In my long career as a player on Dark Risings, and shorter career as an immortal, I’ve had a chance to experience and understand the grand variety of good and bad things about this MUD. For the first couple of years, it definitely seemed like the good things outweighed the bad. But halfway through my time there, it seems like things have gone downhill. This is reflected in the players, the staff, and the game itself. As I hope to explain, I honestly don’t feel that this game deserves the #1 spot.
To begin with the players on Dark Risings, I am of the opinion that most of them can be divided into two classifications; those who hang out in safe rooms and engage in boring, clichéd roleplay, and those who are purely interested in combat, creating the absolute thinnest role for their characters necessary to be allowed to play. For a while now, it’s been difficult to find someone of a happy medium. Many of the awesome, inspiring players have moved on to greener pastures and those who remain, though I mean no insult, are downright uninteresting.
The staff members are perhaps the most discussed aspect of Dark Risings. What I mean by that is that if you play here, you will at some point be guaranteed to overhear some allegations of cheating or some form of poor conduct. As a former staff member myself, I can vouch that yes, some staff members have used their powers for ill gain, and probably still do. Other reviews here may give you a taste of the feelings some hold towards the immortals. But regardless, the overall demeanour of the immortals seems to be pleasant, and although they will usually prefer their private rooms to interacting in public with mortals, they’re fair to deal with when you need to. The minds in charge, however, come up with some bizarre ideas for the game, which I’ll expand on next.
Over the past year or so, the game has become quite a bit more commercialized. At one point, donations from players were requested with ridiculous rewards offered. If I remember correctly, a couple of hundred bucks earned you your very own vampire or you could pay less and get an impressive weapon. This is the sort of thing I expect from someMMORPG, not a roleplay focused MUD. Take a peek at the website if you need further evidence of commercialization - there are banner ads aplenty. While I understand that the people who run Dark Risings need to eat, the banner ads and donation schemes have only come into existence over the past year or so, and they bottom line is that they detract from the game.
The game itself, once you remove the personalities associated with it, has some problems. The code, while constantly being tweaked with and added on to, is dangerously buggy. If a code port exists, it must not be put to much use, because I am told that the record time for the main port to crash after new code is introduced is just five seconds. Most of the code remains faithful to the mood of ROM, and the werecreature and vampire transformation features are neat and entertaining. In addition to the array of stock areas in Dark Risings, the custom areas range from exciting to completely awful. Some have compelling descriptions and layouts that kept me exploring for days on end, while others swamped me with mobprogs in every room and caused headaches.
Four years ago I would have been very proud that this game had reached the #1 spot on TMC. I wish I could say that was true now, but with all the allegations of vote-pushing which I won’t discuss in detail (look at other reviews to hear opinions or simply load up the Dark Risings website to see for yourself) I suggest that you scroll a little further down the ratings and find a better game. I have no doubt that they do exist.
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