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Old 02-14-2006, 06:32 AM   #1
Sinuhe
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I am starting a new thread for this, since the old one is 'overloaded' to say the least. (Hopefully the same arguments for and against will not be hashed and rehashed here again).

Quite some time ago a request was made by several posters if a function for commercial resp. non-commercial games could be added to the TMS search engine. The question was discussed in detail for a very long time, and I was under the impression that some sort of consencus had been reached about the content for such a function.

I believe Valg was going to mail Synozeer about it, and since some weeks have passed now, I'd like to ask:

Was there any reaction/decision from Synozeer, and if so, in what direction?
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Old 02-14-2006, 09:53 AM   #2
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I was going to let the threads go for a couple days to see if new input popped up, and then forgot about it until today. I sent an email to Synozeer this morning, and he'll comment or not based on his interest.

The short version of a longer email:

Top MUD sites provides a page where games provide information about themselves. Presently, one category includes a checkbox for "Pay-to-Play", with no definition attached. The proposal is to expand and clarify this existing utility with four checkboxes, replacing the old one:

( ) Optional payments can influence gameplay.
( ) Optional payments access otherwise unavailable gameplay.
( ) A one-time payment is required to continuously play.
( ) Recurring payments are required to continuously play.
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Old 02-14-2006, 11:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
( ) Optional payments access otherwise unavailable gameplay.
I think the above wording will result in nobody ticking the box, on account of the fact that most such muds hold contests and other activities which theoretically allow players the chance to access all parts of gameplay without making payments.
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Old 02-14-2006, 11:38 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Feb. 14 2006,12:04)
Quote:
Originally Posted by
( ) Optional payments access otherwise unavailable gameplay.
I think the above wording will result in nobody ticking the box, on account of the fact that most such muds hold contests and other activities which theoretically allow players the chance to access all parts of gameplay without making payments.
I offered to write more descriptive language as a hyperlink from each term which would spell out some gray areas. One possibility would be to change the point in question to:

( ) Optional payments access normally unavailable gameplay

From there, we could explain that "normally unavailable gameplay" means it could not be accessed for free at any given time.

For example, one common model is to sell equipment. If the equipment is only ever available if you pay the fees, or by winning a one-time or annual contest, you check the box. If the equipment is sold but is otherwise possible to get on any given day, you don't.
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Old 02-14-2006, 12:37 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Feb. 14 2006,10:53)
( ) Optional payments can influence gameplay.
( ) Optional payments access otherwise unavailable gameplay.
( ) A one-time payment is required to continuously play.
( ) Recurring payments are required to continuously play.
I have a problem with the first check box (Optional payments can influence gameplay). This seems to be more of a value judgement than hard facts, therefore making it ambiguous. How do you exactly define influencing the gameplay? No one would check this box either, it's confusing unless some more specific wording is added.
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Old 02-14-2006, 12:54 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by (Protoss @ Feb. 14 2006,13:37)
I have a problem with the first check box (Optional payments can influence gameplay). This seems to be more of a value judgement than hard facts, therefore making it ambiguous. How do you exactly define influencing the gameplay? No one would check this box either, it's confusing unless some more specific wording is added.
Aside from the choice of verb (alter?), I guess I don't find it unclear. What type of game couldn't make a decision there?

As far as "No one would check this box"... I think IRE would, Aardwolf would, Threshold would, Materia Magica would, Medievia would... that list goes on. the_logos points out that by making these sorts of payments, one can accelerate one's development within the game, which is appealing to some players. Other people have voiced a dislike for it, because it introduces an OOC variable into an IC equation. The checkbox would just let people know in advance which kind of game it is.

It's clear from the language ("optional", "can") that paying is voluntary, and that you get something for it. I don't think any of the games in question would dispute that. If they would, I encourage them to speak up and explain why, of course.
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:48 PM   #7
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Other people have voiced a dislike for it, because it introduces an OOC variable into an IC equation.
I doubt that's why. There are already tons of OOC variables involved in most MUDs, from requirements that you speak an OOC language (English) to requirements that you invest a ton of OOC time, etc. If there's any opportunity for expression of player skill, there's an OOC element involved there as well.


