As you all know, any multiplayer game is bound to come across competition. Why? We live in a world where bragging rights amount to something (right?). Competition is what makes the games fun. Are you gonna play a game to be second best? HELL NO! I wanna be the very best. Like no one ever was... So here are a few suggestions on how to make your game a little more competitive.
Everyone likes to say that they're a higher rank than someone else. "Oh, you're number 5? Me? I'm number 1!" So implementing ranks is a good way to maintain a competitive world. However, this is usually done wrong.
While ranks usually do come with benefits such as more experience per kill or something like that, they're not kept track of very well. Someone gets rank 5, gets bored after a while, leaves the game, and never returns. This is problem number one. You have forgotten to code in a method to remove someone from power if they're gone too long. So no one knows if the position is open, and if they do, they need a way to claim a deserted position.
There are a few ways to approach this.
Please note that these are "in my opinion" only. If you have a problem with my interpretation of game theory, that's fine. I'm only trying to promote (what I feel) would make better games.
1. Combination of World/Login procs
You can easily code a world procedure to keep track of how long it has been since a rank holder logged in. After a certain time, you just unseat them.
2. Limited Availability
Nothing is worthy of bragging about more than something that was only available for a short period of time. (Oh how I envy you Pokemon Trainers that got Celebi!!) So if you make a certain item available for a limited time, then make people fight for it, competition just explodes. Example? Well, if you had a Yugioh TCG, a certain card could be won after winning a tournament. Or a certain set of cards. Just make it available to only the winner.
2b. Limited Availability Part 2
This sorta ties into 1 and 2, and I got the idea to make this post when I commented about this on Heyya's Post. The idea is, there are several strongholds that one may hold. Perhaps in your obligatory Naruto fangame, it's a castle. What you don't want to do is have OVER NINE THOUSAND castles, only to have everyone sit on their castle. What's the fun in that? Make people fight for their castles. And I'm not saying don't ever have a ton of castles. When you start your game, release like one or two castles. There are only going to be like 10 people playing your game max anyway, why have so many strongholds for so few people? As your game grows, release an update with more castles in the game. This approach is meant to keep the player competition rolling. (I also advise that you combine this with the "decay" method that I mentioned in 1)
This can run with 2b but it doesn't have to. Have player economy more than NPC economy. This method creates a more dynamic economy aaaaaaand you can use information from it to manipulate the economy and be all Trollol on them!
1. Rank Decay
2. Special things available only once for winning certain events
2b. None of "Everyone has a castle and sits on it"
3. Player run economy. Trollable
Well, those are the only 3 things that I can think of off the bat. Maybe later I'll add more.