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Old 02-02-2003, 01:07 AM   #1
Loremaster
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After hearing many negative comments about Achaea's "free, but not really, cuz it costs money to buy special items" policy and actually playing there till about level 60 before leaving for reasons other than the special items available for $$$ issue, I have to say they have NOTHING on Materia Magica!

I perused their website and seen the special items and prices, and have read with total astonishment the review where the player listed the items he had paid well over $500 for; items that will be USELESS after they expire!

ACK!!!!

I applaud MM's owners efforts to make money, but sheesh! Actually, my only dig is that I am of the opinion that the number and apparent strength of these items only creates a schism of rich vs poor; someone who can't afford all those niceties apparently cannot achieve greatness; not a great deal in a PK environment.

I never have liked the model where veteran A, with 2 years of regular play gets his butt kicked and his equipment taken from a character with a lot less time in the mud world, but a lot of excess cash in their wallet for the enhancements.

Evidently MM players think highly of it, I did not mean to start a bash... I was just shocked at the prices and the apparent willingness of players to pay them.

ACK!
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:21 PM   #2
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I don't mind MMs efforts to make money. I just don't want my credit card number in the hands of squabbling dissenters.
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Old 02-02-2003, 03:36 PM   #3
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There are any number of MUDs that present a quality product, yet will not take you to the cleaners for $500/year. If having game balance (or quality of service... read up on what a lot of "premium-style" membership mean in terms of customer service) hinge on how much money you've spent bothers you, taking it here really doesn't help the problem- the MUDs in question are up front about the system's existence. Rather, either:

1) Play a PtP MUD with a flat pricing structure, so your skill matters more than your wallet.

or,

2) Play a free MUD.
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Old 02-02-2003, 04:07 PM   #4
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In regards to Materia Magica, did you notice that most of the items have little to no impact on gameplay? There are some items that do, of course, but these are not "priced" as items, they are donations that players give and they get the item as a gift in exchange. Not everything is available for donations, either - you can't buy experience or anything like that, because there are internal limits set by the game Administration in an attempt to provide a source of support for the game, advertising, and hardware upgrade costs, balanced with making the game fair for all players.

You would have to spend a small fortune, as well as many months, if not a year of gameplay, in order to suddenly have a better character than someone who has played for two years. The available donation items are limited in scope and many of them have duplicates in the actual game that can be discovered by any average player through normal gameplay.

Materia Magica also is not "nagware", in that it's up to the players to decide if they want to donate or not. It doesn't bug its players to donate every 10 seconds like some games, and it doesn't make any false pretenses and have "under the table" deals or such.

You also seem to have missed the "donation dollars" programme where players who do not have money can write stories, poems, articles for the Alyrian Chronicle, etc. in return for virtual "donation dollars" which they can then use to get gift items, if they happen to want them.

It's a fair system, I don't know if you have any idea how much it costs to run a popular game with an average of 250-300 players online at once (multiplaying is not allowed), but it's expensive. Unless you have a spare couple of thousand dollars a month (as well as hardware upgrade costs and advertising costs), donations are necessary in order to avoid becoming "pay to play" or shutting down entirely, once you reach a certain point of popularity.

The donation/donation dollar system is a good one, in that the players that can afford it, pay for it, and the players that cannot, either trade in-game items with the players that can, or they can donate with their time and make the game better for everyone as a whole. Or, they can choose not to donate, and still have just as good a character as someone who has donated a few times in the past. Charging a monthly fee would cut out a lot of people who don't have credit cards, so it's easier said than done.
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Old 02-02-2003, 05:35 PM   #5
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Paying for in-game-benefits has always been a pet peeve of mine. I have no problem with P2P muds in general, as long as they are up front about it.

If someone, who has spent an enormous amount of time and energy to develop a totally customized codebase and a unique world, wants to charge money for playing the mud; - I say; More power to them! Their product must obviously be good, or people wouldn't pay for something that they can get for free in other places.

