Human pschology with regard to time and effort vs reward

Understanding basic human psychology would go a long way to improving all MMO games, especially ones that are very grind heavy.

Generally, when people look at the big picture and see the task as overwhelming, they just give up.

On the other hand, if a person focuses on what they can do, as opposed to what they can not do, they are able to overcome difficulties that seem to be insurmountable or extremely unreasonable. In other words, if a person can concentrate on one piece of the puzzle instead of trying to do everything at once, the goal can be viewed as something that is obtainable even if it will take a very long time to reach.

The problem with most mmos, especially ones that are very grind heavy, is that even tiny pieces of the whole puzzle require too much effort or expense to obtain. They require too much effort for too little reward and too little progression. I think careful research and adjustment of the cost per reward needs to be accomplished by these developers.

Some players are hardcore, some are casual, and some are somewhere in between. A careful balance needs to be accomplished when implementing time and effort needed vs reward game mechanics.

What constitutes a casual player? I guess 2-5 hours per week play time? What seems reasonable to a casual player (effort and time vs reward and progression)
What constitutes a hardcore player? Over 8 hours per day play time? “”
What constitutes the middle ground? Over 2 hours per day play time? “”
How many players of each classification constitutes the entire population?
Are there many casual players? Or have all gamers become hardcore?
Are there many hardcore players? Or are they more rare?
Can you satisfy each type of player and keep them paying and playing for a long time?
That’s the bottom line isn’t it? A greater number of satisfied players equals more money, right?

Regardless the true classification and statistics, I believe everyone wants to be rewarded fairly for their efforts, so maybe the the progression needs to be adjusted to smaller increments. The casual player can get one or two progressions per week. The hardcore player can get 5 progressions per day.

What about the other rewards? If a person does 4 of the 5 blue level 50 dungeons and all three level 50 purple dungeons but only ends up with a handful of gold, a few potions and/or dumplings, and a few repair tools they might end the day extremely dissatisfied. To many, working all day for a potion feels like a complete waste of time. If it takes too long for any kind of progress, people will give up.

If game companies want to keep players hooked, they need to balance out the progression and reward with the amount of time and effort required to obtain them. They need to improve the quality of the content they are providing and increase the number of options so that people don’t get bored running the same thing over and over every play session.

Developers need to keep players from being bored. Some people love the long grind to obtain something as they feel great satisfaction from the process. Some people hate grinding for something they feel is not worth the effort. Some people hate grinding of any kind. They feel repetitive play over long periods is excruciatingly boring.

If developers want to keep their player base and see their numbers grow, they need to rework the old tired standard of MMOs. Would the average player find this fun? Would the average player see the time and effort spent to be rewarding? Or only the very hardcore players that love to grind the same thing over and over for little reward? Random Procedural-ly Generated Content has been around for a long time and goes a long way towards keeping players from becoming bored with your content which might become boring after only a few times running through it.

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