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Old 05-06-2006, 12:37 PM   #21
HBDR
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I think the idea of a "commercial" vs a "non-commercial" tag on a mud's listing is a good idea. I'm not certain those are the proper terms to be using though. IMO any mud that accepts money from its player base for subscription or a pay-for-perks system should have this tag on them. The sale of coffee mugs, tee shirts, and what ever other items they may wish really doesn't matter to me. Its what my money, or someone elses money can do for them in game. Many of the MU* listing websites (TMS, TMC, MM, etc) have a flag on the MU* listing page that reads something like "pay-to-play" or the like. Would it be so hard to add in a "pay-for-perks" option right below it instead of flagging it or adding an extra icon or something? I think a lot of MU* owners would mark that rather then try to hide it. If they don't we can always flame them right?
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Old 05-06-2006, 12:48 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Shane @ May 06 2006,09:47)
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.
Because to shut them down you have to attack your own customers. It is a segment of the players that drive the demand for buying gold/items in games. Blizzard, for instance, is well-known for their public dislike of RMT (real-money trades) in WoW. They could crack down a LOT harder than they are now, but what's the upside for them? They aren't really being hurt by RMT, and given that they have 6 million users, the players who are vocally against it apparently aren't hurting their business (most people I have talked to who are vocally against it continue to play WoW regardless). It costs money and lost subscription revenue to shut down RMT, without much upside for Blizzard. Thus, they occasionally make a big PR thing out of banning a few thousand accounts for gold farming, which are all, no doubt, re-opened under a new credit card the next week.

--matt
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Old 05-06-2006, 01:38 PM   #23
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Sounds like a little hessitancy based on fear to me. I wonder how "niche" the market really is for games where real effort is made to shut down cheats? Sites like that one could be shut down just on the merits of that service you were referencing earlier in the Diku thread, Logos.

Straight up, one of the several reasons I have not been terribly tempted to play those games, the whole set of graphic mmorpg's, is that almost from the get go they developed a reputation for being impotent against cheats, and frankly I have no desire to compete against people who are cheating.

The games can be played fine just for the enjoyment of the graphics and game play I am sure, but there needs to be some way to play the games for people who really are interested in head to head competition before a certain part of the game market is going to be interested. Maybe I represent a fairly tiny minority on that concern though. Like you say, even the people who complain still play. But, what if they had a choice? Some competitor who took it more seriously?

I really think in the long run it would be a good move for someone to put out an mmorpg that does indeed actively try to shut those down that cheat the game for real cash profit.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:31 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Anitra @ Mar. 21 2006,03:46)
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.
1) Every game can be affected by money changing hands. I bet that most decently successful games (commercial or not) have had quite a bit of character's bought and sold, items bought and sold, etc. which was done completely between individuals.

2) Even selling merchandise like coffee mugs and t-shirts can affect gameplay. You don't think people who buy a lot of merchandise to help support a mud expect a little appreciation (aka: favorable treatment) when a difficult situation arises?

3) What exactly is the point of raising this exact same issue every few weeks? Are you guys just bored?
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:35 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Shane @ May 06 2006,09:47)
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 you ever make such a game, do not let people do this with official logos and the like.
They aren't doing anything illegal. There is no way to "easily" get the sites shut down, for that reason. Also, those logos are most likely considered fair use.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:38 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Shane @ May 06 2006,14:38)
Sounds like a little hessitancy based on fear to me. I wonder how "niche" the market really is for games where real effort is made to shut down cheats? Sites like that one could be shut down just on the merits of that service you were referencing earlier in the Diku thread, Logos.
Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars being spent on third party RMT just in the US, odds are the % of players of those games buying (or selling) gold, items, and characters is a lot more significant than an outsider would think.
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Old 05-06-2006, 02:59 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by (Threshold @ May 06 2006,15:35)
Also, those logos are most likely considered fair use.
Hmm... Trademark? I don't know the difference. Surely putting trademarked names on there.. but no...

I don't know. What a bummer. I do know that the motive behind the constant nattering on of in game perks for money is it makes it no longer a game in any real sense. Imagine monopoly where you could buy monopoly money with real money... who would play?

It just makes the competition aspect something between tainted and fully null.

There's bound to be some way to control it via rules and whatnot. Like your game, Thresh, you have rules about cheating the quests... how has that worked out? How do you enforce them?
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:16 PM   #28
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The t-shirt coffee-mug means you're commericial argument always amuses and annoys me. Selling perks and selling tshirts are not the same thing. Selling perks makes you commercial, selling tshirts usually means that you buy a bunch of tshirts and put your logo on them and hope you sell enough to defray the costs of the shirts and maybe even server fees. And if you sell a ton of t-shirts that wouldn't make you a commercial mud, though it might make you a clothing shop.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:36 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Fifi @ May 06 2006,17:16)
Selling perks makes you commercial, selling tshirts usually means that you buy a bunch of tshirts and put your logo on them and hope you sell enough to defray the costs of the shirts and maybe even server fees. And if you sell a ton of t-shirts that wouldn't make you a commercial mud, though it might make you a clothing shop.
How do you figure? There are tons of internet sites that make tons of money PURELY through the sale of merchandise related to their "real product."

