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Old 04-18-2011, 04:01 PM   #1
SnowTroll
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LFM

I've been playing muds for next to forever but have never quite found the ideal mud. But there are so many of them that there are probably a few gems I haven't tried yet. Here's a general list of things I think I'm looking for at this point in my mud life.

1. I want a roleplay-enforced mud, but not one of those silly RPIs where I have to take turns reading and typing out 10-line emotes that describe the way the wind toussles my hair without actually doing anything interactive. But definitely not a mud where a bunch of kids log in every day after school and do something that approximates roleplaying but doesn't quite hit the mark. I'll take long-winded RPIs over that.

2. I want a casual mud. That means I want a mud where I absolutely do not have to play every day to feel like I can be involved and important. I want to be able to play when I feel like it, not play when I don't feel like it, roleplay when I feel like it, play the mechanical game when I feel like it, and always have all of it there at my fingertips when I feel like doing any of it. If anybody has ever asked you why you've quit the game and when you're coming back when you happen to not log in for two or three days, it's not the mud for me.

3. I want a mud with a wide variety of skills and abilities. I don't really care if it's a skill-based or class-based mud. I like crafting systems, too, but can deal with a mud that doesn't offer much in the way of crafting if everything else is great. My main point here is that I want a mud where I can pick one of those rarely played classes or rarely used skills and be unique for it, find a niche, and be useful to others. That means whatever the mud offers in the way of classes and skills needs to be fairly well balanced and useful, and classes should depend on one another to some extent. I don't want to play a healer or a crafter and totally suck because combat people can get by just fine without one. And I don't want to create a mage or thief or anything else then find out that 99% of the mud is the same class I am. I like the idea of a system where whatever type of character you make, somebody who doesn't know the same skills you do is going to find it invaluable to bring you along, or ask you to do things for them.

4. I want a mud that's free. Not even a pay for perks system. I strongly believe that to truly be a roleplaying mud, nothing outside of the game can affect anything inside of the game. That includes perks. For example, the IRE model is bull. You're practically playing a trial version of the game until you pay into the system. You can't even learn all of your character class's primary skills without buying.

5. I want a mud that has a few productive things I can do when I'm not paying too much attention. Resource gathering, for example. Farming, cooking soup, spamming skills to get better at them, whatever. I'm not picky. But there are times when I'd like to be able to half-play the mud and maybe talk to people on channels if the mud has them, while positioning my character somewhere out of the way where he can get or do something useful when I'm busy in the real world.

I've tried most of the muds on the TMS list already, give or take, and odds are if you're reading this, I've tried yours, but just in case I've missed some real gems that fit this list to a T, I'd like to hit you guys up for your suggestions.
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Old 04-18-2011, 07:01 PM   #2
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Re: LFM

Just in case you haven't checked it out just yet, I'd like to throw a plug to Isles of Aedin. Isles of Aedin

It's roleplay enforced but nothing close to an RPI's I've played. Which, in your case, seems like a good thing. The Races and Lore in the game is top-notch, as it's easily the most in-depth original MUD I've ever played. All of the players I've seen are mature and fantastic at the roleplaying and don't come off as kids like in some of the MUD's I've played in.

The class system is fantastic, from what I've seen. The game is still in Beta so there's some kinks being worked out, but each class and race have their own distinct ups and downs. When it comes down to it a Rogue is used for his own talents, and definitely won't get by as a tank-like character a Warrior would. I haven't played as any of the casting classes, but from what I can tell they're all rather varied as well.

Though there is a strict no-automation rule, there are usually things you can find to do and still not be too busy in-game. PVP Is unrestricted but you won't find any players who sit around and just kill people constantly, as it's not a huge part of the game. And, it's entirely free. No pay for perks system, nothing.

