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

Rayzam rayzam at
Sun Jan 26 22:52:33 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

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

>> Abilities go up the longer you play chess. In this case, it's
>> learning more strategies. In a mud, it's gaining new skills and
>> spells, which gives you more strategies. The difference with
>> chess is that the external game doesn't change, it's an internal
>> gain of abilities. However, playing through a character, you are
>> lmited by the character's skills. Starting skills/abilities are
>> often few and limited. Gaining character abilities through play
>> is the first step. As you point out, you have to use the
>> abilities moving through different sets, or it would still be
>> repetitive and become boring.

> Well, this is interesting. It may be that much of what is fun is
> also learning.

> Of course, real learning isn't just abilities going up linearly
> with skill use. Quantitatively, with measures like box escape or
> maze running, it jumps up, plateaus, is unpredictable, maxes out
> early, sometimes never goes anywhere. But that's not a major point
> here. You are right that the realm of actions you survey expands
> with experience. (Of course, it also can contract: when there is
> one just plain optimal strategy in a static game, for
> example). The important point (by which I mean, the important
> point to me!) is that this change in ability is not constitutive
> of fun. (Hmm, so what is, and what gives me the unique authority?)

So what does the change in ability constitute, if not fun? It's at
least a measure of achievement or a reward system. At some level,
that's intrinsically fun. Extrinsicly, there are systems where you
then get to spend points at advancement, and like you mentioned
about building characters in another post, this can lead to more
fun. There's more fun in a game than just the treadmill, hopefully

> To us, we are actually doing something, not just watching a skill
> go up or being rewarded when we get better. Just doing can be fun:
> I used to enjoy very much the invariant rhythym of just running
> and placing rockets in Quake (I played bots.) Some (figurative)


> janitorial duties can be fun, if they're your janitorial duties, a
> principle that underlies the sometimes very motherly genre of the
> squad based strategy game. Winning an individual game can be fun
> even if it wasn't edifying. "Aha! That old trick! I know just the
> thing!"  It is fun to use your knowledge.  As well, we can
> sometimes enjoy demonstrating our total mastery, even trashing
> someone at the game.

You're right. These are other things that are fun.

> But you know, I agree that learning, discovering new things,
> getting the secret to something, these are some of the most
> important kinds of fun for me. There is a special kind of case,
> which is that you know some general principles, but are just now
> generalizing to new situations or computing the solution for the
> particular case (much the same process, if you think about
> it). That can be immensely more enjoyable than just learning some
> arbitrary thing, or being dropped into a bucket of unknown. But
> this is also exemplary of much of our real learning, for we
> approach virtually no problem in our lives truly afresh and are in
> a bad way when we seemingly have no leads whatever. In addition to
> personal observation, this was* (* = big anecdotal grain of salt)
> something I observed in running my thesis.

I bet the best feeling was when it was done. That was my personal
observation :)


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