[MUD-Dev] Attracting players

Koster Koster
Thu Sep 16 09:49:19 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


Hate to bring up something so incredibly practical as this topic, but it
relates back to Legend as opposed to UO, and is probably relevant to the
majority of the list.

Here we have LegendMUD, which is award-winning, fun, long-running,
interestingly themed, well-respected in the mudding community, at times
cutting-edge, different from all other muds out there, etc. (And you can
replace LegendMUD with any other mud along similar lines btw, such as
DartMUD, or whatever else).

Legend has been suffering from a lack of new players. It was last mentioned
on a newsgroup in September of 1998. It has not been advertising, true--but
Usenet ads do not seem to be a major source of new players anymore. The
statistics on Mud Connector, which is web-based and now the most
authoritative mudlist out there, show the following:

> LegendMUD
> Number of days listed                       - 693 -
> Current connect status                      - Connected -
> Number of consecutive days with this status - 24 -
>                             Raw      Avg
> Total telnet attempts       1775   2.55988
> Total homepage attempts     1075   1.54978
> Total searches              1090   1.57287
> Telnet attempts this month    60   1.93548
> Homepage attempts this month  41   1.32258
> Searches this month            5   0.16129

Mud Connector seems to be the primary means by which players find muds these
days. That's part of the general trend of people moving to the web rather
than more textual outlets like newsgroups or mudlists. If you want to
capture existing mudders who probably already have a mud, use the
newsgroups. If you want new people, you gotta use the web.

The problem is that our capacity to affect what's on Mud Connector is
limited. We were already featured (as a Mud of the Month) and we  can't
really review ourselves. We CAN constantly update our listing so that we are
always in the "Updated Listings" section. That might have an impact.

Interestingly, whereas a year or two ago, the top 20 muds listed on Mud
Connector (based on Telnet requests) were clearly a few standout popular
muds (Medievia, Sojourn derivatives, the latest hot mud, and a few stalwarts
like MUME) today the top 20 looks like a TV channel:

                                        (Telnets this month)  (avg)
#1   Waterdeep                       C        524             16.90323 
#4   AnimeMUD                        C        386             12.45161 
#5   Pokemon Also Included           C        377             12.16129 
#6   Star Wars: Revenge of the Jedi  C        311             10.03226 
#7   Star Wars: Rise in Power        C        299             9.64516 
#11  Dragon ball series              C        288             9.29032 
#12  Pokemon Stars                   R        287             9.25806 
#13  Final Fantazia Legend           C        280             9.03226 
#17  Aliens vs. Predator             C        267             8.61290 
#18  Warhammer 40k: Tides of Chaos   C        263             8.48387 
#20  Discworld                       C        252             8.12903 

In fact, there are probably more that I didn't recognize. This is a function
again of the broadening of the Internet audience. The kids who are looking
for muds these days are a lot more likely to go looking for something
familiar. Legend has an edge there over the mixed-theme hack n slash muds.
But it also has a disadvantage in that history is not likely to seem sexy to
most teens, who now comprise the majority of the newbie mudding audience.

[Side note: this is something that I deal with daily in my professional
life--the importance of properties and brands in the computer game world is
huge of course. But I didn't expect to see such a huge impact in the
hobbyist mud community. Interestingly, this indicates to me the potential
for a large rise in the overall mudding audience.]

Kaige forwarded to me a poll from the login of a mud called Asylum... with
my notes next to it.

> From a survey of 1,362 new players, here is how they have 
> indicated how they
> have heard of Asylum MUD when creating a new character:
>         Familiar with Asylum already     22%  -- we can't affect this
>         Recommended by a Friend          21%  -- we could MAYBE do an
incentive program?
>         Mud Listing                      21%  -- we already have a very
nice one
>         Web Search                       12%  -- we need the new website!
>         Not Telling                      12%  -- pfft
>         Other                             7%  -- ?
>         Newsgroup Posting                 2%  -- we can actually do this
>         While Playing another MUD         2%  -- we can't affect this,
ethically. Maybe crosspromote?

So if we want to attract new players, that gives a decent roadmap of what we
can do to affect things, maybe.

What are the list's thoughts on this issue? The intent is not to get
Legend/DartMUD/Arctic/etcs (Arctic btw has statistics better than Legend's,
but overall still in the same league) up into the top echelon, but my
observation has been that without the influx of new players, administrative
problems start to rise due to player sense of entitlement, lack of new faces
to put on your good behavior for, etc.

-Raph


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