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Old 07-18-2003, 08:52 PM   #21
malaclypse
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Originally Posted by (the_logos @ July 18 2003,17:37)
Actually, differentiation should be about whatever is appropriate to the genre, game, and target audience.  To many, if not most, players of muds, a race is a collection of stats and possibly a graphic and that's about it. Go watch how most people talk about their races on Everquest for instance, if they even bother acknowledging they even HAVE a race.
--matt
Its not my intention to start a debate about what defines a mud, but I would say that most people who frequent these forums use it to refer to text based muds specifically, as opposed to the 3d graphics games pitched at mass audiences.

In terms of the average text-based mud player, I tend to think they do care about more than a pair of stats. Many use it for cues about how to act, and how to imagine their characters.

To chime in on the other questions, my personal preference is for a range of 5-10 races. In those, I would suggest making about half of them familiar, and about half of them original and weird to accomodate a range of tastes.

Ryan
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Old 07-19-2003, 08:20 AM   #22
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erdos wrote:
I pretty much gave up coding when I realized that it was embarrassing and dorky to show my real life friends "what i did" as a hobby.
Well, not everyone has what it takes to produce a quality mud. Looking at the majority of muds out there, I can understand why many people would be embarrassed to show their work to others.

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The innovative people in this field have all moved on to MMORPGs
Actually I've seen far more innovation in text muds than I have in graphical ones.

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the_logos wrote:
Actually, differentiation should be about whatever is appropriate to the genre, game, and target audience.
Yes, but it should still be about more than just stats.

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To many, if not most, players of muds, a race is a collection of stats and possibly a graphic and that's about it.
Well I never claimed that everyone did a good job of differentiating between races!

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Go watch how most people talk about their races on Everquest for instance, if they even bother acknowledging they even HAVE a race.
Then obviously they've done a poor job of differentation.
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Old 07-19-2003, 11:15 AM   #23
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I would guess that the reason for this phenomenon on EQ has less to do with proper differentiation of races than the general lack of RP in the game. If somehow a fully worked out race with loads of background and unique features happened to make its way into the game, everyone would probably treat it pretty much like they treat all the other races. They wouldn't CARE if it came from another planet or lived in caves and ate slugs or something, they'd just go ok whatever, when can I kill stuff?
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Old 07-19-2003, 12:37 PM   #24
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I would guess that the reason for this phenomenon on EQ has less to do with proper differentiation of races than the general lack of RP in the game.
In a non-RP mud you'd most likely want to focus more on the mechanics and less on things like background history - but even so, well-implemented races should be about much more than just stats. Like all mud features, races can be well implemented, or poorly implemented. The popularity of a mud is never based purely on the quality of a single feature, however.
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Old 07-19-2003, 12:53 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ July 19 2003,08:20)
Then obviously they've done a poor job of differentation.
Actually, I've never seen a text mud w here I was immediately hit with the differences between races more than in a graphical mud. If I walk up to you in SW:G and you're a wookie, man, do I know it. You're big, you're hairy, and you can't be missed.

On the other hand, why do more than that for the most part? Roleplayers are a fairly insigifnicat part of muds as a whole and the big games are going after the lowest common denominator. Phat L3wt anyone?

--matt
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Old 07-19-2003, 01:16 PM   #26
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Actually, I've never seen a text mud w here I was immediately hit with the differences between races more than in a graphical mud. If I walk up to you in SW:G and you're a wookie, man, do I know it. You're big, you're hairy, and you can't be missed.
The same could be said about the descriptions of players in a text-based mud. The difference is really due to the medium.

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On the other hand, why do more than that for the most part?
Because diversity is what makes one mud stand out from the masses of stock.
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Old 07-19-2003, 01:58 PM   #27
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The same could be said about the descriptions of players in a text-based mud. The difference is really due to the medium.
Not really. The impact isn't the same nor is it as immediate in text. Same reason why pornographic pictures are regulated far more strongly than pornographic writing is.



