Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The no-lifer issue

Most games have strict time limits. You can’t just show up at 3AM in the basketball stadium and score into the empty basket while the other team is asleep. Nor you can’t go AFK in chess and wait until your opponent has to stop playing and win while he is away. In other games the task is itself trivial (like run 100 yards), but the winner is decided by who performed it fastest.

In MMOs on the other hand it’s completely OK to spend the whole day farming or showing up at 3 AM at some objective or wait until the other guy logs of or gives up in boredom. Strike that, many players consider their willingness to spend extreme amount of time in the game a positive thing, dubbed as “effort”. They spew hate on the natural counter of no-lifership: AFK-cloaking. You can’t play more than an AFK cloaker.

The question is “is it a good game design”? First we must ask if basketball would be a better game if you could win by scoring into the empty basket? I doubt if anyone would say yes. It would remove the athletics element from basketball. The ability to play basketball would be secondary to the ability to camp the stadium 24/7. Even the current basketball stars would have no chance against a no-lifer who scores hundreds while they are asleep. But if so, why do people support the no-lifer approach to MMOs?

I can imagine two ways of handling a time-limit. One could be applied on MMOs with multiple shards like World of Warcraft: the servers are in different timezones but every server is up for only 3 hours a day. You simply can’t log in in the other hours. Of course you can find another server to log in (just like you can play basketball any time if you have team, or just by yourself if you have a basket), but your progress cannot be transferred to the servers of another time zone. This way your progress in a server would only be the function of your performance as you simply can’t play more than your competitors.

For single-sharded MMOs the above cannot be implemented one by one. However it can be on a per player basis. You set up your playing hours, up to 3 hours, it would be 16:00-19:00 EVE time for me. I could log in only in this time. Corporations and alliances would also have to set up such time zone. The time zone cannot be changed for more than once a month. All the corporation structures would be reinforced outside the time zone and freely attackable in the time zone (multi-day reinforcements apply).

Such change would seriously change the MMOs. However I’m sure it would be for the better. Your progress in the game would depend on your actions more than your time commitment to the game. Players with healthy life could be competitive with those who have no job or school, assuming equal abilities. Botting would disappear or at least would be limited to the occasions when the player can’t play in his play hours. If we consider that those with healthy life are much more likely to pay money to the developer instead of RMT-ing or just farming in free-to-play games it’s double gain.

PS: I do not comment yet on the Rubicon changes, both because we know too few details, and the Devil is always in the details.



Another ganker joined the corp and found this beautiful anti-tear:

32 comments:

Fengrar said...

I am not going to lie, I am so very confused about this post. Don't get me wrong I understand the point you are trying to make, but it doesn't make sense for a few reasons.

First, simply from a business prospective why would any video game producer artificially limit the amount of time that people can play their product? It just doesn't make sense to tell people they are only allowed to play something for X amount of hours/day and only between certain hours? You are making such an unreasonable assumption that every single player ever plays during the same time every day. Granted, most people do have a certain time of day they tend to play, but to limit them to just that time is absurd. What if they had some extra time and just wanted to play the game... but wait, they can't because it isn't their allotted time so they can't log in. You know what I would do in that case? Oh yeah, never play the game again because I would find something that doesn't tell me when I can play.

Secondly you are comparing a sporting event to a computer/video game. The only similarities these two things have in common is that they can both be called a game, that is where it ends. Sporting events are based on competition while video games (especially MMOs) are designed to engage the player for as long as possible. But I am confused by your argument on why people who spend an 'extreme' amount of time on something is bad? Isn't that the point of the game, to have people play? Those who do spend forever at something should have more loot/gear/money/etc... because they are willing to spend their time working towards it. I happen to have a job and a life outside of video games, so I refuse to spend hours 'waiting' out the other guy... that isn't fun to me and I accept that there are parts of ANY MMO that I cannot access due to my play style. And it wouldn't be healthy for MMO's it would effectively destroy them. If you want a game that rewards you only on 'skill', go play CoD or any other FPS, not EvE or WoW.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a no lifer, I work 40 hours a week and usually game on one of my two days off, I think I wouldn't want to play a game knowing I had a strict schedule with it. It would remove the relaxation side of it, my proposal would just be a time limit, you get 3hours a day from when you first log in. What you think about that?

