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Old 04-09-2009, 11:13 AM   #1
MudMann
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Question about Gemstone and need a home

Been looking (without success) for a new mud, but nothing is taking my fancy at all. Not really sure what I want, but everyone falls a little flat in some way shape or form. Basically WoW is boring now, City of Heroes is a ghost town, EVE online is... nice to look at, but I prefer Oolite.

Then I caught the name Gemstone in some blog of a mudder who stated that it was the best he had ever played, and thought "never heard of that". So off I went to the site.

Then my breath was literally taken away when I saw $14 - $49 per MONTH.. more than most modern day MMO's. WHAT THE HELL!!!!! NOw there is a free trial, but I heartily disapprove of giving Credit Card info as part of a free trial as its usually just done to get some pennies out of people who forget to quit. However this thread is now about that.. I am sure it is more likely used to maintain an adult audience.

So my question (considering I can find no unbiased reviews anywhere) what the hell does this MUD have that justifies such a HUGE outlay of cash, is it really that superior? Can it really have 100's of players online when FREE superb quality MUD's dont.

Anyone played it, and does it have that special something that makes it worth the serious outlay of cash. I dont have a problem with paying for quality, a certain MUD I played for many years had a four figure sum in donations / payments.. but that was choice.. this is mandatory.

Oh, as an aside my ideal criteria for a mud would be

1) RP mud, but with sufficient channels / OOC rooms to be normal in
2) Easy to read and well laid out with no hideous colours
3) Aimed at the casual player, with items saved without having to pay for the privilidge, and designed so I can log off with little notice as opposed to having to hunt for a place to logoff
4) GREAT settings and descriptions (preferably using senses as well)
5) Lots to do for the single player
6) Preferably adult players
7) Death with consequences that are no more than minor irritations

Muds I have played over the last.. 12 years or so.

Threshold (awesome, but played to death, best descriptions in a game, great house builder), All ironrealms (text overload, and too similar), 3 kingdoms (ticks all the boxes, but the genre clashes does not sit well with me), Armageddon (no interest in permadeath, and also very VERY RP intensive), New worlds (OK, but didnt grip me), Everayn (lovely game.. too quiet.. now dead anyway I belive), Lost Wishes, Realms of Despair, Iceus, Carrion Fileds, Magica Materia, Shadows of Isuldur.
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Old 04-09-2009, 02:40 PM   #2
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Re: Question about Gemstone and need a home

I share your vexation when it comes to Gemstone. But they clearly are doing something right, because they have a tremendous number of players.

You listed most of the MUDs I would have suggested, so unfortunately I don't have any suggestions for you. But I did want to comment:

Quote:
Originally Posted by MudMann View Post
Threshold (awesome, but played to death, best descriptions in a game, great house builder)
Thanks. I really appreciate that.
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Old 04-09-2009, 05:19 PM   #3
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Re: Question about Gemstone and need a home

I suppose I shall have a quick peep though it will have to be something spectacular to hold my interest for 30 days at the moment... I suppose with the kind of monies they must be earning... their development should be top notch

and I believe in credit where credit is due. Many muds could be made just that little bit more special if they took a leaf from Threshold.. nothing aids atmosphere more than to walk into a place... search, listen, feel, smell and get different answers each time.. amazing

The perfect mud... Descriptions and emoting system by Threshold, Crafting system by Armageddon, Engine by Ironrealms, Marketing by Gemstone (heh heh), and so on (I could have added more bits from other muds, but just been on the wii for ages, and dripping with sweat and too tired to think).
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Old 04-10-2009, 05:24 PM   #4
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Re: Question about Gemstone and need a home

In order to understand the attraction/success of Gemstone you'd have to go back to its roots. It was one of the very first muds offered on GEnie, and then AOL, Prodigy Online, and CompuServe. At one point, AOL's pricing structure was for unlimited access, and Prodigy followed suit, and this caused a HUGE influx of players to the game because they no longer had to pay hourly to play it. Yes - hourly. Some folks were wracking up several -hundred- dollar's worth of play time every month.

