Top Mud Sites Forum Return to TopMudSites.com
Go Back   Top Mud Sites Forum > MUD Players and General Discussion > Tavern of the Blue Hand
Click here to Register

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 05-26-2005, 01:17 AM   #1
Xorith
Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 45
Xorith is on a distinguished road
Unhappy

I want to start this thread out with my view on profit and MUDs.

I have nothing against someone who feels their original MUD is good enough to charge for, so long as doing so does not violate any licenses or agreements. While I'd like every MUD to be free, and beer to grow on trees, I've realized that one thing remains true in life: You can't always get what you want.

Another considerination supporting Pay to Play is that a MUD, run as a company, has the potential to be great. I look at DragonRealms, and I can't help but think "WOW". Money motivates people, and you can't live off of nothing. I understand that the most obvious route for a successful and great MUD is through commercializing it, unless you can find developers who are willing to work for free, and have the equal amount of time to dedicate to the project.

Anyway. Back to the topic at hand. (I just wanted those who read to understand that I'm not bashing paying for MUDs. )

If an administrator feels he or she MUST charge for his or her MUD, I for one would rather it be a straight-forward monthly fee, after a small period of free trial. I would rather $12.95/mo for a game than to pay no monthly access charge, and be left in the dust if I feel I can't afford to pay enough to keep up with everyone else. I also don't believe it's fair for someone who is actively playing a MUD, giving it good reviews, and being a well-mannered and awesome member of the community to feel left in the dust just because someone happens to have a bigger wallet.

When I say pay to advance, I mean that someone who is paying "donations" is able to move through the game content quicker than someone who isn't. This, to me, isn't very fair at all. I have been in the position where I could launch past other players on games like Achaea (which yes, I did play for a little while... until I refused to buy credits), but I felt it was wrong to do so. There are other MUDs out there like Achaea, and while they might offer awesome in-game content, it's that one little bit of knowledge that kills it for me. To know that someone could almost instantly become better than me, during an equal amount of play time, just because he or she was able to spend more.

I really don't feel how Pay-To-Advance gives back to the playerbase. While I accept that any income a MUD receives can be put towards bettering things like net connections, hiring educated designers and programmers, and who knows what else, the simple fact that some of your playerbase who may be supporting you in other ways than sending money are being left behind simply because they might not have enough of it to spend on you. A father, with two kids, a mortgage, and trying to make the best off of the only job he's qualified for, who just wants to come home and enjoy a game, is certainly in no position to shell out money for upgrades and advancement. Not when that money could be taking food from his children's mouths. No, I am not the person I just described, but I know some who have been IN said positions.

So what do you think? Would you rather a straight-forward monthly payment system on MUDs that charge, or would you rather a Pay-To-Advance system? Why? I'm going to remain as open-minded as I can here, since I'm just curious. I may even use the information obtained here to govern my future choices for the code I'm developing in my free time.

Note: I'm not asking for an opinion on if you think it should be FREE or not. It's OBVIOUS that we'd all like our favorite games to be free, so lets cut this whole debate out right now. Yes, free is preferably the best thing. Understood, no need to restate. Now if FREE isn't an option, present your ideas.
Xorith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 03:08 AM   #2
Traithe
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Name: Kite
Posts: 131
Traithe is on a distinguished road
In the commercial project I recently started we plan on adopting a hybrid system, which I hope will capture the best of both types of fee paradigms (i.e. pay-to-play vs. pay-for-perks).

The biggest advantage of a PFP system, to my mind, is allowing players to play your game for free - not only does this help amass a userbase by including those who don't necessarily want to shell out money for their gaming experience, but it also gives people a chance to try it out and see how they like it before they put any money down.

With that in mind, our foundation will be a monthly pay-to-play fee - probably somewhere in the neighborhood of $10 USD or so.

Initially I was leaning very heavily towards offering trial periods, like one free month, or somesuch. However, someone, I believe it was KaVir, suggested something pretty interesting. Namely, the possibility of allowing perpetually free play within a limited scope, and only charging players who wish to use the entirety of the game's content/featureset.

Rather like old-school shareware - you can download and play Wolfenstein for free, but to advance past the third level you have to send in your $15 or whatever and register a full copy of the game.

Applied here, it would likely translate into something like the ability to play non-human/outerworld races, access to the space combat/colonization modules in the game, or some other sort of possibility I haven't come across yet.

