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Old 03-19-2006, 11:03 PM   #1
Lark
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I couldn't help but notice the argument on the boards, and I just wanted to say a few things that came to me offhand after reading through it (uh, most of it; I'm only human).

The debate over how Iron Reams' muds were classified (free, or pay-to-play, or pay-for-perks, whatever it is) in the database was the bit that jumped out to me.

I think they ought to at least denote the fact that money changes hands in certain muds, even if it's not a requirement. I can see that you wouldn't want to freak out potential players by having the word 'pay' smack them in the face when they're looking your spot over, but it'd still be polite to let them know what's going on, for players who would opt for another mud because of it.

Paying for perks does affect the gameplay environment, it can't be contested. Some folks seem to be a bit more graceful about it, but it's still a factor all the same. And it's a sour ache to realize you've been working at a mud for a few days now and there was some feature or downside that means you've spent all that time for nothing. Some of us (me) are a bit slow on the uptake and can speak from personal experience.

I'm not sure how you'd go about it. It'd probably be a pickle to indicate which muds do what without making a scarlet letter-type deal in the player's eyes. Maybe you could use a nice phrase like 'business-oriented' or 'commercial', something like that. But I'd appreciate it, just to make the shopping a bit easier, keep me from getting my hopes up.
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Old 03-19-2006, 11:36 PM   #2
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All I'll say in this thread is this:
1. Money can affect gameplay in any MUD. There are few to no MUDs in which it can be said that money cannot affect gameplay. That the money is being paid to an admin or another player is pretty irrelevant. Gameplay is affected either way, and that seemed to be the core of your concern.

2. There are a billion features or lack of features that might be interesting to players. The ability to pay to compensate for a insufficient free time is one of them. So is having or not having Geomancers. I totally understand that you personally might prefer to see one of those as a searchable field vs. another one, but that's just a personal opinion, with all due respect. I've seen a lot of claims by those who like to attack us that lots of players would like to see a listing that designates games where payments might allow one to skip tedium, but they're also never able to demonstrate that it's anyone but a handful of people who do care.

In any case, thanks for your post and your reasonable attitude.

--matt
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:21 AM   #3
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Yes, having a stamp "business" or "commercial" sounds like a good idea. It's not like its a bad thing to have that on your game in the database. It is more of a quality stamp IMO, indicating that it is run by professionals (*Waits for the flames*)
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:05 AM   #4
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Sorry to disappoint you, Hephos, but the labelling Commercial/Non-Commercial has already been suggested (and supported) by a pretty large number of members.

It was however rejected by one member, for reasons that are still not clear to the rest of us.

In fact this is what the last few mega threads are all about.
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Old 03-20-2006, 09:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Mar. 20 2006,00:36)
Money can affect gameplay in any MUD. There are few to no MUDs in which it can be said that money cannot affect gameplay. That the money is being paid to an admin or another player is pretty irrelevant. Gameplay is affected either way, and that seemed to be the core of your concern.
I think there is a large difference between donating money to keep the mud up to the benefit of all and being able to get stats etc to buff your char up with cash. I would play a mud where paying could do things for you, like it could get you a house or a larger locker to store items, or other nice things that wouldnt really make you strong or weak. Even a mud that had a monthly fee just to keep everyone on the same grounds and keep the game running.

I get tired of logging onto muds and the instant my char is done it asks me to read help "donate" or "contribute", where I am depressed to find that someone with a larger wallet than me has the potential to blow my char away with that fat wallet.

I very much wish the muds where seperated by some of these factors, perhaps there would be a filter like there is now for rank that would let you see (ranked) only certian types of muds such as pay to play, pay for perks, completely free (no perks or pay to play).

Even if i was a millionare I wouldnt play a game where I could pay to get further along. It is even more confusing to me when I find these features in an rp game. Oocly you can buff your char with money which they ICly then have, just dosent make sense.

So yeah, I really wish they where seperated, save me alot of time. I mean damn if you are cool with it you are cool with it, why should those of us that dont like it have to filter through?
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Old 03-20-2006, 10:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Mar. 20 2006,00:36)
2. There are a billion features or lack of features that might be interesting to players. The ability to pay to compensate for a insufficient free time is one of them. So is having or not having Geomancers. I totally understand that you personally might prefer to see one of those as a searchable field vs. another one, but that's just a personal opinion, with all due respect. I've seen a lot of claims by those who like to attack us that lots of players would like to see a listing that designates games where payments might allow one to skip tedium, but they're also never able to demonstrate that it's anyone but a handful of people who do care.
The glaring contradiction is that the threads regarding how TMS should label games are the largest in the history of the TMS forums. (Except a couple "game"-type threads where each post is often one line, the longest and second-longest threads are on this topic.) While there's a few recurring faces like me, as there are in any thread, there's an awful lot of other participants. Variants on the topics have dominated discussion for months.

On the contrary, no one ever posts about your favored straw man, Geomancers. The difference between "business model" and "geomancers?" in a search engine is obvious enough.

