[MUD-Dev] Attracting players

Adam Wiggins adam at angel.com
Thu Sep 16 19:01:47 New Zealand Standard Time 1999

On Thu, 16 Sep 1999, Koster, Raph wrote:
> 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.

Very relevant.  I'd like to see more discussion in this area.

> Legend has been suffering from a lack of new players. It was last mentioned
> on a newsgroup in September of 1998.

Mentioned, as in, players discussing it or as in its admin posting an ad?

> 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.

Which also means that a nice website is crucial.  Back when I first started
mudding, I didn't even known what a web browser was.  It's a very different
internet now.

> 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:

MUDs as a whole have taken a pretty hard drop-off.  You know, of course,
that it's partially YOUR fault, right Raph? :)  I'd say that Ultima Online
(among others) is siphoning off a LOT of the people who, four years ago,
would have become mudders.

I know that AnotherMUD has gone from hitting their player cap all the
time to barely 40 people on at peak time.  Arctic once boasted 250+ players
at peak and never fewer than 100, but nowadays seems to hang out in the
high double digits and is lucky to hit 150 at peak.  I'm sure other
muds have seen similar hits.

> 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.

Hmmmmm - I think, first of all, that is important to draw people in quickly.
It's hard enough to get them to log on at all, once they do, you want
to make sure they stay.

A good web page is important.  Online help files, maybe a map of your
world, a newbie starting guide, an overview of what you consider your
most important features, all presented in an attractive manner.
Some nice character scetches of (say) your mud's races is always nice.

I still like to think that USENET ads are important, since that's how
I used to find new muds, but I guess that's not so important anymore.

Word-of-mouth is important.  Not too sure what you can do about that
other than either nicely asking your players to tell their friends,
or actually setting up some sort of giving rewards for recruiting new
players.  Seems a bit much for a hobby mud.

And of course, keeping your existing players excited about things is
always good.  As I mentioned, Arctic likes to do stuff like sending
a swarm of dragons to level a town, and then spend weeks "rebuilding"
it (eg, the room descriptions change every couple of days to reflect
the progress).

Hmmm, other than that....maybe putting up posters in your local university's
computer lab?  Ads on TV during 'Xena: Warrior Princess'?  A marketing
campaign involving dancing lab workers in multicolored radiation suits?
Banner ads declaring 'FREE XXX PICS!!!1!!1'


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