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Jul 30, 2004



The fictions here are already so broken that I don't think any of the developers need to worry in that respect. I think instead that for those games with active economies, there are interesting and possibly unsavory kinds of arbitrage that these deals induce.

More to the point, though, I think you have to take all this activity as further confirmation that there are just about as many people playing MMOGs right now as there are ever going to be, barring some startling design breakthrough. City of Heroes has probably been the msot successful of the recent MMOGs at drawing people to the genre who've never played it, and I doubt even there that there's many in that category.


Nathan> When do deals become fiction breaking?

I think when the particular community of the particular game collectively decides (this includes in-game placement ads too).

Mark of DaoC sounds straightforward and sencere in his letter highlighting the new changes and why it is being implemented. He convince me of the rationale.



there are interesting and possibly unsavory kinds of arbitrage that these deals induce.


Mark of DaoC sounds straightforward and sencere

Is there any difference between rules (hard constraints) vs. deals/incentives for "behavior modification" wrt game fiction? Consider this hypothetical: "I'll pay you to be good" (on a sliding scale), vs. "I'll just ban you if you are bad." The former might, so goes the thought, imply the possibilty of another level of (meta)gaming that can go on, which can undermine the fiction.

I wonder if one could build a case for some analog to Nick Szabo's "Mental Accounting Barrier"... If I have to think about whether "being good" (etc) is worth it - its a distraction.


Nathan> I wonder if one could build a case for some analog to Nick Szabo's "Mental Accounting Barrier"... If I have to think about whether "being good" (etc) is worth it - its a distraction.

I wouldn't. Else, I would have to think that TerraNova is a distraction :)

The distinction I use is "force" or "incentive." Personally, force implies "oppression" and incentive implies "choice."

VWs, like AOL, have the choice and power to impose their policies and rules in their private space. However, is it to their benefit at the cost of the users or a benefit to both? This grey area of "social norms" is not easy to navigate.

Of course, the best case scenario is that the design of the VW do not need external incentives or any "behavior modification" tweeks.


hmm. Interesting.

ROE is currently donation model, with certian "gifts" to those who donate. Kinda like a PBS drive. From what I have seen so far, none of these are really mythbreaking, cannot be traded, etc.

As for "newb" honorarium, well, does'nt this go on already? I know my guild will give small quests for players to get basic armor and weapons and other gear. Certianly other guilds in other games do the same.

Now, I confess, if the player RP's the exchange, and a good number do, the reward goes up, maybe a small magical item or some more cash.

So am I impacting the myth of the game? Sure, but I am doing from within the system, with little or no material support from the management. (Ok, they don't shoot me down for announcing the quests in the help channel, the only global channel)

And isn't that what the management should do? Get the PLAYERS to form the support system, and they will build community for you.



For the sake of discussion (not really advocating a viewpoint) -

I wonder, however, if the larger issue with MMOGs is the fact that they necessarily must overlay/co-mingle "player management" with "game" concerns. For example, how much of what goes on is related to "organization" vs. "play". True you can try to set it up so that players role-play as much of the organization stuff as possible - but does it really work out that way? Can it work out that way - given that at the end of the day, whether you can make the guild activity at 9pm EST really boils down to RL considerations?

So to complete the thought - the more pervasive one work "management-stuff" (including noob-care, server-balancing, etc.) into fabric of the game, the greater the distraction? Vs. just simply drawing lines, and say, now imagine in that space...

...You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door. There is a small mailbox here.


I think the tipping point of distraction is whether this "management" stuff is the priority activity for my limited game time or whether I NEED to do this in order to get to the priority activity.

Take travel for example. If my priority activity is to kill foozle to get loot and exp then travel becomes a distraction instead of enjoyment. However, if the designers put interesting encounters or activity along the road to the foozle, I might enjoy the journey and that becomes my priority activity.



I think Frank has a good point. In DAoC, I believe RvR is the priority activity. If so, the barriers to making a new character are not primarily the low-end game. For most classes, getting from level 1 to level 40 is too slow, but not a serious problem (when I played DAoC, I got from 1-40 several times). It's the post-40 and post-50 (TOA et al.) treadmills where casual players suffer.

If they want people to move to less populated servers, all treadmills should be greatly reduced and/or they should allow character moves similar to account splitting (but only allow moves to underdog realms, and, ideally, allow creating an "equivalent" character in a different realm). The time investment is currently way too great to expect any but the most hard-core (with a large support group and a buffbot) to start over on a new server.

If they want people to make more alts, they need to dramatically reduce the time investment (esp. TOA) or make many of the treadmills a "once per account" deal. I.e. If you already have a level 50 character, you can make as many level 40 characters as you like. And if you have a ML10 character, you get MLs automatically with each level over 40.

If they want to draw people (back) from newer games, they need to make the entire game faster. Combat is too slow (and too automatic--get rid of autoattack). Travel times are too slow. The treadmill is too slow. Tradeskill advancement is too slow.

This was my first (and lasting) impression when I accepted the "come back to Camelot" offer: this game is S-L-O-W. ToA is even slower with swimming everywhere and

AO and CoH have spoiled me, and I can no longer enjoy slower games.

But this brings up an unrelated (and hopefully inaccurate) Law: "Every game eventually makes a Gates of Discord." AO made Shadowlands... DAoC made Trials of Atlantis...

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