Hello again, fellow Galactic Travellers! I have always had a deep, even obsessive, fascination with psychology. When I began playing a game called Everquest in 2000, I eventually began to question the psychology of the game. One thing that I noticed and repeatedly watched with intense, compulsive interest was how the Devs handled complaints and requests for "Quality of Live Improvements." More than that, though, I was endlessly fascinated with THE RESULTS. What impact did it have when these QoL requests were met? I want to take a simple example so that it will be a bit more clear and helpful (I hope). In EQ, there were no horses or other rapid forms of transit except teleports. These teleports, however, were player spells cast only by one common class and one uncommon class. To get a teleport, people had to ask players. Everquest was not a large game, as far as world size. But that being said, it felt vast. Why? Because you had to travel on foot through terrifying dangers. The effect of introducing the ability to get around had two surprisingly negative outcomes: 1. The world became very small. People had complained it was too big. Now it was too small. It was also too easy. Get attacked? Keep running! Very little could harm you any longer unless you were stupid and ran into a high level monster (compared to you). 2. People no longer needed to interact to get help with travel. Indeed, they needed to interact less and less over time as more and more "quality of life improvements" were introduced. I can hear you now. "That's all great, but we're not playing Everquest here." True, so let's talk about what I think is missing from the Psychology of Gaming in Empyrion. This will get long, so if you want to read a more Official and psychology-focused (less EGS focused) explanation of some of the things I'm about to talk about, try this article on for size: https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/Ben...games__Liking_learning_or_wanting_to_play.php I want to start with why I made the suggestion about the loot and difficulty of POIs. You can find that post here: https://empyriononline.com/threads/we-need-motivation-please-end-game-conversation.97030/ If you read the article, you'll learn two important things about motivation and/or keeping someone playing the game. 1. Newness or unexpected results create more pleasure hormones. In other words, finding something unexpected makes us HAPPIER than finding what we expect. This is why I am encouraging a more robust loot system, and basing it on tiers. 2. Gratification requires that your learning be rewarded and expanded. People are inherently lazy and few are self-driven. They won't seek out challenge simply for its own sake in a vacuum of reward. We want to get something for what we do. If I have to fight a harder POI, I want it to surprise me in bad ways--and more imporantly, in good ways. I want to feel a "jolt" when I am rewarded after a hard day's work. A person will take the path of least resistance unless they are motived to work for something. At the end of the day, the human mind is working for 'excitement'. Dopamine is the "get up off your back end and go get 'er done" drug. We want to work for it, though. If we get something unexpected but easy, we are less pleased with it. A person may have a piece of junk in their house which has absolutely zero objective value. They keep it because it was a 'reward' for something that took great work and effort. People are bored with the "end game" in large part because nothing new comes from it. They rush to finish it, try to find cheaty ways of reliably doing it over and over again... and wander away. They are mildly motivated, particularly if they have something they like coming from it. But they are bored because of lack of newness, and because they are being given WHAT THEY ASKED FOR instead of what is truly beneficial to them psychologically. In theory, we would all like to get up and go to the kitchen fridge and push a button. Voila, food! Yet when we work hard and unexpectedly our spouse takes us out for dinner... we appreciate that dinner in a way we couldn't and didn't appreciate the fridge-provided button. I might keep pressing my button to get food, but that doesn't mean I LIKE PUSHING A BUTTON. I have to eat, so I do. It feels grindy. It gets boring. But if one time in 200, I also get my favorite dessert, I'll push that button until the cows come home. The introduction of that unexpected reward that's different than the others and that is more pleasurable, makes that button-mashing feel possible. If I can get the dessert every time by simply kicking the fridge, though... I'll soon be bored again. It will all feel so trivial. So monotonous. Not worth it. Those who create loot crates that cost IRL $$ know very well what they are doing. Those crates have a POSSIBILITY of dropping something the player values greatly. It's the same old loot all the time... except when it isn't! People don't really know WHY just "harder" still isn't quite doing it for them. They want to feel challenged, but they want to be driven to challenge by reward. The most valuable reward, though, is that which is rare or unexpected. Care must be taken that Devs don't get led to create "quality of life" changes that people THINK they want but which can be detrimental. People will always complain. As in EQ, they complained the world was too large and it was all too hard. But they played and played and played and played. You could barely drag them away. They were given what they asked for. Rapid travel. Suddenly the world was too small and people were dissatisfied and now they were leaving. They were no longer being (for lack of a better word) REQUIRED to be challenged to get the things they wanted. With the loss of CHALLENGE, everything became commonplace... and was no longer WORTH working for. Many game devs give in to player complaints without truly understanding the psychology behind those complaints. The players thought things were too hard, then when they got what they thought they wanted (easy street), suddenly they lost interest. This is the psychology of why people are bored in "end game" in EGS: Not enough unexpectedness in loot, which leads to a feeling of lack of challenge. If they are given harder things but NOT given variability and unexpectedness, they will still walk away. Challenge without reward loses its spice; and players lose their motivation for challenge when it's challenge alone and the 'reward' is mundane. Nobody wants 50 neo that they don't need and probably won't even use because they already have 5 stacks of 4k of it. I know this is a long post. I just want to point out that people are quick to demand things--but it's important to consider the psychological ramifications. Ultimately, making a "good game" is about understanding human nature and what makes people tick.