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Old 01-03-2006, 10:45 PM   #121
Hajamin
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Personally, I would prefer to have the option to walk, than have to pay to even be able to walk.

There are basically three types of mud:

100% free mud

This type generally doesn't have the money to advertise, and many are the same stock you can get anywhere. Though there are some extremely good ones out there.

Pay to play mud

This one requires you pay them some amount of money every month(normally), just to play the game. They do have the money to advertise, and one would expect that they also tend to offer more than a stock game would. In addition the admin would be expected, but aren't always, to be more professional in their treatment of players.

Pay for perks mud

This one can be played completely free, but offers bonus for spending money. A well made one offers some in game way to get anything that one could buy for money. These also have the money to advertise, and one would expect more of their administration.

When I want to play, I like a dynamic world, with many players and fair administration. I don't like the idea of having to pay every month just to keep my character. Looking at those three types, Pay for Perks fits what I'm looking for. There might be a few 100% free muds out there that can do that, but when I looked they weren't something I wanted. Nothing against them, just not what I was looking for.

The choice is up to the players, but a pay for perks game is in the middle. They are commercial, but can be played without spending money.
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Old 01-04-2006, 01:44 AM   #122
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Hajamin @ Jan. 03 2006,23:45)
There are basically three types of mud:
100% free mud
...
Pay to play mud
...
Pay for perks mud
...
I think we're in agreement on most of those definitions. (I don't think how staff treats players is well-correlated with the business model. Some admins on commercial games (Vryce comes to mind) routinely treat their players as children. I'm among the hardasses on my own game's staff, and I'd never make the threats and insults he routinely throws around.)

My major concern is that the pay-for-perks crowd often calls themselves "free" instead of "pay-for-perks". I'm not fond of playing a game of that sort, since I feel it ruins competitive balance, but you and others prefer it for various reasons. The_logos frequently makes a case that the pay-for-perks model is superior because it allows player flexibility as far as how to get ahead, as one example.

My major objection is that IRE in particular, and pay-for-perks games in general, go well out of their way to pass themselves off as "free". But as you mention, "free" really should be a separate designation.

I don't see a need for multiple lists. I think it would be confusing and arbitrary. However, I think a simple labeling system (color-coding MUD names, or icons next to the names, for example) would promote transparency to someone who is browsing. A player like you who wants pay-for-perks can find that readily. A player like me who wants either free or pay-to-play can find that as well.

What's the objection to something like that?
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Old 01-04-2006, 03:02 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by (Valg @ Jan. 03 2006,21:28)
Except that some MUDs deceptively advertise themselves as "free".  People have asked them to describe their business model accurately for a while, and there has always been strong resistance.  It's obvious why.
Sure, some people have been asking for awhile. A few people. That's it. On the other hand, the use of the word 'free' as IRE and others use it, is simply the standard in the games industry. (See Habbo Hotel with 40 million accounts, and Runescape with 2 million active users, and Kart Rider, with god knows how many gazillions of users, etc). Why should we conform to the wishes of a small minority when the accepted standard works fine for everyone else?

I'm not trying to diminish your opinion, as it's as valid as anyone else's, but on the other hand, it's just one person's opinion, and the industry as a whole has taken a different point of view.

I mean, look, Topmudsites is free, right? But by your definition, it's not, insofar as while you can promote your mud for free via the reviews or the forums, people who pay have an advantage via more persistent and flashier ads. I don't think that definition makes sense, as "having an advantage" isn't at all synonymous with "not free."

--matt
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Old 01-04-2006, 03:44 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by
Sure, some people have been asking for awhile. A few people. That's it. On the other hand, the use of the word 'free' as IRE and others use it, is simply the standard in the games industry. (See Habbo Hotel with 40 million accounts, and Runescape with 2 million active users, and Kart Rider, with god knows how many gazillions of users, etc).
You're comparing a text-based MUD to graphical mmorpgs. The two genres offer very different kinds of games.

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Why should we conform to the wishes of a small minority when the accepted standard works fine for everyone else?
You have no reason to conform. It suits your purposes very well to mislead people into thinking your MUD is 100% free, and using graphical mmorpgs as comparison is a weak argument. :-p
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Old 01-04-2006, 03:49 AM   #125
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (DonathinFrye @ Jan. 04 2006,04:44)
You're comparing a text-based MUD to graphical mmorpgs. The two genres offer very different kinds of games.

