Getting Young Blood Into MU*'ing

  • Banned

    I've noticed there's an absolute dearth of people below the age of thirty who are interested in this. They're just not here. Honestly, I've sort of moved on from it, too, opting to RP online using other services like forums, chat rooms, and Discord. In the past, I would argue in favor of MU*'s because I like command lines, which is what they function on. However, most people don't like command lines; in fact, most people find them fucking insufferable.

    When people who like to RP but don't like to MU* prompt me for an argument for why they should give MU*ing a shot (aside from 'they have command lines', which, as it turns out, is the exact opposite of an argument to most of those people), I simply can't come up with much. The only other thing I come up with is: 'they have grids and inventory systems.' Now, I could elaborate on what I mean by that, but since we've all played MU*'s we understand. Going from one room to the next like they're nodes in a graph creates a psychological sense of geography. Having items which have descriptions and mobs with the same, plus weird little coded doodads that have their cute little behaviors is compelling, at least to me, and presumably to everybody else here who posts. It adds to the atmosphere. It lets you layer exposition where it needs to be, without dumping several thousand words of text on someone who doesn't want to read it; they read the parts they care about, and ignore the rest.

    Thing is, when I present it to these Zoomers, they just don't understand, and if they do, they don't care. If I'm talking to them about it in person, I can watch their eyes glaze over. It's worth noting that I do not regard these people as stupid, wrong, or uncultured for having this disposition. In fact, I regard myself as kind of out of touch.

    So, bearing this in mind, I want to raise three topics:

    • how can we get new people to actually play these things, and make new ones with their own ideas (that are hopefully at least somewhat orthogonal to our own culture)?,
    • how can we revitalize this medium to be actually relevant again?, and
    • should we even bother trying to do the former two things, since we ourselves can just jump ships to new things?

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  • Pitcrew

    I tend to go with "it is like tabletop but you can generally hop into a game whenever it suits you, with different people, in loads of different worlds..." But I've not had a high success rate :P

  • Pitcrew

    The degree to which you assume and become a character fully realized in MU* is not something I think any other venue matches. Argument one - the degree of escapism available.

    How do you get new blood? Well, with sexy new IPs people outside of the established hobby group care about, perhaps. If we're all here already and we're not getting new hobbyists, we need to try new things. Dare to innovate and depart from the familiar and comfortable. I would note also that we are doing this; people are running games that have experimental elements and visionaries like @Tehom and @faraday and others I'm embarrassed I can't name are modernizing the look and operation of MU*.

    It's easier than ever to get in. We just need to sell the idea of why you would want to. IMHO the time is ripe for a Wheel of Time game that could be up and running by the time the presumed surge in fandom from the show heats up.

  • What makes MUSHing unique to me is mostly cultural, not code-related.

    The biggest thing is that MUs are dynamic. The game is always turning, at some ratio compared to RL. Scenes happen in hours (usually) or days (worst-case), not weeks. Stuff happens. Stuff changes. You can tell your own stories; you're not locked into a GM-fed narrative. This leads to a depth of character development I haven't seen elsewhere. You can impact the story in ways that I haven't seen elsewhere. Games don't stall because one player gets busy or drops out, which is a big problem elsewhere.

    There are some other aspects too that make MUs different - the openness (lack of a fixed group), the paragraph length (hitting a narrative sweet spot between short emotes and wall-of-text), OOC community (channels, logs, etc.), TTRPG influence (sheets/rolls), code support (combat/clues/whatever.)

    As for how to get young people involved? For me personally, that's what Ares is all about. I've shown it to my kids and they just 'get' it. I've tried to show MUSHes to people before and I get blank stares. I understand that people like the grid and the immersion of walking to a room and just running into somebody there. But it's just not a very approachable mental model for people outside the hobby. The 'scene' model is, because it mirrors every other medium of writing/television/etc. (Ares has a grid, btw, but that's mostly to appease the veterans who see that as a defining part of MUs. I don't think it's a selling point; quite the contrary.)

  • MU isn't the same as RPG via Discord, Roll20, etc. MU isn't what they do on Critical Role, Harmon Quest, Geek and Sundry, or other gaming podcasts, shows, etc. If they want to do the thing that Terry Crews, Patton Oswalt, Deborah Ann Woll, and the people at the store that sells D&D products are doing...then you're probably doing them a disservice by suggesting MU.

    IMO the only people who should have MU suggested to are people who are (ex.) "looking to primarily do writing online".

    I think it's pretty honest to say that Mushing is not a place where youre going to get the tabletop RPG experience. MU originally started as an attempt to do exactly what Roll20 is doing right now in a much more user friendly format. It has since become predominantly focused on creative writing, but uses antiquated programming methods that turn getting involved into what could result in days to get involved (long application processes), learning curve on commands (shell-script style command functions), and requires you to log in to hunt and find writing partners. A lot of these things mentioned have been rendered obsolete by other modern services, which is why it's simply not attractive to younger generations.

    • Advertise as a writing hobby and not a gaming hobby
    • evolve to web-based formats that are more user friendly
    • wikis are great

    So, in summary if you're looking for new blood in mushing, I suggest you look into people involved in online writing groups like slashfic and fanfic writers. Those people might love it and stay, but when people want TT RPGs they're going to eventually find that this hobby isnt what they're looking for.

    Also, if the community wants to be more attractive to new incoming players, the snobbish, paranoid, salacious, and cliqueish habits need to come down quite a bit(1). I've known plenty of players who have left the hobby altogether (or shortly after trying) that quit the people, not the format.

