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Old 06-24-2010, 10:04 PM   #1
Clover
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Unhappy Quick login, then logout players.

I have noticed, from looking at player logs that a player will make a character, login and then leave within a few minutes and without really looking around. Any ideas as to why this might be and what I could do to keep them around?
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:20 PM   #2
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

They might simply find your interface to not be to their liking. Once in the game they may not like the way the commands are set up or how color is used, etc. Finding it visually unpleasant, they might just bolt.

A lot of time players do it based on how many people are online. They look for games with a larger playerbase online at any time. This is why some duplicitous MUD staff sometimes log in multiple accounts. The H&S I played long ago would sport 25-30 on at any time but what many didn't realize is that 6-7 of them were idle staff who never logged out, another 6-7 were those staff members' player accounts and another 10 were idle players who did the same thing (never logged out). In all, the 25-30 online was more like a half dozen players.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:43 PM   #3
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

I think people who have played a lot of muds know very quickly if a game will interest them. If you have something really different that you want to bring to people's attention it needs to be there right away.
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Old 06-24-2010, 10:52 PM   #4
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Thumbs down Re: Quick login, then logout players.

So if they base it on number of players, I am screwed because it takes players to bring in more players and since I have none, no one will stay.

Whats the point of making a MUD, then?
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:46 AM   #5
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clover View Post
So if they base it on number of players, I am screwed because it takes players to bring in more players and since I have none, no one will stay.

Whats the point of making a MUD, then?
Oh, I agree completely. You just have to hang in there and rely on word-of-mouth or advertising to get those players who don't act like that to try it out. Then it becomes a matter of your features, content, etc.
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:41 AM   #6
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by prof1515 View Post
A lot of time players do it based on how many people are online. They look for games with a larger playerbase online at any time. This is why some duplicitous MUD staff sometimes log in multiple accounts. The H&S I played long ago would sport 25-30 on at any time but what many didn't realize is that 6-7 of them were idle staff who never logged out, another 6-7 were those staff members' player accounts and another 10 were idle players who did the same thing (never logged out). In all, the 25-30 online was more like a half dozen players.
Heh! I guess that trick works only on those newbies who don't actually ask questions or try to interact with the "players" they see in who. I idle a lot on GateWay which has few players these days and I've thought about this some. An idle player may at first glance appear to be populating the mud but some newbies actually gossip hello and get no response which rather counteracts the impression. Not that people idle on GW to fill it up, I do it out of convenience and to keep the CMOS battery on my 1991 386 SX charged. :-)

As to the original poster bemoaning the fact that it is a Catch 22 situation... yes it does take players to attract players sometimes. Mostly Socializers and PKers of course. Must have someone to talk to/victimize after all. <grin> Achievers too need someone to impress with their levels. Empty muds will appeal best to Explorers who will happily go around solo playing, testing, mapping. But they're rareish and getting rarer it seems. A result of the lower average education level of mudders now.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:08 AM   #7
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clover View Post
So if they base it on number of players, I am screwed because it takes players to bring in more players and since I have none, no one will stay.

Whats the point of making a MUD, then?
You could try a couple of things:

* give the player something to do right away (I don't mean a tutorial or a newbie school -- something interesting)

* make sure they know what that is -- provide contextual hints, or a what/think command that provides short-term goals.

Also just be honest with yourself and realize your game may only appeal to a niche of players. Probably this is what you want anyway. The trick is finding those people, and as prof noted some of this just takes time.
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:12 AM   #8
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

I am just frustrated and at a loss as to what players could do offhand. It's getting tiring to put out money and never have anyone in there playing.
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Old 06-25-2010, 05:57 AM   #9
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clover View Post
I have noticed, from looking at player logs that a player will make a character, login and then leave within a few minutes and without really looking around. Any ideas as to why this might be and what I could do to keep them around?
Yes, that's fairly common on most muds I think. Sometimes I'll even see people spend half an hour going through custom character creation, only to quit within seconds of entering the game. I've observed that newcomers usually close their connection instead of using the "quit" command, but of course the result is the same.

