Making a MU* of your own


  • Pitcrew Banned

    What goes into making a MU* from scratch? I don't necessarily mean just the technical aspects.

    The biggest question: How does one get a playerbase? Do you just invite your friends over and hope more come along? Do you depend on your reputation as an upstanding MU*-friend?

    I've had some fun ideas for MU*'s of my own but never really knew where to start



  • In my experience generally what you need to do is:

    a.) Have a fun concept that will attract attention
    b.) Have committed staffers who are into the said concept
    c.) make a committed effort to having an accessible game with an understandable website/wiki
    d.) advertise actively both on games that allow ad sharing, communities like this one, and if your game is fandom-based, in the fandom where the fans live.

    It also helps in my experience to have somebody on staff who is a marketing professional and knows stuff about marketing but I do understand that not everyone can have a @Roz.


  • Coder

    In my experience (warning: anecdotal), a core, at least somewhat active player base of around 10 creates the critical mass that a successful game enjoys. It doesn't seem to matter how you gain or maintain this mass, whether it's through pie-eyed ideology or staff-favor bribery.

    I'ma +1ing @saosmash's ideas because they are probably more transparent, but in the end you're looking for a core player base. Make sure that you are part of that core player base, repeating Sao's point "b", above.



  • @Thenomain Definitely make sure that you are gonna be playing on this game you want to run, for sure. I've always found that my staffing energy levels for a game are in the toilet when I'm not engaged and playing. (Vice versa is also true -- if there's not a lot of player energy coming out of my game it's harder to staff.) Energy feeds on itself! You don't always get out what you put in, but if you don't put it in you sure won't get it out.


  • Admin

    @Swaggot Love the game you're going to make. Love the concept, love the idea, love it. If you don't from the start you'll burn down halfway down the line when the reality of the everyday grind it is sinks in. :)


  • Coder

    @saosmash said in Making a MU* of your own:

    @Thenomain Definitely make sure that you are gonna be playing on this game you want to run, for sure

    I stopped playing on The Reach when I started Headstaffing it, because the people I was dealing with day in and day out were making me depressed. But I was certainly very active in it. Sometimes I'm known to swank around when Fallcoast (its successor) does something and I'll say, "They can do that because of what I did."

    For most people tho, yeah, being able to play there is what creates that investment, and you absolutely want to be invested in your own game.


  • Admin

    @Thenomain It's hard though to play in a game you're very highly ranked as staff in. At least for certain kinds of things - if you earn a position, rank or special place, even if you did everything by the book you'll still get shit for it.


  • Coder

    @Arkandel

    I can deal with getting shit for playing on a game I'm staffing, because either they're right or wrong. If they're right, I apologize and fix it. If I'm wrong, I tell the player that they need to stop whatever it is they're smoking and chill the fuck out.

    As @Sunny said elsewhere, it's up to both staff and players to make a game work. I will say it's up to staff to set the expectations of the players, but it just takes one know-it-all with their own staffing ideals to come in and make a stir to give the nearest staffers a chain-migraine, passing from staffer to staffer until someone can step in and stop it.

    Now, on the perfect game that person will be the first staffer on the scene, but we're humans. We all want to play our own games. So on a realistic game, that person is probably going to be another player.

    Ah! And so Thenomain loops the tangent back to the original topic.

    With a core set of players, emotional flare-ups are mitigated. Hopefully with "hey, stop that and come over here to play this awesome scene". Unmitigated, they can end up as negative feedback loops in the OOC Lounge. (And he keeps tying it all together, folks!) One player or staffer saying, "Hey, this isn't cool," one player or staffer passionate about the game and willing to help others, then the negative gets nullified and possibly turned around. "Hey wow, these people enjoy their game. I should try enjoying it too."

    Yeah yeah, that doesn't always work, but that's why I used the phrase "critical mass", a more organic term to describe that tipping point, where even the nay-sayers aren't going to cause a stampede away from your game.

    And let's not forget Brus' #1 Rule of Mushing: Chill the fuck out.

    Once you're chill, you can sort through a lot more stuff than when you're not. Like: Someone giving you grief for playing a character on your own game. As long as you're creating fun, or at least not absorbing fun, then nobody should care. I'm going to posit that if they still care, they're wrong.


  • Pitcrew Banned

    @Thenomain I fundamentally agree with this, the thing is, how does one go about getting such a playerbase?

    Also, I'm primarily interested in weird, experimental games. You know, the ones who break all the normal expectations. Things that just change the rules outright. Shit like, "Oh, you don't have a character that's your character, we elect people into roles on a weekly basis" or something. Maybe "Yeah we just do one on one" or "actually this game is done entirely on a wiki," like Lexicon RPG.

    Just funky stuff like that. Characterization is important, but I just want to see new angles, new twists, on this (now) old idea of roleplaying. But the real question is, how do you get people willing to try weird shit like this? My guess (and, really, my experience) is: you don't.



  • @Swaggot Mm, that's harder. I think if you want people to do the weird stuff, you have to start with the people who are flexible and then make the game. I think most people are way more likely to experiment when they start from their comfort zone; I'll do the weird stuff when I'm comfortable but not with strangers.


  • Pitcrew

    @saosmash said in Making a MU* of your own:

    d.) advertise actively both on games that allow ad sharing, communities like this one, and if your game is fandom-based, in the fandom where the fans live.

