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Old 07-16-2014, 01:57 AM   #1
the_logos
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MUDs Don't Have To Die

I frequently see people proclaiming the death of MUDs. However, while it's true that the environment has gotten more challenging, I have a recent data point that suggests it's possible for MUDs to prosper.

Achaea, which launched to the public in September, 1997, just had its best month ever in June, even adjusted for inflation, and not by a small margin.

Achaea's having such a good year, in fact, that it hired a third full-time person last month (in addition to myself and another part-time person) and of course a lot of volunteers.

Come find out why people are still willing to pay a long-standing MUD enough - in 2014 - to have its best month ever.

Play here, on our custom client that works on both PCs and mobile.
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Old 07-16-2014, 02:19 AM   #2
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

I have been playing this game for about 4 years, and I can grant you that it is constantly improving. No, I am not a fanboy because I do not have much RL time to play, I am just being honest!
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Old 07-16-2014, 12:18 PM   #3
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

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Originally Posted by flbellman View Post
I have been playing this game for about 4 years, and I can grant you that it is constantly improving. No, I am not a fanboy because I do not have much RL time to play, I am just being honest!
Glad you're enjoying it! We are always heads down, working away to give you a better experience.
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:27 PM   #4
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

Nice advertizement attempt from you guys.

As a matter of fact, others can not verify any of your statements at all - they don't have access to these statistics or logs and do not know whether you tampered with it or not. Now sure you can claim that you did not tamper with it, but how can OTHERS verify that?

I think MUDs have been slowly dying and I can refer to LPC-muds here.

I recall in the 1995 to 2000 range, a MUD I used to play a lot managed to have peak activity at about 70 players maximum, and on average well above 20-30.

Come 2014, the same MUD has a peak activitity of at max 20 players, and an average of 1-5 players.

So those numbers are speaking for themselves.

That is not to say that all MUDs are dwindling down, mind you, but for most MUDs, the great days are definitely over.

The whole www changed meanwhile in those 20 years guys.

MUDs are dying and there is no way to stop that trend.
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Old 07-16-2014, 01:44 PM   #5
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

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Originally Posted by shevegen View Post
Nice advertizement attempt from you guys.
Thanks! Not really an attempt though. It's an actual ad, posted in the promotions section.

Quote:

That is not to say that all MUDs are dwindling down, mind you, but for most MUDs, the great days are definitely over.

The whole www changed meanwhile in those 20 years guys.

MUDs are dying and there is no way to stop that trend.

Yep, for sure - most MUDs are slowly dying.

Achaea's current population isn't as big as it used to be, though is currently stable, but the number of people playing isn't how we measure success, as all players aren't equal. Last month was our best month ever in terms of players spending money - we've never brought in as much revenue in a month as last month, even adjusted for inflation (the previous best month was 8 or 9 years ago).

What's happened with Achaea, at least, is the population has aged up and matured. We used to have a lot of teenagers playing (most of whom never spent money) along with the expected 18-35 year olds, but now our population is almost entirely 20 years old+, and the average player is much more likely to be able/willing to contribute to the game financially than she was a decade ago.

Achaea's also got more full-time and part-time paid staff on it now than it ever has, reflecting that success and hopefully paving the way for more as we continually and ceaselessly work on making it and all the Iron Realms MUDs better, day in, day out.
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Old 07-16-2014, 09:13 PM   #6
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

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Originally Posted by shevegen View Post
Nice advertizement attempt from you guys.

As a matter of fact, others can not verify any of your statements at all - they don't have access to these statistics or logs and do not know whether you tampered with it or not. Now sure you can claim that you did not tamper with it, but how can OTHERS verify that?
Try to log in, play and see it for yourself. I am a casual gamer, though. I am 41 years old and I have little time to play as you may imagine.

Anyway, even if MUDs are facing a survival of the fittest scenario, I grant you personally that Achaea's staff is working like hell to preserve and improve the MUD. I have seen it with my eyes.

