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Old 04-24-2015, 06:18 PM   #1
dark acacia
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Taking another look at some MUDs

A recent thread got me to reconsider Achaea, a MUD I played several years ago and quit because I hated it. This time around I thought that it was significantly more compelling than it was back then. There are still a few issues I have with the game, but it's not enough to make me quit (yet). The tutorial is slow-paced and designed for people new to MUDs and the particular system of advancement which Achaea uses, and I've found that accomplishing the scripted task of reaching level 20 is agonizingly slow in the newbie areas I was sent to operate in. I'm still not out of the newbie range yet and my player-run House seems dead at the moment, but I'll be back to keep the trickle of experience flowing (dripping?).

Because of my decision to look at Achaea again, I decided to try out some other MUDs that I visited long ago. I'll post a few remarks about each one here as I get to them.

Threshold: I forgot why I disliked this game so much until I tried it again a week or two ago. When I played I had a hard time remembering what my problem was with it; I had a lot of fun with the guild system (I played an Elven Mage) and I met and quickly made friends with people in the religious group I had intended my character to join. What stopped me was the steep price that every player is asked to pay in order to get the full experience: $50 US. Without this, I couldn't become a full member of the religion my character wanted to join, and it seems like there's other perks I'd miss out on.

The rationale they give is that many big budget games these days cost about $50 or so when they are released, so why not spend something like that to play Threshold if the MUD is enjoyable enough to stick around for? The issue I take with this is that not every gamer is someone who owns a PS4 and invests in the CoD-of-the-Month. I'm a budget gamer and I shop around for fun games that are free or inexpensive because I'm not prepared to drop so much cash on big-name titles, and then again on DLC that probably should have came with the original game to begin with. This is a major reason for why I often play MUDs. There are a lot of players of Threshold who ARE prepared to drop cash on the game, but that's their choice and it's their money to do with as they please. If Threshold needs money to operate, I'm sure its loyal gamers will come up with enough money to keep it going without the Admin passing the hat if they're already willing to spend $50 per head. Being told that the $50 is necessary to prove that I will stick around before being permitted to join player-run organizations only tells me that Threshold is more concerned with keeping bodies pounding commands into their game than anything else.

Other games I'll be looking at soon: Alter Aeon, Ateraan.

Last edited by dark acacia : 04-24-2015 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 04-26-2015, 09:01 AM   #2
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

Any MUD of mine would be 100% free to play, but different people have different goals and I can understand folks charging for their games. It takes a lot of time and work to produce a quality MUD. If people will pay whatever to play your game, more power to you. A professionally engineered, implemented and administrated multiplayer text RPG beats the heck out of any MMORPG as far as playability and long-term fun, IMHO. I also understand it when people can't afford $50 a month to play anything. What I don't get is folks being willing to spend $20 to go see a movie with a friend, or $20 on drinks at a club Friday night, or $20 bowling, rollerskating, going to a play or a ball game, but being unwilling to pay $20 a month to play a MUD that they enjoy. This is not aimed at you, Acacia. It's been a pet peeve of mine for a long time.

A lot of things about Achaea really appeal to me. I gave it a shot some years back, several shots, as it took me multiple attempts to slog through the introductory tutorial. I really hate those things, especially when they are mandatory. I finally made it, but what I could not handle was an inventory system that used object numbers. I think Achaea is probably a great game, but there are a few details are deal breakers for me. I should probably go try it out again. It sounds like the newby intro stuff has expanded, though.
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Old 04-26-2015, 11:36 AM   #3
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

Paying money to do social activities with real, tangible friends is a much better investment than giving money to a faceless Internet denizen in order to play a text game. When my friends are around, the computer goes off, unless we're playing D&D together in which case I won't MUD.
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Old 05-01-2015, 01:18 AM   #4
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

Cool thread.
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Old 05-05-2015, 11:19 AM   #5
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
Paying money to do social activities with real, tangible friends is a much better investment than giving money to a faceless Internet denizen in order to play a text game. When my friends are around, the computer goes off, unless we're playing D&D together in which case I won't MUD.
You are still paying money to see those friends. You are paying to play D&D together (books, dice, etc). You are paying for the utilities in your house/apartment(heat, cooling, lights, etc), you are paying for the food and drinks. You are paying for the radio or listening device. You are paying for the phone to call them or text them.

Fact is, you are just against paying for anything you think should be free. Unfortunately, nothing is free in life. Nothing. You may be getting something free (like typing into this forum) but someone is paying for your ability to have that free service. Sort of like your friends sitting at your house. They sit their for free, but you pay for all services surrounding them. Make sense? I hope so.

