When playing an RPG game, it often becomes clear that reaction time can significantly raise a player's ability to accomplish, even if they are a lower level player.

Similarly, a game that is played in a virtual reality where the player's mind is fully engaged into the game eg sword art online can be massively affected by the individual player's mental reaction time. If you are unfamiliar with SAO, I'd read the first paragraph under "plot" from the Wikipedia.

Simulated worlds could also face the same problem. For example, imagine trying to play ping-pong with someone in a virtual world. If you've ever played a sport, you know there is often that one moment where you can see the movement of the ball, but you just can't reach it in time. In a virtual world, the speed of your arm is limited only by physics and your thinking speed, letting you catch the ball or hit the ping-pong ball faster and much more precisely than you should actually be able to.

Question: How would a game developer approach this challenge? You want to make it as fair as possible, and as realistic as possible, so that, if we are to have an RPG, low level players shouldn't be able to fight on par with high level players, regardless of how fast they think. One should respect grinding. Other tasks like simulating virtual worlds might have problems about the unrealistic affects of the user thinking faster than normal.

Or should the fast thinkers just take over the virtual world?

  • $\begingroup$ What about implementing a "lag" of sorts. The higher level you are the more "lag" you encounter....but the greater the award for winning. This would help level out the competition so new players aren't constantly destroyed...yet as your thought process and reflexes get better, your rewards will increase but still allow you to play against everyone $\endgroup$
    – IT_User
    May 24, 2016 at 23:40
  • $\begingroup$ What is "eg sword art"? I'd fix a typo but I don't know what it's supposed to be. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    May 24, 2016 at 23:49
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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, I just couldn't parse it since I was unfamiliar with the term, and am used to American English (e.g. is spelled with dots and hasn't become a stand-alone word here). Together, I had the impression that the passage was garbled. Interestingly, adding the link helps readability even without following it, as it indicates that the group of words form a unit. $\endgroup$
    – JDługosz
    May 25, 2016 at 1:24
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    $\begingroup$ This seems more a game development question than a Worldbuilding question. We'd fit better at the explanation stage. I.e. explaining in-universe why there is or is not a lag. This seems more a question of game mechanics. $\endgroup$
    – Brythan
    May 25, 2016 at 1:41
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    $\begingroup$ Larry Niven sort of touched on this issue (in a real-world RPG-type game setting) in link (The California Voodoo Game)* People who were competitive in the game actually worked out in real life; people who "did it for fun" weren't in the same class. *Sorry, I still haven't figured out links in comments yet...) $\endgroup$
    – Ghotir
    May 25, 2016 at 13:49

1 Answer 1


You could always try a combination of a tiny bit of lag to give low level players a chance to return attacks (but not enough to be on the same exact level as higher players), but have mental stamina be a quickly depleting resource in lower levels. The higher your level, the higher mental stamina you would have allowing you to continue playing.


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