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

J C Lawrence claw at kanga.nu
Thu May 26 21:21:37 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

On Thu, 19 May 2005 15:37:31 -0400
Michael Hartman <michael at thresholdrpg.com> wrote:

> 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).

Is there any way in which this is not also if not more true of players
themselves rather than products?

> 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.

This can be analysed in terms of human currency.  The primary human
currency used in all games is attention.  Things that get, garner, or
otherwise manipulate attention are valuable.  Things that don't, well,
aren't valuable.  That simple.  Even more simple: The things that get
human attention are interesting (by definition).  Things that aren't
interesting don't get attention (duh).  At this fairly simplistic
level, every design feature and facet of a game must in some way define
or create things people are interested in.  Anything that isn't
supporting the colossus of interest is, almost by definition, an
uneconomic inefficiency.

For a thing to remain interesting it must change or move (movement being
a form of changing).  No change == no interest.  Soulbinding is a static
state definition.  It is interesting only once.  As such it would seem
far less interesting in the sense of the currency of interest than a
system which involves a dynamically changing relationship (eg decay).
Decay systems involve lots of change, both in their decay, and the
constant effort and activity involved in merely attempting to maintain
the status quo.  The trick is to make those changes also interesting.

J C Lawrence                        They said, "You have a blue guitar,
---------(*)                        You do not play things as they are."
claw at kanga.nu                       The man replied, "Things as they are
http://www.kanga.nu/~claw/          Are changed upon the blue guitar."

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