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Old 01-13-2003, 05:33 AM   #1
Cayn
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I'm just curious how many people feel the muds in the top 20 deserve to be there, ie; haven't cheated in one manner or another.

If muds shouldn't be there which ones, and if your favorite mud isn't in the top 20 why not?

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Old 01-13-2003, 10:07 AM   #2
Angel Kenji
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Im glad to consistently see my mud (Avatar MUD) in the top 20's, although I would like to see it rated higher. IMO, the big pay-for-play MUDs should be on a separate list, however. Obviously their size and volume give them a huge advantage over small, homegrown muds. I don't have anything against P2P MUDs, I just think that for the purposes of a rating scheme, they have a bit of an unfair advantage. Just my two cents.
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Old 01-13-2003, 10:51 AM   #3
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I'm pleased to note that the mud I IMM on (Shattered Kingdoms) has been in the top 20 since we joined TMS in the spring of 2002.  Those votes are entirely player motivated and I am proud of that.  

I do agree that I'm a bit irked when it comes to muds compensating players for voting.  Still, there isn't a way to really enforce a separation between compensating and non-compensating type muds.  In the long run, I guess it doesn't really matter.  Muds that compensate for votes will eventually not be able to afford that compensation to keep their playerbase happy.  If EVERYONE gets the goodie, what value does it have?  

As for the pay-for-play muds, I don't have a problem with their being ranked within the same list.  Their cliental enjoy their mud, think it is a good one, and vote for it just like those who vote for a non-PFP mud.  It would be nice, however, to see some sort of flag by the mud name or description if they are a PFP mud, just to give those who check the rankings looking for a mud a choice before they log on.
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Old 01-13-2003, 11:16 AM   #4
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My personal opinion is, that muds that blatantly cheat with the votes by abusing jumping isps, or pay their players in-game benefits for voting, do not belong on any top list. I also think that muds that use cheesy and intentionally misleading advertising tricks, (like claiming non-existing awards on their banners and WebPages, or pretending to be non P2P when it is obvious that their main goal is to squeeze as much cash as possible out of their players) do not belong on any top list either.

And yes, I refer to the same mud in both cases. I think most of us know which one that is.

I have discussed this problem with Synozeer, and accept his explanation that it would be impossible for him to 'police' this sort of actions. He has no realistic way of enforcing a rule against it, so therefor he prefers not to set one up. I accept that.

However, it doesn't change my opinion that the behavior is extremely tacky and unethical, and should not be rewarded by a top position on any list.
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Old 01-13-2003, 01:31 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Molly O'Hara @ Jan. 13 2003,11:16)
My personal opinion is, that muds that blatantly cheat with the votes by abusing jumping isps, or pay their players in-game benefits for voting, do not belong on any top list. I also think that muds that use cheesy and intentionally misleading advertising tricks, (like claiming non-existing awards on their banners and WebPages, or pretending to be non P2P when it is obvious that their main goal is to squeeze as much cash as possible out of their players) do not belong on any top list either.
I agree with you completely on this one Molly.

In particular, the tactic used to generate the obscene amount of votes is particularly sleazy. It seems to combine "nagware" (forcing you to comply by nagging you until you submit) with "crippleware" (cripple the "product" in such a manner that it is effectively unuseable if you do not comply).

Sometimes I get annoyed by it, and often my players will even complain about it. But the way I look at it is in the long run it doesn't really matter all that much. I highly doubt there are many people who come to Top Mud Sites and *only* try out the #1 mud on the list. I expect that most, if not all, folks who come to TMS to find a mud to play try a number of muds before deciding on one they like. So ultimately, all that cheating probably alienates more people that it actually attracts.

I know if I played on a game that used such tactics, I'd be out of there in a heartbeat.
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Old 01-13-2003, 02:17 PM   #6
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Perhaps there isn't any way to police voting tactics, but little icons could be put up on the list displays to provide certain information to board readers. A little $ could be put up for pay to play muds, and a little donkey could be put in for muds that 'buy votes', for example.
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Old 01-13-2003, 02:33 PM   #7
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For anyone who hadnt noticed, the Top 20 list has been cleaned up considerably of people that 'shouldnt' be there.

Those two 1000+ character ones... Gemstone, and DragonRealms (owned by the same company) were finally removed because I think they realized they didnt NEED the exposure from a small, free site of more grassroots players. I could understand them vying for spots on the Mudconnector, but here, it was just like stomping down people's confidence.

So I think the top 20 now is pretty fair. Achaea, the other big pay-to-play, is actually only optional. You can play the game fine for free. But many of the characters take pride in spending their cash on OPTIONAL things to benefit their characters, like training sessions, items, houses, etc. Now this does add a realm of seeming unfairness.
-But here's the kicker, unless your a big bad powergamer and have this urge to be stronger and better then everyone so you can eventually kill them all, you will really have no need more then the skills you can get for free. It makes a perfectly strong character.-

Even Dragon's Gate looked to be off the list. It was a smaller pay-to-play, but still didnt belong here. If your going to charge people to play, then advertise on something that charges you. Thats my opinion anyways.

