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Old 06-02-2013, 01:36 AM   #41
Juason
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

Our players have been asking us to advertise, but the company hasn't devoted much effort to that in the last decade or so. MUDs are kind of niche and I don't think adverising has worked very well in the past (kind of like this...)

A popular thought is that if more people played, there'd be a good argument for lowering the monthly cost or going free to play (not sure if that would work). There is also a thought that a great many people have played DR and Gemstone in the past and may have forgotten about it. Perhaps advertising would bring them back?

I've calculated (not official numbers, just what I've seen over time) that over the past decade DR has had about 4% player attrition per year. While I'm sure most online games in their Prime would kill for such numbers, you want to address it before it becomes a problem.

Even without the slow decline of the player population, we've expanded the game from 3 provinces to 5, added half a dozen new cities, dozens of new hunting zones, a new Guild and more. Every race needs a homeland. Every Guild needs training halls. High level players want instances and special dungeons. In creating all this we risk spreading people too far out... so we've instead been focusing on quality over quantity.

This was a big reason why this year we overhauled almost every aspect of the game in a release we have called Dragonrealms 3.0. A new, more balanced combat system. A rewritten magic and ability system with new spells and feats for each Guild. Plenty of folks have left over the years after hitting the circle 100 level cap and finding the combat system breaks down! Now we support up to circle 200 and the imbalances are solved. The 3.0 release alone seems like a good reason to advertise.

You know, a thought just occured to me. Do any of the free MUDs prevent multi-logins? In DR it is less likely due to the cost (still occurs, though we also have people watching for abuse). But, it seems like in a free MUD you could just log in 10 accounts and, using scripts/macros, totally decimate the PvE or PvP scene?
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:59 AM   #42
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

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Originally Posted by Juason View Post

You know, a thought just occured to me. Do any of the free MUDs prevent multi-logins? In DR it is less likely due to the cost (still occurs, though we also have people watching for abuse). But, it seems like in a free MUD you could just log in 10 accounts and, using scripts/macros, totally decimate the PvE or PvP scene?
Some games prohibit it, some don't, and some limit how many accounts a person can have, without forbidding any multiplaying.

In games that prohibit it, it's just one account allowed to be logged in per IP. So unless you have two internet providers, and two computers, each one running on a different ISP, you're going to have a tough time getting away with multi-accounting. It's not too hard to figure out - that the two logins that *always* come within 5 minutes of each other, that come from 123.45.678.910 and 123.45.678.911 - are the same player logging in two accounts. It isn't likely to happen on a regular basis, which makes it stand out like a sore thumb when it -does- happen, to any staff logged in.

Sure, you could have one account that you play from work with, and another you use at home. But the two will never play at the same time, which sort of defeats the purpose you suggest (totally decimating the PvE of PvP scene).

Not to mention that skills don't all work the same way in all games. In some games, there is no levelling up, there's no artificial mob "trainer" that you have to bring your character to, in order to become more proficient at something. There's no pool of experience points, none of that. And in some games, death is permanent, there is no resurrection, so people tend to be a little more cautious when they set out to rob/raid/murder someone else - since - if it turns out they're the weaker of the two - or if it turns out their victim has a couple of hidden guards standing in wait...they don't get a second chance.

Some games make it difficult for scripting anyway. Games that have a decent AI mob system aren't really very condusive to scripting, in combat. Some people run scripts when they're crafting, but if they're caught running a script like that when they're not actually watching the game, the staff deals with it.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:10 AM   #43
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

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3) The reason why they ask for the credit card up front is because...

I have not read the whole thread yet (will now), but I have to agree this is a good idea. They don't waste their time with people who won't pay, and many will never create an account as they won't give that information and are not intending to pay.


For those of us who never got used to paying, maybe MUDs could invent some new method with outside advertisements to obtain economical gains if they are successful?
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:17 AM   #44
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

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I have not read the whole thread yet (will now), but I have to agree this is a good idea. They don't waste their time with people who won't pay, and many will never create an account as they won't give that information and are not intending to pay.


