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Advancement

Players advance in intangible ways, through the knowledge they gain and the friends they make. Characters also can develop intangibly to some degree, in that they exist partially in the minds of the players who encounter them. However, characters are primarily a tangible phenomenon: They are defined by code and data. The virtual world determines what they can and cannot do and how mobiles react to them. When a character “improves,” the improvement is measured in terms of tangible factors rather than intangible ones.

Characters don't have to advance, of course; for non-game worlds, the aim is often for players to gain or hone skills, therefore the success or otherwise of a character is entirely dependent on what players learn and how they apply this knowledge. Still, though, it's often the case that players will respond better if there is a reward in the form of some tangible improvement to their character, even if it's of only metaphorical significance.


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