Abandoned realms has been up since 1997 and since has created a devout following due to the discipline of the administrative staff and their dedication to creating a highly balanced, interesting PK MUD where skill, quick thinking, and a decent knowledge of the realms is required to win instead of merely having the most 'buff character'. The main immortal, Burzuk, is extremely intelligent and is more interested in making the tough and sometimes unpopular decisions that in the longrun result in a better mud rather than just adding in as much things as possible and appeasing the playerbase. As a result AR has a solid code that encourages balanced fights and the use of skill instead of a massive conglomeration of poorly thought out races, skills, classes and abilities. In addition the codebase has been streamlined resulting in a faster mud with much, much more stability than your averege rom mud. The other immortals also do their job well. Torkalen is the most active and helpful immortal I've ever seen. He's always on and will bend over backwards to help any newbie. Others like Clesa, Merindol and Resatimm are also extremely helpful and in no way are on a 'power-trip' as a result of being an immortal. Overall the immortal staff is helpful and amiable. Despite this, cheating is policed heavily and very few people get away with breaking the rules. It is also an RP-enforced mud with plenty of dynamic and interesting RP constantly occuring. Invasions, cabal wars, and interesting character to character interactions occur while the Herald cabal documents it all and publishes it in their Theran Mystique. The code, however, is AR's best aspect. To list off just a few of the many changes to the standard ROM codebase it's based off of... A built-from-scratch, fully customized OLC. Though I'm not an immortal, I've worked with it before and I can say without doubt that it's the best OLC I've ever seen. A built-from-scratch mobprog system that allows mobs to do things you've never seen before on a mud. (i.e. the occasional, organized goblin attacks on the city of Seringale, with a goblin extermination squad fighting them off) An innovative and unique cabal warfare system. The ability to make 'hardcore' characters. Hardcore characters can only die once and those who make it to level 35 get a headstone in the cemetary of lost heroes. We've never had anyone make it to level 50 (the highest level) yet, but just recently someone came really close. A customized quest system (we've had one for a while, but there is a brand new one currently in the process of being implemented) that has in-depth quests rather than the 'get x item and give it to y mob' that you see on every other mud. A streamlined and extremely stable codebase. Intelligent, static PK ranges that prevents unfair fights while still allowing interesting battles. Cigar, cigarette and pipe smoking. Smoking some items creates some very interesting affects (and I don't just mean changing your stats around a little. Try smoking a cigar dropped by the druid north of Seringale) Rare and unique items. More powerful than normal items, but not excessively so, often times the only way to get one of these items is through PKing, which encourages battles. Highly thought out cabals which serve an actual purpose, instead of just taking up space. Being in a cabal is not necessary, but if you do join one, it will vastly change your mud experience.
A highly thought out battle system. The choices you make will greatly affect your outcome in battle. For example.. Offensive spells are split into 3 groups. Mental, maledictive and afflictive. Instead of the generic save vs spell there is save equipment that affects each one of those skills. Wearing this can alter the battle dramatically. For example, it would be wise to wear save vs maledictive equipment when facing a shaman, but save vs afflictive equipment against an invoker. While if you're playing a healer you almost always want to be wearing a hefty ammount of save vs mental. The generic save vs spell equipment still exists as well, affecting all 3 of those categories.
Warriors need to choose wisely on what weapon to use. Bows and arrows can't be dodged (unless a thief, ninja or bard is using counterbalance, which increases their ability to dodge while only using a single 1-handed weapon) or parried with 1-handed weapons, but can be easily stopped with shield block. Two handed weapons can stop arrows, though not as well as a shield, and are affected twice as much by enhanced damage. Dual wielding is often best for all out offense, but lacks defense. And using a shield is the best for defense. Depending on what you're facing and who you are, you will need to decide wisely on what to equip. (for example, warrior vs warrior, a dual wielding warrior will get beaten by a warrior with a bow. If that warrior switches to a shield, he will be beating the one with the bow, unless the one with a bow switches to dual wielding..) (that was a huge rant, I know)
All classes and races are built from scratch. Favoured weapons for warriors which are different for each race. Racial legacies that add incentive to playing certain race/class combinations (i.e. the elf ranger) A huge, huge selection of unique and customized spells and skills. A huge amount of custom areas while a few of the stock ones around town to make the new player more comfortable. Built in alias command to level the playing field against those without huge mud clients. Races with their own unique skills and abilities, such as the sliths swallow corpse and shed skin, the illithid's leech, shock and cone of force, the werebeasts transform and probe, and several others. A custom newbie area that lets newbies learn the mud through interaction instead of sitting their reading for an hour. Travel spells adjusted to make PKing more fair. An illusionist can no longer instantly gate across Thera at the first sign of danger. A bit of preparation is instead necessary. Minor battle issues, such as the affect of stats, etc, have been refined to a state of balanced perfection. Reputations that others can see that can be set by Heralds. Special commands for roleplaying, such as the 'esay' A condition system that limits the amount of times you can die (around 60) unless special 'con quests' are undertaken. Characters can last a long time, but not forever. Being killed truly means something on AR, and is to be avoided. A special quest race for human dark knights, the vampire, with an extensive list of custom skills and spells. However, they are not easy to get, and have their own weaknesses. Bards that have songs that must be sung, with an instrument, and have actual lyrics. Customized, intuitive helpfiles for everything you could imagine. A smart description editor .. and so on. There is also a huge list of the changes to be added, and of course, nothing is put in merely for the sake of adding new things. Everything put in is carefully examined and thought out with the question of whether or not it will truly improve the mud. So if you're a quick thinker, think you've got some skill at PKing.. or you're a good roleplayer and like interacting with other players, AR is the mud for you. You certainly don't have to worry about sitting around and then suddenly being killed in two-rounds by some 'uber-character' with 15 ranks on you and a perfect set of equipment. As I said before, getting ahead on AR requires skill, not having a buff character (although, having a perfectly trained character with a perfect set of equipment helps). This is written by a long-term player (8 years) who actually sucks a the game but sticks around to get kicked around anyway. I have no immortal experience on it.
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