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Raduprv

Bringing some users to a MMORPG

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Lately, I got very frustrated by the fact that, even tho our game is online for 2.5 months, our number of online people (at the same time) is usually between 1-6. Which is extremly small. So far, you can''t do much in our game, only explore, talk, and some other things, but, still, there are other games (like www.furcadia.com ) that look MUCH worse than ours, but get like 1.5-2K people online at a time! Yes, they''ve been online for 6.5 years, but, still... So far, I sent an e-mail to the major MMORPG sites, and we have a link from most of them. The web site is also listen on DMOZ, and the major search engines, and we even got it on a cover CD of a Linux magazine. But, so far, we got only like 3K registered people, which is not much at all. Not to mention that 95% of them log in, look around a little, then leave, and maybe never come back again. That is really frustrating, you know? We can not afford to pay anything for any advertising yet, because we work full time at this game, so we have virtually no income. My question is, does anyone know an effective way of bringing people in a MMORPG, without investing money in it? BTW, the game''s address is: www.eternal-lands.com Height Map Editor | Eternal Lands | Fast User Directory

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I don''t know about you, but would you keep playing a game in which you could only do a few things. Sounds like it''d get boring rather quickly. Maybe make more things to do, and make it more entertaining. Looks aren''t everything, game play is what keeps players coming back.

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Yeah, well, there is a thing, called IRC, where you can do even less things than in my mmorpg, and still there are far mor poeple there.
Also, like I said, in Furcadia there are 1.5-2K people online most of the time, and it''s not like you can do more things there.

And, of course, we do work at it, and weadd new features almost every week.

Height Map Editor | Eternal Lands | Fast User Directory

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Advertise advertise advertise

Most people have never heard of your game. The only place I have seen notice of this is at GameDev.

Good luck!

Ibuku
weaponstudios.com
Now featuring Dope Farmer!

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Does you game let you create in-game objects that interact with the world, send those objects to your online friends, and let them improve upon them? Does it have a sophisticated scripting system?

I think that''s probably what keeps people on furcadia.

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Raduprv, we have a similar problem in our MMORPG. We've been online for about 1 year now and get around 15-30 conncurrent users at a time. We are at about a similar point as well, you can chat, explore and a few other things.

However, we added very basic systems as well such as a very basic guild system and guild chatting. So even though the guild system is not complete it is still something for the players to do.

One of the things that drives people is the need to compete for things. So we basically set up a massive treasure hunt in our game where you look for several different types of gems. We publish these stats on our site so people can see how good ( or bad ) they are doing. You can then use these gems with a merchant ( webbased, php at the moment ) to buy weapons. It's a very simple idea but it keeps people comming back.

So by giving people options to make themselves more unique and giving them something to compete against is a good way to get more repeat users. Since our last release a few months ago we've got around 20,000 accounts registered ( some of those are duplicates to check out the other races ).

Our next release should be nearer to a real game with limited combat/spell/progression systems which we hope will make even more people stay on longer.


-plug-
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Andrew
PlaneShift - A MMORPG in development.



[edited by - acraig on May 2, 2003 8:37:51 PM]

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In Furcadia you can''t create any objects, or share them with friends, much less improve them.
As for it''s sophisticated script system, Furcadia doesn''t have such a thing, it has a simple script system, whice is used by some people, and unused by others.

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quote:
Original post by acraig
Raduprv, we have a similar problem in our MMORPG. We''ve been online for about 1 year now and get around 15-30 conncurrent users at a time. We are at about a similar point as well, you can chat, explore and a few other things.

However, we added very basic systems as well such as a very basic guild system and guild chatting. So even though the guild system is not complete it is still something for the players to do.

One of the things that drives people is the need to compete for things. So we basically set up a massive treasure hunt in our game where you look for several different types of gems. We publish these stats on our site so people can see how good ( or bad ) they are doing. You can then use these gems with a merchant ( webbased, php at the moment ) to buy weapons. It''s a very simple idea but it keeps people comming back.