    Know your game, you don't have to actively advertise, you can go after a core (@Thenomain's 10 active players) through friends, or by selective adversiting to assure you get what you need. I have a small supers Mu* right now, it has about 10 active players, gets a few more that sporadically log in and out, check up, catch up, and such, and I only put out 3 ads initially. Any others that have appeared are from folks posting it at other places to put an ad on mine, staff haven't done anything more than that. Its growth seems to be every 2-3 weeks, a new one or two friends come by to check it out and stay. I run something every couple of weeks as staff, folks run their own things between. Its not edge of your seat, omg need to log in or I'll miss something, its casual so anyone can log in and do things when they have time.

    Just advertise at similar themed Mu*s ad boards, collect some folks and play with them, or invite friends to play.



  • @Swaggot said in Making a MU* of your own:

    @Thenomain I fundamentally agree with this, the thing is, how does one go about getting such a playerbase?

    Also, I'm primarily interested in weird, experimental games. You know, the ones who break all the normal expectations. Things that just change the rules outright. Shit like, "Oh, you don't have a character that's your character, we elect people into roles on a weekly basis" or something. Maybe "Yeah we just do one on one" or "actually this game is done entirely on a wiki," like Lexicon RPG.

    Is there an audience for it?

    If you've got a playgroup that'll do that, cool. If not, you probably won't get the trust/buy-in from strangers.

    Something like this might be better off started as a private game with a handful of players you invite. Run it for a few months, see if it's workable, and see if you maintain an interest level in it. If it's not, that's fine. If it is, you can open it to a wider audience.


  • Admin

    Word of mouth is so important to actually get players to give your game a try.

    Most MU* players are very conservative, they'll stay where their friends are, so in a way they anchor each other down by not being the first to go. Your best bet to change that is to create some hype - why is your Vampire game set in NYC different than all that came before it? What makes it so damn cool? What are you gonna give me to come over and play, man?


  • Coder

    @Swaggot

    To mimic @Three-Eyed-Crow, set it up as an online tabletop. A Mush is this persistent online environment which itself takes time and effort to set up. It sounds like you'd want a rapid design methodology, which I know is more about the code than the people but you need to be able to enact on your ideas once you have them.

    RPGnet may be a good play to generate the player interest.



  • A buddy of mine was running an online TT for awhile through a combination of Roll20 for live sessions and a free wikidot site for character pages and posts and stuff. It didn't marry perfectly with what he was trying to do, mostly because Roll20 doesn't have a particularly effective text-logger, but it worked well enough for quick set-up and play.



  • This thread is an amazing, productive, helpful thread. I wish I could be more articulate in a contribution to it at the moment, but I did feel the need to say: more like this, and thank you for making this thread, for now, at least.


  • Pitcrew

    I'd add: Make it very, very easy for any potential player (especially at the start) to answer the question: What am I going to do on this game? You can do that through having some events with some big hooks, or organizations/factions with immediate impact and interest, or through other means, but whatever way you go, you want to make potential players immediately have an idea of how this character that excites them is going to play on the grid and Do Something. (What that Something is, is going to vary by theme, and it might not appeal to all people. That's okay! It's better to exert a strong, enthusiastic buy-in from 10 players than a lukewarm, least-common-denominator response from 30.)



  • From what I've seen, there is no exact formula. A big thing seems to be for you to be the newer game in an area that people wish to play in. You can subscribe to every 'this is how to do it best' and still fail. You can also just shoot and pray and get a game that lasts awhile. Honestly, this is the only reason I can imagine that BNW survived as long as it did.

    However, from what I can see, the main thing is to make a game with a theme you adore. Then, you have two or three staffers that you trust to help make it. You have to entrust them to make game changing decisions with plot or policy on any given day. No matter how many newsfiles you make, no matter how much you plan, there will be the one asshole who will weasel through all files in order to try and do what they want and they will most likely do it when you - as the head staffer - are not there. If you trust each and every one one of your staffers to make the right call when that thing happens? You're good. If you can trust them to abide by the rules of the game and not be that one asshole who will find loopholes? You're good, too. From what I can tell, a lot of games suffer from inter-admin fighting or a complete disillusion wiht the playerbase and making the game about themselves in order to make their efforts worthwhile.

    You need to love the game and the idea, because players will generally suck the life out of you. It's not anyone's fault. Everyone wants their piece of the pie and most players will want to contribute, but there are the few that need to be The Best or Not Understand and it will drain you. So, you need to be all in and realize that they're there because of an idea you created. The art of knowing when to say No is very important.

    Honestly? I feel like you won't know how to run the MU* you want to run till you're actually doing it. It's different for every game. But, the main things - to me - is love the subject, be willing to suffer fools, and learn to compromise in a way that makes the majority of people happy but does not sacrifice the vision of the game.


  • Pitcrew

    @Nausicaa said in Making a MU* of your own:

    . The art of knowing when to say No is very important.

    Not only the art of knowing when to say no but also the art of knowing how to say no, is likely the most important quality to have in a staffer.



  • @ThatGuyThere I agree with this, and it's not an easy thing for one big, big reason: some people simply will not accept a "no", no matter how it's delivered or how reasonable it is. (Worse are the people who simply won't accept a no from a female staffer, but will the first time a male staffer utters it, and they are unfortunately out there.)


  • Pitcrew Banned

    @ThatGuyThere How to say no: "no."

    That said, there's really nothing wrong with leaving because you got told "no," so I can definitely see that going wrong.


Log in to reply
 

Looks like your connection to MU Soapbox was lost, please wait while we try to reconnect.