This wouldn't carry the negative issues of a PFP system because it's more or less a binary arrangement; either the player pays and has access to these "extended" elements, or they don't. Once access is given, they're on a level playing field with everyone else.

On the other hand, it would still allow people to play for free; and if balanced properly, it wouldn't have any effect in terms of giving paying players any real "advantages" over non-paying players, but rather only access to certain parts of the game that are reserved.

Anyway, it's far from fully fleshed out, but that's the general idea. Whether or not it's actually viable, we'll just have to wait and find out. <g>
Traithe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 03:48 AM   #3
Hephos
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Sweden
Home MUD: www.sharune.com
Posts: 359
Hephos is on a distinguished road
Traithe, that sounds almost exactly like the pay solution we are adopting for our upcoming game - http://www.aeonfalls.com

We're going with a monthly subscription for accessing greater game content, more races, classes, tradeskills and similar. And the game will be available to play for free for those that cannot pay, younger people or cheap bastards (sorry if anyone feel offended, it was a joke ).

At the same time, we will use some pay for perks things that are outside of the subscription. We'll auction away epic weapons and similar, much like i believe Iron Realms has accomplished successfully. Of course we'll keep the items unique so people will want them, but still not tear up our game balance so it will be fairly equal to any items anyone else can get without paying. Another pay perk may be that customers can pay a tiny amount to "restring" any piece of their equipment to make their characters more unique or buying pets to spiff up their character (RP accessory mainly).

If you want, it would be fun to have a chat someday and talk a little about the commercial part of building up a game from scratch

Have fun everyone!
Hephos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 04:18 AM   #4
Xorith
Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 45
Xorith is on a distinguished road
I must say I am very impressed with the replies so far. Very professional, and very informative.

Traithe, would you mind if I, too, adopted such a payment scheme if I were to take a project I'm working on to the next level? I was considering this, but in a different form. That is, release certain parts of the game which required a one-time fee to access. The way to balance would be to ensure that everything in the "pay zones" could be obtained elsewhere in the MUD, however there would be some sort of perk for the pay zones. More than likely a form of recognition for completing the trials/quests in that zone.

Example: I release a Pay Zone that's a previously undiscovered dungeon. Upon entering the dungeon, (or perhaps before), an NPC speaks to the players (who have the payzone enabled), and speaks of some sort of quest or trial. It could be anything, but the point is, it's a quest. Some parts would require help from friends, others would be soloable if you can figure out the puzzles. The end result would be some sort of title, or item, that would distinguish the player from other players who did not complete the trial.

This still keeps an equal playing field, but gives players the chance to go further into things if they want to pay. I still feel slightly wrong for this, since it's not, as you said, binary, though I think I'd feel better if I made mention of these pay zones in my opening pages of my game's tutorial.

Another thought would be to actually include slightly better items in these pay zones, but not restrict them to only those with the zone or those who pick it up. That is, an item can be gotten through a quest or from killing a creature in that pay zone, but then given or bought trough Auction by someone who doesn't have it. This again means that the playing field is somewhat level, you can still aquire the items, but it means it'll be harder to aquire them for those who won't pay for the zone.

I like your idea better though, Traithe. It seems much more PR-safe, and doesn't have the potential to turn into a management nightmare. There are flaws in my idea which I don't like... such as, if it's a one-time fee, and my playerbase doesn't grow, then where will the revenue come from? After all the players who will pay, do pay, a stagnent playerbase means no more revenue, unless I create more pay zones. And going that route, how many is too many? How many zones could I create for a MUD, complete with dynamic content, before I meet some sort of limit? Let that limit be in the program, or just in the lack of creativity to produce another zone. Also, in order to keep it fair, I would have to release non pay zones at least semi-equally to pay zones. Again, I don't think I could keep that up for long.

However, what you suggest could be adapted easily to fit one's need. In fact, I like the idea of races, and possibly classes. It could be extended into certain features, as you said, which really wouldn't make the playing field uneven, but they would be things a player would desire at some point. For instance, I could say a subscriber gets a free 10-room house, where as non-subscribers must pay 100k gold (example) per room. Or, I could have a standard set of races and classes, and then make subscriber-only races and classes (this would require an account system though, where an account contains characters). Another thought is remort - this could be a subscriber-only thing, as seen in the game Nodeka. (I just remembered they did that, it's not a subscription fee though, it's a one-time donation if I remember right.) I can also see where my above idea could apply here... instead of the one-time fee, go with subscribers.

