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Old 08-27-2007, 03:19 AM   #121
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by scandum View Post
Nobody liked my idea to just give hard figures? It'd solve all the bickering over semantics.
You were pitching some version of maximum cost, no?

There's no way to calculate maximum cost for any game that accepts donations or that deals in any sort of scalable service/good. A player can donate an infinitely scalable amount of money to any MUD, for instance, and a player can spend an infinite amount on credits in our MUDs, for instance.

Classifying MUDs by theoretical maximum purchase would be like saying that Toys R Us costs 20 billion to shop at because you could theoretically spend that much at all their stores when the actual cost of shopping at Toys R Us is zero. It's free unless you buy something.

--matt
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:31 AM   #122
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Zhiroc View Post
OK one last chance. There is one classification that you can't get around or complicate: a game that accepts no payment or donations, period.
Playing devil's advocate, the trouble is that there's no way at all, even in theory, to verify this. With every other option on the search field there's a way to verify what the MUD owner claims, but here there is none, at all, since the act of someone sending in donations is completely opaque to other users.

--mattt
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:31 AM   #123
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Maybe a better and simpler option is a text area, something like "describe your payment model". MUD owners write in there whatever they want.

...

Will it be completed honestly? I don't know. Will it be completed at all? I don't know that either, but if the information is important to a searcher and it isn't completed they'll move on to the next in the list. If it isn't important to them then it doesn't matter.
Hmm. That sounds like a pretty good suggestion!

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If there's one thing this thread makes very clear it is that whatever we call this field in the search it has different meaning to everyone, so maybe a descriptive field is better. Then again maybe not, just an idea I haven't seen on here yet.
I think that is one thing upon which we can all agree. For a variety of reasons and motives, people choose to interpret (or misinterpret) words in many ways. Thus, letting the mud admin describe their payment model in his or her own words is probably best.
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:01 AM   #124
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Maybe a better and simpler option is a text area, something like "describe your payment model". MUD owners write in there whatever they want.
As Zhiroc pointed out, this whole thread started when I misunderstood an advert, complimenting Nodeka for providing a more competitive environment by changing to "100% free to play". If they were to have a box to enter their payment scheme, then it's obvious they'd have filled it with "100% free to play" as well - for a game that lets you buy several hundred dollars worth of bonuses per month, at least one of which is only available by spending real cash.

The commercial mud owners in this thread have made it clear that they consider their games 'free' as well, so it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to guess what they'd write in their own little text boxes. Such information would be worse than useless - it would be outright misleading. If you're seriously about making this site more appealing to players, then in my opinion this would be a step backwards.

Your earlier suggestion (with the four options) would be an improvement over the current approach, but failing that, Zhiroc's proposal of having a box for muds that "accept no payment or donations" would also be a step in the right direction.
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:10 AM   #125
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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The commercial mud owners in this thread have made it clear that they consider their games 'free' as well, so it doesn't take a great deal of imagination to guess what they'd write in their own little text boxes. Such information would be worse than useless - it would be outright misleading. If you're seriously about making this site more appealing to players, then in my opinion this would be a step backwards.
That sounds a lot like, "Commercial mud owners are going to lie about their games given the opportunity." Is that what you mean?

--matt
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:15 AM   #126
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
There's no way to calculate maximum cost for any game that accepts donations or that deals in any sort of scalable service/good. A player can donate an infinitely scalable amount of money to any MUD, for instance, and a player can spend an infinite amount on credits in our MUDs, for instance.
I was talking about realistic amounts. The cost to max out the stats and skills of one player character can be calculated. The same goes for a set of equipment. This would result in a fixed amount of money.

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Classifying MUDs by theoretical maximum purchase would be like saying that Toys R Us costs 20 billion to shop at because you could theoretically spend that much at all their stores when the actual cost of shopping at Toys R Us is zero. It's free unless you buy something.
You're not taking logistics and common sense into account. But in a mutual fashion the cost to raise 1 child has been calculated which is pretty much the norm nowadays. I believe it's somewhere around 120.000$ in the US.

