Repent, text-game players, for the end is nigh!
Or so some pessimists might have you believe.
The prevailing opinion seems to be that the rising popularity of graphical massive multiplayer online games are sounding the death knell for text-based gaming on MUDs and MUD-derivatives.
Don't count us out just yet.
Put the craze in perspective. MUDs haven't been dying off in droves since the debut of Everquest or Ultima Online. Quite the contrary, they keep proliferating.
Because what those graphical games really do is bring new players to the Internet. When the novelty of killing things with pretty pictures wears off, those players may discover the simpler, deeper joys of text-based gaming.
Several OtherSpace players are veterans of Everquest and Ultima Online who wanted something more for their investment of time. Pretty pictures and a monthly fee paid to some faceless corporation are no substitute for worlds where you can make a difference, with evolving stories you can really impact.
Don't look at MMORPGs as a tsunami threatening to wipe out this gaming niche of ours. Instead, consider them a challenging wave to surf. Catch it just right and you're on the way to glory.
Every new MMORPG that comes online is a reason for a MU* operator to celebrate, not mourn. That's another door opening, creating the opportunity for more people to find the unique experience you offer.
The real competition isn't from MMORPGs - it's from the rapidly proliferating population of other text-based games - many of them just Joe Q. Mudder's personal collection of revised stock MUD areas, while a small percentage are probably truly original, exciting, worth a player's investment of time. Naturally, most MU* operators consider THEIR game to be the best, proclaiming it every chance they get on forums from Top MUD Sites to the MUD Connector. But some also fall into the trap of using attack tactics to try to bring about the downfall of a nemesis MU*.
I can think of few things more childish than that. Any effort you spend trashing someone else's MU* is effort better spent promoting your own, or making your own game better. Always remember that even bad publicity for a competing game is still publicity. You get far more mileage out of positive promotion of your own game than you can ever hope to gain from wasting time hammering the work of someone else.
Short-term, sure, you might get a few chuckles and draw some interested bystanders. But a MU* operator can't afford to be shortsighted if he/she wants to succeed at this.
Long-term, those constant attacks erode your credibility and transform your reputation to that of a cave troll - a creature deserving a mark on a map, with a legend warning all to steer clear.
And those actions you take will have far more impact on the rise or fall of your game than any graphical MMORPG.
Don't get distracted. Don't become your own worst enemy.
Wes Platt, known online as Brody, is the creator of OtherSpace: The Interactive SF Saga, which can be found at http://www.otherspace.org. He is the author of OtherSpace: Revolutions, now available through the Spacers Store at http://www.otherspace.org/osstore2.htm. He also moderates the Top MUD Sites roleplaying forum at http://www.topmudsites.com and the Theater of the ‘Net discussion area at http://communities.iuniverse.com/bin/circle.asp?circleid=8304. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.