Really, I guess all I would need to do to satisfy my moral need is to make it known right off that the game is truly pay to play, with limits imposed on free-play. That way people know right off that they're logging into a commercial game, and will be expected to pay if they want all the features.

I don't expect that I will truly feel OK with charging for something I consider a hobby, and in reality, my next project will be a bit more than a MUD. It will have a MUD-like feel, but it'll be much more then that. I suppose, though, if I want to consider this from another perspective, I charge people for my time to write code for them. If I were to bill myself for the time it has already taken me, and will take me, to create this game, add to that the cost of hosting, I would have a pretty hefty figure to work with. If I consider it a business, that *would* be my expense for the game... and it makes me feel a bit better when thinking about charging.

Anywho, 3am ramblings will now cease. Back to earning money.
Xorith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 07:36 AM   #5
Traithe
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Name: Kite
Posts: 131
Traithe is on a distinguished road
I like the idea of offering meta-elements in exchange for fees, e.g. restrings, small in-game events (like a wedding), etc.

However, this only works with the model if a) you ensure that the things you're offering have no effect on the game's baseline meritocracy (coded powerlevels, more or less), and b) you completely separate it from in-game valuation.

So, as an example, IMO offering a house for $25 USD or 100k in-game gold wouldn't work. At first glance the alternative setup is a good thing, because you're allowing players who don't want to spend the money a way to obtain the item. What you're really doing, though, is setting up an implicit value structure and ranking system, wherein players with RL money > players without. That is, in a case like this you're basically saying "since you can't pay us X dollars, we're making you pay a penalty of X^Y RL time to achieve the same end." All this will do is serve to create resentment and a sort of quasi-caste system within your playerbase.

Instead, if you are very clear and deliberate with your line-drawing at the outset, I imagine these problems wouldn't arise. That is, if you tell your players that X non-game-affecting service is only available for a fee of Y RL dollars, some players will pay the fee, support your product, and receive the service or item; some won't. But because it has no effect on the relative power levels of those involved, because it doesn't disrupt the balance of power and your basic time-powergain gradient, and because it doesn't devalue in-game effort in favor of RL funding it won't create as much resentment, if any at all.

Incidentally, this is probably why pay-zones wouldn't work... no matter how well-balanced, chances are they will confer SOME sort of in-game power benefit to the people with access to them, and the people with access will then either a) use these things to boost their own power relative to the non-users, or b) sell them to the non-users for exorbitant amounts of in-game cash, creating the devaluation mentioned above.

Things like races or access to restricted game-modes/modules, on the other hand, don't lend themselves to this sort of disruption, since 1) when balanced properly they don't grant the user an advantage over non-paying members, and 2) they can't be alienated from the original purchaser to create the in-game effort vs. RL cash investment clash the model is trying to avoid.

Remember; long-term sorts of games like these are all about player investment, whether it's in terms of RL money or the player's time and effort. In order for them to invest lots of time and effort, they need to trust that you'll protect their investment by ensuring that people with lots of money can't simply leap over them and their hard work with the click of a payment button at the outset; likewise, if you want them to invest money, you'll need to convince them that the product they're purchasing is worth it, both in terms of the quality of the item as well as its exclusivity (i.e. that someone isn't going to be able to pick up the same thing for 50% off a week later, or worse yet, for free).
Traithe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 07:43 AM   #6
Singer
New Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 17
Singer is on a distinguished road
I had the chance of trying a pay for play game for free *no names mentioned* and I wasn't that impressed.

Oh definitly, the service and presence of staff was better. And really, if one pays for it - it should. Now perhaps if you spend a lot of time on it one would notice the difference, but with 10 hours invested I was not that impressed by the gameworld, the code or the RP I encountered.

Sure, it was all high-quality, but then again it should be since people pay for it - but not that extra dimension that would make it worth pulling up my visa.

So I would definitly vote for a system that generally only made you pay to advance into certain positions or roles that require lots of work for admins, getting your own buildings etc.

Still, it feels ugly to my socialist soul that someone that can dish out 100$ for his castle and guards can be nobleman and someone else can't - but hey it is those people that pay for that the game keeps running and keeps the admins paid (hopefully).
Singer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 09:58 AM   #7
Brody
Moderator
 
Brody's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: North Carolina
Home MUD: OtherSpace
Posts: 1,599
Brody will become famous soon enoughBrody will become famous soon enough
Send a message via Skype™ to Brody
Smile

I've gone through three different models for my project, with varying degrees of success.