    (1) There are plenty of nice people, if not a quiet majority. However, the existence of people harassing others for TS, snobs thumbing their nose at people with cliqueish behavior/culture of judgment, and getting paranoid and avoiding new people because they might be that one guy or OMG their IP comes from the same state definitely can drive good, sane, and normal people away from the hobby.

  • @Ghost said in Getting Young Blood Into MU*'ing:

    IMO the only people who should have MU suggested to are people who are (ex.) "looking to primarily do writing online".

    I think it's pretty honest to say that Mushing is not a place where youre going to get the tabletop RPG experience.

    I agree that it’s not a TTRPG experience, but it’s not a creative writing experience either. It has elements of both and elements of neither, which is what makes it a niche hobby to begin with.

  • @faraday ...and the percentage of any one of these things in any given game is going to vary wildly, too, depending on the creator's intended focus.

  • @surreality Yeah totally. It’s kind of like how LARPing is the intersection of acting and RPGs, only MUs lack the unifying conventions/culture. Each game is wildly different. I don’t think LARPs have that same phenomenon, but I haven’t done much LARPing so I can’t say for sure.

  • Banned

    @surreality @faraday @gryphter

    The thing is, all the things listed that make it special, that make it separate, have been replicated individually elsewhere. Now, I know that these things have not been replicated wholly, but there's really nothing stopping people. It's why I am concerned that the medium might be all-but-obsolete, and I may just be being a thirty year old boomer.

    *cracks open a new one* AHhh

    I still play Doom, albeit through the "updated" Brutal Doom and its variants, because I'm old fashioned like that. I try to sell the youngins in my fraternity on Doom and Brutal Doom, but they just aren't captivated. They tell me things like, "Man, what the fuck is up with this pixel shit?" or "Hey, this reminds me of Halo." I realize that this is turning into a bit of a tangent, but I guess my point is, I think it's worth actively considering that I -- we -- might simply be out of touch. I'm actually of the view that the old ways are "up for review," so to speak, and a failure to draw in new blood will amount to a determination of it actually just being the AM radio of the Internet. Something that persists, but only because of older users who refuse to update their habits.

    I'm legitimately not of the view that the old ways are fine as-is. If they were, people would be coming in droves, since roleplaying games are all the rage these days. They're normal now! And yet nobody wants to play on these command line games. So I'm trying to think up some way to make it so that people, when they hear about these new features that you really can't replicate on a website or whatever, go, "Whoah, dude, that's awesome, where do I click to find out about that?"

    The problem with what I'm suggesting here is that the old fogies from the beforetime (that's the people on this site, frankly) might see these new twists and turns and go:

    gtfo now

    "Nigga what the fuck? Are you retarded or some shit? Fuck outta here with this newfag trash."

    I mean, it would follow that this would happen, since updating 30 or so years of accumulated culture entails actively rejecting parts of it, and I don't mean for political reasons, either. Like maybe this conception of "applications," or whatever else people hold dear, just needs to go to be replaced by a system that keeps stupid shit from getting out of hand.

  • LOL.
    Jesus christ, this place can be bizarre.

  • @Duke-Nukem said in Getting Young Blood Into MU*'ing:

    "Nigga what the fuck? Are you retarded or some shit? Fuck outta here with this newfag trash."

    That you, Cirno?

  • @TNP It's Rick, our repeater troll. He created the account under the name 'Weimerican', to give you some idea.

    Enjoy. (If you enjoy throwing up a whole lot.)

  • Banned

    @Ghost This place being what, the Internet?

  • Banned

    @surreality said in Getting Young Blood Into MU*'ing:

    @TNP It's Rick, our repeater troll. He created the account under the name 'Weimerican', to give you some idea.

    Enjoy. (If you enjoy throwing up a whole lot.)

    So I read these two articles. Do you think they're inaccurate in some way?

  • Pitcrew

    I am going to admit that I feel super old saying this, but I am super leery of young blood coming into Muing. New blood, fine, but I would prefer that the age swing about 25+. I think a lot of it is that I got into Muing at 16, and I know plenty of people who got in at 13.

    We aren't the most wholesome community, and I would rather the younger generation just... not.

    This isn't a super reasoned and or rational opinion, and I'm not married to it. It is more a knee jerk that keeps coming back every time I click here.

  • Banned

    @silverfox Nah, actually, I think what you're saying is reasonable. There are some cultural issues that really should be addressed. There's a lot of cliqueishness. These places (MU*'s and their satellite locations like websites) have a way of drawing people in and then abusing them until their emotional investment in the game/community is shot to hell. It's done this to I don't know how many people. It has faced the SJ-left takeover that so many other forms of media have, essentially requiring new people to at best hold their tongue on politics if they disagree, with regular ideological purity testing becoming the norm more and more. There is little incentive to innovate as far as actual game mechanics are concerned. People with a reputation for better or worse are entrenched in that reputation like a fucking caste system.

    The community definitely needs a lot of work, and I get exactly why you think it might merit prerequiring more emotional maturity than most communities.

  • @Duke-Nukem Nope. This place being a roleplaying forum for a corner/niche online "gaming" community that some people deem important enough to lose their stability over. There's bizarre behavior in many ways.

    Trolls like Rick Sanchez prove themselves to be more desperate and pitiful than the people they believe to be desperate and pitiful. People like me who generally don't give a fuck about people like Rick Sanchez sit back and watch a level of attachment that is just perplexingly weird. They're very dedicated to their own losing fight against people they hate. Its embarrassing.

    But I digress.

  • Banned

    @Ghost So why are you obsessed with this Rick Sanchez guy?

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