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Old 10-03-2007, 06:36 AM   #21
Xerihae
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Re: MUD Reviews

I think if you were going to do an honest review you'd need to spend around 10 hours or a week playing the game, whichever would be longer for you. Because of the hugely different game mechanics in MUDs (like the remort system you mentioned) you would have to limit the review to certain categories such as impressions of character creation and the options available whilst doing it, amount of newbie help available, possible options in the game (remorts, end-game content etc), the general feel of the game, and the general view of the playerbase you managed to garner whilst doing the review.

Some of those sections can be helped by looking at a games website sometimes, as they'll often list things that happen later in the game you can include in your opinion of the options.

The major thing in my mind is to make sure that the reviewer is a fan of that type of game. Just like games magazines don't generally put someone who doesn't like RTS in charge of a Command & Conquer review, you can't really put someone who loves PK into a pure RP MUD and expect to get a fair review of it that would be of use to people who DO like that sort of game. For a review staff you'd need to make sure you had enough people to cover all the bases so you never end up sending someone who is immediately going to dislike the game because they have a different playstyle.
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Old 10-03-2007, 08:38 AM   #22
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Re: MUD Reviews

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So rather than start a completely new thread, this seems like a good thread to ask what would people like to see in a fair and detailed review? What are the guidelines?
I liked the style of the Mud Connector reviews - it gives a fair amount of information about different aspects of the mud, often including both positive and negative. For example: TMC Reviews: SlothMUD III

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Are there a minimum number of hours a reviewer should play? Do they need to play long enough to remort if a mud has a remorting system to give a fair review? How many classes would they have to play? How many races?
I don't think you can expect the reviewer to play the game all the way through with every class or race, but I do think they should clarify how much of the game they've played, even if it's just along the lines of "I played this for 10 hours as a human warrior". Perhaps 10 hours isn't enough to get into the meat of the game, but if so it can still give valuable insight into those first 10 hours.

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Just to talk specifics, let's take four muds, Carrion Fields, 4 Dimensions, God Wars II, and Achaea. What in your mind does a reviewer have to do to give a fair review of each of these games?
To give a fair overall review of God Wars II I'd expect the reviewer to class (which takes most players around 10-20 hours the first time around), complete a few tasks, and train sufficient powers (ideally 100% potential at age 100) that they could start experimenting with different builds. I guess we're talking around 30-40 hours of playing time - which isn't going to happen unless they're either an active player or an ex-player, in which case the review will likely be heavily biased.

However I wouldn't mind simpler reviews, as long as the reviewer made it clear how much of the game they'd played - such as the 'capsule reviews' you mentioned. I think it'd be pretty nice to have a selection of one-hour reviews, whereby the reviewer had spent an hour playing each of the games before writing up a summary of their experiences (and once again, they should make it clear that they've only played for an hour).

An hour obviously wouldn't cover the meat of the games, but it could still provide an informative introduction - a summary of what you can expect in your first hour, from the perspective of an experienced mudder. Most newbies who aren't going to hang around will drop out long before the 1 hour mark anyway, so a well-designed mud should have sunk its hooks in long before this point - if there's nothing good to say about the mud after an hour of play, then that is also valuable information (not just for the prospective player, but also for the mud admin).
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:06 AM   #23
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Re: MUD Reviews

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I think if you were going to do an honest review you'd need to spend around 10 hours or a week playing the game, whichever would be longer for you.
Ha! 10 hours would barely get you out of immigrancy on NW, you wouldn't have even joined a guild yet. Must be some pretty easy muds out there. What you could find out in 10 hours is likely some of the mud style, mechanics, limited combat style, limited powers and if you were good a lot of roleplay. We get a lot of new players, but I think only 1 in 3 actually make it out of immigrancy.

Will we change this? Probably not. Why? Because that is our weeding out process of good roleplayers. Works like a charm.
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:41 AM   #24
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Re: MUD Reviews

Heh. I have to agree with Newworlds there.

Every review of the first 10 hours on OtherSpace would probably go something like:

* Read a lot of information in the Wiki.
* Talked to some people about the latest happenings in the game universe.
* Answered 20 questions about my RP experience and thoughts on good sportsmanship. I DIDN'T KNOW THERE'D BE A TEST!
* MAYBE submitted a bio.
* Waited for the bio to be looked at.
* Still waiting on that bio to be checked out.
* Dum-de-DUM, still waiting!
* OMG, will they ever read my bio?
* CRAP! They just told me it sometimes takes 48 hours to look at these things!

