[MUD-Dev] SOC: Will company sanctioned cheating hurt theMMOcommunity?

John Buehler johnbue at msn.com
Thu May 12 05:48:03 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


Jaycen Rigger writes:
> Chris Richards <doktorstick at gmail.com> wrote:

>> As for a "level playing field", it changes immediately after a
>> character is created.  Some players are more knowledgeable about
>> the game or the genre, have more time to spend leveling or
>> getting uber-loot, etc.  If one player is more "time rich, money
>> poor" than other players, why shouldn't the person who is "time
>> poor, money rich" be able to make up for it by purchasing items
>> for real currency?  Feel free to substitute "time" with
>> "information", too.

> I see your point, and it does stop me for a moment.  I think the
> difference is that the person who "has the edge" when it comes to
> the game or genre simply by virtue of "knowing something" hasn't
> gained that knowledge outside the game.  That person has seniority
> within the game by virtue of his experience.  What experience is
> gained by the person who buys his way through the game?

> I think it's the difference between some guy who blows $75 for a
> whiz-bang doo-hickie and a guy who actually found the whiz-bang
> doo-hickie on the monster at the bottom of level 9 of the Dungeon
> of Doom.  The former can say, "Lookie what I got."  The later can
> say, "Dude! Remember when we both almost DIED that one night at
> the end of the Dungeon of Doom?  Oh man, that was such a blast,
> and I TOTALLY earned this bad-ass whiz-bang doo-hickie!"

> Requiring players to actually play the game to acquire wealth and
> power means the players are more likely to have some common
> adventures....talking points they can share and re-tell at a later
> time.  The other guys only have a receipt to whip out, which
> probably isn't in context, anyway...

In order for that to be a valid point of gameplay, the game has to
ensure that players are in the habit of valuing the experiences that
they go through in order to obtain the rewards.  If the game only
reinforces the value of possessing a certain object, and using it
for additional gain, then the story-telling is something that
players will do only if they are inclined to do it.  That would mean
that the only reinforcement extant in the community to value the
experience is whatever organically comes from the player base.  In a
game predicated on collection and achievement, the players attracted
seem not to care how the items are gained, only that they ARE
gained.

Create a game that attaches a history to objects - within the game -
and you have created an incentive to both gain an item in an
interesting fashion and to use it in interesting ways.

A player examines a sword and finds that it was purchased for $38 on
April 6, 2004.

A player examines a sword and finds that it was gained by Boffo
after defeating the Zazu Orc Captain on Thamis 12, 341.  It has
claimed the lives of 65 orcs. It has been wielded by Boffo, Dave
Rulz Everyone, and Biffo.

And so on.  Whatever historical events might be appropriate to the
object.

Permit a short description to be written when an in-game event takes
place, and you've further incentivized the story-telling aspect of
the game (or, alternately, an opportunity for foul language).  But I
believe that storytelling has to be supported by the game directly
so that the players are reminded that there is value in the history
of an object.  Do the same with characters and you've added to their
eBay value (for better or for worse).

There may be a certain desire for objects that are purely in-game,
lacking any out-of-game information on them.

Realize that if all this was in a game where the ultimate reward of
the game was to reach level 50 in record time, you'd pretty
effectively blow this idea right out of the water.  It's all in the
design details to discover how your players will be encouraged to
play, and who will be enticed to be there in the first place.

JB
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