Top Mud Sites Forum Return to TopMudSites.com
Go Back   Top Mud Sites Forum > MUD Players and General Discussion > Tavern of the Blue Hand
Click here to Register

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 08-24-2007, 05:42 PM   #41
cratylus
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 153
cratylus is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

matt/sarapis/the_logos/whatever wrote:
Quote:
That's it really. If you can play for free, it's free, whether or not there is the opportunity to spend money.

This is the position that makes people think that
"free mud" is an inadequate descriptive term.

Since the ability to play some portion or aspect of
the mud for free is easy to provide, any commercial
mud can, under your definition, call itself "free"
even while insisting that advancement past level 1
requires payment.

This definition of "free" may be satisfactory for
the purposes of the mud advertising itself, but it
goes against what I feel is the implied (indeed,
common sense) meaning of "free" in a mud context.

From the frequency with which this disagreement
pops up, I suspect I am not the only one who feels
this way.

Because "free" is commonly used in misleading ways,
I think it's more productive to avoid "free" as
a category in mud listings, and opt for a system
that accurately describes the relationship of
the given mud with their players' money.

I fancy my modified Osiris scale, though KaVir's
will do nicely as well.

The idea is to avoid the abuse of confidence that
marketing commercial muds* as "free" represents.

-Crat
LPMuds.net - Index

*Where the commerce involves the players' money.
cratylus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 06:06 PM   #42
Lasher
Administrator
 
Lasher's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Name: Derek
Location: Orlando
Posts: 353
Lasher has a spectacular aura aboutLasher has a spectacular aura about
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post

2. I wouldn't call this site free, no. To paraphrase Orwell's classical Animal Farm; 'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others'. It seems to me that those that pay for adverts get a bit more than the banners they pay for. They also seem to get a larger impact on decisions, and how the discussion boards are run. I will however hold my final assessment until I see the outcome of this thread.
No let's not wait. I'd like to hear the facts behind your temporary assessment rather than wait for the final one. I'd like to hear what else they get. If nothing else then perhaps I can market it and place a few more banners.

Help me understand your point better, because right now it reads something like:

If this thread goes how you'd like all is well. If this thread doesn't go how you'd like it is to cater to the MUDs buying banners.

There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of room in there for consideration of the possibility that it is simply because someone doesn't agree with you - with or without financial incentive? This may not be your meaning at all of course, which is why I'm asking.

Back to the matter at hand, it seems we have similar ideas on what could be added, but that isn't the point.
Lasher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 06:07 PM   #43
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cratylus View Post
matt/sarapis/the_logos/whatever wrote:
The idea is to avoid the abuse of confidence that
marketing commercial muds* as "free" represents.

.
I disagree that accurately marketing a MUD as free when it is, in fact, free is an abuse of confidence just because the MUD is commercial. I can watch broadcast tv networks for free and they are inarguably commercial enterprises.

Whether something is commercial or not has no bearing on whether it's free or not.

As for enterprises that accept payments from players, at minimum if you're able to attain/achieve everything without paying I genuinely fail to see how that is not a free experience. You might not think it's fair but then why not start a thread about fair and have that discussion there.

--matt

Last edited by the_logos : 08-24-2007 at 06:18 PM.
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 06:20 PM   #44
Xerihae
Senior Member
 
Xerihae's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Name: Chris
Location: Wolverhampton, UK
Posts: 358
Xerihae will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

I doubt it really matters, but I'm in the "Free" means there are no pay-for-perks or to unlock anything or whatever. If someone tells me I can play a game for free, I expect to be able to take advantage of everything that game offers for nothing and compete with everyone regardless of how much money they have. This means, even if I can earn stuff in-game that other people pay for with money, I expect it to take no more effort than the sucker... err... customer with the credit card

I don't have a problem with games that offer both options, but I tend to avoid games where the guy with more money than me gets more stuff. And yes, this does mean I tend to avoid MMO's as well as MUD's a lot these days!