So by giving people options to make themselves more unique and giving them something to compete against is a good way to get more repeat users. Since our last release a few months ago we''ve got around 20,000 accounts registered ( some of those are duplicates to check out the other races ).

Our next release should be nearer to a real game with limited combat/spell/progression systems which we hope will make even more people stay on longer.


-plug-
screenshots




-------
Andrew
PlaneShift - A MMORPG in development.



[edited by - acraig on May 2, 2003 8:37:51 PM]


Thanks for tip. In fact, there were other people that suggested to do something like you guys did
In a month or so, I plan to implement a system where you can at least gather some resources, and trade them with others, to at least keep the people a little busy.
But I suspect that this will not be enough yet, since there are a few other MMORPGs that offer much more things to do, and some of them are even [partially] free...



Height Map Editor | Eternal Lands | Fast User Directory

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With all due respect, Planeshift does look incredible, but they''ve had major problems with their software. For example, when I (and others) tried it, it took 8 minutes for the game to load. Also, there were reports of major memory leaks.

Why don''t you announce a "new release" for testing on places like ve3d.com or bluesnews.com. That might bring in some more people.

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quote:
Original post by stodge
With all due respect, Planeshift does look incredible, but they''ve had major problems with their software. For example, when I (and others) tried it, it took 8 minutes for the game to load. Also, there were reports of major memory leaks.


Sorry to hijack your thread a little here Raduprv . We''ve actually fixed most those problems and the loading time is down to about 30 seconds for most people depending on machine. It does require a significant amount of RAM at this point and it''s something that we are continualy working on.

Unfortuantly it''s a case of WORKSFORME sometimes because of all the different setups it''s hard to get a good judge of exactly why it is slow on others and fast for others.







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Andrew
PlaneShift - A MMORPG in development.

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No problem with stealing my thread, I would like to be a place where MMORPG makers can discuss about various things.
I am trying to do that on EL''s forums, where people can openly talk about the development of the game, and other developers are welcome to post there too.
Anyway, Planeshift looks so good because it is HUGE, so you guys can have BIG textures.
EL looks above average, but it is a 7.8MB download... Of course,w e use an isometric perspective, while you use 1st person, so that would make your game a little bigger.

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Yeah, we are going for a really large world ( and a really large download ). I think that there would be a good market for more 'lightweight' MMORPG's though. For example, Runescape is a fairly light MMORPG written in Java that you can play in your browser. They get a lot of concurrent users ( 14k+ ), so there's obviously a market there for that.

Games that people can quickly startup and get going with little impact are always a good thing.



-------
Andrew
PlaneShift - A MMORPG in development.



[edited by - acraig on May 2, 2003 12:02:04 AM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Did people provide an e-mail address when they registered? Have you sent them e-mail asking why they don''t come back?

Rule #1 for successful business: listen to customers.
Rule #2 for successful business: KEEP advertizing.

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No, I didn''t ask for any e-mails, in order to play the game, but I did ask for the e-mails if/when someone registered to the community page.
And I have like 260 users in the community page. I send them a mass e-mail every months or so, to let them know of the game progress, and, next e-mail, I will ask them why they didn''t come back... But I really don''t think they will bother to reply and say why.
As for advertising, I always try to do that, looking for new sites, etc.


Height Map Editor | Eternal Lands | Fast User Directory

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Mass advertising is a double edged sword here though. You have to make it very clear that your game is ''in-progress'' otherwise you may get many people who think that it is a complete game. You end up explaining yourself several times about this same issue. The kind of people you want are those that are willing to give good, critical analysis of your game and not the typical "It does not work" or "There is nothing to do" type responses.

Without a wide range of things for people to do they just simply wont stick around.

-------
Andrew
PlaneShift - A MMORPG in development.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
quote:
Original post by Raduprv
....So far, you can''t do much in our game .....
... games (like www.furcadia.com ) that look MUCH worse than ours, but get like 1.5-2K people online at a time! Yes, they''ve been online for 6.5 years, but, still...