One-time fee: Back in the beginning, you could play a peasant for free, but paid a one-time fee if you wanted to be higher on the social ladder. The higher in the social strata a player wanted to be, the more it cost. For their investment, they got their own homes/castles and other benefits. This was somewhat successful, but hindered playerbase growth - and this led to inadequate income for the game. So, then we switched to...

Monthly fee: We exempted people who'd been playing the game since it started, but all new players would have to pay a monthly fee. The free-to-play as peasant model still existed and players got 30 days as a trial period. However, this proved to be less successful than the one-time fee. It's possible I did something wrong, but I have a suspicion that in the age of graphical MMORPGs, it's going to be really hard to maintain growth of a monthly subscription base in a text-gaming environment. The monthly fee simply didn't work out for us, reducing income and hindering playerbase growth even further than the first model. So, we evolved to...

Paid enhancements: Basically, for all intents and purposes, the game can be played for free. Whether a player wants to be a peasant or a high-society blueblood, it's free *unless* they want their own private buildings, personalized weapons and heirlooms, fast horses, and extra crafting minutes. In effect, they pay for the time and effort involved in the building projects or the convenience of the horses and crafting minutes. Although this method doesn't carry the certainty of a subscription or a one-time up-front fee, it has (for us) been the most successful model in allowing a balance between income and playerbase growth.
Brody is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 10:14 AM   #8
Hardestadt
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 84
Hardestadt is on a distinguished road
Personally, I rather a pay-for-perks system. In my experience it makes for a more enjoyable experience for me, as I have complete control over how my contributions effect my play, and I have a choice to buy nice new things when I can afford it yet still play when I'm flat broke. I also feel I should mention that you can buy every perk in the game I play with gold, one way or another, and I've done so with several major things my character owns.

Also, I'm going to throw a comment out there that will no doubt illicit some rather angry comments.. but this goes a long way to why I like pay for perks:

I find the top end players on pay-for-perks muds to be more mature and level headed. I assume this is because mostly they're older and more mature.

Now, before a 13 year old uber-mudder indignantly defends all his fellow pubescent kind, I would like to point out that my statement is very general. I have known 13 year old players of great worth and merit, and ones in their mid 30s with the maturity of a half eaten banana. Even with these points taken into account, there is a definate bias towards the older player.

Back on topic, I don't really think having pay zones would work. Having a sense of equality between paying and non-paying customers is important to the success of a healthy playerbase, largely because people expect their potential to be the same as every other player out there. Many often get disenfranchised when they find out that it isn't. Perhaps its just me, but that'd cheese me off. My MUDding past has almost entirely been pay-for-perks, but even when I used to interact with much bigger people than myself I never felt cheaated or sour about the situation.

I assume certain people are suited to certain models, be they free, pay to play or pay for perks. That doesn't make any model more or less correct or applicable.

-H
Hardestadt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 02:07 PM   #9
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Traithe @ May 26 2005,03:08)
Namely, the possibility of allowing perpetually free play within a limited scope, and only charging players who wish to use the entirety of the game's content/featureset.
Check out Runescape. They're one of the biggest MUDs in the world (occasionally breaking 100,000 simultaneous players) and that's the model they use. Free to play. $5/month for extended features. www.runescape.com
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 02:19 PM   #10
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Traithe @ May 26 2005,07:36)
That is, in a case like this you're basically saying "since you can't pay us X dollars, we're making you pay a penalty of X^Y RL time to achieve the same end." All this will do is serve to create resentment and a sort of quasi-caste system within your playerbase.
Free time is a resource just like money.

Read it like this as well:

"That is, in a case like this you're basically saying 'sinc eyou can't spend X hours of free time, we're making you pay a penalty of X^Y real dollars to achieve the same end." All this will do is s create resentment and a sort of quasi-caste system within your playerbase."

I, for instance, quit playing Worlds of Warcraft precisely because of this. I don't look at monster bashing games as a competitive enterprise (what does it matter to me what level someone else is?), but I objected to playing a game that was clearly designed to be oriented towards people with large amounts of free time. No job, no family, no friends? Great! You get to progress faster.

