I would like very badly to give this mud a better review. Unfortunately, while reviews of this mud have thus far been overwhelmingly positive, they only cover part of the story.
On the whole, the previous reviewers' discussions of the mud's positive points are fairly accurate, and so I do recommend that you read them as well, before deciding whether you wish to play here.
A major problem is that the mud is a little schizophrenic in nature. Avendar has recently been introducing some systems to cause players to treat mobs more like players. Unfortunately, it has been done very haphazardly, with several areas absented from this system that should not be, and with very little thought applied to it.
That aside, it is a system (where repeatedly killing mobs of a certain 'faction' will cause them to dislike you, and eventually become aggressive to you) that would be much more suited to a MUD that is less combat-oriented. It is close to impossible to reach the game's highest level without having at least one entire area attack you on sight. This in fact causes a mechanical bias towards the good alignments, as many of the areas in which they fight are already aggressive. Paired with a system called 'request', which allows those of good alignment to simply ask a mobile for their equipment, and recieve it, the bias becomes severe.
While the avowed intent of this system is to cause players to think of mobiles as closer to PCs, the problem with attaching such importance to the death of a mob is that to a PC, a death by itself means fairly little. There is an experience penalty, and a chance players may take from your corpse, but most player characters attach little meaning to their deaths, and will kill each other at the drop of a hat.
Roleplay is enforced, but is not of particularly high-quality. Character backgrounds are required, but not noticably screened for quality or continuity with the setting, as long as they don't mention ninjas. Many characters who would highly benefit from immortal assistance or advice in this regard are left simply to flounder and continue as they are, without being informed or realizing that they would benefit from this kind of aid.
Unconventional interpretations of alignment are tolerated, but not particularly encouraged. Players who work with the same alignment several times within a certain number of characters, where one character can last up to a year, to better learn the nuances of it have been known to be encouraged to delete by immortals.
Descriptions are monitored but not closely. They are mainly screened more to fit style guidelines than for content. It's not rare, but not uncommon to see characters who, in their descriptions, take actions or impose emotions upon your own PC.
There is little emphasis on internal continuity in roleplay. A player character who has dealt with the same immortal at different occasions may reference prior events and receive little more than a blank stare. What history there is is intriguing, but underdeveloped, and there is no sense of passage of time in the game beyond what month it is. There is a great deal of information that the player should know in order to properly roleplay a character with more knowledge of history than a rock that simply is not present in the game, or is near-impossible to discover.
Despite a desire to place a greater role upon the player for roleplay than on the immortal staff, there are entirely too many occasions where an immortal is required for progress with a storyline, who simply cannot or will not put forth the time.
A great deal of importance for this is placed on, not only who you know, but who likes you. While I do not believe favoritism is as rampant as some players have stated, it is absolutely a factor.
Immortals have given game-breakingly powerful items to their OOC friends, run mud-wide quests for them in order to give them a greater compliment of deaths (to the point of attempting to railroad the opposition to this quest by sending in multiple NPCs which kill large groups of people even when they are not immortal-controlled. The attempt to give the character more deaths ultimately failed, and it seems the entire storyline which had been established for this skidded to a halt and ended right there, for lack of alternative planning), and, for those less popular, forced players to wait six weeks with objects that cause high-level mobs to attack them, near-constantly, all the while saying that there will be an event to deal with this item 'soon', and severely punishing the character when an immortal did arrive to take the object.
Characters run by players who are unpopular can change the balance of power of the game for months, bring out high-quality roleplay from new players, and only recieve the joy of being the brunt of numerous immortal-run quests to kill them, while those run by more well-liked players can attain game-breaking additional powers and eventually a permanant place in a permanant, easily accessible room for doing little more than logging on, killing a few people, and logging off when there is no one in their PK range.
I do firmly believe in the value of player killing to roleplay, but in Avendar, not only is 'a person who wants to kill all persons of type x' considered a perfectly good role, is is actually considered good roleplay. When this is mentioned, many people will say, hey, character x didn't kill many people and they 'were successful', but those doing so will consistantly ignore the much greater number of 'successful' characters who did.
Possibly most telling in that regard is when players reminisce about old characters, the most common thing about them brought up is not personalities, or actions, but who or how many people they killed.
Despite these issues, I still play this mud. I still, on the whole, enjoy this mud. I can't give it a whole-hearted recommendation, but because of myself, I can't really tell you to stay away. I do, however, thoroughly recommend you stay away from the IRC channel devoted to the mud. While often perfectly innocent, there can be the greatest hotbed of politicking about the game.
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