As promised, I wrote an article about designing an MMORPG feedback rating system, which Gamasutra was kind enough to publish. You can read the full article here.
I’ve already received a few thoughtful emails about the article, some of which I’d like to address here. One person asked how my proposed design might relate to previous designs that took PVP activity into account. The answer is: it does not, and should not. My design is intended to help ensure that people enjoy group play (which, in many MMORPGs, is 90% of the fun at later levels). PVP is extraneous and should have its own control mechanism(s). After all, someone who mercilessly hunts you down in a PVP setting may still be an excellent group member.
Another person asked how my system might compare to the feedback system in EVE-Online. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet had the opportunity to try EVE; I’ve been meaning to for weeks. That said, the EVE system sounds interesting, if somewhat more complex than what I’ve proposed. It also appears to dictate some NPC behavior, which I’ve left open in my proposed system. It isn’t clear to me that a user feedback system necessarily has to influence NPCs, since that could intensify user desire to try to game the system, and it could (in general) amplify any unanticipated negative side-effects of the system.
Thanks to everyone for all your feedback thus far. :)