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TMC Player Reviews: New Worlds


Review Submitted By: Zylo
Author Status: Player
Started on New Worlds: Late 2007
Submission Date: Mar 24, 2008
TMC Listing: New Worlds

The following review is the opinion of the review's author [Zylo] and in no way represents the opinions of this website or its staff.

New Worlds is described as a MUD that emphasizes roleplaying,
non-traditional features, and has a large playerbase. Consequently,
the MUD aspects that it de-emphasizes are global chat, questing, and
combat.

To facilitate roleplay, the tasks in the MUD require a greater degree
of socialization. As a new player, to advance in the Immigrant
(newbie) guild, you're required to write a background story for your
character. Then you must ask one of a handful of immigrant guides to
read your story and approve it. When encountering another player, you
don't even see their name. You only see their race and basic
description. You must join a conversation and introduce yourself.
Another requirement to advance is to pester veterans to deliver guild
token lectures to you.

The administrators have purposefully crafted this system to galvanize
you to join social circles early. However, the structure of the game
doesn't encourage veterans to mentor you. For each social task, the
onus is on you as the new player to take the initiative, and sink or
swim on your own ventures.

Requiring a newbie to introduce himself to veterans is an unnecessary
task. The recognition system should be structured such that veterans
recognize the names of newbies, but newbies don't recognize each
other. That way, veterans can say, 'Welcome Gandalf, what type of
adventure do you seek in our land?' The way that it is now, a newbie
must struggle to find a hangout where he can observe a conversation
and find a reason to join. After a newbie has joined a guild, then his
name should be removed from the Everyone Recognizes Him list, so that
the nice element of unfamiliarity can be preserved.

One of the biggest disappointments about New Worlds is that there are
only a handful of sparse, simple areas for newbies to practice their
skills and advance. Furthermore, it takes too much effort to progress
from a fresh Immigrant to Serfdom (when you can join a guild and
finally have some decent combat abilities). The 10 Immigrant levels
require a great deal of patient slaying of the same few enemies.

Compounding this is another major drawback of New Worlds, namely Move
Points. To restrict players from using macros to quickly sprint
between towns, the MUD tracks each player's Move Points. At Serfdom,
you can only move about 40-50 rooms before you exhaust your Move
Points. You are then required to rest for 5-10 minutes.

Nevertheless, some of the players on there have written wonderful
backgrounds. Sometimes players will approach you because they share a
race or theme with your background story, and try to start a roleplay
based on it. With name introduction, having someone you already know
introduce you to a new player can be fun. I wish that more MUDs had
these features.

I have mixed feelings about the guild token talks. On one hand, it's
a good way to meet people of your prospective guild, and to facilitate
your decision about whether that's the correct guild for you. In
other MUDs, new players often switch around a few guilds, because the
written description didn't give them insight about the type of
community with which they would be dealing. Sometimes your token
lecturer will tell you about the personality types that you can expect
to meet in that guild, such as the ambitious, the philosophical, the
comical, the dedicated, etc. On the other hand, the talks are too
long. By the time that a well-covered talk is completed, both the
lecturers and the recipients are weary. Also, some veterans don't
exactly jump at the opportunity to do a token talk -- not because they
don't like the idea of giving a hand to a newbie, but because of the
time commitment involved. I feel that the administrators should be
more specific about narrowing the topics that are covered in talk,
such that all talks become less than 25 minutes.

The guild application process can be challenging. I have mixed
feelings about this process too. On the one hand, I like the fact that
not just anybody can join your guild. On the other hand, as a newbie,
it's difficult to offer something to distinguish yourself from crowd.
The process is unclear with regard to what extent it's personal and
to what extent it's 'business'. Like an uncomfortable job
interview, you feel pressured to be likable yet dedicated. Certain
individuals don't bother with likability, and they are not encouraged
because they seem dull or self-centered. Other individuals don't act
like they take the guild and roleplay seriously, and they are given
sharp nudges to stick to the script. In the end, I feel that New
Worlds would be better served by a system that encouraged the formal
mentoring of Serfs by a member or two of their prospective guild. When
someone is giving you a Welcome tour of the land, you don't feel like
you have the burden of proving your qualification. It would be more
like your natual roleplay personality would come out during the course
of the tour.

It was unfortunate for me that the Assistant Guild Master who was
informally given charge of my induction happened to request a response
from me via the post office, and then he didn't check his mail for
three real-life days. I even tried to remind him to check his mail,
but he didn't take the hint. I think that was a uncommon occurence,
though.

Other than the difficulties of finding your social niche, most of the
roleplaying and conversation on New Worlds is far above most MUDs. New
Worlds is fortunate to have many thoughtful, creative players.

The only caveat I have about roleplaying is that as an Immigrant, I
didn't know where the clothing shop was. Hence, I was wearing
chainmail without clothing. Quite a few of the female players
responded with emotes such as 'averts her eyes', 'blushes', or
even crude innuendos. It's not that I was trying to roleplay public
nudity. It's just that I was new. In addition, I saw this happen to
other males who logged in without wearing clothes. There was a point
where I wanted to grumble, 'Aren't any of you women heterosexual?
Haven't you seen male nudity before? I know that in real life,
you're over 18.' Well, when you have several roleplaying
conversations with someone, you can get an idea of whether they're a
teenager or not. Anyway, there should be an RP rule that Immigrants
are immune to accusations of nudity. Either that, or provide all
Immigrants with a full set of clothes.

Other than that, though, the roleplaying on New Worlds can really be
a joy sometimes. It's the best RP MUD that I've ever played, and
I've been around the block. I was even the Archwizard of Quests on a
totally quest-based MUD.

New Worlds's large playerbase is nice. It's always cheering to see
active examples of all of a MUD's classes and races. The large group
provides a sense of diversity -- a sense that you can find like-minded
individuals within the greater whole. Unfortunately, sometimes New
Worlds awards experience simply for being online. New Worlds is also
very tolerant of idling. As a result, 20%+ of the current players
online are usually idle. They are merely their for their 'free'
experience, and to listen to a few channels. This is annoying, because
it gives you a false sense of what's going on, as well as the fact
that it rewards players who have real-life lifestyles that allow them
to idle on a MUD for 8 hours a day. However, most of the players are
quite friendly, when they're around. New Worlds has a nice sense of
community.

As for the non-social aspects of the MUD, New Worlds favors parties
that go out exploring and hunting. It doesn't particularly emphasize
quests, which is reasonable, considering that quests are usually done
individually or in very small groups, whereas New Worlds wants to be a
social MUD.

To balance out the absence of quests, though, New Worlds offers both
ownership and events. Ownership is primarily handled through its own
guild, the Merchants Guild. By being a Merchant, or interacting with
one, you can own wardrobes, ships, commodities, houses, siege engines,
etc. This is an area in which New Worlds is ahead of the curve.

One of the most exciting features of New Worlds is admin-sponsored
events, such as monster invasions or guild wars. For players that are
relatively new to the MUD, these can be rivetting. They are also very
well-organized and quite creative. For veteran players, though,
sometimes they lose their edge. 'Eh, another invasion, huh'. Yet
that's always the problem with old-timers on any MUD -- they develop
a 'seen it all' sense of world-weariness.

In conclusion, New World gives an admirable effort at a
roleplaying-focused MUD of the 2000 decade. I hope that New Worlds
survives the current migration of MUD players to graphical MMORPGs.
None of the current MMORPGs come close to capturing the magic of a
rich roleplaying environment like New Worlds. New Worlds definitely
needs some major tweaks to how it handles newbies. However, it's
constantly improving.

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