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Old 07-28-2004, 03:33 PM   #21
Avasyu
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I've lost count of how many newbies we've received by way of Achaea, Imperian, Aetolia and The Eternal City - commercial, well-publicized games
Woot! Someone mentioned Imperian! We Rock!
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Old 07-28-2004, 07:19 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Avasyu @ July 28 2004,14:33)
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I've lost count of how many newbies we've received by way of Achaea, Imperian, Aetolia and The Eternal City - commercial, well-publicized games
Woot! Someone mentioned Imperian! We Rock!
No you don't. You suck.

And Brody: Stop stealing our players, you bastard!

--matt
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Old 07-28-2004, 11:46 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by (vitae @ July 28 2004,10:31)
That's funny, I thought Achaea was a free-to-play.
You thought correctly.
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Old 07-29-2004, 12:12 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by (Reyas @ July 28 2004,22:46)
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Originally Posted by vitae,July 28 2004,10:31
That's funny, I thought Achaea was a free-to-play.
You thought correctly.
Then why was it said a few times that it's pay-to-play?
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Old 07-29-2004, 12:55 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by (vitae @ July 28 2004,23:12)
Then why was it said a few times that it's pay-to-play?
Because people are ignorant and don't take the time to analyze business models beyond what random forum browsers claim as fact, unsupported as it may be. The IRE philosophy has been well explained in numerous posts in this forum as well as other places over the years, so there's certainly no deficit of material from which people could be enlightened, given even a minimal amount of effort.

Iron Realms worlds are free to play. That being said, they are a business, and their model allows for players to "purchase virtual goods and services that assist the player in the game." The benefits and downfalls of this type of model have been debated many times, though I suspect not nearly as often as Matt has been maligned due purely to a stance of self-imposed ignorance. Regardless of what any of these individuals say, the company has obviously been a success, far more so I would conjecture than Matt originally foresaw, and that alone speaks volumes for the competence of the business model and, subsequently, the level of contentment within the playerbases of all three Iron Realms worlds.
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Old 07-29-2004, 01:03 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by (vitae @ July 28 2004,23:12)
Then why was it said a few times that it's pay-to-play?
Some people are stupid, and/or have an axe to grind, so spread FUD. Notice that neither Achaea nor IRE says it is pay to play. Anyone else is pretty much by definition not the best source.
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Old 07-29-2004, 08:54 AM   #27
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Without all the bandwagon diatribe, I give you a translation on the pay-to-play vs. free:

Achaea is free to play, BUT you have an option of buying various perks if you choose to do so. You are not obligated to buy, you are not obligated to pay, you can play free indefinitely to your heart's content, and from what I understand, many people do exactly that.

And so - it is not pay-to-play, because playing is absolutely free of charge. It is "pay-for-perks" which is not a requirement to the end user.
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Old 07-29-2004, 12:35 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by (Jazuela @ July 29 2004,07:54)
And so - it is not pay-to-play, because playing is absolutely free of charge. It is "pay-for-perks" which is not a requirement to the end user.
I always thought "pay-to-play" was a misnomer for this type of business model. I rather like "pay-for-perks"--wonder if it will catch on?
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Old 07-29-2004, 01:30 PM   #29
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Ah, now that makes sense.
It's like Race War Kingdom then.
U can play, but if ya want some of the uber stuff ya gotta pay for them.
Now I got it :-)
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Old 07-29-2004, 02:43 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by (vitae @ July 29 2004,12:30)
Ah, now that makes sense.
It's like Race War Kingdom then.
U can play, but if ya want some of the uber stuff ya gotta pay for them.
Now I got it :-)
Beyond just the possibility of getting "uber stuff", the "perks" as they have been so deemed include the ability of rapid development, particularly in the area of what skills are available to your character. It's possible through various mechanisms to increase your skill levels within the game at whatever pace you desire, but it is undeniable that the fastest way to develop one's skills to their highest level is to purchase said perks.

