[MUD-Dev] Reward system for social gaming?

Damion Schubert dschubert at gmail.com
Wed Oct 5 11:11:14 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


On 10/3/05, Martin Gundtoft <martingundtoft at itu.dk> wrote:

> I'm a student of computer games at the Danish IT-university and
> currently in the startup phase of a theoretical, MUD related
> project.

> We're a small group of students who are interested in examining
> the possibility of creating a system for rewarding "socializers"
> or encouraging people to use social skills in MMORPG games.

> We believe that (MUD) games in general encourage people to
> socialize but that there are no strictly "game mechanical" system
> in any game that actually rewards the player directly. Of course
> one could argue that large raids or certain other actions would be
> impossible without a social game mechanic like the chat box, but
> what we are looking for is a more direct way of rewards than such
> a secondary relation.

The danger of rewarding socializer behavior is that there is a real
risk of non-socializers coopting the game. As an example, Asheron's
Call's fealty system encouraged everyone to build social heirarchies
to faster advance. The problem is that very few people are actually
good at recruiting and socializing, but the benefits of the fealty
system were extremely potent, which meant that your odds of being
recruited by someone who wasn't going to take care of you was
uncomfortably high.

In my experience, socializers find socializing itself to be it's own
reward= , and frustration in managing your social connections
becomes the point of stress. Making it easier for shop owners to
maintain their businesses and guildmasters to manage their guilds
without their hairs going grey would, in my own opinion, probably
result in better returns in truly social behavior that attempting to
reward the activity.

--d
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