Now assume some pseudo-scientists would disagree with that and claim children are 'free to raise' because you can homeschool, breastfeed till age 6, and have a child work to reduce expenses to zero. That'd be entertaining, but for the average person desiring to be a parent the 120K sum is an actually useful statistic, and only Toys R Us would claim different in the hopes to sucker people into producing some additional customers.
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:21 AM   #127
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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I was talking about realistic amounts. The cost to max out the stats and skills of one player character can be calculated. The same goes for a set of equipment. This would result in a fixed amount of money.
That doesn't address donations. How do you determine what the "reasonable" (your idea) maximum donation is?

How can you determine what the "reasonable" amount of credits to buy for someone is when there's no such thing as maxing out a character? For instance, in something like Second Life one can, by any reasonable definition of the word, use the service for free, but there's also absolutely no limit on how many servers/how much land you want to pay for. They'd be happy to take 10 trillion dollars from you if you had it.

And yet most of the users use it without ever paying Linden Labs a dime.

--matt
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:36 AM   #128
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
That sounds a lot like, "Commercial mud owners are going to lie about their games given the opportunity." Is that what you mean?
I don't think Lasher is proposing allowing people to outright lie in the text boxes, no, but given the opportunity to freely describe the payment model I strongly suspect that people would use the same sort of wording they do in their advertising - such as Nodeka's "100% free to play", or to use the wording you're currently using on your TMC banner "Free to play. No installation required." and "Play Now For Free".

And while I wouldn't consider "free to play" a lie, I would find it misleading (although not as much as Nodeka's "100% free to play"), particularly when listed under a listing section entitled "payment model" or something similar, on a site aimed at helping players find a mud that meets their needs.

What would you write in your "payment model" box?

Last edited by KaVir : 08-27-2007 at 04:54 AM.
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:45 AM   #129
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
That doesn't address donations. How do you determine what the "reasonable" (your idea) maximum donation is?

How can you determine what the "reasonable" amount of credits to buy for someone is when there's no such thing as maxing out a character? For instance, in something like Second Life one can, by any reasonable definition of the word, use the service for free, but there's also absolutely no limit on how many servers/how much land you want to pay for. They'd be happy to take 10 trillion dollars from you if you had it.

And yet most of the users use it without ever paying Linden Labs a dime.

--matt
Whether you call it 'donations', 'pay-for-perks' or 'credits', the relevant part is not the semantics, but whether or not you get any in-game benefits for the money you (or your opponent player) shell out. Only then does it affect the gameplay.

Is Second Life competitive? Does it include pvp? The issue about in-game-benefits is only valid when there is a competitive element in the game, so it's hard to understand why you bring that up here. Should we include Sims in the discussion too?
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Old 08-27-2007, 06:31 AM   #130
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
That sounds a lot like, "Commercial mud owners are going to lie about their games given the opportunity." Is that what you mean?

--matt
You know logos, it's -really- irritating when you strip intent in someone else's post for the express purpose of arguing your point. What's even worse, is when you quote the relevent part of the post in its entirety, and then pretend that some of the words don't exist - and respond to your version of what you want their post to read, just so you can argue your point.

KaVir wrote - "The commercial mud owners in this thread"

Not all commercial mud owners, not all who participate in TopMudSites, not all commercial mud owners who wear glasses, not all commercial owners who are constipated because they ate too many bananas yesterday. It's a simple math problem, logos; surely you can comprehend the whole "sets" thing we all learned back before we turned 12? "Some of this" is part of "all of this." "All of that" is part of "all of this," however "None of that" is any part of "Some of this."

"The commercial mud owners of this thread" is a subset of "all commercial mud owners" and KaVir didn't "mean" anything other than exactly what he said, which I happen to agree with.
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Old 08-27-2007, 06:45 AM   #131
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
That doesn't address donations. How do you determine what the "reasonable" (your idea) maximum donation is?
Donation's that do not involve benefits would be excluded.

