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Old 10-04-2002, 02:33 PM   #1
Alaire
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Question

Hey all.
I'm not real clear on what I want to say here, but I did want to get some input on something, so I'll try to be as coherent as possible.

Since I began running my mud a couple of years ago, I have been very strict about the quality over quantity rule, that if a person just doesn't fit in, they don't get to stay.  Whether that is someone conforming to the 'rp strictly enforced' rules, or the 'stick to the documentation unless you've discussed it with an immortal' rules, I've been very clear about what we want and what we don't.  Some consider this elitest and snobby but, this has really pleased our long term players, so I'm really leary about steering away from it.  Though that group is small, they are dedicated and want just what we do from our mud.

That being said, our playerbase is very small.  We've got about 12 regular players who play at different times during the day.  I reject about 15 applications a week.  I accept maybe two, who tend to leave because there is no ooc communication other than the ooc command which is to be used sparingly.  Our regular players are very particular about what they like, and I would hate to disrupt them because they've been with us for these two years with very little encouragement and TONS of great rp.

So.... when do I give in and start letting things go, if at all.  Or do I just content myself with our small playerbase and work on shrinking the world size to bring people together?
I'm at a loss.  People seem to pair off and run off where others don't find them and what happens is that they only come together when I have some big, imm run reccommended playing time.
For the record, I won't mind if this is as big as our pbase gets.  It's a good group of people.  But I also want to make sure that the players we have wouldn't have more fun with more pc's in the mix.

Thanks for any responses or input.
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Old 10-04-2002, 02:53 PM   #2
MelissaMeyer
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The primary purpose of any text-based game should be fun.  Your strict enforcement of roleplaying has a lot of appeal to some users, and they would lose that if you were to "give in and start letting things go."  I think you should remain loyal to your users and continue to uphold the strict policies.

Of course, that leaves you with the problem that you stated.  Your game may be too large for your user base to form a tight community.  I dealt with this issue when we opened up a new "roleplaying" copy of my game where we intentionally kept the population low.

Reducing the size of your game could be a good idea, but then you're taking something away from your players which they may very much enjoy.  Have you considered making transportation easier so that people can more quickly find each other?  Additionally, beyond just "recommended playing times," instead perhaps you could run events at a specific time during the night.  Then you're not just recommending a playing time, but you're encouraging usage during those hours.

Just my opinion, to be taken with a grain of salt ...

Melissa
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Old 10-04-2002, 02:55 PM   #3
Jazuela
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I think your greatest resource for information is your core player base. Ask them what keeps them there. Find out what *they* would do to encourage more players to come, with the caveat that the game wouldn't change to fit new ideas, *unless* those new ideas fit your stringent criteria for your game.

Hold a meeting, or maybe two if time zones are an issue, and get feedback from your players. I can assure you as a former GM and a long-time game player that your players will love you even more for the asking. People want to feel valued. This is your great opportunity to let your players shine, and it will only reflect back on you tenfold.
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Old 10-04-2002, 03:00 PM   #4
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Jazuela (Roberta, I presume?) brings up a good point too.
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Old 10-04-2002, 04:10 PM   #5
Neranz Laverani
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Add quests with roleplaying elements that require people to work in groups to solve the quest. Do this during the peak times for your playerbase to give more people a chance to participate.

Neranz Laverani, Seeker of Knowledge
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Old 10-04-2002, 05:15 PM   #6
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The players are what makes or brakes the game in the long run I believe!
So I would go with that great idea given to you in a prier post to ask the players.
They are loyal to you for each of there own reason but as a whole you might find something great to work off of that might help build the player base. I personally value each and every player we have and that stops buy. They are all great and bring with them something new and unique in its self.
Just my small bit of rambling, hopefully maybe something in this is helpful! If not the greatest of luck to you and hope you find something that will easy your mind.

