I played several MUDs before trying MUME. I remember my first impression of MUME was that it's hard. By comparison, most MUDs are relatively easy to learn, level up, and acquire items. And like a lot of people, I initially lost interest and played other MUDs - MUME was too big, too hard, and too complicated. In 2000, with the upcoming Lord of the Rings movies, I decided to give MUME another try. It didn't take long before I was a helpless addict, and the irony is that the very same reasons why I left before are why I got hooked and continue to play today.
It's too big! It's massive, detailed, sprawling...and it's wonderful. I loved the Lord of the Rings and other books (The Hobbit, Silmarillion, etc) and playing MUME has educated me with its exceptional detail and adherence to Tolkien's vision. Minutia of Middle Earth that I hadn't even begun to consider is illustrated in exacting detail throughout the entire MUD. Areas, objects, and characters, both central and peripheral to the story, populate and enrich the game world. Grey Havens, Blue Mountains, Shire, Bree, Fornost, Weathertop, Rivendell, Misty Mountains, Isengard, Tharbad, Lorien, Fangorn, Rohan...and yes of course Moria, are all present and ready to be explored. And MUME continues to grow and add new detail to an already rich environment. I know because I am now one of those people that help make it grow.
Yes itís still hard! But that's the fun part. Yes, MUME is harder (at the beginning) to play then most MUDs, but it is also much more rewarding. Equipment is difficult to acquire, areas are large and sometimes hard to learn, mobiles are very diverse in both description and purpose. These factors come together to create a very challenging environment. But you learn through others and personal experience, and you start to acquire items and learn what you need to know to overcome obstacles.
It is complicated! But thatís because itís so elaborate! Think about this - how many games have you played, learned everything there is to know about it, and then become bored and stopped playing? For me, that happens with most games. But MUME is much too complex to learn everything about it. And even if you expertly learn every single detail that there is to learn about MUME, there is the PK factor.
For some it is THE reason to play MUME. PK on MUME is incredibly competitive. And MUME management has done a very good job of maintaining the competitiveness. This doesn't mean that things are balanced. In fact playing the dark races is significantly harder then playing one of the free people races. But don't make the mistake of thinking that darkies are weak. They just have a different set of strengths and weakness. To paraphrase the matrix, if you see *a dreadful Orc* then you do what I do, run! Seriously though, PK adds an extra element of excitement to MUME that very few MUDs have been able to accomplish.
The helpfiles are extensive and detailed. I highly recommend taking the time to read as much as you can. If you need further help, try asking a God or another player. The Gods on MUME are usually very helpful, but will not reveal game secrets and will not directly interfere with gameplay except under extraordinary conditions (bugs, cheating, etc). There are also many helpful players, though at times it may seem that there are few. Like any online game nowadays, MUME is a collection of people and personalities from all over the world. Expect to meet and talk with people you normally would never meet. There is also a fair amount of roleplayers, though roleplaying is not the focus of the MUD.
There are many classes, races and skills to choose from. Obviously certain combinations of these are more powerful than others, but any combination is possible and some players have turned MUME multiclassing into an art form. Traveling and gaining experience in groups is highly encouraged and in fact necessary in some situations. The combat and magic system has the complexity and balance that you would expect of a very mature MUD.
A few things to note before trying MUME: - MUME has a large and active playerbase. I frequently see more that 100 people logged in. But if you are new to MUME, you will not see all these people for many reasons. The main reason is because MUME maintains a very strict race war separation. If you are playing an elf, you will not see any of the darkie players in the who list - and vice versa. In fact there are actually three sides to the war. You also won't see invisible Gods that are logged on. Players can optionally be incognito, and they also will not show up in the who list. And if you're a lowbie, you can't see shrouded (similar to invisible spell) people. There are many reasons why if you type who, you might only see 50 people. But don't be fooled. You won't even know that one single orc is playing until you are suddenly stabbed in the back and die to *a dreadful Orc*! Trust me on this, they are out there. - For reasons similar to what I've written above, MUME may not seem newbie friendly. There are definitely worse MUDs, but MUME has a challenging learning curve that might prove too difficult for some people. There are newbie kits for players of levels 1 through 5, but these are not automatically given out and every once in a while there might not be an active God on to give out the kit. If you are new, just be patient, read the helpfiles, and then look for Rangers or Istari (players marked by the Gods as helpful and honest) who will aid new players. - Reading the Tolkien books is not necessary. The books provide familiarity while adventuring through MUME, but any critical knowledge needed for playing MUME can readily be gained from playing. Of course I highly recommend reading the books, but this has more to do with my opinion of the books themselves, then out of gameplay necessity.
I am thoroughly taken with this game and the people that play it. For me it has become more then just a game - it's a social experience. No I don't take the game too seriously, but I do take the people seriously. I count them among my friends and acquaintances. And if they are playing an opposite side, they are temporarily my enemy.
Briefly about me: I started playing MUME regularly in 2000. I am active as both a player and area builder. Everything I've written above is based purely on my own personal experiences with MUME as both a player and builder. I do not speak for MUME management and nothing I've written above should be construed as such.
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