The idea that only one type of resource (free time) should count is one that only holds water with very hardcore gamers (of course, we are all text MUDers here) and that sort of design is one thing holding back MUDs as a whole (ie graphical or text).

Incidentally, I think your supposition about a caste system and creating resentment is a bit off anyway. Check out Habbo Hotel, for instance. 3 million players, using our business model, except that you CAN'T get anything without paying for it (unlike in our model, where you can get anything without paying for it).

Finally, it's worth pointing out that the market (largely a grey or black market at this point, since it's usually done in contravention of the Terms of Service) for virtual goods is, according to the best sources available, at -least- a half billion dollar a year market and growing very rapidly. Rapidly enough that Sony recently announced they will be officially supporting user to user RMT (real-money transactions) on some of their Everquest II servers. This year's crop of Asian MUDs at E3 had a huge proportion of them integrating RMT into their games.

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 02:24 PM   #11
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Traithe @ May 26 2005,07:36)
Remember; long-term sorts of games like these are all about player investment, whether it's in terms of RL money or the player's time and effort. In order for them to invest lots of time and effort, they need to trust that you'll protect their investment by ensuring that people with lots of money can't simply leap over them and their hard work with the click of a payment button at the outset; likewise, if you want them to invest money,
If this is -actually- the problem (and I don't believe it is), then you'd need to stop all transfers of anything between players to stop it. There's no difference between me using OOC money to buy something in a game and me using OOC connections with friends to get stuff from them in-game. For instance, in Worlds of Warcraft, when I was a little noob, an rl friend of mine sent me 5 gold. (that's a HUGE amount to a noob. So much that the game didn't even offer a way for me to reasonably spend that much money at my low level). Why did I get that gold? OOC resources (my friends). Is there any difference between me trading on my OOC friendships vs. my OOC bank account? I'd say not. Both are OOC resources and the result is exactly the same as regards the game.
--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 02:27 PM   #12
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Hardestadt @ May 26 2005,10:14)
Also, I'm going to throw a comment out there that will no doubt illicit some rather angry comments.. but this goes a long way to why I like pay for perks:
My reasoning is a little different. I quit CoH, WoW, etc largely because the Terms of Service wouldn't permit me to purchase things, and I'm not into breaking Terms of Service or End User License agreements. Fundamentally, I don't want to be playing a game that was designed to cater to people with far greater amounts of free time than I have if the only way to advance is to spend those huge amounts of free time. That's too expensive for me, and I don't like the elitism created by it.

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 03:48 PM   #13
Xorith
Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 45
Xorith is on a distinguished road
While I've usually not been one to agree with Matt on things, he does present some good points here. As reminded by a friend, he did create one of the most (if not the most) successful commercial MUD enterprise in the community.

After reading these posts, I suppose my only issue remaining with pay for perks metholodgy isn't exactly the method at all, rather the implementation I've seen in a few MUDs and games I've played. These were games that didn't openly mention that the system exsisted in the game, which meant that I never knew what I was getting into. Yes, it is frustraiting for someone to rocket past me through their own money, but as Matt countered with, how is that different from me rocketing past someone else because I happen to have enough free time to do so?

The only place where this could become very unbalanced is when you have someone with both freetime and money. They get to advance nearly double the rate as players who must choose between the two, however this can be solved by putting some realistic limitations on just how much you can buy in a certain period of time, either by using play time, or using defined limitations.

That is, if I had a work-from-home job that paid me rather well, and I wanted to really get far in a PFP MUD, I would spend my money and my time in that game. However, I would find that because I've played for 6 hours today, that the overall amount of perks I can buy has been reduced from the normal, say, $50 a day to 38.

I think a fair model would be using (1/24)*x where x = the daily max you can spend. That, rounded up, would give you the amount to subtract from the max limit per hour of game play, perhaps over a certain amount of game play.

For a limit of $50/day, this would equate to roughly $2 decrease for every hour. If you wanted to allow for, say, 2 hours of playtime that won't affect the cap, then you simply use this:
new_limit = max_limit - ((play_time - 2) * hourly_decrement)

This would mean that the lowest the max_limit could go would be $4, and that's with 24 hours of play time.

Anywho, I digress... (I realize this when I end up having to scroll up to figure out what point I was trying to make)

It seems that no system is truly without a flaw, but this is to be expected. Even a free to play system has flaws, but at least the input provided so far has given me some ideas as to where I could go. I'm trying to design something fair to those who play, and also fair to myself and those who I may later employ to help maintain it. Though, like I said, I'm no where near any stage where this is going to be needed soon. This just might help motivate me.

