Buffymud is set in the town of Sunnydale, California a few years after the end of the show, people who haven't seen the show shouldn't worry though, it's basically just this world, but with real supernatural forces, most of whom reside in Sunnydale. There's a back story to explain it, but you can read that in the game.
One of the first great things about this game is the amazing level of creative freedom given to the players, while you are constricted to a set of races and classes, you can completely customize your stats, as well as special abilities called techniques. You can have basically any history you choose, describe your hair, eyes, build, height, as well as a normal desc and focused descs for different parts of your body. You can also go under false names, often several at once, demons can customize their skin color as well as how their demonic attributes such as horns look. You can even create your own languages and create almost completely customized outfits. People have made characters as widely varied as robots, zombies, even dragons with ease by using this system. While it's not strictly speaking a feature I guess, it is really cool that the world is such that you can make pretty much any character that you think of, limited only by your imagination.
Something I like about the game is how much it relates to real life, you can actually make yourself in this game, just a you who moved to Sunnydale and likely uncovered some sort of supernatural powers, you can even generally talk about real life events and movies and things if you want to, but doing it all as your characters, and there's just something amusing about try to talk to a big red demon of the apocalypse about the latest Kevin Smith movie.
One of the first things you'll likely do is leveling, unlike many muds with set zones for levels on Buffymud you can patrol pretty much anywhere in the game and you'll encounter mobs walking towards you or sometimes fighting other mobs, you also constantly have missions to complete, and many people will do their missions and just kill vampires and demons and the like on the way to and from their mission. You don't level up in the traditional sense, you train one of your stats, and every five trains gives you a level, there's an amazing amount of freedom in how you want to customize your character from this system, you can make a slayer who's proficient in magic, or a witch who also knows how to use a gun and throw a mean roundhouse. Obviously a pure magic witch of the same level is going to be a lot better in magic though.
The system is capless, you can keep on leveling forever, but it does get progressively harder as you go up, so even new players can get pretty close in level to the one's who've been around a fair bit longer without too much trouble. There's also tones of other stuff you can work on, there's 45 different jobs you can take, many of which form part of long career chains you can work your way up. You can work on your fame rank, something you get from RPing, fighting players around your level or higher, and running RP plots or events, this is fairly prestigious and gives access to some cool powers. You can work on your legacy, from RPing and participating in global invasions, which will give you a cool publicly accessible list of your accomplishments. You can try and get one of the cool houses or apartments and customize them how you want them to be or buy a shop and set it up how you want it and start selling items to try to make a profit. You can also work at getting one of the powerful and unique artifacts. Then try to get a good set of techniques by leveling in aggro areas, or try to get one of the rare items only accessible to people who've killed a huge number of certain types of mobs.
Any player above level 10 can also make a circle(like clans) you can choose your own name and write a little description of the circle, once it gets big enough you get access to minions which you also can customize, you can use these to attack people, bring you drinks, or wage war to try to take control of different areas around the game, fighting often against NPC gangs or other circles.
To get artifacts you need to do dungeons which're quite a lot of fun, they're basically big mazes filled with mobs and traps, you fight your way through, dodging through traps, occasionally killing sub-bosses that might open doors for you or shut off different types of traps, till you get up to and finally defeat the end boss, earning you a relic you can save up to buy an artifact.
Each player also has an NPC nemesis, who'll occasionally send guys to attack you or start big evil rituals you have to stop etc, you get quite good experience from doing these things, so it's not really much of an annoyance, and if he's really getting on your nerves, you can always enter a special dungeon to kill him off, but be warned another nemesis is likely to come along eventually.
So between working on all of that, you'll probably want to get some RP in, Buffymud is a completely IC environment, everything you do and say, every vampire you slay or thing you wear is IC. You'll get most of your RP at the bronze, most people go there to heal between patrols and there's usually some people chatting at the bar who'll be more than happy to talk to you, get your name and start to involve you in the RP plots.
There's almost no OOC in the game at all, while that takes a little while to get used to it's actually quite nice, people focus a lot more on their character and RP instead of who's OOC friends with who, and you don't have to worry about people badmouthing you OOCly cause they don't like your character.
Plots often take the form of events, which are completely custom written plots which exist for a time before bringing about some large effect, anything from a curse to mute someone to ending the world. Everyone can see events and will get involved on both sides helping people out with them or trying to stop them.
Aside from introducing new code the immortal staff is pretty hands off, they do enforce the rules though which're pretty standard stuff like no bug abuse, and they enforce a set of RP rules, which are also pretty common sense stuff like don't RP having the power to turn people into trees with a wave of your hand, but by and large it's up to the players to generate the RP plots and make things happen.
The fact that it's completely IC does mean that pretty much anybody can attack pretty much anybody else, but there are exp penalties and the like which increase the bigger the level difference that help stop this becoming an issue.
One of the only problems with Buffymud is it can be quite daunting and hard to learn, the older players will always be happy to help you out via the newbie or mentor channels but it will take a while before you've got everything down, just because of how complex and different so much of the game is.
The other big problem is there are the occasional bad apples, and while small in number they're often disproportionately loud. This isn't anything new, there's a reason most big muds don't allow player reviews after all, and I'm sure most players have met these kinds of people before. The theory generally goes you beat me, leveled faster than me, stopped my event, stole my IC girlfriend etc therefore you are an immortal/a friend of an immortal/a distant relative of an immortal/ or some kind of hacker. I've never seen any speck of truth to any of that stuff and it's really just people being people. You really won't have to deal with it much, but if you stick around long enough you'll probably eventually get to hear a bunch of the conspiracy theories, some are kind of funny but a lot are just kind of dumb.
Feels like there's a lot more I could talk about, like how combat works and the slaying system and all, but I don't want to write a 20 page review, so you'll have to see it for yourself.
Buffymud is very challenging, it's very realistic, and it's very adult, it's unfortunately really not suited to everyone. Everyone gets beat up or has a plot thwarted occasionally though for many of us that's what makes success all the more meaningful. If you're someone who likes stuff to be easy, hates having to work for things or likes to play characters that never lose this mud probably isn't for you. Also if you can't handle RP, can't handle PK, or are someone who needs to plan out their RP a month in advance and doesn't like any deviations from the plan, it's also probably not the place for you.
If you're looking for a place that's a bit different, that'll always give you a challenge, where things almost never go to plan and with other characters that are realistic, flawed, and human, where everything people have has been earned and just about anything is possible, if not easy, this is the place for you.
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