Check it out if you want to, I'm enjoying it.
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Old 04-18-2011, 07:16 PM   #3
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Re: LFM

This is probably unwanted feedback (apologies in advance), but one of the realities of life is that if people devote a large portion of their time to something, they usually expect to be paid for it. I'm not trying to give a lecture here, but I do think that you should give pay-for-perks MUDs a fair shake, if you are able (admittedly, a comfortable amount of perks can be pretty pricey in this genre). It's not always just a question of the owners being "greedy," and unfortunately, giving perks in exchange for donations is one of the only ways to make money with a MUD. Even the best of us can be stingy when donating is done solely out of the goodness of our hearts.

Utterly and completely free MUDs that are also totally awesome are a bit thin on the ground, because there are server costs, bandwidth and perhaps paychecks to cover. You might look into Wheel of Time MUD; I don't know much about it myself, but I know it's RP-required and "totally free," and a fairly venerable game, too.

What you're asking for really sounds more like a MUSH than a MUD, though, except for the ten lines of flowery prose thing. But I imagine there might be a MUSH out there that would work for you.
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Old 04-18-2011, 11:16 PM   #4
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Re: LFM

People don't expect to get paid for hobbies, first of all. Most MUDs -cannot- allow people to pay, because most MUDs use codebases with licensing that forbids anyone getting paid for them. Most MUDs are free. Pay for perks doesn't indicate quality, however back during the advent of Prodigy, Compuserv, AOL, and prior to the popularity of the WWW, the bulk of games that are known as pay to play and pay for perks, were extremely popular once the online services went "unlimited." At that point, anyone who played from these portals, were able to play for free, and the game companies were paid out of the online services' membership fees.

This became a huge headache for the for-profit business gaming companies, because they couldn't accommodate the massive influx of players with limited server space. They duked it out with the online services, and some were able to contract a "premium" fee paid to them when a member chose to play those particular games.

Once the internet became common useage, these pay-to-play/perks took their business out of the online services, and were able to charge customers directly.

Many of the people who had been used to playing these games, were willing to pay to continue playing these games. But many of those people, started playing them "free" because they were included in their membership to the online services. Fast forward all these years, and *most* of the people who pay to game, are the same people who have always paid to game.

While they are popular, they are popular primarily because of the mentality you express in your post - that the only games worth playing, are worth paying for. That mentality is erroneous.

A mahogany Baldwin baby-grand piano with real ebonywood and ivory keys, won at a raffle, is free - and and a $2000 plastic-key Yamaha spinet costs $2000. I'd much rather have the Baldwin. The Yamaha is barely worth playing at all, to anyone who has an appreciation for pianos.

In short: cost does not constitute quality, and pay-to-play appeals ONLY to people who are willing to pay for something that is generally available for free, or who are convinced that free can't possibly equal quality.

Lastly, this is to the OP: RPIs don't typically allow for 10-line flowery prose; RPIs typically have 2-3-line limits and there is no waiting turns. While you might find this particular style of roleplay silly, that doesn't mean it IS silly - and it also isn't part of the RPI genre. What you are thinking of is a MUSH, or similar. RPIs are not MUSHes.

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Originally Posted by Suicide Boy View Post
This is probably unwanted feedback (apologies in advance), but one of the realities of life is that if people devote a large portion of their time to something, they usually expect to be paid for it. I'm not trying to give a lecture here, but I do think that you should give pay-for-perks MUDs a fair shake, if you are able (admittedly, a comfortable amount of perks can be pretty pricey in this genre). It's not always just a question of the owners being "greedy," and unfortunately, giving perks in exchange for donations is one of the only ways to make money with a MUD. Even the best of us can be stingy when donating is done solely out of the goodness of our hearts.

Utterly and completely free MUDs that are also totally awesome are a bit thin on the ground, because there are server costs, bandwidth and perhaps paychecks to cover. You might look into Wheel of Time MUD; I don't know much about it myself, but I know it's RP-required and "totally free," and a fairly venerable game, too.

