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Old 01-13-2006, 04:38 AM   #361
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Protoss @ Jan. 13 2006,02:36)
Yes, but the people who find IRE labeling themselves as objectionable are very much in the minority compared to those who don't find it objectionable.
Please cite your reference.
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Old 01-13-2006, 04:41 AM   #362
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Jan. 13 2006,03:35)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 12 2006,20:24)
Well actually quite a few people find it objectionable, for the very reasons you've stated you would find it objectionable were Guild Wars or Gemstone to list themselves as "free to play".
Google doesn't find it objectionable.
Nor does it find it objectionable for Guild Wars to be referred to as "free to play".

As I said, going by the literal meaning of 'free to play', IRE muds are perfectly entitled to be categorised as such, as are Threshold, Guild Wars, Gemstone IV, etc.
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Old 01-13-2006, 01:57 PM   #363
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 13 2006,05:38)
Please cite your reference.
My only reference has been this specific thread on the forums. There seemingly have been only been a very few who have been against IRE labeling themselves as free to play. Maybe four or five people at maximum. Granted it is not a very reliable way to be making judgements, but from what I have been gathering it seems that the majority are fine with the way IRE advertises themselves.

I would be confident that if there was some scientifcally random survey done on people who were posed the question "Do you think it is false adveritising to label your game as free to play if you could play the game for free for an unlimited amount of hours, but for the game to have an optional payment system of purchasing credits to enhance the character your are playing?", the respondents would of that survey would find that it was not false advertising at all.
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Old 01-13-2006, 02:48 PM   #364
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Enough with the grammar fight? Sheesh.

Back to the topic at hand, you can legally do all sorts of misleading stuff with advertising. The whole business is based on making a product look good.

Top Mud Sites, however, claims to be a "one-stop MUD resource". It can describe games however it like. The traffic exchange is one (optional-- TMS does not require MUDs to use it in order to be in the databases) portion of the website, along with forums, reviews, etc. It is no more "just a traffic exchange" as it is "just a MUD review site".

It provides name, link, blurb, etc. It also provides a page where games provide information about themselves. Presently, one category includes a checkbox for "Pay-to-Play", with no definition attached. The proposal is to expand and clarify this existing utility with two checkboxes, replacing the old one:

1) Gameplay requires one or more mandatory fees.
2) Gameplay may be altered through optional fees.

Carrion Fields, Armageddon, etc.: n/n.
Achaea, Imperian, etc.: n/y.
Threshold, Gemstone, etc.: y/y.

Every business model described in these threads fit into a combination of the above checkboxes. I haven't seen a MUD owner claim that their game couldn't be described in that way.

Threshold might want to further differentiate themselves from a subscription model, to which I'd propose three checkboxes:

1) Continuous gameplay requires at least one mandatory fee.
2) Continuous gameplay requires recurring mandatory fees.
3) Continuous gameplay may be altered through optional fees.

Carrion Fields, Armageddon, etc.: n/n/n.
Achaea, Imperian, etc.: n/n/y.
Threshold: y/n/y.
Gemstone, DragonRealms, etc.: y/y/y.

I honestly think those three checkboxes would cover every one of the top 20 games without ambiguity. I don't pretend to know every game, so if someone can think of a game that couldn't answer those three questions, please point it out.
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Old 01-15-2006, 06:45 PM   #365
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Protoss @ Jan. 13 2006,20:57)
Please cite your reference.
My only reference has been this specific thread on the forums.
Which is useless for anything other than demonstrating the fact that (1) certain players of IRE muds agree with IRE's usage of 'free to play', while (2) certain posters from other muds disagree with it.

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Originally Posted by
I would be confident that if there was some scientifcally random survey done on people who were posed the question "Do you think it is false adveritising to label your game as free to play if you could play the game for free for an unlimited amount of hours, but for the game to have an optional payment system of purchasing credits to enhance the character your are playing?", the respondents would of that survey would find that it was not false advertising at all.
It's all about the way you phrase it.  As I've already pointed out, it's not 'false' advertising for IRE to advertise their muds as 'free to play' - because they are, just as Threshold, Gemstone IV, Guild Wars, etc, are also all 'free to play'.