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As far as "No one would check this box"... I think IRE would, Aardwolf would, Threshold would, Materia Magica would, Medievia would... that list goes on. the_logos points out that by making these sorts of payments, one can accelerate one's development within the game, which is appealing to some players.
I wouldn't check it because I don't care for the wording and because I dislike the motives behind it. I'd imagine lots of people would feel the same way about checkboxes for "mud administration headed by amateur mud developers" and "mud administration headed by professional mud developers."

--matt
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Feb. 14 2006,12:38)
For example, one common model is to sell equipment. If the equipment is only ever available if you pay the fees, or by winning a one-time or annual contest, you check the box. If the equipment is sold but is otherwise possible to get on any given day, you don't.
So if the monster that drops the equipment resets every 2 days instead of every day, is the equipment normally available or not? What about if it resets every week? Every month? Every year? Now what about if it requires the administration to flip a switch to make it reset?

--matt
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Old 02-14-2006, 01:59 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Feb. 14 2006,14:48)
I wouldn't check it because I don't care for the wording and because I dislike the motives behind it.
If Synozeer implemented the feature, you would lie?

How professional of you.
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Old 02-14-2006, 02:02 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Feb. 14 2006,14:59)
Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Feb. 14 2006,14:48)
I wouldn't check it because I don't care for the wording and because I dislike the motives behind it.
If Synozeer implemented the feature, you would lie?

How professional of you.
No. I just wouldn't check it, which is what I said. If you're going to devolve into flaming, I ask that you take it to another thread.

--matt
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Old 02-14-2006, 02:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Feb. 14 2006,15:02)
No. I just wouldn't check it, which is what I said. If you're going to devolve into flaming, I ask that you take it to another thread.
Which would be lying. The feature puts a question to you, and by answering "no", you would be lying. IRE accepts optional payments for in-game content, notably credits. It's not a gray area. It's a bald-faced black-and-white lie.

Lying is unprofessional behavior. Accurately calling you out for threatening to do so is not "flaming", any more than your recent threads points out Materia Magica's lies was flaming. As a professional game administrator, the amateurish behavior you are displaying appalls me.
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Old 02-14-2006, 02:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Feb. 14 2006,15:13)
Which would be lying. The feature puts a question to you, and by answering "no", you would be lying. IRE accepts optional payments for in-game content, notably credits. It's not a gray area. It's a bald-faced black-and-white lie.

Lying is unprofessional behavior. Accurately calling you out for threatening to do so is not "flaming", any more than your recent threads points out Materia Magica's lies was flaming. As a professional game administrator, the amateurish behavior you are displaying appalls me.
Declining to fill out a form is not lying, it's simply declining to fill out a form that I have no obligation to fill out. It's not lying any more than not filling out the "gender" section of a customer satisfaction survey. If Synozeer asked me to, I would either do it or not, as I choose and the consequences would follow, as Synozeer chooses and as I choose.

Flame on. It's your standard operating procedure anyway.

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Old 02-14-2006, 02:46 PM   #13
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This would not a new form.  You presently fill out a form like this to have your MUD listed here.  The proposal would be to add four new yes/no questions to a list which already has a couple dozen such questions.

Asking you to be honest isn't flaming you.  

Beyond that, you've written far saltier things on this site on a regular basis (links available on request), and the accusation strikes me as hypocritical to say the least.
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Old 02-14-2006, 03:59 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Valg @ Feb. 14 2006,13:54)
As far as "No one would check this box"... I think IRE would, Aardwolf would, Threshold would, Materia Magica would, Medievia would... that list goes on. the_logos points out that by making these sorts of payments, one can accelerate one's development within the game, which is appealing to some players. Other people have voiced a dislike for it, because it introduces an OOC variable into an IC equation. The checkbox would just let people know in advance which kind of game it is.
Incidentally, I might add that your own MUD and virtually every MUD on earth falls in this category of "optional payments may influence gameplay."