My character in Achaea was created on 7/8/2010, and - as of today - I have been playing for 63 days, 1 hour and 58 minutes, and I am super-satisfed .
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:23 AM   #7
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

Perhaps Achaea would be happy to be the first MUD to participate in Try a New MUD Day?

Maybe some Achaeans would be willing to try out new games and help prop them up so that the MUD community doesn't die out everywhere but 3-4 games.
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:08 AM   #8
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

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Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
Perhaps Achaea would be happy to be the first MUD to participate in Try a New MUD Day?

Maybe some Achaeans would be willing to try out new games and help prop them up so that the MUD community doesn't die out everywhere but 3-4 games.

That's what participation in TMS voting is already about. It's a traffic exchange. We send players here, exposing them to new MUDs, and in return other MUDs do the same, exposing their players to us.

Granted, people probably only ever really see the top 10 in terms of rankings, maybe the top 20 (the bottom 10 generally require some kind of scrolling to see), but there's always the opportunity to expose yourself to people via the ads available here on TMS.
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Old 07-17-2014, 12:19 PM   #9
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

My biggest objection to voting is seeing servers like Abandoned Realms in the top ten (they're #11 now). That server has 340 votes so far, and the server itself has an average userload of 4 (5.0 votes per player average per day). Meanwhile, Aardwolf only has 1450 votes with an average userload of 310 (0.27 votes per player average per day). Similarly, Achaea has 752 votes with a userload of around 180 (0.25 votes per player average per day). How a game can have 19 times the voting ratio of known good servers and not get flagged is beyond me.

With blatant cheating like that on the front page, I didn't even bother asking people to vote until I felt we could get enough to at least make front page. Speaking of which:

There's no point in traffic exchanging via the voting system unless you're at the top. If you're a small server and you're looking to get larger, focus your efforts elsewhere until you're sure you can get in the top 20. If you can't make first page, don't even bother. You'll just be wasting your players' time.

This is because much like Google, the only entries that get any real amount of traffic are the ones that are displayed in the browser window when the page comes up; if the user has to scroll down to see more entries, or go to the next page, your entry will see virtually no traffic (compared to the entries at the top of the list.)

There are some pretty easy fixes for this unfairness problem, if the TMS owners want to actually make TMS a fair traffic exchange. For example, it would be more fair to display a randomly selected list using the votes as the selection weight. Change the list once daily so that servers stay at the top long enough to be noticed and for people to hit low-load servers en-masse. The highly voted servers will still get a lot of air time, but smaller servers will also occasionally see the light of day as well.

That said, I understand that TMS is associated with some of the top ranked servers, so it seems unlikely that this sort of thing will change. Certainly if AA was in the top ten, I wouldn't want the ranking system to change either.

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Old 07-17-2014, 02:33 PM   #10
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

Quote:
Originally Posted by dentin View Post
My biggest objection to voting is seeing servers like Abandoned Realms in the top ten (they're #11 now). That server has 340 votes so far, and the server itself has an average userload of 4 (5.0 votes per player average per day). Meanwhile, Aardwolf only has 1450 votes with an average userload of 310 (0.27 votes per player average per day). Similarly, Achaea has 752 votes with a userload of around 180 (0.25 votes per player average per day). How a game can have 19 times the voting ratio of known good servers and not get flagged is beyond me.

With blatant cheating like that on the front page, I didn't even bother asking people to vote until I felt we could get enough to at least make front page. Speaking of which:

There's no point in traffic exchanging via the voting system unless you're at the top. If you're a small server and you're looking to get larger, focus your efforts elsewhere until you're sure you can get in the top 20. If you can't make first page, don't even bother. You'll just be wasting your players' time.

This is because much like Google, the only entries that get any real amount of traffic are the ones that are displayed in the browser window when the page comes up; if the user has to scroll down to see more entries, or go to the next page, your entry will see virtually no traffic (compared to the entries at the top of the list.)

