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Old 09-29-2003, 01:19 PM   #21
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KaVir:
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I'm sorry, but anyone who falls for that is obviously lacking in business sense.
How many hours have you put into GodWars II so far?

What would that figure lead you to believe it would cost a company to develop an engine themselves?  What would the lead time be?  How long would they have to wait before the engine and related tools were even ready to support content development?

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Old 09-29-2003, 01:40 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ Sep. 29 2003,02:24)
You're telling me that as well as paying a $10k license fee, people also have to pay you "significant royalties"?

I'm sorry, but anyone who falls for that is obviously lacking in business sense.  There is simply not the market to recover that sort of expenditure within any sort of realistic timeframe.
I have financial models that demonstrate otherwise. I also have three games that demonstrate otherwise. In fact, Imperian did more in -net profit- than that its first month.

If we end up doing a Feist text game, we'll invest closer to 100k than 10k in it and it'll be well worth it.

You've no idea what you're talking about.
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Old 09-29-2003, 04:04 PM   #23
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Out of curiosity, how does your donation system work? I understand about the credits, but it sounds like you'd have to make a lot of things in the game available for cash in order to get people to send in that much money.
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Old 09-29-2003, 04:53 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by (vedic @ Sep. 29 2003,16:04)
Out of curiosity, how does your donation system work? I understand about the credits, but it sounds like you'd have to make a lot of things in the game available for cash in order to get people to send in that much money.
Well, just to clear this up: it's not donations. You are buying a service from us. I just hate it when muds that sell services claim they "take donations" as if to pretend they're not trying to make money via sales.

Now that that's out of the way, our system works like this. There's a generic currency called 'credits' (as you know) that you can purchase from our websites. Once you buy them, they get deposited on whatever character you choose. They are fully tradeable so you're free to do with them as you wish. You can convert them into lessons to raise your skills, you can buy artifacts (swords, magical items, etc) with them, you can buy houses, pets, custom modifications, economic skills like tailoring or masonry, and so on.

The other ways to get credits include: Mentoring people who buy credits (you get 15% of their first 4 purchases), leading a city or guild (you get 5% of all guildmember or city member purchases), going up in levels (gets you NeoCredits, which can only be used to convert into lessons. Can't buy artifacts with NeoCredits), getting awards in our monthly art and writing contests, winning the occasional contest, or just getting them from other players. There's an active market in gold for credits (and vice versa) so even if you have no rl money you can acquire gold in-game and trade it for credits, as some people have more rl money than rl time, and some people have more rl time than rl money.

So then what you can buy are generally: tools (better swords than the average forged one, for instance), customizations, skills, housing, and pets. There may be some other minor things but these are the major ones. The key to this business model is ensuring that you aren't trying to sell people the object of the game.

For instance, in a DIKU-style game many players bash monsters to get 'phat lewt' to bash bigger monsters to get bigger lewt, etc. If you ran a game like that and sold people the items you'd probably not have a lot of players because you're selling them the purpose of the game. Our games aren't item-oriented though (few monsters give any sort of loot beyond gold). Instead, people buy combat artifacts, for instance, largely to help with PvP (and some PvE). As such, we can't be selling them a sword that is, say, twice as good as the average forged sword. Instead, we sell them swords that are between about 5 and 15% better.

Think of selling items in a virtual world like golf. I'm not a golfer myself (deathly boring if you ask me) but obviously there are a lot of people who are really into golf. Some percentage of those people are into golf enough that they'll spend significant amounts of money on it. They might spend $3000 (or more. I assume you can spend almost unlimited amounts on golf clubs.) on a set of metal sticks. Now, without the context of the game of golf, would anybody pay $3000 for a set of thin metal sticks? No. Those otherwise useless metal sticks take on a huge amount of value within the right context (golf in this case).

It's similar with a virtual world. Outside of the virtual world, the services you're buying (you're not buying an item since from the real-world perspective there are no magical swords. Just database entries) seem insane at first glance to many people. "You spent $200 on a sword in a game??" But at the same time, I might say to someone who just spent $2000 on a set of golf clubs, "You spent $2000 on some metal sticks in a game?"

A skeptic might reply, "Yes, but the metal sticks are, at least, real, and the sword isn't." This is true. The sword isn't a sword, but it does give me extra functionality in a context (the game) that I find attractive and valuable. I might also point out to the skeptic that I bought Dreamweaver recently for a few hundred dollars and bought it via download from Adobe. No box, no physical product. Is that "real?" Who cares, I say. It lets me do what I want in a context (web design) that I find attractive and valuable.

