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Author Topic: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs  (Read 5048 times)

Tijer

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2018, 1:58 PM »
he saw the error of his ways and stopped giving "rigged" items for payment, his mud never really took off after that though...
--Tijer
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Tijer

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2018, 2:05 PM »
This reminds me of a GodWars based mud that was running in 2006 called Rekmud, which sold objects in game, godwars is based upon merc, which doesnt allow any form of monetary gain from it, but this person continued to do this until it was brought out into the open.  Icculus removed the MUD from TMC and Kyndig or Wolfpaw (i forget which it was now) removed the account from their servers.

Personally i would never play any pay to play or pay for perks mud, they should all be free to use! I dont even think WoW and the like should really charge to play, as you already have to shell out for the actual game, which should be inclusive of "subscription" to the game.

MUDs were said to be dying in 1996 when i first started to play, but they are still around, and people are still saying they're still dying...

What did used to annoy me was when TMC had Iron Realms adverts all over the site pretty much saying that hobbyist muds weren't as good as theirs!!

How do you remember this sh**?

I mean, after you mention it, I vaguely remember the threads about the MUD, but it wasn't a big enough blip on the TMC posting history that I would have recalled it if the MUD wasn't referenced by name.

http://www.mudconnect.com/mud-bin/adv_search.cgi?Mode=MUD&mud=Rekmud

Heh, that MUD's still listed actually, even updated their listing a few months ago. No clue if they're still violating the license though.

Further digging confirms your MudMagic AND Wolfpaw recollection were pretty on point too. He got kicked off Wolfpaw and then moved to MudMagic.

Further investigation and it appears the mud isnt ran by the original owner "Rekwan" i also think its no longer active...
--Tijer
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Drizzt1216

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2018, 2:36 PM »
Might not be active now, but it certainly was recently-ish based on updated: August 15, 2017

Hades_Kane

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2018, 5:26 PM »
If giving rewards for voting is against TMC rules, then giving rewards for posting biassed good reviews and posting biassed replies on promotional threads should also be made illegal.

I'd agree, except for the workload that would involve policing that.  If TMC had auditors like it did in the past, whose entire "job" was to police those kinds of things, it'd be more feasible.

Quote
This also falls in the same catergory of MUD's updating their listings just so they show in recently updated... I only update my listings if a player points out some grammatical error, or we have made some major changes.  Suffice to say i have been called out on my listing updates before, which were done purely for the above!

This would be more of a site software/code issue.  If your game has been "updated" in the last 3 months, it shouldn't appear in the recently updated tab; that'd be the easiest way to police that.  You might still have games that would time an update every 3 months just to be on the front page, and while that IS abuse, it minimizes the "harm".

I think the commercial games contribute certain negative factors. First, some use bait-and-switch. They may be completely new, and clicked on an ad. Wouldn't know there's many, many other games out there which are completely free, which brings me to the next point. The atmosphere fostered in commercial games is that a player who doesn't purchase in-game things is a scrub, and in some cases it's engineered to be that way intentionally in terms of gameplay.

So, I think we might be getting a lot of new people with an extremely high turn over rate due to the most visible, loudest muds being their front door into MU*s turning out to be a "free to play" game with pay to win. Most of the people that would be in our general demographic -I think- would be the people most likely to hear "free to play" and automatically interpret it with the prejudice of it being a pay to win game.

(Some?) People these days can't seem to grasp the concept that a hobby is not a job. The world doesn't spin based on your Etsy account, or your youtube channel. They think if something is free, there's a hidden problem. In this instance, they'd be right. Failure to mention that a game operates heavily on a pay to win model until you've got their attention is not super awesome.

That's a way of looking at it that I never really thought of in those specific terms, and a very good point.

I've mentioned elsewhere that other listing sites have taken to more explicitly pointing out their pay model, and I think that shift in the entire community is a good thing.  I also agree that the term "free to play" does immediately evoke "Oh ok, I can play for free, but I've got to pay to win, right?"

That's one reason why in the adverts for End of Time I always very specifically list "100% free" to try to differentiate from the pay to win games and to be as clear as I can that there is absolutely NO money changing hands in any form on the game.  Hell, I wouldn't even accept "no strings" donations for "server costs" if such a thing were offered by one of my players.

This is a hobby (albeit, a passion and what probably equates to my life's work at this point) and while I've even considered applying for some of the IRE paid positions that have popped up over the years, ultimately I do this because I WANT to, because I enjoy it, and because its cool when we actually have players that enjoy it too.  I don't want it to become a job or something I have to do.

