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MUDII Forum Index General Chat MUD2's long term plan
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Author MUD2's long term plan
Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 05-09-2006 18:22   
Hi all,

I've been reading through http://www.mudii.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=84&forum=1&start=40 and although charging is down to a very small sum (?2.50 a month!) it still appears difficult to attract new players.

I'd like to see Mud2 busy with players, but I don't really see a way to achieve this while there's still a price tag.

What if Mud2 were made to be free? What then?

Havoc

[ This Message was edited by: Malbery on 05-09-2006 18:22 ]


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Heiach
Wizard



Joined: Oct 31, 2001
Posts: 515
From: I can't remember!
Posted: 06-09-2006 11:36   
Then someone would have to be very generous and pay for everything for Muddled Enterprises..

Even if there was a vague plan to make the game free it would surely have to follow some hefty advertising to ensure we get a nice income of players to make the game being free worth it. As it stands, we could be free and it would only make a difference for existing players, how would new people know if we don't advertise etc..

It all costs money.

[ This Message was edited by: Heiach on 06-09-2006 11:37 ]


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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 06-09-2006 11:52   
Quote:

Then someone would have to be very generous and pay for everything for Muddled Enterprises..



Yes. There would have to be some way of covering the running costs. I think one way could be making the costs transparent and asking for monthly sponsorship and/or paypal donations.

To be realistic you'd have to secure monthly sponsorship that would cover the running costs before you even started.

Quote:

Even if there was a vague plan to make the game free it would surely have to follow some hefty advertising to ensure we get a nice income of players to make the game being free worth it. As it stands, we could be free and it would only make a difference for existing players, how would new people know if we don't advertise etc..



Yes. It'd all have to be free advertising. Could be a PDF poster that each mudder prints out and sticks up in the street, at school, on campus, at work, etc. Lots of advertising becomes more readily accepted if you're not "selling" something. Blog posts, forum posts, mud mailing list posts, etc.

Another thought is that Muddled Enterprises might be able to switch to charity status if it can argue that it provides a public service (perhaps as conservation?)

Havoc

[ This Message was edited by: Malbery on 06-09-2006 11:53 ]


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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 06-09-2006 11:55   
Hmm. Another idea. This could all be piloted by changing the charging strategy for new accounts. So each new account has free 24h play. And this policy could be trialed for six months.

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Heiach
Wizard



Joined: Oct 31, 2001
Posts: 515
From: I can't remember!
Posted: 06-09-2006 16:53   
By advertising I was thinking something more like banners on websites, in magazines etc..

If we could find a sponsor then sure, no problem... know of anyone with that kind of money though?

Who/how would one propose to find one.. I'm not entirely sure myself where I'd go if I wanted to present the idea to some business men.

The donation idea might work.. possibly..


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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 06-09-2006 18:58   
ah! I didn't mean a single sponsor. I meant us.

For existing mudders it needn't be that different from how it is now. A monthly donation. I think it's important to be able to say "play mud2 for free, no obligations, no strings attached". That way we can get away with many forms of advertising without generating as much resentment. (e.g. posters at school etc.)
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Foddy
Arch-Wizard



Joined: Aug 19, 2001
Posts: 138
Posted: 06-09-2006 22:53   
Hi,

Switching to a donation system is something that has been considered, and is certainly a change we'd like to implement if it's sustainable. The question is, are there enough altruistic players who would be willing to pay to allow others to play for free?

In terms of costs, the server cost almost ?4k. If you depreciate it over three years, you're looking at ?100 a month. That's not taking into account hosting, bandwidth, firewalls, etc. There are also other costs, which as you rightly say, includes advertising.

Advertising isn't cheap - we placed a half-page advert in The Mud Companion magazine for $250 ... a more mainstream magazine would charge a LOT more for this. We've also spent money on Google AdWords, these brought a fair few players in, but not enough to cover its costs.

