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Old 03-15-2006, 02:07 PM   #1
darmir
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I have been thinking about this as of late and was wondering what everyone thought of the postives and negatives of having an account system.
And what why would you store your data?
I was thinking of storing the data in XML files.
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Old 03-15-2006, 02:32 PM   #2
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We've discussed an account-based system at Carrion Fields in the past, but always discarded the idea. I assume you mean having people set up one permanant account, under which they create characters and the like so everything is kept track of in one place?

For starters, we want it to be easy to come and play - adding another step (creating an account) detracts from that. Also, I assume the point would be to keep track of the actual player behind each character, but I don't see that it would be any easier to prevent fraudulent accounts then it would be to prevent fraudulent characters.

In short, there wouldn't be any gain, but it would make it harder for people to play the game when they feel like checking it out. It's one of the same reasons we don't collect email addresses. Of course, this is all from a free MUD model. If you're using a pay-to-play or pay-for-perks model, it might be completely different.
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Old 03-15-2006, 02:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (darmir @ Mar. 15 2006,15:07)
I have been thinking about this as of late and was wondering what everyone thought of the postives and negatives of having an account system.
And what why would you store your data?
I was thinking of storing the data in XML files.
There are no real negatives that I can think of if you allow people to associate a character with an account after creation and after they've been playing for a little while. As Aarn says, however, creating an account before you start playing represents a barrier to entry.

--matt
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Old 03-15-2006, 04:19 PM   #4
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MUDs with account systems have always seemed more "professional" to me. Though it's something I appreciate on commercial MUDs not so much the free to play ones. Commercial MUDs eliminate the barrier that has been spoken of earlier, because pay to play is a barrier in itself.

I can see it being easier to adminstrate, but more difficult to play and enjoy.
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Old 03-15-2006, 06:12 PM   #5
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misposted to wrong site, sorry (this is why people shouldn't cross post to multiple sites )
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Old 04-10-2006, 09:39 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Aarn @ Mar. 15 2006,15:32)
For starters, we want it to be easy to come and play - adding another step (creating an account) detracts from that.
Exactly. Most mudders can't handle figuring out something as technical as an account system.
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:44 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (spilinek @ April 10 2006,10:39)
Exactly. Most mudders can't handle figuring out something as technical as an account system.
I assume you're trolling, but it has nothing to do with complexity. It has to do with the player being willing to invest time into a product they haven't seen yet. The aversion is to the possibility of spending 15-20 minutes registering for a game they know they don't like after 5 minutes of play.

Account system or not, I think it's wise to have at least some form of 'guest' access where someone can pop in and start playing immediately. If you're worried about abuse, this mode can effectively be 'single player' by restricting their access to communication, especially mass communication.
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Old 04-10-2006, 08:43 PM   #8
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In the rewrite of DoN that I am slowly working on, I have added an account system. It takes one more command for a new player to be fully started playing before (Taking it from 7 to 8), which is hardly a time investment, and exactly the same number of steps as before until they get to the point where newbie helpers can assist them, with the added bonus that as a new account, newbie helpers can be more reliably informed that it is a new player who will need special attention.
On the plus side for the player, they can easily check on (limited) details of their other characters, while playing another - since they are associated through an account. People are less likely to forget about their characters and have them purge if they are presented a character choice list on startup.
Players will be given the option of adding details to their account at a later date, but there will be no requirement to register email addresses and the like up front.
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Old 04-10-2006, 10:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ April 10 2006,13:44)
I assume you're trolling, but it has nothing to do with complexity. It has to do with the player being willing to invest time into a product they haven't seen yet. The aversion is to the possibility of spending 15-20 minutes registering for a game they know they don't like after 5 minutes of play.
Eh I guess I might be, though I'm not too familiar with that term. Didn't realize that was going to be my first post. I've seen this discussion recently pop up on about every mud discussion web site I visit. It seems like a lot of people blow it off as unnecessary or too complicated.

It sounds like Smith has implemented the same sort of account system I have. When you connect to the mud, you enter your account name and password. Then you can start creating new characters from within the account menu. That's one extra step. Where does that extra 15-20 minutes come from? Email verification? If you don't like it, then make email assignment optional and can be done at any later time.
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Old 04-11-2006, 12:51 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (spilinek @ April 10 2006,23:50)
I've seen this discussion recently pop up on about every mud discussion web site I visit. It seems like a lot of people blow it off as unnecessary or too complicated.

It sounds like Smith has implemented the same sort of account system I have. When you connect to the mud, you enter your account name and password. Then you can start creating new characters from within the account menu. That's one extra step. Where does that extra 15-20 minutes come from? Email verification? If you don't like it, then make email assignment optional and can be done at any later time.
There's a difference between "can't handle" and "dislike". The former implies stupidity.