Last thought: You get what you pay for, be it free or otherwise.
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Old 05-05-2015, 03:14 PM   #6
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

You're trying to compare what is essentially DLC to real, flesh-and-blood friends.
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Old 05-05-2015, 07:01 PM   #7
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

This is definitely an interesting thread. Personally, I love pay-for-perks MUDs. I like to play a MUD for free to try it out. If I really like the MUD and intend to stick with it, then I'm quite willing to pay a little bit here and there for perks. MUDs do themselves a service by being free to play and then selling various upgrades, especially in a wide range of prices. I agree with Dark Acacia that a big demand for payment like $ 50 should not occur too early or it is a big turnoff.
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Old 05-05-2015, 09:09 PM   #8
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

It's not just the part about expecting $50 as if the MUD is entitled to it that bothers me the most--it's that there are features that remain locked out until you pay, and everyone who has already paid is encouraged to be a salesperson for paying money to the game.

If people are so enthusiastic about playing Threshold that they will pay for it, certainly Threshold can afford to make the payment voluntary. Let people get game currency and experience for paying, but don't lock people out because they don't have the RL budget for it.

I know I promised to look at other games, but I'm busy these days and I'm still poking around in Achaea.
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Old 05-06-2015, 03:02 AM   #9
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Originally Posted by Malifax View Post
Any MUD of mine would be 100% free to play, but different people have different goals and I can understand folks charging for their games. It takes a lot of time and work to produce a quality MUD. If people will pay whatever to play your game, more power to you. A professionally engineered, implemented and administrated multiplayer text RPG beats the heck out of any MMORPG as far as playability and long-term fun, IMHO. I also understand it when people can't afford $50 a month to play anything. What I don't get is folks being willing to spend $20 to go see a movie with a friend, or $20 on drinks at a club Friday night, or $20 bowling, rollerskating, going to a play or a ball game, but being unwilling to pay $20 a month to play a MUD that they enjoy. This is not aimed at you, Acacia. It's been a pet peeve of mine for a long time.

A lot of things about Achaea really appeal to me. I gave it a shot some years back, several shots, as it took me multiple attempts to slog through the introductory tutorial. I really hate those things, especially when they are mandatory. I finally made it, but what I could not handle was an inventory system that used object numbers. I think Achaea is probably a great game, but there are a few details are deal breakers for me. I should probably go try it out again. It sounds like the newby intro stuff has expanded, though.

Its a fairly new feature, but Achaea mostly supports the more traditional item management system you might be familiar with now (particularly for inventory manipulation). PUT sword#3 IN PACK etc should work and such, so if that was the reason you found it not to your liking, you might want to check that out.
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Old 05-06-2015, 07:50 AM   #10
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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Its a fairly new feature, but Achaea mostly supports the more traditional item management system you might be familiar with now (particularly for inventory manipulation). PUT sword#3 IN PACK etc should work and such, so if that was the reason you found it not to your liking, you might want to check that out.
The inventory thing is a deal-breaker for me, but games that make me do busy work to gain my first X number of levels or skills or whatever drive me nuts. And maybe that was a misperception on my part. Chasing butterflies, though? Ugh.

Thanks for the heads up. I'll have to take another look.
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Old 05-06-2015, 12:38 PM   #11
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

Dark Acacia wrote:
Quote:
You're trying to compare what is essentially DLC to real, flesh-and-blood friends.
There's nothing fundamentally special about 'people' or 'flesh and blood'. Someone can be uploaded and run in silicon and still be as much a person as another person who happens to run on organic hardware.

That said, DLC at the moment isn't nearly as complex or chaotic as flesh and blood creatures are, and certainly isn't yet self aware. Personally, I think that's a lot of the draw of games in general: they aren't nearly as difficult to figure out and/or work with as real people, and the consequences for failure aren't nearly as harsh. I can hardly fault others for wanting to go with the safer option.

Alter Aeon MUD
http://www.alteraeon.com
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:23 PM   #12
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

It's all a matter of priority and preference. My point was just that people think nothing of dropping $15 for a movie ticket, a bag of popcorn and a soda, but staunchly refuse to part with the same money to play a MUD, even if they love the game. For a person who enjoys role-playing and virtual existence in general, a good online text RPG seems like a pretty good investment to me.
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Old 05-07-2015, 10:15 PM   #13
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

I started playing Armageddon 15 years ago when I was a broke-ass teenager. Being free was a major plus to me and remains so today.

Why pay for a lesser product when Armageddon kicks so much ass for free?
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Old 05-08-2015, 05:20 AM   #14
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

elysium is a free mud , you should look into it we'd love to have you
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Old 05-09-2015, 07:29 PM   #15
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

