Heck, kind of makes me wonder why I'm still playing these games, but I've been playing this game for about 6 or so years now. I've played all kinds of other MUDs and online multiplayer games, and even though I've come across a few which blew me away with the level of depth and detail(all were pay to play sites), NONE have been able to hook me and keep me as addicted as this one. Every time I take a break and move on to doing whatever else I move on to(drinking, partying, spending months doing military training, jail time, whatever) I always seem to come back just to get as hooked as I was the first time around.
For the most part, the RP of the veteran players is excellent. It really adds to the atmosphere of the game, not to mention with the heavy PK, the paranoia factor as well. If you're a tree hugging, squirrel petting druid or paladin or whatever you may be, you better be sure that dark knight or shaman that's in your PK range is just itching to snuff your little light out of the world. Same on the other side as well. If you're a necromancer or an illithid, be sure that paladin or monk will be coming for you so that his new little newbie buddy can rest easy just a little longer.
The main thing though is the balance of the game. Every race, class, ablilty combo has been thought out carefully before and after implementation so that no single race or class is more powerful than the other. What it all comes down to in the end is skill. The battles can be long, short, easy, hard, and always guaranteed to get your sweaty little hands dripping crap all over your keyboard threatening to short everything out. [All of this is at the higher levels of course where battles can rage on for what seems like an eternity.]
It's been over 6 years and I still haven't covered every inch of the realms. Maybe because I'm lazy, maybe because I'm scared of all the nasty superpowered baddies that hide in the darkest corners of the realms. The immortals are always active and tinkering with this or that, expanding the realms or tweaking things to add that little extra bit of realism or whatever it is they do.
And as to the newbie friendliness of this game which I keep reading about in other reviews... When dealing in a heavy RP and PK environment, you have to know who to ask. If you've just made yourself an evil fire giant berserker, there aren't really going to be that many lightwalkers out there who are willing to turn you into the melon bursting machine that you think you should be by playing a walking charcoal briquette. And if you want help from the other evil badasses running around in the game, good luck. It's in their character to look out for themselves alone.
Try a neutral(I wouldn't recommend thief to start out with) or good character to start out with. Goodies always help each other out and you'll find a lot more people willing to help out and even protect a healer, than they would an up and coming dark knight.
Once you get into the game and start to know people, it's very easy to make friends AND enemies that you'll have for quite some time. The community is closeknit, and once you get past the newbie stage, you'll be hitting the ground with both feet running. Probably trying to help keep your newfound gnome friend from being splattered by aforementioned fire giant berserker.
I recommend this game to anyone with a love of RP and adrenaline pumping PK. Go check out the site and forums for any questions or info you might want. They've been redone and are extremely helpful to the newbie. There's always someone on the forum (especially the immortals) willing to answer a question anyone might have.
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