I digress.

But yeah, if a total MUD newbie is introduced to the hobby via "pay to win" games, there is a high chance that this could turn them off from all of them.

The problem is, though, that the games that have managed to earn money doing it are the only ones with a real shot at bringing in any amount of "fresh blood" in any number that is significant enough to make a dent, so its difficult to say what would do more harm... these games NOT bringing in new people at all, or bringing in new people and potentially turning them off to the genre entirely?
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Ateraan

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2018, 2:05 AM »
But yeah, if a total MUD newbie is introduced to the hobby via "pay to win" games, there is a high chance that this could turn them off from all of them.
This could be said about a MUD that is horribly coded, a MUD that ends up preying on newbies, a MUD that is has bad Administration, etc.

I'll give you an example. I started on a roleplay enforced MUD that was a roleplay intensive environment. Had I started on any of the MUDs in the top ten of Top Mud Sites, I would have quick within the week and never returned.

This is me though, others may have variant differences so the goal here is to be a community of ONE. Helping to promote all genres and styles. Only in this can we hope to keep brand new players (we get many of them on Ateraan from our outside the box promotions) that will enjoy a variety of games offered here on TMC.

I said this in a previous post and I'll repeat it here. I plan in the next year to begin promoting other styles of TORGs and MUDs even on our website. Whether this comes to fruition or not remains to be seen, but I think it a good practice for the future.

We'll see.
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Epilogy

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2018, 11:44 AM »
But yeah, if a total MUD newbie is introduced to the hobby via "pay to win" games, there is a high chance that this could turn them off from all of them.
This could be said about a MUD that is horribly coded, a MUD that ends up preying on newbies, a MUD that is has bad Administration, etc.

Yes, and it has been. Glad we've cleared that one up.
TheDude is dead.

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Orpheus

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2018, 12:08 PM »
As a former MUD owner, I'd like to weigh in here.

I'm not terribly concerned about the monetization of MUDs, although I do think it is handled poorly in most cases. Before and after my game existed, I played a few MUDs that offered perks for donating. Really, I had more issues regarding the way the monetization aspects were implemented than the fact players could pay to get "get ahead".

I'm not even going to get into the whole "the codebase says it is illegal to make money off the game" issue. I think that's a bit silly, frankly; any good MUD out there, even if based on DIKU source code or whatever, has been rewritten so substantially that is basically new code. The coder of my game (technically, he was the owner) rewrote so much of the crap we started with that I consider it his code, not that of people who laid the groundwork over a decade before it began. We probably spent 500 hours over the course of several years just TALKING about changes we wanted to make. If we wanted to monetize the game, which we never did, to be honest I wouldn't have felt particularly bad about it.

Personally, I absolutely love the way "The Elder Scrolls: Online" handles "pay to get ahead", and I'm surprised that more MUDs don't use something like it. If you're not familiar, you pay $15 bucks a month, and you get extra storage space, a slight boost to XP and gold gain, and access to almost all of the DLC you would ordinarily need to pay for. I actually paid for a subscription to that "service" or whatever you want to call it for a bit, until I realized I played the game maybe 4 hours a week and also didn't care much about getting ahead. So I stopped paying, still have my character, and am advancing marginally slower than I could. Also, I realized that if I cared to I could achieve everything I wanted without paying (although at the rate they put out DLC lately, I might be better off just getting the subscription again). Now, if I were playing a MUD 4 hours a day, I might be willing to pony up a few bucks a month to get a slight boost and have inventory management be less of a chore. Would I donate a thousand bucks in one sitting? Nah. But that's just me.

Anyway, ESO is not "pay to win", it is "pay to have your gaming experience be less grindy and tedious". I think that's fair on their part. After all, servers cost money, and they have paid staff members. Buying a game once won't cover those costs indefinitely.

I do think that MUDs accepting small donations here and there is beneficial to the game overall. I literally skipped social events for my game when I knew things weren't going so well. I would check on the MUD while out to dinner with family and friends.

Trust me, if anyone playing my game had my phone number, I would have gotten texts everytime a minor issue arose. Because it was an RPI with a pretty brutal theme, it naturally happened pretty often. Frankly, over time, the number of hours I put into the game made me a bit resentful of it, especially when it really did begin to impact my social life. I loved it and still sort of miss it, but it really is nice not to have to worry about player numbers and policy concerns 24/7.