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Originally Posted by the_logos View Post
How can you determine what the "reasonable" amount of credits to buy for someone is when there's no such thing as maxing out a character?
There's always the possibility of people purchasing credits to buy sexual services from other players. I'm sure however that muds would cut their MLC down to a bare minimum if they fear it would reflect badly on their public image.

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For instance, in something like Second Life one can, by any reasonable definition of the word, use the service for free, but there's also absolutely no limit on how many servers/how much land you want to pay for. They'd be happy to take 10 trillion dollars from you if you had it.
I'd be happy to take 10 trillion dollars from you as well, if you had it. I'm sure a reasonable MLC could be calculated for second life though this is tricky for games without clearly defined goals.
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Old 08-27-2007, 08:02 AM   #132
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Zhiroc View Post
I sorta have to chuckle.

A hundred posts ago, the thread centered around complaints that a MUD could say that it was free to play. So, an effor was made to come up with some system to quantify it, and in the end... we're back to a system where the same MUD would still simply say it was free to play, but maybe in a dedicated field rather than the description.
No sir, not back to anything other than a chance to discuss a potentially different solution I hadn't seen discussed before.

As mentioned, another option is the 4 previously discussed checkboxes with an optional text area, somewhat like we have for codebase.

In fact, I've compared this whole thing to PK several times - there is nopk, there is full pk, everything in between is a huge grey area. "Restricted PK" can mean we allow just people to fight every 3rd year and give the winner a trophy or it can mean "Full PK after level 20" - no amount of categorization will give you a true idea of how ingrained in that game PK really is without trying it. Same with roleplay. So perhaps those dropdowns could have an optional "extra info" box too.
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:33 AM   #133
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Unhappy Re: What does "Free" Mean?

I'd like to put in my two cents in support of distinctions in the "pay-for-perks" range that look like:

Pay perks available; all perks can also be obtained without paying
Pay perks available; a few perks can only be obtained by paying
Pay perks available; most or all perks can only be obtained by paying

I believe a game that does pay-for-perks while maintaining a serious commitment to having the game fully playable for free should have ways of differentiating itself from games where the "free mode" is basically just marketing/bait, and the above would help with that.
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:56 AM   #134
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Re: Nodeka

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
Better to present the facts and let each reader decide what the facts mean to them.
Everybody has an opinion. Here's mine:

It's a bit misleading to advertise a game as "free" if the game being advertised includes features of any type that require real world payment of any kind. Saying a game is "free to play" while offering enhancements to those who will pay for them seems like a tactic for hiding the fact that if you want to play on even footing with folks who choose to maximize what a game has to offer, the game isn't free at all. I have always hated the way character development becomes a competion in these games, but that's the nature of the beast.

Having said all that, I must also say that think it's too bad the MUDding environment compels developers who want to profit from their work (or just break even) to cover the fact that there is money involved in playing their games. I get the sense that "pay for play" is a dirty phrase to many in the MUDding community, and that's too bad too. The unwwillingness of folks to pay for text games has seriously stifled innovation in the genre over the years and contributed greatly to its demise. That's not to say that all MUDs are worth paying for, but I bet if MMORPGs were developed by hobbyists with zero budget, you wouldn't pay to play many of them, either. MUD developers are incredibly talented and creative, but they can't compete with the big game studios, their massive budgets and armies of coders.

I always get a kick out of the way people prioritize their entertainment dollars. They'll pay $13 for a Coke, a box of popcorn and a movie, but balk at a $9.95 monthly subscription that lets them play a MUD 24/7 with hundreds of friends.
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Old 08-27-2007, 10:26 AM   #135
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
No sir, not back to anything other than a chance to discuss a potentially different solution I hadn't seen discussed before.

As mentioned, another option is the 4 previously discussed checkboxes with an optional text area, somewhat like we have for codebase.