If the concern is actually "introducing an OOC variable" (nevermind that every MUD is already full of OOC variables), then it doesn't matter who the money is going to: It's precisely as OOC whether you're paying real money to another player or to the game admin for that Sword of Ubercoolness, and there is no MUD I'm aware of that can make an honest claim that there is no way a payment of real money could ever influence gameplay.

--matt
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Old 02-14-2006, 05:49 PM   #15
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I think the different boxes to determine "which kind" of pay-to-play game it is can be summed up in just two, and four isn't needed:

1) Payment optional for some or all game benefits.
2) Payment required for some or all game benefits.

A game like Gemstone would click both 1 and 2, because payment is required to play, and optional benefits, such as weddings and quests are available for an extra fee.

The IRE games would fall under 1, but not 2, because any of their things can be acquired for free, but the option exists to pay for them to get them quicker or without winning a contest or submitting whatever it is those folks let you submit to get a free perk.

Games that accept donations to cover server costs, but don't provide any benefits beyond the existence of the game on the server, would continue to be categorized as "free to play" along with those games that don't take donations to cover server costs. Also included in free to play are games whose admins offer non-game benefits for money, such as mouse-pads and t-shirts.

The option boxes for the "pay to play" shouldn't be a "pick one" but instead should be a "pick all that apply." Allowing for "optional" vs. "required" covers everything, and lets those that do both (such as Gemstone) continue to maintain its commercial integrity by allowing it to pick both.
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Feb. 14 2006,16:59)
Incidentally, I might add that your own MUD and virtually every MUD on earth falls in this category of "optional payments may influence gameplay."

If the concern is actually "introducing an OOC variable" (nevermind that every MUD is already full of OOC variables), then it doesn't matter who the money is going to: It's precisely as OOC whether you're paying real money to another player or to the game admin for that Sword of Ubercoolness, and there is no MUD I'm aware of that can make an honest claim that there is no way a payment of real money could ever influence gameplay.
The MUD's policies would be the decisive factor. I thought that was obvious, but maybe it does need clarification.

IRE accepts cash for in-game perks as part of their WvW system. We use a PvP system instead, so it's our policy not to accept money for in-game perks. Incidentally, player-to-player cash transactions of that sort are also forbidden by our rules, punishable by deletion of the offending characters. Someone could conceivably get away with it behind our backs, but that's very different than a codified system allowing or requiring the MUD to collect fees.

I know you've previously mentioned a time you bribed a MUD admin for favors, but I've never even been approached in such a fashion. I frankly suspect you made the whole thing up to bolster this painfully contrived attempt to claim a game like Carrion Fields uses the same business model as yours do. The models are quite different, which is why I'm proposing more accurate labeling for both.

Everyone knows why you're resistant to honest disclosure of your commercial model, even though you've previously stated you're open to accurate descriptions of this sort. But it doesn't mean I intend to roll over and make it easy for you to conceal it.

We're free. I fully intend to let as many people as possible know what that means.
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:25 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ Feb. 14 2006,18:49)
I think the different boxes to determine "which kind" of pay-to-play game it is can be summed up in just two, and four isn't needed:

1) Payment optional for some or all game benefits.
2) Payment required for some or all game benefits.
I'm equally fine with this instead of my initial proposal in this thread, including the caveats given in the rest of your post.

Really, the differences are clear from a player's perspective, so we should be able to come up with a labeling system that reflects that intuition.
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:56 PM   #18
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The MUD's policies would be the decisive factor. I thought that was obvious, but maybe it does need clarification.
No, it's not obvious. What's obvious is that now that it's been pointed out that Carrion Fields might potentially fall into that category, you wish to redefine the meaning of the category.