And then it either ends with "The wait was worth it!" or "They're elitist snobs who didn't like my orphaned warrior bent on vengeance!"
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Old 10-03-2007, 01:02 PM   #25
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Ha! 10 hours would barely get you out of immigrancy on NW, you wouldn't have even joined a guild yet. Must be some pretty easy muds out there.
Not 'easy' - but 'exciting', 'entertaining', 'challenging' and 'fun'. The first 10 hours (even the first 1 hour) should be enjoyable and stimulating, not boring and monotonous. If you're expected to put up with hours upon hours of dull repetitive activities before the game becomes enjoyable, then that's the sort of thing I'd like to know before investing the time myself.
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:18 PM   #26
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Not 'easy' - but 'exciting', 'entertaining', 'challenging' and 'fun'. The first 10 hours (even the first 1 hour) should be enjoyable and stimulating, not boring and monotonous. If you're expected to put up with hours upon hours of dull repetitive activities before the game becomes enjoyable, then that's the sort of thing I'd like to know before investing the time myself.
Can't argue with that!
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Old 10-04-2007, 03:38 AM   #27
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Originally Posted by Xerihae View Post
I think if you were going to do an honest review you'd need to spend around 10 hours or a week playing the game, whichever would be longer for you. Because of the hugely different game mechanics in MUDs (like the remort system you mentioned) you would have to limit the review to certain categories such as impressions of character creation and the options available whilst doing it, amount of newbie help available, possible options in the game (remorts, end-game content etc), the general feel of the game, and the general view of the playerbase you managed to garner whilst doing the review.
I've got to agree with Xerihae here.

And even a 10 hours playtest would mostly show the basic mechanics of the game, give a hint of the quality in the zone descs, and - given who you interacted with - possibly of the roleplay and player-base in general. A short-term review like that would basically just measure the game's level of Newbiefriendlyness.

Not that this is unimportant. If care has been taken on the design of the game in whole, the developers will also have put some care into the Newbie introduction and the easiest zones. If the experience during the first 10 hours is a pleasant one, chances are high that the rest of the game will also be well designed, challenging and entertaining.

Chances are even fair that the actual game will be a lot better than what you encounter during the first hours. Newbie zones are mostly frequented by newbies, and newbies rarely excel in roleplaying. Most Muds also grow in concentric rings, meaning that the zones closest to the core will be the earliest created, and probably the quality of the zones will have risen over time. Many Muds even leave the design of low level zones to their least experienced Builders, (which I personally think is a mistake). But in any case, the real complexity and depth of a game only unfolds after you have played it for quite a long time.

Still, I think the potential of 'professional' reviewers is a bit limited. The really knowledgeable reviews of a game could only be written by its most experienced players, since they are the only ones, apart from the Admin, that know it in depth. This is one reason why I think it's important to keep the Player reviews, and I also belong to the people who think that it shouldn't be possible for a game to turn off reviews. Even if the majority of them would be fan-boy praise or disgruntled-player flames, reading through a number of reviews still gives a hint of what you can expect in the game.

The Player reviews on TMC hold a considerably higher standard than the ones here on TMS, and I think implementing a system of the same kind here might raise the quality. If the reviewers have to use a valid e-mail, and the reviews have to be checked and approved by some Staff member before getting accepted and published, this would weed out the most blatant cases of total bias. It shouldn't weed out a review just on the grounds that it contains mostly criticism however. This too is valid information,. and if the Mudowners are given the option to respond to reviews, they could refute any blatant lies that might have slipped through the control. The people doing the initial check could be either the moderators or a separate team of members that volunteered for the task.

The more interesting things apart from the voting list that this site can offer, the better chances would be of attracting players rather than just Admin. And reviews are one of the things potentially interesting to a player in search of a new Mud.

Last edited by Molly : 10-07-2007 at 03:08 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:57 AM   #28
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Thumbs up Re: MUD Reviews

Nicely written Molly. Kudos.
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Old 10-06-2007, 03:18 PM   #29
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Can't argue with that!
So why do you require, Players borg-through 10 levels in-order to become guilded and truly induced into any roleplay that isn't molli-coddling?
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Old 10-06-2007, 06:38 PM   #30
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Re: MUD Reviews

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So why do you require, Players borg-through 10 levels in-order to become guilded and truly induced into any roleplay that isn't molli-coddling?
To weed out the type of players that only use combat to advance (not saying that is horribly bad, but you miss alot if you do that). There is a secret way to skip all that if you roleplay. Apparently you didn't or you never really played the game that much.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:25 PM   #31
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Re: MUD Reviews

I only read the first post. Infringement on your consumer rights huh? What rights exactly would this website be infringing upon?