For those of us who never got used to paying, maybe MUDs could invent some new method with outside advertisements to obtain economical gains if they are successful?
Most muds are created with code that comes with it licensing restrictions. Those licensing restrictions prohibit economical gains. In other words, they are not -allowed- to charge for their games. And so they don't. And because they don't, the only gain they can get, is more people to enjoy playing the game. It strips the whole experience down to "will people enjoy this?" It means people are playing a game, because they enjoy playing it. Not because they can "get something" from it. It also means people are creating their games with ONLY the desire to see people enjoy playing it in mind. There's no desire or need to profit from it, no desire to pay rent, or hire coders.
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Old 06-02-2013, 09:45 AM   #45
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

I have gone on thinking of this, and now I don't feel good, because I link the TopMudSites page for students who may want to try a MUD. It would be a bit my responsibility if one of them tries DragonRealms, gives their bank information and gets charged with no clear idea of what happened. I hope that has not happened or would not happen, but it is not good in my situation.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:16 AM   #46
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

>>Jazuela

:nod: The scripting policies seem to be very similar to DR. Very strictly enforced with constant supervision. I suppose people can always grief if they use an IP spoofer (similar to what it looks like folks have done in the past to cheat the voting here).

I don't believe the particular skill or experience system would change things much. Gemstone is more level based with lots of numbers and calculations visible. DR is more skill based with descriptions instead of numbers. However, they both take considerable of effort to police.

If 1 adventurer is powerful, 2 are more powerful. A large advantage is to be gained just from an item mule, a healing mule, a CC mule, etc.

>>licensing restrictions

Oh! I didn't realize that - it probably is one of many factors contributing to MUDs being free. The larger ones are forced to have some in-game RL money store to offset the cost of bandwidth, database licenses and so-on. I figured folks were just rolling their own engines to avoid such hangups and reduce the chance for hacking and exploits.


>>There's no desire or need to profit from it,

The contractor model employed is heavily volunteer based and so there is little desire to profit from the game. We do it because we love it. I always tell people - the best part of developing for a MUD is the instant gratification you get after rolling out a system for players to enjoy!

>>For those of us who never got used to paying, maybe MUDs could invent some new method with outside advertisements to obtain economical gains if they are successful?

That seems to be quite difficult (not just for MUDs, but games in general). Simutronics has been working to diversify their portfolio (the MMO engine, several popular iOS games), and if those successes continue it can only mean good things for DR and Gemstone.

>> permadeath

There has been discussion towards bringing back a form of permanent death in DR. It used to be you needed favor with your god or a cleric to resurrect you. Fail, and you Walk the Starry Road. The side effect of having permadeath is a large portion of the population didn't like it, and a portion used it to create drama... so it was changed to a penalty based system. Less risk, but more consumer friendly.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:28 AM   #47
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

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Originally Posted by Alazne View Post
I have gone on thinking of this, and now I don't feel good, because I link the TopMudSites page for students who may want to try a MUD. It would be a bit my responsibility if one of them tries DragonRealms, gives their bank information and gets charged with no clear idea of what happened. I hope that has not happened or would not happen, but it is not good in my situation.
There's an agreement they have to "click" on, when submitting the credit card information, and the terms of the free trial. They know during the account application process that they will be charged after 30 days, if they don't cancel in advance. And they know that they will -continue- to be charged monthly, if they don't cancel. While I abhor the pay-to-play model and would never recommend it - I -do- know that Simutronics (the company that produces DragonRealms) is legit, and doesn't scam anyone into paying anything they didn't agree to pay in advance. And they -do- stop billing accounts once the account holder has requested cancellation.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:34 AM   #48
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

>>gives their bank information

Not specific to DR - and I am not trying to make light of your students' situation - but from a young age I learned the hard way to read the fine print

It took getting burned on a large order of computer hardware from a less-than-reputable source to teach me that lesson. I'd have been thrilled to learn such a lesson on a 15$/month MUD and not a $2500 purchase.