Thank you all for your wonderful input.
Xorith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 04:00 PM   #14
Xorith
Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 45
Xorith is on a distinguished road
Was going to edit, but this might seem clearer.

The above system I outlined has one inherit flaw: What if someone spends up to the daily limit within the first hour of play?

Well a way to limit the damage done by someone who would do this, then play for hours on end would be to base that player's daily cap on the hours they played the day before. Or you could move it to a weekly/monthly equation (just change it to 1/168 (hours in a week), or 1/720 (hours in 30 days), while increasing the cap to be more adequate for a the length of time you're comparing).

I think monthly would be more adequate. The first month would be hard to control, unless you made it a period with a reduced cap, or a period where a player couldn't pay for any perks. Then every month after that would be based on the previous month's play time. The only real damage would be caused by someone purposely taking a leave for a month, or using multiple characters (which you can handle via accounts and make the cap on the account, and make a rule against multiple accounts, enforced with IP logging of accounts with the same IP, though remember to consider people who are sharing their connection with other people in their house...)

Am I way off here?
Xorith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 04:01 PM   #15
the_logos
Moderator
 
the_logos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Mill Valley, California
Posts: 2,301
the_logos will become famous soon enough
Quote:
Originally Posted by
While I've usually not been one to agree with Matt on things, he does present some good points here. As reminded by a friend, he did create one of the most (if not the most) successful commercial MUD enterprise in the community.
Second most successful actually. Simutronics' playerbase is less than half what it used to be, but they're still a fair shot bigger than we are. Hopefully that'll change, as we're growing, not shrinking.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I think a fair model would be using (1/24)*x where x = the daily max you can spend.
"Fair" is subjective, and keep in mind that there's no such thing as a "perfect system." There's only a "perfect system for Bob" which will be different from the "perfect system for Jane" and so on. In the end, you provide a game to players and they can vote with their feet and wallets.

--matt
the_logos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 04:20 PM   #16
Lisaera
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 34
Lisaera is on a distinguished road
Well one of the ways we try to limit the amount someone can rocket up by paying is by having a credit conversion limit, which is a daily (real days) amount that players can convert their credits (the only thing you can buy with real money). Credits can be converted into lessons, which allow you to train your skills, so since we have a cap on it it means players can't just buy thousands of credits and learn all the way in every single skill in the game within one day.

Now, as for free time resource, we have levels too which can only be gained by doing quests and hunting. At certain levels you get NeoCredits, which are like credits in that you can convert them into lessons, but you get them from levelling and the conversion limit not only applies to them, but also they are part of the same limit. Hence, if the limit is 30 credits a day, if you convert 20 NeoCredits you can only convert 10 credits onto it.

Anyway, this was just my attempt to explain a little of how we balance free time and money resources. Of course if someone has a lot of money and a lot of free time they're at an advantage, I don't think we could make a system where they weren't. Even World of Warcraft which has been lauded as a great MMORPG for casual and power gamers alike doesn't manage to make a system whereby everyone is equal no matter how much resource (in their case free time) they spend.

Lastly, our player vs player system, in trade, politics and combat all requires a great deal of skill, so these perks that can be paid for are not the be all and end all of things. Someone smart enough and talented enough can potentially be far better at things than someone who has spent a lot of money on it. I should know, I've been that person! Not that I'm blowing my own trumpet...
Lisaera is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 07:57 PM   #17
Xorith
Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 45
Xorith is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Lisaera @ May 26 2005,16:20)
Not that I'm blowing my own trumpet...
And what a shiny trumpet it is!

You are right in that. I mean, if the MUD is worth charging for, then it should be more than a simple hack'n'slash, where whoever can kill the most monsters wins sort of game.

If I wanted that sort of game, I'm quite confident that I could write a completely randomly generated world for players to kill in. At least then I'd have the gimic of a "randomly different world". In reality, most players need more than combat to justify paying for a game. Even the most advanced combat system still can't stack up to a MUD full of dynamic quests, flowing storylines, and the possibilities to advance in a multi-directional way. I mean, what happens when you've killed every randomly generated NPC in the game? What next?

