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Old 05-31-2005, 05:23 PM   #61
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Just to drag this out a little more, combined with buying credits, and the neocredits theyll gain from just gaining the first few levels, that makes them as powerful as well, MORE powerful than someone who has put in about four of five days worth of play, compared to the two or three hours credit buyers use.
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Old 05-31-2005, 07:48 PM   #62
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Daedroth @ June 01 2005,04:23)
Just to drag this out a little more, combined with buying credits, and the neocredits theyll gain from just gaining the first few levels, that makes them as powerful as well, MORE powerful than someone who has put in about four of five days worth of play, compared to the two or three hours credit buyers use.
Think about what you're saying.

Do you honestly expect someone who is paying for a perk to be on par with someone who hasn't?

Isn't it a bit silly to expect instant parity between two players when one has paid and the other has not?

The people on this board have a completely different viewpoint to what I have observed amongst those players who don't buy anything on the IRE games. They're generally not jealous, happy to play at their own pace and are a major part of the community. The people who do pay are happy to have them around, because even if it is possible to view them as 'freeloaders' they make a valuable contribution to the game through their very presence.

The attitude has changed through time. 6 years ago 'credit whore' was a phrase you occasionally heard, which has long disappeared from use. 3-4 years ago you might hear 'artie whore' if someone was exceptionally loaded with artifacts and beat someone.

The point is:

People who play and don't buy perks don't expect to be on parity with those who do. They can, and very commonly do achieve the same level of character skill as those who 'buy' their way, and *gasp* they have fun while doing it.

-Nothing- is fair when it comes to a new player joining a mud. If you join a free one, there will be players who have years of practice, maxed out skills and levels, the best equipment and encyclopedic knowledge of the game. On a pay for perks mud, you can catch up to these people quicker if you want to pay for it, but you'll still be lacking in experience and knowledge when it comes down to it.

I seriously don't see why people are trying to place an expectation of fairness on others, when the same lack of fairness occurs on their own realms.

-H
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Old 05-31-2005, 08:14 PM   #63
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Hardestadt: -Nothing- is fair when it comes to a new player joining a mud. If you join a free one, there will be players who have years of practice, maxed out skills and levels, the best equipment and encyclopedic knowledge of the game. On a pay for perks mud, you can catch up to these people quicker if you want to pay for it, but you'll still be lacking in experience and knowledge when it comes down to it.
On a pay-for-perks MUD, the existing players will still have every thing you outline above (practice, skills, equipment, know-how).  The difference between that and a subscription or free MUD is that they can also have additional perks which they bought.  The gap is larger, not smaller.

Now, a new player can try to make up that gap by spending more than the average established player has already spent in their entire careers.  However, new players will be more conservative with money, not less.  They don't know what perks to buy, where the best value is, or how to best exploit what they buy.  They'll thusly get less out of each dollar that an experienced player would, meaning they're falling even further behind even if they spend at the same rate as the average player.  Again, the gap is larger, not smaller.
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Old 05-31-2005, 10:15 PM   #64
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Xorith:

Just curious if you have ever played Threshold? Perfect example of a mud not to play if pay to advance is not you thing. I can't stand it for that reason. It claims to be an rp intense mud when you can't even join a church to rp unless you have given so much money. Gah, its such a long story of why that is a horrible mud for paying for what you recieve.
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Old 05-31-2005, 10:34 PM   #65
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You're talking about Threshold RPG, right? Well, I guess there aren't any churches in Threshold Mush so it's kind of a stupid question. At least, I don't THINK there are any churches in Threshold Mush.
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Old 06-01-2005, 03:34 AM   #66
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Exclamation

Now that you say that, I feel more like im in the game just to be a fill in. like I'm just there to attract more players and use my votes to gain IRE more money and be a slave to those who bought. Although I love Lusternia and Imperian, I just dont think its worth the time you have to put in to get almost equal with those who bought. I'm addicted and so ill keep playing though
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Old 06-01-2005, 04:54 AM   #67
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Wow, and I thought this thread was dying down some...

I think what I've read over the last few pages are people voicing their experiences on various pay-for-perk games. I must agree in that my experience on pay-for-perk games were equally disappointing, however...

I think a major thing is being overlooked. I don't agree with the notion that those who have a lot of free time also have a lot of money. In today's economy, at least in the US, it is quite apparent that in order to have money, you must bust your rear to get it. Granted, a lot of "kids" use their mom and dad's credit cards to get things, but I honestly wouldn't allow this in mine. Not to discriminate against those who are under 18 and are a good, positive force in the community, I just don't want the headaches of 16 year old Tommy who "stole" their mother's card and now she wants a refund. Also, due to the laws of today with respect to what can be considered abusive to children, I don't want the responsibility of Tommy's mother coming to me with a law suit because she looked at a log of two people talking about adult topics. Before you start, yes I know disclaimers and all that jazz helps, but I don't even want it to go that far. If Tommy isn't suppose to be playing due to him lying about his age, then the buck stops there.

