The ultimate reward cycle we ought to be aiming for is encapsulated in the follow diagram, which I've called the "Bartle Path". The graph results by collapsing the World/Player axis of Richard Bartle's 3D Player Types model. (See the "Virtual Worlds: Why People Play" Introduction by Richard Bartle.)
Note that the green arrows come into existence when you look at the Development Tracks, shown below:
Regardless of what path the player develops along, ultimately they follow the progression:
- Instinctives - Implicit Acting (Griefer, Opportunist)
- Doers - Explicit Acting (Networker, Scientist)
- Builders - Explicit Interacting (Politician, Planner)
- Masters - Implicit Interacting (Friend, Hacker)
One good idea that seems to be used only in the newer indie RPGs is having the RPG go through distinct phases. The diagrams above certainly lend themselves to a game chopped up into four-phase cycles. Each phase would map to a level of immersion as discussed by Bartle
Issues to Resolve
- Some random brainstorming on issues that still need to be resolved in terms of the core game.
The Social Domain - why's it so tough to design?
- My response to a forum post asking why I'm having trouble grappling with ideas for the social domain.