Online games in general seem to have their stuff together. I've played them all... and have yet to be erroneously charged or encounter hostility or deception when canceling. Now, online services are another story!

DR has an awesome billing department that you can call during normal business hours to get this stuff sorted out. Assisting in game, posting in the forums or emailing an admin are other ways to get ahold of billing when problems arise. So, I wouldn't worry too much.
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Old 06-02-2013, 10:43 AM   #49
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

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>> permadeath

There has been discussion towards bringing back a form of permanent death in DR. It used to be you needed favor with your god or a cleric to resurrect you. Fail, and you Walk the Starry Road. The side effect of having permadeath is a large portion of the population didn't like it, and a portion used it to create drama... so it was changed to a penalty based system. Less risk, but more consumer friendly.
Permadeath doesn't mean that if someone doesn't resurrect you, you're dead. It means if someone kills you, you're dead. There is no resurrection and (to use a Gemstone term) there are no "deeds." If you're dead, you're dead. You roll up a new character. This is one of the ways that permadeath games police themselves - no need to heavily monitor every player's movements. It's VERY hard to become uber powerful in permadeath games - because in order to gain that kind of skill, you have to fight a lot of critters - or people. And every time you do that, YOU risk getting killed. And - once you're dead - you're dead. There are no do-overs in permadeath games. And your character can't get resurrected to tell his pals in-game that he were just killed by so-and-so and gather a group to kill the guy.

In some of these games, the staff doesn't heavily monitor for unattended scripting, because scripting doesn't really help you or your character that much. It's nearly impossible to deal with combat against critters, because of an AI mob system. It's basically impossible to deal with combat against PCs, because you can't count on another player's responses to your actions. Basically, scripting is useful for foraging, crafting, and the wearing and removal of gear. It's not even useful for travel because you have no way of knowing when something or someone is going to get in your way (including the weather) and mess up your script. If you're scripting in an attempt to up your skills, it won't work, because skill gain has a time window. Once you reach your limit for that period of time, you won't gain anything at all until the timer resets. So you might as well not script, and RP instead. Again - in these other games, the players (and the code) police themselves, and there's no need for the staff to distrust their players enough to heavily monitor them.

In games like that, you don't *need* heavy staff monitoring. The only time the staff would monitor you for suspicious scripting, is if you make it obvious enough that another player points it out and sends in a complaint.
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Old 06-02-2013, 11:14 AM   #50
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

There are thousands of MUDs. It would be good if the businesses were listed on a different page from the rest.

Yes, Jazuela, the probabilities of it happening are very low, but it is not worth for me to risk 0.00001 that probability. And my students are not English native speakers. MUDs are already confusing enough for us without all this.


As I said at first, I personally have no problem with it at all, but thinking from my position as linking to a list of MUDs, I have to see it different.

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Old 06-02-2013, 11:55 AM   #51
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

>>Once you reach your limit for that period of time, you won't gain anything at all until the timer resets.

DR used to have mindstates and throttling mechanisms for preventing long term experience gain from scripting. We started getting enormous backlash from it, however, and eventually adjusted it.

The skill system still has blocks. Your mind state fills up and won't let any additional experience into the pool, and then you need to go do other things until it drains. But it isn't as oppressive as it once was. The goal is to get players to a position of power quickly where they can enjoy themselves, then slow things down and the grind flows into the HLC.

I suppose these games may lack some of the mechanics that would give griefers an open. Popping an explosive box trap in a room of people, for example. Chaining monsters into an adjacent hunting area and then dying, causing them to engage the person there.

Still, as a professional coder and someone who has played many of these other MUDs, I've never seen a critter AI system that couldn't be scripted with 100% accuracy if your frontend supports complex scripting. Player combat would be too difficult.

Permadeath is hardcore - and that is fine. In general I think DR tries to appeal to a less niche market in the MUD community. I personally liked permadeath being something that was possible if you didn't prepare, had a real bad run of bad luck and had nobody to help you. But investing 15 years in a character just to lose them because of LAG, a bluescreen or a game bug - yeah I wouldn't be able to stomach that!