Anywho... I agree that any pay for perk system must have some sort of balance to it. It's great to give those without the same freetime as "normal" players to be able to buy back the disadvantage, however, it has to stay within that range. The problem though, is that in a commercial system, this isn't enough to turn a profit. Who wants to pay money for something that everyone else got for free?

The major thing here is to make well and sure that people know right-off that this IS a pay MUD. You can play for free, but you may very well be at a disadvantage. There's a problem with *this* though... It can and will drive people away, however...

I really think that, as I said in the past, pay for perks is becoming more main-stream and acceptable. I don't think stating that your MUD is a pay for perk right off the bat will drive away nearly as many people as claiming it's free, then springing it on them when they least expect it. You can't please everyone though, and that's the only fact of the matter.

In reality, pay for perk seems to go beyond just a payment scheme. KaVir points out that player skill should still be a needed element, and I believe that to be true. So really, it's just an added dynamic to the game. A dynamic that makes it a little harder to provide a well-rounded, challenging experience. I don't know many people who stick around in a MUD that lacks challenge, even if they did invest money into it, so from a profit perspective - this is a must.

It's also not like we're giving players a "cheat code" here. I could see it more as equating it to the console-game equiv of going out and buying a special controller, one that has macros and "turbo" and maybe even is built better and more sensitive. A controller like that is an obvious advantage to a stock game console controller, and as I felt many times in my youth, it's hard to beat someone with both skill AND a "turbo" controller. (All those hours of Street Fighter II Turbo... bah! The idea is to make the system where skill is still needed to use anything you buy, not so it's replaced by what you buy. But...

You still need to keep it in perspective. Not everyone will pay for the perks, and to just abandon the free-play crowd would be to wish the whole game to fail from the get-go. What I think most players who have posted here have felt is that shaky middle-ground. Not all games hit it well, and to be honest, it could even be impossible to hit it. I don't think all players feel the same pain because not all players fall on this middle ground. In fact, after speaking with a lot of veteran players in a game I was trying once, nearly all said that they did, infact, pay for a perk or two at one time or another. Most people who never pay for perks don't really play the game enough to feel "lower" than those who have paid. It's only the ones who do advance far without paying that hit that sort of gap, where they're really at the top of the "free" class of players, but they find themselves still below the "paying" players. Still some charge on past that "barrier", as we've seen in this thread.

My suggestion to players who play pay-for-perk MUDs and are not happy with the system that's currently in place is to think hard about that system, and provide the admins of the MUD with constructive ideas for changes that would benefit all. By blasting them, their MUD, or the system, you do little for the issue at hand. The fact is, people start pay-for-perk MUDs to provide a commercially-run MUD experience, and it's very unlikely that an admin (owner of a company in most cases) is simply going to drop their entire payment model because it isn't fair for a few people.

That is pretty much why I started this whole discussion. I wanted to see what people felt of the two - pay for play, and pay for perk/advance. I was also hoping to see a great deal of ideas and suggestions for both, as we have. If you're just jumping into the thread, I strongly advise you to read the first few pages. You may even find some of those constructive ideas that you can send in to your favorite MUD admins.
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Old 06-01-2005, 05:08 AM   #68
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Daedroth @ June 01 2005,04:34)
Now that you say that, I feel more like im in the game just to be a fill in. like I'm just there to attract more players and use my votes to gain IRE more money and be a slave to those who bought. Although I love Lusternia and Imperian, I just dont think its worth the time you have to put in to get almost equal with those who bought. I'm addicted and so ill keep playing though
I just had to comment here... (As if my novel-length posts aren't enough...)

Every player counts in a MUD, let it be free, pay to play, or pay for perk. You're not just an extra body, boosting the player counts and voting, but you're another person inside a game that adds to the overall dynamic of that game. I think it's safe to say that a game where the admins run every aspect is a very boring game. In all of the successful games I've played, they all had one thing in common: player-run aspects of the game.

As a programmer, I constantly revisit the idea of more AI for NPCs. It's not easy to write AI for a text-based game, and really, the more advanced AI systems would add leaps and bounds onto the overall resource requirements for MUDs. So while we have the basic idea of "mud programs", there's no way for us to make an NPC as real-to-life as a player. Besides, if we know it's an NPC, we know it doesn't have feelings.

