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5.2.1 Conceptualizing the World

The historical bias of MUCK toward socializing presents the would-be administrators of a new world with a special challenge. On platforms such as MUSH, with its emphasis on role playing, creating a successful new world is not intrinsically difficult: one develops a well-written geography and sound command structure, plants TP seeds with timelines and background events, advertises the MUSH, and the world has a good chance to survive. If it's well done, and if it taps into a new or popular genre, it should attract players. But, MUCKs tend to be primarily places to socialize rather than RP. There is no technical reason why MUCK is not as good as or better than MUSH for RP, but the trend is there. So long as players' motivation for MUCKing is socializing, established worlds will have a powerful advantage over new worlds in attracting players: if one goes to MUCKs in order to meet and be with people, it makes good sense to go to a world where there are 300 people online rather than a struggling new place where there are three. Unless the new world offers something that established worlds do not, the administrators will, after a great deal of time and effort, find themselves lords of a very lonely domain.

Dealing with this problem is beyond the scope of this manual, but it is mentioned and even stressed here because it is very easy for new administrators to lose sight of. Their new world seems grand to them — at least in part — because now they are wizards, now they are in charge. It's a grand new world because, in short, it is their world. But if players are to make it their world as well, the administrators will need to give thought to a fundamental question: Why should anyone come here?

Does the MUCK put a new genre online? Are there intriguing adventures or quests, or well-wrought gaming programs? Does it appeal to some audience beyond that of current MUCKs? Are players brought together by a common and heretofore unserved interest? The answer to at least one of these questions needs to be `yes'.

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