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Because diversity is what makes one mud stand out from the masses of stock.
But you just said that Everquest and company are not doing a good job of diversifying their races. Yet they stand out quite well.
--matt
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Old 07-19-2003, 03:59 PM   #28
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The impact isn't the same nor is it as immediate in text.
As I said, the difference is due to the medium. It's like the age-old analogy of TV vs books - both appeal to different audiences in different ways.

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But you just said that Everquest and company are not doing a good job of diversifying their races. Yet they stand out quite well.
I also said "The popularity of a mud is never based purely on the quality of a single feature, however".
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Old 07-19-2003, 04:25 PM   #29
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There is a good reason why graphics based systems don't innovate much. Atually, two. The first involves graphics design. Even the new game that lets you DM a campaign for AD&D is limited to 'its' graphics, 'its' colors and 'its' skeleton designs for mobs. Until a more proctical and universal means to do these things, that doesn't require hundreds of hours of development to impliment, becomes available, you are not going to see someone making an online game with 10000 types of monsters and 60 unique player races. The other issue is how much the players machine can/must store to make it work and how to get it to them. Add-on packs are nice, but you end up paying extra from them and then they can't and won't extend things in the game in quite the way that you can in a text system. Though a text based game is also limited in what is possible by its mechanics (like trying to do real time room description changes, without coding 90 different versions to show depending on situation). There are serious weaknesses in both types which will only disappear when the graphical versions support the level of customization needed to match what a text based game can do. Maybe when Internet 2 is finally available and you can download the needed patches as needed in a few milliseconds, but not now. lol

But I have to agree with comment made here about races. Ages of Despair has around 32. They where never well balanced, with a few being at the top of the food chain and over used, while other are rarely used at all and literally at the bottom of the food chain. Only a hand full have special abilities, and a few of those are useless since they only give a bonus to certain skills (and then only if 'in' that guild). The admin are last I heard doing a complete reworking of the system and I would not be surprised to find 1/4 to 1/2 of them removed completely. The rest it seems are going to get unique abilities added to them. However, such takes time...

One thing for certain, you have to make sure to consider such things and make them each unique from the start. It is probably far less complex than fixing other things more closely tied to complex game mechanics, but still a royal pain in the rear to have to go back and redo if you goof.
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Old 07-19-2003, 06:10 PM   #30
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There is a good reason why graphics based systems don't innovate much.
The large graphical games are innovative, just not in gameplay.  They have been very innovative when it comes to the online game business model and many of the technical aspects of handling such a large number of players.

Why have they not been as innovative in the gameplay department?  Why should they?  The EQ layout generates tremendous revenue and players often fight tooth and nail against major changes,  as long as people are happy to pay the monthly fee to play a retread of the same game then why should they innovate?  Each new game will slowly add features that have been present in the text-based industry for years and allow players to adapt to the new game model but until they see a mechanic that is proven to be a success, why should they risk millions of dollars?
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Old 07-20-2003, 01:58 PM   #31
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The large graphical games are innovative, just not in gameplay. They have been very innovative when it comes to the online game business model and many of the technical aspects of handling such a large number of players.
Innovative in business model? I don't see how, at least in the West. A subscription fee is not innovative. Not to blow my own horn, but our business model is considered far more innovative than the subscription models. And even though Simutronics' has a subscription fee, I'd consider all its addons quite innovative as well: Paying for quests, paying for character portraits, etc. Of course, with the # of players the big games have, they don't really need to innovate with their business model. They're raking it in already.

Having said that, there are numerous games in the East with different business models, ranging from site licenses for net cafes to a couple Korean games that that looked at our business model and decided to use it, etc.

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Why have they not been as innovative in the gameplay department? Why should they? The EQ layout generates tremendous revenue and players often fight tooth and nail against major changes, as long as people are happy to pay the monthly fee to play a retread of the same game then why should they innovate? Each new game will slowly add features that have been present in the text-based industry for years and allow players to adapt to the new game model but until they see a mechanic that is proven to be a success, why should they risk millions of dollars?
I don't think anyone is suggesting they should take greater risks. I know from first-hand experience that publishers and investors are concerned, more than anything else, with reducing risk. On the other hand, that really only applies to AAA titles. Smaller graphical muds, like A Tale In The Desert, do innovate and take risks in ways that are not financial.