What you're asking for really sounds more like a MUSH than a MUD, though, except for the ten lines of flowery prose thing. But I imagine there might be a MUSH out there that would work for you.
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:21 AM   #5
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Re: LFM

I assure you I don't need a lecture explaining that completely free MUDs can be of high quality. I am well aware of that fact. However, it is equally true that people are generally willing and able to expend a lot more time and energy on a project if they're being paid to do so. This statement absolutely stands on its own merits, is reinforced by mountains of empirical evidence, and I don't think I need to explain it any further; everyone's gotta eat. In the case of MUDs, revenue also gives the owner(s) incentive to continue attracting new players, to keep things as fair as possible, and to make continual improvements. That doesn't mean the people who run free MUDs don't do these things, I hasten to add -- but revenue is an additional and significant incentive to do them.

Related to that last, the reason people play commercial MUDs so much more nowadays is most likely because the companies that own them devote more time and effort to advertising them and increasing their visibility, and also (minor side note) to making them newbie-friendly. Like it or not, that's an important aspect of attracting new blood to electronic games. I don't think it's because of my terrible-evil mindset that "free MUDs suck" (that's not what I think, although I see that it basically came out that way), or at least not primarily because of said mindset.

I realize that you're standing up for free MUDs against an apparent insult on my part, and in retrospect, my choice of words was probably poor. However, I feel it's also insulting to criticize pay-for-perks MUDs with the implication that they're just money-grubbing enterprises, or to insult the people who play them by implying that they only do so because they think "the free ones suck." What I'm saying here is that respect and understanding have to go both ways.

I'm a player, myself, and never have been (nor want to be) a wizard, coder, owner, admin, or developer. It would certainly be easier on my wallet if every MUD I decided to play were completely free. Unfortunately, that's not the case, but I try to be understanding when it comes to pay-for-perks business models.

One aspect of MU*ing that matters to me personally is player population. It doesn't have to be huge (30-50 average online will do), but ~15 players online at any given time is pretty much what I'd consider a ghost town. The vast majority of completely free MUDs tend to have such tiny populations, or certainly well under 30-50, which is why I tend to disregard them. I know that's unfair and isn't helping matters any, but I only play RP-required games, and I desire a diverse group of people online at any given time so that the world feels more alive.

That's something most obscure MU*s can't help these days, and it frustrates me. There are intriguing free MUDs I'd like to play, but just can't get into because they're ghost towns now, or perhaps always were. And anything that's not RP-required (or at least strongly encouraged) is right out for me. I'm just explaining my personal preferences to perhaps give you an idea of my mindset regarding these matters.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:04 AM   #6
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Re: LFM

I accidentally double-posted my LFM post anyway, so I don't mind if one of the two threads devolves into the merits of pay for perk muds. Here's my take on the whole thing, and why I don't want to play a pay for perk mud: I totally get that it costs money to run and host a mud. I have nothing against a mud owner taking donations, publicly praising and listing donors, or offering all kinds of fun tidbits outside of the game. But I believe it totally wrecks a roleplaying world when completely out of character things (like someone in the real world paying money) tangibly affect the game world (by making in game perks appear). The issue for me isn't really about whether mud owners should accept money or whether they deserve it. It's more that I'm something of an RP purist.

Anyway, maybe I've been on the wrong RPIs, and 10 lines was a bit of an exaggeration, but quite a few muds expect a room full of people to take turns, round robin style, typing in 3-4 line emotes. Half the people there aren't even participating in the conversation and just emote staring at a fireplace or something while they listen. I don't mind long emotes if people actually have something to say and do, but most of the time, that much text is 90% fluff, with only a small portion of it actually telling me what another character is saying and doing. Descriptive text has a place, but I hate wasting 5 full minutes of my life waiting for someone else to type it, so that our roleplayed conversation can advance one sentence.

I definitely don't want a mush. When there's nobody around to roleplay with, or I'm too busy to roleplay, I want to be able to walk to a remote area somewhere and kill things, go up levels, gather resources, craft something, spam skills, or whatever makes the mud go 'round. And when there is someone to roleplay with, I want my character to have tangible coded skills that another person might want to benefit from, buy from me, or have with them when they go out to kill things themselves.