In fact, I've compared this whole thing to PK several times - there is nopk, there is full pk, everything in between is a huge grey area. "Restricted PK" can mean we allow just people to fight every 3rd year and give the winner a trophy or it can mean "Full PK after level 20" - no amount of categorization will give you a true idea of how ingrained in that game PK really is without trying it. Same with roleplay. So perhaps those dropdowns could have an optional "extra info" box too.
I agree, but it seemed like there was a building consensus away from the "defined payment model" proposal you had earlier put forth towards the describe-only free text. Maybe it's now begun to swing back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by the_logos
Playing devil's advocate, the trouble is that there's no way at all, even in theory, to verify this. With every other option on the search field there's a way to verify what the MUD owner claims, but here there is none, at all, since the act of someone sending in donations is completely opaque to other users.
But by the same token, there's no way to prove anything a bit of advertising says. So accordingly, why bother having any facts stated about a MUD other than their telnet and web addresses?

The thing about saying that a MUD accepts no money at all is pretty easy to tell. Obviously, you can't hide it all that much if you expect to take in any money. And anyone who does and lies about it would get savaged about as much as someone who violates DIKU.

Quote:
Originally Posted by scandum
Nobody liked my idea to just give hard figures? It'd solve all the bickering over semantics.
Well, that would be nice... but I agree it would be next to impossible with most any donation or optional payment model. I once wrote an article about how much it takes in credits to do that for a character in a certain MUD. That part was hard enough. But then to calculate cost, it depended on volume purchases for one, and then you have "sales", and then finally, the ways one can "win" free credits, and/or buy them on the in-game market using in-game gold. The latter even turns into an argument that these credits are therefore not even a "required payment". I'm done arguing the point, except as an example of why I say that pay-(or notpay-)for-perks is such an opaque and complicated payment model that it borders on (admittedly the legal side of) deceptive, and is therefore one that I will never avail myself of again, and will advocate this position to try to convince others not to as well.
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Old 08-27-2007, 11:16 AM   #136
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
As mentioned, another option is the 4 previously discussed checkboxes with an optional text area, somewhat like we have for codebase.
That might be a better compromise. Writing "100% free to play" isn't so misleading when it's in a text area beside the "Payment accepted and rewarded in-game" option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lasher View Post
In fact, I've compared this whole thing to PK several times - there is nopk, there is full pk, everything in between is a huge grey area. "Restricted PK" can mean we allow just people to fight every 3rd year and give the winner a trophy or it can mean "Full PK after level 20" - no amount of categorization will give you a true idea of how ingrained in that game PK really is without trying it. Same with roleplay. So perhaps those dropdowns could have an optional "extra info" box too.
I'd personally like a text area for PK, and for the sake of consistency I agree that one for RP would be equally valuable.
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:21 PM   #137
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

I would suggest a combination of ONE check box and availability to describe it like so:

[ ] This mud has some donation, registration, and/or payment features.
<Text box with Description and Payment features.>
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:30 PM   #138
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

Quote:
[ ] This mud has some donation, registration, and/or payment features.
<Text box with Description and Payment features.>
Not sure I see how that is helpful, since even accepting unsolicited
donations for no reward puts you in the same text box as a full pay to play
mud, and you're back to the issue of a text box being inadequate.

I continue to assert that Lasher's checkboxes are a good solution:

Quote:
[ ] Payment required to play?
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted, not rewarded in-game.
[ ] Payment / Donations accepted, rewarded in-game.
[ ] No Payment / Donations accepted, period.
-Crat
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:48 PM   #139
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
What would you write in your "payment model" box?
We'll find out if Lasher institutes the option!

--matt
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Old 08-27-2007, 12:50 PM   #140
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Re: What does "Free" Mean?

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Originally Posted by Emil View Post
Whether you call it 'donations', 'pay-for-perks' or 'credits', the relevant part is not the semantics, but whether or not you get any in-game benefits for the money you (or your opponent player) shell out. Only then does it affect the gameplay.

Is Second Life competitive? Does it include pvp? The issue about in-game-benefits is only valid when there is a competitive element in the game, so it's hard to understand why you bring that up here. Should we include Sims in the discussion too?
Whether something is competitive or whether it has PvP has absolutely nothing to do with whether something is free or not.

You are speaking to your personal perception of fairness, not to whether something is free or not.
--matt
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