Monthly fees, or a one-in-all entering fee is both good, since you know from the start what you are getting yourself into, both systems seem okay to me. I am less fond of muds where you have to pay per the hour or minute, even though that is what I have to live with all the time myself, since I have a dial-up connection, which  does just that.

But Muds that squeeze as much money as possible out of their players by having them pay RL $$ for weapons, equipment, skills & spells or other in-game-benefits - YUK!

Especially if they at the same time have the nerve to claim that they are free of charge. I've seen the Admin of one of the top ten Muds here crow about his smart system on another discussion board. I don't recall the exact wording, but the gist of it was, that there would always be morons willing to pay extra for shortcuts, since they always wanted the biggest, strongest, most bad-ass equipment available. It sort of illustrated how he looked on his players.

But there is another reason too, why I dislike paying for equipment with RL money. A Mud, IMO, should be a skill game, meaning that the best player also should be the most successful. Meaning the one who has a thorough knowledge of the game mechanics and combat technique, who knows his way around the world, because he has explored all corners of it, and who is smart enough to solve the Quests and get the special rewards for this.

Some people who advocate the pay-for-benefits system use the argument that a 'good' player who hasn't got time to play more than a few hours a week, gets beaten by the Twink, who hasn't got a real life, and so spents 10 hours a day on the mud, bashing mobs and getting stronger all the time. I guess they always see THEMSELVES as that 'good' player with limited time.

To me this is a bad argument. What about the 'Richie Rich' Twink, who plays the mud for two hours, then buys all the best equipment available, and kicks the butt of the veterans, who have been in the mud for ages. Is that any better or fairer?

There is no way to really get good in a Mud, unless you are prepared to invest some time and work into it. All else is just cheesy shortcuts. And so what, if some out-of-job person without a 'real life' gets to be the best player in the mud? Is that so terrible? At least he worked hard for the position, and maybe it can also give him some of the self-esteem he lacks in real life.
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Old 02-02-2003, 07:17 PM   #6
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Being a former Materia Magica player, I can tell you that their donation system is extremely detrimental to the fairness and integrity of the game.

One of the donation items, "a token of renewal", will extend the expiration period of certain powerful donation items. Many many experienced players will camp in the CPK (pk rooms where you will lose all equipments if killed) and ambush less experienced players, and solicit donation items, such as the token of renewal, for their equipments in return.

If you don't have certain donation items, such as the spell delivery aura(shortens spell casting time), and spectral aura (gives a large HP/SP and armor bonus), don't even bother trying to pk people.

The reason why MM is fairly successful is because the game has an extremely long character development period, therefore the player turnover rate is relatively slow. Many aspects of the gameplay are built on "the skinner model" to create an artifical addiction similar to Everquest. For example, you can only do 5 quests on MM per 6 hours, and quests are essential to character development, many players actually arrange their day around this questing schedule to get as many quests as possible, forming an addictive habit.

The result is similar to Everquest as well. Players start to hate the game and administration after a while, but can't stop playing. I know many MM players that swear up and down to quit, but come back a few weeks later.

It is pretty unethical, IMO.

It should really be no surprise that Materia Magica has a number of negative reviews.
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Old 02-02-2003, 07:51 PM   #7
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Vedic: Yes, I missed the donation dollars thing the first time, but went back and read it; I applaud its inclusion.  I understand that running a mud is not easy, nor is it inexpensive when you need to add servers, pay for increased bandwidth, and so on.

I was merely shocked at the amount of money requested as donations worthy of special equipment.   The items I noticed *did* seem like they would affect gameplay, and one of the reviews I read seemed to agree with that perception.  Since I have not played, I will accept your perspective.

I am not averse to P2P games.  I have spent significant (over a year) time on four of them.  All of them were worth the monthly fees I paid.  Not equally so... one had MUCH better customer service and another had what I found to be a more interesting world with a wider range of choices.