Please take your "geomancer defense", take it out back, and put it down. Old Yeller is sick, and it's the merciful thing to do.
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Old 03-20-2006, 12:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Anitra @ Mar. 20 2006,10:05)
It was however rejected by one member, for reasons that are still not clear to the rest of us.
If you mean me, then I'm baffled. This isn't my site and I don't make the decisions.

If you mean Synozeer, then sure, it's his site and he's the only member of it that has to reject a suggestion.

--matt
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Old 03-20-2006, 12:54 PM   #8
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The_logos @2 Mar. 20 2006,13:38
Quote:
Originally Posted by
If you mean me, then I'm baffled. This isn't my site and I don't make the decisions.
Why on earh would you think that I meant you?
Obviously you would be in favour of such a sensible suggestion.
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Old 03-20-2006, 02:31 PM   #9
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Well, I just thought the distinction would be helpful. A lot of people I've met, for example, prefer to play games with a certain codebase, and others aren't sure what you're talking about. (I'm somewhere in the middle.) So people may have some foibles over it.

And after thinking about it a little further, a notation of the fact that you're business-oriented (or whatever) isn't necessarily a bad thing, really. It just means that the owners of a particular mud have some actual incentive to keep their mud up to date and moving. No, that sort of environment and what it entails isn't for everybody (I don't care for it much, myself), but I've seen enough muds that opened and plopped over the space of a few months to appreciate stability.
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Lark @ Mar. 20 2006,15:31)
Well, I just thought the distinction would be helpful. A lot of people I've met, for example, prefer to play games with a certain codebase, and others aren't sure what you're talking about. (I'm somewhere in the middle.) So people may have some foibles over it.

And after thinking about it a little further, a notation of the fact that you're business-oriented (or whatever) isn't necessarily a bad thing, really. It just means that the owners of a particular mud have some actual incentive to keep their mud up to date and moving. No, that sort of environment and what it entails isn't for everybody (I don't care for it much, myself), but I've seen enough muds that opened and plopped over the space of a few months to appreciate stability.
I completely agree with a "commercial" and "non-commercial" distinction provided that there's a uniform and objective standard applied. The trouble is that defining commercial vs. non-commercial gets difficult at the threshold between the two.

Iron Realms - Commerical (obviously)
<some MUD that doesn't take money at all from players, doesn't sell t-shirts, etc> - Non-commercial

But how do you define MUDs that take payments from players or that sell t-shirts and such? Are they commercial or non-commercial? If they claim the payments only go to server stuff, do we require verified accounting statements to prove that not a penny of profit is made?

I mean, to the IRS, if you're an individual and you're taking payments from players, you probably (I am not an accountant and more to the point I'm not your accountant) have just made a profit off your mud (making you perhaps commercial) because you may not be able to deduct something like a server expense since you're not running a business.

It's a lot more complicated than just saying "commercial" and "non-commercial" in other words. In some cases (like Iron Realms) it's obvious. In others, it's a lot less obvious. When it's less obvious, which category do you put them in? Who decides ultimately, and how can you decide without seeing the flow of money through the organization or person?

--matt
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Old 03-20-2006, 04:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Mar. 20 2006,00:36)
I've seen a lot of claims by those who like to attack us that lots of players would like to see a listing that designates games where payments might allow one to skip tedium, but they're also never able to demonstrate that it's anyone but a handful of people who do care.
Did you just admit your games are tedious to play?
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Old 03-20-2006, 06:26 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (cron0s @ Mar. 20 2006,17:40)
Did you just admit your games are tedious to play?
Certain aspects certainly are, but then, I've never played a MUD that didn't have tedious aspects to it, right up to and including WoW.

(That's kind of off-topic for this thread though.)
--matt
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Old 03-20-2006, 11:34 PM   #13
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Well, there's no point in beating this thing to death, but I suppose an administrator could go as far as to put the commercial end of the deal into a few different categories, depending on what sort of goods the mud offers and whether it directly affects the game's environment. Or just ask the person submitting the mud's information if any sort of payment for that sort of thing goes down, and leave the coffee mug and t-shirt type business up to the mud to advertise, since it's not really relevant to the gameplay itself.

But I didn't think all this jazz wasn't enough for anybody to raise their hackles over.
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Old 03-21-2006, 02:46 AM   #14
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the_logos@Mar. 20 2006,178
Quote:
Originally Posted by
I completely agree with a "commercial" and "non-commercial" distinction provided that there's a uniform and objective standard applied. The trouble is that defining commercial vs. non-commercial gets difficult at the threshold between the two.
To most of us the distinction is really simple.
If the money affects the gameplay in any way, then the Mud is commercial. If it doesn't, then it's not.

After all, we are talking about the GAMES here, not selling coffemugs and T-shirts from a website.

And let's not forget that the vast majority of all Muds (rough estimate 80%) never ask for or accept any kind of money for anything. For some reason the discussion from the side of the_logos has been focused on CF instead of all those Muds.

