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People are frequently talking about the lack of players in MD, partly attraction of, and partly maintaining them. I can't input much on attraction, but maintaining live populous breeds activity and that breeds attraction,so in that spirit, I had a few thoughts recently from some other games I played and from previous experience with MD. They need fleshing out and MD specific application in some cases, thought I'd stick them here and see if anyone has anything to say...


1)  Stuff. People love 'stuff'. We're mainly a capitalist world after all.


1a - Currently the only benefit of logging in is active days and some stats so minor it isn't even worth it. A game I played recently offers 2 benefits to logging in. One that gets you to log in, and the other one that keeps you logged in.


Firstly, it opens a prize box. This game has a system where there are 20 possible winning boxes and an automated roller picks which one you get. The number of boxes the roller goes to is defined by the number of consecutive days you've logged in for - more days, better possible prizes. They are consumable prizes, so you always need them.


Secondly it has a research function. Unlike farmville or such where your 'stuff' carries on growing when you log out, this game requires you to be logged in for the 'stuff' to keep the timer going until it comes to be. It keeps you logged in for ages. Annoyingly addictive.


1b - One of the games I play has an odd system where when you join a guild, you can contribute to that guild to make it better. The things you do on your own generate points that you can use to upgrade other people's 'stuff' - and these things, you cannot use these collaborative points on your own 'stuff'. They are reserved for guilds and they offer great benefits. It doesn't need to be guild related obviously, its just the idea I quite like.


2) Yield from Creative Input


One of my favorite things about MD is that it breeds creative talent and nurtures it - but often, this talent gets no feedback, which is as bad as negative feedback. Here, unless someone with power notices you, you get nowhere. That's a good real life lesson, but the way it works at the moment is a bit flimsy. There aren't enough watchers or systems in place to get the feedback to keep the momentum. Its lost energy, so it tends to die. As an example you might be able to relate to, there have been some fantastic quests that got very few players because the reward didn't seem to match the input required.


The roleplay character system worked with this, but it got abused (for the record, I still think that was a great system). The god system worked, but there lacked eyes to see and it failed in some ways due to both inability to interact, and lack of players to react to. The council system again worked but lacked the necessary speed and, imo, resources. I think having something constant in place, with a nice boost at the end of it, could help maintain people's spark. So for example, say a quarterly design quest, you draw and design a functional item based on specific property specifications that the 'powers that be' define, if you win, that item comes to be and is yours. Its just an example, but to me that seems like a pretty good reason to draw and think and such. In between, there could be an input thread for the next but one as to what the thing should be and do, which again keeps people ticking over.


3) Real Life


With the right prize and the right goal, there have been some awesome things here that have tied people in to doing things in real life and sticking them here. The old plant growing contest was a good one. Then you have things like the black letters. I did an origami puzzle quest once that people really got involved with. This one is a difficult one, it has to be the right kind of thing to get people to haul butt off the couch. I asked people to go out and take photos once...that failed miserably. So input on this one, I think would be really great.


My current idea, which I've been mulling over for about 6 months now...is an annual nominated puzzle. There would have to be a puzzle master, it would need to be a role as they would manage this system. Players nominate a player in secret to the puzzle master over a period of time. That player will then unknowingly be the target of the real life quest. The puzzle master must then gather a group.This group must include a number of people from the same country as the player. The group create a puzzle and build items to support it. The players who live in the country will then take these items (which can be posted of course) and place them in the country. The puzzle master then contacts the nominated player, and gives them their first instructions. They then have a real life quest to undertake. This can involve having to come back to the game to speak with people, digging things up, traveling to locations to collect things etc etc. To avoid anyone who might be adverse to playing, there could be a topic that allows people to say they'd be happy to be nominated. There would, of course, need to be a prize at the end, whether that be something in game, or something that was created for them (eg: The bobbers once made me a book, it was awesome.). This one doesn't need anything other than community support to initiate.


4) Advancement


I think MD does this really well actually. It just fails because of the aforementioned issues. You grow from a little dude to an MP5 or 6, and from there you have the chance to actually help build the game itself.


5) Research


The research docs and spell docs are great, they just need some shove. Research points can be used for the above things effectively, and if you tie that in to designing things that give you a reward then you have a winner.


TLDR: - I think, having typed out the above, what is lacking is constants, and cyclicity.


Anyway...that is a lot of typing. I don't know how reasonable any of this is, but I'd be interested to hear your input and ideas.





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