Please excuse typos in mobile.

Gevlon said...

@Fengrar: Yes, the change would hurt CURRENT players. But it would get more new players. Currently if you aren't ready to put in every minute of your awake, non-working hours, you can't reach anything in the game. If you have working hours and don't play all day you can't be in the "elite". That scares off many prospective customers.

Also, consider that the guy who plays 30 mins a day pays exactly the same subscription as the one who plays 16 hours.

Anonymous said...

In what way enforcing a strict time schedule would attract new customers? People play games to have fun, not to make them their second job. And that's exactly what would happen - you HAVE TO log in at exactly xx:xx or you won't play at all. Doesn't sound appealing. What's more absurd is that you think it would benefit people who have "real life". These people (like myself) don't have strict play schedule, but play when they feel like it and they have free time to do it. You want them to postpone their real life commitments because their play time is on. I really can't think of anyone who would like such change. Current rules are simple - if you want and are able to play now, go on and do it, have some fun. If you want to sacrifice your life to be in a game 24/7, that's your choice and the game shouldn't stop you. With your system, literally everyone loses.

Anonymous said...

It is a fallacy that games only reward "no-lifers".

People always claim that only those with no job can play 40+ hours a week So, lets take a look...

40/7 = 5.7 hours a day.

Arrive home from work at 5, eat til 6, play from 6-10, assuming you are a person who goes to bed and gets 9 hours sleep before work.

= 4 * 5 = 20 hours

Weekends, 48 hours with only 20 left to play....16 hours sleeping = 36 total, leaving you 14 hours to do...whatever it is you do on weekends, watch TV, take 2 * 7 hour walks, go shopping, have dinner etc, go to the bar for hours.

So, now we see that heavy gaming is not the preserve of those "no-lifers", but then, you knew that anyway, and I expected better than for you to fall into that fallacy. WoW has not needed elite gaming since they got rid of PvP honour decay.

Esteban said...

"If you have working hours and don't play all day you can't be in the "elite". That scares off many prospective customers."

It scares off very few people. Seriously, I do not think I know anyone or of anyone who decided not to pick up a particular MMO because they didn't have the time to grind to be a progression raider. With EVE, it's almost a non-issue at all, given various SRPs/relatively low ISK cost of many activities.

The majority of people don't want to be in the elite, or to play in the way that gets them there.

For the majority of MMO players, the adequate reward is much more modest: hey, I have a couple more pieces of new gear now than I did a week ago, more practice under my belt, I'm kicking more butt on the damage meters/healing comfortably something I struggled with before. Yey. I'm happy.

Moreover, in theme park MMOs, strict time limits would wreck actual progression raiding as it is done now.

Fengrar has the right of it. You are letting your meritocratic ideology get ahead of your business sense. Bad form for a goblin.

Josiah Carlson said...

As a practical matter for both the business and the players, time limits don't work. But you brought up a viable alternative before: time-based bonuses.

These bonuses exist in World of Warcraft already: bonus experience for the time you spend logged out. It's actually been years since I've played WoW, but when I was playing, the bonus experience actually helped (this was back when it could take 2-3 hours to get enough unrested experience to level, and I was only playing a couple hours every day or two).

In the context of EVE, maybe for the first hours of play for an account after being logged out you get a bonus. Assume a player that had been logged out for a day; any mission rewards, mining, etc., are 150%, but are reduced by 20% at the end of every hour of play, bottoming out at 10% of current levels after 6 hours. You recover your bonus by logging out, boosting your bonus 10% for every hour logged out (hitting your max of 150% after 14 hours of being logged out).