And yes there are a few in the Top 20 that still dont belong. I saw that the Mudconnector website was actually in the MUD listing top 20 last week. Thought that was kinda silly.

thats all
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Old 01-13-2003, 04:45 PM   #8
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Achaea gives players who vote a 10% increase in the exp earned, and 10% decrease in exp lost if you die (their voting gateway logs your IP, and gives the bonus to the associated character). The issue of whether or not Achaea should be classified as P2P aside, I feel that this type of behavior negatively impacts whatever integrity and validity the ranking system here might have.
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Old 01-13-2003, 05:38 PM   #9
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I think it is a catch-22. Most of the people that play on Ages of Despair are so busy playing they forget to vote. Add to that a player base that is probably 50% below many other muds and even when they try to bribe us with something less than 20% of total players actually do vote. Right now we are in the Top 10 and have staid within the top 12 for over a month. We have yet to see any direct benefit from it, but even if we where 100% certain to get something half the people that would vote end up forgeting unless a wiz or player throws out a 'Go vote!' message over channels. Then there are the 'things get crowded already, if I vote then it will be even harder to find things to kill' group as well.

I don't really think that the votes are entirely accurate due to these issues, even when muds leave it to the players to do all the voting without incentive. That said.. I have heard of tactics by some of the ones, that usually get 4-5 times the votes of anyone else, that go way beyond an occational bit of bribery during a period when the admin want to increase the muds profile a bit. Then again, they are only rumors.
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Old 01-13-2003, 05:54 PM   #10
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Realms of Despair doesn't give bonuses or penalties for those who vote on TMS, but there is a counter on the website saying "We're number #, we need # votes to be number 1!" (At least it did before the shattering- now it says something like "we're number 24! ). This hardly counts as an underhand tactic, but just thought i'd mention it.

Personally I pay very little attention to the ranking list because frankly most of the top MUDs don't have what I'm looking for. Also if I want public opinion on a MUD, i can check the player reviews (OK, so 90% of them are biased adverts, but at least they're opinions).
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Old 01-13-2003, 06:34 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
I think it is a catch-22. Most of the people that play on Ages of Despair are so busy playing they forget to vote.
This is true for all MUDs,.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I don't really think that the votes are entirely accurate due to these issues, even when muds leave it to the players to do all the voting without incentive.
It depends on your definition of "accurate" with regards to this subject. If you define accurate as reflecting the size of the pbase of the MUD, then no, the votes definitely are not accurate If, however, all MUDs behave the same way with regards to voting, e.g., no in-game incentives--players must motivate themselves to vote, we do have a consistent system that reflects the number of people who care enough about the MUD, and feel that it could use a few more players (as opposed to people who, while caring for the MUD, do not want more players). It's when some MUDs do things like offer in-game incentives that that last shred of consistency is destroyed, and the list numbers become entirely meaningless.
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Old 01-13-2003, 08:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
It depends on your definition of "accurate" with regards to this subject.  If you define accurate as reflecting the size of the pbase of the MUD, then no, the votes definitely are not accurate
While I agree that the vote total itself may not be accurate, the actual list is a very good indication of the size of the pbase.  It always has been, and the way it set-up, it always will be.  At the end of the voting process the top 10 muds are always 10 of the largest muds in the database.

IMO the list still does exactly what it was set out to do.  The more people you send to TMS, the more exposure for your mud.
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Old 01-13-2003, 10:47 PM   #13
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While I agree that the vote total itself may not be accurate, the actual list is a very good indication of the size of the pbase. It always has been, and the way it set-up, it always will be. At the end of the voting process the top 10 muds are always 10 of the largest muds in the database.
Not to imply that you're being deliberately misleading, but this is patently false. DartMUD, for instance, regularly ranks higher than MUDs that list themselves as 36-50, and occasionally those that list 100+. I've even checked some to verify the listing numbers. By your reasoning, Armageddon also has no business being in the top 10. Truth be told, the percentage of players willing to go through the effort of voting (assuming no in-game incentive) varies greatly from MUD-to-MUD, enough so that while it is true that larger MUDs will tend to have more votes, a given MUD may have more votes than another that has several times the number of players.

When you begin to offer in-game incentives, however, the number of votes will correlate more closely to the total number of players on your MUD. The effect that this has on the ranking system is that some MUDs' vote counts reflect their size of their pbase, while others reflect only the number of players who like the MUD (and want more people to play the MUD) enough to go through the trouble of voting consistently without any direct personal benefit.

