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Old 09-16-2005, 07:05 AM   #1
prof1515
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Just noticed an interesting trend, not necessarily new but seemingly more pronounced of late, of MUDs advertising themselves with their supposed age in the title or right up front in their advertisement (not just here but on TMC as well).

Now, interestingly, some of these MUDs seem to be so full of stock and unfinished features that if they've really been open as long as they claim, they must only add one non-stock feature per year or else they quit after fifteen minutes of modification years ago.

Does it really matter if some MUD has been running for ten years?  Does it really add to their reputation and not detract from it, especially when they advertise "new" features that are about as commonplace as the password prompt?

Honestly, when I skim over a website of a MUD that claims to have been in operation for fifteen years and find that even I, with my extremely sub-par web-building skills, could pull off better it's not exagerrating to say I'm not impressed.

Just wondered what others' thoughts were and if the observation was just mine alone.

Take care,

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Old 09-16-2005, 11:44 AM   #2
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We put our "age" in our promotional material because:

- It's evidence the administration has experience. Ideally, this is some function of both players and duration), since running a 100-player MUD for a year is a lot more work than running a 5-player MUD for 5 years. We have 8 top-level staff, each of whom started playing in 1994-1998, and joined the staff in 1994-2000. That's a huge body of collective experience to draw on.

- A long-lived game's existence is more stable. Many MUDs rise up and crash/burn within a year. A long-lived game has dealt with paying the bills, managing conflicts, people needing time off, handling technical snafus, etc. enough times to work out all the kinks. If I'm going to take the time to learn a new game, I'm going to want to know it's going to be around a while.

Both of the above are at least as important as features in creating an enjoyable game. A wisely-run game with "good" ideas is likely more enjoyable overall than a game with "great" ideas that is frequently down, unfair (pervasive cheating, inconsistent rules, unbalanced, etc.), or neglected.
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Old 09-16-2005, 02:16 PM   #3
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On the other hand, he does have a slight point. Ages of Despair has been around close to five years and has suffered numerous calamities, not the least of which being that some of the current staff (most of the entire prior on retired en mass), thinks it never, until recently, should have been considered stable enough to leave Beta. A lot of the QC standards, bug fixes, adding of commands, deglitching of others, balancing of guilds, balancing of races, writing of a cohesive history (the last two of those 'still' not completed or even partly implimented), have all been in the last.. two years I guess, and only after the entire staff was basically replaced and the mud had been down for close to six months, do to priority issues with the college that had hosted it considering it so low priority it took most of that time to just let someone get to the physical machine, so it could be moved someplace else.

So.. Are we official 5+ years old or 2+? Depends, in some ways we are still working out Beta issues that 'should' have been fixed long ago, but 'most' of the glitches are fixed, with the only things not tending to be minor, or involve redesign of entire guilds, etc., while new areas, tested, spell cheacked, etc. under the new QC rules, are being added as they get finished, and there bugs being fixed 'when found', instead of ignored for years, like some had been in the past.

The age of a mud is meaningless if it says nothing about the quality. I really don't know if I would have considered the idea of placing the age of AOD on an ad to be a 'good thing' two years ago. It might be a good idea now, but it might also be appropriate to list it as 4 years (or how ever many it really has been) in beta and '2' in post-beta. Some others out there might not even qualify for that, making any 'age' seriously misleading.
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Old 09-16-2005, 03:19 PM   #4
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I was speaking in generalities. There are poorly-run games which opened in the early 1990s, and I'm sure there are games that opened this year and have their act together already for future success.

It's sort of like player maturity. We're most interested in attracting adult players, college-aged and up. However, we've had staff members who came on board at 17 and turned out great, and we have at least one player in the neighborhood of 40 years old who is more of a temper-prone drama queen than anyone I recall from high school.

That doesn't mean it's not worth thinking about age when you're looking for players. Including some indication of your game's longevity is a useful tidbit, even if it's not the whole story.
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Old 09-19-2005, 04:27 AM   #5
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The age of a mud does matter in several ways, altough Valg is right that  you might be able to find examples of both 'poor' old muds and 'good' new ones. Generally speaking, the chances are much higher of a new mud being more unstable, having more bugs, more crashes, more unscheduled downtime, more stock code and zones than one that's been on line for several years. And worst of all, a new mud is much more prone to suffer drastic changes like equip wipes, pwipes or folding down completely. Developing a mud simply takes a lot of time, especially building is extremely time consuming, so unless the Mud has been under developing for quite some time before opening officially, (which is rather rare) it obviously must be at least in an 'unfinished' stage, to put it politely. Not to mention all the inferior stock muds run by incompetent imps, who have no ambitions whatsoever, and just want to be able to powertrip on the players, or brag to their friends of having a mud of their own.

