Quite frankly, I don't see the egalitarian mud that Corth is crying about.
Sure, there are rules, and boundaries to the system, but any system that does not consider a basic sense of fairness does not consider the morale of those who participate under that system.
Let me put it this way, consider US income taxes. Considered widely to be unfair and made overly complex by politics and special interests, the IRS estimates that over 15% of taxes are lost to illegal dodging or sheltering.
At a mininum, any system must maintain - at the very least - a basic sense of fairness and if necessary, justice.
That's also what makes American-style capitalism so popular a market model in the modern world. Competition in a fair environment. No monopolies, restricted and regulated government favoritism (set upon WTO rules and regs), so forth and so on.
Now applying basic economics to the mud, the best way to keep players wanting to play and keep them coming to the game are simple.
A basic sense of fairness and opportunity.
If any player that wants to put in the effort, reach level 50, participate in a majority of the "activities" (go zoning, join rpq, bitch and moan on the bbs) can make it, then we're all set.
Then all we have to concentrate on is providing a unique experience above other muds :\
Now for old and crusty players like Corth, and many others who hit the 10+ years mark like myself, part of that fairness and opportunity are new experiences.
So I can also suggest that we don't rule out god favoritism, artifacts, and politics entirely. While poorly done before, it doesn't mean that these can't be implemented with some efficiency and attribute to game play.
Now I believe understand why that the mud staff are unwilling to push into these areas. For the most part, I blame the imms unwillingness to police themselves. If we look into most authority systems, say, county police departments - yeah, we hand them badges and they enforce the rules, but there is one thing no major police force is without.
Might be something worth looking into. An Administrator Admin.
Anyway, time to rope it all back in.
Corth, your egalitarian mud doesn't exist. There's still plenty of competition out here even though you've chosen to opt out of the rat race. In fact, I can quote both Maxler and Klandan, as well as others that the mud is "95% competition" (although I disagree, at least for my own style of game play).
God favoritism, politics, and artifacts open a whole world of potential abuse, and they were removed quite some time ago for reasons I'm sure the imms agreed upon, and I don't believe any of those reasons have changed or been addressed to satisfaction.
But one thing I can agree with, is that there are a whole bunch of whiners out there :P
And Ruhr is just wrong. Plain and simple.
Another model that we do have to consider, however, is the team sport model. Football, soccer, basketball, etc. People have been playing team sports forever, has always proven popular, and the simple games have been interesting enough for even spectators who do not even participate in the games. Competition has the ability to fuel the mud - quite well. The question of course, is whether or not we want to turn the mud into a team sport.
But, quite frankly, if you're going to do that, just shut the thing down and make people go outside and play football.