I can't honestly say my experience with MUDs is extensive. I've played on five or six, usually for the space of about an hour or two. I rarely come back a second time...
That said, I have been absolutely hooked on this game. My love is rather lengthy, so if you wish you can skip to the bottom section marked ==Summary== for pros and cons.
==Location== The arena is much smaller than that of most other MUDs, confined to the town of Sunnydale, but the local is fully and faithfully realized in the spirit of the shows on which it is based. The small scale and enforced focus on roleplay make for an intimate feel. Faces become familiar, and the sense of being part of a real world full people interacting with one another.
Not that there is any shortage of places to be. Streets several rooms long span the city, leading to interesting locations often ripped from the show itself. The Bronze, Sunnydale High, the college, The Magic Box, even the Hellmouth and the Initiative base are present and accounted for. Others include the Demon Bar, the local mall, movie theater, city features such as the courthouse, police station and hospital, restaurants, parks and--of course--cemeteries. Extensive tunnels twist and turn under the city's streets, full of danger
==Roleplay== Roleplay is mandatory. There are no tells, though players are able to communicate through cellphones.
Characters are incredibly customizable. Even within the bounds of your race, steps can be taken to make your character stand out by choosing a subrace (ethnicity, or species if you're a demon) and an accent to color your speech. Demon characters in particular are varied in appearence, able to define it almost however they please, including features such as horns, wings, claws that can be attained. Half-demons can change between human and demon forms, and can choose what their transformation will look like. Custom strings can be set for the eyes and build, and hair can be set and reset in a similar fashion to fit your character's mood. From weapons to clothing, items can be bought, altered, and adjusted to create a unique look. Clothes get dirty, or even covered in blood, so make sure you have extra outfits at home. Frequent the gym to improve your character's appearance. Get a job and earn money by mixing drinks, working as a lawyer or doctor, or even catching kittens. A housing system also exists, though real-estate prices are competitive to say the least. But everyone starts with a generic house.
Alignment is starkly polarized between good (people with souls; humans and half demons) and evil (the soulless; demons and vampires) with scarcely the narrowest margin in between. Interplay on the most basic level hinges on the battle between good and evil waged in the city's streets.
==Races and Classes== There are four races: Human, Vampire, Demon and Half-Demon. Each is played widely different, with separate rules attatched. Naturally, vampires cannot go out after dawn without suffering damage. Demons are mostly confined to the tunnels as well. Half-demons can more easily pass for human, and can roam freely. But catch any of them in public with their game face on and watch as the SWAT shows up to clean house. Each race has different classes available, with some exclusive only to that race. Only humans can be Watchers or Slayers, and only demonic characters can be Devils or Brutes.
==Combat== The combat system is based on real-life martial arts styles kickboxing, aikido, karate and kungfu. Though fighting is mostly automated, your choice of style can have a big impact on how the battle goes and who gets out alive. Once an opponent's health is dropped down, a finishing blow is needed to conclude the fight. This can be a deathblow from a weapon, or a vampire's bite, but other skills allow you to break necks, rip out hearts, or even tear your enemies heads off. There are plenty of skills to help you out during combat as well, moves to be added to your repertoire and combative socials which can be used against your fellow players. Demons and half-demons have unique skills/weapons exclusive to them, including claws and fangs, wings, and magical abilites like ice breath and x-ray vision.
==Magic== Also called Magick, but I will refrain. Various disciplines of magic exist, from General magic, to Mental (psychic abilites) and powerful Aligned spells. Many spells, like locations, come straight from the show like 'rat transformation' and the floating pencil trick. Aligned spellcasters can use an aspect to boost their power, becoming familiarly dark and veiny. Magic users are subject to withdrawals like in the show. Voodoo dolls can be made of player characters and used to cast spells on them remotely or to injure and torment with embarrasing control over socials.
==Player Killing== While player killing is allowed, it is regulated to some degree. Inter-player fighting is encouraged if a part of roleplay, but even disabling a player opponent can hold an experience penalty. Death, be it dealt by man or mob, is generally just a narrow escape. A near kill that leaves the person with a significant hospital wait and plenty to think about during. More permanent fates exist though. For a sizable amount of experiece a person can generate a showdown with another player, during which time they can be rk'd (real killed), ensouled, desouled, or sired if certain conditions are met. Characters who began as human may not stay that way...
==Summary== In the interest of making a lengthy review less long, I'll summarize my pros and cons... -Pros- *A game world built accurately in the spirit of the series. *Setting and policy lend themselves to immersive roleplay. *Combat system is easy to learn, and not difficult to master. *Character customization is extensive, detailed and full of untapped potential. *A small, but steady playerbase of colorful individuals.
-Cons- *MUD website isn't updated regularly. *The small number of players and polarized alignment system occasionally lends itself to in character cliquishness. *Helpfiles are lacking, though players are willing and able to provide help. So, what're you waiting for?
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