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Games Entertainment

Loot Theory In Modern Games 111

HDRL is running an analysis of loot systems in modern games. They talk about how in-game rewards, formerly the domain of RPGs and adventure games with powerups, have expanded to exist in every genre, as achievements and unlockable bonuses have become standard fare. "For the majority of gamers, once the novelty is gone, they move on. To keep players interested, rewards are required. ... The Diablo series is a perfect example of the theory in effect. Just as in the story of the donkey and the carrot, a game's rewards cannot be too frequent, nor can it be too infrequent. If rewards are too frequent, they lose value in the eyes of the player, and they lose interest. If the rewards are too infrequent, the player loses sight of the carrot, and likely loses motivation to keep playing."
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Loot Theory In Modern Games

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  • Skinner Box (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @01:13PM (#24999151) Journal

    It's called this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operant_conditioning_chamber [wikipedia.org]

    That's what many of those games are :)

  • EVE Online (Score:2, Informative)

    by mlawrence ( 1094477 ) <martin@NoSpam.martinlawrence.ca> on Sunday September 14, 2008 @01:16PM (#24999177) Homepage
    EVE has everything you liked about UO, but it is based on a modern scientific world rather than medieval magic. No character classes, just ancestry, specialization and career. Any character can do anything it wants with no limitations. No grind system either. Skills are trained in real time even if you are logged off. You won't be able to max out your skills in this game! PvP is inherent in this game - because the economy is so realistic, you can't do anything without affecting other players. They offer a free 14 day trial but be warned - this is no WoW.
  • by Genericnumber1 ( 1046454 ) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @03:11PM (#25000135)

    Even FPSes are implementing achievement systems that do not affect game play, or minimally affect it. For instance, in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 you get an achievement for carrying a garden gnome around for a long time and eventually launching it off in a rocket. Does this need to be done? No. Does it give you anything other than an "achievement achieved" message and the right to brag about doing it? No. Do people still do it? Absolutely.

    Let me give another example. In Team Fortress 2 you can earn achievements and you even get other weapons for getting more achievements, but these weapons are not necessarily better than the weapons they replace. (Eg, You get a new weapon that slows someone on hit, but it does less damage). Without getting into whether or not all the weapons are equal in power to the weapons they replace, that is the goal of the system.

    Addressing your World of Warcraft example, yes, a lot of rewards are based upon time over skill and DO affect gameplay, but not all do. There are many eye-candy, prestige rewards, such as rare mounts (that are no better than other mounts), vanity pets, tabards, titles, etc. Some people take to trying to collect all of the vanity pets in the game, and while it has no affect on gameplay, they do get some sense of accomplishment out of it.

    While I agree some systems reward people for doing non-skilled, repetitive tasks, I do not agree with you when you say...

    [a loot system] would have to be a system that doesn't affect overall game play, and as yet I have not seen such a system in play.

    That isn't to say you didn't have some very viable points, and I do also acknowledge that you likely were referring to whole-loot systems, instead of sub-systems, but I feel that many of my points still stand.

  • by SuperMog2002 ( 702837 ) on Sunday September 14, 2008 @10:38PM (#25004655)
    I dunno what version of EverQuest you were playing, but when I played it around the time Luclin came out, the quest system was a royal pain in the rear. There was nothing quick about it. No quest log, no clear indication of what NPCs were offering quests, and on several occasions, I was given a quest that characters ten levels higher than me had no hope to complete.
  • Wrong (Score:2, Informative)

    by RichiH ( 749257 ) on Monday September 15, 2008 @04:44AM (#25006709) Homepage
    If you think Larry gets laid a lot, you did not play the games :)

On a paper submitted by a physicist colleague: "This isn't right. This isn't even wrong." -- Wolfgang Pauli