--matt
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Old 09-29-2003, 06:15 PM   #25
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Well, the question of whether it's a donation or whether it's an actual sale, depends less on hypocrisy and more on your point of view and a certain amount of legality. If it's a sale, what happens if the player gets deleted for causing problems? Can they then sue you to recover their property, even if it is virtual? Do you refund their money that has been spent through the credits system? How do you handle situations like that?

So instead of killing monsters and gaining loot, your players are killing each other in a PK environment? They get loot from that, I assume, but not from NPCs.

It sounds like you've taken a practice point concept and converted it to be based on the dollar. Don't you get complaints about the game being "for sale" and what not, and jealousy from the poorer players towards the more affluent players? How do you deal with those types of complaints and keep your players happy?
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Old 09-29-2003, 06:26 PM   #26
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Well, the question of whether it's a donation or whether it's an actual sale, depends less on hypocrisy and more on your point of view and a certain amount of legality. If it's a sale, what happens if the player gets deleted for causing problems? Can they then sue you to recover their property, even if it is virtual? Do you refund their money that has been spent through the credits system? How do you handle situations like that?
Well, we don't sell property to players. We sell the service of allowing them access to certain database entries. Further, they agree in our EULA that we are the judge, jury, and executioner. If you break our rules, we're within our rights to punish you as we see fit, and we're also the only interpreter of our rules. (That's how basically all muds are run, of course, from the smallest stock mud to Everquest.)

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So instead of killing monsters and gaining loot, your players are killing each other in a PK environment? They get loot from that, I assume, but not from NPCs.
Well, they fight, raid enemy cities, they run their city governments, get involved in guild and religious politics, etc. Politics are a big part of the games.

And no, you don't really get loot from killing players. They'll drop any gold they're holding but intelligent players put their gold in a bank or put it somewhere else safe. Loot isn't a big part of our games.


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It sounds like you've taken a practice point concept and converted it to be based on the dollar. Don't you get complaints about the game being "for sale" and what not, and jealousy from the poorer players towards the more affluent players? How do you deal with those types of complaints and keep your players happy?
Sure, we get those sorts of complaints but then, Everquest and company constantly get complaints that their games are for sale to the people with the most time. The entire DIKU model is predicated on buying success with time. You can actually only "buy" anything you want in Achaea with time. We've got players who have played for free for thousands of hours without ever spending a dime, have maxed out their skills, gotten lots of artifacts, etc. It's just easier to buy the stuff. The stuff you can buy with credits isn't the point of the game anyway. Power is in combat skill (which you can't buy, though you can buy tools that help) and political influence. Political influence you can't buy at all as you just have to convince people you're worthy to lead.

I don't really care if players are jealous of other players. They need to realize that the reason those without any money are allowed to play is because other people are basically covering their tab by buying more-than-average amounts from us. Subscription games don't let you play -at all- without giving them money, after all.

--matt
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Old 09-30-2003, 04:10 AM   #27
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What would that figure lead you to believe it would cost a company to develop an engine themselves? What would the lead time be? How long would they have to wait before the engine and related tools were even ready to support content development?
There are other perfectly good engines which could be used - there's no reason why a company would need to develop their own unless they need it to do something which isn't feasible with the currently available engines. However unless the mud owner plans to run a "stock Rapture" mud, they're still going to need to invest a huge amount of time and effort in order to turn it into a decent mud.

And where will the players for these new Rapture muds come from? The existing games mostly, I would guess, which is going to dilute the income of the other muds. And that, I imagine, is why The_Logos wants each such mud to pay "significant royalties" in addition to the $10000 licensing fee - a good business model for The_Logos, certainly, but not for the person running the mud. The market for commercial text-based muds is not huge.
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Old 09-30-2003, 04:15 AM   #28
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To sum up what the_logos is using a lot of words to say in one sentence:

In Achaea you can buy success for $,

Some players apparently like that concept.
Personally I don't.
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Old 09-30-2003, 04:33 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by (Molly O'Hara @ Sep. 30 2003,04:15)
To sum up what the_logos is using a lot of words to say in one sentence:

In Achaea you can buy success for $,

Some players apparently like that concept.
Personally I don't.
No more than a $3000 pair of golf clubs buys you success in golf.

I understand that you're a bitter person and fundamentally have something against commercial muds (god knows you've demonstrated it enough times in your posts) but grow up Molly. You're too caught up in your own frustrated rage to actually read what I wrote.

