Review Submitted By:
Part Time LOTJer
Started on Legends of the Jedi
Jan 17, 2018
TMC Listing: Legends of the Jedi
The following review is the opinion of the review's author [Part Time LOTJer]
and in no way represents the opinions of this website or its staff.
I have played LOTJ for awhile now with some breaks between firmly addicted
sessions. I do have some criticisms of the place, but the most important thing
to note is, in my mind, that I keep coming back.
Space Travel - The flight system is one of the most enjoyable mechanics on
LOTJ for me. I loved it the first time I wandered into a public taxi on my
first play-through, swiftly realized that after launching I had no idea
whatsoever what to do that I was drifting slowly toward a sun, and found
myself panicking while scouring helpfiles for how to contact other characters
to rescue me. I ended up finding a way to send a radio message to other ships
in my immediate vicinity, and whoever it was that answered after several such
desperate hails guided me step by step, little by little, into getting into
planetary orbit so I could land again. I'm sure this might SOUND like
complaining, but it was actually one of my favorite experiences on a MUD,
ever. I went from 'I wonder what this nonsense does' to suddenly finding
myself immersed in the moment and setting, having to explain that I didn't
take any naval courses at the academy, I don't want to fly into a sun, HELP.
Flight is complex but not so complex that it's unapproachable. Even with a
good understanding of how to use the system now, there are layers and levels
to it well above what I know. Orbital bombardments, tractor beams that
actually work, capital ships that require multiple players to properly use...
The list of what ships and 3D gridded space travel can do for every player
from a diplomat with a personal shuttle to a smuggler with a beat-up
freighter, then all the way up to a major government with several capital
ships is pretty endless.
The Timeline System - This was difficult for me to comprehend, coming from
games where the timeline is the timeline and it's always moving in a linear
fashion, but it's actually pretty darn fantastic once you get a feel for it.
The immortals design a three-part (each part is called an Era) storyline that
extends across a couple real life years, then release the players into the
often fully redesigned world to do their thing. There is usually a trigger
point for the Era turnover, such as one major government managing to
destroying the other. Throughout the course of the timeline, the three Eras
play out. If you're still with me and don't get why this is a good thing (I
didn't at first!), you have to think about it within the context of how Star
Wars stories typically end - dramatically, and with massive destruction.
Having a timeline means that that timeline will eventually end, which means
that the players can (and probably will) destroy the ENTIRE GALAXY without
it needing to be prevented by Staff so the game isn't ruined. With a finite
story in mind, the players really can do anything. Being able to play within
a plethora of different overarching stories and time periods is an added
Staff - The immortal team are about on par for what you would have expected
from a MUD staff 15 years ago. They aren't awful by any means, but expect
some unprofessional decorum. There are game-wide echoes with threats to the
playerbase, flexing the ole immortal fist over this or that issue. A recent
one was an immortal not liking that people were reporting building errors in
their clan bases. While a simple, 'Guys, please report issues to your clan
leaders so they can contact me with a list instead of spamming channels'
would have sufficed, instead it threatened to Hell ('punishment'/jail room)
the next person who reported a problem, and ended with 'You have been warned.'
I get it, to an extent. I'm sure it was annoying to deal with. But there's
professionalism and then there's that. I tended to feel the culture around
MUD immortals having that attitude faded out long ago, but it's alive and
kicking on LOTJ.
The flip side of the immortals being unprofessional, however, is that they're
fun. You can joke around with them on Discord or the OOC channel, their news
posts to the players with updates are often funny (DILLY DILLY!). Despite not
always knowing what will push the wrong button and admittedly being a little
wary as a result, I have no real complaints about the immortal staff. If the
worst thing I can say about the imms is 'I don't understand why the tone of an
occasional gecho has to be hostile' then we're in good shape. They're active,
they're invested, they don't cheat or spy on players. That's all you really
Roleplay - When I'm recruiting friends or acquaintances to try out LOTJ I tend
to tell them it's 'SMS RP.' The vast majority of roleplay I've seen during my
time on the MUD has been over comms, which are spoken-word messages sent out
over your comlink to specific frequencies, clan frequency, or the public
frequency. Should you roleplay in person, you'll be using socials and the
'say' command. It IS roleplay in the sense that you are speaking for your
character, but it isn't roleplay in the sense that most players of RP MUDs
(RPIs, in particular) will expect. There is some variation, of course, where
you'll find somebody who uses emote to do some of their own writing, but for
the most part roleplay is socials, 'say,' and comms.
Coming from a background of heavy RP MUDs I was pretty disappointed at first,
and I definitely struggled for immersion without the benefit of imagery or
context. Over time, however, I have come to respect what people can accomplish
using the aforementioned tools. It isn't my preferred roleplaying style, but
there are many (most?) players on LOTJ who wield it to great effect. There
are some who wield it so well that they invoke incredible amounts of
personality without ever writing an emote. It's different and it's probably
not what you would expect of an RP MUD, but that doesn't make it bad. Unique
I hesitate to dub anything strictly 'bad' about LOTJ, but I think it's
reasonable to list what I would change if I could.
Skill Grinds - Holymoly the grinding. First you'll be rolling through quests
to get your 'levels' complete, which for most character archetypes won't be
too awfully bad. Skill levels are just time-consuming enough that you'll be
getting tired of it when you finish, and you'll come away with a feeling of
accomplishment. For most archetypes, besides practicing with a few of your
more finicky skills over time, you're good to go. For engineers, scientists,
or slicers, you have a good two, maybe even three real life weeks ahead of
you of either botting or entering the same two commands over, over, over and
over again to get slivers of skill percentages at a time. The science grind
takes about a week of solid 24-hour botting. The slicing grind, which involves
entering 'slice (thing)', waiting a couple minutes, then entering 'secure
(thing)' over and over, can take multiple real life weeks to finish, and cannot
legally be botted.
While I can't argue against the idea that making these things so incredibly
long-winded also makes them infinitely more valuable to have, I do tend to
question a game mechanic that requires the player not to play the game,
especially over an extended period.
Helpfiles - LOTJ needs some variety of helpfile searching system. 'Help search
(keyword)' or something would raise the bar on my experience tenfold. It can
be difficult to find helpfiles and many are outdated or insufficient. You can
often get the information you need by phrasing it as IC-ish as you can and
asking other players over comms, but it's best to have solid helpfiles. It
would prevent a lot of the frustration of learning something new as a player
that your character should already know, and it would stave off some of the
more awkward IC questions that can be immersion breaking for roleplay.
LOTJ is a charming game with a horde of satisfying systems and a unique
roleplay style. Don't expect perfection, do expect fun.