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    Reviewed Mud: God Wars II
    Review Submitted By: Ragnar
    Author Status: Player
    Began on God Wars II: september of 2006

    I've said on the mud for quite a while now that I would write a
    review, and yet it just never happened. So here it is in all of its
    dubious glory.

    My character name on the mud is Ragnar, and I've been playing
    Godwars2 for about 6 years. Well, since mid-2006 anyway. So, I feel I
    have a fairly good view of the mud and how it has progressed over a
    period of time. As a result, I thought I would write a review focusing
    not on the mud mechanics, but rather on the social mechanics. That is,
    I have found that all reviews for godwars2 seem to focus on the
    combat, the coordinate based movement and so on, as they rightly
    should. These are extremely important and innovative mechanics that
    have kept me and countless other players around for years. But, when I
    look at a mud, mechanics are the surface, but what truly determines
    whether or not I stay is the social mechanics, or, how players
    interact with one another and how the staff interact with the players.
    That's what I'll try to address in this review, and I'll try to do
    it reasonably objectively.

    Player/player dynamics One of the most interesting aspects of gw2 is
    the fact that there are no explicit rules. Help rules specifically
    tells you that common sense and a certain amount of critical thinking
    will tell you what ought and ought not be done. But there are no hard
    policies, hardcoded rules, bans or anything of the sort. This has had
    a few affects, both positive and negative. Negatively, this leads to
    the obvious: people feel that they are entitled to do whatever they
    want. Which really, they are. This means they can be quite abusive,
    but merely be disagreeable in relation to other players, not
    explicitly to the rules. However, this has, in large, been dealt with.
    The positive aspect of having no rules is the way in which these types
    of people are dealt with. Simply put, we as the player base have, over
    time, come to an agreement on a set of implicit rules. It's a
    flexible, malleable, and inconstant and subject to change system, but
    it's been here for close to 7 years, and the players as a whole
    generally seek to enforce them. Such obvious rules as, 'don't
    spamkill newbies,' and 'don't ignore game breaking bugs.' But also
    less obvious rules, like: 'try to help newbies if you have the
    experience,' and, in respect to said newbies, 'be patient and
    intelligent about how you learn to play the mud.' I personally find
    that this system that we have developed, though perhaps flawed in some
    ways, is superior to any set of admin chosen rules, because it not
    only was decided on by the community as a whole, but also can change
    easily and doesn't require admin intervention. This manifests itself
    in a variety of ways as well. For example, on many muds, there are
    designated newbie helpers, who will help a newbie even if they are
    impatient, belligerent and coarse. On gw2, almost every single player
    will go out of their way to help a newbie, but we have no actual
    obligation to do so. This means that when we get that stray newbie who
    is impatient and unwilling to listen to advice, we are under no
    restrictions, and generally don't even bother. This, combined with
    the steep learning curve, affectively means we are a game free of
    angry teenagers and people who lack the patience to learn and the
    intelligence to read helpfiles. Perhaps this makes the mud and the
    player’s elitist? I can't really answer that objectively, but I
    will say that godwars2 conversations are often harsh, uncensored and
    coarse, but they are also the most intelligent, thoughtful and
    logically sound conversations I have found on a mud to date. So, this
    has its positives and negatives as I have said. But if you enjoy a mud
    where intelligence and hard work actually pays off, then we might be
    right for you. If you are impatient, easily offended and unlikely to
    take advice, then perhaps it's not. Note though that if you decide to
    try us, I would advise at least glancing at our website:
    http://www.godwars2.org It has valuable information that may help you
    from the start.

    Admin/player dynamics. The second element to social dynamics on a mud
    that I look for are admin to player. That is, how do the admin respond
    to player suggestions, how do they interact with the players, and how
    fair and objective are they. On this, I can definitively say there are
    no negatives. KaVir, the only coder and primary staff member, is one
    of the best, if not the best, admin I have ever had the pleasure of
    mudding under. I say this not because I have been on his mud for so
    long, but rather because I find his method of player interaction
    extremely affective. Basically, KaVir has a close relationship with
    the mud players, as opposed to the distant one characteristic of most
    muds. When he is logged on, he talks with the players about anything
    and everything, and I have never seen him ignore or refuse to answer a
    question. Similarly, I would say three quarters of the changes made to
    the mud are player suggested, and he draws them from the entirety of
    the base rather than from a few players like in some muds. If a newbie
    has a good suggestion, it will be added, or at least considered. If
    the suggestion isn't workable, KaVir is in the habit of explaining
    why, and even giving the player a chance to rethink and resuggest the
    change. What this leads to on a social level is that KaVir is not
    often viewed as an enforcer. He's not viewed as a player certainly,
    but the way in which players interact with him allows for a feeling of
    player involvement, and means that those player enforced rules
    discussed above are not contrary to the implementer's philosophy,
    because we know what his focus for the game is, and where he's trying
    to take it. We develop our player dynamics accordingly, and, as a
    majority, work to further those goals. Finally, KaVir is very fair. In
    those rare cases in which player rules are insufficient and admin
    action must be taken, he considers all sides, from what I have seen.
    Discussion is accepted and responded to, and he is far from a
    dictator. I would go so far as to say he does not enjoy or even
    remotely want to enforce admin rules, and as a result acts more like a
    facilitator for enforcing rules than anything. It works, ultimately.
    Godwars2, to quote a forum thread I have long since forgotten, is
    similar to a study on sociology. How a group of people will develop
    their own society and culture when no rules are at first present. We
    have done so, I would say, and I would also say that it works very
    well. I have enjoyed godwars2 immensely, and fully intend to continue
    as a very active player into the foreseeable future. I hope you give
    us a try. We always have room for more.



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