[MUD-Dev] Attracting players

Petri Virkkula pvirkkul at iki.fi
Sat Sep 18 04:18:10 New Zealand Standard Time 1999


>>>>> "Matthew" == Matthew Mihaly <diablo at best.com> writes:

Matthew> thriving with thousands of players on simultaneously.  We've gone from
Matthew> peaking at 40 last year to peaking at 100 this year, and we're 
Matthew> growing. We're not even putting any real effort into advertising (not

	While I was calculating BatMUD's statistics for first half of
	1999 I started thinking how to measure success of a mud. The
	thinking was triggered by the statistics report I wrote and
	that is also included below. My interpretation of our
	statistics was that our players play more that they used to
	be, but at the same time the player base smaller than it used
	to be.

	The questions that I thought about (and almost sent to the
	list) were something like:

	- is peak or average online players a good meter for a mud
	- which is better, growing peak player count or longer play times
	- is it enought that existing players like the mud, or should
	  we seek (actively) for new players

	I did not find any definitive answers to the questions. Have
	others thought that kind of questions? 

	Especially the fact the drop in new players has worried
	me. BatMUD has never claimed to be newbie friendly and never
	will claim it. Our responsivity to user requests like lost
	passwords has always too low (and lately it has even lower).

	The following actions have already been done, or being done
	right now to correct the situation:

	1) create new WWW pages with new and consistent look

		This project is still being done. New page layout
		(subject to change ) can be seen at
		<URL:http://www.bat.org:8002/>, old pages are at
		<URL:http://www.bat.org/>. The new pages are a bit
		slow because they are dynamically generated, but that
		will change as soon as they are ready (the pages will
		be moved to another faster machine).

		Most of the work so far has been concentrated on a
		system that generates the pages dynamically and uses a
		template. The system is atleast ready, but the content
		for the pages is waiting for the user authentication
		system mentioned below in 2).

	2) Share mud's passwords with WWW pages

		Our wizards have (almost) full shell access to their
		code. The access is controlled by their mud passwords
		that are copied regularily (once in three hours) from
		mud password files to other machine.

		I am slowly making a separate authentication server
		that will be used by the mud, WWW pages and the
		wizards' shell access. The idea is to give players the
		possibility to change their password in WWW
		pages. They could also add a verification question and
		answer that is common in other WWW services in case of
		lost password.

	3) Add support for community of BatMUD's players

		Currently there are lots BatMUD related WWW pages
		written by players. The only way to get to the pages
		is to use a search engine. The goal is to have link
		list maintained by players. The system is not ready
		yet, but a glimpse what kind of information can be
		seen at (username: guest, password: guest).
		<URL:http://www.bat.org:8002/Links/submit.html>
		Implementation of this feature waits for the
		authentication system described above in 2).

		Simirarily the intention is to give support players to
		describe our map of our wilderness. Our current map is
		at <URL:http://www.bat.org/Batmud/batmap.html> while
		map (based on older map of wilderness) maintained by
		players is e.g. at
		<URL:http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Dungeon/9884/bigmap.htm>
		(My philosophy is that we as game administrators must
		not tell everything to players, but we can assist
		players to help each others for example with
		(sometimes wrong) information they have gathered by
		playing the mud.)


	4) Registration of BATMUD.NET, BATMUD.ORG and BATMUD.COM domains

		So far we have only owned BAT.ORG domain. As above
		three domains were free it was decided to register all
		of them though no decision has been made how to use
		them (except BATMUD.NET).

		We have allowed years our players to receive (not
		send) mail in the mud with addresses like
		player.<charname>@bat.org. Format of the address is
		now simplified to <charname>@batmud.net. Perhaps we
		will even advertise this possibility more actively
		among the players. One possibility could be an added
		support for mail reading through WWW pages (as soon as
		the authentication system is ready) in the future.


	Other things are also being done, above list is just an
	example. The intention is to give more services to players,
	make few support routines more automatic, and give players
	more responsibility for WWW pages.


	Petri


--- cut here ---
Summary
=======

        Statistics of BatMUD are shown in the tables below for the
        first of years 1998 and 1999, and comparison between them.
        According to the statistics there has been 12764 players who
        have atleast once visited the mud during the first six months
        of the year 1999. This number is 2404 (or 16%) lower than
        it used to be last year during similar time period. Also all
        other player counts are significantly lower during the year
        1999 when comparing with the year 1998.

        Our players are however more dedicated than they used to
        be, or they just idle more. Average session length and daily
        play times are bigger than they used to be resulting also
        raise in average online players.

        
Averages
========
        
                        1-6/1999        1-6/1998        +/-             +/- %
                        -----------------------------------------------------
Sessions                775620          895280          -119660         -13%
Characters              12764           15168           -2404           -16%
Guests                  23833           24811           -978            -4%
Avg. Sessions/character 21              22              -1              -5%
Avg. Sessions/day       4286            4947            -661            -13%
Avg. Session            01:01:01        00:48:26        +00:12:35       +26%
Avg. Daily Playtime     00:20:29        00:15:47        +00:04:42       +30%
Avg. Online Characters  181             166             +15             +9%



Average Daily Characters
========================

                        1999            1998            +/-             +/- %
                        -----------------------------------------------------
January-June            1319            1406            -87             -6%
  January               1354            1500            -146            -8%
  February              1393            1486            -93             -6%
  March                 1288            1515            -227            -15%
  April                 1420            1452            -32             -2%
  May                   1331            1315            +16             +1%
  June                  1131            1166            -35             -3%



New Characters
==============

                        1999            1998            +/-             +/- %
                        -----------------------------------------------------
Total January-June      4053            5818            -1765           -30%
  January               596             1135            -539            -47%
  February              780             965             -185            -19%
  March                 600             1078            -478            -44%
  April                 730             939             -209            -22%
  May                   759             877             -118            -13%
  June                  588             824             -236            -29%

--- cut here ---


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