There are some pretty easy fixes for this unfairness problem, if the TMS owners want to actually make TMS a fair traffic exchange. For example, it would be more fair to display a randomly selected list using the votes as the selection weight. Change the list once daily so that servers stay at the top long enough to be noticed and for people to hit low-load servers en-masse. The highly voted servers will still get a lot of air time, but smaller servers will also occasionally see the light of day as well.

That said, I understand that TMS is associated with some of the top ranked servers, so it seems unlikely that this sort of thing will change. Certainly if AA was in the top ten, I wouldn't want the ranking system to change either.

-dentin

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The owner of TMS is the owner of Aardwolf, but as far as I know he's not associated with any of the other MUDs.

As for Abandoned Realms - have you emailed him to complain about Abandoned Realms? That seems like the first step before complaining that he's not done anything about it. I certainly wasn't aware they had so few players, and if they do, they're certainly and blatantly cheating. I'll email him right now, pointing him to this thread, in fact. He's always been good about reacting to complaints of cheating in the past.
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Old 07-17-2014, 02:59 PM   #11
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

And within minutes of mailing him, Abandoned Realms (which has been caught with suspicious voting patterns previously) is gone. All it took was a simple email!
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Old 07-17-2014, 03:29 PM   #12
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

Yes, I've sent a couple of emails over the last year or so, but AFAIK they were just blackholed. I was rather hesitant to post it publicly, but since the other methods weren't working...

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Old 07-17-2014, 11:21 PM   #13
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
That's what participation in TMS voting is already about. It's a traffic exchange. We send players here, exposing them to new MUDs, and in return other MUDs do the same, exposing their players to us.

Granted, people probably only ever really see the top 10 in terms of rankings, maybe the top 20 (the bottom 10 generally require some kind of scrolling to see), but there's always the opportunity to expose yourself to people via the ads available here on TMS.
I agree with dentin's response to this.

Achaea is not going to lose much if it encourages its players, through both the forum and in the game, to go out and try some other MUD. It will do a lot more to help the MUD community than merely bragging about how well your game is doing while others aren't going so well.

It's kind of a slap in the face to struggling MUDs for a game like Achaea to brag that MUDs don't have to die just because Achaea has a big core of regular players. Achaea could just as likely have been one of the many MUDs with once-thriving communities that now have maybe 10 people on during a good day.
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Old 07-17-2014, 11:52 PM   #14
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

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Last edited by Davairus : 07-19-2014 at 07:15 PM. Reason: matter was properly investigated and the MUD was restored
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:17 AM   #15
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

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I'm checking my email inbox for suspicious activity and I see nothing. My email address is on the login screen of the MUD, I am completely available for contact. I was not contacted. I have been given no opportunity to investigate my playerbase to see if someone was abusing the vote. This is BS.
So you send me an email at 10:53pm my time and post this 1 hour later because you hadn't gotten a response yet?

As explained in that response, the reason you were given so little benefit of the doubt this month is because you were removed last month due to massive proxy voting (hundreds). A little switch around of the gateway page and the votes suddenly dropped to 0. Not 2 or 9 per day, zero. Other than a handful of votes they stayed that way for the rest of the month. You either didn't notice or didn't care enough to email about it.

Fast forward a few days and you're going to be mad that nobody is in a big hurry to work with you further on this, maybe even genuinely wondering why.

Quote:
Maybe what you ought to be REALLY thinking about is how little effect being top 20 on TMS has actually done for our playerbase, I stopped bothering to buy an icon here because the metrics I collected showed me it was not worth it. Certainly wouldnt bother the effort of proxy voting.
Glad to hear this won't cause you any actual harm. Were those 130 'out' clicks yours?
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Old 07-18-2014, 12:53 AM   #16
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

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Last edited by Davairus : 07-19-2014 at 07:16 PM. Reason: matter was properly investigated and the MUD was restored
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Old 07-18-2014, 02:09 AM   #17
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

To me it's fairly sad that someone would rate success on a mud from how much the players pay, rather than from how much they play.
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Old 07-18-2014, 05:51 PM   #18
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

