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

adam ceo at
Thu Feb 6 11:07:48 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

Caliban Tiresias Darklock wrote:
> From: <Daniel.Harman at>
>> Actually I don't agree. If you want to level fast in the current
>> crop of games, the key information is knowing the best place to
>> do it.
> That's not how to play, it's where to play, and I consider it
> evidence of a flaw in the system. There shouldn't BE "good
> places". There should be good *ways*, and places where those ways
> work. Unfortunately, we only have one good way to level these days
> -- kill things -- so you have to go someplace where there are good
> things to kill.

>From a strategic analysis point of view, that really is how to
play. In this situation, the optimal solution to "how" to play is to
identify key geographical locations, and farm them.

It would be fair to say that at the moment, there is really only a
single good way - when ideally perhaps there should be many. But
there's nothing inherently wrong with tactics being predicated on

> And that's exactly why I think it's a stupid way to design a
> game. If you logged into a game exactly like Everquest but on a
> different worldmap, would you be able to level faster? Probably
> not -- you'd have to wander for days looking for a good
> place. That's not player skill, it's player knowledge, and it's
> entirely the wrong direction to take things.

Player skill is a superset of player knowledge - not, perhaps, as a
gross generalisation, but based on the (undefined) interpretations
and contect you appear to be using.

Rather than try to rigorously define "skill" and "knowledge" in the
way that I *think* you are using them, I'll give a parallel example
(I'm afraid I've been up all night, and coherent thought is not easy
at the moment!):

If you examine the behaviour of a Quake (just because its so well
documented, in terms of skill etc) player, the most "skillful"
players use "player knowledge" as their main tool. For example,
memorising the order in which re-spawn points are cycled, so that
after you kill your opponent, you know where they will re-appear,
and can set yourself up to guarantee that you are in the way (fully
armed and armoured) between them and the nearest powerful weapon.

IIRC, the devastating effect of these particular (carefully
discovered and learned) pieces of player knowledge (player respawn
locations, respawn order, powerup locations, available routes and
approximate distances between all points on the map, etc etc)
horrified John Carmack when he first saw it in action (and random
respawns have been the order of the day ever since!).

Quake is a pure action game. EQ is not. So my example is not very
strong - but I was only hoping to use it to demonstrate the meaning
behind my statement about the relationship between "skill" and
"knowledge" in this context. As someone trained to abstract
everything when I'm analysing things, it seems inherently obvious to
me that they are in fact the same thing. But maybe I've
misinterpreted you...

Adam M

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