This of course raises the idea of Time as a commodity in and of itself. You are paying not just for the capacity to gain things that others don't have access to, but you also pay for the opportunity to gain things that others DO have access to, but with far less of your own Time spent working towards such.
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Old 07-29-2004, 03:23 PM   #31
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I think anything where players have to pay money to have their skills advance at a reasonable rate, have their characters suck if they refuse to pay money, AND where the owner makes six-digit profits, completely at the expense of the players is definitely a pay-to-play mud.

I think saying it is free to play is some of the sleaziest advertising I have seen. My main problem with Achea is not that it rips off it's players and sucks up their money, but that it claims to be completely free and doesn't say anything about payment until you've been playing for a while or actually bother to read carefully through their webpage(which sadly, few players seem to do anymore before playing a mud).

It's like "We're free to play!" Joe Shmoe goes "Yay, I'll play this mud." Then Joe Shmoe realizes that Achea is really a pay-to-play mud and Achea is like "Ah ha, we tricked you, you stupid n00b! Guess what? You have to pay us money or your character is going to be easilly beaten by every newbie or experienced player with a rich person sitting behind their computer!"

There isn't really anything wrong with Achea's buisness model. Many companies make money at the expense of their consumers. It's capitalism. The thing about Achea is that it tries to hide this and pretend to be a free-to-play mud.
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Old 07-29-2004, 03:33 PM   #32
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So ... let me get this straight:

Apparently, Achaea is somehow morally at fault for someone choosing to take advantage of their "free to play" business model, and being so well-designed and enjoyable to play that said person becomes addicted and chooses to invest a significant amount of their free time into the game before realizing that there is a commercial element to the gameplay (when this information was in fact readily available should they have chosen to find it before even beginning play)?

Rather seems like faulting the fellow who sells you a noose to me, but apparently logic is overrated these days.
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Old 07-29-2004, 03:38 PM   #33
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I'd just like to say that I got the issue of CGW yesterday, and read the article. It just talks a bit about how Gleam was introduced, reacted to, and the effects it has on players. Plus a cool picture of someone pushing together some piles of white powder with a big sword.
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Old 07-29-2004, 04:16 PM   #34
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First of all, I tried playing Achaea, and I went to their website first.  I was aware that you could pay to do better, but I wanted to see what all the hype was about.  (Love the webpage, by the way.)

While I don't think Achaea is dishonest in saying that they are free, I do agree that it really sucks to play a game where nothing you do will ever get you as good as people who can afford to throw money at it.  One of the great things about MUDs is that they run pretty much the same on most computers, and they're often free, meaning everyone is on a balanced playing field.  Sure, Achaea isn't technically "pay to play", but it's "pay to be able to do better".

Achaea was alright, I didn't really overly enjoy it.  I found the players very helpful and friendly, but the actual MUD itself seemed a bit sloppy.  Maybe I'm just used to a different style.  But it was easy to learn if only because *so* many people were offering help.  I certainly wouldn't pay to play on it myself, but that's definitely a choice everyone is free to make on their own.  At least in being free to try I could make that decision.

- Theomanic
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Old 07-29-2004, 04:21 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by (dragon master @ July 29 2004,14:23)
I think anything where players have to pay money to have their skills advance at a reasonable rate, have their characters suck if they refuse to pay money, AND where the owner makes six-digit profits, completely at the expense of the players is definitely a pay-to-play mud.

I think saying it is free to play is some of the sleaziest advertising I have seen. My main problem with Achea is not that it rips off it's players and sucks up their money, but that it claims to be completely free and doesn't say anything about payment until you've been playing for a while or actually bother to read carefully through their webpage(which sadly, few players seem to do anymore before playing a mud).

It's like "We're free to play!" Joe Shmoe goes "Yay, I'll play this mud." Then Joe Shmoe realizes that Achea is really a pay-to-play mud and Achea is like "Ah ha, we tricked you, you stupid n00b! Guess what? You have to pay us money or your character is going to be easilly beaten by every newbie or experienced player with a rich person sitting behind their computer!"

