Monday, February 05, 2007

Character Rest

Yes, we've all heard it: MMORPGs are addictive and dangerous. World of Warcraft has tried to cut down on the addictive factor somewhat, by rewarding casual players with extra experience. That effort is made completely useless by the fact that addicted players don't care about a few extra experience points, and the fact that the high-level game forces players to invest large amounts of time in order to be competitive.

The concept of rest experience could be taken further, however. In World of Warcraft, the first one-and-a-half level worth of experience, when fully rested, is doubled. You get fully rested by being offline or inside an inn for a full week, so it's not really useful for the hardcore player base. Rest experience could be improved by making it based on two different timers; the first part of the rest experience is the one earned every day; you get about an hour or so of extra skill points earned
(statistically), as long as you rested at least 8 hours during the night (or day). When that rest bonus is expended, you get to the long-time rest experience, the one that accumulates over weeks and months. If you don't play during the week, but play many hours during the week-end, your non-play week time will be working for you. Same if you go away for some time or, devs forbid, decide to play another game for a few weeks.

To this can be added tiredness; characters that fight evil creatures or smash the anvil all day do get tired, and it can alter their skill learning, if not their whole effectiveness. Tiredness is, of course, dispelled by resting; more accurately, if you've rested long enough to get rest experience, then you're not tired anymore.

Of course, this would do little to dissuade real addicts, but unless you're willing to force players who play too much out of the game, chances are you'll only meet limited success in stopping addicts.

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