I think you have answered your own questions. RPGers want to play complete games. Most of them value their time and want to spend it playing a complete games, not blazing the trail as an alpha tester. Granted, players who are fans of a particular franchise would jump at an alpha or a beta test, but for a new game that may never see the light of day, good luck.

You also compared your game to Furcadia.com. I bet that they have not spent a lot of money on advertising, either. From checkign the activity at their forums, word of mouth advertising has been good to them. Once players come to game, if it has nice functionalitity they will spread the word. They will also tell their friends that you game is just a glorified chatroom if you don''t have playable features.

You need time or money to advertise. You could search for information on seach engine placement. You could also Google for sites that cover RPGs and send them a properly formated press releases. But if I were you, I would add more functionality before going on a media blitz. Word of mouth advertising works both ways, and if players come your game doesn''t have much to offer, the players won''t be back.

Another thing you could do is to have a live person online constantly so that the players who do join have interactivity. If you can''t spare a person, then program a bot to interact with users.

Personally I have tried quite a few independent MMORPGs. The ones that have play value I book mark and check on later. Those that don''t, I unistall, delete and forget.

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quote:
Original post by Raduprv
Yeah, well, there is a thing, called IRC, where you can do even less things than in my mmorpg, and still there are far mor poeple there.



I think there are three major things that attract people to IRC.

1. The people there -- There are a large number of people, often very helpful for whatever you need.

2. Files. You can share files p2p and usually get stuff faster than on kazaa, etc. Not to mention most movie releases, etc are on IRC long before kazaa if you''re into that.

3. You know IRC will be here tommorow. Many MMORPG''s are up today, and gone tommorow. Not something you want to devote time to. The only way to remedy this is to gain credibility, and the major way to gain that is through time. I don''t think I would spend time on a server that was only a couple of years old unless it had a major name. Everything is just too "dynamic".

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I am online a lot (about 10 hours/day (of course, I am not active all the time in the game, but I do check from like 5 to 5 minutes, to see if there is any newbie, greet them, etc.). Also, usually, there is at least one person there.
As for Furcadia, they are in Alpha from the beginning (yes, 7 years in December), and they talk of a Beta maybe next year. That game is not much more functional than mine, they only have the ability to build your own maps and upload them on the server, so others can come there. They can afford to do that because they have free, infinite :D bandwidth, while I have only about 300 kbps upload.

Anyway, so far, most of the people told em that the game looks very promising, and they will check back for it later, when there will be some functionality...

Height Map Editor | Eternal Lands | Fast User Directory

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It''s all about gameplay.

There are MMOGs out there right now that are great graphically yet people don''t play them(ie Earth and Beyond, Asheron''s Call 2). Then there are other MMOGs which maybe aren''t as great graphically, yet are able to compete because they have gameplay(Shadowbane-I personally like their graphics, some don''t though).

There are some more MMOGs coming out right now which don''t have anything as far as gameplay to make the game interesting. I look at EQ2 and don''t see anything fun and unique(so far). However, I look at a game like Planetside and think, ''woah''. I really haven''t looked too much at the screenshots of the game, yet I already preordered it because of it''s features. I mean, come on, you can have 100s of people fighting each other all at once and it''s a First Person Shooter!

Think of something truely innovative, think of alot of things truely innovative AND FUN and put them into the game. That''s really what all games are about.

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How to bring users to MMORPGS, Appeal to the Groups.

Instead of getting the players to come one by one appeal to the preformed Guilds, the Major Power Guilds that is, from other previous MMORPGS try to get an entire guild to switch by making it easy for them to setup their guild quickly in this new MMORPG. Of course it needs better gameplay and all that then the one they''re currently in but getting the large guilds to "jump" to your new game is the best way to attract customers...as far as I know the new generation of MMORPGS has failed to see this.

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