Here's what you gave as the reasoning:

As far as "No one would check this box"... I think IRE would, Aardwolf would, Threshold would, Materia Magica would, Medievia would... that list goes on. the_logos points out that by making these sorts of payments, one can accelerate one's development within the game, which is appealing to some players. Other people have voiced a dislike for it, because it introduces an OOC variable into an IC equation. The checkbox would just let people know in advance which kind of game it is.


So, your reasoning was that people don't want the OOC variable to be introduced. Dubious to single out one OOC variable when so many others are also relevant, but we'll pretend for now. I will demonstrate that I can purchase something on your game, thus showing that "optional payments can influence gameplay." Whether you delete me or not, gameplay has been undeniably influenced. And I can do it again, and again, and again. Anyone can. How many of your players wouldn't sell one piece of minor equipment for some sum of money?

Now, you've decided that what you really meant wasn't whether optional payments can influence gameplay, but whether the administration braces it or not. It's like claiming that you can't purchase gold in WoW, even though you can by simply going to any number of sites and it's a huge factor in the game. It's just harder to do in Carrion Fields, as there is likely not an existing centralized marketplace.

I mean, look, of course there is a difference between whether an administration embraces it or not, but my point was to show that your motivations do not appear genuine. You changed the fundamental meaning behind that check mark from an OOC factor to the existence of an administration policy only when it was pointed out that, however infrequent, money can definitely have an effect on Carrion Fields, your mud.

Quote:
Originally Posted by
I know you've previously mentioned a time you bribed a MUD admin for favors, but I've never even been approached in such a fashion. I frankly suspect you made the whole thing up to bolster this painfully contrived attempt to claim a game like Carrion Fields uses the same business model as yours do. The models are quite different, which is why I'm proposing more accurate labeling for both.
I don't need to approach you. The idea is that it's easily possible, and impossible to reliably prevent or trace, player to player transactions for money. To you, the game admin, they look fundamentally alike to any other transfer of an item for any other reason.


Quote:
Originally Posted by

Everyone knows why you're resistant to honest disclosure of your commercial model, even though you've previously stated you're open to accurate descriptions of this sort. But it doesn't mean I intend to roll over and make it easy for you to conceal it.

We're free. I fully intend to let as many people as possible know what that means.
Hey, I tell you what: I'm happy to mark the box that says that optional payments can have an impact on gameplay if you are also willing to disclose it honestly.

The problem is that it's a poorly worded list. I have stated, over and over, that I have no problems with honest disclosure. Oh, and again, since we're being honest, you won't mind disclosing that Carrion Fields is "ultimately administered by amateur mud admins" as opposed to "ultimately administered by full-time professional mud admins" right? Of course you would. It's funny, though, how one needn't feel compelled to run a little crusade to enforce one (out of multiple) meanings of the word by attacking people who use not only an equally valid meaning, but the industry standard meaning. (Incidentally, think on how stupid this sentence sounds: Hey, I'm a skier, and I'm pretty good. I am therefore a professional skier!")

--matt
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Old 02-14-2006, 06:58 PM   #19
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I don't see why you all have such a big problem with the IRE games.

Each of their games' websites have information about the credits system, and when playing the games as soon as you're finished the newbie quest you're told about the credits. As I'm sure the_logos will attest, IRE's business model relies on people finding out that one can spend money on their game.
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Old 02-14-2006, 07:10 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ Feb. 14 2006,17:49)
1) Payment optional for some or all game benefits.
2) Payment required for some or all game benefits.
3) Mandatory Money Donations by some players to cover hosting costs.
4) Requirement to buy products from associates to cover hosting costs.

Add those to the list and it might display a true picture of what is the actual necesity of RL money to play the game.

Carrion Fields would check both, then many MUDs would have to check the 3rd (at least all of those that will appear on the first couple of pages and have not checked the previous two)
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