With 250+ players online, MM must be doing SOMETHING right.  Kudos to them.
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Old 02-02-2003, 08:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Friedman @ Feb. 02 2003,15:17)
One of the donation items, "a token of renewal", will extend the expiration period of certain powerful donation items. Many many experienced players will camp in the CPK (pk rooms where you will lose all equipments if killed) and ambush less experienced players, and solicit donation items, such as the token of renewal, for their equipments in return.

If you don't have certain donation items, such as the spell delivery aura(shortens spell casting time), and spectral aura (gives a large HP/SP and armor bonus), don't even bother trying to pk people.
This is the problem I surmised existed w/o even having to log on to see it. The specialty items (that supposedly have no impact on gameplay) become the driving force behind wanton PK.

I have never really cared for PK environments; muds that demand roleplaying, in-character motivation, and a series of lesser actions leading up to PK at least make sense to me and are thus more palatable. Ambushing less experienced players to extort them for powerful items is an atrocious environment in my opinion.
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Old 02-02-2003, 08:23 PM   #9
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I readily agreed that some of the items would affect gameplay, but also that there are alternates available within the game itself that did not require donation. There is also the donation dollar method that levels the field between people who have money and people who don't.

The number of positive reviews for Materia Magica, and the fact that it is number two on the mud list after coming back from a long hiatus, should speak for itself. Players aren't bribed to post positive reviews or to vote by the Administration, yet they do it anyway, and the result is many positive reviews that are there are from players who genuinely enjoy the game.

I've never heard of "the Skinner model", so I have no idea what he's talking about there. There are obvious factual inconsistencies in what he is saying but as I don't want to turn this into a flame, I will just say:

Friedman is a supposed "former" character that has been deleted from the game under an alternate nickname for abuse and harassment, yet for some reason continues to get pleasure from continuing to harass it. I'm sure admins of other games are familiar with these types of people as well, who have been kicked off the game for countless violations yet seem to derive some pleasure out of harassing the game, trying to ruin its reputation, etc... having Materia Magica appear again on the top mud sites list gave him another forum for which he could air his grievances, and he has abused it admirably.

You can't get rid of players like this, as they continue to log into the game and possibly even play it under alternate nicknames, but take every chance they can get to bash the game Administration - it's a weird love/hate kind of relationship. The only thing the Admins can do is wait for the person to mature and hopefully grow out of it. The fact that the vast majority of Materia Magica's players find the game to be fun and don't seem to hate the Admins, is lost on people like this.

He makes characters in order to access Materia Magica's message boards and post flames and insults and obsenities at other players; he has posted several vendetta reviews that were overwhelmingly obvious as mere flames and as a result were removed. Therefore, please take anything he posts here or anywhere else with a very large grain of salt.
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Old 02-02-2003, 09:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (vedic @ Feb. 02 2003,16:23)
 Therefore, please take anything he posts here or anywhere else with a very large grain of salt.
Done.

So, the bit about players camping out to prey on lesser experienced players in order to extort them for specialty items is an utter falsehood?
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Old 02-02-2003, 09:41 PM   #11
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There are "chaotic" Player Killing rooms within Materia Magica that will cause one to drop some of their currently worn equipment in their corpse, should they be slain in combat in that specific room.

Some players do camp some areas occasionally and will attack others who enter, then sell them their equipment back for a profit. This happens on any game with PK, I'd wager. Sometimes that "profit" ends up being a donation, but it's entirely up to the character and is not necessary.

I don't think there is a distinction between trading donation items for a PKed set of items off a character or trading other things, such as gold or objects, for the PKed object.. The fact is, the PK rooms are clearly marked within the game, and you don't really need to go into them in order to play the game - if there's equipment you need from an area with lots of those PK rooms there's usually braver souls willing to barter for it. Whether or not we offer donation items is irrelevant, because if you lose the items in PK, you lose the items and the person could trade them back to you for in-game items as well.

