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Old 03-22-2010, 08:28 PM   #1
Suicide Boy
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Question IRE MUDs: Credit System (and/or Time Investment)

I would like to begin by acknowledging the presence of Iron Realms Entertainment administrators, in-game referees (gods, wizards, immortals, etc.), and even Matt Mihaly himself on this forum. In other words, I am aware that you're here, and also that any or all of you may read this thread at some point. Ergo, I will bear that in mind as I write.

I would also like to state — for the record, as they say — that I haven't been involved with any MUD (or MUSH, or MOO) for several years now, that I don't have a hidden agenda to pursue, and that I departed my last MUD (Avalon: The Legend Lives) as a player in good standing. I left due purely to personal reasons and the demands of an oft-chaotic lifestyle.


Finally, I realize that in addition to IRE staff members and employees, many other posters here at TMS own and/or operate (or help to operate) their own MUDs, including (but not limited to) Aristotle and Threshold, Lasher and Aardwolf, and Brody and OtherSpace. I truly respect the value and worth of everyone's home MUD, so I will try to remain completely neutral when and if the pros and cons of non-IRE MUDs make their way into this thread.


Why did I write this little preface? Well, discussing the way in which a MUD finances itself and how that affects me as a potential player is a sensitive issue, both for me and people with a stake in IRE games. 'Nuff said, I think.


--------------------------------

Now that that's out of the way, on to the meat of this topic:

I've recently gotten the itch to play MUDs again, and simply put, I want to try something new. Lately, I've been gravitating towards Achaea, Lusternia, or perhaps one of IRE's other commercial MUDs as the most attractive options. Now, I'm not entirely unfamiliar with these games; I tried Achaea for a few weeks in 2006 (I think?), and during that period, I learned enough to get the gist of how Iron Realms' donation system (i.e., credits) works, and also what sort of perks can be purchased with said credits.

At this time, I would like to assure you that I absolutely condone MUD players making generous and regular donations to their MUD of choice — far above and beyond the graphical MMO standard of $15/month, when possible. I'm not one of those silly people who believe businesses should all operate as charities, or that trying to turn a profit is morally wrong. I know that in a hobby this size, MUDs need all the support they can get.

That being said, I am a university post-grad. Not only is my time somewhat limited, but so are my finances. I'm willing to donate more funds to IRE than someone who's simply broke (for the sake of argument, say $30-$40 a month), and I'm willing to spend more time on the game than someone whose life is INCREDIBLY busy (say, 20 hours a week).

What I need to know is this: Will that amount of commitment on my part be enough to enjoy a game like Achaea properly? I know it's not enough to be king of the hill — Achaea is well known for players who've spent thousands of US dollars on in-game assets. But will it be enough to significantly reduce the grind endured by players who don't donate at all, and have to farm in-game currency to trade for their credits? In your opinion, will I end up feeling like a virtual second-class citizen?

--------------------------------

Why don't I just start playing an IRE game right now and see how it goes, you may ask? Simple: Unlike a game with a set monthly fee, or a game that doesn't allow payment (or donations) for perks, I don't really know what I'm getting myself into yet, and probably won't for a month or more. I don't want to play the game for three months, enjoy it, and get attached to it, then become frustrated with it because I don't have the wherewithal to commit to it properly.

I'm basically just looking for feedback and trying to do my homework before I commit — nothing more, nothing less.

--------------------------------

Thank you very much for reading this post. It's quite long, and probably somewhat annoying as well if I've perpetrated any inaccuracies or exaggerations in the process of writing it.

Impressions from past and current players of IRE games regarding their experiences with the credit system are very welcome, as are comments from IRE staff members. It must be said, however, that I will take staff members' comments with a grain of salt, because there's bound to be some bias at work, even if you come by it honestly and intend it benevolently.

Last edited by Suicide Boy : 03-22-2010 at 08:37 PM. Reason: formatting
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Old 03-22-2010, 11:03 PM   #2
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Re: IRE MUDs: Credit System (and/or Time Investment)

Well, Lusternia is the best of the IRE MUDs so there shouldn't be any difficulty there!

