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Old 02-16-2003, 02:18 AM   #1
Enzo
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The thing I see with MUDs is a free, fun game to play with other people. Everybody likes free stuff, so make turn it otherwise. What I also want to know is if people acutally make a seizable profit off making people pay-2-play.

When I first read about the idea to pay for everything, it kinda ****ed me off. I thought "Well, now they are going to make everyone pay for every mud so now I have to go find something else to entertain me." At least all MUDs aren't doing it; most muds aren't doing it.

Personally, I would not pay a penny to play on a MUD. The only way a MUD should possibly make money is off advertising for other MUDs on their web site or what not, but that's a different story.
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Old 02-16-2003, 10:33 AM   #2
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The thing I see with MUDs is a free, fun game to play with other people.
Commercial muds have been around for almost as long as free ones (in fact, the first mud started out free but later turned commercial).  It's only really the 1989/1990 generation which banned commercialisation and thus made the majority of muds free (or was there a similar restriction on the 1987 AberMUD?  I don't know to be honest).

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Everybody likes free stuff, so make turn it otherwise.
For the same reason that anything in life is changed from a hobby to a means of making a living.

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What I also want to know is if people acutally make a seizable profit off making people pay-2-play.
A handful of people are able to live off of their muds, so obviously the profit is sufficient to make a living from.

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When I first read about the idea to pay for everything, it kinda ****ed me off. I thought "Well, now they are going to make everyone pay for every mud so now I have to go find something else to entertain me." At least all MUDs aren't doing it; most muds aren't doing it.
Most muds can't do it.

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Personally, I would not pay a penny to play on a MUD.
Nor would I, but I have no problem with other people doing so (as long as no licenses are being violated).

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The only way a MUD should possibly make money is off advertising for other MUDs on their web site or what not, but that's a different story.
Why should they?

I sometimes hear people claiming that all software should be free.  If it was, I'd have to find a different job, which means I wouldn't be creating that "free software" in the first place.  The same, I imagine, applies to a lot of commercial muds.
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Old 02-16-2003, 10:48 AM   #3
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Personally I would be suprised if I ever even consider paying to play a MUD (although when I was a newbie on the scene back in the mid-nineties I nearly subscribed to Avalon). My main reason is there seems to be little a p2p MUD can offer that plenty of other free MUDs do not, except for a huge playerbase. While this may be a draw to some people, I find it confusing. Any more than around 200 people gets too spammy for my liking, especially if there are multiple global channels.

Although I would most likely never pay to play one, I have no objection to others making p2p MUDs as long as they do not violate licenses (as stated by KaVir).

When an online fantasy MMORPG appears that offers more than a standard MUD does, then they might get my money. Good graphics and continual support is worth paying for, since the professionals who make those games are providing something your standard amateur (in general) cannot. However, all the MMORPG's I've tried to date have been, translated into MUD terms, stock with a few extra bells, whistles, races, and skills. We constantly complain when some newbie coder opens up a "highly modified ROM" that has a few extra races and some unique areas, so why people put up with it in regards to MMORPGs is beyond me!

Oops, meandered off topic.

Would I pay to play a MUD? Highly unlikely. Would I recommend to another person that they don't pay? Of course not, those p2p MUDs may have something that person wants in their game.

It all comes down (as always) to personal choice and how much money you have burning a hole in your pocket!
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Old 02-16-2003, 12:11 PM   #4
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I agree with Xerihae so there's no point in repeating him.

However, the main reason I don't pay for a mud is that I don't have the money. Although even if I could afford it, first I'd have to FIND a mud worth paying for. It's hard enough to find a free one that suits me without opening that can of worms, heh.

Luckily I don't have to worry about it though, because I found my mud-home long ago. Sometimes I stop playing it for a few months, but I always go back eventually. I fully expect to keep playing it off and on until either it dies or I do. That doesn't mean I won't play other muds now and then, but as I've said before I really can't handle more than one addiction.
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Old 02-16-2003, 12:47 PM   #5
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I would pay to play. One, I can afford it - I'm not saying I'm rich or anything; I just budget right. Two, I couldn't find a game that I liked among the free games.

I'm very picky when it comes to games. I love mandatory RP, craft skills, and very restricted PK. I've tried most of the free games that have the above things put it was always one or two things that I just couldn't get with in the game.

