[MUD-Dev] DESIGN: The game with a thousand faces

Koster, Raph rkoster at soe.sony.com
Fri Apr 1 07:11:24 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


Mike Rozak wrote:

> I just saw an announcement for a new free-to-play MMORPG, "Ogre
> Island". While browsing through the MMORPG's web pages, the
> "game-play guide" page struck me as being very familiar. (See
> http://stage.ogreisland.com/gameGuide.asp.) The table of contents
> for Ogre Island could also be used by the documentation for WoW,
> EQ, Runescape, etc.  Only a handful of MMORPGs, like Second Life,
> ATITD, Uru, etc. break the mold, and they don't seem to attract
> large audiences.

...

> Does this strike anyone else as being disturbing?

Sounds like stock-mud syndrome, which was the big bugaboo back when
I first joined the list in 1996.

Then again, it also sounds like the network TV schedule.

> Can all the uniformity really be blamed on "my venture-capitalist
> made me do it"? Is there a single, deep local minima in the human
> psyche that causes almost all VWs to be fundamentally identical?
> Or are we so blind that we can't see/predict other local minimas
> without stumbling into them?

There are plenty of other local minimas. But network effects dictate
that most people won't be chasing them.

Then again, network effects also state that if the products out
there all become stockmuds, the overall growth of the market will be
capped.

-Raph
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