You said you noticed this "from looking at player logs". How much time do you usually spend on your mud each day?

Here are some suggestions:

* As the owner, spend as much time online as possible. I'll usually be coding in another window, but I can see the mud session in the corner of my screen, and therefore respond immediately to greet new players and answer any questions.

* Talk to the players as equals, and offer them help if they need it, without being overbearing.

* Provide discussion forums and encourage people to participate - even if there's nobody online, prospective players may browse the forums and get interested in your project. If done before opening, this can allow you to build up a following of excited players, who will all start playing the day the doors open.

* Design the mud to be fun as a solo game, even if no other players are online. This will appeal to the small number of players who are happy to play on their own - and newcomers are more likely to hang around if other people are busy playing when they connect.

* Make sure there are good help files, tutorials and newbie guides. One of my favourite solutions here is a "what" command that can be typed at any time, and gives you a clear suggestion for what you could/should do next, based on your current achievements. This ensures that players are never left wondering what they should be doing next - because that's when frustration starts to set in.

* Some muds will ask players to leave a comment when they delete, and I can imagine this occasionally providing some useful feedback. I do occasionally have players rant a bit before they quit, using the public channels to say why they think the mud sucks (there's no graphics, its too complex, it's not as good as Mud X - which everyone should come play instead, etc), but most players will quit silently.

A few other observations:

* It took my mud about a year and a half of casual visitors before the players really started hanging around and forming a playerbase. This was helped by the forums, and hindered by the fact that (at the time) I was running a test server which had no character advancement. In retrospect I think I could have sped this process up by providing an easy way for people to see 'peak times' - some sort of graph, perhaps, that showed the more popular login times.

* I've noticed my playerbase fluctuates based on my presence and activity. When large new features are added, the playerbase shoots up - then slowly goes back down again. If I'm on vacation for more than a few days, the playerbase trickles away faster.

* When I ran my first mud, around 15 years ago, the playerbase rocketed within a few months - to the point that I had to add restrictions because the server couldn't handle so many simultaneous connections. Most of these players connected from 3 universities though, including mine, and even the other players usually knew at least a few other players in real life. If a player logged on and there was nobody else there, they would often just get their friends to come and play with them. These days players almost always seem to log on individually, and most will just leave if there's nobody else to play with. There are also many more muds, so players can afford to be a lot more picky.

* The most popular muds tend to be neither stock, nor cutting edge. Instead, they take tried-and-true features and give them a good polish, maintaining a careful balance between "innovative" and "familiar". They are also either well-established (dating back to the days when it was easier to attract new players), use aggressive marketing, or both.

* IMC (intermud chat) allows players on your mud to communicate with those on other muds. This can make an empty mud feel a bit less lonely.
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Old 06-25-2010, 11:10 AM   #10
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clover View Post
I am just frustrated and at a loss as to what players could do offhand. It's getting tiring to put out money and never have anyone in there playing.
I only know a little about your MUD, however I believe it exists in a niche like mine. We've been open for over 5 years and so we've had a lot of ups and downs. Some things I've observed in that time and suggestions I have:
  • Some people just want to log in to read about development on your game or see what features you have or even how many players are on. A basic suggestion would be to have some sort of snooping command and occasionally watch how brand new players are experiencing your game, you may be surprised to see what sort of patterns emerge and it might offer insight to how you can restructure your newbie experience.

  • Having any sort of a unique theme can potentially hurt your player base, but this can be remedied by having things like a web site or forums to show that your unique theme is fun and attracts players.

  • Players love change logs. If you don't have this, get one and let it be public.

  • Some players will never like your game, no matter what, but don't be discouraged. There will be a lot more that can potentially like it. Try to pin down the features that you feel make your MUD fun and adjust those so that they can experience some of them very quickly. For example, in NarutoMUD we have abilities you can level up and gain skills from with practice points, but I added the feature to trade in practice points for ability levels and paired it with the feature to learn and unlearn skills for free as newbies, so that new players can try most of the lower tier skills very early in the game.