It would be very easy for us to run up some posters for players to distribute, but we haven't considered this appropriate as Muddled Games is a commercial organisation ... changing Muddled Games into a charity isn't something that's occurred to us, but it's something we could look into.

I do, however, agree that the current pricing model isn't working. I'd be interested to know how many people would be willing to donate/sponsor mudii.

[ This Message was edited by: Foddy on 06-09-2006 22:55 ]


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Cradle
cleric

Joined: Jul 07, 2003
Posts: 230
From: England
Posted: 07-09-2006 08:10   
If muds free id come back, so charge more =P

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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 07-09-2006 08:27   
Could it be trialled for a six month period? And what's the figure we'd need to meet roughly, ?150/month?
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Havoc


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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 07-09-2006 08:29   
I wasn't counting advertising in the above.
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Havoc


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Havoc
pioneer

Joined: Feb 16, 2003
Posts: 327
From: portland, oregon, usa
Posted: 07-09-2006 08:32   
But I do think that advertising in a mud magazine may be a very good thing. They might be open to some haggling also if we say we're going free and it's all about keeping it alive and appreciated.

I found mud via an advert that only said "MUD2 you haven't lived until you've died in Mud. 8N1 <tel#>". I think that was a 3" x 2" ad.
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Foddy
Arch-Wizard



Joined: Aug 19, 2001
Posts: 138
Posted: 07-09-2006 22:49   
Quote:

On 07-09-2006 08:27, Malbery wrote:
Could it be trialled for a six month period?


Once it's free, even for just six months, there's no going back - you can't trial something like that unfortunately.

Quote:

But I do think that advertising in a mud magazine may be a very good thing.


Of course, going free would instantly get rid of any advertising budget!

I would still be interested to know if there is significant interest in a donation model. (People contributing towards it, that is!)

[ This Message was edited by: Foddy on 07-09-2006 22:59 ]


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Foddy
Arch-Wizard



Joined: Aug 19, 2001
Posts: 138
Posted: 07-09-2006 22:58   
Quote:

On 07-09-2006 08:27, Malbery wrote:
And what's the figure we'd need to meet roughly, ?150/month?


That's roughly what it costs at the moment, but it can get complicated. There are compromises that can be made - a lower level of service for a lower cost, for example.


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Heiach
Wizard



Joined: Oct 31, 2001
Posts: 515
From: I can't remember!
Posted: 09-09-2006 11:55   
?150 a month eh? Blimey. Hmm.. *ponders*

I'm (as are a lot of MUDders) a student but when my financial situation improves, I'd be willing to donate. I'd hate to ask this but about how much do you require?

If you're not getting enough from the pricing scheme... etc..

I realise that as the number of players (hopefully) increase due to the game being free that the ammount each of the donators need give will decrease.

This is only an idea but I thought I'd mention it anyways.. it feels just a little dodgy to me but here goes:

Benefits for people who donate.

I've seen this on other MUDs and well, it worked to an extent.. it might be something worth considering, if only for 1.34 seconds.

I am in no way suggesting that people pay to be given a wizard. What's the point in making MUD2 free again if it is then ruined when everyone becomes immortal?

What things could you buy with real money?

Non-game breaking things such as prefixes, colored ones costing more.

Items that you have only in the tearoom that add to your character/roleplaying but give no advantage.

Maybe you could possibly pay for points. Before you shout me down, I am not thinking in the slightest that a mage could wander along and buy 10k.. what I was thinking is that maybe someone could pay for a char to start at hero instead of novice the next time they die. I don't think a free 3,200 at start-up is terribly game breaking.. but yes, the above ideas are a little more like what I had in mind.

I can't think of many more right now but I'm sure you've gotten the idea and have some of your own..

And other similar such things...
****************************

Ignoring the buying specific prefixes idea for a moment. Maybe all you need to do is give people who donate something special to make them stand out a little more.. maybe make them feel like their donations are appreciated more.. ie, a set prefex..