There isn't really anything wrong with Achea's buisness model. Many companies make money at the expense of their consumers. It's capitalism. The thing about Achea is that it tries to hide this and pretend to be a free-to-play mud.
Your conceptualization is a bit shortsighted, and I imagine comes more from some ill-inspired personal vendetta than any attempt at logical analysis. To say the things that you do without any qualifier to them makes what you are saying trite at best. My personal experience alone negates your central argument that players are required to pay-to-play with any reasonable efficacy. In my personal experiences with IRE's flagship game, I had already led a city state, been a guild secretary, and established myself as a more than competent fighter before I had ever made a credit purchase. To this date I've only made that single credit purchase for a mere $40 in that realm, and that was a good 4 years ago. Yet my experiences in that early time before I purchased the credits were to date some of the best I have ever had as a MUD player. At no point did I feel "ripped off" nor did I feel that my money was being sucked up. Quite the opposite. At no point did I feel any obligation to make a purchase, and when I did it was because I generally desired not only to help myself, but to support the company as a whole.

Does OOC wealth sometimes influence an individual's competency within the realm? Sure it does. But it's a business. Are you going to fault every car dealership because they offer more powerful cars to wealthier customers, or fault computer distributors for the same reasons? I'm sure you'll respond with the comment that those companies never claim that anything of theirs is free to begin with, and that is a valid argument. But consider how many other products out there are offered on a trial basis. Would you not be more inclined to purchase a product if you have been able to test it out beforehand? This is even true with car dealers, who offer "test drives" that serve the same purpose as trial periods. The IRE business model goes beyond either of these concepts and allows players to have an UNLIMITED "trial" period with unrestricted access to all aspects of the game (as let's remember, the same items that can only be purchased by individuals who spend money can be had by those who don't through in-game transfers between the gold/credit currencies) and never once require any sort of donation or fee to continue with the trial.

Obviously, IRE desires customers to purchase their credits. They are a business and want to make a profit like any business. They are not a hobby MUD and it would be unreasonable and foolish to expect them to function like a hobby MUD functions. But the fact that they allow players to choose whether or not they want a leg up or not at whatever point in the player's experience they desire speaks volumes for their own credibility.

In this sense, Achaea and the other IRE realms are indeed Free-to-Play. You can play all you want and never choose to pay a dime. But let's face it. If the games weren't as good as they are, we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place, because no one would want to spend money on a product that they weren't enjoying. And again, that choice is entirely their own.
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Old 07-29-2004, 06:03 PM   #36
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Pick one, Cyre:

1) The RL cash incentives in Achaea don't have a noticeable effect on the equality of the playing field. You can excel without them. If you pick this one, you'll need to explain why people pay so much money for them, when they have no real effect on the experience.

or:

2) The RL cash incentives on Achaea do have a noticeable effect on the equality of the playing field. If you pick this one, you'll have to accept that while you can play Achaea for free, you'll be accepting a second-class-citizen role compared to someone who dumps a couple hundred bucks into their coffers.

There's nothing wrong with the business model, but it's disingenuous to claim that those $100+ purchases on their website don't strongly tip your game experience one way or the other.

I'm just happy that my favorite game provides a level playing field for zero dollars and zero cents. I'd play it if it was pay-to-play (or de facto pay-to-play, or free-to-try-but-pay-to-play, or however Achaea views its model), but when the staff doesn't demand salaries/etc., a MUD's expenses can be quite low, and there's no need to charge the players for the basics.
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Old 07-29-2004, 08:19 PM   #37
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While it's irresponsible within the context of the discussion to single out a solitary aspect of the experiences presented within a MUD, I find it equally distasteful to avoid a well phrased conjecture. To that end, I'll not only respond to your inquiry, I'll explain why I view it as inappropriate.