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Old 06-02-2013, 12:22 PM   #52
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

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>>Once you reach your limit for that period of time, you won't gain anything at all until the timer resets.

DR used to have mindstates and throttling mechanisms for preventing long term experience gain from scripting. We started getting enormous backlash from it, however, and eventually adjusted it.

The skill system still has blocks. Your mind state fills up and won't let any additional experience into the pool, and then you need to go do other things until it drains. But it isn't as oppressive as it once was. The goal is to get players to a position of power quickly where they can enjoy themselves, then slow things down and the grind flows into the HLC.

I suppose these games may lack some of the mechanics that would give griefers an open. Popping an explosive box trap in a room of people, for example. Chaining monsters into an adjacent hunting area and then dying, causing them to engage the person there.

Still, as a professional coder and someone who has played many of these other MUDs, I've never seen a critter AI system that couldn't be scripted with 100% accuracy if your frontend supports complex scripting. Player combat would be too difficult.

Permadeath is hardcore - and that is fine. In general I think DR tries to appeal to a less niche market in the MUD community. I personally liked permadeath being something that was possible if you didn't prepare, had a real bad run of bad luck and had nobody to help you. But investing 15 years in a character just to lose them because of LAG, a bluescreen or a game bug - yeah I wouldn't be able to stomach that!

You wouldn't be investing 15 years in a character. You'd be investing a few days, or a few months at the most. Your character is likely to die long before you hit the 1-year mark. And those who have hit the 1-year mark have proven that they can handle that longevity with responsibility and NOT be griefers. If they hadn't proven that by then, the staff would've found a nasty somethingorother to make sure that character ceased to exist - or the rest of the playerbase would've done it so that staff wouldn't have had to. In permadeath games, characters that DO manage to live a long time, do so by NOT being griefers, and playing intelligently, and mostly - roleplaying rather than worrying about their coded skills.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:16 PM   #53
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Well sure, if it is that kind of game. I don't find those games that much fun. Reminds me of Diablo style hardcore mode. I prefer to build up my character over the months/years, get to know people and really establish myself. But that is fine, there needs to be games of all types of cater to different playstyles.
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Old 06-02-2013, 03:00 PM   #54
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

Lots of muds police multiplaying. It's easy. A mud doesn't need to be a pay-to-play mud or have full time employees watching everything to do that. Lots of muds try to police scripting, but that's a little harder. A lot of muds, even the heavily staffed ones, don't bother and instead just let people script or try to create systems where scripting just isn't that useful or valuable. Lots of muds police griefing and enforce roleplaying. That's equally easy, especially if the majority of the playerbase is on the same page. (I've actually found the roleplaying and lack of griefers better and more enforced on the non-comercial muds since comercial muds have an incentive to keep everybody around and be a lot looser about restricting behaviors.) Lots of muds try to police out of character communicaiton and trading, but that's harder (without players tattling on each other). It's silly to hint that a pay-to-play, fully staffed mud is somehow necessary or better at enforcing something as simple as multiplaying, or any other types of rules. The actions required to police each of the above (and other things) are the same regardless of whether the players pay to play, with a small difference: It's not that staff members on paid muds are better, more numerous, or more attentive. It's that in a pay to play mud, players don't want to lose the real money they've invested so they're more likely to behave.

So here's something about these forums (and forums everywhere). Forums are for discussions. If somebody posts an advertisement for a mud and says it's awesome, and someone else logs into the mud responsive to that ad and thinks the mud sucks, I would hope that the second individual replies to the thread, responding to everything the first poster said was awesome, and explaining why the mud sucks. And that the discussion continues from there. If someone checks out the mud's website and finds a lack of information or another issue or fact about the mud, that's up for discussion, too. If someone plays or used to play the mud and has something to say, that's fair game. If someone doesn't and has never played and never will, but they still have something to say, that's great, too. Welcome to the internet.