I'm also curious about this part of Mollys post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Molly View Post
It seems to me that those that pay for adverts get a bit more than the banners they pay for. They also seem to get a larger impact on decisions, and how the discussion boards are run.
Since when? Lasher has listened to my opinions on things and included me in all talk regarding the discussion boards as far as I'm aware and I pay for nothing on this site, nor do I have anything to do with a pay-for-play/perks/monkies MUD. I'm curious as to why you think this is otherwise? The only person with a vested interest in a particular game who gets more say than anyone else here is Lasher himself, and I think so far he's done an excellent job of keeping his affiliation with Aardwolf from affecting his running of this site.
Xerihae is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 06:35 PM   #45
cratylus
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 153
cratylus is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Lasher fumed:
Quote:
No let's not wait. I'd like to hear the facts behind your temporary assessment rather than wait for the final one. I'd like to hear what else they get. If nothing else then perhaps I can market it and place a few more banners.
Apparently the influence of businesses on this site is a touchy subject.
It is, however, a valid point of discussion and I hope it can be discussed
without risk of incurring administrative enmity.

matt/sarapis/the_logos/whatever wrote:
Quote:
I disagree that accurately marketing a MUD as free when it is, in fact, free is an abuse of confidence...
This appears to be the point you are not grasping. Since
people's opinion on "free" differs, and you are not the
final arbiter of what it means to the reader of your ad,
it is reasonable to presume that many people will view
"free" in the way they have expressed it here. That
reasonable presumption does indeed make it an abuse
of confidence, even if you are convinced you are right,
because you understand that others do not view it as you do,
and you are presenting the ad as fact.

Pretending that your opinion of "free" is the only valid
one may work for you, but in this thread you are not
boss of its definition. Unless I've missed something.

-Crat
LPMuds.net - Index
cratylus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 06:42 PM   #46
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerihae View Post
I doubt it really matters, but I'm in the "Free" means there are no pay-for-perks or to unlock anything or whatever. If someone tells me I can play a game for free, I expect to be able to take advantage of everything that game offers for nothing
So if someone advertised "Play Oblivion for Free" and gave you a copy of Oblivion for your 360 (pretend you have one if you don't!), you'd have a problem with the claim that you can play Oblivion for free just because there are a couple pieces of content that you have to buy to experience?

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 06:46 PM   #47
Xerihae
Senior Member
 
Xerihae's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Name: Chris
Location: Wolverhampton, UK
Posts: 358
Xerihae will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

To a certain extent yes. I don't view it as so much of a problem with Oblivion because it's only me on the playing field, so I don't have to worry about some Creosote always being better than me just because he has money.
Xerihae is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 06:52 PM   #48
Molly
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Sweden
Home MUD: 4 Dimensions
Posts: 566
Molly will become famous soon enoughMolly will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
No let's not wait. I'd like to hear the facts behind your temporary assessment rather than wait for the final one. I'd like to hear what else they get.
My 'temporary assessment' is based on things that I have seen happen on this site in the past. Which in fact was the main reason why I left the discussion boards and stayed away for a couple of years.

The site has a new owner now, and hopefully this will mean a change, but it's all very new still. So far you have been doing very well. But this thread is the first real conflict of interests, so it will be something of a test.

Quote:
Back to the matter at hand, it seems we have similar ideas on what could be added, but that isn't the point.
But it IS the point.
Right now it seems we have similar ideas of what could be added.

You run the site. The final decision is yours. As long as that decision is yours exclusively, and based solely on facts, I guess we'll all be fine.
Molly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 06:58 PM   #49
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerihae View Post
To a certain extent yes. I don't view it as so much of a problem with Oblivion because it's only me on the playing field, so I don't have to worry about some Creosote always being better than me just because he has money.
But that really speaks more to how you view MUDs (as competitive enterprises) than anything else. I don't look at MUDs as competitive games, for instance, but virtual worlds to be experienced.

Further, you will never know whether Creosote is better than you because he spent money. Admins are not able to stop players buying services or goods from other players for real money. All you can now is what the official policy of the game is, not whether players are either buying stuff on the sly from admins or buying stuff from other players or 3rd party vendors.

Is what the admin says the policy is more important than what the reality is?

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 07:09 PM   #50
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
This appears to be the point you are not grasping. Since
people's opinion on "free" differs, and you are not the
final arbiter of what it means to the reader of your ad,
it is reasonable to presume that many people will view
"free" in the way they have expressed it here.
No, I'm not the final arbiter of what free means. Nobody is given that English is a living language.