While logged out, you could also get a 25% training bonus for 18 hours for each hour you played, for up to 3 days of bonus training earned after 4 hours of play time.

The result: you play for 1 hour and get 1.5 hours of profit plus 18 hours of 25% bonus training. At 2 hours, you get 2.8 hours of profit and 1.5 days of bonus training. At 3 hours, you get 3.9 hours of profit and a little over 2 days of bonus training.

With these numbers (or something like them), it encourages people to play every 1-3 days for 1-3 hours each time, but not *too* much, or at least to do their PVE grind first. It also encourages users who are training up supercap pilots to log in with them to get bonus rat/mission/mine income.

Playing for more than 6 hours at a time is a net loss compared to now, and after 7 hours your incremental earnings are only 10% of current levels. In fact, for someone with a 24/7 bot/afk, they are only marginally more effective in a 24 hour period than a casual player who plays for roughly 1 hour/day doing the same stuff actively.


If you are careful, you would note that having multiple accounts would bypass the time limits, and you are right. But that just means more accounts to PLEX or buy, which would become prohibitively expensive for additional mining accounts (thanks to the bonus/penalty for play time).

Anonymous said...

That would hardly get any new clients. The only thing worse than having to grind in a game for hours on end is if you have to organize your life around your MMO game schedule. "Oh guys, sorry, I can get to the pub not before 11. It's my Eve time." Geez.

Alkarasu said...

@Gevlon
"If you have working hours and don't play all day you can't be in the "elite"."

As a matter of fact, you can. The solution is that the games you are talking about not a single-player games, not even just multiplayer. There are some strict limits to what you can accomplish on your own. For everything else you have to join a group - and that will enforce some very strict time restrictions on your gameplay, not much less, than forcing you to be able to log on for no more, than 3 hours a day. If your raiders can't go for more - you don't raid for more, even if you can' play 24/7.

dobablo said...

Setting a specific time per day is very anti-lifers, since they presumably have life getting in the way of their play time. The fairer alternative would be to give people a set time that they could play for. But that would just encourage people to be optimal and not play for fun, so to allow for diversity in play styles and learning you need to give people a daily resource allowance, let's call it "energy" so people can only do a set number of actions in a day. Oh look, I've just created a Facebook game, but seriously, some activities need to be action limited just so the market doesn't require no-lifer activity to be able to compete.

In all honesty, I think that a well designed game would be one where player productivity slowly decreased the longer they played, but not one that is capped. The advantage gained by a no-lifer playing longer would not be neglogable, but at the same time there is some catch-up permitted.

If we look at how WoW does it you can see three levels.
1. High reward/time investment zone, where daily cooldowns and instance runs get extra rewards for their first run.
2. Capped high level reward. Weekly instance locks and points to prevent massive grinding (relaxed in PvP to allow people to catch up in the current season).
3. Uncapped content such as grinding materials XP leveling.

maxim said...

ohhhhhhhh

This is a weird subject. Ultimately it touches on what games are as a product. As in what is the value of games to their audience, and thus the source of commercial viability of games.

The value of classic games, such as basketball, is in competition and social activities surrounding that competition. Teams, people supporting teams, etc.

The value of computer games, however, has largely evolved as escapism. The intent, for most games, is not to compete, but to actually kill time. Preferrably, socially.

That's why most people don't actually AFK-mine. Mining and just flying around in Eve can be an activity that is enjoyable in a brain-dead sort of way.

Limiting that kind of play cuts into what is currently the core of what games attractive to people.

I don't like that attraction to games developed in that sort of way. But you can't just cut that source of attraction out. Alternatives need to be provided, that provide similar or exceeding level of attraction to the game. So far, i don't see any alternatives.

I'm looking, though.

mike dados said...

I have a zit on my finger, OMG cut the whole hand, now!!!


Your solution seems extreme and only takes away more benefit than it adds.