In all types of MUDs, players provide that aspect that NPCs can't. That's why it's a rather true point that in order to get players, you must have players. MUDs like Alsherok suffer from a lack of playerbase, regardless of how well designed the underlying code is. We get about 2 or more new players a day there, but without an active playerbase, people generally don't come back. It's rather sad though, but I think a lot of MUDs out there are in the same boat.

Even the most secluded net-geek requires some sort of human interaction. Even if it is from some dude named Bigbadcohnan, and all you know about him is that he can't spell Conan.

You do bring up an interesting concept though. The idea of participate-for-perk. If something like that could be put in along side a pay-for-perk model, I think it would be just another option. While I couldn't justify a vote being equal to $20 spent on a perk, I could see some sort of system being made so that the more you vote, or volunteer your time in-game to newbie helping or the like, the more you get out of it. Lets say $2 gets you 1 "credit". I consider this credit just another form of gold that can't be traded, and while it could be converted to gold, it's best spent at merchants who only accept credits. Lets say 20 votes gets you 1 credit. Lets also say there's a "newbie helper mode" that you can opt to go into if you're flagged for it. Being in this "mode" for a half hour also gets you one credit.

In the end, it would give you the ability to compete against those who pay through the game, no? (Also consider that there's a cap on how many credits you can buy per day). Not everyone likes to help newbies, and the voting bit.. most sites only let you vote once every 24 hours. Therefore it would still be worthwhile to spend some cash on credits, but it's not the *only* way to get them.

What do all of you think?
</end novel-sized post>
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Old 06-01-2005, 06:14 AM   #69
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Anywho... I agree that any pay for perk system must have some sort of balance to it. It's great to give those without the same freetime as "normal" players to be able to buy back the disadvantage, however, it has to stay within that range. The problem though, is that in a commercial system, this isn't enough to turn a profit. Who wants to pay money for something that everyone else got for free?
Well the only real arguments I've heard for the pay-for-perks model is that some people don't have enough free time to fairly compete with those who have lots of time. If that were the real reason people wanted it, then allowing them to pay for faster exp-gain to compensate for unplayed time (like the example I gave earlier in the thread) would give them everything they required.

However there are always people who will do anything to get ahead. Just as some people will abuse bugs to get an advantage, so there are people who are more than happy to buy something that puts them ahead of everyone else, particularly for competitive activities such as PK, and even more so when the player lacks the skill to compete fairly. Once one person does this, it forces other players to do the same or fall behind - at which point the play goes on to buy something else in order to maintain their advantage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
It's also not like we're giving players a "cheat code" here. I could see it more as equating it to the console-game equiv of going out and buying a special controller, one that has macros and "turbo" and maybe even is built better and more sensitive. A controller like that is an obvious advantage to a stock game console controller, and as I felt many times in my youth, it's hard to beat someone with both skill AND a "turbo" controller.
Such a scenario is still boolean though - either you've got the turbo controller, or you haven't. That's more comparible with the "optional pay-to-play" model.

However pay-for-perks is not boolean, and that's what causes a lot of the problems with undermining playing skill. The more you pay, the better you get - rather than the console equivient, it's more like playing one of those arcade games where every coin you stick in the slot gives you a boost; that little fat kid might be a poor player, but if he's got a pocket full of quarters he's eventually going to grind you down. Is that your idea of fun? It's not mine.
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Old 06-01-2005, 07:01 AM   #70
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Xorith wrote, June 01 2005,068
Quote:
Originally Posted by
While I couldn't justify a vote being equal to $20 spent on a perk, I could see some sort of system being made so that the more you vote, or volunteer your time in-game to newbie helping or the like, the more you get out of it. Lets say $2 gets you 1 "credit". I consider this credit just another form of gold that can't be traded, and while it could be converted to gold, it's best spent at merchants who only accept credits. Lets say 20 votes gets you 1 credit.
You forget of course that offering any incentive to vote on TMS is forbidden in the rules. Rules that have been changed twice already here, due to certain mud owners taking advantage of them, I might add.

Just as there there are always players who will do anything to get an edge over the competitors,  as KaVir already pointed out. These people will 'stretch the borders' up to and past the line of cheating, as long as it helps them to advance themselves at the cost of others. It is sad, but this attitude seems to be spreading among both mud owners and mud players.

Valg made the best summary about the pay-for-perks system that I have seen so far. So good in fact that it deserves to be repeated again:

Valg wrote: May 31 2005,12:22
Quote:
Originally Posted by
Ultimately, the people running a pay-for-perks system have every incentive to make it:

1) Appear to newbies to be irrelevant fluff.
2) Appear to experienced, invested players to be essential.

