My humble opinion on why this MUD isn't growing

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06 Aug 2007 00:45 #5538 by Musica
The way I see it, this MUD has great potential but not a lot of life. Why? There are a lot of answers to this. Let's focus on the one that's bugging me enough to make me stop being peacemaker and voice my opinion.

There isn't enough random RP. RP for the sake of RP. The very people who have the power to do this at any time, the Creators, are barely visible in the AL scene, if visible at all. Up until a week or two ago, I'd never had any RP interaction from Creator or Mentor.

Considering I'd been playing for at least a year, this is not a good record. I didn't even recognize the first time I got real RP from a Creator. I thought I was about to be punished and panicked even as I played it out. Only now do I realize it was just RP for RP's sake. (Thanks, whoever that was.)

Look, folks, this MUD needs more than dedicated players. I don't doubt you're all working very hard on things we can't see. I know you guys have a ton of work. But take some time, interact with the players! Don't you get bored, doing the same things? We players do too.

I knew a player who wanted to be a Creator. He played for awhile, was thrilled with how great this game was, and had great fun. He had some fantastic ideas and a lot of enthusiasm for getting new people to this MUD. He figured he could make a difference by signing up for Creatorship. So he signed up. Immediately he's piled with work and not allowed to use his old character. Something about being a low-level creator, having to get permission or having stuff checked, and things like that. He's a hard worker and wants to help, so he buckles down and starts working on this load of things he has to do before he can put any of his ideas into action. Pretty soon, I hear less and less of him. He stops going online so much and often complains about the amount of work he's doing. Finally, I don't hear from him at all.

Does this ring a bell to any of you? I've seen this scenario happen at least twice. Their ideas and enthusiasm were squished by the pressure, workload, and inability to act on their ideas. It seems like you're all so loaded down with work that you've forgetten what this MUD is supposed to be about.

This needs to change if this MUD is going to grow and be fun.

Comments, constructive criticism, and questions welcome. Flames decidedly unwelcome.

As always, thank you for your time.

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06 Aug 2007 07:28 #5539 by Synthesis
I'd have to completely disagree with you as to the reason why this game is unlikely to grow its playerbase.

My first pick of the numerous reasons would be: the sheer amount of spammery required to become even moderately useful at any skill you don't have the good fortune to start with.

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06 Aug 2007 12:58 #5540 by xace135x
I don't play as much as I'd like to, but I used to play loads years ago. I still know alot of the older folks around and am happy to see their faces. Creator interaction is NOT needed for player growth, the only thing that stunts player growth is the playerbase itself. This is how it has ALWAYS been imo. Yes, we've had some issues from time to time with certain creators, and they've been dealt with. Likewise, we've had numerous more instances with shoddy RPers or just all around bad apples in this game, and they kill the mood and fun alot more then any creator ever has.

The Creators and Admins def do take some time out to interact with players, you might not see it all the time, but it's always there. The simple little cat walking into your room and acting funny, to the voices in your head, to the normal RP they do with their own toons :p

Just to make mention on the load of work creators have before they can play their toon again, it's not all that much. Anyone that seriously knows there code, or hell, even if they don't, the tasks aren't at all that hard to reach the level needed to get interaction back. It'd take less then a week of solid dedication of time you'd normally give the MUD. Stepping up to become a creator doesn't mean you're getting a pass into the cool kids club, it means you're standing up and saying you love this game so much you want to make it even better. To anyone with the lack of love or dedication to get through even the first set of tasks, don't even apply because you'll just waste more Admin's time then anything.

Yes we do need more creators, yes we do need more RPE's hosted by them, yes we need more players that do the same. We pretty much need more everything for this game to turn into the light that so many people invision it as, however, this game is far from dead and will continue to trudge on building up more and more over time.

As far as what Synthesis said, to my knowledge I thought you could submit a char idea into the creators with background etc. and possibly have a toon started up for you with some of the skills you should already "know". I might be wrong about that though, for the life of me I can't really remember =\

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06 Aug 2007 16:28 #5541 by Musica
Synthesis:  It does set a bad precedent, doesn't it?  I always felt I should probably roll until I got something I could RP with, and hope I got something with side-skills I could use well.  In the case of making money, I've always thought it was frustrating to be skilled in some area and not know what would sell where, or what I could make.  Really degrades how well I can RP with that particular skill.

Uriel:  I hadn't seen a single funny-acting animal (or anything that was noticeably different from usual) until about a week ago.  

I'd really like to know how much you play, if you call the work they're given a week's worth...  the guy in question took at least a month trying to finish it all, and I'm not sure he even finished it all, let alone got his ideas heard.  

You can get a 'custom character' as they're called, yes.  But they have to feel you deserve one, and in my experience, that means you need to be a strong and steady supporter of the MUD, contributing a lot, etc.  I've made a request for one at one point and was basically told to do a good amount of work, whereafter they'd consider it.  Therefore, it's not a very common occurance as far as I know.  

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06 Aug 2007 18:12 #5542 by Blakat
Mmm.

I think there are likely many issues why this MUD is not attracting as many players as we would like; but I couldn’t single handedly narrow them down.  This game, or any mud, takes a special type of person to really get hooked and to stick around.  I have never played any other MUD before so I can’t really say exactly what other games have that draws players.  I’d actually like to hear from a few people who have played other text based rp required games.  

