[MUD-Dev] Minimum community sizes

Matthew Mihaly diablo at best.com
Mon Feb 28 20:05:46 New Zealand Daylight Time 2000


On Mon, 28 Feb 2000, David Bennett wrote:

> On 2/28/00, at 6:39 PM, Matthew Mihaly wrote: 
> 
> >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
> 
> Interesting.  Discworld gets a constant login count pretty much.  Around
> 130 all the time.  We never had such high swings in terms of online
> population as you are mentioning.  Is it easier to pay to play your mud
> from the US maybe?

It's easier I suppose, but Visa and Mastercard are fairly universal (and I
still get a fairly steady stream of money orders and cheques from people
around the world).

> 
> I wonder if this is just due to different targeted demographics?

The only targetting we've ever done is advertising on mudconnector. I
would think that our demographics fit the general internet demographics
though, with Americans being by far the largest group, Europeans in
second, and Asia/Australia making up a small bit of traffic. The rest of
the world is pretty much irrelevant currently. I'm surprised you maintain
constant numbers over 24 hours. I would like to do that. 


> As for populations falling into discrete areas where they start to break
> up.  Some of our players definately miss the more social atmophere from
> when we were smaller (around 40 people online at a time).  Becoming larger
> means that people tend to fragment up into cliques, and this has happened.
> Players did their own seperating up (writing web pages and things) and then
> when I added clubs and families into the system, they started to use that
> as a break up instead.

We force people to break up into cliques by segregating them into guilds,
and then grouping the guilds into the various city-states that we
manipulate into hating each other. 

 
> The global channels have not changed that much in content, although a lot
> smaller percentage of the player base listens to the global chat channels
> than used to.

We've got one global channel (shout), and using it a lot is heavily
frowned upon. Generally, once we got to about 30 people online, we didn't
want people being friendly with everyone else. We wanted to force them
into discrete social groups (lengthy explanation of why in an upcoming
article of mine in Gamasutra on politics...look for it early next week I
believe). We used to have a global channel called 'ooc' but people used it
to be too chatty, and it started to ruin the excellent rivalries between
nearly completely distinct sub-communities, because it gave them a forum
to communicate en-masse in real time. The only alternative to do that
(shout is not really an alternative, because you will run out of endurance
and not be able to shout after no more than about 10 shouts) is to gather
physically in one place and chat as a group, but that's not done too much
due to lack of trust between the communities.

--matt




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