The P2P game I play now is great. I like the plots, there's usually someone around to RP with - plus they hold weekly events. The best two things are if I don't want to hack and slash I don't have to. I can be a crafter and still move up in the game. The second thing is I can RP freely without worrying that someone is going to PK me for little to no reason while I'm sitting at the Square eating an apple and minding my own.

I don't want to ramble on and on so I'll just get right to my point. I like want I like. If I can't find want I like in a free game, but I can in a pay game guess which I'm going to play.
Its not that a free game can't offer want - heck, maybe one can, but I've yet to find it.

My 2 cents.
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Old 02-16-2003, 01:11 PM   #6
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I play on a pay2play MUD, and I have also paid $50 to the other MUD that I play. The pay2play MUD is very specific, based on a tabletop game which I play. It also has a great community, and after 1 an' a half years of playing it, I couldn't drag myself away from the community.

The reason I definately would pay for a MUD, even given the choice is that the people who make these MUDs have got to make a living. Would you go down to your local store, look at a normal game and say "What?! I have to pay?" You get alot more play time out of MUDs if you enjoy them for a small amount of money even if you do pay2play. How long do you even play on most of the games you would buy in a normal store? Surely not as long as you would play on one of these MUDs for a month? People put alot of effort into these MUDs, and even if they're not making a living of it, they deserve something back from the playerbase.
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Old 02-16-2003, 03:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by (Enzo @ Feb. 16 2003,02:18)
What I also want to know is if people acutally make a seizable profit off making people pay-2-play.
Here's a good quote on the subject from David Whatley, CEO of Simutronics, talking about the immense amount of money he makes from their text MUDs:

"On the other hand, if you are not going to compete with me, then I'll tell ya the truth: There is plenty of money here. And, as has been pointed out, the costs are SUBSTANTIALLY lower than GMUDS. Both fixed and variable costs are much lower. My profit margin is... um... envious. And my [Acura] NSX is sweet. (smile)"

--matt
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Old 02-16-2003, 09:55 PM   #8
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There are so many free muds around these days, and forgive me for stating the obvious, but 99% of them are complete crap, often little more than some adolescent's attempt to learn to how to code, build, or whatever.  Filtering through 1000's of free muds that have done little more than getting a codebase installed with a few snippets to find the few gems is something I simply don't have time for.  Combine this with the fact that even the sites that do review and critique muds can't effectively seperate the wheat from the chaff in this veritable sea of mediocrity.  ie, half the time one of the admins write the review, or an over-zealous player who obviously hasn't played the mud for more than an hour.

On the other hand, I have yet to be disappointed by pay-to-play muds, which are commonly very well advertised, easy to find, and most offer a streamlined yet rich play experience.
For example:

Dragon Realms - Perhaps the most 'expensive' pay-to-play game, but one which I have yet to see the like of anywhere.  (aside from other simultronics titles! They regularly rate in the top 3 muds here, and with good reason.  I often chuckle when I see discussion on 'advanced coding' concerning the implementation of hypothetical  features that DR has literally had for years.

Achaea - another truely unique mud that I have spent more money on than I'd care to admit.  You only have to give it a day to see that it offers a very high quality play experience.  One that I haven't seen on free muds, period.   Working player economies, player governments, player justice, RP based PK, mass role-play,  dieties,  an evolving storyline, etc.  It all actually -works- on Achaea.  How many hundreds of games have claimed this, but few deliver it so beautifully.  

Of course, I'm not saying that I'm against free muds, I play quite a few of those as well, only that I have to filter huge numbers of crap muds to find the few gems.  If I can pay to be guarenteed a good play experience, just tell me who to send the check to.

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Old 02-16-2003, 10:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by (Saren @ Feb. 16 2003,21:55)
Achaea - another truely unique mud that I have spent more money on than I'd care to admit.  Though some may question it's origins, you only have to give it a day to see that it offers a very high quality play experience.  One that I haven't seen on free muds, period.   Working player economies, player governments, player justice, RP based PK, mass role-play,  dieties,  an evolving storyline, etc.  It all actually -works- on Achaea.  How many hundreds of games have claimed this, but few deliver it so beautifully.  
What does "some may question its origins" mean? Can't say there's any dispute over its origins, or none that I can think of, aside from myself and one of my partners being disagreeing on who came up with the name for the game.

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Old 02-16-2003, 11:25 PM   #10
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Old 02-17-2003, 05:07 PM   #11
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Well...