However, in the US at least, there is a final arbiter (the Federal Trade Commission) about what the word 'free' means in commerce (TMS being a commercial site). Here's a link to a plain language summary on using the word 'free,' from the FTC itself: FTC GUIDE CONCERNING USE OF THE WORD ``FREE'' AND SIMILAR REPRESENTATIONS

Our lawyers assure us that we don't even skirt any grey areas when it comes to saying our games are free or free to play, based both on the published guidelines and on case law. Again, this is just the standard use of the word free. (You're also allowed to say something is free even if you make someone BUY something to get that 'free' thing. Such as, "Buy 1 get 1 Free.")


Quote:
That
reasonable presumption does indeed make it an abuse
of confidence, even if you are convinced you are right,
because you understand that others do not view it as you do,
and you are presenting the ad as fact.
The arbiter of what free means in commerce disagrees with you.


Quote:
Pretending that your opinion of "free" is the only valid
one may work for you, but in this thread you are not
boss of its definition. Unless I've missed something.
You have.

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 07:13 PM   #51
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
We (the collective users of this site, not me and you) are never going to agree on the definition of "free".
That is certainly apparent, and for some people I think it's almost become a way to try and dodge the issue. Therefore I think the easiest way would be to avoid the symantics and instead focus on the intent - such as:

Quote:
[ ] Payment required to play? (replacing pay-to-play).
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted.
[ ] Payment / Donations rewarded in-game.
[ ] No Payment / Donations accepted, period.
Seems okay, although personally I'd still like to see an option indicating whether or not you can earn everything without paying - i.e., your "ALL game content available without donating Y/N?" option. While people could give the content stupidly high in-game costs, as you mentioned, I don't think they'd bother (and if they did, it's the sort of thing that would come up in reviews).

If you don't like that, another option would be to indicate whether people can purchase non-transferable bonuses. The importance of this is that if the bonuses can be transferred between characters, players will form their own market and set their own prices based on supply and demand - which effectively means you can buy the bonuses from other players using in-game currency if you don't want to donate with real money.

Finally, don't forget that pay-to-play and pay-for-perks are not mutually exclusive - as such, you might want to keep the "payment required to play" separate from the other choices (the other three are mutually exclusive, so I'm assuming they're not supposed to be checkboxes).

Quote:
Even as clean cut as that looks it isn't. We have to assume on good faith, for example, that an "unrewarded" donation is not indirectly rewarded in-game via the gratitude of the MUD staff. We have to assume that if a grateful player on a "no donations" MUD sends that admin a birthday present it doesn't suddenly mean they accept donations.
I think that falls outside the scope of the definitions, to be honest - you could argue the same thing about PK, RP, or whatever else. You have to assume on good faith that someone doesn't get rewarded with extra RP points because they're a friend of the mud staff, and that they don't get a PK modifier as a birthday present, etc.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 07:32 PM   #52
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

So, after talking with Lasher some I'll drop my objection to those four categories since it's hard to argue that less information is better than more when it comes to search. I don't think they really accurately reflect the various models, and of course we're going to continue to truthfully advertise ourselves as free, but it's not worth arguing over any more.

I trust, however, that since we're after information, nobody is going to object to another search category, along the lines of:

[1]. Professionals in charge.
[2]. Hobbyists in charge.

Of course there's never going to be complete agreement about the meaning of those words but then, nobody who is supporting more information ala donation/payment collection can have a problem with that given that there's not agreement here about the meaning of the word free, right?

I support the above mainly because if we're giving people an option to search for the collection of revenue or lack thereof it makes sense to also give people an option to search for one of the differences between MUDs that influences the need to collect that revenue.

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 07:41 PM   #53
Throttle
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 31
Throttle is on a distinguished road
Re: Nodeka

To me, "free to play" means that there's no cost to play. You can play at any time, for as long as you want, and your account won't expire at some point. Nodeka is free to play.