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Why should we conform to the wishes of a small minority when the accepted standard works fine for everyone else?
You have no reason to conform. It suits your purposes very well to mislead people into thinking your MUD is 100% free, and using graphical mmorpgs as comparison is a weak argument.
No, I'm talking about the games industry, which we are a part of. Besides, graphical MUDs are as welcome on TMS as text MUds. Muds are Muds whether they are graphical or text. Everquest is just a diku with graphics, for instance, and WoW is slightly evolved from that.

If you think that "using graphical MMORPGs as a comparison is a weak argument" then I'd suggest that you really don't understand the medium you're speaking about. Most working professionals that have worked in both text and graphics understand that they are the same thing, just with a different client program.

--matt
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Old 01-04-2006, 04:10 AM   #126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Jan. 04 2006,02:44)
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I don't see a need for multiple lists.  I think it would be confusing and arbitrary.  However, I think a simple labeling system (color-coding MUD names, or icons next to the names, for example) would promote transparency to someone who is browsing.  A player like you who wants pay-for-perks can find that readily.  A player like me who wants either free or pay-to-play can find that as well.
I/we (wotmud) really like this idea, say ££/£/free icons (or, erm $$,$,free!
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Old 01-04-2006, 04:21 AM   #127
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the_logos @ Jan. 04 2006,04:49
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Originally Posted by
No, I'm talking about the games industry, which we are a part of. Besides, graphical MUDs are as welcome on TMS as text MUds. Muds are Muds whether they are graphical or text. Everquest is just a diku with graphics, for instance, and WoW is slightly evolved from that.
Aren't all  MMORPGs commercial? Most text Muds are free. That's the difference.

Listing yourself as free when you are in fact pey-for-perks is intentionally misleading.

Obviously a lot of people like the pay-for-perks system you use.

So why are you so afraid of listing youreslf accurately? It might even be to your advantage.
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Old 01-04-2006, 05:49 AM   #128
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Anitra @ Jan. 04 2006,05:21)
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Aren't all  MMORPGs commercial? Most text Muds are free. That's the difference.
No, there are also non-commercial MMORPGs out there, but clearly far less than commercial ones because of the huge committment and resources required.
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Old 01-04-2006, 06:12 AM   #129
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I do understand the industry quite well, having worked with both sides of it myself... and I don't consider text MUDs to be in the same genre as graphical mmorpgs.

I'd wager a bet that most MUDers do not, either. We expect different amounts of depth, gameplay, community, etc, etc from text-based rpgs. We expect things that graphical mmorpgs just cannot offer up to this point in time.

And as was said, very few graphical mmorpgs are not commercial, whereas most text-MUDs and MUDers are not commercial. You may treat the two industries as the same, Matt, but they truly are not; and I'm sure many players here could almost find the suggestion that text-MUDs and graphical MMORPGs(which are obviously lacking in community, roleplay, complex PvP, and in-depth problem solving to name a few differences) are more-or-less the same game to be slightly offensive to a genre most of us care about very much.

Graphical MMORPGs call themselves "free", because in comparison to your typical pay-to-play graphical mmorpg, they are. They are in a genre that is mostly P2P, and therefor their perk/commercial systems are comparatively free.

Most text-MUDs truly are 100% free, and in comparison, games like IRE are simply not free. They are "Pay-for-Perks" games. The pay-for-perks system does not even truly bother me(so long as the perks are things you can acquire somehow in-game, without money). Mis-leading easily addicted text-rpgers into thinking a game is free when it is not truly free, however, is slightly unethical to say the least. As-is arguing that non-commercial MUDs should not have their own voting list(seperate from MUDs that make money from players to pay for advertising for more new players) on a website that is community based and not IRE based. It is not meant to be a flame, but anyone can read this and see that it is unsupportive of the genre as a whole, at the very very least.

And this website is, indeed, geared to support the genre as a whole.