I do think achaea and simultronics games look fairly good. We have tested them and reviewed them because we are in the proccess of developing a pay2play game.

However, they are _far_ from the best muds we have tested. In fact, most of our testing team did not find any features we could have use for on these particular muds.

Overrated. There are better free games.
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Old 02-17-2003, 05:53 PM   #12
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However, they are _far_ from the best muds we have tested. In fact, most of our testing team did not find any features we could have use for on these particular muds.

Overrated. There are better free games.
Please do share! I'm always looking for more great muds to play on.
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Old 02-17-2003, 11:48 PM   #13
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When I first answered this poll, I answered no.

In thinking about it, I will revise me answer to yes, but with some conditions.

I have no problem paying for a game that I play. I buy them in the store all the time. I've played on EverQuest, I play Warcraft 3, and so on. What I would not pay for is any enhancement or item or service in which my character could gain advantage from, or play on any such game where this was the case for any player.

I fully support the subscription model. You pay a fee just like everyone else does to play the same thing, that's it. If I found somewhere with players whom I could tolerate, and feautres which I enjoyed, and there was a flat across-the-board fee for everyone to play, I'd pay it and play away.

If there was a game which I paid nothing to connect to, paid nothing to continue to connect to, but my success and ability to play could be enhanced with items which were for purchase (but not necessary), I'd quit in a heartbeat. When I play a game I like to play thinking that if one can gain skill and know the system that they can be successful. I have no interest in playing a game in which favor or power can be bought and where the power of the pocketbook can outweigh the power of the mind behind the character.
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Old 02-18-2003, 12:31 AM   #14
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Arrow

When I was five, I had great plans. I was going to rule an island, and on that island, all the sweets would be free.

And then I grew up.

I still like to think that maybe one day, robots will do all the actual "work" in the world, leaving human beings to spend their days doing whatever they feel like doing, because it brings them joy or satisfies their curiosity or garners them the respect of their peers. But until that happy day arrives, we all got bills to pay.


Which is why it absolutely astounds me that there are people out there who spend what must be hundreds or even thousands of hours creating MUDs purely for the love of it and not just to make a quick buck. Gives me a warm feeling, restores my faith in human nature.

Not that there is anything wrong with making a quick buck; if you can pull it off, if there are buyers who consider what you are selling worth that buck, more power to you. Would I pay-to-play? Sure; even given the exchange rate, $10US/month or whatever is peanuts given how many hours I spend MUDding. But thus far I haven't had to because I've been able, in amongst the extraordinary amount of chaff out there, find wonderfully golden and free wheat.

It has admittedly taken some searching, but I don't believe that I'd have much more assurance of finding the right game for me just by looking at those ones with price tags attached and besides, like Xerihae, I prefer smaller playerbases (hordes make me feel overwhelmed and overlooked).


A point that I'm not sure anyone has raised yet is that there may well be p2ps out there who aren't turning a profit, rather just trying to cover their costs. Servers don't come cheap.


K, very opinionated today, apparently
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Old 02-19-2003, 01:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by (Terloch @ Feb. 17 2003,23:48)
If there was a game which I paid nothing to connect to, paid nothing to continue to connect to, but my success and ability to play could be enhanced with items which were for purchase (but not necessary), I'd quit in a heartbeat.  When I play a game I like to play thinking that if one can gain skill and know the system that they can be successful.  I have no interest in playing a game in which favor or power can be bought and where the power of the pocketbook can outweigh the power of the mind behind the character.
Of course, in 95% of MUDs, success just means having nothing else to do with your life and thus having enough time to sit there mindlessly bashing monsters over and over to gain equipment to mindlessly bash some more monsters over and over. Skill. That's a laugh.

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Old 02-19-2003, 02:41 PM   #16
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Matt,

I know you enjoy implying that all non-Achaea MUD admins are mouth-breathing morons who can't get their finger out of their nose long enough to type coherent sentences, but this was excessive:

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Of course, in 95% of MUDs, success just means having nothing else to do with your life and thus having enough time to sit there mindlessly bashing monsters over and over to gain equipment to mindlessly bash some more monsters over and over. Skill. That's a laugh.
Sorry, but plenty of people run quality games.  This board is crawling with them.  And taking cheap shots at them doesn't make yours any better.

