[MUD-Dev] Minimum community sizes

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Mon Feb 28 18:39:34 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


On Mon, 28 Feb 2000 adam at treyarch.com wrote:

> On Mon, 28 Feb 2000, Dan Root wrote:
> > At what point do you cease to have a real community and revert to a couple
> > of people who are friends or acquaintences governed by multiplepersonal
> > interactions, rather than an group entity governed by social dynamics?
> 
> As has already been mentioned, social dynamics come into play for any number
> of people greater than one.  As a player and as an admin, however, I
> generally think of there being about four sizes for a mud's playerbase.
> 
> The first is new muds which have so few players that everyone knows everyone
> else.  There is rarely any bickering or PvP action, as there is plenty of
> resources to go around for everyone.  In fact, at this level, you'll rarely
> get players selling or trading items, or doing other things that you would
> normally expect.  Global channels, if they exist, tend to be quite chatty, more
> like a grouptell where the entire mud is a single group (even if they aren't
> currently cooperating).

How much PvP there is depends on the type of mud though too. We had lots
of PvP (mainly combat) action while small. Spot on with the global
channels.

 > Actually attaching numbers to these levels is difficult.  I would say
> that they go around 5-20, 21-60, 61-250, and then 250+ (as in, total size
> of active playerbase).  However, I should note that it varies wildly depending
> on when the players play, and for how long.  For example, I know many muds
> in the second category have one group of people that all know each other
> from the daytime, and another that play at night.  There is little to no
> overlap between the groups; they may not even know of each others' existance.
> 
> As an admin of a fledgling mud who has struggled in both the first and
> second categories, I also know that sometimes a decently-sized playerbase
> may not assure a category two effect.  At one point I had about 20 regular
> players.  I noticed looking through the access logs that, through some
> strange stroke of luck, they all managed to play at different times.  One
> fellow would log on at 8am and be off by 9; another would log on at 9:30,
> but always be gone by 11.  Around noon three different people came on,
> however all but one of them would be off by two, at which point two other
> players logged on...and so forth.  It was like this with clockwork regularity
> for several weeks.  I think at least one of the people quit playing because
> "No one else plays this mud!" :)

Yes, now that's always a somewhat puzzling problem to deal with in terms
of things like running game-wide plots. I'm not actually sure how big our
active player base is (upwards of 400 I'd say, given that we peak at about
130 online simultaneously currently), but there is definitely two groups
of players. They aren't completely discrete, but a lot of players from one
never see players from the other. You get the American and european group,
who tend to be active from about 5 pm GMT to about 8 am GMT. Around 9 am
GMT, the HK and Aussie players start filtering in (5 pm their time). The
world feels very different during the daytime, GMT, due to a much smaller
population (maybe 30 online or so). There's a lot of bleeding over the
edges though, as you get some Americans or Europeans staying up until
god-awful hours, or the odd Aussie doing the same. We tend to run the big
events of our game wide plots between about 8 pm GMT and 6 am GMT (thus
mainly for European and American) so the poor HKers and koala-huggers miss
out. They can participate in them between the big events (for instance, in
a recent plot, the evil players were defending Death's Heart, while the
good players were attacking it. Went on for a couple weeks), but they
always miss the big finish. Not sure what to do about that though, because
the players can't focus on two massive game-enveloping plots at once, and
there can really only be one finale.

--matt




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