Author Topic: State of the MUD - Feb 2015  (Read 620 times)

Chalgyr

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State of the MUD - Feb 2015
« on: 02/05/15, 12:16 »
So it has been a long (really, REALLY long) time since I wrote one of these, and while I would love to say "I will make this quick" - that's just not in my nature. I like to write, and that's where all of those room descriptions in the game come from.  >:D

In the past I've covered a variety of topics, ranging from why we started up KotL to some of our thought processes behind certain things that have happened and ideas that perhaps got left on the cutting room floor.

We have had flurries of activity in the boards now and then - usually in spikes. Usually those serve as a way to talk about some topics of interest, maybe weigh some ideas and see what - if anything - we should be cooking up next. I will be the first to admit that new content doesn't come around anywhere near as quickly as it used to. There are probably multiple reasons for that.  One is that the staff size is smaller. I would guess that the last two imms to build or code something are Thalia and myself. Players don't build as much either - I believe the last player to create a zone was Sye. We also have nearly 15 years of areas and systems in place - scrapping something to start over seems illogical most of the time, unless we see it as a major problem that drives players away. I know that for myself - time is much harder to come by now than it was 7, 10, 15 years ago and my interest in building zones has definitely waned over the last four or so years.

That said, there is a lot of content still here. I can understand why veteran players who have hit the cap would look for something fresh to do - but it seems as though it is harder to retain newer players as well. Harder, but not impossible as we do see some new people trickle in here and there. This is not a problem isolated to KotL - I still spend some time over at Mudconnect (I used to review MUDs for them and post there pretty heavily over a decade ago, so they are still my go-to for all things MUDs) and the reduced player bases are a theme for almost all but the biggest of MUDs. Smaller MUDs have pretty much closed out and mid-sized have become the smaller sized now. There is plenty I miss about the days when we used to get 50+ players a night (there is also drama from some of those days I most certainly do not miss).

I have always said that as long as people keep playing, I'll keep paying the light bill. I have had several people over the last year ask me if that is still the case. My initial answer is... probably. If we go days with only 1 or 2 people on, that inclination might decrease, but it is hard to say. I really don't mind running the MUD indefinitely, but there are actual monetary costs associated with it (specifically the domain kotl.org and the server costs, which shake out to be over $350 a year). Not back-breaking, but at least worth weighing. So while I do not have an exit strategy or any plans to stop keeping KotL running, certainly seeing more people about encourages me to keep the lights on a good deal longer.

At the very least - we are covered through this time next year, so I want to encourage you all to play this year, visit from time to time, interact with each other and generally try to get along. I know that not everyone gets along with everybody else, but I would certainly like to see more of an effort to try. If I had to pinpoint the one thing that has driven away more players (at least in my experience, both here and on other MUDs), it is players arguing with one another on a personal, out of character level. It turns an atmosphere toxic and what should be a place of fun and respite from real life stress becomes something that those players eventually decide to simply cut out of their lives. We haven't had that kind of drama much of late, but well - the players logging in have been decreased in number as well, so I am sure there's a correlation.

Come August Kingdoms of the Lost will turn 15 years old.

Think about that. One and a half decades for a game. I have seen a lot of people come and go over the years. Some I got to know very well, others not so much - but that is a long time. My youngest kid is 13. I was 26 when we started the game up.

I am still open to ideas on things players want to see here. The more people who comment on ideas and offer support and feedback the better we can plan and adjust accordingly. Gaming is in my blood. I write for two different gaming sites, I have been writing text games in BASIC since I was eight. I have been playing and running D&D campaigns for years. I have always loved the idea of a playground where people can get together, get away from the stresses of life a bit and enjoy themselves. The forums and the library have been extensions of that desire, but the MUD has always been at the center of it.

I do hope to keep seeing all of you around. I know life gets busy, things happen - it happens to me daily. All the same, the staff can only do so much to make the game. The framework's there and has been for years. It's the players who populate the game and fill it with life that makes Kingdoms of the Lost ultimately worth continuing.

Happy 2015!
I must be here, 'cause I'm not all there.