I've tried some of the big-budget blockbuster MUDs available. They're certainly impressive, in the way that New York is impressive when you're standing on the street looking up at its skyscrapers. You can tell a lot of work has gone into packing them with a dizzying array of features. Dizzy is a good word for how I feel when I play them.
Somehow I keep finding my way back to this little mud. It's so *simple*. It feels like someone's hobby, a hobby they've been patiently devoting themselves to for years and years, slowly and lovingly adding to it here and there. There is a very particular kind of mudder who can't stand the big chat room muds, the cookie cutter muds, the eye-searingly colorful muds, and even the feature-packed metropolis muds (as impressive as they are). Once they discover this little mud, they are suddenly at home. I'm that kind of mudder, as you can probably tell.
When I call it a little MUD, I don't mean in terms of the size of its world. It's got a very healthy 8,000 rooms, some of which I am fairly certain have never even been explored. Having played here for a good 8 years, I still don't know everything there is to know about the _world_. When I say 'small' and 'simple', I'm talking about game mechanics and character options. It's a relatively basic set of classes, each with its own predefined skillset.
Another thing I don't mean by 'simple' is 'easy'. There are 30 levels, and if you level to 31, you are automatically anointed an immortal. Simple, right? You could count the number of people who have actually managed to do this on two hands. Death is no joke in this game, especially at the higher levels. If you don't learn how to avoid death early on, you will quickly be in an experience hole that's almost impossible to dig your way out of; that, or you'll exhaust all your 'fates' and be permanently dead. Again, some people don't like this--they want to be constantly gaining levels, and they want death to be a slap on the wrist. Personally, I prefer the challenge on Imperium.
Players are allowed to run 2 characters simultaneously, and most who are successful at higher levels choose to take advantage of this. It takes some getting used to at first, but with a good client it's not at all difficult to pull off.
You have to meet people and introduce yourself to them in order to 'know' them (so they show up on your who list and you can send tells to them.) A lot of people coming from chat type muds really hate this. What can I say. We like it.
Spells are memorized rather than mana-based, a la D&D. This is one of the coolest and most unique features we have, in my opinion. It makes being a spellcaster a real challenge, but a fun one, in my opinion.
Basically this is a hack and slash mud. Within that simple framework, a lot of players choose to roleplay for their own enjoyment. We have a very small community right now, hovering a little below that critical mass of players where newbies who aren't turned off by small who lists will stick around. Some people like to putz around on Imperium *because* it's not crowded. Myself, I could stand to see a few more fresh faces. Either way, Imperium will stay what it is: a well-loved little hobby mud with a long past and an even longer future.
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