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Old 09-30-2003, 05:08 AM   #30
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There are other perfectly good engines which could be used - there's no reason why a company would need to develop their own unless they need it to do something which isn't feasible with the currently available engines.  
Certainly there are other mud engines available. However, there are not, to my knowledge at least, other available mud engines available that have proved themselves to nearly the same extent in a commerical environment. There's no arguing with the idea that something proven commercially is less risky than something not proven commercially. I mean, you can argue with it (I've seen people argue with more obvious statements on this site, god knows) but it'll just get you laughed at.
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However unless the mud owner plans to run a "stock Rapture" mud, they're still going to need to invest a huge amount of time and effort in order to turn it into a decent mud.
Rapture is an engine, not a codebase. There's no such thing as a "stock Rapture" mud. Or rather, there is, but all you can do is log in and use the 'say' and 'who' commands.


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And where will the players for these new Rapture muds come from?  The existing games mostly, I would guess, which is going to dilute the income of the other muds.
The playerbase of all our games combined has tripled since our second game opened 2 years ago.

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And that, I imagine, is why The_Logos wants each such mud to pay "significant royalties" in addition to the $10000 licensing fee - a good business model for The_Logos, certainly, but not for the person running the mud.  
So your logic is that we'd sell Rapture to people in the expectation that they will significantly dilute our existing game revenue and then try to gain some of that back via royalties? Yeah...brilliant. Without expansion of market share or expansion of market (we're achieving both) doing anything that results in significant cannibalization is silly without royalties beyond what would even approach reasonable.

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The market for commercial text-based muds is not huge.
At least THAT'S a sensible statement. Of course, text-based muds also don't need huge amounts of players to be profitable. There's enough room for lots more commercial text muds.

I don't mean this insultingly, but you're looking at this from the hobbyist point of view and while that's well and good it doesn't give you much insight into the business of text muds.  We've grown 40%+ for 5 consecutive years now. ####, we're projecting 60% growth for 2003.

--matt
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Old 09-30-2003, 07:56 AM   #31
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Instead of flaming logos, why not congratulate him? He's been able to turn a mud which is predominantly a hobbyist platform into a successful business. I only know of a handful of muds that have been able to be successful from commercial muds.

Your arguing that no way in heck (use to posting on boards with strict anti-swearing policies ) will people be able to pay for the Rapture liscence and make a profit from it. Well Iron Realms Entertainment has done this. That's a fact. I don't see why everyone is getting so worked up.

Would I personally play on a commercial mud? Naaah. But it doesn't mean I go around flaming commercial muds claiming there is no way to turn a profit from them.

I think it's safe to say Iron Realms has been successful. The fact one of it's muds is always at number one shows that they have a large player base, and the fact they're (possibly?) working on a Feist mud in the future shows they've made a name for themselves (now a Raymond E. Feist inspired mud may be something I check out )

Logos: Do all your muds have a strong political side to them? If so, how do you sustain a high political aspect without having RPIs?
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Old 09-30-2003, 08:40 AM   #32
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Instead of flaming logos
I have not flamed him. I have disagreed with the practicality of what he is offering. There is a difference.

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I only know of a handful of muds that have been able to be successful from commercial muds.
Exactly. And why do you think that is?

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Your arguing that no way in heck (use to posting on boards with strict anti-swearing policies ) will people be able to pay for the Rapture liscence and make a profit from it.
I'm saying that I don't believe such a mud would be able to recover the required expenditure within any sort of realistic timeframe, particularly when a substantial chunk of the income is used paying off royalties.

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Well Iron Realms Entertainment has done this.
No, Iron Realms Entertainment owns the engine. It didn't buy a license (from itself!), nor does it pay "substantial royalties" on its income. Furthermore it has taken six years since it opened for Achaea to reach the level of popularity that it has today, and from what I've read the early days were not easy.
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Old 09-30-2003, 09:07 AM   #33
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I have not flamed him.
I didn't mention you, but IMO some of these posts have been pretty flamatory. Guess I'm use to calmer boards *shrug*

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Exactly. And why do you think that is?
Because it's primarily a hobbyist area. But so what? If muds can buy a liscence for Rapture and make a profit then what's the problem? You keep saying it's unlikely, but aside from the royalties aspect, Iron Realms did exactly that. It spent $10,000 on an engine and has become successful.

I don't know if the royalty aspect will make THAT much of a difference, guess we'll just have to wait and see.

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Furthermore it has taken six years since it opened for Achaea to reach the level of popularity that it has today
You think 6 years isn't a realistic time frame? Besides, it'd be interesting to find out how long it took Iron Realms to gain a profit (I'm assuming it hasn't only just recently started gaining a profit).
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Old 09-30-2003, 09:27 AM   #34
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Exactly. And why do you think that is?