I've poked around Isles of Aedin a little bit. There are some things I really like, and some things I don't, but it's a pretty cool system. Aedin's big claim to fame that seems to set it apart from most of the other muds out there is it's skill-based system. There's aren't any levels or experience points. You just use a skill if you want to get better at it. It was fun at first, but once I started needing lots and lots of skill use to get better at anything, it turned into real work to advance. And with this particular skill system, it doesn't seem to matter what I do or where I go. I can practice all of my skills in the newbie town. Unless there are some really good mob drop items out there, or until I really have to start farming money, there's not much incentive to explore or interact with others, except to break up the monotony of spamming skills. But the players definitely roleplay, and it's casual enough about the whole thing that you don't have to be there 20 hours a day for fear of missing out.

Last edited by SnowTroll : 04-19-2011 at 12:14 PM.
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:31 PM   #7
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Re: LFM

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Originally Posted by Suicide Boy View Post
The vast majority of completely free MUDs tend to have such tiny populations, or certainly well under 30-50, which is why I tend to disregard them.
The vast majority of muds have very few players. If it's primarily playerbase you're interested in, I'd suggest using MudStats to filter your searches. The really big muds (average playerbase of 250+ - defined by TMS as the top size category) are all either free or pay-to-play.

Of course even those would be considered "tiny" compared to the graphical muds. It's all relative.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:17 AM   #8
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Re: LFM

Not exactly what you're looking for, but I'm curious if you've tried Unwritten Legends.
It's in the 27 slot right now.

If you have, what were your thoughts?
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:28 AM   #9
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Re: LFM

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The vast majority of muds have very few players. If it's primarily playerbase you're interested in, I'd suggest using MudStats to filter your searches. The really big muds (average playerbase of 250+ - defined by TMS as the top size category) are all either free or pay-to-play.

Of course even those would be considered "tiny" compared to the graphical muds. It's all relative.
Yeah, I've been using MUDstats for years, and I'm at least passingly familiar with the top 100 or so -- as well as many that don't seem to be listed for technical reasons, such as the Skotos games (Castle Marrack/The Eternal City).

The biggest MUDs in terms of population are the adult entertainment MUDs, Simutronics MUDs, and Iron Realms MUDs (primarily Achaea). Aside from those markedly commercial MUDs, you have Aardworlf, New Worlds, Discworld, Realms of Despair (although their high population is in fact due to the legality of multiplaying), and a few others. Then there are a whole bunch of MUDs and MUSHes that have anywhere from ~30 to ~80 people online, at a rough average: Threshold (which I'm currently playing), The Eternal City, Federation II, Materia Magica, and so on.

So I'm intimately familiar with what the "normal" population of various MUDs tends to be. Once you get past the top 50 or so by population (including MUDs not listed but that I know about), generally the average number of people online is well below 30. By the time you get past the top 100, you're looking at true ghost towns.

I have nothing against MUDs with small populations, but they're just not for me. It saddens me that their populations are so low, I know it's not their fault, and I wish things were different. Now, MUSHes with very small populations might work for me, since four people can basically have a tabletop-style role-playing session within the MUSH. But in a MUD-style game with hard-coded stats and such, that's just too few people for my taste. I need to have friends, enemies, and even a few strangers, you know? If everyone knows everyone, it's a very different experience.
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:20 AM   #10
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Re: LFM

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The biggest MUDs in terms of population are the adult entertainment MUDs, Simutronics
MUDs, and Iron Realms MUDs (primarily Achaea).
Aardwolf (which doesn't allow multiplaying) has nearly the same population as the four listed IRE muds combined, while Tapestries and Shangrila each have nearly twice the population of Aardwolf. So as I said, "big" is a relative term. Actually it's similar to Raph Koster's observations about MMO long tails.

You disregard muds that have fewer than 30-50 players. You also play IRE muds, the smallest of which has an average of around 50 players.

Likewise an Aardwolf player might disregard muds that have fewer than 200-300 players, while a Tapestries or Shangrila player might disregard any game with fewer than 500, and a RuneScape player would view even those two games as tiny.

