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

Jaycen Rigger jaycen.rigger at sbcglobal.net
Thu Jun 2 03:56:13 New Zealand Standard Time 2005

John Buehler <johnbue at msn.com> wrote:

> I'll certainly agree with the latter point.  Stuff hangs around.
> I'm actually okay with degradation, wear, etc.  I'm averse to
> using degradation as a mechanism to handle the unreasonable pace
> of introduction of items in current games.  It takes us back to
> the factory model.  Monsters are factories.  Crafters are
> factories.  It's American consumerism.  Crank 'em out, throw 'em
> away, make some more.  As has been stated, without degradation,
> the crafters would have nothing to do.  That's a sign of a
> dangerous design mindset as far as I'm concerned.

> Your first point (hoarding) is a philosophical issue for me
> because it is a statement that underscores how people don't resist
> selfish temptations.  Hoarding in a game is like sex and violence
> in movies.  I don't like hoarding in games because it feeds a
> simpleminded desire in players, just as sex and violence feed
> simpleminded desires in moviegoers.  I'm always looking for some
> higher-order stimulus for players, to draw them into entertainment
> that they will find more enjoyable than the simpleminded stuff.  I
> believe that the online communities that result from higher-order
> stimuli will be better-behaved than those that result from
> low-order stimuli.

> I don't contest that people like to hoard items.  I wouldn't
> contest that people like sex, or that they are fascinated by
> violence.  I'd contest the notion that a game must cater to those
> impulses, and I'd argue that there are forms of entertainment that
> transcend such simple impulses.  Such as being a part of
> empire-building.  Falling in love.  Helping others.  Less selfish
> stuff.  (I said it was philosophical)

So....back to some of the things I've suggested in the past.  Most
of us agree that people like to accumulate THINGS.  We don't want to
be punitive in our attempt to remove THINGS from the game, yet we
need to pace the rate of new THINGS entering the game.

Why don't we approach it from the perspective of creating something
that encourages players to get rid of THINGS on their own?  Taxation
was one avenue I suggested.  I want to pay my taxes (removing
GOLDRESOURCE) because I receive some percieved service for doing so.
In order to pay my taxes, I must accumulate wealth by selling off my
extra or less desirable THINGS (removing THINGRESOURCE).

In this case, the player doesn't have to participate in the system.
Certainly, by killing monsters he could possibly earn enough income
to pay his taxes.  It's also likely the player will want to have
extra money to buy other consumables (food for example, if your
characters must eat like mine do to maintain their regen rates).

The resource drain doesn't have to be taxes, though.  It could
conceivably be anything that offers a return in exchange for players
voluntarily removing resources from the game.  I find it funny that
this kind of system makes something most of us consider onerous to
be desirable (from the player perspective) in the game setting.

Giving "services" (an actual service or skill gain or ability to do
something offline that isn't normally accessible without
participation in the system) in return for THINGS is an awesome
idea.  The player feels like he's being rewarded for his efforts
(i.e. WORK = PROFIT) and you're getting rid of THINGS.

The server load is lightened, you're driving down MUDflation and
crafters are still necessary to the community.  Add to this concept
the process of item degredation (at a "reasonable pace") and you can
tweak the system here and there through multiple avenues, so the
over all result is the sum of many small variables.  Players don't
feel like one particular system is overburdening to their playing
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