-----


On a more positive note, everyone here is still better than Simultronics, who never ceases to amaze me in the ways they find to rip their poor, addicted players off. So congratulations on that, at least, you don't charge $100+ for in-game weddings, and I don't have to buy $80 a month premium accounts to be competitive in Player-versus-Player killing games. So good anya, there.
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Old 01-04-2006, 07:22 AM   #130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Jan. 04 2006,15:44)
I think we're in agreement on most of those definitions. (I don't think how staff treats players is well-correlated with the business model. Some admins on commercial games (Vryce comes to mind) routinely treat their players as children. I'm among the hardasses on my own game's staff, and I'd never make the threats and insults he routinely throws around.)

My major concern is that the pay-for-perks crowd often calls themselves "free" instead of "pay-for-perks". I'm not fond of playing a game of that sort, since I feel it ruins competitive balance, but you and others prefer it for various reasons. The_logos frequently makes a case that the pay-for-perks model is superior because it allows player flexibility as far as how to get ahead, as one example.

My major objection is that IRE in particular, and pay-for-perks games in general, go well out of their way to pass themselves off as "free". But as you mention, "free" really should be a separate designation.

I don't see a need for multiple lists. I think it would be confusing and arbitrary. However, I think a simple labeling system (color-coding MUD names, or icons next to the names, for example) would promote transparency to someone who is browsing. A player like you who wants pay-for-perks can find that readily. A player like me who wants either free or pay-to-play can find that as well.

What's the objection to something like that?
As I said, one would HOPE that a commercial game has administration that is more on the unbiased/fair side of things... though, as with everything, there are exceptions(Vryce comes to mind).

As for the word free, as I said above, pay for perks games are free to play, in that you don't HAVE to pay to play them. If they were to say they were 100% free, I would agree with you completely. If they, like we do, claim to be free to play then they are not misleading anyone.

Simultronics charges for weddings? All I have to say is... wtf?
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Old 01-04-2006, 10:23 AM   #131
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Originally Posted by (Anitra @ Jan. 04 2006,05:21)
Listing yourself as free when you are in fact pey-for-perks is intentionally misleading.

Obviously a lot of people like the pay-for-perks system you use.

So why are you so afraid of listing youreslf accurately? It might even be to your advantage.
Yeah. The whole "But we could be free!" thing is pretty laughable. the_logos keeps pointing out that it's a common lie in MMORPGs, which doesn't really justify it here or anywhere.

If you're constantly saying things like "I'd only play a commercial game! They're much more professional!" and "Pay-for-parks is the ultimate flexibility! You can do anything!"..... and on the other hand you're consistently refusing to label your games as "pay-for-perks"....

You're talking out of both sides of your mouth. If being able to pay to get ahead is a godsend, trumpet it from the mountaintop! Don't whisper it in the shadows.

To be clear, I'm not discussing what is technically legal. I'm sure, like Vryce, people can get away with a number of unethical things. I'm asking people to be honest, which is a different concept.
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:18 AM   #132
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Yeah. The whole "But we could be free!" thing is pretty laughable. the_logos keeps pointing out that it's a common lie in MMORPGs, which doesn't really justify it here or anywhere.
It's neither a lie nor unjustifiable. The fact that most MMORPG's that get good exposure are pay to play commercial MUDs shouldn't be lost on you. There are a ton of MMORPG's out there that are free, but you tend not to hear about them unless you are looking for them specifically because the production value required to make a game that a fairly high number of people will want to play tends to be higher, and thus requires some form of income to support and expand.

There is no "We could be free." to speak of. The games are free, anything beyond that is a function of individual play style and available avenues of investment, be it with time, money, or skill.

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If you're constantly saying things like "I'd only play a commercial game! They're much more professional!" and "Pay-for-parks is the ultimate flexibility! You can do anything!"..... and on the other hand you're consistently refusing to label your games as "pay-for-perks"....

You're talking out of both sides of your mouth. If being able to pay to get ahead is a godsend, trumpet it from the mountaintop! Don't whisper it in the shadows.
Selective advertising is practiced by everybody on this list. It's an undeniable fact of life that it's going to happen, and hand picking those things that you want your competitors to label your games with isn't fair to anyone involved. This isn't the medical industry where people are in danger of dying because a product fails to mention what might go wrong with it. These are luxury products, regardless of whether they are free, pay to play, or pay for perks, being marketed to a select niche group of consumers.

By the same arguments that have been made against pay for perks MUDs, it can be readily argued that any number of features or lack of features should be explicitly defined in the advertisements of any MUD on this list. For space reasons and simple logic, we should not expect this to happen.

