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

Michael Hartman michael at thresholdrpg.com
Fri May 20 07:37:31 New Zealand Standard Time 2005


Koster, Raph wrote:

> I've described sidekicking as "a brilliant hack." It's a hack
> because the underlying problem is a systemic one with levels, and
> we ought to be attacking the problem there, instead of layering on
> more byzantine rules. (This doesn't take away from the brilliance
> of the solution, btw--I do think it was a stroke of genius).

That is a very interesting, an apt, label.

> I feel the same way about devices like no-drop items and
> "soulbinding."  First introduced in order to address twinking
> problems (which are at root because of levels), and now bandied
> about as a means of eliminating real-money-trades (RMT), it's both
> a step towards single-player gaming and a band-aid on top of the
> real problems.

I look at "soulbinding" as having a more important benefit to games
that support it, and that is promoting tradeskills.

In Real Life, products wear out. Products get replaced with next
year's slightly better version with more features. In MMOs, players
really dislike the idea of their equipment wearing out to the point
of being destroyed. They also dislike the thought that this really
awesome Sword of Leetness they bought today, being rendered obsolete
next month when the Sword of Extra Leetness is available (and wasn't
available when they bought theirs).

Yes, the latter example does happen when MMOs add content, but it
does not happen incredibly frequently- and certainly not frequently
enough that it would keep crafters busy. Furthermore, most MMOs also
make the recipes to make new things rare and hard to get, so most
crafters are barely even helped since most cannot even make the new
things.

So having items soulbind (or perhaps customized is a better term) is
one way to get items OUT of the game so crafters can have some
customers.

--
Michael Hartman
President and CEO, Threshold Virtual Environments, Inc.
http://www.thresholdrpg.com
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