You are asking some great questions but I really think the best place to get good feedback is on the game forums.

Lusternia Forums (Powered by Invision Power Board)
Achaea's Forums (Powered by Invision Power Board)
Imperian Forums
Aetolia Forums (Powered by Invision Power Board)
Midkemia Online's Forums (Powered by Invision Power Board)

I've found the players are more than willing to give pros and cons of each game, how much enjoyment you can have based on how much time you put in, the worth of buying credits with RL money, etc.

Good luck!
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Old 03-23-2010, 10:54 AM   #3
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Re: IRE MUDs: Credit System (and/or Time Investment)

I've played Imperian and Achaea for far, far longer than I would ever tell an attractive member of the opposite sex so I feel I can shed a little bit of light on some of your questions, but as Estarra correctly pointed out, the forums are a good place to look. You should be wary though, as the forums do tend to range in combativeness. The degree of back and forth and namecalling depends on the individual forum but you should be aware that it's the manifestation of a very small minority and most of it is in good fun!

Re: Credits

For all the following I'm assuming you're interested in PvPing and the examples I'll be using will largely come from Imperian, though my understanding is that they apply to all IRE games to some extent.

1. The way IRE bundles its credits encourages buying in rare, bulk purchases rather than dribbling in money month after month. The best bet is to wait for a credit sale (they happen VERY often) and then drop a few months worth of $ all at once so you get the most credits for your bucks.

2. If your time and budget are limited, pick your class with extreme care. The amount of credits you need to perform well with a class in bashing and pvp vary wildly. Wytchen/Limorasi for example can easily get their best bashing ability (swiftcurse, one of the best hunting moves in the game) without spending a single dollar and all their defenses are things other people can make. If outfitting for PvP, it's a good idea to pick a class with a tradeskill or utilityskill, as that one can be safely ignored without any huge hit to your effectiveness. Avoid classes that require a lot of synergy between all three of their skillsets such as Noctusari or Malignists.

3. Imperian, Achaea and Aetolia have all been out for several years, which means that a certain degree of 'combat credit inflation' has occurred. This means that the characters at the top tier of combat are very expensive, use very complex automated attack systems, very high level or all three. This is all by way of saying that you're unlikely to be playing with the big boys right away. The first time an Aspect (over level 100 character) with half the artifacts available three shots you with his bashing attack because you insulted his wife's sister's cousin, you're going to feel the urge to either quit the game or spend your rent money on credits so you can artifact up and shut his fat face. Anticipate those urges and ignore them when they arise.

4. Seek lots of advice before you spend your credits and seek that advice from the right people. For every experienced elder there are three well intentioned idiots. Listen to everyone but keep in mind whom you're talking to. Unfortunately, a high level and a high PK level aren't necessarily indicators of talent or intelligence. The best indicator I've found is that someone who speaks as if they are 14 is likely to think that way too. The forums can be a good place to go for advice, as they tend to attract min-maxers and hardcore PvPers. They will also be quick to shut down anyone who gives you incorrect suggestions.

5. Do not buy credits right away. There's no need to. Pick a class, level up a bit. If you don't like it, pick a new class. Speak to experienced people who play that class. Get a feel for the roleplay of your guild/city/circle etc. Make sure it's a good fit before you commit your hard earned money because lesson refunds aren't 100% and you want to make sure it's the place for you. Also, you just don't need the credits early on. In Imperian at least, there are always groups of higher level hunters willing to let you tag along with them and soak up some gold and experience.

6. The only tradeskill that can even conceivably pay for itself is Concoctions, and even that will take forever. Do not let yourself be fooled into thinking that you can drop your lessons into Tattoos/Forging/Artistry/Metalworking/Etc. and then use them to make gold and buy the rest of your skill-sets. As a rule, hunting returns far more gold per hour than gathering and crafting is more a labor of love than a labor of profit. To put it into perspective, you would need to sell something like 200,000 herbs to pay for just concoctions and your limit will be at most about 1000 a day.

Hope some of that helps!

