I think there are several aspects of MUME that must be considered time sinks. One by one not all of them are particularly bad, but together they add up to the point where one might not even bother to play at all if one only has an hour or two to spare; during longer sessions they also tend to have a considerably deteriorating effect on gameplay experience.11b wrote:To invest without any prospect of return.
Here are some examples:
* Spending several minutes waiting for a shop to open just so one can aquire a basic item like a light source, a weapon or a shield. Having them open 24/7 would hurt no one.
* Spending several minutes waiting for a guild to open so one can get some basic skills necessary for adventuring. Having them open 24/7 would hurt no one.
* Spending longer time waiting for some quest mob to tell his story than it would take to tell it RL, despite time supposedly being accelerated by a factor of 60. I don't propose making telling a story that takes 2 minutes to tell RL take 2 seconds on mume, but 20 seconds seems reasonable. One might even bother to read it if that would take less time than brewing a cup of coffee. Speeding these snail-mudlles up a little would hurt no one (except maybe a blind player who receives a dozen tells per second might have to order his speech synthesizer to replay).
* Being unable to hand one's equipment in for mending at the end of a session and come back to collect it at the beginning of the next one. I know this is tied to a larger change (which I also happen to despise), but how about having time spent in a room at the local inn not count towards those "10 minutes" - or maybe have the equipment delivered to the local inn while one is rented there? I imagine this is even worse for people with unreliable links, as something as simple as going to the bakery to buy some bread while waiting for the armourer to mend one's armour might result in the loss of the armour.
* Having to spend 24-48 minutes logged on but idle to make a focus. The investment in actual gameplay needed to collect the necessary items and making sure one's alignment does not drop too low is a far more interesting aspect of the quest to obtain these powerful and special items. It can certainly take long enough too, particularly for people who have not made powerful friends yet.
* Forcing people to go to Lórien to practice and mend equipment; this can involve up to half an hour of sheer boredom. As far as I understood when reading Tolkien's books non-Elven visitors to Lórien were extremely rare and there were even myths about the evil Witch-Queen flourishing in neighbouring realms, so there is no Tolkienism reason to force people to visit regularly. Knowing that they are the only mithril menders west of the Misties ought to make the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains see a chance to make a nice profit by opening their smithies to all the free races (at a price, of course), so the current setup is not the least bit realistic either.
On the plus side, the recent changes to age has certainly improved the afk sleeping : playing ratio for new characters, which might make a few fewer people quit before their first char has reached level 5.