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MUDII Forum Index General Chat MUD2's long term plan
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Author MUD2's long term plan
Melisma
pilgrim

Joined: Sep 10, 2006
Posts: 21
Posted: 16-09-2006 10:15   
Quote:

On 13-09-2006 00:11, Silly wrote:
Quote:
A further saving can be made by switching from Worldpay to PayPal



Really?

Personally, I'd prefer to use paypal. I won't have to keep entering my details to accomplish a subscription then!

[ This Message was edited by: Silly on 13-09-2006 00:18 ]



If mud went completely free then we wouldn't need any banking system at all which would save even more money wouldn't it? To go completely free could we have clickable ads, popups etc? Would you be able to make enough from those to run the game but without interfering with the game or making it slow?


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Melisma
pilgrim

Joined: Sep 10, 2006
Posts: 21
Posted: 16-09-2006 10:24   
I've been thinking about a donation system and I can't see how it would work. If mud costs ?150 a month to run and assuming that people would donate the same as a montly sub then thats 30 people needed to donate a month. If we had 30 people willing to pay ?5 a month then we wouldn't be having this discussion.

So if the costs were reduced by half to ?75 then we could need 15 people to donate a fiver a month. Again if there were that many people there wouldn't be a problem to start with.

Under a donation system we would need to donate at least ?75 I'm guessing a month EVERY month for years to keep the game going. I know I said I would donate but I dont know if I would be in a position to donate next year or the year after. Can anyone? tbh I don't think perks are going to help longterm and it'll only create an elitist group.


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Heiach
Wizard



Joined: Oct 31, 2001
Posts: 515
From: I can't remember!
Posted: 16-09-2006 14:49   
Quote:

On 15-09-2006 13:25, Tharg wrote:

A VIP area off the tea room, with some cool stuff to muck around with in there. Perhaps some mini puzzles (with no points reward).


A fantastic idea but I fear that'll just alienate everyone else who can't or hasn't donated that month.
Quote:

On 15-09-2006 13:25, Tharg wrote:

Names in a book, or on a plaque, or somthing like that in game. 'Stewards of the Land' or some such. Making it a book with a fun story featuring the names would be cool.

Some of the statues in game could be randomly assigned to be statues of the donators' chosen personae.


That last one could just look like someone got unlucky.
Quote:

On 15-09-2006 13:25, Tharg wrote:

The names could appear in dreams.



Interesting.. although a little disconcerting.. also a little blaggy if someone has a short name.

You dream of a bloody land with claws instead of trees and a river of eyeballs. A twelve-earred octpus flies up to you and utters "Death" whereupon you feel slightly curious.

Still me does like those ones .



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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 16-09-2006 16:36   
Quote:

On 16-09-2006 10:24, Melisma wrote:
So if the costs were reduced by half to ?75 then we could need 15 people to donate a fiver a month. Again if there were that many people there wouldn't be a problem to start with.



The point is that Mud might be sustainable now on a pay-to-play basis, but what does the long term future look like?

Mud needs a cricital mass of players to be able to attract new players, and if we can successfully make Mud free to play then that should help maximize the lifespan of Mud, IMO.

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[ This Message was edited by: Malbery on 16-09-2006 16:38 ]


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Werewolf
protector

Joined: Sep 01, 2001
Posts: 13
Posted: 16-09-2006 16:40   
MUD1/British Legends (appears to) operate for free by getting donations from its players, so it may be possible for MUDII to go down the same route.

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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 16-09-2006 17:01   
I found an example of another Mud that is free to play. They list a breakdown of their expenses and how much has been received. Take a look:

http://www.middle-earth.us/index.php?display=donate

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Melisma
pilgrim

Joined: Sep 10, 2006
Posts: 21
Posted: 16-09-2006 18:38   
Quote:

On 16-09-2006 16:36, Malbery wrote:
Quote:

On 16-09-2006 10:24, Melisma wrote:
So if the costs were reduced by half to ?75 then we could need 15 people to donate a fiver a month. Again if there were that many people there wouldn't be a problem to start with.



The point is that Mud might be sustainable now on a pay-to-play basis, but what does the long term future look like?

Mud needs a cricital mass of players to be able to attract new players, and if we can successfully make Mud free to play then that should help maximize the lifespan of Mud, IMO.

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[ This Message was edited by: Malbery on 16-09-2006 16:38 ]



my point was that I didn't think a donation system could work longterm. I agree about a free system and critical mass etc. But mud players are fickle and a donation system could be flakey. There's a difference between a donation system and a free system. If it was totally free to us and foddy could fund the game through clickable ads or whatever then that would be better.

What happens when all the donations dry up in a years time? tbh if there was a choice I would go for a free system rather than donation even though I am willing to donate if that makes sense.