To draw people in, you want them to believe that they can play forever, never pay, and not be a second-class citizen.  However, once players have put in hours, built up characters, and begun to calibrate themselves to what is challenging inside a game, you want them to realize that their credit card can make any of those challenges irrelevant.

If it was so simple to avoid payment and compete on a level playing field, why would anyone buy any of their products?  The answer is obvious: RL money buys you advantages you wouldn't otherwise have, and that means that any competitive/merit achievements on the MUD (be it the best equipment, most powerful RP positions, or adventures through the coolest sections) will be slanted towards the players with the biggest pocketbooks.

Now, players can feel free to choose that environment, and administrators can offer anything they want, but:

1) Please stop pretending the spent money is irrelevant.  If it was, you couldn't pay salaries.
2) Please stop advertising the game as "free".  It's like a "free" chess tournament where the bishops cost you $20 each.  
And don't let yourself get fooled by any arguments that they use this system to 'help' certain players either.

They do it simply to get maximum money out of their playerbase. It has proven much more successful in that aspect than the more fair system of paying a set fee per months, because the 'competition' aspect makes the players want to pay more and more.

And still it is not the system itself, but the fact that some muds try to conceal the real nature of the game, that is an eyesore to most people. They even use the *Free* advertisment in theie blurbs, excusing it with the argument that there is no adequate listing choice for pay-for-perks.

So again I appeal to Synozeer and Icculus to please add this option in their listing, and a lot of the flames would die down.
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Old 06-01-2005, 09:21 AM   #71
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Sinuhe @ June 01 2005,18[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]1)]They do it simply to get maximum money out of their playerbase. It has proven much more successful in that aspect than the more fair system of paying a set fee per months, because the 'competition' aspect makes the players want to pay more and more.
Obviously, you think paying a set fee is more fair. However, your opinion is as valid as the thousands of players who play on those realms, and enjoy it.

I'm sure your bleeding heart is ultimately concerned for their welfare, willingly playing a game which sports an 'unfair' commercial system that they don't have to pay a cent in unless they want to.

Quote:
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And still it is not the system itself, but the fact that some muds try to conceal the real nature of the game, that is an eyesore to most people. They even use the *Free* advertisment in theie blurbs, excusing it with the argument that there is no adequate listing choice for pay-for-perks.

So again I appeal to Synozeer and Icculus to please add this option in their listing, and a lot of the flames would die down.
I can't see Synozeer changing the rules to pander to a definition of free that has been more or less developed to target the highest performing muds on the list. The bottom line is that the majority of the players of those muds play for free. Does that make it free? Sure! If its possible to play for nothing, does that make it free? Definately.

-H
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Old 06-01-2005, 09:31 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ June 01 2005,17:14)
Well the only real arguments I've heard for the pay-for-perks model is that some people don't have enough free time to fairly compete with those who have lots of time. If that were the real reason people wanted it, then allowing them to pay for faster exp-gain to compensate for unplayed time (like the example I gave earlier in the thread) would give them everything they required.
Ok, here are a few more:

* You can play for free in a commercial quality realm if you like.
* You can buy a small amount of credits once and gain a significant bonus in skills, and enjoy that bonus into perpituity. The money paid is invested directly into character improvement, instead of the alternative where typically only time spent grinding is applied.
* The system is more lenient to social players, who can quite happily explore, quest, bash, RP and trade without paying a cent.
* If you're broke for a few months, you can quite happily play worry free. This isn't true for a subscription based system.
* Your level of purchase is completely voluntary, starting from $20 on IRE games, and even lower on some others.

It works for a very large number of people.

-H
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Old 06-01-2005, 11:08 AM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Hardestadt @ June 01 2005,10:21)
I can't see Synozeer changing the rules to pander to a definition of free that has been more or less developed to target the highest performing muds on the list.
But above, the_logos (correctly) points out that it is a commonly-used model in the industry.  It's easily defined, and distinct from "Free" and "Flat Fee" services.  It doesn't only target the company you work for-- Materia Magica and other games use similar models, and they have nothing to do with IRE.

Why the resistance to an honest label?  If it's such a freedom to be able to invest cash instead of time, why not advertise it loud and proud?
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Old 06-01-2005, 03:04 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by (Daedroth @ May 31 2005,18:23)
Just to drag this out a little more, combined with buying credits, and the neocredits theyll gain from just gaining the first few levels, that makes them as powerful as well, MORE powerful than someone who has put in about four of five days worth of play, compared to the two or three hours credit buyers use.
Of course that's the way it works. The player who is time-rich but cash poor has to spend the resource he has (time).
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Old 06-01-2005, 03:08 PM   #75
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Originally Posted by (Valg @ May 31 2005,21:14)
On a pay-for-perks MUD, the existing players will still have every thing you outline above (practice, skills, equipment, know-how).  The difference between that and a subscription or free MUD is that they can also have additional perks which they bought.  The gap is larger, not smaller.
Apparently you seem to be repeatedly misunderstanding this, so let me explain again. In many pay-for-perks MUDs, everything is obtainable, completely for free. I'll repeat that: Everything is obtainable completely for free. The players who don't pay have the opportunity to get -anything- simply by putting in time. Huh. Sounds a lot like most MUDs where time is the major factor, doesn't it?