--matt
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Old 07-20-2003, 06:46 PM   #32
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Innovative in business model? I don't see how, at least in the West. A subscription fee is not innovative. Not to blow my own horn, but our business model is considered far more innovative than the subscription models. And even though Simutronics' has a subscription fee, I'd consider all its addons quite innovative as well: Paying for quests, paying for character portraits, etc.
You are selling the business model of the MMOG short I think.  A $50 price tag to install the game is a #### good hook to get people to stay past that initial "free" trial period.  If money is already commited to the game it seems players will give a game a much more thorough look than iif they were playing it out of curiosity*.  Along with player guides, expansion packs and now "booster" packs these games find plenty of ways to keep the interest of the player while growing the profit margin.
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I don't think anyone is suggesting they should take greater risks. I know from first-hand experience that publishers and investors are concerned, more than anything else, with reducing risk. On the other hand, that really only applies to AAA titles. Smaller graphical muds, like A Tale In The Desert, do innovate and take risks in ways that are not financial.
I as well was not suggesting what companies should do with their money, as I said if players continue to pay for retreads then more power to SOE and others.  What my statement was refering to was idea that the lack of innovatition was due to the graphical nature of the games, the amount of programming  time and computing power needed to innovate.   IMO that is, if not completely false, then extremely misleading.  ATITD is decent evidence of that.

*This of course is logic conclusion on my part. I would actually be very interested to see any type of study that compared the number of EQ game units sold and the number of accounts and compare that with the number of free trials a game such as Gemstone III gave out compared to the number of paying accounts they have. I would wager to guess the EQ percentage is a good deal higher.
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Old 07-20-2003, 08:16 PM   #33
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You are selling the business model of the MMOG short I think. A $50 price tag to install the game is a #### good hook to get people to stay past that initial "free" trial period. If money is already commited to the game it seems players will give a game a much more thorough look than iif they were playing it out of curiosity*. Along with player guides, expansion packs and now "booster" packs these games find plenty of ways to keep the interest of the player while growing the profit margin.
The $50 price tag to purchase the game serves the same purpose as a big download does (Note that you can download the earlier Everquest stuff for free now I believe): It pre-qualifies the customer as someone willing to jump through a hoop in order to play your game. A box is arguably better, of course, as it indicates a willingness to pay for the game as well. I agree they are branching out a bit more, but the only high-profile Western mud that has done much interesting business-model-wise was Project Entropia, which had the misfortune to be developed by people who are either incredibly naive about their model or who are smoking so much crack they can't tell the difference between "risky' and 'stupid.'

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This of course is logic conclusion on my part. I would actually be very interested to see any type of study that compared the number of EQ game units sold and the number of accounts and compare that with the number of free trials a game such as Gemstone III gave out compared to the number of paying accounts they have. I would wager to guess the EQ percentage is a good deal higher.
That comparison alone wouldn't tell us all that much. EQ has been around for less time, and since people who do subscribe eventually stop subscribing, Gemstone's ratio of existing paying players to total free trialers will be MUCH lower. They've also, I believe, suffered a significant net loss in players over the last 5-7 years which would distort the figures more.

If you were just looking at the conversion aspect of the two business models, you'd want to compare the ratio of people who purchased EQ or tried free Gemstone trial vs the # of those people who subscribed for at least one month.

In any case, it's pretty tough to meaningfully compare those as there are so many different factors at work. Text is an inherently unfriendly medium to newbies, for one, as compared to graphics, so there's that additional hoop for people to jump over.

