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Old 10-09-2002, 03:07 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2002
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Seraphina is on a distinguished road
Quotes are from the thread on adding pricing information to the listings.

Just to set the stage I will give you a bit of my background. I learned some programming on an IBM360 mainframe. A bit of JCL, Cobol, in an environment using card hoppers to input one's program. I enjoyed it but ended up in semi-conductor sales. Years went by and personal computers became commonplace in offices but most used dedicated data-entry software. Then came Windows and the internet explosion.

My parents each just got their first computers. My sister and I have them using solitaire to learn how to use a mouse which my daughter finds it hilariously funny, as if anyone needs to "learn" how to use a mouse!

Originally Posted by
This "ease of entry" you keep talkin' about... All the free MUDs that i've looked thru here (I'm not sayin' "all in general" cuz i know there's a bunch that i haven't seen) have a host name and port number listed which you can connect to instantly. Weither it's p2p or not, you can do this on most MUDs. Price really has nothing to do with it.
Most of the people I know would look at me blankly and ask me what gibberish I am speaking if I said the above. Port? Host? What are you babbling about. Why can't I just go to the home page and play? Can't they use cookies? What's a port number for?

Originally Posted by
And if you don't wanna use telenet (who does?), you can even use the WizardFE that you're so accustomed to.
I have heard that it can be done, I have no idea how to do it even though I have now used another Client to enter a game. Even if I did manage to get it going, I have no idea how I would make the four colored boxes at the bottom of the screen in the game I tried to appear in the new client, either Wizard or the other one I tried. From what I have read Wizard is a very limited client in comparison to zMud and other clients out there. I never bothered switching because the wizard is tailored to the game I have always played.

Originally Posted by
I'm just not following your train of thought here. What is your point exactly?
My point is the majority of people on the internet today are not computer science students or hobbiests. Many have even less exposure and understanding than I do. They have been introduced to computers and the internet through interfaces that demand no technical expertise to use beyond handling a mouse. They buy computers fully loaded with Windows and Internet Explorer or buy Macs.

Favorites even has some links listed and most ISPs that are preloaded with a free trial have a home page designed to fill every possible need they can foresee. MSN grabs everyone fast and leads them into their game sites and chat, and every thing is very intuitive and easy to use. MSN mainstream ISPs attempt to provide links to every possible interest a user might have.

Maybe they played D&D in the past, or their parents did, or they hear about roleplaying games in a chat room or on a message board and decide to check it out. Do you really think they will somehow automatically know what telnet means and what clients are?

Some of the free muds don't assume that so explain that the entry is telnet and that clients are available. Some even provide a link to sites where free clients are available for download. I followed such a link and landed on sites that offer all kinds of software. Even though I am experienced in one game I had no idea which one to choose. What is the criteria? Which is most popular? This is important because if I need help getting started I will want the client that the majority of other gamers are using. I gathered that that is zMud, a client many users in my game use too, but it is not free. Someone mentions that there is a free version but on the site I see that I must pay after 30 uses.

I decide, okay, I chose a game, I will find message boards for that game. There I discover that there is a "cracked" version of zMud available but not where to find it. In the meantime I have tried free client recommended by several people and had a look at it. I can't figure out how to duplicate the four little boxes on the screen in the game I have tried using a Java entry. I read about the available commands and see a word I have seen a few times, aliases. I have figured out that is the same as the short scripts I use in the wizard. I can see how to log, and that is it. I realize that I can master all the client commands once I know how to play the game but until then there is little I can do.

I saw mobiles mentioned numerous times on this site before I figured out you were all referring to NPCs and critters. I don't think that I am stupid, and I am not a complete novice to computers or to roleplaying or to a multi-user gaming environment and yet I am having trouble making the transition because I am used to ease of entry. Trying to get into the free muds is like going back to using a wringer washing machine, I could master it that isn't the issue. Why would I want to when automatic washers are available? It seems archaic to me.

Originally Posted by
So... basically what you're saying is that idiots with the attention span of a carrot would prefer a p2p MUD, because, like a certain ISP, it is designed for idiots?
If you want to put it that way, sure. Attention spans are shorter today. I found it very amusing that my daughter could ask "when's supper" three times in the five minutes it took to microwave supper. When I was a kid supper took at least a half hour to an hour to get on the table. When she sees a telnet entry she doesn't think, "Oh wow this is really advanced stuff I want to sink my teeth into!" She thinks "Oh wow this is really ancient old technology, how quaint."

She loves the idea of roleplaying and finds it very cool. She is at the age where playing make-believe is childish yet still very appealing. Roleplaying is an excuse to get to play a more sophisticated form of make-believe within a more complex environment and with many other people.