But that doesn't mean it's not misleading.  How do you think people would respond to the question "Do you think it is misleading to label your game as 'free to play' if you can connect and participate for free, but where many aspects of the gameplay - including over 95% of your skills - require payment, without which you will be unable to fairly compete in PvP activities, which are the main focus of the game"?
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Old 01-15-2006, 08:05 PM   #366
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Originally Posted by
certain posters from other muds disagree with it.
I have been and still occasionally play IRE MUDs and I disagree with it.
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Old 01-15-2006, 10:20 PM   #367
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[quote=KaVir,Jan. 15 2006,19:45]
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Originally Posted by
It's all about the way you phrase it.  As I've already pointed out, it's not 'false' advertising for IRE to advertise their muds as 'free to play' - because they are, just as Threshold, Gemstone IV, Guild Wars, etc, are also all 'free to play'.
And this is the part of your thoughts where I have trouble understanding. I can't fathom how someone can possibly find a game 'free to play' when said game charges you a minimum one time fee of $50 or has a monthly subscription charge (or in the case of guild wars a fee to download the client). You use the fact that you can create a new account after your free trial is up to further your cause that these games can be legitimately be called "free to play", and that is where I call you on.

Threshold, Gemstone, and Guildwars can never be called free to play just because you can keep creating new accounts. For one Gemstone requires you to fork over credit card information to create an account, so your little scheme would be caught quickly if you kept doing it (unless you had 1000 credit cards). These MUD's can also check your IP with ease.

Where IRE separates itself from the other games is that they do not require you to pay ANYTHING. You can play as much as you want without the need to keep creating new accounts to play another free trial. You can play one single character as much as you want FREE. The fact that you can choose to pay to enhance your characters' stats is irrelevant because it is optional.

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Originally Posted by
But that doesn't mean it's not misleading.  How do you think people would respond to the question "Do you think it is misleading to label your game as 'free to play' if you can connect and participate for free, but where many aspects of the gameplay - including over 95% of your skills - require payment, without which you will be unable to fairly compete in PvP activities, which are the main focus of the game"?
It is not misleading. The fact that you can play the game for free is enough to make it not so. To answer your hypothetical survey question, I would say no it is not misleading whatsoever. Why? Because you don't have to pay extra, it is your choice to do so. Advertising yourself as "free to play" is not misleading when you can play on any server for free as long as possible without the need to create new accounts to start new free trials.

Futhermore it is quite apparent that you are over-exaggerating certain things, like 95% of all skills can only be unlocked by paying.  Especially when IRE claims that the person with the most powerful character has not paid any money for the game.  Please cite your references on how you came up with that percentage.
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Old 01-16-2006, 01:29 AM   #368
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 15 2006,18:45)
Protoss,Jan. 13 2006,20:57
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Please cite your reference.
My only reference has been this specific thread on the forums.
Which is useless for anything other than demonstrating the fact that (1) certain players of IRE muds agree with IRE's usage of 'free to play', while (2) certain posters from other muds disagree with it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I would be confident that if there was some scientifcally random survey done on people who were posed the question "Do you think it is false adveritising to label your game as free to play if you could play the game for free for an unlimited amount of hours, but for the game to have an optional payment system of purchasing credits to enhance the character your are playing?", the respondents would of that survey would find that it was not false advertising at all.
It's all about the way you phrase it. As I've already pointed out, it's not 'false' advertising for IRE to advertise their muds as 'free to play' - because they are, just as Threshold, Gemstone IV, Guild Wars, etc, are also all 'free to play'.