Discussing muds is what this place is all about. It's not about posting a free ad and getting a bunch of new players and income, while calling anybody who makes a counterpoint a troll, flamer, lurker, and griefer who's ruining the mud community and contributing to the downfall of the entire genere of games. If you want an ad, buy some banners on sites around the internet where potential new players might see them. If you want a discusion, post on some forums. Reading through the thread, absolutely nobody is saying, "Your mud sux because it costs money. I don't play it, never have, and don't know anything about it, but it sucks!" There's a lot of semi-intelligent commentary hidden in the cracks. Not all of it, but it's great to see a lively discussion thread versus a single-post promotion. (Plus, a thread like this is way more likely to attract attention and get people to check out your mud's website than all of the generic single-post promo threads around here.)
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Old 06-02-2013, 05:05 PM   #55
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You know.. fine, that is fair. It wasn't my intent to get defensive at the onset of this thread. Having not made the post, I just saw a lot of anger/disgust at the pay to play followed by speculation and constant negativity, and wanted to try and explain things a bit. As Jaz said, he hasn't played in 10 years.. so I felt like those assessments were out of date.

Some of the insults made here weren't even by DR players or people we know - and I wasn't intending for my replies to come off as insults. Asking someone who looks like they got a little too worked up to take a walk is just common sense...

Anyhow - it was surprising to see such hate for pay MUDs, and I've learned quite a bit during the back and forth regarding what some of the participants in this discussion like.

As for the better policing. When a MUD hits a large enough size, like 200+ players, policing does become more difficult. 200 players online might mean 1000 players throughout the week. In DR we give real-time customer support for things like lost items, unconsensted PvP (we use a profile system so people can choose not to participate in PvP if they would rather not), buggy items, spells, abilities and other mechanics. We also have a feedback system that players can go to if they experience account theft, to contest warnings and other problems.

It is entirely possible other MUDs do this well and do it for free. I've not seen it with the half-dozen I've tried over the years and so view it as something unique.

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Old 06-02-2013, 06:46 PM   #56
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

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Actually there has been quite a bit of speculation and opinion presented that is not backed up by fact in this thread. Saying that DR doesn't actually have hundreds of players, and everyone buys and sells characters all the live long day, for example. The price is a valid point for discussion and makes a lot of sense. Some of the other points, not so much.

A discussion is not digging up whatever hypothetical dirt you can for the sole purpose of posting derogatory remarks. I am not looking to change anybody's mind or convince anyone they must play DR. People already know what they like. But I will defend my work and the work of my peers against people who seem to have nothing better to do than troll the thread.

And... I think the discussion was starting to shape up, so I do not want to derail things here!!!

Policing a community of 400 is a lot harder than a community of 50. DR offers an extensive in game customer service experience that it sounds like other MUDS do not need or do not have. Bugs happen, lag happens, crashes happen, and bad choices happen. So one thing you get for your money is assistance when dealing with these things.

DR seems to need a lot more... Support at times too just because of the in game politics and extremely passionate player base. When you have 30 people who serve on the court all screaming for blood because the Baron went crazy and disbanded their positions - that takes a group effort to remedy.

Good stuff, lets just not get off track again.
1. No one has claimed that "everyone buys and sells characters all the live long day." I stated that Simu games are trading card games, because players buy and sell characters and items for real money. I didn't state that "everyone" does it, nor did I state that they do it 'all the live long day." It happens. You know it happens, everyone who's played any of those games for any significant length of time knows it happens. It has ALWAYS happened, even back in the days of GEnie, and to gloss over it and pretend it doesn't change roleplay just makes you look like you can't handle the criticism on this particular point. It -is- an issue, with people who want to roleplay in an interactive game, where your character gets to know other characters, and the *characters* (not the players for chrissakes) form friendships, relationships - ESPECIALLY when you're spending money, on a monthly basis, for the privilege of doing so. And all that buildup, that investment in your roleplay - is spit at, the moment someone sells a character. It is partly why some people left the Simu games - and it is also partly why some people stay. For the money that changes hands between players.