As there is no immediately apparent indication as to whether or not a given MUD offers in-game compensation for voting, the usefulness of the list for any purpose is compromised.
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Old 01-14-2003, 03:38 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Santrilla @ Jan. 14 2003,07:54)
Realms of Despair doesn't give bonuses or penalties for those who vote on TMS, but there is a counter on the website saying "We're number #, we need # votes to be number 1!" (At least it did before the shattering- now it says something like "we're number 24!  :( ). This hardly counts as an underhand tactic, but just thought i'd mention it.
Well, this used to be the case, but after being below 20 for a while, that little ticker was removed. At least the one on the main game.org page.
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Old 01-14-2003, 05:27 PM   #15
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DartMUD, for instance, regularly ranks higher than MUDs that list themselves as 36-50, and occasionally those that list 100+.  I've even checked some to verify the listing numbers.
I decided to do abit of checking into the numbers myself considering 1) I am somewhat bored atm  2) This discussion has come up several times before.

DartMUD lists themselves in the 26 - 35 range of players which I will use as the "standard" base.

There are 20 muds that use the list at least somewhat casually which have a larger pbase than 26-35, of those 20, 16 are in the top 25.  8 of the top 10 spots are held by these muds.

As for Muds that list themselves as lower than 26-35, there are 2 in the top 25 and 0 in the top 10.

I am not claiming that the order is simply a list of which mud is the largest, if that were the case votes irrelevant and the list would basically e set in stone.  The actual order is set by either the players of those muds desiring to promote the game they play, or the desire of the admins of those muds to use the listing as a place for free advertisment.  That is the list doing it's job.  Muds that see the listing as a great oppurtnity for free exposure use it, those that don't really feel the need to advertise for more players or see the listing as a waste, simply don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
As there is no immediately apparent indication as to whether or not a given MUD offers in-game compensation for voting, the usefulness of the list for any purpose is compromised.
The listing still gives free exposure to muds, no matter how the votes are recieved, and people are still coming to TMS when they vote.  It seems to me that the list still serves the same purpose as it did when it was a weekly battle to see who would come in second to RoD.

added - It is still somewhat early in the voting routine so of course the numbers will change, but it still gives a good overall view.
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Old 01-14-2003, 09:12 PM   #16
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I'd personally be much happier if the TMS administration said "It is not legal to bribe players for voting, whether through in-game (XP bonuses, free stuff, etc.) or out-of-game methods. MUDs who are discovered doing this will be removed from the poll for N weeks. This policy is to ensure the integrity of the voting process."

It should be about which MUDs have players who are sufficiently happy with how the game is run that they want to recommend it to others. Not who thought up the most clever bribe scheme.
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Old 01-14-2003, 10:35 PM   #17
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I would have to say that giving all players within your mud a general benefit, such as 'double xp days' is by no means a negative to your mud or this site. However, a personal benefit to a specific player as a result of voting is perhaps somewhat like bribery.

We all know that the Top 100 is not a realistic listing of the truly best muds. It does however present muds which are active with goal oriented players. I would certainly be willing to offer up some minor in game benefit if I thought its outcome would generate more traffic to our mud. Webpages and TMS listings do not a great mud make. They do however get folks interested. We all depend to an extent on word of mouth, which to me is the best form of advertisment. I would suggest that the Top 100 is simply a means to this end. Its your players voting (speaking) about your mud.

If your mud is listed in the Top portion of this list it suggests to me that your players are motivated and unified in at least  some way. This is a good thing.
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Old 01-15-2003, 02:32 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Jan. 14 2003,21:12)
I'd personally be much happier if the TMS administration said "It is not legal to bribe players for voting, whether through in-game (XP bonuses, free stuff, etc.) or out-of-game methods.  MUDs who are discovered doing this will be removed from the poll for N weeks.  This policy is to ensure the integrity of the voting process."

It should be about which MUDs have players who are sufficiently happy with how the game is run that they want to recommend it to others.  Not who thought up the most clever bribe scheme.
Well said, and I agree completely.

The whole bribery process that some muds engage in is really in poor taste and risks a "race to the bottom" where muds think of increasingly more sleazy and annoying ways to force their players to vote.

On the flipside, I think a mud ultimately hurts itself by using such tactics on their players. People don't like being forced to do things, and in the long run I think those kinds of tactics make players of a game feel like the admins are manipulating them.  This is especially true for commercial games (by that I mean any game that has a payment structure designed to turn a profit in any way). If people are paying for a game they expect to not have to deal with such things. They are already demonstrating their loyalty by forking over their hard earned dollars.