Without email (and/or payment method, for pay-to-play)verification, an account system is of dubious security value. If someone's going to spam your game or otherwise be a nuisance, having to name their account won't really stop them. It might be useful as an organizational tool (being able to flip through all characters on the one account, whatever), of course.

Email verification doesn't add too much to security, but your lazier pest might not want to spend the time needed to set up a new account and handle the verification process. Some of the value of an account system comes from the inconvenience it imposes. If it takes 10 minutes to register and generate a character, and involves multiple applications (like email verification) that make scripting less convenient, even a fairly dedicated pest will probably give up after having a few characters deleted (and only wasting a small amount of admin time). If it takes 30 seconds, they may keep doing it many more times, and the admin's time wasted becomes closer to a 1:1 ratio with the pest's time.

If you implement an optional account system (something that is more a convenience for a regular player than a necessity, and probably isn't something you'd look for on your first day of play), credit card verification starts looking better. It's fairly reliable, and if you ban all credit cards with a certain name, a pest is going to have a hard time getting around it. Optional systems also retain the virtue of allowing people to play who don't have credit cards (minors, international players, etc.).
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Old 04-13-2006, 08:06 AM   #11
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I've been meaning to add a simple (optional) one because a lot of people get characters deleted due to inactivity after being absent and forgetting their character names. Also, I'd like a way for people to see how much time til they expire, when it gets to a danger point. Finally.. people get renamed and then can't remember the name later, even after we tell them to write it down. Its nothing to do with actual enforcement though. This is a low priority thing for us, but someday.
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Old 04-13-2006, 08:32 AM   #12
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I think it could be done fairly non-intrusively. One is automatically created with your first character, then you get the option to activate it or not and you get some extra perks if you choose to use it - like password recovery, access to character sheets while logged into the account (but not the character), comparisons, expirement times, reading about code updates etc.
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Old 04-14-2006, 03:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Davairus @ April 13 2006,09:06)
I've been meaning to add a simple (optional) one because a lot of people get characters deleted due to inactivity after being absent and forgetting their character names.  Also, I'd like a way for people to see how much time til they expire, when it gets to a danger point.  Finally..  people get renamed and then can't remember the name later, even after we tell them to write it down.  Its nothing to do with actual enforcement though.  This is a low priority thing for us, but someday.
This seems like a more reasonable approach, especially if the entire system was more or less invisible to a new player, but obvious once you've been around a bit. It's easy to overwhelm someone on their first day, but I agree that provides a little functionality if people can access a list of what characters are theirs.
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Old 04-14-2006, 04:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Hadoryu @ April 13 2006,09:32)
I think it could be done fairly non-intrusively. One is automatically created with your first character, then you get the option to activate it or not and you get some extra perks if you choose to use it - like password recovery, access to character sheets while logged into the account (but not the character), comparisons, expirement times, reading about code updates etc.
Depending on what your game's policy is on "multis", another very beneficial perk could be to allow some sort of limited shared bank/storage over the account. In games that allow multis, one of the more annoying things is to have to find someone to pass items off to when you want to move it from one character to another.

If you could inherently access a bank of a few items with any of the characters on a same account, that would make it a huge advantage to someone to have an account rather than just a single character login.
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Old 04-26-2006, 09:03 AM   #15
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Just to add another spin to the ideas floating around here, you can use accounts to provide a distinction between IC and OOC quite easily. All you need to do is change the way global OOC channels are handled so that instead of a character's player name they use their account name. The same can be done for the Wholist, updating it so there are two, one showing all the accounts logged into the game and the second providing an idea of what IC characters are in the game.

As an example for the second wholist you might just have a list of different categories of players:

IC WHO
Galactic Empire: <14 Players online, Leader online, Second online>
Rebel Alliance: <30 Players online, Second online>
Bounty Hunters: <5 online>

So instead of OOCly knowing that Luke the Jedi is on so you can go and hunt him down, you would actually need to aquire IC information about him being 'around' (word of mouth, bumping into him, etc).

A little tangent for you all there.

-Nek
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Old 04-26-2006, 10:04 PM   #16
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Mmm, that's a good one. It'd be nice, too, because in-game events can cause a real strain between players in the OOC channels. That way, if people kept half-discreet, two players engaged in a deadly feud could actually be little buddies on the chat. That's if I'm getting it right, though.

Accounts would probably work fine if they were streamlined a bit; but a couple of the suspects as of right now were a little frustrating for someone (of my calibur) trying to just give something a shot, see if they liked it.

It does seem like a nice concept for muds with permanent death to reward long-time players, though.
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