But yes, as Lark already remarked, the issue has been beaten to death many times before. The fact that new threads keep popping up about the same subject should be proof that it is an issue that is important to many people, not just the 'small minority' that the_logos likes to claim.
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Old 03-21-2006, 11:06 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ Mar. 20 2006,17:08)
But how do you define MUDs that take payments from players or that sell t-shirts and such? Are they commercial or non-commercial? If they claim the payments only go to server stuff, do we require verified accounting statements to prove that not a penny of profit is made?

I mean, to the IRS, if you're an individual and you're taking payments from players, you probably (I am not an accountant and more to the point I'm not your accountant) have just made a profit off your mud (making you perhaps commercial) because you may not be able to deduct something like a server expense since you're not running a business.
Well, in our case, Carrion Fields (the company) isn't an individual, and we are legally required to report what we do with its money. If audited, the government would see exactly what we say: All money donated pays for equipment and/or upkeep (bandwidth, whatever fees are involved, etc.... I don't handle this end of the game much). Some of that money comes from players, and some comes from the staff, but not a cent goes to salary/etc.

I could see an issue with your more "mom-n-pop" games which haven't formed a business, however, where there's no legal paper trail. However, TMS isn't an accounting firm, and some common-sense guidelines (discussed elsewhere at length) should suffice for the purpose of guiding players to the type of game they prefer.
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
Well, in our case, Carrion Fields (the company) isn't an individual, and we are legally required to report what we do with its money. If audited, the government would see exactly what we say: All money donated pays for equipment and/or upkeep (bandwidth, whatever fees are involved, etc.... I don't handle this end of the game much). Some of that money comes from players, and some comes from the staff, but not a cent goes to salary/etc.
You know, it wouldn't actually matter if some went to salary. A salary expense is no different from a bandwidth or server expense, providing you're paying the proper taxes. (As a small diversion, this is why I always think it's dodgy to accuse Medievia of turning a profit....we have no idea what their salary expenses are, and they could well be no greater than their revenues.)

--matt
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Old 03-21-2006, 12:33 PM   #17
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Well, with all due respect, I think it's probably more appropriate to use the word 'commercial' as the rest of the world does rather than to invent new meanings.

Antira wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by
If the money affects the gameplay in any way, then the Mud is commercial. If it doesn't, then it's not.
Two problems with this:
1. Money can affect gameplay in virtually any MUD, whether the admins accept money or not. If you don't believe me, look at the ads right here on TMS for gold-farmer companies. World of Warcraft certainly doesn't sell gold, but purchased gold has a HUGE effect on the world. Now, obviously WoW is commercial regardless because of their subscription, but imagine if they ditched the monthly fee (like Shadowbane has for instance). Money would still have a massive effect on gameplay and there's nothing Blizzard can really do about it.

What you seem to be wanting to say is that commercial is based on the attitude of the admin: Does the admin welcome or oppose money affecting gameplay? But this is pretty irrelevant. Blizzard adamantly opposes gold sales, and yet, again, it has a huge effect on the game. Just listen to the way people complain about gold farmers on the forums for instance.

2. If affecting gameplay is what makes something commercial (I can't say I've ever heard that definition of commercial used anywhere), then are you telling me that Neopets is non-commercial? Neopets is most definitely commercial (which is why Viacom bought them for $160 million) and they don't charge their players for anything.

--matt
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Old 05-06-2006, 05:46 AM   #18
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O_o Matt, one thing... Neopets actually does offer Neopets premium, and have for quite some time... And guess what, you have to PAY for it, so yes, for aditional perks, neopets does take money from some of its players.

Anyway... the comercial or non-comerical in my opinion is That whether the admins running the mud will take money in exchange for things such as more lesson, or skills, etc. rather then giving it to some other player in exchange for ingame currency
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Old 05-06-2006, 08:34 AM   #19
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It doesn't take long once you head to Iron Realms or some other pay-for-perks site to find out they are indeed pay for perks. I never saw them as somehow hiding those facts.

I notice it gets brought up that a lot of people being interested in something means that the admins of the site, game, etc ought to get crackin' and do the thing being demanded. While I on the one side don't quite understand why admins don't do that, especially admins with a profit motive to grow their user base, at the same time I know that there are a lot of reasons that play into an admins decision to implement or not to implement certain features, chief among them often being, "how much more time am I going to have to spend enforcing this?"

This mud site seems to more or less run itself in its current model. I don't know how much money it brings in from adds, but it seems likely that it doesn't pull any massive profits. I could easily be wrong about that.

I dunno. Just... ideas floating around in my head for folks to consider.
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Old 05-06-2006, 08:47 AM   #20
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Gold Farming

I found this weird. If this is so frowned upon then why are official logos all over the place? Sites like this could be shut down easily. Instead they are advertising right here on TMS.



If the problem is people do not like games where people "cheat" by buying advantage, and the question is how to stop that, I guess the answer is right here. If you ever make such a game, do not let people do this with official logos and the like.

Yeah... I too am not a fan of the whole buy-your-way-to-victory game. It is an indicator that there is a malfunction in game design somewhere sometimes, but it can also be an indicator that people simply aren't trying hard enough to stop cheats. The video game industry has a well documented history of marketing cheats, and I have always found that annoying.
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