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Old 08-12-2008, 01:11 AM   #1
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RPXP/reputation points by being audience, not performers.

I've seen many muds with RPXP systems based on rewarding contributions. Players who participate in lively discussion can get their quotes and emotes counted or weighed based on size and timing. Players who perform impressively can rack up a number of votes (weighted one way or another by the status of the voter). Players who cycle through enough characters or enough hours can earn themselves previously inaccessible character creation options.

The default assumption on many roleplay-encouraged muds seems to be that (good) roleplayers are the producers, while anyone graced by their presence is the lucky consumer, who can hopefully give as good as they got. However, I'm not sure that captures the real economic situation. If it were, then it seems like there'd be a lot more pay-to-play muds selling pay-to-watch subscriptions.

The truth is, most roleplayers, most of the time, pursue immediate gratification of a somewhat narcissistic variety (sorry if that's not the best description of it, but I mean no insult and include myself). It's the same sort of narcissism that directs readers to identify with the hero or magnificent bastard in a story, but socially reinforced. When was the last time you successfully persuaded a fellow booklover to call you by your elf name? In muds, it happens as a matter of course! The real give and take of most mudding economies: you be my audience, and I'll be yours. Rather than players seeking out the best performers, performers are seeking out the best audiences (or failing that, any audience as quickly as possible).

If that sounds about right, then the implication is that a good RPXP system would value not how a player acts so much as what a player witnesses. Current systems could be adapted to such a goal. Rather than count the hours spent on a mud, maybe count the hours spent in the company of others. Rather than count the number of emotes or quotes entered, maybe count the number of emotes or quotes seen or heard. Rather than count votes or fanmail the moment they are sent, maybe count them only after the respective players hook up again in-game. Such changes probably wouldn't improve the overall quality of roleplaying in a mud, but they might improve the overall satisfaction of a mud's roleplayers.

Of course, maybe by inverting old systems misses out on a better way to take advantage of the implication. Better yet, maybe there's a way to have your performance-rewarding cake and down it with audience-rewarding ginger ale, without simply assuming doing one well will optimally accomplish the other. Oh, I have no suggestions in this regard. I'm hoping someone else might.

Last edited by Burrytar : 08-12-2008 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 08-13-2008, 01:07 AM   #2
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Re: RPXP/reputation points by being audience, not performers.

There are also RPXP systems, like Legends of Karinth's, that reward both the speaker and audience.
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