Someone any of you can pester or ask something of when ever you like!
The Rock crusher of untamed lands
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Old 10-04-2002, 07:01 PM   #7
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I would go with the consensus here. You have developed a game that both you and your players like. I would assume you like your players or you wouldn't be worried about how they would feel. That said, you have no guarantees that you will be happy with comprimising your ideals for the game you run. You also have no guarantees that whatever you change to make your mud larger (in playerbase) will attract more players. Lastly, you have no guarantees that you will even like the types of players you attract. If you are happy with the game but would like more interaction between the players you do have, I would agree with several of the other posters and ask your players how to improve the "community" feel/roleplay of the game.

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Old 10-04-2002, 10:46 PM   #8
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Exclamation

Playing on said game, i know the deal, and i understand her picking at the apps, because it is quite obvious when people come on clueless without even looking at the website, they usually kill everything in sight and pick up things off the ground alot then blame it all on having multiple personalities:P Seriously though, my opinion perhaps lightening up on the application process, of course there is no substitute for a good descripton, i myself would be picky about that, your description says more about you than the obvious. But baring that let them come in, there are many things in place geared to averting the powergammers and bots, so let them come and let the code sort em out:P Rpers shine like diamonds, and are just as rare

My humble opinion
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Old 10-05-2002, 12:55 AM   #9
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I take it this is a free and private mud so I say think outside the box.

Would it be possible to create an introductory character type for new players? You could design a mantatory background for a specific race, something simple that would explain them not knowing anything about the world. If possible limit their actions (no PkP for example).

One issue I am running into is that if I want to simply check out a game I don't want to spend time learning enough about the world to create an appropriate character. I just want to go in and explore a bit. Interact with other players, gain a feel for what it would be like.

When I began playing I had no background and no docs. I caught on fairly quickly simply by example. I made a few faux-pas but a whisper or two got me on the right track. After playing for a week or so then I was ready to "study".

I bet there are a lot of inexperienced players out there that would really appreciate a game that welcomes true newbies and gives them a chance to learn through experiencing a good rp intensive mud rather than requiring them to do a lot of studying before even trying the game.

Seeing that it is a private mud, you can evaluate players for as long as you need to and if you see they obviously aren't going to blend with the existing player base then you tell them their playing style isn't suited to your environment and wish them well with another game.

With an appropriate cover story, for example, a wizard blasts a distant island leaving all the inhabitants with amnesia. Periodically individuals from that island wash up on shore totally ignorant and must be retaught the ways of the world.

New members always begin that way, and if after a month or whatever time you deem necessary you feel they are prepared then they can go through the regular character generator.

Starting out that way people only need a very short behavior guide coupled with a list of the most important commands.
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Old 10-05-2002, 06:06 AM   #10
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I was just reading the above post and as there is only one race in the world to play, an elf, and the docs provided on the website are hardly rocket science, and acutally give you a very good idea of what you will be dealing with in the game as far as atmosphere. i only browsed it when i first came and wow, what a in depth character i became. I didnt know i had it in me:P So i will stick to my "reading is fundimental" stance regarding parusing the documentation before creation, but i think that was a most exellent idea regarding the starting out as a generic type character, Alaire, ill post my ideas on our forum as not to take up space here

Thanks for the box lift serephina, gave me all kinds of ideas
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Old 10-05-2002, 12:25 PM   #11
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Thanks Kyrie. Something else you said just jogged another thought.

>> Playing on said game, i know the deal, and i understand her picking at the apps, because it is quite obvious when people come on clueless without even looking at the website, they usually kill everything in sight and pick up things off the ground alot then blame it all on having multiple personalities:P

As a mentor I have met a few of those. Some have gone on to become excellent members. Sometimes we have members who's playing style conflicts with policy and they don't intend to change. They eventually end up locked out.

Many are just experienced in other games and think their behavior is normal play. They don't realize the etiquette of our game is different. Another player isn't always successful in disabusing them of their misconceptions because they think the other person is just trying to bully them or something. Players will often express their disapproval rudely or agressively which only escalates the situation.