Seamus the generous mage
Niles the donating walock
Wdi the persistant mage (donator)

Or they could wander around with a weightless item, a badge maybe.

Etc...

Not that I'm suggesting that making MUD2 free isn't enough incentive..

Let me know what you all think.

- Nathe
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Heiach
Wizard



Joined: Oct 31, 2001
Posts: 515
From: I can't remember!
Posted: 09-09-2006 11:59   
As an after-thought. Maybe we could include an appropriate questionaire in the next Muddled-Times? Maybe asking how much people would be willing to donate, how often and other questions to obtain their opinion on the various solutions that people have offered.

*Runs off to e-mail Karya*

- Nathe
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Heiach
Wizard



Joined: Oct 31, 2001
Posts: 515
From: I can't remember!
Posted: 09-09-2006 12:10   
Quote:

On 07-09-2006 22:58, Foddy wrote:
There are compromises that can be made - a lower level of service for a lower cost, for example.



What exactly constitutes a lower level of service?

- Nathe
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Karya
Arch-Witch



Joined: May 28, 2005
Posts: 156
Posted: 10-09-2006 12:08   
Quote:

On 09-09-2006 11:59, Heiach wrote:
As an after-thought. Maybe we could include an appropriate questionaire in the next Muddled-Times? Maybe asking how much people would be willing to donate, how often and other questions to obtain their opinion on the various solutions that people have offered.



I think that's an excellent idea! I will include this in the next issue of Muddled Times.

How do people feel about this idea - making Thursday evenings and any other major event or quest nights free? I know bash night has slipped lately and events are virtually non-existant and I apologise whole-heartedly for that but this is something I can do something about. Would free event nights help to encourge people to play more often?


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Foddy
Arch-Wizard



Joined: Aug 19, 2001
Posts: 138
Posted: 10-09-2006 12:34   
Quote:
What exactly constitutes a lower level of service?


Well, for example, it's currently running on a server with two power supplies, resilient disks, etc. It's also on the end of an expensive Internet connection with plenty of uncontended bandwidth at a commercial data centre (high-availability power, air-conditioning, etc.) Best still, as I work in the industry, we don't pay anywhere near the full price for this.

It's run like this to ensure the best service, minimal lag and highest security. But, given the current usage, it could equally run on a desktop sitting on the end of an ADSL line.

This would be a lot cheaper, but would be more prone to failures, power cuts, packet loss & lag and access to the website affecting speed of the game.

Of course, there are plenty of options between the two, but that's the sort of thing I meant.

In addition, event prizes would have to be cut, but this would be a good opportunity for players to sponsor the game directly.


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Cradle
cleric

Joined: Jul 07, 2003
Posts: 230
From: England
Posted: 10-09-2006 16:18   
I know i dont play anymore but theres still a space in the ol heart for MUDII. Even i am willing to donate to the game to keep it running so it doesnt fall.

3-4 years i played this game, i dont nothing bad happning to it, i feel this way an ex player who is rarely on im sure the exsisting players would also agree to pay a little donation to help bring in the players.

If this doesnt work i think karya might have stumbled accross somthing amazing with event nights being free, amazing idea BUT!!

How are the new ones going to know?

even this needs advertising!!

Hopfuly see you on the game soon as an rare guesage ^^/

Firedemon


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Karya
Arch-Witch



Joined: May 28, 2005
Posts: 156
Posted: 10-09-2006 17:01   
Quote:

On 10-09-2006 16:18, Cradle wrote:
If this doesnt work i think karya might have stumbled accross somthing amazing with event nights being free, amazing idea BUT!!

How are the new ones going to know?

even this needs advertising!!



Having free event nights was more to encourage current players to play more often especially those who can't afford a subscription.

Then if we do attract any new players (and obviously we need to actively seek these new players out with some form of advertising and so on) the game will be busier and more appealing, at least on event nights.

With the free event nights I will send out newsletters so people know about them.


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