Quote:
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It's all a matter of priority and preference. My point was just that people think nothing of dropping $15 for a movie ticket, a bag of popcorn and a soda, but staunchly refuse to part with the same money to play a MUD, even if they love the game. For a person who enjoys role-playing and virtual existence in general, a good online text RPG seems like a pretty good investment to me.
I completely agree with you. That one night of fun costs more than the month subscription. When I first started playing Avalon: The Legend Lives it was pay by the hour (19 years ago) Then it moved to monthly subscription but is now finally free to play. Pay by the hour was insane but I never though a thing about it back then when I was pumping my credit card number in
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Old 05-12-2015, 12:48 AM   #16
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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It's all a matter of priority and preference. My point was just that people think nothing of dropping $15 for a movie ticket, a bag of popcorn and a soda, but staunchly refuse to part with the same money to play a MUD, even if they love the game. For a person who enjoys role-playing and virtual existence in general, a good online text RPG seems like a pretty good investment to me.
The problem with giving money to a MUD is that there's so many moving parts in MUD gaming compared to going out to see a movie. At least with a movie, if it's a bad movie it's all over in 90 minutes or so; you only lost that amount of time and $5-8 dollars (no one buys movie theater food, it's way too ridiculous). You don't know how stuck up the MUD admins are, or how entrenched the cliques are, or how long you're going to stay with the game after you realize that it has no clothes. Offering optional premium features is one thing, but demanding up front fifty dollars to have full access to the game is outrageous.
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Old 05-12-2015, 08:21 AM   #17
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

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The problem with giving money to a MUD is that there's so many moving parts in MUD gaming compared to going out to see a movie. At least with a movie, if it's a bad movie it's all over in 90 minutes or so; you only lost that amount of time and $5-8 dollars (no one buys movie theater food, it's way too ridiculous). You don't know how stuck up the MUD admins are, or how entrenched the cliques are, or how long you're going to stay with the game after you realize that it has no clothes. Offering optional premium features is one thing, but demanding up front fifty dollars to have full access to the game is outrageous.
Most pay games I've ever played give you the first month or so free. I'm sure there are plenty that don't, but they should. $50 these days is pretty outrageous; I'll agree with you there. But if you get a 30-day trial and the cost per month is reasonable ($10-$15), I don't see why it's difficult to determine whether or not you like a game before you invest much at all. You can quit any time. Now, not all games are worth paying for, but a professionally engineered and run text RPG is, at least to me.

Lots and lots and lots of people buy theater food, by the way.
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Old 05-14-2015, 07:53 AM   #18
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

Comparing a mud to a movie is pointless. I can watch a movie for free on my computer or TV, without ever leaving my home. It's built into my internet and TV package with Xfinity. I might have to wait for a first-run to become a third-run, but that is how I can afford it, and so that's how I do it. I haven't sat in a movie theatre in around 15 years and don't plan on going any time soon.

Dinner out - no comparison. I have to pay for food whether I eat it out of the house or in the house, because I don't own a farm and grow/raise my own.

Vacation: I spend a lot of vacation, but it's a special treat that I can't just up and do whenever I have spare time. It's something that has to be scheduled, I have to take a week off from work, make arrangements for hotel/ship/air/excursions, etc. etc. And something like that is once a year, if that. The last time we actually went on vacation away from the house was three years ago. So that can't be compared to a mud.

I used to pay for muds, back in the day when I had no idea they existed outside the handful available on Prodigy/AOL/CompuServ/GEnie. At one point they were free with online subscription, at another point you had to pay per hour. But then I realized most muds are free. Only a very small handful charge for the privilege. I also realized by playing both pay and no-pay games, that the sheer variety of no-pay games gives you a better shot at finding a better game than the pay-games you thought were the only ones in existence.

Considering my personal likes and dislikes, I can say there are no pay-games worth me paying for. I signed back up for Gemstone because they started letting people play (limited) for free. I wandered around looking for just a smidgen of roleplay (I had low expectations) and found none (the game couldn't even meet my low expectations). They put more work into their fancy web-based front end than they did in the quality of the roleplay.

I played New Worlds for a couple of days (it's free to start playing, there are costs involved at some point down the line). There was nothing about it that made me think "woah this is totally worth paying for." I encountered three people the entire 5 hours I played (an hour here and there, different times of day, making sure to spend some of each visit in the main area of congregation). I left wondering what the point of the game was, and didn't bother going back to find out.

I played Inferno when it was free and when they charged and in fact I was one of the builders for it. It was a better game when it was free. It was more fun to build when I wasn't pressured to give players their money's worth, and it was more fun to play when I knew the staff was doing their jobs because it was fun, not because they had to generate income for the game.
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Old 05-14-2015, 09:29 AM   #19
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

@Jaz:

You and I have been going around about this stuff for long enough that I think we both know how this will go, so I'm just gonna say this:

Everybody has preferences and priorities, and within the law of the land, what people choose to do with their disposable income is never wrong. My only point is that I don't get peoples' staunch unwillingness to pay for a text game even though they love it. I can understand not wanting to fund someone's hobby. But if a game is well-engineered, professionally administrated and you enjoy it, isn't it worth paying for?

Last edited by Malifax : 05-14-2015 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 05-14-2015, 10:00 AM   #20
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Re: Taking another look at some MUDs

Quick addendum:

I think willingness to pay for quality text games would only increase the willingness for developers to put time and money into building quality text games, and that could only be good for the genre and those of us who love it.
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