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Old 12-22-2008, 12:10 PM   #1
_ethan
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The first hurdle of opening.

I have played on and worked for upstart muds, and one thing that struck them down seemed to be they had trouble retaining players. What is it that hooks someone into sticking around when there is generally just the player and the staff members? I've noticed on some a revolving door where players never log at the same time as other mortals. Is it quests, areas, or crafts? Or should the immortals be roleplaying with the mortals?

And is there more to getting a name out than just posting in the "players wanted" sections of mud forums? It seems difficult to compete when everybody flocks to the top three, but perhaps there's something I'm not understanding..
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Old 12-22-2008, 07:34 PM   #2
The_Fury
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Re: The first hurdle of opening.

Quote:
Originally Posted by _ethan View Post
I have played on and worked for upstart muds, and one thing that struck them down seemed to be they had trouble retaining players. What is it that hooks someone into sticking around when there is generally just the player and the staff members? I've noticed on some a revolving door where players never log at the same time as other mortals. Is it quests, areas, or crafts? Or should the immortals be roleplaying with the mortals?

And is there more to getting a name out than just posting in the "players wanted" sections of mud forums? It seems difficult to compete when everybody flocks to the top three, but perhaps there's something I'm not understanding..

If all you are going to rely on is an advert on this and other mud related sites then you are likely to struggle to find yourself many if any players at all. You need to get creative and work hard at promoting your game to a much wider audience than what you find on TMC, TMS and MB. Posting on these sites will help, but that should not be the only promotion that you do.

What you do and how you approach the promotion of your game really depends on the theme, the time you have and how much money you have to put into it, but you will need both in varying amounts to have any real chance to gain new players.

My personal view is to not to focus much time and energy on existing mudders, the top 20 or 30 games have that market totally sewn up among themselves and you would have to have something exceptional to take players away from the likes of Aardwolf and IRE.

Looking further afield is likely to be more rewarding, there are lots more people who play casual games and web interfaced MMO's that have text interfaces and seems to bea market that readily tries new things, also promoting directly to people who have an interest in your genera can be extreemly benificial, DBZ games have been able to recruit non mudders just based on theme and word of mouth, I think you might find that starwars games had the same effect when they were at the peak of their drawing powers.

As for specific tactics, one that i will use myself is direct marketing to gamers, configure a client to auto connect to your game, (Aardwolf Mushclient for example), along with a pdf or set of html pages that contain a basic walkthrough, faq and some help files, along with descriptions of you classes, races and the games story, and hame them burned to a mini CD.

If you live in a city of any size, you can get these into the hands of kids quite easily, 35,000 12->17 year olds in the school district i live in alone. Make your initial promotion a competition, with $100 in prises up for grabs at the end of the first month.

You can also then submit your game client to places like download.com and try and get it into places like IGN and Gamershell, and then there are other paid advertising options like google adwords and facebook advertising, but like most things they are going to cost you money, that i think is better spent in other ways.

If your buget is small and all you can afford is banner advertising, make sure its on a per click though basis, without gaurenteed traffic to your site from your advertising dollars your getting no benifit from it at all. No traffic to your site, no potential players.

Hope that helps somewhat, Oh and something that i have done for the last 12 months is put $20 a week aside each week from my pay check that will form my advertising budget for my game, when finally released after 2 or so years i will have a tidy amount of money to use to promote my game and will not have to try and find money to do it with. Planning ahead now will make it less of a pain later.
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Old 12-23-2008, 09:02 AM   #3
Sergeytov
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Re: The first hurdle of opening.

I'd say an important thing to do would be to have an initial core, even if it's just people you know. When I began working on my latest project, the very first thing I did, before any coding, starting up an account, or putting up the first flier was simple. I wrote something of a short story/theme overview, distributed it to a few friends and monitored the reaction. Namely I looked for responses of, "I would play that!" or, from several, "So you want some help?" After receiving plenty of those kinds of replies, I decided to go ahead.

What advantages did I gain from this?
* I had a core of enthusiasts before work began, which helped me get through my 'blah' moments of coding.
* I had a small community already existing when I opened for the first run of beta testing. This helped prevent 'there's only the staff on!' syndrome for many guests when they come in.
* I have players I trust to break things and tell me about it, meaning I can focus more on improving things than policing.

I have somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-15 players right now, 10 days after RP began. So I figure I got the ball rolling /somehow/.
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Old 12-23-2008, 06:35 PM   #4
6Dragons
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Re: The first hurdle of opening.

Creating a mud, is not something you should do without a very extensive plan.

I know that people often just wing it, and many fail, and a few learn how to start successfully the next time.

First off, I would suggest you look around at the 1500+ muds out there and
find out if any of those is a mud that I like enough to either play there, or
apply to be Staff and help out.

The reason I say that is not to stop anyone's dreams of having your own mud,
but because when you make a mud....

It is often not realized that you are creating an entire world. This world you create
takes years to do, before it is even close to being enjoyable by players.

One of the problems mud players find today is there are so many muds created and
listed that are startup muds. Meaning the world is an incomplete world, and the
mud is nowhere near finished. They have a hard time finding quality muds to play.

If you do wish to make your mud, then as I said plan the whole thing out in detail
before you take the plunge.

Good Luck,

Vladaar
6 Dragons

Last edited by 6Dragons : 12-23-2008 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 12-26-2008, 12:49 AM   #5
Delerak
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Re: The first hurdle of opening.

Starting your own online community, regardless of whether it's a mud, NWN server, or whatever, is always going to be difficult. MUDs in general are already a fairly small niche in the gaming world. So the many challenges could be listed for pages probably. My one thing always came down to never being satisfied with my work. I would always want it to be better and never took the leap into testing, opening the mud and advertising. I had good staff at one point and it really just eventually wore out like a pair of shoes. It's easy to talk about things, putting it all into action and implementing it is much harder unless you're willing to gain the knowledge yourself. Relying on others is pretty pointless if you're going to open your own mud. Everybody does it different, but normally it's one person in charge and they run the team, if that person doesn't have a certain level of know-how about everything that goes into a mud (programming, building, memory etc) I think it will fail.
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Old 12-26-2008, 05:39 AM   #6
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Re: The first hurdle of opening.

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Originally Posted by Delerak View Post
My one thing always came down to never being satisfied with my work. I would always want it to be better and never took the leap into testing, opening the mud and advertising.
Been there, yup.

Ultimately, I noticed when I took the plunge when the game was 'RP Ready' (due to the type of game I'm running) that it gave me more enthusiasm to know my work was being used, abused, and tested very quickly. Once again, I had the advantage of having several people interested first thing. I could also utilize the brainpower of my early playerbase to work on theme or answer thematic questions that were important but I had not previously thought about.

Another thing is to know your limitations and bring in people who can shore up those weaknesses. I'm mostly a coder. I have decent background in the other aspects of administration, but I brought on a 'copy editor' that goes over my help files, posts, rules and the like to clear them up and remove the 'coder jargon' from them. I also have the advantage of said files having a consistent look when they're done.
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