The argument that you can only become elite by putting enough time to be a "no lifer" is false. You yourself have proved that one can become one of the richest people in the game by spending an hour each day in the market. You can FC one fleet a week and become elite. You can pvp once a week and have an "elite" killboard (if that even is a thing".

In any MMO game the balance between skill and effort (or time spent) should be balanced. For instance the balance is broken in a game like diablo, where time spent is much more important than actual skill. In EVE I do not believe that balance is broken (at least not to the extreme degree you are making it to be).

There are plenty of elite players that don't even spend that much time in the game.

I implore you gevlon to stop taking such extreme opinions on everything. Your posts always have a good point but get eventually ruined by raving assumptions and solutions. Sometimes you don't have to offer a solution, just pointing towards the problem is enough. Sometimes it is ok not to be sure about a particular topic.

Anonymous said...

If the 3h restriction would be the only mechanic change you are boosting passive activities.

A trader only needs to log in so many minutes a day to adjust orders.
Industrialists/Lab rats only need to log in to install/deliver jobs.

so those will not really be affected at all from the 3h rule.

Active PvE/PvP activities will take a big hit. No more epic day spawning battles/sieges.

It will be much harder to defend Sov. Due to the shear manpower one would require to setup 23/7 gatecmaps.

So if you want to introduce such a imo. silly mechanic (beside get a RL) you will have make sure any ingame activity is affected by this limit.

Sure one could argue that traders will find a much harder competition due to naturally less demand of items. But then again with the odds in favor of attackers alot more POS/Sov structures would be needed.

Alot of players earn their isk via grindy activities (Incursions, L4, Mining, Anomalies, Plexes) forcing them to do it almost every day to fund their needs (PLEX, PvP equipment). Restricting/Forcing them to do it on almost a daily base will result in either switching to subscription or leave the game completely due to frustration and boredom level.

TBTSan said...

Strict "play window" might be too much. Maybe some "endurance" counter would help - you reach 0 after playing for 3 hours, regain it back after 21 hours. And you can play with 0 "endurance" but with much limited possibilities.

Anonymous said...

@Gevlon,

Your analogy of sports to MMOs is broken. You only consider the end-game of sports: the match between the teams.

Sports can be played at any time and any place so long as you meet the prerequisites: there are enough people to play and your playing space can accommodate the sport. There may be laws against noise, or using the park during certain hours, but you are not confined to only a few hours to play your selected sport.

When can you play an MMO? There are enough people to play ("enough" players engage in the chosen activity for cooperation/competition), and the playing space can accommodate it (the server is up and your computer can run the game). Servers can go down for maintenance, preventing you from playing (similar to a park being closed).

Regarding the ease to play a sport or an MMO in its current state, the two are very similar.

Let's ignore that there are objectives to be claimed during off hours for a moment.

You pose the question: "...we must ask if basketball would be a better game if you could win by scoring into the empty basket?"

You should be asking: "...we must ask if basketball would be a better game if you could constantly play it day after day?"

The thing is, you can play a sport as much as you want (given you can find the people to play with and there is a playing space). In order to be competitive like in an MMO, you must have a lot of practice time. I wonder how much the athletes on sports teams practice? I'll bet you they do. See:

http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/college/2011-01-14-ncaa-survey_N.htm

This article talks about the training regimen of college-level competitive football players, who spend on average 43.3 hours a week on their training.

MMO players similarly put a lot of time into their chosen game, not all of which is spent in the raid, AFK-Cloaking, and other activities.

My point: Sports take a lot of practice to be competitive in; MMOs are similar in that regard.

I said to set aside that you can take objectives in off-hours, so now let's address this:

It does encourage no-lifing, but most MMOs today don't have this element. Not themeparks either. Darkfall UW skirts this via the "Challenge" mechanic, which makes it so that you can only take another clan's holding. Only 22 hours after the challenge is issued can the attacker actually take the location (the defender can destroy the attacker's siege stones 21 hours after the challenge is issued). A 21 hour advance warning (that is, you decide to log in at all that day) is very good. In theme parks, you have dungeon lockouts.

