25 February, 2007
Going with the theme of exploration, here’s this weekend’s challenge: Come up with a way to promote exploring.
Bonus points if your idea works despite sites like Thottbot, etc.
A quick thought of my own follows.
There’s a few forces at work here, as people have discussed in the comments to my previous post. One issue is that achievers want a streamlined experience so that they can achieve easier, and it’s easier to look up a website than to get info from a human. There’s also the issue that dynamic content tends not to feel quite as “right” as hand-created content. Yet, as we know, the stuff created by hand takes a while to create.
I think the best you can do is add some bits of content on a regular basis. Asheron’s Call probably did this the best with monthly updates. I’m sure there were bits and pieces of the game that people didn’t discover in some months. You might also put in little bits in the game for explorers to notice that doesn’t give a huge bonus, but that gives them an advantage if they discover it. We tried to do this with every major patch in Meridian 59; it did help that part of the gameplay is discovering the game mechanics, so everything isn’t necessarily spelled out in an examination window.
Another possibility is to put things in different parts of the world. Looking at M59 again, the mana nodes were a good example of this. A few of the nodes were rather hard to get, and some still took some serious cooperation even if you knew where the node was. A clever player could get more nodes than a less clever player, which gave a small advantage while building. Just because you knew the nodes were there didn’t mean you could get them all. It became a newbie rite of passage to get the nodes. I still remember when some players took me around to get the nodes on a mortal character one time in a Beta; that node in ‘Under the shadow of the Sentinel’ is still a bitch to get, even though I know roughly were it is now!
What are your thoughts?