Alter Aeon, is imho, the most underrated game, let alone MUD playable on the internet for free today. I have played several styles of MUD, from DIKUs to custom codebases, off the shelves and Mercs; Alter Aeon is the best, because it is the most diverse.
There is an active quest system on the MUD far more complex than the standard: visit a quest master, kill the [mobile] located at [generic area-name] and return for rewards... you can actually affect the future of the way you play your character by stealing from the poor, saving the world or murdering innocent children for no reason! It plays on the ironies of MUDs and draws out the best qualities, with rewards for being a good player (you can rate the groups you run in), a bad player (become the most evil PPKer in history) and just generally rewarding skill and knowledge. There is experience for casting spells, healing people, berserking etc, you will always remember the first time you ***ANNIHILATE*** something with a leap attack! The items range from the very standard to the exceptionally rare limited boot loading ones.
I would say that it is not a MUD really for roleplay... it is possible to do so, and there is more roleplay in the clan system, which is extremely advanced with its own areas, restrung items and gold accounts; but in general, people come on to play and get to know each other.
The playerbase is very good, with over 100 at peak times, and new players joining all the time. The more experienced members can be a little cliquey until you get to know them, but the admins are a friendly bunch, often handing out mud-wide heals and restores (go T Cygnii!.
It's the little things that get you though... the fact that you can always see the status of your enemy while youre fighting it, the eccentric weather system, or people aucing 'drink!' when people forget how to use the auction system. Every little detail is under constant revision, with the latest changes always tested by the players on the beta test system.
All in all, this has been my online home, on and off for 6 years now, and I could not imagine surfing, downloading bittorrents (get on the bandwagon!) or just being on a computer without having my safe haven and companion there beside me...
So enough already, telnet in, and if you need a helping hand, send me half a bottle of warm tequila and a tell if i'm on and i'll see what I can do :)
*****VOTE FOR ALTER AEON******
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