Medievia: Frequently Asked Questions

The code you've reviewed is Medievia III, not Medievia IV!

On the Medievia website, Vryce states that "Medievia IV used our new HoloCode module that created a vast interactive real wilderness of 4 million rooms". Well, the version of the code which I reviewed contains the holocode system and associated commands - don't believe me? Click here.

It was originally from the Anti-Medievia website [now defunct] that I downloaded the source code which I reviewed on this site. Within about a day of the site going up, it had been pulled down again - but now it's back, along with the fax from Vryce which requested that the site be taken down. The reason? Because it was distributing "Medievia version 4.1 C code and libraries from 1996", signed "Michael A. Krause" (Vryce). He has now actually admitted that the code is Medievia IV! Here is a copy of the fax (although I recommend you also take a look at the Anti-Medievia website [now defunct] to find out the full story): page 1, page 2.

But not all the messages are the same as Medievia IV

The code I reviewed is datestamped 4th Februry 1996. That's over 4 years ago - more than enough time to change a few text messages. For example here is a comparison of the "bless" spell:

Merc 1.0: 35 lines.
Medievia IV in February 1996: 34 lines (60% stock).
Medievia IV in August 2000: 34 lines (46% stock).

Merc 1.0 vs Medievia IV in 1996: 21 identical lines.
Medievia in 1996 vs Medievia in 2000: 21 identical lines.
Merc 1.0 vs Medievia in 2000: 16 identical lines.

I know it's only a small example, but I've only had access to a very small part of the current Medievia code. Still, it's enough to prove the point.

If someone has a mud with a (whatever) base, and over time rewrites the underlying code so that it no longer bears resemblance to (whatever) base, then it seems to me that it clearly no longer is (whatever) base.

Fredrik Lnnergren says "Eh..so, with your line of reasoning, if I bash an apple into a curved shape and paint it yellow, it's a banana? When does an apple cease to be an apple? When you flavor it with banana taste? When you add a banana peel? When you slap on a "Chiquita" label on it? "Is" and "appears to be" is not equal".

But they give credit to the Diku team!

AxL says "If you had bothered to read the license you would know that it calls for the "credits" command as well as a listing in the login sequence".

Angela Christine says "Credit is given, but it's what my grandmother would have called a "backhanded compliment" a slap in the face paired with a compliment. Credit is given in the form of 'these guys did great work a long time ago, but it has nothing to us.'"

Vryce doesn't make any profit, the donations are just to cover his expenses.

I don't know how much Vryce's connection costs, but Inetsolve charge $535.00 setup and $1620.00 per year for a dedicated machine. I believe Vryce only started charging players in 1995, so that would work out at (($535/5)+$1620) $1727.00 per year to keep the mud running. Now according to the description of Medievia that Vryce wrote on The Mud Connector, there are 18,000 active players on the mud. Having spoken to some Medievia players, I've discovered that the most commonly purchased item is a talisman for $50. If less than 0.2% of Medievia's active playerbase bought one $50 item per year - that's a total of 35 such items per year - Medievia would be making a profit.

An ex-Medievia player (who wishes to remain anonymous) says "The way the Medievia donation system is setup now, in order to have top-of-the-line stats and abilities (special abilities ONLY available via donation items), a player would have to lay out an initial investment of $300-400 (1 mana talisman, 1 hitpoint talisman, aura, blessing, charm, chime, container, focus, and shrine @$300, add $100 for an additional set of talismans - many players buy 2 of each), followed by a $160 yearly fee to keep everything except the talismans from becoming ineffective. One year of EQ/AC/UO requires an initial cost of $35 or so, and 11 months of playing time at approximately $10/month (these games all have the first month free). So, it'll cost me around $145 to play a commercial, graphical MMORPG the first year, then $120 each additional year. And I get to make monthly payments. Medievia will cost $300-400 for the first "year" (whenever I choose to donate), and $160 (or $13.34/mth) for each additional year, if I want to have the best stats and abilities. In order to make the spammy donation message go away, I *must* spend at least $50 for a talisman...From personal experience, I do know people who have donated well over $1000 to the game during their length of play.

