Friday, November 06, 2009

New Slothmud

After nearly a full year of not posting I guess it is time to acknowledge our upgrade to Slothmud 4. Or maybe we are calling it just Slothmud now as we feel kind of 90's with software revisions if we keep incrementing the number.

Before we launched back in April our player numbers were slowly dwindling. I would estimate for the number of average players online was dropping by 2 per month. We figured it would be a year and half before we closed doors because of attrition. So we decided to take a chance and shake things up.

I won't list all the changes now as you probably have experienced and analyzed them yourselves from a playability standpoint. What I will say is that we had quite a bit of debate on what we thought was broken and if we thought we could ever fix it. A couple of simple underlying principles really drove all the changes:
  1. Our stat rerolling system was patched together and ended up in a place that made perpetual rerolling of new characters seem like the best approach.
  2. We made incentives for our experienced players to be separated from new players (all with historically good intentions).
  3. The combat, mob and experience system was tweaked over time in a way that allowed for exploitative area building.
  4. The last point really created a farming approach for fast leveling that devalued exploring and finding new challenges for your character.

In reality we came kind of close to not doing a whole big revision. We had started several incremental steps.

  • We changed the player experience point storage to allow for bigger experience numbers.
  • We started working on ways to add on access to more classes to the old system
Although I was personally very reticent to taking the leap that we needed to restart instead of making incremental changes, I decided to help.

It took a couple months of hard work and heated, yet mostly friendly, debate to get to the results we have now. Probably not surprisingly, the most heated debate was around the stat rerolling system. It went through about 25 different iterations and finally contained things that I personally opposed. We all made compromises.

As we launched, I said candidly to our admin team that we should all be excited by the big numbers of players that have rejoined us. However the true test would be if we last 6 months. Well, today is just about 6 months and we are back at consistent and respectable player numbers.

We are saddened that we lost some long time players. We knew it was the price we would pay, and it still stings a bit. But, for me, it seems it was worth the effort. We all hope it was for you, too.


Joseph said...

As one of the -I think I can say longish term- players who didn't get back into Sloth after the relaunch, I can't really talk about the changes, but it's good to know that Sloth is going on strong.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm one of the long term players you lost, bad idea guys, bad idea...