But that doesn't mean it's not misleading. How do you think people would respond to the question "Do you think it is misleading to label your game as 'free to play' if you can connect and participate for free, but where many aspects of the gameplay - including over 95% of your skills - require payment, without which you will be unable to fairly compete in PvP activities, which are the main focus of the game"?
I just thought I would point you to this
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Zhiroc @ Jan. 10 2006,14:47)
The #1 thing that puts the "free" label on the IRE games on very shaky ethical grounds for me is the lack of documentation about the number of lessons it takes to level your skills. Without this vital piece of information, a prospective player can't evaluate the economics of the credit system for themselves. Oh, and by the way, the numbers attributed to me in an earlier post probably overstate it a little, because rereading the docs, I found that mini-skills take less lessons. How many less? I have no idea--it's not documented, and even my guild doesn't have those numbers posted. I also cannot inquire using a command in the game as to how many lessons I've spent on my skills, so at this point, I still have no clue.
Because I also think it is important to quote things correctly, and to not just read what we wish to read but what is actually said (you have 3 posts in that thread after this one I just quoted here, so I will assume that you just chose to ignore the correction of the facts by the person you are quoting to further disinform people).

Of course, you can also tell us that this example had nothing to do with any of IRE games and you just made it up because it was a good analogy.
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Old 01-16-2006, 06:08 AM   #369
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And this is the part of your thoughts where I have trouble understanding. I can't fathom how someone can possibly find a game 'free to play' when said game charges you a minimum one time fee of $50 or has a monthly subscription charge (or in the case of guild wars a fee to download the client).
Guild Wars is frequently described as "free to play" by reviews and such.  Why?  Because it is, indeed, "free to play" - once you've purchased the client.

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Originally Posted by
You use the fact that you can create a new account after your free trial is up to further your cause that these games can be legitimately be called "free to play", and that is where I call you on.
I don't think anyone would have a problem with them advertising themselves as "free to play for the first month".  Why?  Because it clarifies the limitations of how free it is.  Equally I wouldn't have a problem with Threshold advertising itself as "free to play, once you've paid the $50 registration fee", or The Eternal City advertising itself as "free to play for all existing Skotos customers", or Guild Wars advertising itself as "free to play, once you've purchased the client".  Equally, I wouldn't have a problem with the IRE muds advertising themselves as "free to play, but pay to compete".

But advertise any of the above as simply "free to play" and it is misleading, because it avoids mention of the limitations of that free play - even though they are all, technically, free to play.

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Where IRE separates itself from the other games is that they do not require you to pay ANYTHING.
They require payment for competitive play.  Sure, you can win contests, or get other players to pay for your credits - but you can do exactly the same thing on most other commerical muds.  If I give Bubba a thousand gold pieces and the Dagger of Painful Castration in return for him paying my monthly subscription fee, does that make the game the free?  Does that mean the mud in question could advertise itself as 'free'?

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Originally Posted by
Futhermore it is quite apparent that you are over-exaggerating certain things, like 95% of all skills can only be unlocked by paying.  Especially when IRE claims that the person with the most powerful character has not paid any money for the game.  Please cite your references on how you came up with that percentage.
It was taken from Zhiroc's earlier post, based on 8 major skills and 4 mini-skills.  It has since been pointed out that the mini-skills require less lessons to train, but I've not yet been able to find out how many less - so I shall recalculate by ignoring mini-skills.

It requires 294 credits to max a skill.

You earn the equivilent of 166 credits for reaching level 100 (1000 lessons/6).

294*8 = 2352 credits for 8 skills. 2352-166 = 2186 bought * 100 / 2352 total = 92.9% of your skills coming from credits, assuming you have no mini-skills.

And those credits will have been purchased by the same players who are being told that the mud is 'free'.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:12 AM   #370
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Protoss @ Jan. 15 2006,23:20)
Futhermore it is quite apparent that you are over-exaggerating certain things, like 95% of all skills can only be unlocked by paying.
That's only apparent to you because you decided what the answer was before you started reading anything.

Someone breaks the cost down earlier in this thread. I'm inclined to believe he's roughly correct.

MUDs draw different kinds of players. For the kind of person Bartle would classify as a socializer, I'm sure pay-for-perk MUDs are truly free to play. For the kind of person he would have classified as a killer, which is to say, a competitive player focused on PvP, free-to-play-but-pay-to-compete is anything but.