I really hope you're kidding. I mean really. You have no "consumer rights" here.

Sorry, I can't add anything else, because I just couldn't get past that.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:25 PM   #32
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Re: MUD Reviews

I assume the game-mechanic you are making a reffrence too is playerbonus.
Timed, player issused roleplay bonus's and a pittance of XP offered on introduction.

Given that each bonus is less than a 1/10 of the requirement for each level, They don't provide a nessceary alternative to borging. A fact that your playerbase has raised time and time again and you've been unable to address.

Now it isn't an easy issue to address, However You can't then claim that forcing charcters to borg through 10 levels of play before they achieve a real goal which will induct them into real roleplay and also put them in a posistion to actually aqquire those for-mentioned bonus's is a means of deteriant and a barrier of entry.

Because your guilded merely end up consisting of borgers and those roleplay fanatics who exsist soley of bonuses
are still ideling in there guilds of entrance in order to aqquire there time based bonus.

Because players don't bonus people, If they can't get a bonus back. Perhaps not how the systems designed or intended to be used. But its seen and heard to be the case. Immigrants don't get Booned.

Moreso, Bonus's are so few and far between with players only giving them to there friends and inner-circle for 'humorous' roleplay. That immigrants and Serfs rarely see them.

So, I did play the game plenty, I did roleplay just fine and more so, because of this. I know Borging is the quickest way to get yourself into a posistion in which you're taking seriously and not looked upon as just another newbie-twink who needs his hand-holding.

Charcter-forming in the sense of peer recgonition only takes place after guildhooding.
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Old 10-07-2007, 02:15 AM   #33
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Re: MUD Reviews

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I assume the game-mechanic you are making a reffrence too is playerbonus.
Timed, player issused roleplay bonus's and a pittance of XP offered on introduction....<snipped>
No, I wasn't refering to that, and no I disagree with your assessment of roleplay on NW and almost everything you post here. Moreover I wonder at the motivation behind it and more so after reading the following:
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This is a very serious project and whilst we're intrested in all those that wish to help.

We will only consider sensible applicants.
Considering, you were advertising for builders and creators on your own mud a year ago, I find it strange that you would be posting a rant against NW in this fashion. Not that I mind. I welcome your opinion, and if I thought it true and actionable, perhaps something would be done to correct your grievances. But alas, I find it shallow, transparent and off topic as this topic is reviews. But please, continue to posts if you wish, I will only correct you as needed.

There will always be those that attack other or competing muds in this fashion, which I find sad.
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Old 10-07-2007, 07:18 AM   #34
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Re: MUD Reviews

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No, I wasn't refering to that, and no I disagree with your assessment of roleplay on NW and almost everything you post here. Moreover I wonder at the motivation behind it and more so after reading the following:


Considering, you were advertising for builders and creators on your own mud a year ago, I find it strange that you would be posting a rant against NW in this fashion. Not that I mind. I welcome your opinion, and if I thought it true and actionable, perhaps something would be done to correct your grievances. But alas, I find it shallow, transparent and off topic as this topic is reviews. But please, continue to posts if you wish, I will only correct you as needed.

There will always be those that attack other or competing muds in this fashion, which I find sad.

Your disagreement dosen't really concern me. More so, I was forced to chuckle at the fact that because I'm a peer in the sense that I'm involved in the development and construction of muds. My opinons held in less-regard than a player.

Alas... My post wasn't a rant but an analytical breakdown and explination of why, Borging+time != Roleplay.

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Old 10-07-2007, 11:57 AM   #35
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Re: MUD Reviews

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No, I wasn't refering to that, and no I disagree with your assessment of roleplay on NW and almost everything you post here.
Having read his opinion and some of the reviews in TMS, it seems to me that RP cliques are probably one of the worst problems in your MUD. This makes good sense, knowing how a socializer-heavy game can be vulnerable to such cliques. What I'd like to hear is how does your game adress the problem of cliques?