However! If payment (donation is an incorrect term in this context) gives you any kind of advantage, that should be clearly evident in the mud's description. Trying to hide that will not only not work, it'll make the game look bad for people who find out, especially if they find out after having spent time playing and subsequently lose interest because they know others will have an advantage by paying. I don't care if a mud has a pay-for-perks system (although I won't play there), as long as it's advertised as such. Even if it's just a bigger map.
Throttle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 07:51 PM   #54
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by Throttle View Post
if they find out after having spent time playing and subsequently lose interest because they know others will have an advantage by paying.
That's the fallacy though. There's no such thing as a MUD in which you can't gain an advantage by paying someone, whether it's the developer or not, unless that MUD has no advantages that can be gained.

You might opine that, "Sure, but that's just in those really big MUDs, like World of Warcraft" where one can simply go to all sorts of websites to purchase gold, power-leveling, characters, items, etc. But of course, the first third-party exchange for in-game stuff for real money ever run was for one of Simutronic's text MUDs.

Admin policy and action does not determine the reality of whether you're able to buy things with real money or not. It only influences it.
--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 07:54 PM   #55
Lasher
Administrator
 
Lasher's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Name: Derek
Location: Orlando
Posts: 353
Lasher has a spectacular aura aboutLasher has a spectacular aura about
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
Finally, don't forget that pay-to-play and pay-for-perks are not mutually exclusive - as such, you might want to keep the "payment required to play" separate from the other choices (the other three are mutually exclusive, so I'm assuming they're not supposed to be checkboxes).
Technically right but I'd like to keep it as simple as possible.

In practice, do you know of any MUDs that outright require a payment to play but then you can't buy anything else?

My thought there is "pay to play" overrides everything else - if you don't mind paying to have to play a MUD period, you probably aren't too concerned with filtering "freemium" MUDs out of your search. Definitely open to being proved wrong here, just trying to keep it simple..

Quote:
Originally Posted by The_logos
I trust, however, that since we're after information, nobody is going to object to another search category, along the lines of:

[1]. Professionals in charge.
[2]. Hobbyists in charge.
Cool - there's a new business idea for TMS - Offering "Professional Internet Mud Provider" certification. We could even run a shadow company selling cram guides and bootcamps while publicly decrying them.

Sorry, couldn't resist
Lasher is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 07:54 PM   #56
cratylus
Banned
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 153
cratylus is an unknown quantity at this point
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

matt/sarapis/te_logos/whatever
Quote:
Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
So, after talking with Lasher some I'll drop my objection to those four categories since it's hard to argue that less information is better than more when it comes to search.


Cool.

-Crat
LPMuds.net - Index
cratylus is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 08:09 PM   #57
KaVir
Legend
 
KaVir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Name: Richard
Home MUD: God Wars II
Posts: 2,052
KaVir will become famous soon enoughKaVir will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
In practice, do you know of any MUDs that outright require a payment to play but then you can't buy anything else?
I'm not really up to date on the pay-to-play muds, but I've heard a number of people in the past say that they don't mind paying a fixed monthly fee, but that they don't like the "the more you pay the better you get" pay-for-perks approach. They basically cited many of the points the pro-free-with-absolutely-no-costs-optional-or-otherwise crowd put forward about playing on a level playing field.

I don't know if they were talking about an actual mud or just a preferred payment model, but I'm pretty sure some of them actually played on pay-to-play muds.
KaVir is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 10:13 PM   #58
Threshold
Legend
 
Threshold's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Home MUD: Threshold RPG
Posts: 1,241
Threshold will become famous soon enough
Re: Nodeka

Quote:
Originally Posted by rendekar View Post
a mud that offers no in-game benefits(in-game items, house, skill boost, unlocking extra areas) via donations is a COMPLETELY FREE mud and gives the most fair-gaming experience.it's that plain, simple..
I really don't consider that the "most fair" gaming experience.

I have a job, kids, and a lot of real world responsibilities. I'm not some kid living in his grandma's basement, or some guy living off a disability settlement, who can play 15-20 hours per day.

I don't consider it "fair" that in your garden variety MMO my superior gaming skill cannot hope to match the sheer amounts of time these other people throw at the game.

