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Old 12-15-2004, 04:16 PM   #1
nass
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All,

I've been looking at player #s at the place I work, and at some of the other 'bigger' muds out there, and I've noticed a pretty big drop in the last 12-18 months or so. Not just my place, but many others. So, I think, first we need to understand why, then we can do something about it.

My hunch (and only a hunch) is that things like x-box etc have taken a lot of the audience away into "closed" platforms, ie they don't acess the web and look for their online entertainment but instead find it inside their closed network of x-boxy type games.

That's about the only big thing that I can think of has changed in the last 2 years or so - hence the accellerated drop during that time. Anyone have any other thoughts?

Can I also request that moderators please moderate this thread strongly - ie keep the trash talk and personal attack nonsense off. That other thread on mud PR is a terrible advert for this place. Thanks.
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Old 12-15-2004, 04:37 PM   #2
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Maybe players are becomming more interested in RP? More muds are become more RP intense and I know a few RP muds that are gaining many more players. Although x-box and such are probably one cause, another might be that people are finally realising the potential of RPIs and RP enforced muds and when moving to them are leaving their old muds behind?
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Old 12-15-2004, 04:40 PM   #3
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I'm not sure the drop is all that uniform. I run three text-based games. One of them, my oldest, has seen a pretty dramatic drop in regular players during the past year, while one held steady and the other, the newest one, has grown steadily and now holds stable on most nights.

In fact, the newest game gets the kind of crowds the oldest game used to get. Of course, my personal focus on development and activity has been on the newest game - and that, I think, has a lot to do with it on both sides.

All games go through ebbs and flows during school years, holiday seasons, exam periods, etc. But I can't say with any certainty that there's a way to quantify the numbers we lose to XBoxes or gain because newbies to Star Wars Galaxies or other MMORPGs discover text games.
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:18 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (nass @ Dec. 15 2004,16:16)
All,

I've been looking at player #s at the place I work, and at some of the other 'bigger' muds out there, and I've noticed a pretty big drop in the last 12-18 months or so. Not just my place, but many others. So, I think, first we need to understand why, then we can do something about it.

My hunch (and only a hunch) is that things like x-box etc have taken a lot of the audience away into "closed" platforms, ie they don't acess the web and look for their online entertainment but instead find it inside their closed network of x-boxy type games.

That's about the only big thing that I can think of has changed in the last 2 years or so - hence the accellerated drop during that time. Anyone have any other thoughts?
Well, Achaea, Aetolia, and Imperian were slowly growing during the last 12-18 months until Lusternia opened, at which point they all shrank due to the fact that Lusternia cannibalized a bunch of players from the other games.

Xbox Live isn't really big enough to have an impact on online games by itself, but I think the HUGE fall this has been for video games generally might have some effect. I can't remember the last time so many high-profile and quality games have come out in such a short time: Sims 2, Doom 3, Everquest II, Worlds of Warcraft, GTA: San Andreas, Metroid Prime 2, Halo 2, Prince of Persia 2, KOTOR 2, Half-Life 2, Rome: Total War, Fable etc.


--matt
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Old 12-15-2004, 05:32 PM   #5
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I think Matt hit the nail on the head. I've been developing my own mud for the past year+ and I've taken off time several times to play a variety of the newest releases.

Like myself though, as soon as things slow down, the newness factor burns away, they'll keep returning to what we love most.

There's just simply been a LOT of really nifty games this past year.
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Old 12-16-2004, 03:06 PM   #6
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Good points, folks - indeed there have been a lot of great games this year, and indeed, mud "tiredness" explains a lot. Hmmmm...
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Old 12-17-2004, 01:40 PM   #7
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Keep in mind that graphical games will not necessarily replace text-based games any more than DVDs have replaced books. Having more options can draw people into other interests, but there will be people who prefer the flexibility that the text medium provides.

One of the challenges of marketing our game is that I don't think we're looking for traditional video game enthusiasts. We provide great depth, but we do ask more of the player- it's not like an XBOX game where they usually barely provide an instruction manual, because the gameplay teaches you what each button does. A lot of traditional video game players log on and go bonkers because they've been playing for 15 minutes and no cataclysmic events have occurred. The concept of a game that you can play for thousands of hours (and still suck at) isn't in their mental Rolodex.

Graphics are limiting in many ways as well- if I think of a new creature or melee weapon, I can probably put it together in 10-20 minutes, plus time for any attached code. If a MMORPG thinks of a brand-new creature (not "It's a Blue Goblin, which is marginally tougher than a Red Goblin"), you need skilled programmers and a good bit of time to crank out the new animations, sounds, etc. If you want a role-playing game like Carrion Fields where we frequently run storylines in a spontaneous way, reacting to the players' actions, there's no way you can execute the required hardware in a reasonable time.

Finally, there are distinct advantages to playing a smaller game. If you play a game like ours (80-100 people during busy times), you have a real chance at being a mover and a shaker. The game may be different if you show up vs. when you don't. Custom quests might revolve around your personal decisions. The staff will 'recognize' you. Cheaters, griefers, and the like can be handled on a 1-on-1 basis, which keeps the game relatively "clean". People might tell stories your character 10 RL years later (which happens often in our community). That's a very different feeling from playing Everquest or whatever.
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Old 12-17-2004, 09:35 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Dec. 17 2004,13:40)
People might tell stories your character 10 RL years later (which happens often in our community). That's a very different feeling from playing Everquest or whatever.
There are always exceptions of course. Some would argue that EVE-Online, to provide but one example, has become PIE-Online -any EVE players here at TMS will know what I mean. If you're not one of these, then PIE is a 'player-corporation' dedicated to Role-play PK (after a fashion -lowercase RP, uppercase PK) and if you follow such things in-game, you'll notice that the members of PIE absolutely dominate, primarily ICly, by way of absolute coverage during events. PIE is also player-run, not an npc 'corp' or controlled by the admin, by the way.

I'm sure there are other examples in other graphical MMOs. Shakers and movers aren't restricted to text-only, but on the whole I'd tend to agree with most of what you say. Graphical behemoths like EVE, SWG etc. can get -very- impersonal when you're playing online with thousands of others. Parochial, I think, is somewhat of a demeaning little word, but applied to muds, its a favourable one. 'Homely' is better, and mu*s do this extremely well, on the whole.
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