Silent rooms are common in hack'n'slash MUDs. But in this age when players are hard to come by, is it wise to have lot of silent rooms?
I've been playing some Vampire Wars lately (great PK mud, btw). Many of the elite high-end areas on that MUD have area-wide silence. As a result, there's often a situation where a large portion of the players online go on a "run" and become silent. This has the unintended side effect of turning all the MUD's channels into a graveyard…
The worst scenario is a newbie creates a new character, newbies some questions, and is met with silence because all the players are stuck in silent rooms.
But then on the other hand, silent rooms encourage players to connect via AIM/yim/ICQ/msn. This, in turn, could conceivably be a force which helps keep players coming back (a player stops logging in for a few days, their friends IM them and get them back).
What does everyone here at mudbytes think about silent rooms? Silent hard-to-escape areas?
I don't see any positive effects aside from what you've already mentioned. But some might even see the AIM "feature" as a negative in itself. Something like that could be easily replaced by a forum aswell, where users can become friends or just enjoy the conversation and check it out of habit which would give them a link to the MUD.
Why would you want to remove cooperation and assistance within the MUD anyway? It seems like a negative aspect. Surely it could make things difficult within an area but it also makes the barrier to entry much higher for newer players.
Why not make silent rooms selectively silent? Like… leave the newbie/question/ooc channels available in the silent rooms? This way the silence is also all handled ICly… which is the point of the room in the first place, or am I missing something?
I think at least in PK muds, part of the point of silent areas is to increase the danger: you can't send a cry for help to your clan, or ask someone to come heal you. But then, in nowadays in practice, the upper level players will just connect via IM anyway…
To echo the sentiments of what some have given, I'll agree that I don't think there's any point to silent rooms outside of restricting IC channel use or as a method for your Law/Rule enforcement. I know I've played a few PK muds and just booted up TeamChat with the clan before running on a raid, and in today's day-and-age I think we should all expect our players to connect on IM, Facebook, or whatever social network they want to use. It's just the way it is. I know that as a Immortal IM/Facebook is a major headache for me, with players passing IC information on it or harassing other players through it, so I'm going to try to give players as many easy ways to communicate on-MUD as I can just to see if that helps limit any of the silliness that happens beyond what I control. I'm not holding my breath, though.
But yeah, No-Channel Rooms are just an annoyance from what I've seen on any Hack'n'Slash mud, and one that is easily navigated outside of what an IMM might like and does absolutely nothing to help the MUD in any way.
Theyre there to isolate a player. You can use them as a design tool to that end, to create a feeling that your seperated from things.
Or you can just go "lolno those suck" but I think you're depriving yourself of a design tool in doing so. They only really are problematic when used indiscriminately.
Why try to "isolate" a player in a Hack'n'Slash mud? Further, how are you trying to Isolate them? Creating rooms you can't recall from, rooms you can't use magic in, rooms you can't verbally speak in isolate a character, and I doubt you'll hear many arguments against the merits of these as they give more a sense of foreboding and more limit the actual mechanics a player can use further than "Haha no OOC channel 4 u!"
My point is that when things are familiar and you have safety nets available - in this case being able to talk on other channels and get help etc - they're going to feel more secure than if they don't have that safety net - it puts them on edge and makes them more careful, if they're being intelligent. Done overmuch its either going to come off as 'lame' or become familiar itself to the point where people use TeamSpeak or something to circumvent, but done in moderation, where it makes sense, they're an effective mechanic and shouldn't be glossed straight over, in my opinion, as some people have.