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Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
It's kind of a slap in the face to struggling MUDs for a game like Achaea to brag that MUDs don't have to die just because Achaea has a big core of regular players. Achaea could just as likely have been one of the many MUDs with once-thriving communities that now have maybe 10 people on during a good day.
Sure, it could have, but it's not, and that's not an accident. It's a result of consistent, smart, hard work, year in, year out. If a MUD once has a thriving community and now has 10 people on in a good day, there's one place to point the finger: the administration of that MUD.
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Old 07-18-2014, 06:34 PM   #19
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

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To me it's fairly sad that someone would rate success on a mud from how much the players pay, rather than from how much they play.
To me it's fairly sad (and quite rude) that a MUD admin would jump in on a promotional thread to try to disparage the success of another MUD. It's also kind of ironic for you to be telling us that success for a MUD should be based on how much the players play when your MUD - 4Dimensions - has a whopping six players online currently, one of which is the newbie I just created to check.

However, for the benefit of other people who are actually interested vs looking to troll:

MUDs are not just a hobby for us, and that fact is one major reason we're thriving. Revenue matters more than play time (though both matter, as no players = no revenue) because we're professionals that earn our living from this. We have mortgages, rent, bills for kids colleges, etc. 100 thirteen year olds who spend no money but run around going "LOL I R an RPer!" don't do much for us. I'll take 10 mature 25-40 year olds that do what they can to support the game any day of the week.

Personally, I look at it quite opposite: I'm thrilled and honoured that players love our MUDs so much that not only do they play the heck out of them, but on top of that, they're willing to spend money to support us. It's quite a gratifying expression of their love for our MUDs.

Stop by most MUDs today and look at how much effort is being put into making them better, day-in, day-out. I think you'll be hard-pressed to find too many that get the kind of work poured into them that Achaea does, and the fact that we're able to be paid to do that work is why. We're not distracted by other jobs. This isn't a side-gig for us.

This is our lives, and revenue means that we can pour more resources into the MUDs. Hired a new full-time developer on Achaea this month, in fact, as a result of the excellent year we've been having, which means more cool stuff for the players to enjoy. And of course on top of our paid full-time staff we also have a cadre of community volunteers that are in-role as Gods as well as help out behind the scenes.

If you want a MUD with an active playerbase that has very active, productive staff, come check out it. The Atlantic recently had this to say about Achaea:
"It remains immersive to an astonishing degree, even compared with contemporary games—it has its own social mores, cultural life, history and folklore. Its political systems are complicated and well-developed."


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Last edited by the_logos : 07-18-2014 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 07-18-2014, 08:22 PM   #20
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Re: MUDs Don't Have To Die

I love seeing posts like this, it always creates a perfect opportunity for me to talk about DBE and brag about how big our playerbase is, especially for a DBZ MUD. DBE has a 15-30 player average at all times with 40+ at peak hours. The reason DBE has so many players and has retained those players over 12 years is because of the same reason Achaea has a large steady playerbase. I don't just sit around and nazi my players all day long, I actually build, code and host events almost everyday. My other admins do the same but much less than I do hehe but I make up for their slack easily. Players on DBE always talk about how they enjoy the constant updates, DBE even gets people who have no clue what DBZ is but they play DBE because all the other MUDs they played with their friends were stale and lacked any active admins.

You could have the most badass MUD in the world but if you don't update it and keep an active staff, no one will care about your prized MUD. I'll never forget all the haters who told me DBE would never get a steady playerbase and DBE would never have more than 10 players online or how DBE would shutdown in a year or so. Now all the DBE haters are sitting in their dead MUDs wishing newbies would sign on but they don't because they're probably playing DBE or some other MUD with admins who care and enjoy MUDding. Honestly, most people have no business being a MUD owner or builder, they're usually in it for the power control and ego boost.

I may as well take the time to say this month is DBE's 12 anniversary. 8 more years to go and I've reached my goal of keeping DBE open for 20 years and that's just the start.
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