In case anyone's curious, I finally quit my game when a doctor told me I was at high risk for a rare but serious condition and told me to minimize stress. You can't eliminate all stress, of course, but you can eliminate the stress that comes from running a MUD.

Honestly, if I had been making a hundred bucks or so per month for my 100+ hours/month I was putting into the game, I would have been a much happier immortal, and probably would have viewed it as less of a source of stress and more of a job. A hundred bucks isn't much to most people, and it isn't to me, but it definitely would have made my time as a staff member feel like a job, not a hobby that rules your life. Job stress is easier to rationalize in your head than "hobby" stress.

Sure, some people get off on being an immortal and having the tiny little bit of power that comes with it, but those people probably aren't the ones that should be running MUDs. A little bit of extra money probably goes a long way towards a happier staff, which is a good thing.

I've read about Ateraan's monetization strategy, and I can't say I'm a huge fan - it does seem sort of "pay to win" from what I've read, but I could be wrong. I imagine there's probably a better way, but that's not up to me. Also, if it works for his players, it works for his players; it is not my job to tell people how to spend their money.

sazxe

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2018, 1:03 PM »
I'm not even going to get into the whole "the codebase says it is illegal to make money off the game" issue. I think that's a bit silly, frankly; any good MUD out there, even if based on DIKU source code or whatever, has been rewritten so substantially that is basically new code. The coder of my game (technically, he was the owner) rewrote so much of the crap we started with that I consider it his code, not that of people who laid the groundwork over a decade before it began. We probably spent 500 hours over the course of several years just TALKING about changes we wanted to make. If we wanted to monetize the game, which we never did, to be honest I wouldn't have felt particularly bad about it.

I would seriously love to see this play out as a defense in court for a license violation lol

"Well, we felt like it was ours."

Hades_Kane

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2018, 1:07 PM »
Quote
I'm not even going to get into the whole "the codebase says it is illegal to make money off the game" issue.

Quote
*proceeds to get into the whole "the codebase says it is illegal to make money off the game" issue*

Quote
I think that's a bit silly, frankly; any good MUD out there, even if based on DIKU source code or whatever, has been rewritten so substantially that is basically new code. The coder of my game (technically, he was the owner) rewrote so much of the crap we started with that I consider it his code, not that of people who laid the groundwork over a decade before it began. We probably spent 500 hours over the course of several years just TALKING about changes we wanted to make. If we wanted to monetize the game, which we never did, to be honest I wouldn't have felt particularly bad about it.

-Diablos
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Orpheus

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2018, 1:27 PM »
Oh, for heaven's sake. All I said was that I wouldn't have felt guilty about it; I didn't DO it. Also, come on - a court case over DIKU's source code? Really?

Okay, blah blah blah, I can hear it now: "you're talking about not feeling guilty over breaking THE LAW! You're clearly a bad person!" Well, maybe it is BREAKING THE LAW, but I also don't feel bad about rolling through a stop sign at night when there is clearly no one around - and that too is BREAKING THE LAW. Morally, making a few bucks a month off of DIKU is roughly equivalent to rolling through that stop sign. Hell, if were to try to monetize a MUD based on DIKU, I'd probably try to contact whomever to give them their fair share of the roughly 236 bucks a year that could possibly be made.

I said that "I" consider the now abandoned code my coder's code because - frankly - what we started with was total rubbish, and it was... not crap! ...by the time I left the game. I didn't say the courts would consider it "his" or "mine" (if there's a court in any country that would even bother with such a case, I'd laugh my butt off; would the original coders even care at this point? They didn't exactly invent the flippin' iPhone!)

Also, Hades, I'd care a lot more about what you think if you'd respond with anything but a dumb picture of a Game of Thrones (I think) character with a bunch of text over it. Well thought out response there.

I'm sorry I brought up the licensing nonsense because I was trying to make a bigger point about how a few bucks here and there might be good for a hypothetical game and perhaps the community in general. Apparently, my lack of remorse over a victimless crime that I didn't actually commit is more important.

Hades_Kane

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2018, 1:36 PM »
You realize that there have been significant contributors to the MUD community that have left it because of people who failed to respect the simple licenses that were put in place?

Members of the Diku team specifically have said that's why they stopped contributing, because two simple requests such as "credit us in the login sequence" and "don't make money off of our hard work" wasn't respected?

Do you really believe that the emotional harm that has led contributors to cut off from a hobby they've given immeasurable hours to and basically helped shape are really "victimless"?