Penny Arcade, PvP, Homestarrunner, and tons more I am not even aware of.

Selling merchandise related to your "real product" can be just as lucrative of a method as charging directly for your content.

Furthermore, it creates the same feeling among many of the buyers - they are a paying customer and expect to be treated like one.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:42 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Fifi @ May 06 2006,17:16)
And if you sell a ton of t-shirts that wouldn't make you a commercial mud, though it might make you a clothing shop.
Question answered on the original post.

Not that you are not a commercial enterprise, but if you sell clothes and they just happen to be a based on some mud's theme, you are still selling clothes, not the mud, assuming the mud is free.

I mean, no one argues Homestar is not a commercial web site, but the cartoons themselves are free, so you'd not call them "free to view". The cartoons are free, period. The merchandise is for profit. The cartoons function as advertising more or less.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:45 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Shane @ May 06 2006,15:59)
Hmm... Trademark? I don't know the difference. Surely putting trademarked names on there.. but no...
There is even fair use when it comes to trademarks. The key is whether or not a reasonable person would be confused into thinking the user in question is the actual holder of the trademark. That is certainly not the case on gold seller/buyer sites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by (Shane @ May 06 2006,15:59)
I don't know. What a bummer. I do know that the motive behind the constant nattering on of in game perks for money is it makes it no longer a game in any real sense. Imagine monopoly where you could buy monopoly money with real money... who would play?

It just makes the competition aspect something between tainted and fully null.
Well the problem there is that most of the gold/item/character buying is done to eliminate the idiotic and excessively painful "grind" that exists in the big, graphical MMOs. For example, it should come as no surprise that people don't think it is fun or exciting to grind out 1,000 gold in WoW just so they can have a faster mount (which in turn gives no real advantage other than reducing the tedium of inane travel times).

Sure, there is some degree of competitive advantage from buying gold, items, etc. but most of that stuff can also be obtained in game. Does it make any more sense for the "catassers" (a term I am borrowing from a professor named Edward Castranova who studies virtual worlds) who play 10+ hours a day to be the ones with all the advantages?


Quote:
Originally Posted by (Shane @ May 06 2006,15:59)
There's bound to be some way to control it via rules and whatnot. Like your game, Thresh, you have rules about cheating the quests... how has that worked out? How do you enforce them?
It works somewhat well in Threshold, but that is because it is a smaller community with an enormous amount of community enforcement. Despite this, there is still a significant amount of cheating on quests, and this is in a game where quests have NO BENEFIT. Yes, people cheat on them even though they have no rewards of any kind other than the sense of accomplishment from solving them. Yes, the contradiction of that is not lost on me. I always boggle at why anyone would cheat on a Threshold quest when they have zero reward.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:49 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by (Shane @ May 06 2006,17:42)
The cartoons are free, period. The merchandise is for profit. The cartoons function as advertising more or less.
Not really. Much of the merchandise has cartoons on it as well.

You are trying to make a distinction that is tenuous at best.

The point is, selling merchandise is no less a commercialization of your MUD, comic, internet site, etc. than charging for the content directly. They are just different business models that different sites use for a variety of financial, business, marketing, or personal reasons.

Many sites who use a merchanise revenue model take in a TON more money than sites that charge directly for content. It would be unwise and inaccurate to think the merchandise-based models are any less commercial or any less connected financially to the content they create to bring people to the site.

Put it this way:

1) The IRS doesn't view them differently.

2) Many (if not most or all) customers do not view it differently (they still feel they are a paying customer of the site, MUD, game, etc.).

3) Many owner/operators do not view it differently (they still operate as a business and they still know that their merchandise gets sold by providing content that brings people to the site and makes them want the merchandise).

If the IRS, customers, and business owers all treat these models the same, is it really reasonable to claim they are significantly different?
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:54 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Threshold @ May 06 2006,17:45)
Sure, there is some degree of competitive advantage from buying gold, items, etc. but most of that stuff can also be obtained in game. Does it make any more sense for the "catassers" (a term I am borrowing from a professor named Edward Castranova who studies virtual worlds) who play 10+ hours a day to be the ones with all the advantages?
LOL!

Hrm, good point.

I forget where but I was talking with Kavir or someone about that. I think it was in "advanced combat systems".

Combining the strategic feel of gaining power over time with the tactical feel of PvP has some challenges, the only cure for which I see is something like a base gain just for logging in and playing for x minutes as week, plus some sort of bonus for whatever you feel is worth giving the bonus for. For rp muds, x number of words typed in the presence of other active pc's might work. Typical hack and slashers might give bonuses for killing x points worth of mobs. There definitely needs to be something to keep catassers from dominating as they pretty much have for ages on muds, or video games in general.