A lot of people will find a pay-for-power system unpleasant, because it allows a factor into the game balance that has nothing at all to do with the player's skill.  In fact, a player on one of these MUDs can be "outplayed" (*) by another player of lesser skill who spent more money.  (A lot of these MUDs claim the incentives have little impact... but then why do people pay such outrageous prices for them?)  I wholeheartedly agree with the original poster's assertion- I'd only consider playing on level playing fields.  I'd be willing to pay a flat subscription fee that was assessed to all characters, but anything else takes away from skill.

(*): I don't only mean PK here.  This might be in a PK sense, getting recognition or inclusion in special RP events, being able to explore new places, or getting to achieve personal goals with less effort/skill.
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Old 02-19-2003, 03:17 PM   #17
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I play on a free-to-play MUD but that does not mean I will always want to. Frankly if I had more money I might find more expensive hobbies or check out pay-for-play MUDs more seriously. I feel our discretional income has a lot to do with our choices.

I used to feel that games where you bought your way to the top had something wrong with the setup. I mean, buying your way to the top? Speaking generally that has always had a negative connotation where I am from. But the truth is that free MUD players "buy" their way to the top as well.

I have heard in business circles that you have a choice to make when doing something. Either you throw money at a project or you throw time at it. The idea is that there is a tradeoff between time and money and are to some degree interchangable. Cash heavy businesses have the option of paying for it so they can spend time doing other things. Those without cash might have the company owner do a lot of the work so he can save his money for other things. Or a combination of both.

It occurred to me that this is exactly what happens on free MUDs. People who are top players, in a general sense anyways, are the ones that spend tons of time there.

It suddenly dawned on me that paying so you would not have to spend all that time was a very valid choice and that some people would be willing to do it. I sometimes want to do it myself. I have been at a MUD for 3 years and when I check out other quality MUDs it dawns on me eventually that it will take me at least a year to feel comfortable in what I am doing like I do on my MUD. Paying to avoid that startup period sounded very good to me.

I just wanted to point out that everyone has different reasons to MUD and are in different situations, and that there is a MUD out there that suits your needs, free or pay.
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Old 02-19-2003, 03:32 PM   #18
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know you enjoy implying that all non-Achaea MUD admins are mouth-breathing morons who can't get their finger out of their nose long enough to type coherent sentences, but this was excessive:
Um, what? Where did I imply that non-Achaea mud admins are morons? It's certainly not true. All I said was that a game focused on monster bashing is about the time you put into it, not skill, which is true. I fail to see how that's an insult. If you, as a designer, want a game that places a premium on skill, but have instead designed a game that places a premium on free time, well, live with it. It's what YOU designed or chose to implement, after all!

There's nothing lacking in quality about a game that takes time rather than skill. It's just a different kind of game. It's not my thing, but given the success of games like Everquest, DAoC, AC, and so on, it's clearly a very very popular form of gameplay.

In Achaea and many other games (Simutronics' games, Ultima Online, a whole host of Korean games, Project Entropia, etc etc), you can pay for extra services from the game provider. In all of the other big games, you can pay for extra services (or items, or whatever you want to call them) just by going to Ebay or a host of services specifically set up to sell you game-related services (usually in violation of the Terms of Services. )

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Sorry, but plenty of people run quality games.  This board is crawling with them.  And taking cheap shots at them doesn't make yours any better.
Yep, I agree with both those points. Just like taking cheap shots at Achaea doesn't make their games any better, though it does help Achaea out with publicity, thanks very much.

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A lot of people will find a pay-for-power system unpleasant, because it allows a factor into the game balance that has nothing at all to do with the player's skill.  In fact, a player on one of these MUDs can be "outplayed" (*) by another player of lesser skill who spent more money.  (A lot of these MUDs claim the incentives have little impact... but then why do people pay such outrageous prices for them?
Only if they're very close really. Most of our biggest customers cannot compete with our most skilled players. Use golf as an analogy: It doesn't matter how many thousands of dollars I spend on golf clubs. I'm never going to beat Tiger Woods even if he's using a stick he picked up in the woods and I'm using a $10000 set of golf clubs. Does my $10000 set of golf clubs let me beat someone with exactly the same amount of skill as me who doesn't have the $10000 golf clubs? A good percentage of the time, yep, but again, they give me no chance against Tiger Woods, for instance.

