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Jan 08, 2005



One thing a mud I used to play did was decreasing the xp you get from an area the more xp you take from the area. Not quite the same, but it achives a similar effect, presumeably in a less annoying manner.


Location-based diminishing returns... Very clever to shuttle people around. You already experience diminishing returns as you progress through a treadmill, but once at the top, it's same-old/same-old. This removes (at least partially) the diminishing returns mechanic from the avatar and places it in the content itself, propelling you through the content instead of through your treadmill. Even better, the content tredmill re-sets automatically (without a riot), whereas the avatar treadmill keeps ticking along as usual. Looks very interesting!


I can see this being accepted by players if it is built into the game world in some way, or into the lore of the world. Say it is a fantasy VW and an explanation is given the the lands continually shift by magic or some other reason. Therefore this changing doesn't feel out of place or forced, and can be accepted by the player.

Of course, with this technique, one has to worry about keeping the world consistent. I assumed that various areas of the VW would be shifted about, and if this is the case, it has to be asked what good would maps be?

Also, in this shifting, what happens if a new player suddenly finds themself in an area for players of a much hight level? If a player keeps facing death because of this it may drive them from the game.

Of course, if this shifting is simply going to involve items it could work easily, but I don't see much benefit that would come from it.


I can definitely see the benefit of this kind of approach...

This happens a bit with surveying in SWG... I survey a bit, then my survey tool says that a greater concentration has been found elsewhere. I move to the new spot, and sure enough, my first attempt yields a lot more. The key is a good pay-off for my effort to move or search for the new location. Then it becomes part of the game, not just an annoyance.

Instead of just diminishing returns on existing locations, I'd suggest a period of increased returns (and perhaps random spectacular returns?) for the new locations, motivating people to seek them out. I also like the idea that it's tied into the lore somehow. (a certain species has had to move because of overhunting, and they took their secret cache of gold with them, now there for the taking, as well).


Location-based diminishing returns...

Eve-online's asteriod belts are the foundation of its resource economy. they are depleted when mined, replenishing only in small increments over time (i think server resets - once day). Net effect is that systems can get mined out and folks move on to different pastures, perhaps to return weeks later if left fallow long enough.


Some analogous techniques:

1) Have portals occasionally misdirect players to new cities... kind of like Harry Potter's "Diagon alley" to "Diagonally" over the flu network.

2) Have shops (or quests) move within towns, or to neighboring towns... I hate it when this happens in real life.

3) Re-brand content that's not used... give it a new name and some new packaging, and creating an in-game advertising campagin.

4) Offer 2-for-1 deals that assiociate underutilized content with favored content.

But, what is the equivalent of verticality on supermarket shelves? Generic/cheaper items are always on the bottom of the shelves so they're not noticed.


I'd add to Mike's list: give bonuses (go to underused areas, get bonuses). You can tie this into seasonal changes somehow (think of Heroes of Might and Magic's 'week of the orc').


I'll add to Mike's and Damion's list, only slightly tongue-in-cheek. Why not empower the content with mobility, AI, and a burning narcism: underutilized, no problem, track you down...


I'll add to Mike, Damion & Nathan:

Study established walkthroughs and guides and counter-program content location.

The equivalent of verticality on supermarket shelves will only occur in an variable cost environment: putting the most expensive content in the town center. Example, a store in town instead of a hermit on a high mountain-top that sells IG items for RL $.


I assume Richard didn't mean (re)balancing the system which most suggestions seem to point at and which of course is done already in MUDs/MMOs (moving dungeons,teleports,adding teleports,quests,loot-tables,leveling system, class systems etc), but actually deliberately denying access to what you are entitled to and giving you something else instead...

Bad because:
1. people don't need to deal with MMOs that piss them off and there is relatively low cost by moving elsewhere (not so in the physical)

2. you raise the threshold for returning players, returning players dislike feeling like complete newbies and idiots.

3. sweeping changes makes communication difficult

And it's good because... because... ehh...


Thinking of this in the context of SWG, that game has done SOME of this, and done some of the opposite. The recent JTL expansion changed the attractiveness of some locations dramatically. This is good.

On the other hand the way that MOBs spawn is based on the local player population. This reinforces status quo to a very large degree. The most popular hunting areas stay popular because not only can you find other players as potential groupmates and services (buffing, etc), but the population of prey is far higher. The less popular planets are starved. Even if you try to hunt them your potential targets are few and far between in the wild. If you can get missions for what you're hunting you can do okay, but you do far better where you can mix missions with wild spawns (at least as one harvesting creature resources or drops).

Logic should reverse this. The greatest spawn should be in the unpopulated wilds. This would pull people out and away from the central lag-infested spots and into the more pristine (and dangerous) outside. This would also lower server loads as the "spawned" lairs would not actually need to load unless someone cam into range.

This would have the side benefit of civilizing the areas where many players constantly clean out things. They would (as long as that behavior continued) become "safe" for newbies and crafters. There would be little risk of a spawn popping as you stepped away from tending a harvester.

But as traffic shifted to other more productive areas, infiltrators would reappear, and need cleaning out again to retain that status quo. This would create a far more dynamic system that would encourge players to range more widely.

The occasional static spawns do pull players on some planets (mutant rancors on Dath, Kimos on Lok, etc), but that again creates camping spots more than scattering the population.

That's not to say there should not be areas that are player congregation places. Those certainly exist at starports and the major trading/spamming/buffing cities. But those activities are less sensitive to lag (lag has less potential to have disasterous consequences to player "fun") than the hunting areas. The best way to keep lag from activities where lag kills is to spread out the population. That isn't happening in general.


I think I can give an example of this from UO (at least the UO I used to play a fair few years ago).

The easiest way to get around if you had no skill in magic and therefore could no recall was to use moongates. Moongates would teleport you from one moongate to another, yet not at your request but based on the ingame time cycle.

I always found this an interesting idea and was very dissapointed when this was removed in favour of a "pick a destination" interface.

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