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To be clear, I'm not discussing what is technically legal. I'm sure, like Vryce, people can get away with a number of unethical things. I'm asking people to be honest, which is a different concept.
The question of ethics can't be sufficiently defined by any one party, as ethics are a group social meme. As such, we cannot clearly define what is "ethical" in the context of TMS beyond what is ultimately defined as legal or otherwise by Synozeer.

The question of honesty in particular can't really be sufficiently maintained. It's no less honest to list a pay for perks mud as Free than it is to label a MUD with an average of 2 players online as "Spacious and expansive," but the latter probably takes place more often.
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Old 01-04-2006, 11:19 AM   #133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Jan. 04 2006,17:23)
The whole "But we could be free!" thing is pretty laughable.
My main dislike of the claim is based upon two main points:

1. In order to play competitively you need credits, and:

2. In order to consistently obtain credits, someone has to pay real money for them.

The 'free' argument seems to revolve around the fact that you can get someone else to buy those credits for you in return for something within the game.

The drawback with that reasoning is that it could apply to anything. Gemstone, EverQuest, World of Warcraft, etc, could also be played without spending a single cent, if you could get another player to pay your monthly charge in return for something else in-game. Yet I would feel decidedly miffed if I were to buy a MMORPG that plastered "free to play" all over the front of the box, got it home, and discovered that it was only "free" if I could get someone else to pay the monthly fee.

The argument isn't even limited to computer games. Imagine a restaurant which advertised itself as "free", but then as soon as you sat down and looked at the menu you realised it wasn't. "Well, Sir, you could try polishing other customers' shoes and perhaps they'll pay for your meal" just wouldn't cut it. Nor would "But you don't have to eat here!" when I'd already gone to the hassle of walking there and sitting down, even if the water was free and there was no entry charge.

However this point has already been covered again and again, and I really can't see anything changing. The muds that would suffer from such a change are generally those who also pay for advertising - so Synozeer would have to deliberately spend time and effort to make a change that would upset his customers. Not exactly good business sense.
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Old 01-04-2006, 12:35 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Jan. 04 2006,12:19)
The 'free' argument seems to revolve around the fact that you can get someone else to buy those credits for you in return for something within the game.
Does this really matter, though?  If a game advertises itself as "free to play," I (and, I would suspect, many others as well) expect just that - to be able to log on and play without spending any money.  Whether other players keep the game alive by spending real money for credits that I might or might not purchase with money acquired in-game, or whether the game is kept alive by imms who pay all the bills for server maintenance is irrelevant.

Furthermore, if said game is also a commerical venture in which players can pay for various perks or advancements, I will readily assume that I will either have to (a) pay to remain on par competitively, or (b) find an alternative means, if there is one, of remaining competitive.  And, contrary to what some people have tried to argue, I think any reasonable player can be given credit for being able to figure that much out upon deciding to play a game such.  Players can and do play such games without getting ripped off or cheated or exploited and lured into paying for addictive behaviors over which they apparently have no control.

There's nothing unethical, dodgy, dubious, innacurate or questionable about a game claiming to be free to play when you can in fact play it for free.  Any reasonable person knows that if such a game does offer benefits for play it could well mean that the free play might have some limitations when it comes to competing with paying players.  Give such players credit for being able to decide for themselves whether such limitations make the free version of the game still worth their time.
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Old 01-04-2006, 12:50 PM   #135
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"Any reasonable person knows that if such a game does offer benefits for play it could well mean that the free play might have some limitations when it comes to competing with paying players. Give such players credit for being able to decide for themselves whether such limitations make the free version of the game still worth their time."

Wouldn't accurately labeling IRE's games as "pay for perks" help that decision process? After all, the_logos tells us that the additional flexibility is a plus to gameplay for some players. Wouldn't discriminating gamers who value that be especially attracted if IRE advertised their games accurately?
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Old 01-04-2006, 01:11 PM   #136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Anitra @ Jan. 04 2006,05:21)
Listing yourself as free when you are in fact pey-for-perks is intentionally misleading.

Obviously a lot of people like the pay-for-perks system you use.