  • As I said above, make sure people can try your game relatively quickly. Think of downloading a demo for a game and spending 45 minutes making your character for a game you aren't sure you'll like and then being forced to go through a Newbie Academy that teaches you the very basics of even playing a game. Most people quit before then. Instead, what I found helps me is making character creation as minimalistic as possible and then making everything else optional later in the game. Also, I give the option to skip the Newbie Academy, and not get the quest reward for finishing it, and return to it later. I find that giving them the option, a good portion of players do the Newbie Academy right away for the reward, but some choose to do it later after they feel like NarutoMUD is worth sticking around on.

  • Newbies get a couple of advantages, but I balanced it out so that when they lose them they don't feel like the game becomes too difficult. Some things I added are that newbies don't get killed when they die, but are transported back to a Hospital area to recover, my goal with this was that I heavily encourage exploration but there are some more dangerous areas of the game and room descriptions and NPCs will warn of this but I noticed sometimes players just ignored them and dived in, so they don't get penalized and they learn that what they ignore might hurt them. Also, be open about these bonuses, when they disappear and what the normal behavior of the game is. I found this alone has made my active player base go up and players stick around even after they lose the bonuses.

  • KaVir hit on a point I hope you seriously take to heart. Be on your game. If you have a code port or building port, ask your staff to be on the game port as well. Players associate logged in as active, even if you only semi-regularly code in new features, people will see -you- actually like the game.

  • I'm not sure how new your game is, but I find even now and even with some of my attempts to advertise, players still find my MUD and tell me how excited they are to see a Naruto MUD. However, make sure you have content for players before you get heavy into advertising, as that hurt me when I started out. So, I ended up getting 30 or so players on day 1, but only had maybe a handful of hours of content, so it became a ghost town very fast.

  • My last thing observation/suggestion/advice would be never give up. You said earlier something I remember another MUD Owner said when he gave up his MUD, which had a really cool modern theme, "What is the point of coding in an amazing feature if no one is willing to play it?" I think most players subscribe to the idea of, "What is the point of playing a game if it lacks amazing features?" Figure out why you are making this game. I hope it is for the joy of programming and the joy of using your talents to entertain others. If this is the case, just keep going. To adapt a very tired analogy, MUDs aren't microwaves, you don't just put them up and get 50 players. NarutoMUD has had a lot of ups and downs, and your MUD will too. I've logged in to a sea of people and an empty house, but if you aim for long terms goals, and not be discouraged by lack of players now, you'll slowly grow a stable of very loyal players.

Good luck!
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Old 06-25-2010, 12:47 PM   #11
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clover View Post
So if they base it on number of players, I am screwed because it takes players to bring in more players and since I have none, no one will stay.

Whats the point of making a MUD, then?

Good question. What is the point of making a MUD? Hopefully the point of you making your MUD was because YOU enjoy doing so. As others have pointed out, have patience! If you enjoy what you've done, chances are someone else will, too.

Also, if you feel like you've got a good chunk of content for people to explore and experience, try advertising. I don't mean on TMS/TMC/Other MUD sites. I mean on large gaming sites whose focus is on gaming in general. If you do, though, be prepared for even MORE quick logins/logouts. ;-)
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Old 06-25-2010, 01:18 PM   #12
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

Invariably this comes up so often and is quite sad so I really try to keep this link posted. It is the most invaluable information for someone thinking about making a MUD.

http://www.topmudsites.com/forums/mu...r-own-mud.html

Good luck!
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:10 AM   #13
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

I think I remember you saying the TG is a RP game. You could always hold a few scheduled RP or social events. Maybe play up a feature of your game or the RP theme and get players hooked. They may come back during non-scheduled hours so when newbies connect there will be other players around to interact with.
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Old 06-26-2010, 01:31 PM   #14
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Re: Quick login, then logout players.

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I think I remember you saying the TG is a RP game. You could always hold a few scheduled RP or social events. Maybe play up a feature of your game or the RP theme and get players hooked. They may come back during non-scheduled hours so when newbies connect there will be other players around to interact with.
Good comments Realdazed!
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