For me it's a lot different if you look at things from a player's point of view or a builder's however.

Muds in the early developing stages can be very entertaining to play. Something new is added almost every day, and there is often a  sort of pioneer spirit, shared by the staff and the players. Even bugs are often quite funny, and finding them is a challenge in its own. (Depending on what type of player you are, the next step is either abusing them or helping the staff to iron them out. Both can be 'rewarding'...) Some players actively seek out budding muds in beta testing, because they like the special atmosphere in developing muds.

New muds also generally offer you a chance to put your mark on it as a builder. It can be hard to make an impact on a developed mud, where there already is a well established staff hierarchy, and a world that is already quite large. Your options of what you want to build might get hemmed in a bit too much . Also in a new mud even comparatively inexperienced builders can become head builders in a jiffy. (Which of course often is a blessing in disguise, even though some of them grow with the resposibility).

However, if you value stability and a good working environment, the established mud is a much better choice. All builders hate losing work to crashes, and the nightmare scenario is losing it all, because the mud unexpectedly folds down, (in the worst case leaving you without even a contact address for the admin).

This happened to me twice before I found my current haven, and that's when I swore never ever to build on a new mud again. But the second time I was at least lucky enough to persuade the owner to send me my zone files. I was also lucky enough to meet a kind and experienced head builder in the new mud, with an understanding for my frustration. They even managed to convert most parts of my zone files, so that I could resume work on them, even though their codebase was rather different from the one I'd worked in before. It must have meant a lot of extra work for them, so making this effort for a relatively new builder is something that I really appreciate.
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Old 09-19-2005, 02:20 PM   #6
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While generally speaking having a long running mud is a 'good thing', there are exceptions. I am reminded of a recent posting seeking staff for a mud not yet opened, but that had been 'in development for 9 years'.
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Old 09-19-2005, 03:06 PM   #7
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I like older MUDs, they remind me of the good old days.
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Old 09-19-2005, 04:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (cron0s @ Sep. 19 2005,15:20)
While generally speaking having a long running mud is a 'good thing', there are exceptions. I am reminded of a recent posting seeking staff for a mud not yet opened, but that had been 'in development for 9 years'.  
Yes, this is what I'm talking about. I'm not asking about the benefits of older MUDs, I'm pointing out a few advertisements lately for MUDs that are advertising for staff/players, claiming to have been in development for long periods of time. Then you look over what they have and realize that their "x-year in design" concept could have taken all of five minutes to develop as fully as have. Yet the claim of "x-years" is up-front and center in their advertisements and even in the titles of their posts.

Admittedly, it should take years to design a MUD. I've designed three (abandoned two of them for rather frustrating reasons) over a period of the last five years. The one I'm working on now was conceived over three years ago but never seriously worked on until this year. When I do advertise for it, it will be 2005 that I list as the starting point. That's the year I really sat down and began formulating geography, history, economics, etc. (some of this was started earlier, but nothing was fleshed out until now).

Some of these MUDs I'm refering to seem to take the earliest date of conception, toss on a half-decade, and claim as long in their advertisements. Reading such claims are good for a laugh, I'll admit, but if these advertisement techniques really work, it's a sad statement on the intelligence of the players that believe it.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 09-19-2005, 10:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (prof1515 @ Sep. 19 2005,17:25)
When I do advertise for it, it will be 2005 that I list as the starting point. That's the year I really sat down and began formulating geography, history, economics, etc. (some of this was started earlier, but nothing was fleshed out until now).
Typically, in other content industries, from literature to movies to music, the release date is the start date, not when the creator started thinking about it or started thinking harder about it. For games, it's typically the date the game goes out of beta into full release. I think you'd tend to get odd looks by claiming your MUD has been around since before it was open to the general public, though I tend to agree with you and say that the quality of a MUD is not particularly linked to how long it's been around. World of Warcraft is sure enjoyed by a lot of people, and it's only a year old.