Let's say I told you tomorrow I would fly you to the Indy 500, pay for your accomodations, and you could compete in the race -- but you weren't allowed to have a car unless you gave me a million dollars. You'd have to 'race' on foot. One kind of person is going to thank their lucky stars that they get to go to the race for free. Another person might only be embittered, realizing that while they were technically offered the chance to compete for free there was essentially no chance of their winning the race.

That's where you see the disconnect in this thread.
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Old 01-16-2006, 12:45 PM   #371
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Guild Wars is frequently described as "free to play" by reviews and such. Why? Because it is, indeed, "free to play" - once you've purchased the client.
Then I stand corrected.
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Originally Posted by
I don't think anyone would have a problem with them advertising themselves as "free to play for the first month". Why? Because it clarifies the limitations of how free it is. Equally I wouldn't have a problem with Threshold advertising itself as "free to play, once you've paid the $50 registration fee", or The Eternal City advertising itself as "free to play for all existing Skotos customers", or Guild Wars advertising itself as "free to play, once you've purchased the client". Equally, I wouldn't have a problem with the IRE muds advertising themselves as "free to play, but pay to compete".

But advertise any of the above as simply "free to play" and it is misleading, because it avoids mention of the limitations of that free play - even though they are all, technically, free to play
IRE is still not misleading itself when it declares itself as "free to play". Limitations must only be posted if they only pertain to not being able to play for free during any point of the game. That does not happen in IRE games, but does so in the other games mentioned. Again, there is never any sort of fee you must pay to play an IRE game.

And you certainly can't call a MUD that is "technically free to play" as being misleading when it advertises itself as much.


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They require payment for competitive play. Sure, you can win contests, or get other players to pay for your credits - but you can do exactly the same thing on most other commerical muds. If I give Bubba a thousand gold pieces and the Dagger of Painful Castration in return for him paying my monthly subscription fee, does that make the game the free? Does that mean the mud in question could advertise itself as 'free'?
No, they don't require payment for anything. If their most powerful character didn't pay anything at all, then he was not required to pay for competitive play. Yes it certainly makes the game uneven for those who do not wish to pay for credits (which is why I don't play IRE games), but it still does not make it misleading to advertise as free to play.

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Originally Posted by
It was taken from Zhiroc's earlier post, based on 8 major skills and 4 mini-skills. It has since been pointed out that the mini-skills require less lessons to train, but I've not yet been able to find out how many less - so I shall recalculate by ignoring mini-skills.
A few posts after Zhiroc's, The_Logos explains that there are other ways to obtain credits for free.

Taking it strictly by a leveling up point of view you are correct in your 95% estimate . However there are other ways to obtain credits without the need to pay, as can be seen by the most powerful IRE character not having to pay a dime on spending any credits.
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Old 01-16-2006, 02:53 PM   #372
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Protoss @ Jan. 16 2006,13:45)
A few posts after Zhiroc's, The_Logos explains that there are other ways to obtain credits for free.

Taking it strictly by a leveling up point of view you are correct in your 95% estimate . However there are other ways to obtain credits without the need to pay, as can be seen by the most powerful IRE character not having to pay a dime on spending any credits.
I've posted again in the "free thread" because that's a little more on-topic perhaps than here (shrug)....

Ah, the "lie of the testimonial"--"I earned a million dollars speculating in real estate, you can too..." The question to ask isn't so much if one can, but how many do. Tell me that 10% of all players get to Level 50+ without buying credits, and I'll relent.

Now as for getting credits for free...

I'm not convinced that the credit market can support 5 players trying to play free (see my other post linked above).

As for artisanals, they are a great source of credits for people with OOC artistic ability (I need a program to draw a circle ). I just looked at the winners of the last 6 months of artisanals. There were 43 awards (or about 7 winners per month). There are only 19 individuals listed as winning, and 8 who won something in 3 or more months. These 8 individuals make up 2/3 of all awards. In terms of credits, these 8 won 72% of all the credits given out. I don't begrudge these folks their awards, because they have talent I do not. But given the playerbase, this seems to be a very "favored" contest.

