[MUD-Dev] Reward system for social gaming?

Freeman, Jeff jfreeman at soe.sony.com
Wed Oct 19 05:55:01 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005


I don't really have anything specific to respond to, so I'm just
going to reply to the thread rather than quoting anyone in
particular and replying to that specifically.

Rewarding social play isn't a bad thing in and of itself, but the
reward needs to map to the goals of the social gamer. Rewarding
social play isn't bad, but rewarding the social player with an
achievement oriented reward is, for reasons others have mentioned:
Non-social players will then "play" the social game in order to
"win" it for the reward, which ruins the style of game play that you
were, presumably, attempting to encourage.

I'm not entirely convinced this leads directly to an online
holocaust, but it does diminish the game play you wanted to support.

Social rewards are things that players can use to increase their
social standing. A good social reward is, for example, something
that I have no direct use for myself, but that I can give to another
player to improve my social standing. Something they want, in order
to maintain improve their social standing.  =20 As a social player,
I want to have a party and get people to come to it.  So I need
cake. You have no use for cake, but you'd like to come to my
party. Rewarding you with a cake, which you can use to bribe a
party-invite out of me, which I want because having a party with a
cake will result in more people arriving, is a good sort of social
award.

Rewards that are "spent" to increase or maintain social standing and
"used" to increase or maintain social standing are good rewards for
social gaming: a fancy party dress, for example, which I have no use
for, though I do need a date to a fancy party and the person I might
like to invite will need a dress to wear to it, makes for a fine
social reward, that an achiever has simply no use for in any way.

But the "system" for rewarding social gaming remains pretty
organic. The reward for social play is social status created and
granted by other players. The system shouldn't try to do that.

It's hard to think of things like that though, since I'm a pretty
anti-social player myself.
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