- Elvarlyn
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:58 AM   #4
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Re: IRE MUDs: Credit System (and/or Time Investment)

Okay, so I technically have not actually played IRE games in a few years, but I pretty much live on them from the admin side.

Unless you are looking to get into PvP right away, you can go without spending any money for a while (never if you don't mind taking your time). You should be able to get a decent bashing skill, earn levels, complete achievements, participate in RP, get into politics, explore the world, meet people, and all the the other fun stuff without the need to spend money.

If you do want to get into PvP at some point, this slow approach will give you lots of time to learn how combat works, get some levels under your belt (for health purposes), get a healing system worked out, sort out what class you like, and so on.

As for spending thousands of dollars, I don't think you will even need to do that. I have seen some amazing fighters that carefully pick and choose what skills to get to in order to be competitive in their game of choice. Do it slowly, learn about the skills in your class, get a few lessons, and work your new skills into your system. One of the main keys to being able to fight, is being able to heal and defend well, which anyone can do without buying credits.

Everything in our games can be earned without ever buying a credit and we have many top end players that never have.

At any rate, hope you find what you are looking for on IRE. Thanks for considering us, and writing this awesome post!
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:35 PM   #5
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Re: IRE MUDs: Credit System (and/or Time Investment)

Heck, let's go for 3 IRE Producers posting. :P

I'll echo what Estarra and Jeremy have said, but also throw in that it's usually acquiring skills that is "required" to be a top-tier, competitive PvPer rather than buying artifacts. Artifacts tend to boost or supplement existing skills, which is a definite bonus, but not essential to be in that top tier. Maxing out your combat skills isn't that expensive, and actually right now IRE is running a massive sale on lesson packages in all the games (here is a link to the page for Midkemia Online) to allow players to more easily do that. If you want to take a look at the lesson packages for the other games, just replace "midkemiaonline" in the URL with whichever game you want.
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Old 03-23-2010, 01:40 PM   #6
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Re: IRE MUDs: Credit System (and/or Time Investment)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suicide Boy View Post
Thank you very much for reading this post. It's quite long, and probably somewhat annoying as well if I've perpetrated any inaccuracies or exaggerations in the process of writing it.
You had me at Suicide Boy.

Take a spin of New Worlds Ateraan and within a week or two you likely will likely drop out of Post Grad School and spend all your money on Mountain Dew so you can stay up 20 hours a day playing like the rest of the NWA junkies.

One Caveat: The game is Roleplay Enforced and the Roleplay is quite intense so you might be overwhelmed. With a name like Suicide Boy though, I'm doubting it.
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Old 03-23-2010, 02:16 PM   #7
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Re: IRE MUDs: Credit System (and/or Time Investment)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishap View Post
I'll echo what Estarra and Jeremy have said, but also throw in that it's usually acquiring skills that is "required" to be a top-tier, competitive PvPer rather than buying artifacts. Artifacts tend to boost or supplement existing skills, which is a definite bonus, but not essential to be in that top tier.
Totally. Artifacts may be nice, but skills are where it is at.
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Old 03-23-2010, 03:43 PM   #8
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Re: IRE MUDs: Credit System (and/or Time Investment)

Thank you for the replies! I'll be responding to everyone, so here goes the multi-quote shotgun:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Estarra View Post
You are asking some great questions but I really think the best place to get good feedback is on the game forums.

I've found the players are more than willing to give pros and cons of each game, how much enjoyment you can have based on how much time you put in, the worth of buying credits with RL money, etc.

I'm aware of the various IRE forums (although I thank you for taking the time to post convenient links) — but as you may suspect, I wanted to broach this discussion on neutral ground. I presume that a topic like this one could become quite heated and colorful on an IRE forum; having played online games for years, I know how we players can be on our home turf, so I try to avoid "stirring up the natives" if at all possible.

Nevertheless, I certainly don't disagree with you. I'm sure there's plenty of good advice to be had on the IRE forums (not to mention a higher concentration of people who are familiar with their game), and I won't shy away from posting there if the need arises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elvarlyn View Post
Re: Credits

For all the following I'm assuming you're interested in PvPing and the examples I'll be using will largely come from Imperian, though my understanding is that they apply to all IRE games to some extent.