--matt
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Old 07-20-2003, 08:36 PM   #34
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That comparison alone wouldn't tell us all that much. EQ has been around for less time, and since people who do subscribe eventually stop subscribing, Gemstone's ratio of existing paying players to total free trialers will be MUCH lower. They've also, I believe, suffered a significant net loss in players over the last 5-7 years which would distort the figures more.
Yes, my statement should have said "comparing the percentage of new accounts generated from the Gemstone-style free trail vs the new accounts generated from buying the in-store EQ game box."  And you are right about the differing factors of the mediums, and since you brought up that the older EQ version may be freely downloaded what would serve as a feasible comparison is the percentage of people who sign up after downloading the game for free and those who sign up after purchasing the game.
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Old 07-20-2003, 09:39 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by (Tavish @ July 20 2003,20:36)
Yes, my statement should have said "comparing the percentage of new accounts generated from the Gemstone-style free trail vs the new accounts generated from buying the in-store EQ game box." And you are right about the differing factors of the mediums, and since you brought up that the older EQ version may be freely downloaded what would serve as a feasible comparison is the percentage of people who sign up after downloading the game for free and those who sign up after purchasing the game.
Well, the problem with measuring based purely on downloads is that what you're most likely measuring is the subset of players who have high-speed connections (a minority). That download is large enough to provide a significant barrier to entry, same as purchasing the box does.
--matt
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Old 08-10-2003, 04:45 PM   #36
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The main reason these differences between MUDs and MMOGs is that they're targeted towards escaping life in different ways. While the average player of a MUD, say, Achaea, escapes life by running another, hopefully better, life, the average player of a game like Planetside or Everquest escapes life by blasting monsters or opposing grunts, grabbing treasure, and blasting more monsters for more treasure. While there is some of the other in each, MMOGs focus on bashing, and MUDs generally focus on roleplay or world. This doesn't mean that there are no basher MUDs or more relaxed MMOGs, though.
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Old 08-10-2003, 05:09 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by (Ebony @ Aug. 10 2003,16:45)
The main reason these differences between MUDs and MMOGs is that they're targeted towards escaping life in different ways.  While the average player of a MUD, say, Achaea, escapes life by running another, hopefully better, life, the average player of a game like Planetside or Everquest escapes life by blasting monsters or opposing grunts, grabbing treasure, and blasting more monsters for more treasure.  While there is some of the other in each, MMOGs focus on bashing, and MUDs generally focus on roleplay or world.  This doesn't mean that there are no basher MUDs or more relaxed MMOGs, though.
I would probably disagree with this. DIKU seems to be the most popular codebase in text muds and Everquest, for instance, is little more than a DIKU with graphics. Most mud players do a LOT of monster-bashing/phat-lewt collecting.

--matt
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Old 08-11-2003, 12:37 PM   #38
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It should be worth noting that in the areas of bashing and hoarding, graphics have a huge edge over text, and so if text MUDs are to remain a viable medium, I think they're going to have to start adapting to meet higher standards of gameplay. Or to put it a bit less biased: They're going to have to cater to different playing styles.

Fortunately, we in the text world can easily stay years ahead of the graphics guys cos of our development differences.

-Ryan
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Old 08-12-2003, 02:47 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Aug. 10 2003,17<!--emo&[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img])]DIKU seems to be the most popular codebase in text muds and Everquest, for instance, is little more than a DIKU with graphics. Most mud players do a LOT of monster-bashing/phat-lewt collecting.

--matt
     MUDs that focus on bashing and treasure hunting aren't much more then the poor man's Everquest.  The strengths of MUDs over MMOGs (apart from the *substantially* reduced price) are things that would be almost impossible in MMOGs, like emotes, and things that are much simpler in MUDs, such as politics (not that they're ever simple), family, and romance.
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Old 08-12-2003, 03:14 PM   #40
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wow... haven't we ever gotten off topic, or what! It began with a question about races within muds, and now it's a full blown discussion about MMORPGs vs. Muds. I just thought i'd point this out, since no one else seems to be paying attention to the slow move to the off-topic-ness of this thread.
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