[MUD-Dev] Blog about GDC implies changes to MMORPG population

Sean Kelly sean at f4.ca
Sat Apr 23 09:11:51 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

On Sun, 17 Apr 2005, Vincent Archer wrote:
> According to Paolo Piselli:

>> That is a big IF.  You cannot presume optimal achievement-rate is
>> a gamplay goal for all players, or even a majority of players.  If
>> players are more concerned with socializing with friends,
>> exploring another world, or distracting themselves from the
>> everyday than they are concerned with not being a sub-optimal
>> 'gimp', then the system is working fine.

> No.

> If you're a pure socialiser, it would. But WoW isn't a game for
> pure socialisers, it's an achiever game, like most of the genre.

I'm not sure I agree, but even if it is... (see below)

> I'd rather play with friends than alone, true. But I'd rather be
> challenged when I'm playing. If you group with, say a 6-7 levels
> difference, then either:

>   - you are essentially soloing, as your friend cannot even hit
>   anything, which is rather frustrating for the friend

> or

>   - you are mowing thru low level mobs that are trivial for you,
>   which is rather frustrating for you.

> I'm not talking about XP or cash, or rewards. I'm talking about
> having a healthy challenge, and having fun doing things we
> perceive as worthwhile (whether or not they are).

Achievement-oriented players aren't typically interested in a
challenge so much as finding the optimal return on investment.  In
MMOGs, the biggest investment tends to be time.  I've found with WoW
that the optimal XP gain tends to result from targeting even or
slightly lower-level mobs--there's less downtime and low risk of

> The extreme S-curve of the game kills that form of fun (in a mixed
> level group).

I disagree.  While mixed-level grouping doesn't offer an optimal XP
reward, it does up the challenge considerably.  Keeping a low-level
player alive when they aggro things half a mile away and can't
defend themselves can take some work.  From an achievement
perspective, this offers bragging rights.  In fact there have been a
number of player-run events involving protecting low-level
characters in dangerous areas.

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