I guess if I roll back my prejudices, I have to say though that in any competative game, such as golf for example, the prize often goes to the one who puts countless hours in, so there's some precedent to catassing I suppose.

Makes me ponder the development of the video game competitions that are beginning to be viable sourves of income for some of the best players. Those tend to be tactical sim games and the like with no leveling requirements. Unreal Tournament I think I saw on G4 for example.
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Old 05-06-2006, 04:57 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Threshold @ May 06 2006,17:49)
If the IRS, customers, and business owers all treat these models the same, is it really reasonable to claim they are significantly different?
They are definitely commercial sites either way.

I just see a very real difference between paying for competative advantage in a game and paying for a mug with Homestar on it, for example, from the customer's point of view.
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Old 05-06-2006, 05:00 PM   #35
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The official design for WoW for example is a monthly subscription.

I think they were on to this feeling on the part of players, and perhaps just underestimated the willingness of some to sell what they can make in the game and the willingness of many to pay for those perks. It still feels like cheating to me though.
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Old 05-06-2006, 05:21 PM   #36
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"The strategy: start a virtual world in a
game of truly massive scale, so that millions can use it at any time. Make the game free.
Allow people to use their credit cards to make transactions. Then wait for the society and
markets to develop, and invite Earth retailers to open 3D stores in the virtual space. At
that point, your Lara Croft lookalike avatar will be able to follow up her tough day of
adventuring with a run into the nearby virtual JC Penney -- to buy her owner a new suit,
for real money. The commercial potential of the new virtual worlds is impressive, and
makes them well worth a first look. "

The man Himself

More similar to the Homestar business model. Basically, the virtual world turns into advertising/marketing for the actual product.
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Old 05-06-2006, 08:11 PM   #37
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I hope that never happens, otherwise half the world would waste away in an imaginary world. Not that it doesn't happen now, but an entirely self-sufficient virtual world is a little ridiculous.
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Old 05-06-2006, 08:30 PM   #38
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Shane - one thing that has been discussed at length in the larger threads on this subject is the fact that Matt(the_logos) has insinuated that if Syno created two seperate lists(distinguishing IRE games from "100% Free MUDs"), that Matt would stop sending IRE traffic to the site and cease paying for advertising. Syno makes money off of this site, and between IRE's high traffic and aggressive advertising campaign, he seems to be willing to bend to such weight-throwing.

This subject comes up again and again, from new posters and old posters, and no argument yet has been brought up as to why adding the ability to add this search addition to the website should not be done.

Yes, it would require Syno being very specific with the site's definition and seperation of the two lists. However, that is not more than a few minutes of work and careful wording. I don't think that's too much to ask, and apparently, so do a whole lot of the active forum users here.
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Old 05-06-2006, 08:52 PM   #39
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Hmm.

Well, that's a little hardball-esque I suppose, but on the other hand if Matt feels the distinction would make advertising here worthless, certainly he has the right to stop using the site if he wants.

I have to say though that without going to the extreme of making two entirely separate lists, one could have a tag that goes alongside the logos of the various muds to tell if they were commercial or not. That way the pay-for-perks or free-to-play crowd, however they choose to define themselves, could still get the exposure they want and the shoppers could have the distinctions quite clearly signalled at a glance on the rankings. If the distinction bothers Matt and others when it is not applied to muds who sell off-game perks like shirts or whatnot, three designations, or even four, would work. I am thinking here pay-to-play (recurring time based fees), pay for perks (pay for in game benefits), marketing-based-charge (for things you can buy like coffee mugs and whatnot), and free.

Marketing-based-charge is an awkward tagline, but you know some other name would work, and you could have simple little icons for each to show on the lists, and maybe even the potential for multiple tags. Maybe a mud is both pay-for-perks and marketing-based, for example, so they would have a little dollar sign with swords crossed in the background (pay for in game benefits) and then one with a little gift wrapped present (pay for stuff from a website associated, marketing etc). Pay per time period could be a flat out dollar sign and free could be a dollar sign with the red circle and hashmark thingy on it (no pay).

I really, honestly do believe though that the simple fact that the commercial muds advertise as "free-to-play" instead of just "free" like most muds do that are proud of their heritage as entirely non-commercial is enough for most people to make the distinction, though I do feel bad for the fellow who started this thread, as apparently he did not.

I picked up on it rather quickly when I visited their sites.
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Old 05-06-2006, 08:57 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Ilkidarios @ May 06 2006,21:11)
I hope that never happens, otherwise half the world would waste away in an imaginary world.  Not that it doesn't happen now, but an entirely self-sufficient virtual world is a little ridiculous.
I'm not sure I see the functional difference between this and being a couch potato, and at least it is interactive.

Real Life™ version 1.0 will always have certain advantages, I think, to anything the comptuer has to offer entertainment and socialization-wize though.
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