I really enjoy games where you can choose where to spend your time, and that each choice is equally balanced. I mean, if I choose to be a politician, I don't want to regret that choice later on when it may be too late to change my mind.

Alas, I digress though. This isn't a topic about game mechanics.

Again, I thank everyone who has posted replies. This has been very, very informational.
Xorith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 08:50 PM   #18
Hardestadt
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Posts: 84
Hardestadt is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Xorith @ May 27 2005,05:57)
You are right in that. I mean, if the MUD is worth charging for, then it should be more than a simple hack'n'slash, where whoever can kill the most monsters wins sort of game.
This is ultimately what it comes down to for me. I did some stat gathering recently and found I'd spent over a year in online time on the main games I've played in the last 6 years, which basically means that I've spent at least 1/6 of my time mudding in that time. If I'm going to go to such an extreme, I really appreciate that the realms where I mud are very enjoyable with as few niggles possible, and have a high pace of development and customer service.

-H
Hardestadt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-26-2005, 09:07 PM   #19
Xorith
Member
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 45
Xorith is on a distinguished road
Quote:
Originally Posted by (Hardestadt @ May 26 2005,20:50)
If I'm going to go to such an extreme, I really appreciate that the realms where I mud are very enjoyable with as few niggles possible, and have a high pace of development and customer service.
Again, you bring up a very valid point. There is a huge amount of difference between running a free MUD and running a for profit service. Actually, nevermind for profit, but any service for which you expect people to pay you for.

On a free MUD, everyone volunteers. Unless the owners have a wealth hidden in under their mattress, or a few people are very generous, there's no way the average MUD administrator of a free MUD can afford to keep enough staff on hand to provide a gaming experience equal to a commercial game. Granted, there are some very good MUDs out there that manage to do very well, but they are the exception, not the rule.

When you step into the realm of commercialized services, you now have at least two more dimensions to your standard builder/coder staff teams. Now you have builder, coder, customer service, and developer. You still need builders, not only to work on new content, but to fix issues in current content, as bugs are not something paying customers accept. Coders generally work on projects that are handed down by the developers, and they also respond to code-related bugs. Customer service is where the real meat belongs though, as someone, somewhere, and at some point *will* have an issue that they're going to want someone to hear out and solve in some way. Lastly, developers are needed to keep the content fresh, both in-game and in the code.

I seperated developer from coder/builder because it's really a different job all together. I am capable of both, however I find if I don't fully develop an idea before writing code, I can tend to get lost in the idea mid-way through, when I'm trying to fill in the blanks I decided to wait on. This isn't to say a developer can't be a coder, or vice-versa, but there's still going to be people who are good at one, and bad at the other.

So far, I've learned that the keys to making a commercial MUD work are:

* Providing a rich and dynamic world for players, with no skimping on anything.
* Using a payment system that gives customers more options than just "pay to play".
* Ensuring said system is as fair as possible for the majority of the customers.
* Making sure that customers see where their money goes. (Staffers, constant content upgrades, constant feature upgrades, ect...)

Anything I missed?
Xorith is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-27-2005, 01:03 AM   #20
Ilkidarios
Senior Member
 
Ilkidarios's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Name: Lamont
Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Posts: 436
Ilkidarios is on a distinguished road
I would rather have a pay-to-play system because I really hate pay-to-advance. I feel like in pay-to-advance systems, someone like me will play for free without using the optional investment in my character. However, I notice that I often have a severe disadvantage and all the work I do isn't really getting me anywhere. I don't pay for MUDs in real life, but in this scenario I would pick a pay-to-play MUD because I would be on equal footing as everyone else. Plus, with pay-to-play MUDs, I don't feel like I they are having the illusion of being free like pay-to-advance MUDs have. You know what you are getting into and you're not wasting your time on the free part of it because there is no free part.
Ilkidarios is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools


Pay-to-Play vs. Pay-to-Advance - Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
NEW MUD, COME PLAY vendetta Advertising for Players 0 07-23-2006 04:20 PM
Come Play With Us TTTGames-Robert Advertising for Players 5 10-27-2005 11:32 PM
looking for a mud I used to play... surfdaddy Advertising for Players 0 07-28-2005 12:57 PM
Looking to Play?? Myra Advertising for Players 0 09-07-2002 12:48 AM
I think this mud is really fun to play Alley Advertising for Players 0 08-24-2002 02:27 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Style based on a design by Essilor
Copyright Top Mud Sites.com 2014