Where to begin...
Akanbar has achieved EXACTLY what it intended. It's providing an outlet that is not Avalon. Clearly it has some of the basics in common with Avalon/IRE games, the affliction based combat, the skills/skillsets, methods of learning, etc. It does excel in bringing a fresh, new light to this series of games. It succeeds in making a game that's equivalent to a VERY BASIC version of these other games with a much smaller monetary requirement.
With that said, however, I believe that it has failed in the following aspects:
1) Updates. Major updates come few and far between. The merchant system was introduced after almost a year of waiting, only to continue to be tweaked and re-tweaked to this day.
2) Merchants. Merchants have a handful of interesting skills, if even that many. Most of them require completely dull, standing, aliasing, triggering or mindless command-entering. Luckily, they are good at making gold. Unluckily, you can't really do anything with said gold. A merchant pays for guards to protect them, but they could still never stand toe-to-toe in PK against another non-merchant player. Nor are the expected to, sure, but when there's nothing else to do, life as a merchant quickly gets very, very boring, evidenced by the fact that there are very, VERY few merchants.
3) Premise. The premise is your generic good vs. evil vs. shadow (balanced). There's no room for growth, no room for anything else. Good will always be good, and they will always do no bad. Bad will always be bad, and do no good. Shadow appears to be the place to be, with the most active players in that realm, and understandably, too. I believe that it's much better to be able to have a choice than to be locked into a role, ad perpetuity.
4) Administration. They try, it's clear that they try, and care about the game, but every new system that they've put into place in the past few months have led to nothing but monotonousness and repetition. They arbitrarily decide policy, which of course is their prerogative, but they never tell anyone besides those who are involved, and it is never proliferated through the ranks of the other players. Helpfiles are rarely, if ever, updated and the policy files are loose and left up to interpretation. Of course, that interpretation could be very wrong and you will receive some form of punishment from the administration. They enjoy contradicting themselves, as well. In the new herbal system, you'll find that all of the apothecarists know what the new herbs do, but are unable to share. The administrators have decreed that information is not to be shared between people regarding skills. Being completely unable to regulate this outside the game, of course, has diminished the capacity of those who do not talk outside of the game. It's understandable that they want us to learn, but the system is inadequate to provide even that without an extraordinary amount of time and effort. It passes the point of becoming 'fun' and enters the realm of 'work'. In my opinion, games are more meant to be fun, with some work, but not from scratch and certainly not with information asymmetry that affords certain players and even certain organizations advantages over others. In the new herb system, you don't get a message if you use it the wrong way, or use the wrong herb to try to cure an affliction. The only time you receive a message is if you cure it. This isn't enjoyable, this is a guessing game. There's a large difference between using logic to figure something out, and increase brainpower, and playing guessing games. It would seem that the administration confuses the two.
All in all, Akanbar is a good escape in the short run, but if you expect to spend any significant amount of time there, lower your expectations. The players are a good batch, for the most part. You'll find your occasional fool (but you'll find those everywhere) and you'll find your gems, and I'd say there's an even smattering of each. Those gems, however, are what keeps Akanbar running and moving smoothly.
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