To stay on topic, I think that commentable reviews are a good thing. Personally, I think that this discussion about New Worlds that has taken place in this thread is a good example of how such commentable review should work. From the discussion, people can get some idea what the game is about and whether it is good game for them to try. If they have open questions, they can post them in the review thread for the game admin or players to answer. Personally, I think that the games getting this kind of attention would certainly benefit from it as their target group of players could find the game based on it.
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Old 10-07-2007, 02:38 PM   #36
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Having read his opinion and some of the reviews in TMS, it seems to me that RP cliques are probably one of the worst problems in your MUD. This makes good sense, knowing how a socializer-heavy game can be vulnerable to such cliques. What I'd like to hear is how does your game adress the problem of cliques?
Clique forming normally happens with a game that has clans/guilds/religions/politics. This won't go away. The discussion on how NW deals with this could be a five page response, but in short, the only way is really up to the players: You can't administrate effectively who a player roleplays with or adventures with. That is the fun of a game, deciding for yourself.

I will say, however, that the ability to join any group or become anything is very wide road and open even to the lowest level, non-guilded player. I've seen immigrants wield more social power than guild masters, when roleplayed properly and effectively.

Quote:
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To stay on topic, I think that commentable reviews are a good thing. Personally, I think that this discussion about New Worlds that has taken place in this thread is a good example of how such commentable review should work. From the discussion, people can get some idea what the game is about and whether it is good game for them to try. If they have open questions, they can post them in the review thread for the game admin or players to answer. Personally, I think that the games getting this kind of attention would certainly benefit from it as their target group of players could find the game based on it.
Any advertisment is good advertisement as long as you spell the name right.

Still, the trouble with the fellow that complained about having to kill for coins is that it seems old and out of touch. I'd venture to say this person hasn't been on NW in a year or more and likely isn't an rp buff as stated by the "I'll go borg, this is the way to do it" attitude. One forgets that anyone can press for levels or advancement and make it to a high power player only to find out that they forgot to roleplay along the way and gain support and now sit at the top alone without an ounce of social or political strength.
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Old 10-07-2007, 03:11 PM   #37
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Re: MUD Reviews

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I assume the game-mechanic you are making a reffrence too is playerbonus.
Timed, player issused roleplay bonus's and a pittance of XP offered on introduction...
Given that this is a thread about TMS's review feature on the "Bugs and Suggestions" board, you're getting pretty far off-topic. The fine details of NW's mechanics aren't terribly relevant to that discussion. Please take it to PMs.
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Old 10-09-2007, 04:52 AM   #38
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Re: MUD Reviews

I've thought about this a little bit and came up with following idea:

Make two forum sections for reviews. One for reviews themselves, which would allow anonymous posting of non-registered users but would be also moderated in a sense that the posts don't show before a moderator has reviewed and approved all of them. This would allow reviews compactly in one place and without clutter, and from players since they don't have to register to post a review. This subsection would not allow discussing or commenting the reviews. One thread per MUD, would pile the reviews nicely in one place.

The other forum section would be for discussion about reviews, where admins and players who have registered to the forums can discuss the reviews and ask questions that arise from them. This subsection wouldn't have reviews themselves, but rather, the commentary and discussion based on the reviews on the review board. You could also discuss features of a certain MUD, mostly in light of reviews.
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Old 10-09-2007, 06:04 AM   #39
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Re: MUD Reviews

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Originally Posted by DurNominator View Post
I've thought about this a little bit and came up with following idea:

Make two forum sections for reviews. One for reviews themselves, which would allow anonymous posting of non-registered users but would be also moderated in a sense that the posts don't show before a moderator has reviewed and approved all of them. This would allow reviews compactly in one place and without clutter, and from players since they don't have to register to post a review. This subsection would not allow discussing or commenting the reviews. One thread per MUD, would pile the reviews nicely in one place.

The other forum section would be for discussion about reviews, where admins and players who have registered to the forums can discuss the reviews and ask questions that arise from them. This subsection wouldn't have reviews themselves, but rather, the commentary and discussion based on the reviews on the review board. You could also discuss features of a certain MUD, mostly in light of reviews.
Not a bad idea, but I think if there's any point allowing comments and discussion of reviews at all, they need to be right there with the review itself.

The reviews get linked to much more than forum posts. I've even seen quite a few links to TMC and TMS reviews as "external references" on Wikipedia listings for MUDs. There could be a link under each review saying "Click here to read comments on this review", but if we're going to do that then again, they might as well just be there.
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Old 10-09-2007, 06:44 AM   #40
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Re: MUD Reviews

I think the only problem with the reviews at this site is that they don't get pre-screened, people just post whatever, and that's bad.
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