Originally Posted by
Cool, saves me from having to deal with at least one more idiot. I'm all for p2p MUDs now. I'll never play one, more than likely, but if they save me from dealing with a cashew-brained dimwit, I'm all for it.
Yes it will. If you only want the kind of player that is not only interested in roleplaying but is also interested in researching telnet clients and configuring one before even knowing if they like the game they are about to try, or players who are already experienced with roleplaying games in general, then by all means don't change a thing.

I mean that seriously. There are negatives to providing ease of entry to all because you will get many more novices that really don't have a clue and some of them will be disruptive and even those who are well meaning will introduce a lot more OOC into the game as they try to figure out the mechanics of how to play the game. Many of them will only stay for a day or a week or a month and then quit so the effort put into showing them the ropes will have been a waste of time.

This could wear thin very fast in a game with 40 to 100 players who are there to play not spend hours showing the ropes to new players especially in the games where roleplaying is required not optional.

I am not pointing out the greater ease of entry provided by the commercial muds in order to criticize the free muds. I am pointing it out because it presents a barrier to many potential players. If text mudding is to survive over the long term it will need new blood. Not just the same players already familiar with the format going from game to game possibly pulling in a friend or two along the way.

I saw very quickly that the easiest entry was provided by the games requiring payment, the next easiest by the free game that sells in game benefits, and by far the hardest entry by the free muds.

It's easy to say, "oh, what's the use, we can't compete with the p2p because they advertise". There is some truth to that, and some truth to the fact that their systems can be significantly more advanced. You could still make it a lot easier for new players by providing a configured client. Taking some of the mechanics issues out of the way new players could concentrate more on the fun part. Learning about the IC world, roleplaying, and the commands needed to for their character to function within the game environment.
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Old 10-09-2002, 04:07 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by (Seraphina @ Oct. 09 2002,3:07 pm)
It's easy to say, "oh, what's the use, we can't compete with the p2p because they advertise".   There is some truth to that, and some truth to the fact that their systems can be significantly more advanced. You could still make it a lot easier for new players by providing a configured client.  
I think a good question to ask is "Why should I care about competing with other MUDs?" I can tell you why I care: Because we make money from it, and we're in the MUD business to both make a great MUDs and to make money doing it. I don't really see why a free MUD would care about competition though, unless it's an ego-thing, which isn't really worth commenting on.

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Old 10-09-2002, 04:32 PM   #3
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"I can tell you why I care: Because we make money from it, and we're in the MUD business to both make a great MUDs and to make money doing it."

So if a free MU* wishes to "compete" to make what they feel is a great MU*, is it any less of a need than yours? And if the need to compete is comparable, does that not leave "to make money doing it?" as the only difference?

The MU* I run I do so because I love the world's theme and I found a remarkable lack of MUDs that offered realistic rp within the world scenario. There are dozens of other MU*s with the same theme and while I would not say my need to "compete" with them is ego-driven, there is still the need to "compete" to bring in the limited player base that is attracted to the depicted world.

Personally, you can all burn me at the stake if you want, but I do offer occassional OOC reminders (with no IC/OOC compensation) to the folks on my MU* that if they like the game we'd appreciate the voting. It's free advertsing. It gets the game known. It hopefully brings in more players. New players offer more interaction (be it RP/PK) to the current player base, so generally everyone wins. You know the drill.

So to accuse a free MU* that its sole reason for competition is "ego-driven", would be akin to someone accusing a p2p's competition to be solely "to make money". I'm sure a lot of care went into your MU*'s vision, and hopefully money isn't the only satisfaction you get from seeing players enjoy it.
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Old 10-09-2002, 04:56 PM   #4
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Free muds do compete for players. Most muds are constatly developing in the hopes of a) getting new players and b) keeping the players they have. They advertise on sites such as topmudsites in order to compete for players.

The reason they compete is because A) they want the most efficient number of players for their type of mud, and not all muds have that, and B) they want the best quality players they can get, and their current players are almost certainly not all the very best quality players available.

To achieve this, they should rely as much as possible on barriers that directly increase quality rather than on barriers that only indirectly increase quality. This is because barriers not having directly to do with quality are also, in part, barring the quality players.

And even if the mud gets the quality of player its creators want, it will likely have to lower its quality barriers some anyway to get a more efficient number of players. The more people there are playing, the funner the mud is, up to a point...even if they aren't the best quality players there are available. The lower your indirect barriers are, the higher you can keep your direct barriers and still achieve an efficient number of players.
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