2. Perhaps you haven't "tried them all" as you claim you have in a previous post. Perhaps you haven't tried even a dozen, out of the HUNDREDS of muds out there, that are either free to play, or pay for perks. But there are other games with more than 50 players. In fact, there are some with several hundred players. They aren't always logged on at the same time, but they have active accounts and *none* of them are multis. These would be unique accounts, with one character per account. And their staff works just as hard as your staff does, for the same pay (which is zero). It doesn't cost YOUR game a damned thing to staff your game because your game is staffed by unpaid volunteers. And it doesn't cost the game I play a damned thing either. When you get all hyperbolic over how your game has customer experience (I mean really - who uses that term other than sales managers, anyway?) and other games don't - you insult all those other games. It doesn't do your game any favors, to present yourself in such a negative light by implying that your staff can do for no pay, what other games can do for no pay, better, just because people pay to play your game. It's ridiculous, illogical, and insulting.

Ah now it comes out - you've only tried a half dozen other games in all the years you've been mudding. So really, you are speaking about what other games can, and cannot do, out of sheer ignorance and inexperience. You're basically a mudding noob.
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Old 06-02-2013, 07:03 PM   #57
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

>>So really, you are speaking about what other games can, and cannot do, out of sheer ignorance and inexperience. You're basically a mudding noob.

Is this not insulting? I've been asking questions and giving opinions. Not stating fact. As I've said several times, part of this discussion was to further my knoweldge of what is out there.

>>Buying and selling

Well a trading card game generally involves buying and selling with high frequency. Sorry if you like your colorful language more than mine

And it came out you hadn't played in 10 years and things have gotten much better. I explained as much but didn't call you an idiot over it.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:29 PM   #58
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Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

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>>So really, you are speaking about what other games can, and cannot do, out of sheer ignorance and inexperience. You're basically a mudding noob.

Is this not insulting? I've been asking questions and giving opinions. Not stating fact. As I've said several times, part of this discussion was to further my knoweldge of what is out there.

>>Buying and selling

Well a trading card game generally involves buying and selling with high frequency. Sorry if you like your colorful language more than mine

And it came out you hadn't played in 10 years and things have gotten much better. I explained as much but didn't call you an idiot over it.
I didn't call you an idiot either. I called your comments the result of ignorance (that is to say - the lack of knowledge about something) and inexperience. I did call you a mudding noob. Which - you are, and it's not an insult, it's just a common term that veteran mudders call people who are new to mudding. Perhaps you would've felt less hurt if I spelled out newbie. But it's still a noob.
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Old 06-02-2013, 08:54 PM   #59
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Juason is on a distinguished road
Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

Oh cmon...

I never said I tried them all.

I never said other games don't provide customer service. My opinion is this game does it better (considering the size) and gave examples of how and why.

I never said there aren't other games with over 50 players. Having played one with less than 20 logged in at once for years, I understand the appeal. But as others have pointed out - the majority of MUDs have less than 50 people playing.

And if after 20+ years of MUDding and 5 years of developing I'm not at least a journeyman... the definiton of n00b around here is really screwed up

Some players here may want what DR has to offer. Myself and others have been trying to explain what that is, but several of you would rather point out why that doesn't appeal to you personally - over and over and over again. I don't want to - am not able to - can't change your mind. That should be perfectly fine! All I'm asking is for a truce.
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:23 AM   #60
Rontapazu
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Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 3
Rontapazu is on a distinguished road
Re: Join Dragonrealms today!

I really don't see how DR provides better customer service. Honestly in all the muds I've played with 100+ active players, I've never had any issue that wasn't quickly addressed by the staff. I think free muds are equally capable of providing a high level of service to players. Actually the high level of dedication I've seen from some of these people who make no money doing it is rather admirable.

Of course you aren't going to change my mind, and that isn't going to stop me from expressing my opinion. We can all(hopefully) be civil here and generate meaningful discussion. I'm sure plenty of people enjoy DR. Heck maybe I would too, but I'm not going to pay for it.
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