Source: http://www.darkfallonline.com/manual/challenge-specifics

In sports, tournaments are planned well in advance. That is, "the stuff that matters."

No-life camping is not something that should be worried about in "the stuff that matters," and in a good game it's not. However, to get extremely competitive in either scene you must be willing to dedicate a lot of time to the game.

TL;DR : Sports and MMOs have non-major league elements that are not restricted in playtime, but the "stuff that matters" is restricted in both areas.

Anonymous said...

so, what you want is, that a basketball superstar is only allowed to have 3 hours of trainingtime a day?
even the kids in the streets are only allowed to play basketball for 3 hours a day - because they could go pro after college, and having had more training than the others would give them an unfair advantage, therefore driving of other kids who are also interested in a basketball career, but are turned of by the fact that other kids just have what it takes to succeed in the game / the league.

makes perfect sense to me.


don't forget, the nolifer has no life for a very special reason - having no life.

btw, the basketball superstar is, in his own way, a nolifer as well.
oh, and of course he is elite.

yet we all cheer for him.

Anonymous said...

Assuming you could get anyone to pay for a game that limits your play time, there is another issue. The specific 3 hour time frame would actually completely benefit the "no-lifer".


Most people who have lives would play whenever they had the time. Maybe they are able to play for the whole 3 hours. Or maybe they miss some or all of it because of work or other plans, etc. Not to mention that anyone who worked retail would be completely screwed since there schedule would possibly change from week to week.

On the other hand the "no-lifer" would schedule his whole day around the 3 hours so that he didn't miss a second.

Fengrar said...

@Gevlon I highly doubt creating a game that artificially limits its players to playing a set amount of hours will draw more people in. Why would anyone who isn't already playing spend money on something they cannot use when they please? I know I wouldn't.

I disagree with your assumption that just because you work doesn't mean can't experience the end game of any MMO. When I played WoW I, with my limited time I still found a group of players to raid with and I had all purple gear. It simply comes down to properly budgeting the time one does have to maximize the progress to whatever goal you have. And EvE does a wonderful job at letting those with less play time have the same skill has those who play all day. Because no matter how much you play your skill training is still bound by the SP rate. I can log on for 2 minutes a day and eventually be able to fly a titan or I can play 23/7 and still be able to fly the titan at the same point in time.

And I fall close to the 30 min crowd and I have no issue with the fact that the dude playing 16hrs pays the same. Its a matter of how I value my time during the day. Game time is to relax and have fun at the end of the day not to waste away. And I turn your question around, how many people who play 30 min WANT to play 16 hours? Probably a small % as those who only play a small amount play to relax not to flaunt their e-peen.

Bitter said...

Erm... Aren't you the proof that you don't need to play all hours to be in the "elite", that the smart player can achieve anything they want without spending every minute in the game?

Set a time limit and you would lose a lot of players -- starting with those who can't play that often but when they can they can binge. Then the ones who aren't very good but make up for it with time -- and, like it or not, you need bad players else the average ones always "lose" and then leave.

The logical extension of what you are proposing is that a player's market orders are only available during his time slot -- no buys or sells overnight! -- and that PI, manufacturing and research only run for three hours a day. Really? On the upside, I guess my POS won't be using any fuel 21 hours of the day.

We all make choices. If the "no-lifer" wants to spend 16 hours a day "winning" EvE then fine -- I'll be outside, smelling the roses, safe in the knowledge that I've already beaten them at a far more important game...

Azuriel said...

This argument is silly. Where is the evidence for all these new MMO players whose primary reason for not playing is that they can't compete in endgame activities? And how do you expect them to compete with the hardcore players willing to play on multiple time shards for extra practice?