But to go back to Raph Koster's article, there's an interesting comment he made at the end: "This all suggests that the real promise of user-created worlds may be less in the popularity or quality of individual worlds, and more in the fact that they unlock the variety that market pressures often work to prevent. We may need user content simply because itíll be different from what we old-school folks would make ó and the mere presence of difference means that our titles will also be more popular."
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Old 04-21-2011, 05:53 AM   #11
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Re: LFM

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Aardwolf (which doesn't allow multiplaying) has nearly the same population as the four listed IRE muds combined, while Tapestries and Shangrila each have nearly twice the population of Aardwolf. So as I said, "big" is a relative term. Actually it's similar to Raph Koster's observations about MMO long tails.

You disregard muds that have fewer than 30-50 players. You also play IRE muds, the smallest of which has an average of around 50 players.

Likewise an Aardwolf player might disregard muds that have fewer than 200-300 players, while a Tapestries or Shangrila player might disregard any game with fewer than 500, and a RuneScape player would view even those two games as tiny.

But to go back to Raph Koster's article, there's an interesting comment he made at the end: "This all suggests that the real promise of user-created worlds may be less in the popularity or quality of individual worlds, and more in the fact that they unlock the variety that market pressures often work to prevent. We may need user content simply because itíll be different from what we old-school folks would make ó and the mere presence of difference means that our titles will also be more popular."
As always, KaVir speaks the word.

Some of my best experiences have been on games with between 6-8 chars on at a time. Now, that isn't to say that I would much prefer said games to have 30-40 on at a time, but I understand that as the playerbase shrinks, so do the audiences for a particular type of game.

Given that I've seen the populations on my various 'home base' games drop exponentially over the years, I've learned to expect quality over quantity. There -will- be a tradeoff, trust me. It's just a matter of what point you're willing to let that tradeoff exist at.
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Old 04-21-2011, 06:25 AM   #12
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Re: LFM

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Aardwolf (which doesn't allow multiplaying) has nearly the same population as the four listed IRE muds combined....
I only meant that Realms of Despair allows multiplaying; I wasn't applying that qualifier to any of the other MUDs mentioned in the same sentence. I realize that Aardwolf is one of the largest MUDs out there. I didn't list those MUDs in exactly the order of their average population -- I gave the IRE MUDs a position of especial prominence because I feel that, as a whole, they have a larger presence in the MUDding community than does Aardwolf. I was aiming for a general overview, not exact statistics for each game.

I've been over that list many times. I'm fairly sure we both know what's on it. You seem to be trying to prove a point to me, but what? I know what the "normal population" is like at every tier of the "top 100" (which, again, includes some muds not even listed on MUDstats).


Quote:
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But to go back to Raph Koster's article, there's an interesting comment he made at the end: "This all suggests that the real promise of user-created worlds may be less in the popularity or quality of individual worlds, and more in the fact that they unlock the variety that market pressures often work to prevent. We may need user content simply because it’ll be different from what we old-school folks would make — and the mere presence of difference means that our titles will also be more popular."
I agree with Ralph's sentiments, and I agree with you as well. Is there a point of contention here? It feels like I'm arguing about something, but I'm really not sure what.

I think I should stress that my preference for MUDs with fairly high populations doesn't mean I dislike MUDs with smaller populations. When I said "disregard" earlier, I feel as though some folks thought I was saying, "They don't matter." What I meant is that I tend to overlook them personally, not on purpose or because I think they don't matter or aren't worthwhile. It's a habit of mine (a fault, if you will) that colors the things I say about MUDs in general.

As for their "right to exist," I'm all for MUDs with tiny populations, believe me. I just don't feel I can have as much fun playing them personally. I'll tell you what, though: I'll go try a few very small ones (seriously, not flippantly) in order to get some additional experience with them.
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:28 AM   #13
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Re: LFM

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I've been over that list many times. I'm fairly sure we both know what's on it. You seem to be trying to prove a point to me, but what?'
Two points, both in relation to your comment I quoted in my original post:

"The vast majority of completely free MUDs tend to have such tiny populations, or certainly well under 30-50, which is why I tend to disregard them."

