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Articles Section
Retaining New Players

How does a mud go about retaining new players (newbies)? There are many who think the key to new players is just advertising. Shove as many players through the door as possible and hope for the best. Does this really solve anything? If you get the players logging in and half or more don't stay then what have you accomplished? If you take no time to understand what is driving those players away then you obviously don't take interest in improving the game play of your mud. In which case your mud is doomed to fail or the mud will grow very slowly.

Another method used in keeping the new players at login is the PLUNGE method. You grab the player at login equip them and throw them at some monsters. In most cases the player is either killing a monster or getting killed with in three moves. Now if you are a player new to the whole mud concept is this a good way to learn for the first time? Has your mud based its success off of combat in such a way that your best move is to show the player that at login? In my humble opinion a mud that uses the PLUNGE method is targeting a hack and slash crowd. If the mud you run is looking for that kind of player base then this would be the way to go.

The third and IMHO best way to keep new players at login is to have an eye catcher. When a new player logs in he/she needs to be drawn in and feel they have a destiny or role to play in the story line of the game. Does your mud have a story line? The story line of a mud is perhaps the most important feature it can have. Without a good story line all you have is a run of the mill mud and there are too many of those out there already. After you have a good story line you need to help the new player to understand how the game works. You need to educate them in the types of commands they have at their disposal and what effects certain things have on their player. Some do this with a newbie area that the player logs into for the first time. No matter how you go about it the new player must be taught the mechanics of how to play. After you have a story line and a information system other than basic help files to bring the new player up to speed with muds your chances of retaining players has increased by ten fold.

Ok lets talk a little more about story lines and how they are presented to the player. Is your story line buried deep within the mud or does it slap the player right in the face at first login? Would either way really get the story to the player without boring them or scaring them off? I'm sure there are many ways to present a story line but the one I find to be the best at grabbing attention is to submerse the player within it at login. No that does not mean slapping them with a huge spammy story for them to read after they create their player. To submerse a player within the story line is to almost force them to take part in it. To allow them to view it as it happened in the past while they are in the present. Give them flash backs of a past not yet forgotten. Make them feel as if they are the final chapter to the story line. You must help them to find a purpose so they can begin to develop their character. I realize some experienced players already know who and what they will be and that can not always be changed, but this will help the new players. I am not the master of retaining players although I hope you agree with some of the ways I have pointed out about keeping player.

About the author:

position: Immortal on The Dragon's Den