As for the bardic (text) contests, that more people could participate in, they aren't run regularly. As stated in their forums:
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Originally Posted by
I've just met a hopeful youngster who's gone off and written a book in the full expectation of there being such a mythical thing as a "Bardic contest" (encouraged by certain of the administration it appears). Now, I've always encouraged this sort of behaviour, and the last thing I wanted to tell that person was that there hasn't been a Bardic award given out in about two, real life years. Nor do I wish to see this new player holding his breath for months waiting, and eventually giving up in the same disillusioned state as much of the rest of the writing population. This prompts me to attempt yet again to raise this issue.
There's probably combat events, but I know relatively little about them...

Lotteries and games of chance can't be seriously counted, I think.

Working for the game (building/coding) likewise can't be counted.
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Old 01-16-2006, 04:00 PM   #373
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IRE is still not misleading itself when it declares itself as "free to play". Limitations must only be posted if they only pertain to not being able to play for free during any point of the game. That does not happen in IRE games, but does so in the other games mentioned.
No, you are not required to pay in order to play the other games I listed. There are obviously restrictions on how well you can play those games without investing money into your character, but the same is also true of the IRE muds.

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And you certainly can't call a MUD that is "technically free to play" as being misleading when it advertises itself as much.
Of course you can. Gemstone is 'technically free to play' (because you can indeed play it for a month without having to pay any money), but I would still consider it misleading if it advertised itself simply as 'free to play'.

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Originally Posted by
No, they don't require payment for anything. If their most powerful character didn't pay anything at all, then he was not required to pay for competitive play.
Are you telling me that this powerful character had no credits invested into it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Yes it certainly makes the game uneven for those who do not wish to pay for credits (which is why I don't play IRE games), but it still does not make it misleading to advertise as free to play.
At the weekend my girlfriend treated me to dinner at an Indian restaurant - she paid, so it didn't cost me anything. Do you think it would therefore be acceptable for the restaurant to advertise its food as being 'free to eat'? I mean, if you can get someone else to pay for your meal, then you can indeed eat there for 'free'.
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Old 01-17-2006, 12:01 PM   #374
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No, you are not required to pay in order to play the other games I listed. There are obviously restrictions on how well you can play those games without investing money into your character, but the same is also true of the IRE muds.
You are incorrect. You are required to eventually pay for those other games. You can't use the fact that they offer a free trial to twist it into meaning that a game is "free to play".
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Of course you can. Gemstone is 'technically free to play' (because you can indeed play it for a month without having to pay any money), but I would still consider it misleading if it advertised itself simply as 'free to play'.
No again you are wrong. Just because you can play it for a month free of charge does not make it "free to play". Because after your month is up, you will be required to pay. And unless you have an unlimited amount of credit cards, you can't keep creating new free trial accounts.

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Are you telling me that this powerful character had no credits invested into it?
I am merely rehashing what IRE has already told you. It's their claim and I believe it (mainly because I have no reason to disbelieve it). So yeah, I guess I am telling you that this powerful character has no credits invested in it.


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At the weekend my girlfriend treated me to dinner at an Indian restaurant - she paid, so it didn't cost me anything. Do you think it would therefore be acceptable for the restaurant to advertise its food as being 'free to eat'? I mean, if you can get someone else to pay for your meal, then you can indeed eat there for 'free'.
Your comparison here is not relevant. Someone did eventually pay for the food, so of course they can't advertise themselves as "free to eat". You can make as many comparisons as you like, but it does not change the fact that you can play an unlimited amount of hours on any IRE game without having to pay. No matter how unbalanced it is, or whatever.

If you think it is really misleading for IRE to advertise themselves as "free to play", you could always take them to court. Though I doubt you would be successful in getting a favorable verdict.
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Old 01-17-2006, 03:01 PM   #375
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You are incorrect. You are required to eventually pay for those other games.
I played Threshold for half an hour or so, and that was a good two or three years ago - yet I've never paid a cent, and nobody's come around to my house threatening to break my kneecaps if I didn't pay up.