I also think this is somewhat rare, definitely more so than a "normal" donation, and I don't feel it's fair to point it out as a "flaw in the donation system" when it really has nothing to do with it.
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Old 02-02-2003, 10:44 PM   #12
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I

http://www.materiamagica.com/store/donate/index.php

Information on the donation items mentioned above,

II

To support my slow character development comment,

http://www.topmudsites.com/cgi-bin....um=3164

Note the number of hours played, and his character level. He is archon level 70, and the max archon level is 241.


III

A word of advice, don't comment on things you know nothing about.

Skinner developed a learning theory known as Operant Conditioning. Skinner claimed that the frequency of a given behavior is directly linked to whether it is rewarded or punished. If a behavior is rewarded, it is more likely to be repeated.

You might want to get a clue before accusing someone of being "factually inconsistent."

IV

As far as the players' discontent with the administration, there is no proof that I can present, because if anyone ever complains about the administration or the game, the message posts will be censored, and the character will likely be deleted and ISP banned.

V

It is standard practice for experienced players to camp the Moat (a CPK area where characters must cross to gather items needed to advance into the next class), when their donation items are about to expire.

I don't know what I can refer to as a proof of this, but think about this, if it is my goal to just blatantly lie and badmouth the game, aren't there much worse things that can be fabricated?

Lastly,

Vedic's post is a pretty pathetic attempt at Ad Hominem (attacking the arguer, rather than the argument).

Numerous players from all MUDs can fit into the profile that you described.

Vedic (I assume you are Vassago),

Since you know so much about me, present your evidence, please.

Thanks.
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Old 02-02-2003, 10:50 PM   #13
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As an aside, was it ever proved conclusively whether MM was or was not a Dikurivitive?

There was far, far too many identical messages for comfort, as well as the one bit of code that was posted by MM appearing to be Diku.

-D
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Old 02-02-2003, 11:02 PM   #14
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Ah yes, players using RL money to buy stuff. It's their money, if they want to waste it on something like that, why not? Are implementors stupid to ask such ridiculous prices for items?

Suppose I grab my laptop, smash it to bits on Dulan's head and then sell it to someone for 50k bucks as art, then who is stupid? Me for making money on some eccentric idiot or the buyer for even buying that stuff? Take a guess.

OTOH, it's not your money, why should you even care? If someone wants to spend 500 bucks on an immaterial item in an online RPG, fine with me. Same thing for people who buy 5k USD tropical fish, spend 150 Euro a week on beer/going out or spend 40 hours a week repairing motorcycles. There is no why, people simply do things they like and are willing to spend money on them.
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Old 02-03-2003, 07:48 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ingham @ Feb. 03 2003,11:02)
Ah yes, players using RL money to buy stuff. It's their money, if they want to waste it on something like that, why not? Are implementors stupid to ask such ridiculous prices for items?

Suppose I grab my laptop, smash it to bits on Dulan's head and then sell it to someone for 50k bucks as art, then who is stupid? Me for making money on some eccentric idiot or the buyer for even buying that stuff? Take a guess.

OTOH, it's not your money, why should you even care? If someone wants to spend 500 bucks on an immaterial item in an online RPG, fine with me. Same thing for people who buy 5k USD tropical fish, spend 150 Euro a week on beer/going out or spend 40 hours a week repairing motorcycles. There is no why, people simply do things they like and are willing to spend money on them.
Bravo
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Old 02-03-2003, 12:53 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (vedic @ Feb. 02 2003,19:41)
Some players do camp some areas occasionally and will attack others who enter, then sell them their equipment back for a profit. This happens on any game with PK, I'd wager.
To my knowledge, this has never happened on DM, and it's an unrestricted PK mud with permadeath. Sure people may steal your amulets or keys or other valuables when they kill you, but they tend to use them for their own gain (i.e. breaking into your castle) instead.

Other than that, I'm NOT getting involved in this argument because I know nothing about MM and it doesn't sound like anything I wanna play anyway. I HATE muds with levels.
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