[MUD-Dev] Reward system for social gaming?

Scott Jennings scottj at mythicentertainment.com
Wed Oct 19 03:16:38 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


Sean Howard wrote:

> First, WoW may have been a bad example. Something like EVE Online
> might be better. I do remember that when Lineage II first came
> out, there were Chinese gold farmers on scripts which literally
> claimed the outdoors and anyone that walked too close would be
> attacked and killed. I think they eventually fixed it, but not
> before many players left the game in disguest.

Actually, WoW is an excellent example if you're talking about the
mass market. EVE Online is a perfect example of a "boutique MMO" -
they have a clear vision of where they want to go with the game, and
it has elements (hands-off gameplay, very unforgiving PvP) that do
not appeal to most people. However, I know many people who are
*rabid* fans of EVE specifically because it's one of the most
unforgiving PvP games on the market. This doesn't make the game
*wrong*, just *different*. It doesn't have 4 million subscribers,
but the developers are happy with its rate of growth, and the
customers are happy. Seems like a success to me!

Getting back to social gaming and PvP (which is where this thread
began after a few dozen derails) - people will try to screw each
other over.  Constantly. Amazingly, they'll do the same in games as
well. Effective game design can minimize the impact of this (and it
is in their direct financial interest to do so, since "interpersonal
incidents" form a disturbing majority of customer support calls, no
matter the MMO) but in the end, you're not going to be able to
decree that People Must Be Nice. You can manage the damage but you
can't prevent it, unless you make a game where the players have so
little impact on the environment that they will then complain that
they can't actually do anything at all.

The botting example you give above is a perfect example. Even in a
PvE only game, though, this would be a problem. If botting isn't
stopped (through expensive, personal CS oversight) then even if
there is no way players can directly harm each other, they can quite
easily indirectly harm each other by consuming available
resources. And there are any number of examples to show that if they
can - they will, as soon as possible. And the fewer "socially
acceptable" channels for aggression that exist, the more that
"creative" ones will bleed through the edges.

>> unplayable for new players. (Although they could read the mocking
>> messages I left, stating that I had renamed the game "Tradewars
>> 10".)

> So... you took offense to my specific usage of WoW, not the basic
> message behind it? Heck, it looks like you are proud of that kind
> of behavior. I rest my case.

I think I was 14 at the time, but yes, people do try to win
competitive multiplayer games. This is not entirely a new
phenomenon.
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