[ This Message was edited by: Melisma on 16-09-2006 18:40 ]


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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 17-09-2006 22:28   
Quote:

On 16-09-2006 18:38, Melisma wrote:
What happens when all the donations dry up in a years time? tbh if there was a choice I would go for a free system rather than donation even though I am willing to donate if that makes sense.



There are always going to be running costs. I doubt ads would cover them. But if it could go totaly free than that would of course be preferable.

Then again, if running costs could be stripped down to the price of an ADSL line and the hardware to run it on, then I think infrequent donations would have a hope of covering such costs.
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Crowley
pioneer

Joined: Apr 14, 2003
Posts: 421
From: Birmingham
Posted: 20-09-2006 19:15   
Donating gives you +5 agility. Donating over a certain limit gives you +5 str too.
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Heiach
Wizard



Joined: Oct 31, 2001
Posts: 515
From: I can't remember!
Posted: 21-09-2006 09:35   
Hehe.. but seriously.. if benefits were to be given to donating people.. they would be superficial entirely .

Although, taking the idea seriously for a moment. Presuming those +5's did not stack with the possible gains to those stats later on.. it's possible, depending on how long the "donated" stats lasted for but in the end, donating shouldn't give people an unfair "edge".


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Heiach
Wizard



Joined: Oct 31, 2001
Posts: 515
From: I can't remember!
Posted: 21-09-2006 11:11   
Quote:

On 16-09-2006 16:40, Werewolf wrote:
MUD1/British Legends (appears to) operate for free by getting donations from its players, so it may be possible for MUDII to go down the same route.



That's good to hear... but how many players do they have, how often/much do they donate, does the mud cost as much to run and do they have a sponsor/clickable adverts etc...?

Also.. have we considered possibly advertising to the BL players? I don't mean to suggest that we "steal" them... that does sound weird though, considering BL is this mud's mother. But rather.. they could probably play on both.

That's all I can think of for now..

- Nathe


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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 22-09-2006 02:04   
Hmm.

* Donators could be ranked by contribution.
* There could be two prefixes Donator Of All Time, and Donator Of The Month?
* MuddledTimes could be made a donator-only perk maybe?
* Donators could get flashy titles in the mudii forum, maybe giving them extra rights like images for their names, etc.
* Donators could describe themselves and be listed in a Donators Gallery book in the tea room
* Tea room fanfare could announce the arrival of generous donators
* Donators could be described as "sitting comfortably indeed in big plush armchairs" or some such
* There could be a tea room log book for donators only to read from and write into
* There could be a donators' house that warriors are automatically subscribed to upon making warrior
* Donator dreams could flatter them

I'm sure there are lots of other things that could be made as non-game-altering perks for donators.

Any more ideaas?
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Heiach
Wizard



Joined: Oct 31, 2001
Posts: 515
From: I can't remember!
Posted: 22-09-2006 23:13   
Quote:

On 22-09-2006 02:04, Malbery wrote:
* Donators could be ranked by contribution.
* There could be two prefixes Donator Of All Time, and Donator Of The Month?
* MuddledTimes could be made a donator-only perk maybe?
* Donators could get flashy titles in the mudii forum, maybe giving them extra rights like images for their names, etc.
* Donators could describe themselves and be listed in a Donators Gallery book in the tea room
* Tea room fanfare could announce the arrival of generous donators
* Donators could be described as "sitting comfortably indeed in big plush armchairs" or some such
* There could be a tea room log book for donators only to read from and write into
* There could be a donators' house that warriors are automatically subscribed to upon making warrior
* Donator dreams could flatter them



I think ranking donators would be a bad idea.

Again, praising people for donating, although I did first bring it up, might make other people feel less appreciated, it might be best to keep donators anonymous, at least that's one thing I was thinking... at least in-game.

I just wouldn't like to see the game full of flashy names and books about elves and how "great I am." (I've seen it on another mud and *cringe*.. yes ok, it had 100 players online and was free but it was just so tacky!)

Your idea for forum privs, I like!

Muddled-times is for the mudders by the mudders!

If there was to be a donators book, methinks it should be in-game and possibly harder than "here it is"... like at the end of a puzzle.

I think leaving the fanfare for mages is good enough. Although I do like the armchair idea!

I, like everyone else, want to see the mud active and great again.. but I don't wish to risk ruining it. Maybe an active (but slightly broken) mud2 would be better than an empty one but I'd like to remember it as it is, dignified and loved for its atmosphere.

All of this is, of course, my own opinion, I am not a wizard nor an admin.

