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Posts Tagged ‘Text-Based Games’

Thinking About: Exclusivity

January 30, 2010 10 comments

Here are the facts:

OtherSpace gets maybe 20-30 new visitors logging on to check out the game during an average month. Of those, maybe five stick around to give it a chance. Of those, we’re lucky if one really commits long-term to the character they’ve created.

From a promotional standpoint, this can be fairly demoralizing, especially when we have gone to great lengths to make the game so damned easy to join.

So, it occurred to me, maybe I’ve been thinking about it all wrong. Maybe ease of entry is the problem. People run through the simplified character creation in-game, usually without reading the material, just to make it onto the grid and disconnect before anyone can interact with them. Maybe the simplicity of the process puts forward a message like “Hey, you can join. Or not. It’s no big deal. Whatever.” And that sounds like the wrong message to me.

Maybe the message needs to be: “We’re concerned about quality. We’re looking for commitment. We don’t want just anybody running around the place. We’re exclusive. But we want to make sure you feel at home too.”

If we turn things to a new perspective, then those five people who give OtherSpace a real chance each month are the basis for us to say, for purposes of discussion, that we’ve got five open new player slots each month. We could set up a web-based character tutorial, have newbies read through it, and then submit an application via email at its conclusion. If a player’s application is approved, we set them up for entry into the game and close one of the available slots for that month. If we’re lucky enough to get six people interested during a month, then we start a waiting list. With that, perhaps we manage to turn a perceived weakness into an actual strength.

It’s not just a matter of being exclusive, though. I also want more of a hand in the character creation and player introduction process. I don’t want to miss a chance to communicate with potential new players – and an email application allows fairly rapid response.

Monday MUD Day: 1/18/2010

January 18, 2010 7 comments

Today’s selections include:

* A Moment in Tyme
* Shadows of Isildur
* Sneezy MUD
* CyberAssault

Monday MUD Day – 1/11/2010

January 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Today’s selections include:

* 4 Dimensions
* Midnight Sun
* Storms of Time
* Blood of Dragons

Introducing: Text Adventures Online

January 5, 2010 3 comments

During our discussion about “word of mouth” issues for OtherSpace, one of the players hit on the point that they really didn’t pay much attention to Top MUD Sites or The MUD Connector anymore because, for them, the sites no longer had anything to offer or were too difficult to navigate.

I’m stubbornly supportive of both because, without them, OtherSpace never would have survived for more than a decade as it has. However, it’s true that both are fairly stagnant. The same people post when anything gets posted, with very rare exceptions. It’s almost unheard of to see someone new popping in and making themselves known to the community. So, it’s no wonder people might start dismissing the sites as past their usefulness.

I’m not so cynical. I certainly don’t want to compete or try to replace them, because I don’t think they’re the problem. They’re just suffering from the same out-of-sight/out-of-mind problem that faces people who enjoy play-by-post, play-by-email, and interactive fiction adventures but want to see new blood coming in: Unless someone KNOWS to look for them, it’s just not easy to happen upon them accidentally.

Rather than try to make a new site that only caters to MUDs, I’ve instead started a site that serves the broader interest of text-based gaming in general. Text Adventures Online (or TAO) is designed to provide a rising tide to lift several different boats. I can’t do it alone, though. If you’re interested in MUDs, PBP, PBEM, roleplaying blogs, or interactive fiction design and might want to become a contributor about your favorite pastime, I invite you to send email to taowordpress@gmail.com. I’m looking for GM profiles, player profiles, game/site reviews, contest announcements, special event notices, promotional posts – pretty much anything we can get out there to raise awareness about these types of games.

Thanks for your support!

Monday MUD Day – 1/4/2010

January 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Time got away from me yesterday, but here’s our selection this week – belatedly:

* Maiden Desmodus
* True Blood: Dallas
* LifeMUD
* QuarantineMUD

Monday MUD Day – 12/28/2009

December 28, 2009 Leave a comment

Today’s selections include:

* Dark Isles
* FuskerMUD
* Dark and Shattered Lands
* Exodus

Monday MUD Day 12/21/2009

December 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Today’s selections include:

* Dragonstone

* Throes of Creation

* Elan Vital

* Lands of M’dhavian