One thing to keep in mind is that there's no way TMS generates enough income to justify Synozeer spending numerous hours every week tracking down and investigating accusations of "bribery" by muds on the lists. As a mud administrator, I am pretty grateful for the work he does here already, and I say that as someone who does pay to support TMS (through advertising), and have done so for at least 2+ years now. I can understand Synozeer not wanting to start down a path of potentially painful "policing" of muds.

I am not saying that I don't think such a policy as mentioned above would be a bad idea. I think it would be a really GOOD thing. I am just saying we certainly could not expect Synozeer to devote a significant amount of time to enforcing it.

It is good, however, that we continue to put PR pressure on the muds that DO use sleazy bribery tactics to bloat their vote numbers. As those players visit this site perhaps they will read about it, see that such tactics are NOT common practice, and re-evaluate their choice of mud.
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Old 01-15-2003, 05:06 PM   #19
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Every so often I like to try out different muds, just to see what else is out there. Several weeks ago, I decided to try one of the "Top Muds." I wanted to know if there really was very much difference in quality. I browsed through the top 20, and picked one that I wouldn't have to pay for. I won't tell which.

I actually played it for several days. First, because I wanted to know why a fairly small mud would get so many votes. Then later, because I wanted to know why a fairly lame mud would get so many votes. It was pretty mediocre in quality. Nothing too horrible to make me run away screaming, but really nothing to make me want to stay. And people didn't even rp much.

THEN I looked through more of the reviews, and learned that it got votesbecause of incentives. So I did feel a little mislead. I'm not inclined to think the rankings mean much now.

There are some basic problems with ranking muds. I don't know the statistics, but I think most people only regulrly play one mud, often the first mud they ever tried. This is perfectly understandable. You go from being a big shot and knowing everyone and everything on your old mud, to being lost and confused and beaten up by newbiekillers on a new mud; it's hard and most people will just go back to what they know. They are happy there, they like the mud, they vote for it. Then what you have is people voting when they don't really know the competition, and it pretty much boils down to they are voting for the mud where their friends are. So when I'm looking for a mud, do I care where your friends play? Noooo.

I think it would be very useful to have a way to rate your mud in different categories, such as game stability, quality of roleplaying, quality of playerkilling, friendliness of staff, friendliness of players, complexity, interactiveness, exploration, whatever else people look for in games. It would be something you could only do once per isp per mud, perhaps with occassional clearing if the mud went through a major overhaul. All the results for each mud would be compiled and averaged. So then, instead of judging by the rank, or reading through numerous sycophantic reviews, you could just look at the ratings and see oh players of this mud rated it 8.7/10 in pk but 3.5/10 in rp, and then decide if that is what you want. In addition, breaking the ratings into such categories may get people thinking more about what a quality mud is.
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Old 01-15-2003, 05:49 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (thelenian @ Jan. 13 2003,18:34)
It depends on your definition of "accurate" with regards to this subject.  If you define accurate as reflecting the size of the pbase of the MUD, then no, the votes definitely are not accurate  If, however, all MUDs behave the same way with regards to voting, e.g., no in-game incentives--players must motivate themselves to vote, we do have a consistent system that reflects the number of people who care enough about the MUD, and feel that it could use a few more players (as opposed to people who, while caring for the MUD, do not want more players).  It's when some MUDs do things like offer in-game incentives that that last shred of consistency is destroyed, and the list numbers become entirely meaningless.
I find this endless discussion to be more than a little funny at this point. How many times does it have to be pointed out that TMS is a modified version of a banner exchange? I've pointed it out multiple times, and Synozeer has pointed it out at least once.

To summarize: A banner exchange is an arrangement whereby a bunch of websites get together and display each other's banners on their site. The more impressions (ie a single viewing of a banner) that you deliver to the exchange, the more often your banner will be displayed by other members of the exchange.

That is exactly what TMS is. The more traffic you send here, the more you get back. Some of you seem unable or unwilling to get past the name of the site and your own interpretation of what Top Mud Sites means. In this case, top mud sites means: the top mud-related sites measured by how much traffic they send to TMS.

Once you get that through your head, you'll quickly realize that it is beneficial to everyone concerned (Synozeer and every MUD on the list) if every MUD would reward their players to vote. I know I'd certainly like to see other MUDs throwing up better numbers than ours, as it means that that many more new players are likely to check out Achaea. It's also the thing to do if you give a **** about Synozeer's work on the site. The more traffic that comes here, the more advertising he can sell. I'm sure the amount of work he puts into this site is not adequately compensated, and it's a bit poor of some of you to want to decrease the amount of traffic his site receives by placing inane rules on how traffic may be sent to what is a modified banner exchange. My first concern is certainly not Synozeer, but sheesh, the guy does run the site for next to nothing. Give him a break and get mud-related traffic here anyway you can. (Again, I'm not claiming that helping Synozeer is my primary motivation, but if I can help myself and help him at the same time, great.)

--matt
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