- Nathe


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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 23-09-2006 16:18   
Ok, so maybe only two of my ideas were worth even thinking about. What we need are lots of ideas!
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Shantigh
friar

Joined: Aug 27, 2001
Posts: 84
From: Firkins
Posted: 25-09-2006 02:47   
I co-run a simulated horse game online, with roughly 200 active members - and it's free to play, but costs quite a bit to run - so we ask for donations. We also have had programs made for us, and we ask for donations to pay the people who make them. In general, this works very well - however, on a donation model you are reliant on the wealth of your players and will have to accept that at certain times of the year you will paying out of your own pocket to run the game, this comes with the territory of running a donation model - so if Foddy/Karya can't afford to run it partially themselves, or fully themselves some months then the idea should be discarded. While I'm not saying they couldn't reclaim the money back from future donations, it's just something which is a fact of running a game from donations.

Secondly, at the start people will donate for ''free'' - e.g. no perks, however after someone has donated once or a few times, and feel they've done their bit, they do seem to want more to make them donate. Obviously my game compared to this is very different - and as yet - we haven't implemented any bribes for donations, which basically offer prefixes etc is - a very blatant bribe. We do however give a title on our forums as ''HFSHC Supporter'' for all of those who donate, so that everyone else knows they have donated to the fund. But in my game we are discussing possible bribes, or ''surprises'' for donating to encourage further donations, without actually having to bribe people or ask them to pay for things, for example, if we had prefixes we'd just give one without telling the person, but maybe say later thanks for the donation if they asked where it came from, it wouldn't last forever, but it would be a little thankyou. Or maybe give them an icon to swamp, just a thankyou without them knowingly paying for points, prefixes or whatever.

The donation model does work, and will likely work better than the current model. My game has been running since 1997, and has for the last 6 years ran off donations - very successfully and we have less of a history than MUDII, and less overall players (or maybe the same, ours are roughly 5000 players over 9 years) - but in 20 years of MUD2, I'm sure there have been an awful lot of players, and it's connecting with these players again.

As for advertising, one advert in one magazine is a waste of time. If you can't follow it up, then it's looked at once, maybe twice and out of the person's mind. Advertising works best based on ''opportunities to see'', the more times someone views something, the more likely it is to stick in their head. And advertising and PR needs not be paid for. It can involve a lot of work, but most of it with the use of the internet can be done for free.

If things change for MUD, I don't mind offering help if I can - towards advertising etc, I have 2 qualifications in Communication, which includes advertising, PR and marketing, was a runner-up in the BP Media Planner Award, and within 6 months and no budget, got my friend's business mentioned in the Guardian. It can all be done, you just need to keep at it. But discussing ideas for that here, would take up too much room - if Foddy/Karya, anyone wants to ask me stuff, feel free, my e-mail is KirstinVP@hfshc.com.

Overall I think MUD2 has the potential to run well on a donation model, but work needs to be done to accomplish that. It will also likely fail for the first few months to meet its overheads, but given enough work towards advertising, getting word out etc - then it will start to pay for itself. But it won't do it with the user base there is just now, and it will need *serious* work to make it work. But it can be done.
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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 25-09-2006 05:45   
Quote:

But it won't do it with the user base there is just now, and it will need *serious* work to make it work. But it can be done.



Hmm. I was hoping it wouldn't be a big deal to shift to a donation model. Oh.

When you say the user base won't do it, how do you mean?

And where do you see the serious work as being. Is it in the PR side? If so, does the finance model have any baring on this - can they be persued independently of one another?

Cheers,

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Shantigh
friar

Joined: Aug 27, 2001
Posts: 84
From: Firkins
Posted: 25-09-2006 14:21   
By user base I mean the currently active players who regularly log on, for instance, I wouldn't include myself in the user base - I'm a user that has to be enticed back - so at the start you are relying on your dedicated current users to fund the donation model. Depending on how quickly the user base increases makes the difference to how quickly the donation model will work, but convincing other players to stay requires having active players - yes, old time players such as myself would likely return and play because it was free and because we like the game, but without an active community of players that quickly gets boring - and not only would they be unlikely to donate, they'd drift away. So at present, it's only the hardcore and dedicated players left that can be really be looked at for donations. And if the current user base isn't wealthy, for instance a lot of students or young people - then there is going to be the issue that it won't fund itself. For instance, in my game we cater to a mainly female audience from ages 13-45+, in the early stages of our donation model - 2000-2001 the majority of our players were teenagers, without the prominence of paypal etc, it was harder to gain donations. Parents wouldn't allow them to send money - and in most cases, they didn't have money. This situation didn't improve with those members - because they grew up from teenagers into students, but we gained older, more affluent members who were able to donate - and it was based on them that we were able to call our donation model a success. If we had relied solely on our original players, we would not have been able to secure funds. Now - 6 years on, that original player base is providing donations, as most have finished studies and have secure jobs, but 6 years is a long time to wait for $10-$20 per player.

