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May 18, 2006



I'm eager to see how this works as well (and will soon be signing up to participate). My thesis research - slow going as it is - focuses on small groups interacting via wiki. It occurred to me that the conventions of wiki collaboration aren't too far removed from MMOG collaboration.

Which has provided me an excellent rationale for playing WoW and exploring Second Life.


Well, the fact it is not free is quite a turn-down: for such a thing you'll better go to play a MUD...


Heh. Reminds me of the message board RPGs I used to play on...


Admittedly, as one of the folks helping to develop Andy's PlayByWiki site, I'm hardly impartial, but I think the pricing is reasonable. (Especially now during the Beta period when it's free!) After all, each membership allows multiple users, so that the per person cost is only $5 or $6 per year. Doesn't seem too bad to me.

If we don't charge something to defray our hosting costs we'll have to go with another pricing model like advertising or something. What would folks prefer?


Aren't there a few examples of stuff like this already sort of being done out there? I mean, not RPGs per se, but there's the whole ELOTH:TES cycle over at Penny Arcade ( http://elothtes.pbwiki.com/ ) and then there's games of Lexicon ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lexicon_(game) )...? Just looking for a nod on that point; clearly the specialized wiki setup is novel.


Or the Paranoia Toothpaste Disaster,another Lexicon game:


If we don't charge something to defray our hosting costs we'll have to go with another pricing model like advertising or something. What would folks prefer?

To claim that your hosting costs are what require you to be 'for-pay' can't be entirely honest. I get 60GB of disk and 1.6TB traffic a month on my $16/mo hosting plan (email me).

Ask for donations. You should be able to cover hosting costs up until you start hitting tens of thousands of users.

Offer the core functionality for free and charge for additional features.

Offer a free version with ads -- slapping Google Adsense on a wiki took me about 5 minutes.


The $$$ issue... a peek under the hood.

As the main creator of PlayByWiki (though my wife will be doing the admin/management work on the business side if it ever amounts to anything) and Ninth Sigil, the RPG system we're writing for it, I'll tell you we've struggled with both the "shall we charge at all?" issue, and the issue of openness, permissions, group structures, etc.

On the one hand... I love truly open wikis like the Wikipedia. Best way to promote viral, fast, open use. Fantastic. On the other hand, as a GM, I don't like people touching my text except my crew. Yes, there are roll-back tools for dealing with that... but it's still an issue of privacy and control vs. openness and availability.

So. We initially thought about group-only access; permissions based on a gang of folks who could create and edit their own pages, but nobody else's. Always unlimited pages per group, but limited numbers of members per group depending on level of membership paid for. Why?

Partly to pay for hosting, as my good buddy JB points out. But, as Ralph says, it ain't just for hosting.

We'd probably break even on hosting with 8-10 paid memberships per year. The other reasons to charge, though, are for admin time (setting up users, passwords, groups, permissions and group home pages takes time), support time and ongoing development of the wiki and the RPG system. And because, maybe, we'd like to make a wee bit of coin on the thing. Ain't nobody involved with this project thinks we're going to quit a day job or even make beer money... but it would be nice if it would at least pay $1/hour for the time spent developing the site and the system.

But... on this board and others, the consensus seems to have been that there has to be a "free version" of the site, or it won't fly.

OK. If the main reason we were gonna charge was to defray "time involved" costs, we can avoid that by having a level of membership where everybody who registers for the site gets to create/edit "public" pages for free, and paid member groups get their own "locked" pages.

How's that sound to folks? It's implemented on the site now, if you want to take a look... or a spin.


Gus: "Just looking for a nod on that point."
Nod :-).

The Penny Arcade project was brought to my attention after I put up the post - totally relevant. I'll have to check out Lexicon next. Thanks.

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