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TMC Player Reviews: Armageddon

Review Submitted By: Dig
Author Status: Player and staff member
Started on Armageddon: 1998
Submission Date: Feb 11, 2018
TMC Listing: Armageddon

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

What I love about Armageddon:
Roleplaying tools. Once you learn the commands, acting out a character can
become a game in itself. Using them, even mundane tasks like cleaning your gear
or cooking meat can be a deeply reflective part of your story. The nice part
about it is it’s not required. Indulge if you want, paint a really cool
picture of how you stormed through a room with murder in your eyes and a bone
blade in your hand, or just go west west.
The mood and setting. Dark Sun was cool. Dune was alright. For me, Armageddon
takes the best of both and twists it around a little.
You get back what you put into it. During the pinnacle of my Armageddon days, I
played characters that helped me figure out who I am, exploring elements of my
personality like trying on different skins. A lot of roleplayers experience this
in their game of choice, but none other offers the same depth of exploration. If
you can invest the time and give it a serious try, the interactions you’ll
have with the other characters will come together into a story you’ll want to
tell your RL friends. Some of the best might inspire some new fiction.

What bugs me about Armageddon:
The shrinking world. Once upon a time, the most often heard complaint was that
it was too hard to get involved with other players. Part of the reason was that
they were spread too thinly across a world that can be time-consuming to
traverse. Closing one of the city-states had its ups and its downs. It became
easier to interact with other players, but the conflicts lost a lot of dynamic.
With player numbers on the rise, it’s time to see the Sun King come back with
a vengeance.
The awkward economy. Let’s face it, a game that doesn’t struggle with this
is fooling itself. You have issues of playability vs realism, of incremental
growth vs balanced play, the incentives that drive fun things like adventure and
exploration. Armageddon strives to create a world that feels real, yet the value
of goods doesn’t jive with the value of labor. Some players, new and old, have
no problem at all generating thousands of coins, while others struggle to
support themselves doing things that, from any logical point of view, should
generate reliable income. It’s possible to play a role without rubbing against
this, but sometimes, depending on what you try to do, you’ll come across one
of the places where gameplay and simulation can’t see eye to eye.
You get back what you put into it. It can be hard to appreciate Armageddon as a
casual player. It’s doable, especially if you are willing to play a lonely
game while you skill up and develop your psyche. But these days, with two kids
and a well-more-than-full-time job, I have a hard time enjoying Armageddon like
I used to. Accessibility could use some work.

The review:
I had a rough start with this game the first time I tried it. It didn't make
sense. It was too hard. I ended up dehydrated, lost in a confusing city, huddled
in the dark with no movement left, robbed blind when I slept it off. I finally
got help, and it wasn't helpful. I got misdirected to a place I could find
water, but I couldn't figure out how to GET the water. In my frustration I
turned to my hack-n-slash roots and got myself arrested. Jail sucked. So I
I was used to speeding around rainbow-text game worlds, killing rats until I
was tough enough to kill kobolds or whatever, and this was just NOT THAT. Still,
I wanted a game with more roleplay teeth than most MUDs provided, yet more code
support than the social-and-pose-based gaming systems that proclaimed deep
roleplay experiences. I futzed around with a few other games that teased
intensive roleplay mixed with gamified code, but so many of them had cracks in
the facade -- the worlds were flat or empty, or the roleplay was a bare-bones
flimsy thing stretched over a world of rats and kobolds and badly scripted npc
quests. Eventually I gave Armageddon another try, this time with a little more
patience and attention paid to the documentation.
It took me a while to adapt, but once I 'got it', this became my thing. My
character joined a clan as a guard recruit. The veteran players in that clan
helped me figure out how to survive, how to interact, and most importantly, how
to fit in with the community's then-unspoken guidelines for roleplaying. The
first time I emoted something about my character's worries, they suggested ooc
that I try expressing it without overtly stating it. I rephrased using purely
physical description -- a facial expression, a low sound and a shake of the hand
-- and became hooked on pushing the emote line. How far could I stray from
objective description without breaking the rules?
I got knee-deep in this game and its community, and by some naysayer's
standards I could have once been considered part of the 'in' crowd. I went to
player meetings and participated in ooc chat channels and I've been on staff
twice, though I couldn't maintain the necessary level of dedication. Some of my
favorite friends are old players, including my wife of 10 years (we met at a
player gathering through mutual friends). In the past seven or eight years, my
breaks have gotten longer, but my returns are always deeply satisfying, intense
journeys through a character's head. For me, there is no other MUD.
One of the biggest gripes about Armageddon is the player-staff relationship.
This part baffles me because the discord and in-game interactions with newbies
that I've seen have been overwhelmingly friendly and helpful. The staff
environment behind the curtain is 98% figuring out ways to help players make
their goals achievable in awesome ways, 2% figuring out how to keep openly
abusive players from ruining those hard-won accomplishments without abandoning
either the awesome or the player. It baffles me because I've been on both sides,
butting heads with the other. I've clashed hard with top-level admins over
general game policy and I've gritted my teeth over obnoxious players airing out
their (serious and legit diagnosed) mental illnesses through the game. So what?
Armageddon has always attracted the most intense people. It’s also a horribly
unfair and unforgiving game, which leads those intense people to explosive ooc
conflict with their perceived oppressors, which in most cases is either the
staff itself or uses them as a mediator. The current staff roster is one of the
best and most easy-going I've ever seen. In my opinion as a pretty chill and
friendly person, the people that are most vocal about this problem are the cause
of the problem, on both sides of that curtain. Ignore them and you may end up
making some good friends ooc while your character gets involved in some wicked
and memorable ic stories.

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