Also, aren't these games supposed to be sandboxes and virtual worlds? In which case, spending more time than the other guy is a legit strategy. Not to mention attacking when your opponent is asleep is an obvious military strategy.

Gevlon said...

Most of you focus on one aspect of the post: that fixing the people to a SET hour is probably not a good idea. How about limiting them to 3 hours a day (any time) or even 21 hours a week (any day).

Or you think that playing all day to compensate for playing bad is OK?

Of course no one said "I won't play this game because of no-life" but many quit the game after failing to compete no-lifers (and bots).

Lucas Kell said...

@Gevlon
"Or you think that playing all day to compensate for playing bad is OK?"
I think it doesn't matter even in the slightest what other people chose to do.

"Of course no one said "I won't play this game because of no-life" but many quit the game after failing to compete no-lifers (and bots)."
I challenge this. Please provide evidence that people are quitting because of being "beaten" by no-lifers. Firstly, you have to understand that your concept of beating someone is flawed. You have more isk than me. FACT. But that doesn't mean I've lost EVE. My gameplay is totally unaffected by your level of isk.
If anything, no-lifers help keep the things I do enjoy doing cheap. I don;t have the time to get billions of m3 of tritanium into the market. Without no-lifers, I would be fighting for minerals against huge alliances who can afford to buy up most of the market.

Anonymous said...

The difference between "hardcore" and casual is not time...contrary to popular opinion, it is use of time.

A hardcore player, in any game, will log in with specific aims, achieve them, and then either logoff or chill.
A casual (like me) may play many many hours, but will take longer cos I sit about and do nothing for hours on end, in any game.

It is not a "no-lifer" that people complain they cannot compete with, that is just the claim made on forums...it is the person who logs in with the goal of achieve a, b and c and then log off.

In many games, "hardcore" raiders spend less time online than most people, and "hardcore" pvpers etc log in, do their thing, then log off..especially in eve, where you train while logged off, and isk is easy to come by.

Zorlak said...

Greedy, I've been reading your blogs for years now, and I most of the times agree with you, but this time, man you blew it.

"Currently if you aren't ready to put in every minute of your awake, non-working hours, you can't reach anything in the game."

Forget about everyone else, you are the proof that makes that sentence wrong. You don't play all day long and still have acomplished in game things that most players haven't, even no-lifers.

A change of this nature to any MMO would cause huge subscription losses. In my case I like to play every time I feel like it, and as long as I feel like it, make that an hour or 10.

Really dude, if someone likes being limited to play in that limited way he should be playing candy crush. He'll get a try every 30 minutes, happy happy, joy joy.

maxim said...

Playing all day to compensate for bad play is only not OK on the level of personal values.

Sadly, it works out quite alright on business level. Escapism is a valued product in our modern era of goblin wannabes.

Anonymous said...

I can see where you're going with this one, but consider if its a 'problem' that needs solving.

The fact you will always have less time on than the unemployed gives incentives for casually playing with a group. That guy may have 20 hours, but 10 of you can put in two hours and be in the same boat.

And lets face it, station trading doesn't need you there 24/7, it actually encourages you to be more patient for better rewards, since markets move up and down throughout the day, constantly .01ing orders can leave you paying more than just waiting for epensive orders to finish.

But the reason why 100% of eve forum recommendation posts are bad is because people don't consider what incentives actions give. Other than the true grinding (missions, mining, which are shitty ways to earn, and shittier ways to engage) most things are improved, not by the amount of time spent on them, but the amount of people you get on them. 6vdt battles are the rare exception, but if the game was working at 100%, that battle would have required 2000 people, for 2 hours. Someone can spend all day online and not affect the outcome any further.

Anonymous said...

you solution is already everywhere. So what are you all talking about?

gw2 diminishing returns on nearly anything after not even half the time I would consider "grind". when I play it a bit grindy I hit DR with ease. I'm sure you can prevent it somehow ... I just alt-f4 and start another game.

same with nearly any f2p. what ever you do -> CAP, daily, hourly, weekly, amountly! So what you suggest is already nearly everywhere. maybe not in middle age sub games like EVE. But nearly everything else. besides the happy "you played x hours please take a break" warning.

