Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Sat Dec 22 09:26:48 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

On Fri, 21 Dec 2001, Marc Bowden wrote:
> --On Thursday, December 20, 2001 6:38 AM +0000 Matt Mihaly 
>> That's not really universally true. Achaea is one of the bigger
>> text MUDs out there, despite being commercial and fairly
>> expensive, and it has a pretty steep learning curve.
> As far as people not wandering away if the game becomes 'too
> hard', Achea has the advantage of additional sunk costs for a
> player which contribute to retention. Arguably, yes, nobody *has*
> to buy credits, but we all know they will - players always choose
> the past of least resistance to swag - and that investment isn't
> likely trivial to the players in our demographic reserve. They'll
> hang in because of it.

Yes, definitely, but how do you think we get them to buy in the
first place? They have to get past the curve before they're going to
be tempted to buy generally. The learning curve is one of the
biggest barriers to us making more money actually, as far as we can

> Of course, pay MUDs court their own trouble in the form of a false
> sense of entitlement on the part of players who've ponied up for
> the "Roast boar with nectar and ambrosia". You have many players,
> and they're dedicated, but they whine.

Hmm. You know, I really don't feel like we get any more whining than
equivalently-sized free text MUDs I've been on.

> And oddly? I've found that the more responsible a non-pay
> administration is, the lower the number of dedicated players, but
> the more responsible a pay administration is, the HIGHER the
> number of players. I'll leave you to guess why; the answer is a
> social indictment.

I've never thought to look at this. Still though, just from thinking
about it, that doesn't really seem right. When I think of the
largest free MUDs (for instance, Discworld, run by list member David
Bennett is about Achaea-sized), they tend to be pretty well-run.

> A filtering effect of both your creation system and the way new
> players on Achaea are handled when they arrive. To wit, anyone who
> actually completes character creation without dropping link is
> already 50% of the way to staying because they've demonstrated a
> preference for detail, and a comfortable level of literacy and
> patience. Provided gameplay supports their expectations, you have
> an actual citizen.

That's true. Our newbie intro is designed to filter out people who
are just going to waste our time. That's a depressing comment about
losing link though. Perhaps I'll rework it so that dropping link
won't have any effect. I just went through the newbie intro a couple
times myself recently, and made about 30 changes to it. It was
gratifying to watch the rate of people who complete it immediately
> I wonder, does David Kaye do the same thing I do and keep
> statistics of how many people bail from the creation sequencer? 
> Not to see if adjustments (other than mechanical) need to be made
> in the sequence (I'm willing to bet neither of us is willing to
> dumb things down just for the LCD) but as a point of curiosity to
> see what percentage of interest generated makes it into the world.

Well, Dave doesn't, as he doesn't code, but some of my code logs how
many people:

  1) Create a character.
  2) Start the newbie intro.
  3) Finish stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, etc of the intro.
  4) Finish the whole thing. 

We record quite a bit of data on an hourly basis, and have graphing
code for it, etc. I'm sure that's fairly common.
>> The way I look at it is that if you're not willing to read, and
>> not willing to learn, you're not the sort of person that deserves
>> to be in our world, so sod off. (that's the generic 'you', not
>> actually you, Marc.) 
> Oh, I quite agree, as you well know. =)

As the Tick says (and I can't say this enough, as it makes me laugh
each time I do.), but: MANDINGO, how I grok your mouth music!

--matt "Legolas is a girl" Mihaly

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