"I've visited his home - a divorced programmer (with no college degree), paying child support can't afford a new Chrysler Seabrig convertible (complete with leather seats!), a rather nice townhome in a suburb (he's moved since this - if I recall, he bought a house), original artwork on the walls, and a taste for mary jane like he has on just his work income. That's not to say he absorbs all of the extra just taking care of his needs, anytime someone hosts a Medievia party that he attends, he usually shells out a few hundred to help defray the costs".

If Medievia is so bad, why do so many people play it?

A big part of it is the duration that the mud has been around, although I'm sure the advertising helps (even the flames often help, unfortunately, because many of todays younger players simply don't care if they're playing a mud that violates the appropriate licenses). I heard that Medievia even had an advert in some gaming magazine - and I know that Soleil has trolled the EverQuest newsgroup for players as well.

M. Whittington says "do you know that Baywatch was, during its hayday, the most popular television show on the planet? McDonald's is very popular. Commercial TV is popular. And what do all these have in common? They sacrifice quality in search of popularity, and the almighty dollar".

AxL says "No one disagrees that the mud is popular, if popularity is measured numerically. Snake oil salesmen at the turn of the century were pretty slick martketers too, and their product was faked. (Parallels, anyone?)"

AxL also says "How many Diku muds can afford to advertise on AOL and take out full-page ads in PC Gamer? One, Medievia, and only because they illegally take in donations".

The Medievia staff don't care - even bad publicity helps promote the mud!

After myself and several others responded to a Medievia advert on a gaming website with information about it's licence violations, there were some interesting discussions on Medievia's god mailing list.

Enignon said "With the structure of the reviews there it shows the most recent first, and the oldest last...now under a normal situation that wouldn't be too bad, but with this bunch of shall we say...jerks? about it does give us a fair bit of bad press. Personally I'd love to drag them onto Med or to a Med GTG and let the bloodbath begin".

Elorei responded "I agree. It almost seems like the people led by Kavir are making any publicity we get bad publicity. It was very disheartening to read this page. I doubt, if I were a first time mudder, that I would log on after these reviews".

Soleil followed up with "well, I can first petition here to all the gods to make sure to check out this site regularly and to vote 1 for the bad reviews. We can only vote once for each review, hence I cant vote them off single handedly."

Vryce replied "Soleil, please make sure this happens. I really don't care if that review is there but, it being the FIRST review sucks".

But the Diku team didn't credit AberMUD, so why should Medievia credit Diku?

Jon Lambert (Tyche) says "Diku isn't DERIVED from Aber. Inspired maybe but not derived. So Aber's license is not relevant. Both codebases are publically available. Determining whether it is derived or not can be done by anyone".

Brian Moore says "It was inspired by Aber. It doesn't share any common code with Aber and it never has".

I don't understand the animosity against Medievia. If you don't like it, don't play it.

Kira Skydancer says "The animosity comes from people who see, quite rightly, that stealing code and charging to use it stops other people from releasing code for general use. Plus, it just seems wrong to me to claim other people's work as your own. A lot of other people worked on the code that Medievia uses, and to not put them in the credits is a slap in their faces. And then, there is the entire ethical/legal view. I have no respect for people who read a license, understand what it says, but decide that it just doesn't apply to them. And I have little respect for people who continue to play a game run by those sort of people, once they understand the situation".

If the Diku team feel wronged, they can certainly sue and let the courts decide.

Kira Skydancer says "The DIKU creators are in Denmark (unless they have moved.) If they want to sue Medievia, they have to do it in America. The common penalty in a copyright infringement case is that you get triple damages for what losses the infringement has cost you. Since the Diku license explicitly states that you can't make money off of it, you can't lose money if it's been infringed. So, the Diku people could take time off of work to go to America, spend money hiring a lawyer, probably successfully argue the case in court, and the most likely verdict would be that Vryce would have to stop accepting money and put the credits in that the license requires, or else shut down the mud. Now, would you spend all the money to do that? When the same thing could (should) be accomplished by people following the license? And, if you were a lawyer, would you want to take on a case where there was next to no money to be made? That is (imo) why the Diku team doesn't sue. It's a moral victory that would cost them money and time away from work, family, and friends".