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Old 06-01-2005, 03:10 PM   #76
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Originally Posted by (Daedroth @ June 01 2005,04:34)
Although I love Lusternia and Imperian, I just dont think its worth the time you have to put in to get almost equal with those who bought.
Sure, and that's your right. Other people don't think it's worth the money to get equal with those who bought success with time. The same thing will have different value to different individuals.

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Old 06-01-2005, 03:13 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by (Xorith @ June 01 2005,05:54)
Who wants to pay money for something that everyone else got for free?
Nobody. But then, few things on MUDs are actually free. They generally require an expenditure of time, and for many people, time is quite valuable. I'd still be playing City of Heroes if the game let me throw some extra money its way to speed up my progress. My time is worth more than the enjoyment I got progressing at the slow pace I did (due to not being able to play very much).

There is nothing stopping you from making more money, but good luck creating more time.

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Old 06-01-2005, 03:19 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ June 01 2005,07:14)
Well the only real arguments I've heard for the pay-for-perks model is that some people don't have enough free time to fairly compete with those who have lots of time.
No, the only real argument is that some consumers want it, and thus it is worth providing to them. There's an 800 million+ annual market in virtual item trading, and ALL of the biggest MUDs have it going on extensively. Where do you think that 800+ million comes from? Players. Players who want to be able to buy virtual stuff. That is the justification.

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Old 06-01-2005, 03:24 PM   #79
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ June 01 2005,12:08)
Why the resistance to an honest label?  If it's such a freedom to be able to invest cash instead of time, why not advertise it loud and proud?
Quote:
Originally Posted by
But above, the_logos (correctly) points out that it is a commonly-used model in the industry.
I think you missed the point. The point is that it is standard to say a game is free if you can play it for free.

Quote:
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It doesn't only target the company you work for
Hardestat doesn't work for us last time I checked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
Why the resistance to an honest label? If it's such a freedom to be able to invest cash instead of time, why not advertise it loud and proud?
Because it's a stronger freedom to be able to play for free in a commercial game, which is precisely what players can do in our games.

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Old 06-01-2005, 03:43 PM   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ June 01 2005,16:08)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ May 31 2005,21:14)
On a pay-for-perks MUD, the existing players will still have every thing you outline above (practice, skills, equipment, know-how).  The difference between that and a subscription or free MUD is that they can also have additional perks which they bought.  The gap is larger, not smaller.
Apparently you seem to be repeatedly misunderstanding this, so let me explain again. In many pay-for-perks MUDs, everything is obtainable, completely for free. I'll repeat that: Everything is obtainable completely for free. The players who don't pay have the opportunity to get -anything- simply by putting in time. Huh. Sounds a lot like most MUDs where time is the major factor, doesn't it?


--matt
Apparently, you seem to be repeatedly misunderstanding me, so I'll explain again:

New player: Enters with nothing.
Free MUD established player: Has edge in practice, skills, equipment, know-how.
Pay-for-perks MUD established player: Has edge in practice, skills, equipment, know-how, and previously invested money.

The pay-for-perks scheme means the new player has to invest an amount of money (equal to that spent by the average established player) to reduce the gap to the same magnitude encountered in a free game.

This remains true even if your MUD has an implicit rate of dollars-to-time conversion, as you claim IRE does. Example, using arbitrary numbers:

Starting conditions:
1) Average player on Free MUD: 100 hours of experience.
2) Average player on Pay-for-Perks MUD: 100 hours of experience, plus $50 invested.

The new player, in order to be "even" on the Pay-For-Perks MUD cannot do so by only spending 100 hours of play. They either have to spend some combination of:

1) 100 hours and $50, or
2) (100 + X) hours, where X is the amount of hours needed to accumulate perks equivalent to what $50 gets you.

You repeatedly point out that the new player can accelerate their development by spending money, but repeatedly ignore that everyone else has access to that same acceleration (and has had that access for longer), which only means that new players are starting behind faster-moving established players.

No matter how you frame it, a game where (experience + money) determines rate of progress is inherently more difficult on newbies.
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