Sim attendance has fallen recently, to the point where the sim is starting on a spiral. Yes, its summer and it happens every summer but this summer its a little worse. This is heightened by the fact that a rival sim has pretty stellar attendance lately (they finally got people to stop hiding in their apartments).
There are some things I see as essential fixes that need to be implemented to reverse this trend, and I'd also like to hear other people's ideas for how to increase sim attendance. Sim rejuvenation requires an infusion of new blood, and also a return of the old player base. For me what it boils down to is this sentence "I will play somewhere I can get the RP I want."
To create and foster an environment where people can get the RP they want, there need to be changes implemented by staff, and also some changes in how we the players approach each other and RP in general. I'll start with the staff changes I think are necessary and then discuss how we the players can help revitalize the community.
The main part of town must be staffed
New people have been coming into the sim. quite a few. they leave because nobody is here to rp with. I know for a long time, staff has fetishized the idea that rp somehow needs to spread out over three sims. If there's 30-40 people here at the same time that's accurate. If there's 15 (still plenty to get in some good stories) and they are spread to the four corners of three sims, that means there's nobody actually in a scene at any given time. In order to facilitate a good core for the rp, the following should happen:
Stop treating business ownership like its a pension and a gold watch.
Business ownership isn't for putting rpers out to pasture. It shouldn't be for players at the end of their cycle in Dead End. Really all that's needed for effectively running the rp businesses is enthusiasm and time. Business ownership in the sim is like front line management at a big company. Its for young dynamic go getters who have proven themselves on the sales floor or what have you, but still have enthusiasm. It's objectively not for burnt out players who retain their position as the business lead out of some misplaced sense of loyalty. If you aren't in your business, RPing there, helping others find rp there and generally being an asset to the sim, you are an anchor on the sim's success. Absentee owners are frustrating for excited employees to deal with.
New people come in, they take on a role as a bartender... and they have nobody to ask questions of. They have no example of the culture of the bar that they should be following. they don't know what anything costs or what's even offered. why? because their "owner" hasn't been around in months, the one other employee trying to make it work has no idea and has no ability to make executive decisions and in general that lack of leadership coupled with a lack of agency makes people move on.
At the end of the day, if you're not rping in your business it needs to be given to someone else who wants it. Maybe that person will fail, sure, but if you're not there you are already failing. The community loses nothing by taking a business away from someone who isn't playing here anyway.
On a similar note, if someone gets burned out or has rl and surrenders a business for the good of the sim, they should be allowed to pick a business back up when they have the time and energy to do so. Preventing people from getting new businesses if they ditch one only encourages them to the bare minimum to maintain what they've got "for when i have more time." Obviously someone that is turning businesses over while still rping in the sim all the time is different.
Consolidation is key
There are more bars in Dead end than active players this week. Variety of surrounding is only an asset when there are enough people that they'd be on top of each other in your existing play spaces. 6 people sitting by themselves in 6 of 8 bars is not doing anyone a lick of good. There's a misconception that differing bar themes make the spaces different in terms of rp. They really don't, except maybe the dark room since it actually offers public bdsm play. Otherwise, the bar is just a place that gives people an excuse to congregate. that's it. you can't play pool in the 8s, you can't play blackjack in the casino. Not really. the reason people go there is to socialize.
Back in the day, Lulu's was the main bar AND brothel and people rpd there all the time. Right now the dark room is hardly used at all. with some minor build changes, lulus could once again have a "respectable" veneer in the main floor, and have a bondage themed upstairs or basement for those rpers that want that sort of atmosphere. This would concentrate dots together, and when folks look at the mini map they'd see people congregating and they'd be more likely to stick around and go see what's happening.
To the Community
There's a few things we as a community can do, from reaching out to former players to see what they need to bring them back, to stopping our own behaviors that push people away.
Put your fucking pitchforks away for the love of God
This is two pronged, in that its about Dead End's IC and OOC revenge culture.
Fairness does not require a predator to let you beat the shit out of him for something he did to your friend
RP in Dead End often goes like this. Girl meets girl. Girl drugs girl and fingerbangs her, giving girl exactly the fucking rp she came here for. girl's friends then meet Girl on the street and demand her crucifixion out of some sense of fairness. How dare you give our friend exactly what she came to Dead End for you monster????
Stop it. Stop it. STOP IT.
A lot of this has to do with faction dick waving "if we don't stomp that bad evil person that is creating rp for people, we will look like bitches." There's a better answer than driving preds out of the sim by harrassing them every time they do exactly what they are here to do (and what we need them to do). If someone in another faction kidnaps and assaults one of your faction mates who enjoys that sort of thing.... do the same thing to a faction mate of the perp WHO ALSO ENJOYS THAT SORT OF THING.
Just like the PD shouldn't be demanding that a player who does his dirty business in the shadows go to prison, factions shouldn't be demanding that the preds "suffer" for being preds. Let a player play, man. Don't be hatin'.
Quit pretending that 2 or 3 players can drive away half a sim, if the players "driven away" are functioning adults and not children who can vote and buy beer due to arbitrary age requirements.
If you don't like someone, don't play with them. Don't rile everyone up by shitting all over them. That's what people who have successfully navigated kindergarten do. There's PLENTY of people that i really dislike in the community. For the most part (i admit to my own failings sometimes in this regard) I'm content to just be sort of a dick to them personally if i can't avoid them altogether. Its actually super super easy to avoid most players. Unless the "bad seed" is a vicious admin, you can usually play around someone. Even the biggest dicks on sim will usually respect a quick im that says "i don't like you, please leave me alone" as anyone that has asked me can attest... when you say "fuck off" I fuck off. I fuck right the fuck off because I don't want to play with people that don't like me any more than i want to play with people I don't like.
Don't run to an admin, don't get 15 people whipped into a frenzy and storm off to another sim. If ten people really don't like Tom, then it seems to me there's 10 people that can all RP with each other perfectly well without Tom. If they aren't, its because Tom isn't the fucking problem.
Ask your old friends what could help them return to DE. Look to create those stories yourself without the admins
As a rather vocal opponent of most simwide RP, I assure you that I haven't been playing in Dead End for years on end because the admins made it possible with storylines. (they do serve a very important and appreciated function as rule enforcers and arbiters). At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own fun. If your friend left DE because nobody stuck their dick in her, maybe reach out to a few folks so inclined.
If your friend left DE because he was harassed away by its revenge culture, hook him up with some grateful prey types who are willing to not run off and unrealistically tell everyone they were attacked (statistically, most such attacks go unreported).
Those of us that can play preds should consider "throwaway" preds who are supposed to have a short duration.
I am going, over the next ffew months, to use some alts to be the kind of jerkoff druggist/rapist type that made the core of the sim of yesteryear. They don't have to be super well developed characters you're quite attached to. Get out there, cause some ruckus, fade away. At least that's my plan.
Anyway, if you have other ideas for increasing sim attendance, please post them here.
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