Because it's primarily a hobbyist area. But so what?
I doubt that has much to do with it. I suspect the most likely reason is that it's such a niche market, there's not a great deal of money to be had. Running a successful mud is not easy, and that is even more the case when your livelihood depends on it.

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aside from the royalties aspect,
Which is the primary point I've been talking about. The "signifant royalties" will be a constant hole in the pocket of the mud owner.

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You think 6 years isn't a realistic time frame?
Without having to pay significant royalties, it's a realistic time frame.
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Old 09-30-2003, 12:29 PM   #35
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I understand that you're a bitter person and fundamentally have something against commercial muds (god knows you've demonstrated it enough times in your posts)
Well, actually you are wrong about that. I don't have anything against commercial muds, as long as they charge their players per month or per hour or whatever - as long as it lets everyone start from the same platform.

What I DO have a problem with is Muds that sell In-game benefits for RL money, because that DOES defeat the purpose of the game.

And that's what you are doing, regardless of the smokescreens you try to put out.  If the players didn't get actual benefits from it, they obviously would not pay good money for those credits. And judging from the way you brag about your successful business idea at every possible occasion, you are making quite a good profit from it too.

I think you probably run a good Mud, but somewhere along the line your interest in profit took over all other aspects of it. (god knows you've demonstrated it enough times in your posts).
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Old 09-30-2003, 12:29 PM   #36
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I wonder where the mudding community would be if the creators of DikuMUD didn't realease their code and decided to copyright it and sell it? Probably not where it is today.

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Old 09-30-2003, 01:09 PM   #37
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I'm saying that I don't believe such a mud would be able to recover the required expenditure within any sort of realistic timeframe, particularly when a substantial chunk of the income is used paying off royalties.
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The "signifant royalties" will be a constant hole in the pocket of the mud owner.
Pretty bold statements considering you have no facts on which to base those conclusions. Why don't you spare everyone your speculative stabs in the dark.

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You think 6 years isn't a realistic time frame?
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Without having to pay significant royalties, it's a realistic time frame.
What do the royalties have to do with the feasibility of a timeframe for returns on investment? When you finally break even, the numbers on accounting statements (like royalty payments) won't change the fact that you broke even.

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I wonder where the mudding community would be if the creators of DikuMUD didn't realease their code and decided to copyright it and sell it? Probably not where it is today.
Today? You mean inundated with identical stock muds run mostly by children who left their previous muds on tantrums, swearing to make the most l33t mud ever? Yeah, probably not.

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Old 09-30-2003, 01:19 PM   #38
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KaVir:
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There are other perfectly good engines which could be used - there's no reason why a company would need to develop their own unless they need it to do something which isn't feasible with the currently available engines.
I'm quite aware of many good bases to work from for a hobbyist.  As logos noted, none of these have a proven track record of years in a commercial environment supporting several hundred simultaneous users.  Am I missing something?

I imagine that, with royalties, you also get continuing support/development.  This may be much, much cheaper in the short term than hiring a coder (in the fully paid sense).

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However unless the mud owner plans to run a "stock Rapture" mud, they're still going to need to invest a huge amount of time and effort in order to turn it into a decent mud.
I don't believe that either of us has enough information to make that statement.  I believe that there are content development tools written in Rapture, and for all I or you know they're included.

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And where will the players for these new Rapture muds come from?
I respect a lot of your opinions, but now you're claiming "it'll never work" to someone (logos, not me) who HAS made it work, past tense, and shows every sign of continuing to make it work.

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Old 09-30-2003, 01:41 PM   #39
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KaVir, responding to malaclypse:
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"Well Iron Realms Entertainment has done this. "

No, Iron Realms Entertainment owns the engine.  It didn't buy a license (from itself!), nor does it pay "substantial royalties" on its income.
Iron Realms now owns Rapture.  To get started,  Achaea LLC LICENSED Hourglass and then Vortex, and paid royaltie.

logos has in fact done what malaclypse proposes to do, and you claim above that he hasn't: start a company with a licensed engine and make it a success.

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Old 09-30-2003, 02:08 PM   #40
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Stilton that depends on your definition of success. Making lots of money? Sure. A success in my eyes? No, just a game that is making sales off poor saps who buy into it. I can deduce that at least 70% of the people who play Achaea (I am hypothesizing here) are not older and mature gamers, most likely they are younger, teenage kids who use their parents money or their allowance to buy their "credits". No it's not a fact, but it's just my guess, and that is why it is having 'success'.

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