So, what you described may be your version of fair, but I certainly do not think it is objectively the "most fair" gaming experience by a long shot.
Threshold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 10:25 PM   #59
Threshold
Legend
 
Threshold's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Home MUD: Threshold RPG
Posts: 1,241
Threshold will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerihae View Post
To a certain extent yes. I don't view it as so much of a problem with Oblivion because it's only me on the playing field, so I don't have to worry about some Creosote always being better than me just because he has money.
But someone with no life, no job, and 20 hours a day to play an MMO is less of a "Creosote" in your eyes?
Threshold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-24-2007, 11:31 PM   #60
Threshold
Legend
 
Threshold's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Home MUD: Threshold RPG
Posts: 1,241
Threshold will become famous soon enough
Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerihae View Post
If someone tells me I can play a game for free, I expect to be able to take advantage of everything that game offers for nothing and compete with everyone regardless of how much money they have.
You realize there is not a single game on the internet that fulfills that condition, right?

With money people can buy superior hardware, a better internet connection, gold or other currency, items, powerlevelling services, characters, or accounts from third parties. The third party gold/item sales (RMT - Real Money Trade) industry is a multi-billion (yes, billion) dollar industry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Xerihae View Post
I doubt it really matters, but I'm in the "Free" means there are no pay-for-perks or to unlock anything or whatever. If someone tells me I can play a game for free, I expect to be able to take advantage of everything that game offers for nothing
Honestly, I think this interpretation of the word "free" just doesn't jibe with common sense or common, real-world usage. I think the only reason some people choose to insist on it here at TMS is for purely personal, competitive reasons. They want to obtain some kind of marketing advantage against MUDs that are not "free" in their eyes, and think this is a good way to go about it.
  • ESPN.com is a free web site. It is considered a free web site. But they have ESPN Insider for people who want to pay more.

  • The Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, and all sorts of amazing museums in Washington, DC are free. For people who live in the Washington, DC metro area (I was one of them for a total of 8 years), the fact that they are free is a frequently noted asset of living in that area. In other words, everyone considers them free. But if you want to buy food, drinks, or souvenirs while you are there, you pay for them. If you want to subscribe to their magazine or become a member of the Smithsonian, you pay for it.

  • Kingdom of Loathing is a free online game. But you can pay for a nifty little item called a Mr. Accessory that provides various benefits. You can also buy KoL merchandise. I know of no other players who do not consider KoL free - certainly not rational ones.

  • Whenever PC Gamer or Computer Gaming Monthly or some similar print publication comes out with one of their "Top 100 Free Online Games" lists, many of them have "Gold" or "Premium" versions that cost money, additional features you can buy with money, or all sorts of other aspects that can be enhanced with money. That does not stop them from being considered "Free" by the major publications of our industry. Oh, and I have never seen any of those free games as advertisers in those magazines.

  • I could go on listing examples from real life that show the word free being used and accepted in a manner that is fully consistent with how it is currently used on TMS by many games. But examples, proof, and fact appear to have little value when stacked up against bitter self-interest and raw emotion.

I know exactly why this discussion crops up every 6-12 months. A very few people decide they are jealous of someone else's success, or the number of players they have, or something of that nature, and they want to take a shot at them. So they lash out in this one little way in the misguided hope that they can obtain players for their own mud they feel they would not have gained otherwsise. This is, quite honestly, a false hope. Good marketing is not done by trying to control how other people market their own products or services. Good marketing is done by finding new, creative ways to make your own product attractive to potential users.

The same people who want 100 categories of free and pay are all too frequently the same people who oppose search options for "Professionally Run" vs. "Hobbyist Run" categories. If the real motive was giving players information that is useful to them, they would wholeheartedly support this differentiation as well. There are an enormous amount of people who prefer games where the operators have a livelihood stake in the continued, successful operation of the game. In fact, since the majority of gamers play games that are "Professionally Run", it is quite obvious that this is one of the more important factors in players' choice of game. But accepting this type of categorization runs contrary to the goal of "stealing players" from the more popular games, so you won't see the same level of support for that type of search differentiation.

Ultimately, players will find and play the game that best suits them. There is never going to be community-wide agreement on the definition of terms, so it is really best to just let each mud describe itself in the manner its operators feel is most accurate, and let potential players show their agreement or disagreement by choosing to play or not play.
Threshold is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:18 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Style based on a design by Essilor
Copyright Top Mud Sites.com 2014