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    Reviewed Mud: End of Time
    Review Submitted By: Oni
    Author Status: Player
    Began on End of Time: 3/5/2012

    ==========================SHORT REVIEW==============================

    Player Score: 9/10. --- FANTASTIC!

    Pros: The custom coding makes it hard to believe it's a Diku/ROM base.
    Nearly every NPC is interactive, as well as many room elements.
    Dynamic casting -- Casters don't just spam c 'spell'.
    Even melee battles don't use the same tired damage verbs. Whew.
    Personal merits and flaws chosen at creation ensure uniqueness.
    ASCII additions such as Element Field and Map make game fresh.
    Ever wanted to have your very own skill? Help Limit Break.

    Cons: I'm personally not a fan of extended creation options.
    Some custom syntax's are harder to remember.
    Limit Breaks take a little work to set up.

    Overall: Between the largely custom yet (mostly) memorable syntax,
    fun and never tedious quest/discovery system, and the ability to TALK
    to almost EVERY NPC in the game (Similar to Square/Enix games), End
    of Time is *easily* one of the best MUD's in existence.


    ==========================LONG REVIEW===============================

    So I found this MUD about a week ago while I was searching through
    some MUD forums. Logged into it last night after finally having a
    moment to play it.

    Although I never really liked MUDs with a game/anime theme (I will
    not digress into why at this moment), I decided to give it a shot.
    The member on this specific forum had given it it's praise, and so I
    decided it was worth at least 20 minutes.

    The very first thing I will say is that I was initially put off by
    the creation system. I personally am not a fan of largely
    customizable characters, especially when it can make the creation
    process take as long as 5-10 minutes, when I just wanted to play a
    game. I will not spoil exactly what you can customize, but as a new
    player I just sped through it ;).

    So after going through the creation process and materializing in the
    End of Time MudSchool, everything seemed as normal. Another Diku/ROM
    MUD to fully explore it's custom areas, reap their treasures, and
    learn its (probably) small quirks...Right?

    Hah, I was in for a shock. The custom syntaxing alone will blow any
    MUDder away. And it's not so robust that an experienced (or even
    newer) player will be lost. Some syntax's could have used some more
    thought, but like with all new things with heavily-documented help, I
    picked it up in less than 20 minutes.

    The first thing I have to mention is NPC interaction. Just like all
    of the Square/Enix games it's based on, in End of Time you can talk
    to any NPC, simply by typing 'talk '. NPC's will give you a
    wealth of information, and not just at Mud School where you'd expect.
    Throughout the whole game, you can talk to NPCs to activate/end
    quests, find out information about the game or other
    areas...literally everything.

    Whatever you could find out in a traditional Final Fantasy game by
    pressing Action on an NPC, you can find out in End of Time. In
    Narshe, you can find a very familiar room with many battle scholars
    teeming to teach you about advanced in-game tactics, such as
    combination spells. Just like the games, some NPC's don't really have
    much to say, or won't be interested in conversation. And that's okay,
    too.

    And speaking of combination spells, the casting system in End of Time
    puts every other MUD's system to shame. They did away completely with
    the old casting system in favor of a much more dynamic one, and
    having my first character as a caster, I was in for a treat.

    So it starts simple enough -- you cast your spell. However, this is
    where the fun begins. You don't actually lose any MP as soon as you
    cast a spell -- instead, your character goes into a casting mode. You
    are still open to commands during this time, including truncate,
    which will cancel your spell and make you lose MP (but allow you to
    flee, etc).

    You can brighten/fade to raise/lower the damage level of the spell,
    or expand/compress to increase/decrease the casting speed. All of
    these commands modify MP cost accordingly. Additionally, you can
    stack spells in a casting queue and modify each spell with any of the
    above commands, and more, as long as you have required MP. If you
    stack two spells that are elementally related (such as fire/earth),
    you will cast a stronger combination spell.

    Another example is when you are fighting multiple enemies, or in a
    group. Again, in a nod to the games they are based on, you can WIDEN
    after casting a spell to target all enemies (for attack spells) or
    players (for heal spells). Interestingly, you can WIDEN a second time
    to include all legal targets (which would, in effect, attack players
    or heal mobs). I'm not far enough to know how the second WIDEN was
    meant to be applied, but I'm eager to find out!

    It goes without saying that while I usually don't have problems
    remembering syntax's, sometimes I do forget certain ones, and have to
    be re-reminded. However, there aren't so many as to make casting a
    spell confusing, and you CAN just cast a regular spell without
    modifying it at all.

    The old tired damage verbs and battle prompts have been mostly thrown
    out in favor of fresh ones. Not really much to say there, but it's
    always nice to NOT have to go through the same damage verbs in every
    MUD I play. Some of the battle prompts have references to FF10 which
    surprised me when I first read them.

    There are many merits and flaws that can be applied to your
    character. They are meant to make your character as unique as
    possible, and there are limitless possibilities between them.

    While I won't go into details about them, I will say this: Do NOT do
    what I did, and just speed through them to get into the game! Check
    help files on each one. One flaw that I chose doesn't allow my
    character to regenerate while he sleeps -- I was wondering about that
    for hours last night!

    The ASCII art in this game isn't just for looks (well, some of it is
    :p). Notably, next to the ever common Room Name in a given room is a
    multi-colored array of /'s [//////]. Now, bear with me here -- this
    is one of the most innovative additions to any MUD I've ever seen.

    The [//////] section (which is usually multi-colored in the game)
    basically outlines the element field of the room. If all of the /'s
    are red, for example, Red spells (Fire-based spells) will do enhanced
    damage. Additionally, Blue spells (Water-based spell) will do
    significantly less. And all you have to do to change the element
    field is to cast a spell of whatever element you want it to change
    to, which will change the newest /.

    Even for non-casters, it's important to note since every player must
    choose a primary and secondary element. You will usually get more
    experience in a field that is your color, as well as more damage/take
    less damage. The opposite is true in an opposing field.

    Of course, NPC- and player-initiated spells will ALSO change the room
    field. So it becomes more than just casting away mindlessly -- your
    preferred damage spell could hinder your partner's healing spell and
    kill the both of you.

    Limit Breaks are the last subject I will touch upon. At its simplest
    form, it's basically a fully-customizable skill that is only usable
    when your Limit Bar is full. In order to fill your limit bar, you
    choose your limit mode which determines how you fill your bar. Stoic,
    for example, fills your bar as you take damage.

    And, just like FF-series, once your Limit Gauge is full, let it rip!
    The Limit Break itself is fully customizable, with it's own command,
    room messages, and victim messages. This makes every character's
    limit breaks (you can have up to 4) unique and personal. It was a
    little work to set up, but it was well worth it.

    Between the largely custom yet (mostly) memorable syntax, fun and
    never tedious battle and field system, and the ability to TALK to
    almost EVERY NPC in the game (Similar to Square/Enix games), End of
    Time is *easily* one of the best MUD's in existence.

    As a player of many other games that don't measure up to it's
    caliber, I would like to see more players give this game a shot -- if
    you're anything like myself, you'll be up playing until 3AM on a
    Wednesday morning and have to call in sick to work.


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