The serious work has to be done in recruiting players - given there is no budget for it, it just means posting about it everywhere, trying to convince online magazines, and even print magazines to run things about the game for free - which is of course the basis of P.R - P.R is advertising that you don't pay for. Using word of mouth will work quite well, the players from wireplay were quite well networked, so even getting word spread out that way to say, hey guys it's free, come back and kill each other again will probably boost the players, and obviously - it will spread on and on. Doing mutual linking to other game sites may also bring in some players, talking to other game admins of MUDs will help - which when I was promoting Live Action Roleplays I did quite often, I spoke to everyone who was running games, I asked for advice - how are you getting players? and would you mind sticking a link to this site on yours? Would you tell your players about our game, we're a bit different to you - and in return, I'll tell my players about yours etc PR does have to have generally mutual benefits when dealing with companies or magazines etc. But all of this will take a lot of time, and a lot of research to exploring which avenues are worth spending the time on. At the present time, no money should be spent. Money spent previously was wasted, if you are going to spend money you need a well thought out campaign and to justify spending money, otherwise you'd be as well just dropping it in the street. It's also worth thinking outside the box, and approaching sites which don't deal primarily in MUDs, retro gamers, interactive story sites (where they have basically a text game like a choose your own adventure except it runs on your computer, similar to a mud - except single player) - and other places, I haven't looked into it, so haven't put a lot of thought to where else would be suitable to push it. Pulling in favours as well for folk running LANs, and getting them to put out a flyer - which may involve a slight cost, of just printing them out and delivering them to the person running the LAN - but would have to be designed to appeal to the type of players at the LAN, if it's roleplay/strategy games, play up the aspects of MUD in that, if it's mainly FPS, play up the kill each other bit.

As for can they be persued independently - no, they can't, well, they could if the current user base is financially able to support the game, but if that was the case, then it wouldn't be looking to change to donation based. The donation model however does need to be put in place while this work is being done, it can be a risk - and like I said previously, if Karya/Foddy and anyone else willing to fund it can't support it themselves without donations, then it's a pointless endeavor, because it's very likely at the start someone will be paying for this out of their own pocket. But you need to have the donation model in place to entice people back, then once you have the people back, you need to continue to get new players, and once you have a stable community - you have to be able to keep them, which might involve some changes to how the game is run. For instance more visible wizards, more ameniable wizards - because you can't piss people off that you want to get money from in donations, easier to piss them off when they've already paid to play, they can't get that money back - but annoy them before they donate and chances are they just won't donate. Granted I haven't played in some time, but the game would have to be more about all players, not just PK'd, and a more welcoming community - by that I mean, if someone is PK'd a bit unfairly, someone talks to them rather than laughs at them. Yes, it might seem like mollycoddling, and in a way it is - but you have to take these attitudes to convince people to part with their cash - and to keep parting with it. Even prefixes won't keep people there if you piss them off. The game would have to stay active, and this is always the catch 22 of MUD, the more players you have, ,the more players you'll get. The less players you have, the less likely you are to get players to stay - because in essence, it's a social game, and the main players that hang about are the very social ones, without them, the game doesn't work.

Sorry I've rambled a bit, but I think I've covered your points. And I hope I don't sound negative in them, because that isn't my intention. I do think it's possible to make MUD run as donation based model, and to get players back. It just won't happen over night, and it will require a lot of work - probably by a lot of people to get to that point. But it can happen!

Kirstin
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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 25-09-2006 15:38   
Kirstin, it really looks like you know what you're talking about. I only wish it would sound a lot easier to accomplish. I think a real difficulty in all this is that it would be a lot of work, and currently there probably isn't very much motivation to create such a workload.

It's a shame though, because I think if the game stays pay-to-play then in a few years MUD2 will be on the ropes, and by then it might be far too late to do anything about it.
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Foddy
Arch-Wizard



Joined: Aug 19, 2001
Posts: 138
Posted: 25-09-2006 20:19   
Quote:
On 25-09-2006 15:38, Malbery wrote:
I think a real difficulty in all this is that it would be a lot of work, and currently there probably isn't very much motivation to create such a workload.

Shantigh is correct, there is a lot of work involved in changing the financial model. Amongst other PR work, one big project is a radical overhaul of the website, which is something we've already started to work on recently.

Apologies for not posting more regularly over the past few days, but we have been investigating alternatives and seeing how feasible the potential changes would be. When we have more concrete news, we'll post it here.

We're motivated to put some work in, and judging by this thread, it looks like players (and forum-readers) are as well.


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Mathias
novice

Joined: Sep 25, 2006
Posts: 1
Posted: 25-09-2006 20:45   
Is it possible to make the game free to anyone of champion level or below, and charging for those above?

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