*pruned to save electronic paper*
Thank you for the detailed response, Elvarlyn. Regarding credit bundles, I was already aware of them — but it's still excellent advice, and of course you had no way of knowing whether I knew about them or not.

Regarding the need to choose a race and class carefully, that demonstrates exactly why I started this topic. It's difficult or impossible for a new player to know that sort of thing in advance, and as I tend to spend a lot of time developing my character concept within the first few hours of play, it's very helpful to know what my limitations are; that doesn't mean I'm not willing to start over a few times, but (much like the game itself) I don't want to spend weeks becoming attached to a character (and making friends on that character!), only to eventually realize it's inordinately expensive or difficult for me to play and enjoy.

So if I decide to play, I'll make it a priority to find out what class/race combinations would be a good fit for me, and keep in mind that I shouldn't get too attached to my first (or second, or third) choice.

Finally, as I mentioned before, I know very well that I can't prance in and be king of the PK hill within a few months (or years, or even at all, for that matter).

Important point
: Speaking of PK, your reply (and in fact, several other posters' replies) are actually very encouraging. As soon as we started talking about credits, you all immediately framed your replies to include PK as part of the discussion. That tells me that credits are most critical for players who want to be competitive in PvP.

I've never been a "carebear" or "flower," but I've never been obsessed with PK, either. I don't feel the need to hit the hardest, have the best gear, kill the most people, or anything of that nature.

However (and this leads to a new question), if PKing and PvP are vital parts of the game — such as being called on to help defend a city, or as a requirement to help me rise through the ranks of organizations — then yes, I would be upset if paid-for perks turned the tide of those battles. It's not that I'd want to avoid PK entirely, mind you, but if it's thickly interwoven into many other aspects of the game, that's a whole different ball game.

(I think the question is self-evident.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Avasyu View Post
Okay, so I technically have not actually played IRE games in a few years, but I pretty much live on them from the admin side.

Unless you are looking to get into PvP right away, you can go without spending any money for a while (never if you don't mind taking your time).

As for spending thousands of dollars, I don't think you will even need to do that. I have seen some amazing fighters that carefully pick and choose what skills to get to in order to be competitive in their game of choice.

Everything in our games can be earned without ever buying a credit and we have many top end players that never have.
That's all encouraging to hear. I've always known that, given time, one can become a top-tier player without paying a cent — if nothing else, players can pay in-game money for credits, so of course it's mechanically possible to arm oneself to the teeth with artifacts without actually buying a single credit.

But the important thing I've taken from your post is that pretty much everything except hardcore PvP is fairly readily available to any player, even if they haven't yet invested in their characters, and without the need for artifacts right away. That's a very good thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ishap View Post
Heck, let's go for 3 IRE Producers posting. :P

I'll echo what Estarra and Jeremy have said, but also throw in that it's usually acquiring skills that is "required" to be a top-tier, competitive PvPer rather than buying artifacts. Artifacts tend to boost or supplement existing skills, which is a definite bonus, but not essential to be in that top tier. Maxing out your combat skills isn't that expensive, and actually right now IRE is running a massive sale on lesson packages in all the games (here is a link to the page for Midkemia Online) to allow players to more easily do that. If you want to take a look at the lesson packages for the other games, just replace "midkemiaonline" in the URL with whichever game you want.
Well, you're not the first person (in this thread or elsewhere) to mention that loading up on artifacts isn't the be-all and end-all even for PKers, and I'm inclined to believe all of you.

About lessons, that's actually been one of my main concerns: I know you can't "max out" your character advancement in IRE games without using credits. However, it does seem like it shouldn't be too prohibitively expensive and/or time-consuming to do so eventually, with a bit of patience and smart purchasing of credits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Newworlds View Post
You had me at Suicide Boy.