So why are you so afraid of listing youreslf accurately? It might even be to your advantage.
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Aren't all MMORPGs commercial? Most text Muds are free. That's the difference.
No, they are not. MMORPG is just another word for MUD. Achaea, for instance, could be called a text MMORPG or a text MUD. It has graphics, of course, but it is primarily text-driven. WoW has more graphics, but also relies heavily on text for user output and input. Incidentally, this understanding is accepted by luminaries such as Dr. Richard Bartle (inventor of MUDs) and Raph Koster (designer of LegendMUD, Ultima Online and SW:G, and Creative Director at Sony Online).

I'm not afraid of listing ourselves accurately. We are free. You guys are the ones who want to redefine the word, so come up with your own word. We're just using standard terminology, in which if a playing experience costs no money, it is free.

--matt
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Old 01-04-2006, 01:13 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by (DonathinFrye @ Jan. 04 2006,07:12)
On a more positive note, everyone here is still better than Simultronics, who never ceases to amaze me in the ways they find to rip their poor, addicted players off. So congratulations on that, at least, you don't charge $100+ for in-game weddings, and I don't have to buy $80 a month premium accounts to be competitive in Player-versus-Player killing games. So good anya, there.
Simutronics rocks. They've created games good enough that people will not only spend that much cash but spend lots of time as well.

--matt
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Old 01-04-2006, 01:21 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by (Valg @ Jan. 04 2006,13:50)
Wouldn't accurately labeling IRE's games as "pay for perks" help that decision process? After all, the_logos tells us that the additional flexibility is a plus to gameplay for some players. Wouldn't discriminating gamers who value that be especially attracted if IRE advertised their games accurately?
The fact of the matter is, 'free' is a more powerful way to advertise than "pay for perks" and the two are unrelated. A game can happily be free with pay for perks and a game can happily require a subscription cost along with offering pay for perks. Given that the existence of pay for perks is thus completely independent of the "freeness" of a MUD, it's just another feature. I'll also point out that we don't label Lusternia as "having geomancers" which is yet another feature that is completely independent of "freeness." I don't know much about Carrion Fields, but I'd like to believe that it contains more features than you talk about in the 250 character blurb on the front of TMS. Presumably you have selected those features to promote on TMS which you believe will attract players the most easily on TMS.

--matt
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Old 01-04-2006, 04:00 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Jan. 04 2006,14:21)
I'll also point out that we don't label Lusternia as "having geomancers" which is yet another feature that is completely independent of "freeness."
You know you're on shaky ground when you have to resort to analogies like that.  C'mon.

If you made the following two polls, do you think the results would be remotely similar?

What business model would you most prefer to play under:
- Free
- Pay-For-Perks/Arms-Race
- I have no preference.

What type of game would you like to play?
- The game must have Geomancers, whatever those are.
- The game must not have Geomancers.  I hate those.
- I don't care if geomancers are present or not.

Whether you will publically admit it or not, the reason this topic gets discussed a lot is precisely because a lot of people care strongly about what business model they play under.  

Also, IRE's misleading advertising does impact free games, by diluting the word "free".  (I like the analogy of a "free" restaurant, because you can sit at a table and ask for water.  "Oh.  Did you want food?  Well...")  As long as you insist in this deception, you should expect to be called on it.
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Old 01-04-2006, 04:33 PM   #140
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Originally Posted by (Atyreus @ Jan. 04 2006,19:35)
There's nothing unethical, dodgy, dubious, innacurate or questionable about a game claiming to be free to play when you can in fact play it for free.
You're missing the point. You're only playing it for "free" because another player is paying for you, in return for something that you're giving them.

Do you think that Gemstone, Avalon and Threshold should be able to advertise themselves as "free to play"?

What about restaurants and pubs? I bet my local would get a lot of extra customers if they advertised "free beer". Do you think those customers would be surprised to discover that the beer was only "free" if they could convince another punter to buy it for them?

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Any reasonable person knows that if such a game does offer benefits for play it could well mean that the free play might have some limitations when it comes to competing with paying players.
Then don't you think they might want to know that information before they connect to the mud?

The listings already distinguish between "free" and "pay-to-play", so obviously it's already been decided that this is an important search feature for new players - that's not in question. The question is only whether or not players might want to know if such a game sells perks, because - as you've already pointed out - "it could well mean that the free play might have some limitations when it comes to competing with paying players".
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