Or do you really mean something more like "You are required to eventually play in order to play the game properly"? If so, I'd agree - and I feel the same way about the IRE muds.

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No again you are wrong. Just because you can play it for a month free of charge does not make it "free to play".
Sure it does - for that month.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Because after your month is up, you will be required to pay.
No, nobody would be forcing me to pay - I could quite happily move on to another mud, and I'd have had a whole month of playing the mud for free.

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And unless you have an unlimited amount of credit cards, you can't keep creating new free trial accounts.
It's possible though.

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Originally Posted by
I am merely rehashing what IRE has already told you. It's their claim and I believe it (mainly because I have no reason to disbelieve it). So yeah, I guess I am telling you that this powerful character has no credits invested in it.
If I recall correctly, the character in question had supposedly traded with other players for those credits - so they would indeed have had credits invested in them. If the most powerful character in the mud had no credits spent on it then I agree that that would change the situation, but judging by the information provided by other players I find that scenario very unlikely.

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Originally Posted by
Your comparison here is not relevant. Someone did eventually pay for the food, so of course they can't advertise themselves as "free to eat".
However that is exactly what happens with the credits in the IRE games - one of the players does eventually have to pay for them.

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Originally Posted by
You can make as many comparisons as you like, but it does not change the fact that you can play an unlimited amount of hours on any IRE game without having to pay. No matter how unbalanced it is, or whatever.
And you can play an unlimited amount of hours on many other commercial games without having to pay. No matter how many accounts you have to create, or whatever.

However it would be misleading for such muds to advertising themselves simply as 'free to play', because that alone doesn't set down the limitations of that free play. And I feel the same way about a PvP mud in which you cannot compete without investing money into your character.
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Old 02-13-2006, 01:27 PM   #376
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I offer Aardwolf as an example of why this "pay for perks" option would just muddle things further.

I haven't played Aardwolf for over a year, but it used to be that you could donate cash at certain fund raising times and receive quest or trivia points in return. For the sake of argument, let's assume it's still like that.

If the people pushing for pay for perks got their way...Aardwolf (and other games like it) would have to classify itself in the same category as the IRE games. This would be completely unreasonable. The "perks" you can get in Aardwolf were a minor aspect of your character's ability. Aardwolf is the exact opposite of IRE as far as I can tell: time put into your character is the ultimate trump card.
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Old 02-13-2006, 02:24 PM   #377
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Dubthach @ Feb. 13 2006,14:27)
I offer Aardwolf as an example of why this "pay for perks" option would just muddle things further.  I haven't played Aardwolf for over a year, but it used to be that you could donate cash at certain fund raising times and receive quest or trivia points in return.  For the sake of argument, let's assume it's still like that.
I don't see the problem if a game is marked "optional fees may alter gameplay" if optional fees alter gameplay.

If donating to the game means more Quest Points, and Quest Points get you more access to all of this fancy in-game equipment, and that equipment "is very powerful and often contains special powers such as permanent haste or sanctuary.", then yes, Aardwolf is a pay-for-perks game.  Doubly so because you can trade those Quest Points for Trivia Points, which can get you a small pile of additional benefits other than equipment.

It may not have devolved into the wallet-slap-fight that some other games have, but they still generate income by the same principle- putting a price on gameplay perks.

Can anyone confirm if Aardwolf still does this?  If it's old news, it's not worth discussing further.
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Old 02-13-2006, 04:21 PM   #378
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Yes, Aardwolf does. They sell "trivia points" for $2/point, and "quest points" at a rate of 25 per $1.

(Btw, if you want to start a discussion on this, could I ask that you start a new thread? This thread is REALLY long already and Aardwolf selling things is pretty off-topic for it.)
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Old 02-13-2006, 06:31 PM   #379
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This is so freaking entertaining.

Anything KaVir posts is law, so the rest of you just be quiet.
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:11 AM   #380
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Nice. I read the first two pages and the last two pages, is it just safe to assume that everything in between was also rehashing the same arguments that were going on when I left 2 years ago?
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