Take a spin of New Worlds Ateraan and within a week or two you likely will likely drop out of Post Grad School and spend all your money on Mountain Dew so you can stay up 20 hours a day playing like the rest of the NWA junkies.
Ha! Thanks for the compliment, I guess. There's actually a weird history behind that screen name, which is why I use it, even though it conjures up images of "emo" teenagers these days.

I'm aware of New Worlds (as I am of most MUDs and MUSHs with at least 30-40 concurrent players online), but on TMS, my personal policy is not to divulge whether I'm interested or disinterested in any given game... although I suppose this thread is an exception. That's mainly because of the credit system, though (not because of the quality of the game), so don't take the fact that this thread is about IRE games to mean I've overlooked everyone else.

I appreciate the shameless plug, though, and rest assured you've not been overlooked.
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Old 03-23-2010, 11:08 PM   #9
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Re: IRE MUDs: Credit System (and/or Time Investment)

Before anyone takes valuable time out of their day to post anything else long and involved, I'd just like to say that my fears have been laid to rest regarding IRE MUDs. Responses here (and elsewhere) have convinced me that jumping into an IRE MUD isn't going to be something I'll regret — at least, not on account of the credit system.

In other words, if I end up disliking my IRE MUD of choice, I wouldn't have liked it whether I had millions of dollars to spend on credits, or zero dollars.

Thank you all for the replies, they truly were helpful. And let me once again assure owners of other MUDs that I'm aware of your existence, I promise! Just because I'm trying out IRE MUDs now, doesn't mean I won't show up at your virtual doorstep like a thief in the night next month. We all know how it is.

Happy MUDding!
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Old 03-24-2010, 12:47 AM   #10
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Re: IRE MUDs: Credit System (and/or Time Investment)

Let me just say that I crafted my post yesterday shortly after Estarra's post but had to wait until tonight to get registered so I could reply. So, here gos.

I have played Achaea for almost nine years now and I am certainly not a heavy credit purchaser. I have bought roughly 2000 credits over the course of that time on three characters and I still come back consistantly. And while I'd agree at your level of 'donations' you won't be among the top 'credit whores' as they're called but will definately hold a lifestyle above your average Achaean (or any IRE mud) player. That being said there are a number of high profile characters/players who don't purchase credits at all
The thing to understand is most artefacts, barring a few cheap exceptions, cost at least 300-500 credits for their simple version, a level one health regen ring for example, and go significantly up in price for the higher versions, anywhere from 700 credits to 2500 in some cases.
I'll assume you didn't do any research into the costs of credits, so I'll give you a brief tutorial. Credits go down in price the more you buy. So 10 credits will cost you $4.99 or 49.9 cents each, a 100 credits will cost you $39.99 or 40 cents each, and the largest standard package (larger packages are available if you talk to the admin in charge of credit purchases) of 2000 credits costs $579.99 or 29 cents per credit. Also, for a limited time (until mid April) you can purchase lessons for learning your skills at a greatly discounted rate compared to buying credits (which can be converted into lessons). This is a definite bonus for new players as getting your skills up is a much more important and cheaper hurdle than getting artefacts.
Now, for everything except artefacts 100 credits a month is a very reasonable stipend and most players aren't so lucky. You will never want for the basics of playing and it will be the luxuries that will likely be your goals in the financial arena. However, if it's feasible I'd recommend adopting a save and splurge strategy. IRE holds credit sales where anywhere from 10-25% bonuses on credits purchased are implemented (usually once around Christmas and again sometime mid-year) as well as other types of sales and bonuses from time to time. By saving your $40 a month for six months you could get 870 credits at a sale instead of 600 over the individual months for $231 instead of the $240 the 600 would cost you.
As for time donation 20 hours a week is extremely reasonable and while you certainly will see may others who spend more time (I average about 30 hours a week) you will see a good number of people who play much less.
All in all I'd be glad to help you learn the ins and outs of the game and answer any further questions you may have. In short, your willingness to spend a reasonable amount of money will go a long way towards your ability to play effectively, but remember, skill cannot be bought it must be learned and earned.

Your friendly neighbourhood,
Akacro
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