T4 NewsLetter Issue 4, 02/12/2010

Citizens of Egypt,

Just a short newsletter about a new "social experiment" that we're about to try. But first, I need to talk to you about "Dunbar's Number."

Anthropologist Robin Dunbar hypothesized that there are certain stable sizes that groups of humans tend to naturally form. Depending on the type of group (extended families, cultural lineage groups, tribes), the numbers cluster around 50, 150, and 2500 (upper limit.)

We're toward the end of our fourth Tale in the Desert (preparations are underway for ATITD V!), but I've noticed a pattern in each Tale: Our peak subscriber count has ranged from 1750 to 2500, always about 30 days in, and regardless of the peak, we settle down to a population of around 1100 subscribers (slightly lower this Tale, slightly higher in Tale 2) where we remain for most of the Tale.

Could there be a "Dunbar's Number" for A Tale in the Desert? If there is - if the game design itself leads to a population of around 1100 subscribers, then growing "the" ATITD community may be the wrong approach - we should try to create a second ATITD community! And if this experiment succeeds, a third and more.

So to test that theory, we're going to start a second ATITD IV shard, beginning on February 20. I'll have more details about "Shard Bastet" next week, but if you've always wanted to get in on the beginning of a Tale, this is a great opportunity to do just that.

I'd be most interested to hear thoughts on this from those that have been away from ATITD for a while.

On the Nile,


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