--matt
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Old 09-20-2005, 01:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Sep. 19 2005,23:31)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (prof1515 @ Sep. 19 2005,17:25)
When I do advertise for it, it will be 2005 that I list as the starting point.  That's the year I really sat down and began formulating geography, history, economics, etc. (some of this was started earlier, but nothing was fleshed out until now).
Typically, in other content industries, from literature to movies to music, the release date is the start date, not when the creator started thinking about it or started thinking harder about it. For games, it's typically the date the game goes out of beta into full release. I think you'd tend to get odd looks by claiming your MUD has been around since before it was open to the general public, though I tend to agree with you and say that the quality of a MUD is not particularly linked to how long it's been around. World of Warcraft is sure enjoyed by a lot of people, and it's only a year old.

--matt
Yes, I should clarify. Any advertising I do will state the MUD's opening date as 2007/8, when we're tentatively scheduled to open. In reference to 2005, if someone asks when the project began, that will be the date given despite the concept being conceived years earlier. The 2005 date will not be used in claiming the MUD's age.

I don't think I was that clear about that myself.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 09-21-2005, 08:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Sep. 19 2005,23:31)
World of Warcraft is sure enjoyed by a lot of people, and it's only a year old.
I think MMO's are a different ball-game.  Many, but not all, MUD's age like wine.  They get better the longer they are kept in the cellar, and many people will generally like an old MUD.  MMO's age like hot pockets.  They're pretty good as long as it was recently made, but as with most graphical games, they go out-of-date pretty fast.
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Old 09-22-2005, 05:37 PM   #12
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Age is never a factor when Im browsing for an interesting mud to check out.
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Old 09-23-2005, 04:10 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (prof1515 @ Sep. 16 2005,14:05)
Does it really matter if some MUD has been running for ten years?  Does it really add to their reputation and not detract from it, especially when they advertise "new" features that are about as commonplace as the password prompt?
Often, such muds will claim to have been the first one to invent those commonplace features (I can think of at least three such muds off the top of my head).

You also get some muds which claim to be older than the codebase they're derived from, which is rather amusing.

But what about those muds which have passed from "X-derivative" to "custom", claiming that everything has been completely written from scratch, yet still keeping the original start date?  If the entire game was replaced, is it really realistic to maintain the same creation date?

In regard to the opening date, I'd tend to base it on the first date that the public could connect, including open testing. Unlike standard computer games, muds are never really finished products, and it would strike me as rather strange to reset the "Date MUD Opened" entry in the listings just because that one last feature was considered enough for the mud to be "Fully Operational"; it's not a sudden change, but rather a gradual evolution.
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Old 10-05-2005, 03:50 PM   #14
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To steer this conversation in a slightly different direction, what use does the search engine option of "Year MUD Opened" really serve when many MUDs fudge their figures? Should this false advertising constitute a forfeiture of the community's willingness (or simply TMS's willingness essentially) to allow them on this site? Of course, allowing MUDs on this site doesn't really mean much anymore after one particular group of thieves made it back on. Still, it seems like more MUDs exagerrate or all-out lie about their features, code, starting date, etc. than not. That's sad. And pathetic.

Thoughts?

Jason
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Old 10-05-2005, 04:19 PM   #15
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There's one game that "opened" in 1997 - and 8 years later is still in testing (Gamma I think is the current test phase). The claim is they want to make it perfect before it's released. And yet there are dozens of "reviews" right here on TMS claiming how awesome it is, how perfect it is, how it suits everyone's highest and most in depth roleplaying needs. If it's that good, if it's that perfect, then there's no reason for it to be in testing anymore. If it isn't that perfect, then all those dozens of people claiming it is, need to stop claiming it is.

I played that game once - for just a couple of days, when it was still in its first Beta test under a different game name. They were making the same claims then too. When it goes gold (meaning, out of testing phase), I'll start believing some of the reviews. Til then, it's just a bunch of public relations spin as far as I'm concerned and means about as much as my boss telling me he's sorry our paychecks didn't get here on payday this week.
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Old 10-05-2005, 05:38 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (prof1515 @ Oct. 05 2005,16:50)
To steer this conversation in a slightly different direction, what use does the search engine option of "Year MUD Opened" really serve when many MUDs fudge their figures?
I think the point of that search option is that you can find a MUD that maybe you used to play and want to start up playing again. Say you don't remember the MUD's name or much about it, but you remember it opened in 1996. You just type that in and all the muds that opened in 1996 pop up and make it easier to find.
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