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09 Aug 2007 08:44 #5543 by Devon Mullane
The reason there is not much creator involvement is because it is quite strictly against the rules. The creators are not meant to serve as 'gods' and in the same breath are not supposed to mingle with players at all. You are meant to be left alone period. Cries of player favoritism pretty much put an end to it. Pat yourselves on the back. If this bothers you, you should contact your creators and let them know you want them to play with you. Like the government, if that's what you want I'm sure you have the power to change it, but it won't happen overnight. Get involved and let them know how you feel. However, I wouldn't expect *too* much, as there is an issue with that most people don't recognize. In all the MUD's that the 'uppers' play with the players, there IS favoritism, there IS abuse of power, and there IS problems that arise because of it.

Now I do agree that some random RP wouldn't be a bad thing. But since there is no way to regulate it, it's pretty much a zero tolerance thing. So like I said, if you feel strongly about it, forget the forums. Gather up the players, sign petitions and send em in.

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09 Aug 2007 17:40 #5544 by Mark
First off, thanks for starting an effort to find out what's blocking us from growing. It might be possible to have a big growth spurt if we can identify and solve the issues.

Creators are encouraged to rp incidentally. Just not initially, they have to put in a bit of effort creating at first. There is no pressure involved here, you can do things at your own pace, but if you signed up to be a creator, you signed up to create and you have to show that you're doing that at first.

It's true though that there is a lot of work left to be done for AL to achieve it's potential, but if there are enough folks that dedicate themselves to help out, we can get there eventually. But yeah, let's not lose track of having fun on the way to getting there.

Hope that helps to clarify.

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09 Aug 2007 20:02 #5545 by Asteris
Alright, it seems again time for Asteris to say something inflamitory and supposedly off the wall.

I think on this one I agree, almost entirely with Musica;

What is the point of a game in which creators are creating entirely for themselves. When a creator is drawn out of the game world a few things happen: there are a lot of inconsistancies because creators aren't really expected to know the entirety of game history, stick to any master theme files (as for the most part there aren't any, or really work together with any other creators to get their projects done (one creator working one one race, one on another and very little intercommunication which makes each area seem very stagnant and unrelated.). There should be -no- creator that does not also play the game and understand intimately what players go through, want, or need. Creators often suggest to Players and Roleplayers that they run events but the truth of the matter is that Players and even Roleplayers don't command enough respect in the community to make decisions about theme or really affect anything in game to the point of being able to create a compelling storyline, the tools are simply not available, and it doesn't matter how good a roleplayer you are, you need a storyteller to affect any real sense of progress in a social game. There's already favoritism presently, I can point out maybe a score or two instances of it that I have observed in my stay here, and can assure that this is not the extent of it. If there's going to be favoritism anyway how about RP occur more commonly, at least then we can all have a chance, even if it's not to be a creator's favored player to at least be a major part of something world-changing.

AL has not changed since I started playing, this is a problem, there is no story being written here really, because nobody repsects players players can't, for the most part, communicate with creators without being told, simply, 'you're wrong'. Sure we have new features, new skills, we can ride horses and build cabins -everywhere-, but the story has not progressed, what meager threads of player history there are are marked not by player driven storylines but by creator RPEs that are so few and far between as to render them pointless, as hardly any creator remembers them, much less the players. There are even squabbles amongst the creators that are allowed to run large scale events, 'my storyline is more canon than your storyline' fights that are, just pointless and show a marked lack of working together at the very highest levels of our game.

Most importtantly among both creators and players there needs to be a change. So long as our motto is: It CAN be done, but do we WANT to do it? then we will be a mediocre game with a mediocre playerbase. Successful muds with lots of players are marked by two things: communication and enthusiasm. Do our creators communicate with our players and make them feel like they're accomplishing something, and do our players let our creators know what we want and what we don't.

I'm sure I've got plenty more to fume over, both criticisms and suggestions, but that's it for now as I've got to go to work.

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10 Aug 2007 13:02 #5546 by Shadowslay
From what I've seen, when one interested in RP comes to AL and is disappointed enough to leave, the reason is almost invariably tied to one of three things:

1. Perceived pointlessness and boredom; not enough RP going on, not able to find people. Concerns over this can come in many forms from, 'I wish there were quests' to... this thread, which has my endorsement.
Major contributors to this problem: As written.
Minor contributors to this problem: RP Hubs existing away from main cities making it difficult for new players to find people; larger world than the playerbase can occupy; varying time zones.

2. Problems pertaining to the people who play; non-conscientious players (sometimes called twinks) ruining the game for others, being killed for no reason, etc. Frustration at the creatorbase either over concerns of favorism or elitism (rejection of ideas) also comes up, although not as often, I think.

3. Perceived uselessness and futility. Everything from, "Man, I just got schooled by a rabbit..." to "I can't even get the skills I need for my char concept." (as written)

No argument over which are greater problems - just observations. I have personally seen people leave over all three.

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11 Aug 2007 19:52 #5547 by Devon Mullane
Luckily there are some ideas in progress with a few of your mentions Kriss. I have long stressed minor, but potently useful changes to the skill system. Since we are a classless MUD there are no restrictions on who can learn what or how much. Unfortunately this tends towards a 'well I'll learn everything then' attitude for a great many people. You may never have a use for glass making, but just in case you do, let's study that also huh? Some people are aware of other reasons for skill building and I know for a fact they rely on that heavily to influence the skills they decide to learn.

To be honest it's a long debate. So rather than beat a dead horse I'll just say always have faith in your creators. I'm sure if you ask them, they DO want you to have fun. But they are not getting paid, so it is just as important they are allowed to have fun as well.

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