I was taking a young Paladin on a hunting trip. We walked into a room and he began advancing on a critter. The previous occupant frowned at him then asked him what he was doing. Before my Paladin answered I interjected saying that in this land folk didn't just start hunting with someone without checking if they were welcome first. They might say no in which case you move on but you could make a new friend. My newbie apologized, and the other player became welcoming and took over helping him out enthusiastically. I met him a few weeks later and he was doing marvelously well.

We have all kinds of docs available but they can get tedious to go through. Players with prior experience think they know more than they do so just skim. Players with no prior experience are overwhelmed and just can't absorb it all at once.

I remember being a newbie really well. Just learning how to navigate and learning the syntax seemed enormously complicated. It took me a week before I knew to "sit". I happened on the game I started playing because a friend told me about it. After playing for some time I found out more about the history of roleplaying and traditional roleplaying principles.

Some people start in games that are very far from those principles. Many new players come from graphical muds or PkP intensive muds or both. Many have experience in multiple games so they really think they pretty much know the ropes. These games (including the one I play) allow quick starts and the players just wing it. They pick up the mechanics quickly which only serves to increase their confidence in knowing how the game is played.

One of the major benefits I see to private or free muds is the ability to control membership without regard to the bottom line. You can control how many new players you allow into the game at once making it easier to absorb them. The smaller player base allows you to pick out disruptive players quickly.

Trial membership could take on a new meaning. If I could rule the world, introductory information would be no longer than a few pages. One on mechanics, one on etiquette and roleplaying, one on world background, one on what trial membership means. During the trial membership phase the character used would not be considered permanent. After X amount of time the individual would either attain full membership and be allowed to create permanent characters or they would be told they don't blend well with the existing membership.

This would emphasize that the criteria for success in this world goes beyond mastering the mechanics and advancement.
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Old 10-05-2002, 01:23 PM   #12
Alaire
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Thumbs up

First, THANK YOU for all the advice, I really appeciate it more than I can say.

That said, I also wanted to let people know that the person that was destroyed for the whole multiple personality disorder thing was actually a guy from another mud who was bragging on that mud's IRC channel about how since his game was down he was going to come mess with the imms on my game.  I -will- generally let things like that go, because some deep characters can come out of something even as overdone as MPD.    However, I didn't really see the point in allowing that to happen, disrupting the game for our players for his amusement at messing with another mud's staff.

As far as the other ideas, I've got some things swimming in my brain for newbie pc's, and I'll work on that a bit today and see what I can come up with.  I really appreciate that idea so much, and can't thank you enough!
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Old 10-05-2002, 01:24 PM   #13
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You should appreciate every visitor that pops into your MUD, but you do not have to grovel to keep them just to increase the MUD population.

Quality is preferred to quantity, yet you should always come up with ideas to increase the quantity slowly while maintaining quality. If you have guilds, clans, ranks, societies, or any such thing, use them as a way to regulate player quality. A newbie coming in, not familiar with your MUD (or any MUD possibly) might need some time left to their own devices with a little careful prodding and suggestions in order to shape them into the type of player that would fit well in your MUD. As the player develops you can tell if they are going to work out, or if they are going to be a problem. If they might work out, advance them to the next rank, let them join a guild, or whatever fits with your MUD.

Good first impressions are hard to make on MUDs. The MUD I play on has a Wheel of Time theme, but regularly we have had players who MUD, but never ever played or read the Wheel of Time. We have also had players come in who have read the books a dozen times but have never been on a MUD before. Both are examples of players that might prove difficult for different reasons, but I have seen great RPers come from both camps.

I also agree that quests can be used to bring players out of their shells. You might have a player that you believe is not worthwhile, and after a quest you decide that maybe they can fit into the MUDs theme. You also might find that some players you would love to stay forever can be jerks...but hey, that's what it means to run a MUD
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