After seeing that there hasn't been an updated review written for nearly a year, I thought that I'd spend a little bit of time and draft something up. God Wars II is a mud that definitely deserves all the attention it can get, even though it has a fairly stable and loyal playerbase.
First things first, God Wars II is primarily a player-killing mud. After your Avatar chooses a class (which in and of itself is a challenge that will take new players many, many hours to complete), you will have the option to go to a separate plane of existence known as the Nexus. This is where you will spend most of your time, performing map-quests and killing various mobs in search of 'Primal Energy' (the equivalent of experience points).
But the Nexus is not a place for the faint of heart. There are no player-killing restrictions whatsoever, and at peak times this can make navigating through the Nexus a herculean exercise in caution, stealth, skill and luck. In other words, it's one heck of an adrenaline rush - and it's really, really fun.
KaVir, the creator of the game, has recently implemented a new rule wherein more powerful players lose unspent Primal whenever they slay someone weaker than themselves, though (in the long run) dying at the hands of another player in the Nexus is little more than an inconvenience (and a learning experience for newbies, as it will happen quite a bit with your first character). The penalty? The recently slain will reappear on their respective home-plane, where they will have the chance to fully mend their wounds and repair their damaged equipment before setting back out into the 'multiverse'.
In order to clarify the term 'multiverse', it needs to be pointed out that God Wars II is composed of several different planes of existence. There is the Realm, which is a plane reserved primarily for teaching newbies how to play the game and adapt to the world. This is where Avatars (i.e. freshly-created characters) start, and they are confined to this plane until they fulfill the necessary conditions required to choose a class. Still, to complete all the various tasks in the Realm takes quite a bit of time, and there is an abundance of adventuring to be done there.
The Nexus is the primary plane of existence. Albeit admittedly still in its initial stages, it is already massive and I cannot think of an efficient way to traverse this plane by foot. It's not entirely populated at the moment, but there is still plenty to do and it has a decent selection of monsters to slay and treaures to seek. Grab a drake, summon a giant owl, turn into a cloud of bats, learn a reliable teleport spell or (at the very least) acquire a horse and venture out into this place. But don't forget to watch your six, lest you be dropped with a swiftness.
There also exist other planes of existence - the Spirit Plane, the Shadow Plane, even Hell - although most of these can be accessed only by members of the appropriate class. Again, although still in their initial design stages, these planes all offer various ways to upgrade your characters.
Combat is where God Wars II really shines. I've never played a mud that places more freedom in the hands of the player. You can independently control four separate locations: left arm, right arm, head, feet (and sometimes other body parts, such as tails). That is to say, with the right amount of practice, you can execute an acrobatic flip over your opponent at the same time as you stomp him with your feet, launch a throwing knife at him with your right arm, perform the appropriate arcane gestures to freeze him with your left hand, and then bite a chunk out of his cheek on your way back down to the ground. You can circle enemies, duck down and grab dirt, lop off body parts (hands, legs, heads, etc...), sweep your opponents, and this is still only the beginning. If you can think of it in real life, there's a good chance you'll be able to do it in God Wars II.
The four classes - Mage, Werewolf, Vampire, Demon - all seem to be (surprisingly, I might add) remarkably well-balanced. Four more classes (Druid, Werecat, Lich, Dragon) are currently on their way. During the last nine months I have played three of the four classes, and have died numerous times at the hands of those both older and younger than myself ('divine age' is the equivalent of 'experience levels' in God Wars II ... after earning enough Primal, you can choose to spend it on either aging your character or gaining various class-related powers). Despite these deaths, never once did I feel that they were because of a game-mechanics flaw. Player skill (i.e. the person sitting behind the monitor) is important in this mud, and a player who has no idea what he or she is doing (despite having a god-like character with amazing stats) will quickly be torn to pieces in the Nexus. And, in my opinion, that's awesome. Still, the majority of god-like characters tend to be piloted by players who know exactly what they're doing.
God Wars II has a steep-learning curve due to its complexity. Even to experienced mudders it will take quite a bit of getting used to. To combat this confusion, the helpfiles are more than sufficient, and usually possess an answer to almost any query that you may have. At times, though rarely, they are lacking in specific details ... but this can be remedied by a quick question over the global channel. The players, many of them utterly merciless in the Nexus, still make every effort possible to answer questions and help newbies learn how to play.
Nonetheless, this is a mud that requires patience. And if you've had the patience to read this entire review up until this point, then maybe God Wars II is worth a visit. I don't think you'll be disappointed. It offers incredible combat and extremely advanced character customization. This is one mud that I've stuck with for a while, and have no plans of going anywhere in the future. The playerbase is interesting and will keep you on your toes, the administration is always willing to answer questions and is *constantly* updating the mud, and the game- mechanics are nothing short of spectacular. All in all, God Wars II is one of the few unique muds out there that deserves both recognition and praise. It's not to be missed.
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