Now, our items do give slightly more advantage -in combat- to people, but that's also only one area of the game. In politics, for instance, there is no way to purchase an advantage, because it's -all- about skill. You're either an intelligent, well-spoken, clever person, or you're not. No amount of monster bashing is going to change who you are. In roleplaying, there's no way to gain an "advantage" (as if roleplaying is competitive to begin with) by purchasing anything.
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I wholeheartedly agree with the original poster's assertion- I'd only consider playing on level playing fields.  I'd be willing to pay a flat subscription fee that was assessed to all characters, but anything else takes away from skill
So then, you'd also be opposed to a world that rewards time instead of skill? If so, you've basically eliminated all diku-style muds, at least in terms of their loot n' level gameplay aspects.

If all you're interested in is skill, I have to wonder why you're playing muds. Go play Quake or chess, where just about the only determining factor for competitive success is skill, not time or money.

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(*): I don't only mean PK here.  This might be in a PK sense, getting recognition or inclusion in special RP events, being able to explore new places, or getting to achieve personal goals with less effort/skill.
Your post automatically assumes that virtual worlds must be competitive games. This is an invalid assumption really, as many, many players don't play for competitive reasons. How does it hurt you if I purchase a house, for instance? It doesn't. Are we just talking about simple jealousy here? I mean, what do you care if someone else in the world is included in a special RP event and you aren't? How does that hurt you? If inclusion ins your determinant, then why do you tolerate ANY barrier to entry? If you object to someone else in a virtual world participating in something you're not, wouldn't you also object to someone in the real world participating in something you're not (which is how a subscription model works if you don't have the money to pay).

In the end, it's just different strokes for different folks. Many people aren't interested in looking at muds as competitions, and so don't care what other people pay for in time or money. Some look at them as competitions and do, and some look at them as competitions and don't. *shrug* I don't care what model other games use myself. Either they will find players who like their models (and considering the single biggest text muds in the world use the pay-for-privileges model, it's hard to argue that it's an inherently unpopular model) or they won't and they'll fail. I am happy to see all text muds run by responsible admins succeed. As the saying goes, "A rising tide raises all ships."

--matt
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Old 02-19-2003, 03:37 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by (Burke @ Feb. 19 2003,15:17)
I used to feel that games where you bought your way to the top had something wrong with the setup. I mean, buying your way to the top? Speaking generally that has always had a negative connotation where I am from. But the truth is that free MUD players "buy" their way to the top as well.
I don't actually know of any muds where players can "buy" their way to some objective top. It comes down to their being multiple "ladders" in a world. In Achaea, for example, you can purchase things to help you with one area of the game in which there is a 'top': combat. I wouldn't even know how to sell things to people that would enable success in politics (that's completely dependent on other people's opinion of you, and, in fact, buying a lot of stuff has -hurt- people in the political arena before) or roleplaying.

If the -only- 'ladder' in a game is the loot n' level ladder, then you're absolutely correct: People buy their way there with time. But it's a rare (and ****ty) game where that's the only ladder, even if that's the only ladder officially supported by code. It's hard to find even the most hardcore of loot n' level games where there aren't organically-grown 'ladders' of respect, for example. Time may have something to do with how other people look at you, but you could spend a ton of time and still be looked at as an idiot.

--matt
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Old 02-19-2003, 04:07 PM   #20
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Simply put, Matt, the complaint we more often get about our (diku-style, level-based, class-based) system is that the skill learning curve is too steep, not the reverse. It's not a simple time-to-results formula- skill matters because failures are setbacks, and when you make enough mistakes, more time just means wearing down your character's body.

Also, we use a system with aging and eventual permanent death (by age or violence). Every player starts over again after a period of time. Very few active characters last more than 2-3 months. So, if you're a veteran of 8 years, you're still starting at our Academy gates regularly. Can you move up the various ladders faster? Sure. You know the physical layout. You know how to equip and defend yourself in a combat system where 2-3 year veterans often still call themselves newbies. You know how the various political factions interact. You know how to effectively gather skilled allies. You know how to gather the various roleplaying incentives. That's skill, Matt. Opening your wallet isn't.

We're not unique in this. There are a number of quality games that emphasize these sorts of features. For you to make sweeping generalizations about "95%" and "time=success" is ignorant.

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If all you're interested in is skill, I have to wonder why you're playing muds.
Because they're the most skill-intensive games I've found, and challenge me on diverse fronts. Maybe you've just played the wrong ones?
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I think this mud is really fun to play Alley Advertising for Players 0 08-24-2002 01:27 AM

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