Avatar like any long running mud goes through cycles of development and activity and also has fluctuations in the playerbase numbers.
As with any mud whose staff works on an unpaid and voluntary basis, the people who code have varying amounts of time available to commit to coding and changes in personal circumstances can affect this both positively and negatively at various points i.e. sometimes the coders will have lots of free time and are able to produce and implement significant amounts of code and at other times there may be factors such as completing or contiuing their education, starting a new job, having children etc which have to take priority.
Not all of Avatar's Immortals are coders. We have many and varied roles, not all of which are immediately obvious.
Some of the Immortals perform PR roles such as as answering questions, mediating disputes or resolving player problems. Like a many muds, we also have Builders and Quest Immortals. Others do work on correcting typos and updating helpfiles.
Some of the tasks are more behind the scenes such as but not limited to the updating of news items on the Avatar website and the administration of the in-game mailing lists.
On Avatar we are lucky enough to have Staff members who assist the Immortal Staff with various tasks such as running Quests, building new areas and the addition of game enhancements such as new socials and helpfiles as well as updating existing game components such as correcting typos reported by the TYPO command or updating the various Staff team websites. Again there are Immortals whose role is to lead these teams.
There will always be players who like constant development of areas, new code, addition of new classes. On the flip side there are players who like things to remain the same and feel threatened by changes to the status quo.
Some of our players get their enjoyment from finding and playing the optimum race and class combinations and are motivated to have the "best" or be the highest level for a given race and class. Additionally, we have those whose motivation is exploration of the game world and overcoming the challenges they encounter be they defeating a particularly hard to kill monster or pitting their wits against the in-game quests. Others play for the social aspect of the mud and are not overly bothered about having the biggest or the best characters. We have players who fall into all or some of these player types.
We make efforts to keep all of the various player types happy but however we run and develop Avatar, it is impossible to please 100% of the people who play 100% of the time, no matter how hard we try. To think otherwise is unrealistic. This is born out by experience and by reading the various reviews of AVATAR. You will read one review and someone is
unhappy with a particular aspect or aspects of the mud, however the next review may be praising the same aspect.
There are many more facets to AVATAR than just the coding, it has many custom areas to explore, an extensive library of helpfiles. There are Quests open to all tiers as well as tier-specific quests. Avatar has an optional worship system allowing variance and customisation of characters. It features many of the expected fantasy classes as well as Archers, Bezerkers, Paladins, Priests and Sorcerers. Also available are a wide variety of the common fantasy races plus more unique and fun races such as Demonseed, Draconian, Goblin, Hobgoblin, Kobold, Minotaur, Tuatar and the evolutionary Verbit to try.
While playerbase numbers can be used as an indication of how succesful and popular a given mud is, these numbers will perpetually change due to the wide and varied age ranges of the people who play AVATAR. Yes, sometimes people will leave due to what they perceive as problems or deficencies with AVATAR, others will leave due to conflicts with the Immortals but these are not the only reasons that numbers can decline.
Changes in personal circumstances such starting a new school or going to college, starting their first or moving to a new job, getting involved in relationships, starting a family or health issues can all impact on how much time people can devote to the game.