[MUD-Dev] Some survey results...

Andrew Wilson andrew at aaaaaaaa.demon.co.uk
Tue Nov 20 02:29:34 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Matt Mihaly:

>>     325  ********************************  tapestries.fur.com 2069
>>     257  *************************  muck.furry.com 8888
>>     174  *****************  lambda.moo.mud.org 8888
>>     152  ***************  discworld.imaginary.com 4242
>>     106  **********  achaea.com 23
>>      75  *******     spr.ctrl-c.liu.se 23
>>      68  ******      shangrilamush.com 9999
>>      48  ****        resort.org 2323
>>      46  ****        treyvan.com 4999
>>      46  ****        mush.elendor.net 1892
>>      41  ****        mud.lysator.liu.se 2000
>>      40  ****        merentha.com 10000
>>      39  ***         pern.mccr.org 4201
>>      36  ***         aetolia.com 23
>>      32  ***         btech.betterbox.net 3065

>> Here are some trivial observations on the table relating to the
>> nature of the muds surveyed.

>>     o Two of the top 10 muds out there are run by Achaea LLC.

> Your numbers are surprisingly accurate for Achaea and
> Aetolia. They're within about 3% of the actual averages, based on
> total minutes online. Our usage seems to vary more than most MUDs
> I've seen, incidentally, with the peaks being about 33% higher
> than the troughs (we're currently in a trough, after being at a
> peak in mid-October due to much new content going in), and with a
> gradual steady rise of both peaks and troughs.

In another world I run a little games website.  Looking at the
traffic on that webserver I'd see daily cycles of traffic, weekly
pulses - it gets quieter at the weekends, and a slower wave that
follows the progression of major holiday periods, seasonal
variations and college terms.

> However, I don't believe that those are the top 10 muds in terms
> of usage. I can't imagine that Dragonrealms and Gemstone III would
> not be the top 2 text MUDs. (I'm assuming you're excluding
> graphical MUDs on purpose.) Their numbers are significantly higher
> than the #1 MUD on your list.

I can only grab information from sites that let me connect to a
single socket and send a 'WHO' command.  This rules out a lot of
sites at the first hurdle.  I've no idea how to grab information
from the shards of a system like UOL, and I'm less inclined to try;
one of the reasons I'm doing this is to find out more about the
types of site I could get the tkMOO-light client to talk to.  I
don't think I'll be tacking a 3d graphics library onto the client
any day soon ;)

> Also, I can think of a number of MUDs off the top of my head that
> easily beat out the numbers listed above. Duris, Two Towers, Wheel
> of Time, Materia Magica, Aardwolf, Batmud, Arctic, Realms of
> Despair, Medievia, Terris, etc. I'm sure there are others. Achaea
> MIGHT make it into the top 10 in terms of players online in a list
> of all text MUDs, but Aetolia definitely would not at this stage
> (it's only been open a month and half).

I'll go looking for these sites now you mention them.  Batmud I
already knew to be big enough to make a dent in the 'top-10', so it
was a pity I couldn't grab any information there.

>>     o 3 of the top 20 are in Linko:pings University in Sweden.  o
>>     The top 2 and a 3rd also in the top 10 are Furrys.

> The top text MUDs in terms of usage are definitely not
> Furries. Most of them are of the monster-bashing variety.

So what's 'usage' defined as?  I'm agnostic, and agree that just
counting heads is a pretty crude way of judging the popularity of a
site.  If popularity is a function of (number of people * time each
player spends online being active) then a head-count is only useful
when you compare similar sites.  The 2 big Furry sites in the table
clearly either force idle players to disconnect or perform a daily
reset, either way the sites dwindle in the quiet hours.  LambdaMOO
for example doesn't have idle-player booting so the site's rarely if
ever less than 100 users.  But clearly, 100 idle users doesn't make
for a 'busy' site.  All this reiterates your first paragraph...

Looking for a metric to compare different sites is an interesting
puzzle, but one only needs to look at the way website metrics are
compiled to see how tricky it can be.  Comparisons are only really
meaningful when the user-demographic, 'usage' (sum of active hours),
and those weird little cycles are the same.  You might be able to
make meaningful comparisons between places like Achaea and Aetolia
because they're perhaps still very similar.  I wouldn't know where
to begin when comparing a place like LambdaMOO and FurryMuck.

Why compare at all?  Well I don't run a mud of my own (yet), but I'm
more than curious to derive some elements of best-practice from the
various offerings out there.


andrew at awns.com
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