Klout is really a MMORPG

It struck me today, as I witnessed colleagues scrambling around to find out how they could repair their damaged Klout scores, that Klout has created the largest MMORPG on the planet. 

What do I mean by that?

Let’s take a look at some excerpts about MMORPG’s from Wikipedia to see the parallels:

Although modern MMORPGs sometimes differ dramatically from their antecedents, many of them share some basic characteristics. These include several common themes: some form of progression, social interaction within the game, in-game culture…

Now let’s apply these some of these feature definitions to KloutVille:


Often these elements are developed using similar tasks and scenarios involving quests… and loot.

There are daily quests that all players in KloutVille can partake in: CombatRecommend, CombatShare and CombatCreate (RSC).  RSCing is how a player progresses to ever increasingly higher levels of Wealth in KloutVille.

Loot is a bounty that can be granted if the Game Master deems worthy the level of RSC activity and the total number of connections a player maintains.


In nearly all MMORPGs, the development of the player’s character is a primary goal. Nearly all MMORPGs feature a character progression system in which players earn experience points for their actions and use those points to reach character “levels”, which makes them better at whatever they do.

The goal in KloutVille is fundamentally to develop your online character.  As such, you’ll want to develop a plan around RSCing and you’re going to need a kingdom to elevate the impact of your efforts.  You’ll want to connect your character in KloutVille with as many other ‘worlds’ that you dwell in (Planet Facebook, Twittersphere, GooglePlusLand) thus enlarging your kingdom and your Wealth.  You may also be rewarded with combat-useful items such as the Influencer Potion.

The accumulation of wealth (including combat-useful items) is also a way to progress in many MMORPGs, and again, this is traditionally best accomplished via combat. The cycle produced by these conditions, combat leading to new items allowing for more combat with no change in gameplay, is sometimes pejoratively referred to as the level treadmill, or ‘grinding’.

Productive, daily RSCing can prove itself to be an extraordinarily difficult task.  A player needs to maintain a pace and velocity such that a one’s Wealth is not diminished due to atrophy.  This cycle has revealingly lead many players down the path of grinding.  Some of the more popular grinding RSCs: 

  • Weather
  • Airline Updates
  • Song Lyrics
  • Coffee quality
  • #FF
  • I can’t believe they arrested me for this again – check out this pic (Okay, used more infrequently but still grinding – no?)


This sometimes forces players to change their real-world schedules in order to “keep up” within the game-world.

I’ve seen players enter into a full-blown panic when they realize that they haven’t RSC’d for a day or two.  All real-world work efforts comes to a halt whilst they logon and care for their KloutVille character.  Take care to manage your time here wisely.


MMORPGs almost always have tools to facilitate communication between players. Many MMORPGs offer support for in-game guilds or clans (though these will usually form whether the game supports them or not).

A foundational element of the KloutVille experience is the harnessing of social interaction from within the player worlds: replying or retweeting in Twittersphere, sharing in the magic Circles of GooglePlusLand and ascending the Walls on Planet Facebook.  Bring your clans together and gain strength.


Most MMORPGs provide different types of classes that players can choose. Among those classes, players are encouraged to roleplay their characters, providing rules, functionality and content to this end.

If you want to be able to roleplay as a particular Meme Magician, you are going to want to invoke the magic hashtag.  Given a particular success or frequency rate of your hashtag casting, the Game Master may decide that you have earned the right and will grant you the Influencer Potion for the Meme you seek.


Since MMORPGs have so many elements in common, and those elements are experienced by so many people, this has led players of many games to expect “buffing” or “nerfing”, which describe the strengthening or weakening, respectively, of particular game elements. (“Buffing” also refers to in-game effects that temporarily enhance performance; both usages come from a core meaning of increasing power levels.)

This week saw both buffing and nerfing take place.  It was kingdom wide. 

Those that were buffed, bonded together in song and jubilance.  They were the chosen ones. 

Those that were nerfed experienced the full wrath and might of the Game Master.  True it was that a portion of the nerfed were merely wounded, while others were cut cleanly in half.  They were now the downtrodden, the forgotten. 

Avoid the nerfing at all costs.


What’s In A Number

Ultimately I am looking for tools and information that can better instruct me on tangible efforts that I can undertake in order to improve my reach and better understand my audience.  Tools like HootSuite and bitly track the reach of the links I provide – knowing reach helps gauge the overall popularity of a particular message or blog post.  Understanding what’s popular can be prescriptive when approaching the next topic or post issued.

Crowdbooster provides some clever metrics including times of the day that you may want to post (as determined by the success of previous posts during that same time period).  If I not only understand what makes for a successful post but also when I should release it, I can be assured that I’m making the best effort for my audience to actually see it.

Google+ has Ripples which visually represents how a post spread and to whom.  This is really more for my entertainment purposes but seeing that something I posted made it to many groups of people that I don’t even know is, well, kinda cool.

The bottom line is that the measurements presented from the companies I mention above are very clear.  How they arrived at such results is not up for debate.  Why this data can be directive for future posts is self-evident.

I don’t get these kinds of practical questions answered by Klout, so until that day arrives Klout will be a fun game of strategy and intrigue where the goal is to outsmart the machine. 

But perhaps the kind of insight I describe above is not the end goal for Klout.  Perhaps what is being established is an enormous pool of opt-in users who can be micro-targeted by advertisers.  Interestingly, this same group of users can concomitantly market and propagate brand messages by means of social trust to their own personal circles.  Hmm.

It’s all speculation.  But I do know one thing; my KloutVille character needs help getting a KloutBFG to…