Eventually, the online services and Simutronics (which owns Gemstone) stopped doing business, and Simu "went internet" and became available without having to have a subscription to those online services. For the first time, you could access the game using its proprietary game client, and any ISP. By now, GEnie and CompuServe were distant memories in the history of the internet.

At this point, they continued to maintain prices competitive to AOL's monthly fees, and then Prodigy went out of business. That's when multi-accounting became pretty popular, and buying/selling game coins and characters for cash became more prevalent than ever. Apparently buying/selling for cash wasn't new, but with the advent of players being able to create their own websites and very simple HTM programs (Hotdog was awesome), it was just a lot easier for a lot more people to do.

What you're seeing now, is the result of all that, and the spiraling, profitable business enterprise that ensued. Those thousands of accounts, aren't all individual, unique players. A substantial portion of them are multis...in fact there are people who have several multis who exist only to "spell each other up" and skill-grind until they are maxed and available for sale on the internet. Coins are sold by the million, on e-bay.

Basically, Gemstone is a trading card game, where roleplay is allowed, but if you actually attempt to do so you might get strange looks and be told to "chill out tis a game noob."
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Old 04-10-2009, 06:42 PM   #5
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Re: Question about Gemstone and need a home

Well I can certainly see what getting a ton of money each month will do for development of a mud / client. Using Stormfront, it is practically a mouse driven game, very impressive.

Very friendly staff (got taken under the wing of a player pretty quickly as I was bleeding to death due to unfriendly kobolds). Nice descriptions, well laid out, nice skills system.. is it worth compulsery investment of cash... not sure.

Oh, and the house builder looks like ONE ROOM! I hope I am wrong for the sake of the poor souls who PAY all that money.. my house in Thresh had.. um.. never mind.. dont want to give too many clues as to how much my bank balance diminshed :-D

however accurate and true to life it may be.. having to keep putting away my sword so I can pick something up is VERY annoying.. ok I have two hands... but its a SODDING GAME!!!! Dont need to be THAT realistic that I have to free up my hands top pick something up :-D

I doubt I will go beyond the trial, however it is so proffessional, it is keeping me entertained
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:01 PM   #6
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Re: Question about Gemstone and need a home

My suggestion to you, is that you give Dragonrealms a try. Judging by the affiliation and preferences you've stated above, I would say that the atmosphere you would be inclined toward, along with the game mechanics you may enjoy, are by far more in line with Dragonrealms, than Gemstone.

Good luck,
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Old 04-10-2009, 07:23 PM   #7
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Re: Question about Gemstone and need a home

it was a toss up between the two.. thank for the tip
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Old 04-11-2009, 02:13 PM   #8
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Re: Question about Gemstone and need a home

What a NICE experience system Gemstone has, go on a slaughtering grind fest.. then chill out with roleplay as your full brain empties of all its recent experiences and increases your EXP towards the next level at a nice steady rate.

Very clever INDEED!

Nice spell system, very very clever skills system.. allows for a very unique character build.. and now I have got my head around Stormfront, the two handed thing is no longer a big issue.. I espceially like being able to show my backpack to a shopkeeper, who will search through it for everything he want, and buy them en-mass.

Said it once, will say it again... its amazing what regular money can do for development.

Had a go with dragonrealms, but I cant keep jumping around like this... Dragon Realms certainly sems to have a very very indepth combat system.. however one mud at once.. I shall persever with Gemstone (very helpful player base by the way, had my body dragged to a healer by a friendly player who stumbled on my dead body to the centre of time where I was brought back to life).

Of course, there has been nothing yet to pursade me to stay for longer than the trial... especially as it appears there is something rather new and exciting looming towards the end of April.. which it is not my place to mention... so I will keep quiet.
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Old 04-12-2009, 10:33 AM   #9
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Re: Question about Gemstone and need a home

Glad you liked Gemstone and Dragonrealms. I've played them both on and off over the years. Admitly 15 a month sounds a bit expensive in these times. But when I started only MMORPGs were Everquest and Warcrack and it was 10 a month. But still, all in all, 180 a year for a basic account isn't too bad for what I got in my opinon. Hope you enjoy it.
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