[MUD-Dev] Re: Brand Loyalty

Rayzam rayzam at travellingbard.com
Sun Jan 26 21:53:46 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: "Sasha Hart" <hart.s at attbi.com>
> [Rayzam]

>> Well, what I tried to describe above was difficult. When I say,
>> everyone advances at the same rate, I mean just that, simply.  If
>> you play 6 hours a day, or 1 hour a day, if you take the right
>> combos of abilities to kill things twice as fast or generalize
>> more and kill half as fast, whatever you do, i.e. really flatten
>> out everything, it completely negates player skill.

>> Imagine a game where you make a character on Day 1. You get 1
>> skill point per day, regardless of how much you play that day,
>> regardless of what you do if you do play, regardless of whether
>> you log in or not. Characters progress by the passage of real
>> time. In such a game, there is no player skill component, becuase
>> the rewards are the same regardless.

>> Well, the extrinsic rewards at least. Such a system would remove
>> powergaming, but not one I think I'd really enjoy investing time
>> into. Key word is invest.

> I have to draw the same old distinction between advancement and
> winning. You don't 'advance' in chess (at least, you might learn
> in chess but that is not constitutive of the game nor does it
> exhaust the reasons it might be fun).

> I don't see a conflict here. The properly applied handicap saves a
> game by letting the win conditions be more unpredictable and
> interesting. It emphasizes the contribution of player skill to the
> win-state. If you stipulated a game like golf or chess in which
> everyone was always assured to win and the decisions explicitly
> made no difference, that would surely not be a good thing for the
> game, but it would also assuredly be different than setting up a
> good playing-field or proper handicap.

In the extreme, that's true. That is, there's a relationship between
player skill and character skill. But it's not a simple
relationship.  Character skill limits player skill. At the same
time, the depth or range of character skill allows for player skill.

So at one extreme, you have a character with a single skill. Every
player with the same single skill at the same level are basically
the same, and player skill won't do much to differentiate them. As
character skills increase, they could result in more space for
player skill to matter, i.e.  by adding more and different
options. Or it could continue to be undifferentiated, if say,
advancement means replacing that one skill with a stronger version
of it every level.

I'm backtracking and redefining my original statement cited at the
top.  You're right, it's not a given that identical characters are
driven the same by different players. If and only if the game has
the breadth to allow players to use their player skills.


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