[MUD-Dev] Reward system for social gaming?

Lachek Butalek lachek at gmail.com
Tue Oct 18 09:20:21 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

I think this is a very interesting question to address
formally. However, it would be easier to address if a few more
pieces of information are provided.  For example, is the purpose of
the project only to test certain forms of social skills, or is the
full gamut of social interaction included in the types of behaviour
you wish to encourage in the game? Is the purpose only to inquire
into social interaction, or is the social interaction aspect
secondary or tertiary to the more traditional MUD gameplay of
levelling and quest solving?

I think it is fairly clear from the list so far that encouraging
social behaviour between avatars through a "pellet dispensing"
reward system will be abused. I have examples of such systems
failing even in pure RP settings, with the "voting circles"
commonplace on WoD MUSHs, so the idea that "people RP for RP's own
reward" is not exactly 100% true either.

If you truly want to implement a system where social interactions
are rewarded, my suggestion would be to create it In Character
rather than through game mechanics. A well defined system of
politics where the politicking has actual in-world repercussions and
benefits would be a good starter for this. Many social games has
support for politics, but most tend to be incestuous in
nature. Since there is no way to affect your environment or
surroundings other than through, say, slaying monsters, there is no
tangible benefit to being King, and even less reason to be in the
King's entourage. Those who opt to get involved in politics thus get
involved for politic's own sake, which tends to get old pretty
quickly and adds very little to a MUD.

Further, I think that Sean Howard has a point: > Why? I mean, it's
not like social people won't be social without it, > and non-social
people won't suddenly enjoy crowds because of it.

If your purpose is to create a game, and not just a social game
simulator, then you probably want to ensure that those who are
interested in playing the game without much in terms of social
interaction (or political backstabbing, as the case may be) are able
to do so without being penalized.  Again, the best way of doing so
is to keep the social game In Character, which implies that you have
to opt-in to play it.
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