First a short list of features: - LP Mud, nothing stock - Medieval tolkien influenced high-fantasy, good vs evil - Classless, levelless, skill and quest-focused - Legal systems, judges - Saved equipment, lockers and bank accounts - Skills in numbers, stats in descriptions - Detailed combat - 7 deities - 2 good, 3 neutral, 2 evil - High magic world, gods and religion play a big part - Guilds (clerics for 3 gods, evil warriors, good warriors, shaolin monks, druids, thieves, rangers) - Professions (skalds, scribes, alchemists) - Crafts (gem-cutters, parchmentmakers, tanners, trappers, book-binders) - Seas, continents, ships and shiplines - World divided in 'good' and 'evil' areas - Reputation system, and clerics/good warriors can detect your 'reputation' - Combat focused, highly PvP - No global shouts, no IC channels (except a newbie channel), toggle:able room-based OOC speech - Wizard-run live-quests (about 2-3 times a year)
The main problem in Geas is the huge lack of history. There are only a few documents describing isolated events in the worlds history. How the world belongs together, the meaning/purpose of the setting, history in general, is usually left to 'players define it'. While this is nice to some extent, it leaves many problems. First of all, it is very hard to define a character. This should be self-explanatory.
Second, it is very hard to make any sensible plots during game play. There is generally very little to do except 'gaming', when you are online - most people do powergaming and optimize their character strength by the maxi-min principle:
Most of the game is about combat and PVP - at least there is little support for any other kind of character type. For example, the druids guild is a non-combat concept, but the subsystems do not really support them. They have basically nothing to do. It is *possible* to play non-combat characters, but do not expect any designated support for that. I can not think of a single character which played a successful non-combat politician or merchant for example. And this is sad, because Geas has potential for so much, if there was just a bit more focus put on it, things could be a lot better. All subsystems seem to support combat as well; alchemy makes you able to create potions to heal in combat, mining gives you metals which gives you possibility of ordering custom weapons/armours and so on. If there were maybe a few more dimensions other than combat, where people actually could make an important part of a story without being über-strong, the game would be a lot more interesting (and diverse!).
A lack of history/setting generates many other flaws. For example, races are totally undistinguished. There is basically no difference at all between someone who plays an elf and a human. They do the same things, speak the same way, care for the same things, go to the same places, carries the same attitude. There is no difference at all between these as groups. The difference between races is, sadly like most DIKU (or whatever), only in stats. There are some differences in history, but they differ very little. I can only think of one character which ever played an elf in a distinguished way, but it was mostly because of his own roleplaying skills, rather than a good system that helped him play it. You will find humans, dwarves, elves, tshaharks and halflings, sitting at the same place, chatting with each other, as if there was no history between these cultures. Then again, there is no description of the cultures. The available races are: human, elf, dwarf, half-elf, halfling and tshahark (an über-strong warrior race). Elves also have the possibility to devote their soul to any of the two dark gods and turn into darkelf. Darkelf is the only race which is treated differently in practice. The lack of descriptions of historic events and cultures leaves a big scar through the MUD.
Power in Geas is very centralized. Decisions and verdicts are taken by basically one person, at best, by one and a half. Major decisions are supposed to be taken by two or so other admins as well, but their saying is very anonymous, if even present. You will also find snappy comments on your opinions or suggestions, some admins are better, some are worse, some do not speak at all. While the admin nowdays have improved the communication with the players, communication is still more a statement of the belief of the admin. Never will you find anything concrete to meet your arguments, and if you did actually make a good point, there is usually silence.
There is also a lack of rules in Geas. It seems like sometimes they forgot to copy their predecessor's rules to their own MUD. Rules are 'follow common sense' - which works pretty bad - you will know 'afterwards' if you broke any rules, where some of those rules you had no idea they existed or were considered common sense. This, in combination with centralized rulership of the MUD, plays badly. If you also happen to have criticized anything, you will find yourself in a bad position.
The world is also very poorly documented. Some helpfiles are even directly wrong! You can usually not trust what is in them. Some things are also only commented on in the news (with the helpfile missing). Finding the documentation on a feature might be impossible because the news item is long gone in the history.
Another disturbing thing is that the syntax varies from place to place, and you can end up missing things you actually did discover, just because you could not figure out the syntax in a particular situation.
The In-Character experience is mostly pleasant. People take IC/OOC separation seriously, and the big reason to play Geas is for its realism. Sadly though, the IC/OOC separation is mostly cosmetic. When it comes down to important things, people chose to ignore roleplaying. This includes things that people not only choose to do, but also what they do not do, which is an important part.
Combat is detailed and there are many special attacks. The skill system is learning-by-doing and guilds are mostly political war guilds. Guild skill-bonuses were lately removed, which promotes that it is a class and levelless world. This is great! The problem is that, while you can customize your character a lot, the stereotype characters still work best.
If you are able to accept that you can not realize your character in a good way, shut out the constant lack of content, and deal with a tiresome OOC atmosphere, then you can consider this a good MUD, probably one of the best out there.
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