Sure, run your stop sign, go a couple miles (or KM) over the speed limit... no one is arguing law is morality or that you should feel bad if your odometer barely creeps over the limit; some law breaking is harmless, but license violators have had measurable, direct harm to the community.

There are others that have cited MUDs like Medievia and too many people to count in the community with a similar "it doesn't do anyone harm" as reasons why they've never released their code into the community.

Even if you don't give a sh** about the victims of code theft, the community at large is victim to people who have no respect for the work and wishes of those that selflessly put their work out there to benefit all.
-Diablos
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Orpheus

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2018, 2:23 PM »
I wrote a much longer response to this, but I have work to do... so I'll be brief...

I meant no disrespect to anyone who helped pioneer the text-based roleplaying industry, and admittedly I haven't studied its history as much as I perhaps should have considering I ran a game for several years.

Again, I in no way profited off of the DIKU team. Frankly, if I had profited off of my MUD, the first person I would have tried to compensate is the woman who invented the theme... which wasn't even that original of a theme.

All that having been said, times have changed, and we can't pretend they haven't. With my post, I was merely suggesting that immortals earning a small salary might make for a better game experience.

It is a shame that the DIKU team suffered emotional pain; I'd never wish that on anyone.

However, if the team what it did for the benefit of the text-based community, at this point they should probably acknowledge that the terms they set forth decades ago might - and I said might - need to be changed for the future of the hobby if their code is going to be used going forward.

Drizzt1216

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2018, 2:36 PM »
However, if the team what it did for the benefit of the text-based community, at this point they should probably acknowledge that the terms they set forth decades ago might - and I said might - need to be changed for the future of the hobby if their code is going to be used going forward.

There have been recent talks of making Diku GPL. The entire Diku team is onboard with doing so. So is Jeremy Elson, the CircleMUD Developer. This is not something that will happen tomorrow, but it is something that is likely going to happen at this point.

That however would not make most MUDs be GPL, it'd only remove one barrier.

ROM, ROT, Envy, Sunder, GodWars, Merc, etc. etc all would have to have their creators okay their code going GPL for those variations to also be considered GPL.

Virtually everything else you've said is wrong, ethically, and legally. No amount of changes to a derivative stop it from being a derivative. Want your MUD to not be constrained by whatever license restrictions others decided to impose upon their work? Don't start out with their work, start out with the word of someone who doesn't have such restrictions, or better yet - start from scratch.

If you're trying to justify that you changed x% of the code then that makes it yours you're wrong, both legally, and in the sense that makes you morally bankrupt.

Also, yes, courts would take the Diku team seriously if they sued a game that made substantial amounts of money off of their code.

This is not an accusation, merely a hypothetical scenario.

If a graphical MMO like Everquest was found to have been a DikuMUD at its core with a GUI slapped on it and it could be proven the Diku team would win millions in court. Guaranteed.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 2:54 AM by Drizzt1216 »

Drizzt1216

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2018, 2:41 PM »
I'll give you an example. I started on a roleplay enforced MUD that was a roleplay intensive environment. Had I started on any of the MUDs in the top ten of Top Mud Sites, I would have quick within the week and never returned.

Your posts over the years have made it pretty clear you don't know sh** about MUDs outside of your own little bubble. As such I don't believe you've played even half of the ten games you're claiming would have all driven you away.

What you mean is, "My games best. Why? Because I made it. No I can't give you real reasons. Why? I know **** all about any of my competitors to even know how my MUDs different from theirs. What I am sure of however is that mine's better because I made it."
« Last Edit: January 21, 2018, 2:48 PM by Drizzt1216 »

Teryel

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Re: Concerns over the Monetization of MUDs
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2018, 8:28 PM »
I've read about Ateraan's monetization strategy, and I can't say I'm a huge fan - it does seem sort of "pay to win" from what I've read, but I could be wrong. I imagine there's probably a better way, but that's not up to me. Also, if it works for his players, it works for his players; it is not my job to tell people how to spend their money.

I think most people would agree that if it works for his players, it works for his players, and more power to anyone who chooses to play there.

What I think Epilogy and others are disagreeing with (strictly in regards to the pay model) is that Ateraan denies that it's pay to win, and there's no transparency to people when they first join that if they don't pay, others are going to have combat related advantages that they won't have access to.

Which is, Ateraan, the very definition of pay to win. It doesn't matter if -you- regard that advantage as trivial, it's still an advantage, and thus puts you in the category of pay to win. No matter how much you want to deny it.