I'm very very far from elite. my efficiency is not very good. The real elite will have to hit whatever DR in no time these days.

Gevlon said...

The fact that you can outplay a dumb no lifer doesn't change the problem. 2 players with exact same skill: the one with 2x more time achieve 2x more results.

Sugar Kyle said...

I play all day because I want to play all day. That's it. I play a 23/7 game because that is what I want to play. I don't care about people who play more or play less. Not every single person who plays this game or any game is wrapped up in win or lose mechanics.

The AFK cloaker can cloak their null system all day long. The miner can mine and you can gank all day long. None of that brushes against what I am doing.

Yet, in your world I get penalized because you want to set limits on how long other people can play because you have some metric that determines that people who play more then others are winning and that should be stopped.

I've been waiting for the announcement that this is an elaborate troll but instead I think the goal is to try to get people to think about something that is clear only to you.

It feels to me that you are trying to build in a solid and clearly defined win structure into a game to full of randomness and ambiguous possibility. But, that is a guess because I cannot understand your actual point or reason for this topic.

Azuriel said...

The fact that you can outplay a dumb no lifer doesn't change the problem. 2 players with exact same skill: the one with 2x more time achieve 2x more results.

...so?

I hope you realize that even under your own scheme, someone who can utilize 100% of their allotted time will achieve more than someone who can only play 1-2 of the 3 hours a day, or half the 21 hours a week.

These "time is unfair" arguments always baffle me, especially coming from someone who insists that anyone not spending, you know, time to read and research out-of-game is necessarily M&S. It's silly. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day; there isn't much in life more fair than that.

Alkarasu said...

@Gevlon
"doesn't change the problem."

Because there are, actually, no such problem. That's a complete opposite of a problem for such games. MMORPG, in many aspects, are not an even competition field, like sports. It's more of a life model in some alien ruleset. It isn't supposed to be fair all the way through. You yourself is a prime example of the general idea - you can make more ISK investing 2 hours a day, then most people can make playing every minute they are not asleep, while aiming at most ISK/hour they know how to make. Can you somehow compensate for that? No, you can't. Any barrier to stop you from outperforming everyone (short of removing you from the game completely) will stop everyone from catching up to you even better.

Coralina said...

It is no surprise that the no-lifer will always defend game designs that play to their competitive advantage.

You see the same behaviour with those "human bots" you see on game auction houses. They always promote the 1c strategy and complain about the type of tactics you have deployed in the past because naturally they want you to play their game by their rules where they hold an unassailable advantage.

No doubt those commenting on your blog opposing anti-no-lifer restrictions are no-lifers themselves. I can't criticise them for that, they are behaving rationally and protecting their competitive edge.

Alas I don't see a solution to the current problem of MMORPG's being more advantageous to no-lifers and less a test of skill. Your ideas whilst suggested with noble intent are liable to cause more problems than they solve. That is why I am moving away from such games to those that focus entirely on skill.

Some might point out that even in a "100% skill based game", skill level is a function of time spent and this is true. But the difference is that once you have reached your own personal skill cap you can gain no further advantage over opponents via brute force application of time expenditure.

In MMORPG's that is not the case and we see players going to ever more ridiculous lengths (multiple cutting edge geared alts etc) to gain advantage over opponents that have reached the same skill cap (not hard in itself given the simplistic hot key design and limited range of mechanics available).

Some have said that your analogy with sports is flawed and I guess they are correct.

The no-lifer focussed MMORPG has more in common with real life money making and work. Which of course leads us to the phrase that people like me who have a social life often say when complaining about MMORPG game design - "I don't want a second job thank you very much...especially one where I have to pay as opposed to being paid".

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