside some of my 8 hours per day toward healing these
wounds.  Time spent on healing wounds is time not spent on gaining
skill, or creating items, or other possible pursuits that the 8
hours per day of character time might facilitate.

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