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Destroying a mud is easy, too easy. Administrators get delusional and stop thinking about the requirements of the player base and start implementing things solely for their own entertainment. It is usually done in one of two ways, mud whimping or mud wiping.
This is where already existing elements of the game are downgraded or reduced in efficiency, or just changed for no reasonable reason. This is usually done under the auspices of "balancing the game" or "returning a sense of challenge". This is a great way for a mud administrator to annoy a large segment of their player base, yet it still happens often on lots of muds. I have seen many muds suffer under this problem and lose many of their originally dedicated followers.
Sweetness and light.
Why are the items suddenly unbalanced? Often these items or skills have been in the game for years and years, why didn't the administrators discover this problem when it was first introduced. Instead they wait till all the players are used to the items and them rip them out, forcing everyone to change their playing style to the method that the administrator likes.
This is also often done with skills too, where the administrators downgrade the efficiency of all skills or make everything on the mud harder. They usually justify this by saying that it is returning the challenge and that the mud was currently too easy. If it was so easy why does it make all the players upset and leave the mud?
This is the most insidious form of player destruction done on a mud. This is where all the player files on the game are deleted and everyone starts from zero again. This is often done under the umbrella of saying that certain people on the mud have become too powerful and the playing field needs to be reduced to zero.
This is incredibly destructive of the player population, all the wonderful items and skills and time they put into their character is instantly deleted, sometimes without any warning. There is no time that this sort of thing should be condoned on a mud, it serves no useful purpose and only succeeds in driving players from your mud.
When the administrators start to get totally out of touch with the player base they start making random far reaching changes that have no major balancing effect at all. Just changes because they think a particular feature or item in the game needs to be changed. This is when the mud really starts to go downhill. When the changes are not player driven or even driven by a a perception of what the players want, but what the administrators (who are divorced from the game) think is best.
An example of this would be changing a system that has been in the game for an extremely long time and worked well as it was. Changing this system to be extremely spammy to everyone in the room, which is over the top and pointless. It was only changed because of the administrators perspectives on what they think is good for the mud without a connection to how the game is actually played.
Once mud whimping has set in the rot is started and will not be turned around, the mud starts breaking up into little factions. The factions all start infighting and the end of the mud is in sight.
The factions tend to break down into several groups; the groups for the people who back the administration tend to be:
Self-Preservationists who look out for their own interest at the expense of anyone else. They tend to side with the administration in the hope that they will be on their good side and not forgotten, they usually complain the loudest when they themselves are whimped.
Ass-Kissers are the ones that will try and do anything at all that the administration wants. They want to ingratiate themselves into your good books so they can become an immortal or hold a powerful position in the mud.
Genuine Believers are the people that genuinely and honestly believe that what the mud administrators are doing is right.
The whimping detractors also have sub-groups:
The betrayed feel betrayed by the administration and are frustrated by the amount of effort they have put into the game only to have it all thrown back in their face. They tend to be extremely vocal.
The bitches is that subset of people who will always try and cause trouble, mud whimping is just another way they can try and cause trouble for other people on the mud. They don't particularly care about the issue as such and just use it as a vehicle to increase their notoriety.
The ethical moralists are the ones that have looked at the whole situation and have decided that what the administrators are doing is immoral and unjust. This is not an issue about the actual issue for them, more about the reason behind why the decision was made.
The realists are a group of players that try and argue with you that what you are doing is destroying the mud. They often talk about the millions of other players they know that they have left the mud already because of the change and they will use arguments about how the administrators are not being realistic in their decisions.
Once the mud starts to splinter into factions and groups the players stop feeling that the mud is a happy place to be, since everyone is bitching all the time. This leads to players not encountering a nice environment when they first log on, which leads to new players not becoming members of the community and old players leaving due to excessive changes which have finally annoyed them too much.
Next time you are trying to make far reaching changes, think to yourself, is this really worth it? Do I really need to make this change? Make sure that you are really trying to accomplish a goal that will help the mud and not just for your perception of what you think the mud is like.
Make sure you decide why you are making each and every change, make sure it is not for your own self percived end of the mud and really is to fix some problems. Make sure you keep the players informed before you make any changes. Make sure you listen to peoples input on the issue and maybe even let it change your mind.
It is your mud, make sure you do not destroy it.
September 2000 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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