Okay, I’ve played BuffyMUD for a long time, since about halfway through the Beta phase. Having recently given up on BuffyMUD entirely, I’d like to share why.
The grid is ridiculously small, which isn’t as much as drawback as it would seem, as you will spend almost all of your time in either the Bronze (a dues ex machine to force character interaction, since only in the Bronze and Demon Bar under it can you regenerate hit points at a reasonable rate). The pbase is also equally small, which is only a drawback in that you know that you are always playing with the same people, to the point that you recognize their new characters or alts on sight.
The “extensive tunnels” are simply a grid that follows exactly the street grid above it, contains no descriptions, and leads nowhere interesting except for three locations: the demon bar, the demon spa (where demons and vamps go after losing a fight to a mob or PC) and the demon market ( a single room shop, like all other shops in the game except for the weapons shop and the mall. The rest of the locations vary in room number, but none exceed five except the Bronze, the Mall, the Demon Bar, and the Hospital/Demon Spa. Also, mobs do not spawn in certain areas any more than on the street, so often hunting becomes a routine of “leave the Bronze, kill a vampire or two on the road, go back to the Bronze, rest, repeat”. The tunnels are absolutely as pedestrian as the streets in this manner. I would consider the overall feel of the game not “intimate” but “cramped”.
Character customization is superficial and negligible. Ethnicity and accent never come into play, except for the occasion in character joke, or walking stereotype. Stats are uniform, and available to every race and class, albeit with experience costs based on classes.
Race is basically just an RP tool, except for Demons and Half-demons, who get their own skillset of expensive, but cool skills that are dearly bought using a different cost system than the rest of the skills. But basically, there are only a few successful character builds, those most suited to combat and pk, since the game focus is as much or more on combat and pk than roleplay. The battle between good and evil is hardly epic, and is often reduced to vampires and humans throwing childish insults at each other in the Bronze. Few characters are truly good or evil, with most people preferring to play in the morally ambiguous gray area.
Such characters are only defined as being on a specific side by the presence or lack of a soul, which is coded into each race. You cannot be an evil human unless a character removes your soul.
The MUD also has a history of slayer-vampire romances and in general the atmosphere is dark and grey, with only a soul separating the good from the bad. The only time that alignment comes into play is in pk, defining who is a safe target, and sometimes even that doesn’t matter. Humans can go anywhere, do anything. So can halfies, who are essentially humans who can turn into a demon on command and remain “good”. Vampires can go anywhere, do anything, except during the day, when they take damage from sunlight. Demons are in no way limited to the tunnels, or anywhere. “Public” is defined only as the interior of certain buildings, such as the Bronze, Mall, or Hospital. The streets are not. Also, a cheap, common item on the game is an Expectency Charm, which can be bought for 15 dollars in the demon bar, which allows a demon to enter public areas with no penalty. Vampires in ‘grr’ face or half- demons in demonic form have the same restriction, but can simply use the ‘face’ command to appear completely human.
Combat is almost entirely automated, much like most MUDs. Martial Arts styles are confusing, complex, and, as the head immortal Tyr once admitted, largely random. The other combat skills are mostly automatic, except for a few that include usable syntax.
Ranged combat is strange, as you get one shot before the fight becomes melee (no matter how far away the mob is, once you hit it, it is suddenly in your face and fighting you with no transition). Claws and fangs are not abilities, but rather physical modifications that give a slight advantage in combat.
X-ray vision is in no way combat-related, like all the other skills in the Demon Mystics skillset.
Social attacks are based on level rather than stats, so that the uppercut social will only knock back a character above you in level but much weaker than you, while it will throw lower-level character into another room, regardless of their stat in relation to yours.
Head ripping is a slay power, which is to say that it does absolutely nothing in combat, but does give you a cooler option to killing vampires than simply staking them. Playerkilling is entirely unregulated. You may pk anyone you wish, so long as you have the ability to beat that person in combat. It does incur a small exp pentalty, but this is really negligible, as the cost is so small compared to exp gained from hunting.
Normal pvp combat ends when one combatant is incapacitated, leaving the victor with the choice to leave you to heal enough to walk to the Bronze, or to “slay” you, which sends you to the hospital/demon spa with an injury timer based on their level.
High level characters can give ten to twenty minute injury timers, where you are confined to a single hospital room and may not leave. Permdeath is much more off-balance. With their system, a character, who needs no RP requirement or reason at all and is never asked for one, simply contributes a certain amount of experience in return for the ability to permanently kill another character, regardless of their level or combat ability in relation to yours.
High level characters risk very little in permkilling a low- level character, except for the period during which they are generating. However, it’s easy enough to hide the fact that you are generating a showdown, so that it’s not uncommon for characters to secretly buy the right to permkill another character for no reason and succeed.
In finishing, I’d like to point out that while the playerbase is generally helpful, since Hazgarn is right and helpfiles are crap, the immortals are another story. Immortals are not only allowed to have mortal alts, but are unregulated in doing so, and their mortal alts almost always occupy the highest positions of power in the game, as well as forcing RP to move in the directions they wish it to.
The immortal Scarlock, the younger brother irl of the Main Admin Tyr, is notoriously foul-mouthed, sarcastic, and abusive to the players, reacting to criticism or even honest questions with scorn and ridicule. He has been known to harass players he doesn’t like, and his mortal alt is almost always the Villain (the top bad guy, with very nice stat bonuses) of the mud, being one of the most powerful characters in the game.
The immortal Tyr is the main administrator, and his mortal alt has a preference for taking the position of Hero (good- aligned equivalent to Villain), as well as forcing himself into the RP of others and steering it in the directions of his choosing. He’s often also one of the most powerful characters on the game. Accusations of immortal abuse abound on the game, and a large number of players have deserted the game in the last month or so because of the administration.
In short, they have been known to be immature (giving shorter penis sizes to players they don’t like, and yes, penis sizes are coded, semi-random, and unchangeable throughout the life of the character), abusive of the players, unresponsive to suggestions from the players, and everyone who plays the game tacitly recognizes the favoritism that is the hallmark of immortal/mortal interaction.
In short . . don’t waste your time. The game is extremely promising, but the administration is unfriendly to players, the code is sloppy (frequent crashes are another hallmark of the game, sometimes as many as a dozen or two per day) and the RP is not of any remarkable quality, as the mud is based extremely heavily on leveling and pk, to the exclusion of non-combat-oriented characters.
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