1) Most muds are completely free, and most muds have very few players, but those two facts are unrelated. If your primary interest is number of players, then you should use different criteria, otherwise your search for big muds will actually ignore the biggest muds.

2) To quote Bartle, "In general, players view all their subsequent virtual worlds in the light cast from their first one". What is the difference between a "huge" population and a "tiny" population? The answer of course depends on which player you ask, and is relative to their usual mud; "huge" generally means more than they're used to, while "tiny" means fewer, and both extremes tend to be considered undesirable.

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I think I should stress that my preference for MUDs with fairly high populations doesn't mean I dislike MUDs with smaller populations. When I said "disregard" earlier, I feel as though some folks thought I was saying, "They don't matter." What I meant is that I tend to overlook them personally, not on purpose or because I think they don't matter or aren't worthwhile. It's a habit of mine (a fault, if you will) that colors the things I say about MUDs in general.
Of course, everyone does it. My point is just that size is relative, depending on what you're used to - what one player views as "tiny" another may consider "huge". The biggest muds on MudStats peak at 800-900 simultaneous players; would you enjoy playing your regular mud with that many simultaneous users, or would you find it too crowded?
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Old 04-21-2011, 08:42 AM   #14
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Re: LFM

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Aardwolf (which doesn't allow multiplaying) has nearly the same population as the four listed IRE muds combined, while Tapestries and Shangrila each have nearly twice the population of Aardwolf.
Something is not quite right about the day/night flux of Aardwolf.

Aardwolf goes from a low of 270 to a high of 380, while Batmud goes from a low of 110 to a high of 230. Tapestries MUCK goes from a low of 300 to a high of 800.

Assuming Aardwolf's statistics are due to idling the active playerbase might be smaller than BatMUD's, though that doesn't fully explain the difference in TMS ranking, which could be explained by automatic voting by casual idling players. If that was the case you'd see a difference on a voting site that uses a captcha, like TMC, and it does.

So to figure out the number of active players you'd want to subtract the low from the high.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:50 AM   #15
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Re: LFM

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Not exactly what you're looking for, but I'm curious if you've tried Unwritten Legends.
It's in the 27 slot right now.

If you have, what were your thoughts?
Unwritten Legends is in late-stage gamma testing, or something like that. I couldn't log in without filling out a tester application. It looks good on the web site, but I don't have time to fill out paperwork asking for permission to play someone's game.
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Old 04-21-2011, 04:15 PM   #16
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Re: LFM

FYI - Unwritten Legends has been in testing since 1997. They once claimed that they wouldn't open up "gold" until they were sure everything was finished. Of course as any mud player knows, no game worth playing, is ever "finished." It is always changing, always improving, and regardless of the codebase itself, game play is dynamic. There is no "end" to a mud.

They can't verify anything on that application, except perhaps a link-back requirement to activate an account from your e-mail address. Which would only verify your e-mail address, and not even verify that it's the primary one that they're asking for. They have no way of verifying that you're 18 years old or older, or enforcing that rule.

So basically, just have a valid e-mail address and make up the rest, fill it in however you like. If it looks like a reasonable legit app, they'll approve it. They've approved a few of mine in several of their testing phases and I've made up all of them.

Personally, I wouldn't make any serious attempt to play a game where the developers truly and sincerely believe that testing should take 14 years, and continue until the game is "finished." They're as serious with "finishing" their game as they expect me to be serious with playing it.
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:16 AM   #17
SnowTroll
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 183
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Re: LFM

I'm in my 30s. I'm not worried about the staff of Unwritten Legends knowing anything about me. I'm just busy. It's a real pain in the ass filling out an online form, then waiting for a reply and approval before I can log into a mud and make a character. If a mud wants more players, it should make playing the game easy. I shouldn't feel like I have to ask permission to log in, provide identifing information (true or not), and wait for approval.
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