This is a bit of a repeat of something I wrote on ElectricSoup a little while ago. I figured it would fit right in here, as well as give me a chance to plug what did come out of that discussion, the new MUSHlist at community.pennmush.org.
The origin of this was something I came to think of as I was posting my ad for Blood of Dragons on M*U*S*H and !OGR. I started considering the effectiveness of such ads—or rather, the lack of such.
To me it looks like both M*U*S*H and OGR consist mainly of MU*ers who are either admin/staff somewhere themselves or who mainly hang out on social games these days. That doesn’t seem like a great place to be recruiting for new players, especially since I rather doubt that most of the admin/staff return to their own games to tell their players about this great other game they saw advertised.
There is, of course, a tradition within some genres at least to allow advertising of other games straight on their games (usually via an ElseMU* board or similar). However, this is a rather loosely structured process, and I think it has become less commonly used.
I think that a lot of games, seeing the apparent decline of the ‘community’ (I am not so sure there is a single one of those, either, as it often seems to divide itself up along genre lines too), have become even more possessive of their players instead of, as I think is needed, looking to retaining MU*ers in general rather than their players in particular.
But how could that be done? Well, encouraging more cross-game advertising is one way.
Another might be to try to create a more structured system of ‘link exchanges’ between games. One idea might be to have a central MUSH list (a good MUSH/MUX list is something that’s needed in any case) where the listed games are defined along certain criteria. Then you could choose which ones to offer a link exchange to based on genre and other factors and then have some kind of standardized code on each game or game website for displaying their ‘linked’ games.
I ended up suggesting a new MUSHlist to Javelin, the former PennMUSH maintainer, and he liked the idea. In fact, he went right ahead and created a MUSHlist
at c.p.o. It is setup so that you can get an RSS feed from the list to include on another website. I am not sure if much use of the feed will happen, but I am hoping that at least some games will become more willing to look at retaining MU*ers in general and not just at retaining players for themselves.