As concerns the system through which the majority of profit is made for IRE, then Number 2 applies without dispute. The combat system is undoubtedly skewed by the ability of certain players to purchase large upgrades in character statistics, ability rank, and various other components that allow for easier combat. That being said, you can ask any serious combatant from any of the IRE realms, and they will tell you near without fail that pure talent trumps advantages gained through the various perks up for sale. I would still hold that purchases CAN and WILL tilt the balance between two otherwise equally talented combatants, but the divide is not unbreachable.

However.

Your claim that in accepting the above, I must also accept the idea that failing to purchase perks automatically relegates an individual to second-class status within the community, is patently absurd. I know of several individuals who have served at the highest level of political office having NEVER made a purchase. I know others who have made astounding reputations for themselves through magnificent roleplaying and storytelling prowess that also never made purchases. And these individuals are not exceptions to the rule. They are simply cases that come to mind.

Of course, you can avoid this quandary by taking the shallow view that combat is all that is important to the realm. And certainly there are individuals out there who hold such truths to be self evident and all that jazz. But if, and I hope this is true, you are deep enough of a player to understand that there is far more to social standing and "game experience" than the ability to kill, then you, my friend, must accept that your own arguments are both incomplete and, ultimately, invalid.

I enjoy the realm, as do thousands of others. We don't all buy credits, but we all seem to keep coming back.

Explain that.
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Old 07-29-2004, 09:19 PM   #38
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Exclamation

I think the point is not that doing "great" things is impossible, but more that it's more difficult if you don't pay.  And also, you say talent wins in the end... but if two equally talented people meet up, and one has paid $100 and one has not, I think we all know who is going to win in a combat situation.

Of course the game is not all combat, we are aware.  But it is still a factor of the game.  That is why PK is allowed in Achaea.  You can make a fabulous character and not donate a cent.  Of course, you could do that anywhere, and be on equal footing instead of being at a disadvantage.

As to why people keep coming back, no one is saying that Achaea sucks... or well, at least *I* am not.  Obviously they like the game.  Doesn't mean it's entirely balanced or fair though.

- Theomanic
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Old 07-29-2004, 09:51 PM   #39
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Yes, that point is valid. What isn't valid was the conjecture that not purchasing credits causes the individual to assume a second-class citizenship. Not true. They just have a disadvantage in certain activities. These activites are by no means the sum total of experiences available. I have already said that I yield entirely to the point that combat is not equal when certain perks are factored in. Skills are balanced at the highest level to begin with, so it's useless arguing balance at any point other than that. Two individuals, both of whom have all of their skills at the maximum level, and both of whom have exactly equal talent in combat ability, will be equally matched where further perks are not factored in. When they are, they tip the scale. But you have to take into consideration the fact that Time is as important a commodity as Money. Some players have lots of Time, others have lots of Money. Still others have little of either, and some lots of both. But the most relevant part of this concept is that the two are interchangeable in terms of their efficacy within the realm. Someone who puts in a lot of Time to their character can accomplish the same things as someone who puts in a lot of Money, be it in the political, social, or combat arena. It simply becomes a matter of what one has to offer to the realm, their money, or their time.
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Old 07-29-2004, 09:52 PM   #40
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I think the point is not that doing "great" things is impossible, but more that it's more difficult if you don't pay. And also, you say talent wins in the end... but if two equally talented people meet up, and one has paid $100 and one has not, I think we all know who is going to win in a combat situation.
Oh puleeaze. We can use that arguement on everything. If two equally talented people meet up, and the option to pay to gain doesn't exist, and the guy who wouldn't pay anyway, has more time available to play than the guy who would pay, I think we all know who is going to win in a combat situation.

Or how about this...
If two equally talented people meet up, and one guy has buddies who can help him hunt and the other guy doesn't, I think we all know who is going to win in a combat situation.

Want some more? I can come up with a dozen of them.

Money != power.

Money = more convenience.

It = nothing more, nothing less.
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