First I'll write it as facts then my impressions. Its stated as a RP enforced PK driven mud. It has a number of classes, and many interesting skills and abilities for each class and race combo. Weapons have different abilities of parry effectiveness and overcoming your enemies defenses of dodge, shield block, parry, dual parry.
Classes are balanced by racial stats, humans get 101 points in stats, and Fire giants (the game's strongest race) get 94 points spread across strength, intelligence, wisdom, dexterity, and constitution. You pay for more powerful races in vulnerabilities and other weaknesses, as each stat factors into your defense skills. Another factor is the experience cost, which is greater for races and classes that are more specialized and have slightly more power at the higher ranks.
But, that doesn't necessarily mean they will crush everything. a human warrior is a 0 exp cost combo, but can easily use its great stat distribution and lack of vulnerabilities to be on the same level, with the appropriate equipment and GOOD use of skills and tactics. There are rares and unique items in the game, and power for all classes is more or less defined by their items, although if you play poorly, you will find yourself killed and your enemy taking all your nice items, making them even stronger.
If you join you will notice that even veteran players play human warriors. These players are distinguished by a cabal tag such as [Knight], [Legion], or [Keepers].
Keepers are a recent addition to the game, and act as a balancing force between good and evil, due to in the past the game swinging badly in favor of knight or legion. This new cabal introduces an almost mercenary element, but with a roleplay reason of existence,a and only true neutrals may become these types. They may even deal with the Justice cabal (a group designed only to uphold the law in Seringale, whether helping good or evil in the process), if they should be warring against legion or knight.
Many rank 50 characters in the past have distinguished themselves with RP that goes above and beyond the norm. There is a lot of written history and all characters that wish to join cabals must have a historical background and a well written description.
Different weapons carry different abilities in combat. Some are low on offensive strength, the ability to get around enemy defenses, but high in defensive strength, the ability to parry enemy attacks, while others are the opposite. Two handed only weapons are usually high in defense and offense, but do not confuse a two handed mace or sword with something only two handed like a polearm or staff.
In addition to weapon differences, some work just as well, or less well in the off hand when dual wielded. Also, spears have a bonus capability against the dodge skill, and axes have a bonus against shield block.
All this culminates in very complex fighting with the weapon type and combat type system. dual wield beats > sword and shield > two hand > dual wield, for combat styles. Segment > blade > shaft > segment, for weapon types. Combat and weapon styles and types have effects on parry and the usage of powerful skills, that if you dont achieve superiority, cannot be used. So you must use the proper weapon in a given fight to pull off these great skills.
Around 50 players actually play and surge times at every 40 hours intervals in the week doubles your experience ranking capabilities. This will allow you to easily find groups and enemies as there are around 25-30 players on at these times. Players exist all over the globe, so more often you will see around 10-15 players during peak hours in U.S. time, and 1-5 players during the late night/early morning hours in the U.S.
My personal opinion: I love the game in its mechanics, skills, items, races, classes. there are many very skilled players to fight, so no shortage of a challnge. however, apart from the few exceptional roleplayers who are also good fighters and ranked 50, as well as the constant influx of newbies who want to RP, there seems to me to be a nasty element in the game, which comprises many immature people who continually break the rules of the game.
In my time on AR, I've been cussed out OOC, explicitly told by fellow lowbies that RP isnt really important, and that they just do it to put on a show for the imms, and killed in some really stupid alignment breaching ways.
There are few players and even fewer imms, which makes it a hassle to play sometimes, particularly when someone is breaking rules and no imm is around to catch them. I have to admit that recently the imms have been a lot more present, but it still doesn't remove the bitter taste in my mouth from experiencing the kind of counterstrike RP that I've had the displeasure of being on the end of.
Neutral halflings. There's been one person, or perhaps two, who constantly push the limits here. They take any excuse to kill you and take your stuff. I've had neutral halflings that wished to 'test themselves' so attacked me and ended up causing my death. To me, being complicit in someone's death like that is roleplay for an evil, not a neutral thats also a halfling.
Another neutral halfling, and the one that spelled the end of my enjoyment and time playing AR, decided to blackjack (knock out) one of my groupmates to rob him, while we were ranking in the forest. I defended my groupmate by attacking the halfling and running him off. I didn't chase him, I didn't try to kill him. He went and healed far away, and while we are again attempting to rank, he came into the room invisible and killed me. I'm sure if my characters alignment had been good, that halfling would be denied on the spot, but because I played an evil duergar, this peanut gallery that plays the character and supports him killing me stated that it was my fault because I attacked him, and apparently attacking him gave him precedent to kill me.
I would've understood if I had caused his death through the defense of my groupmate, although I was just doing that, being defensive and not trying to murder him. I would've understood if I followed him and killed him, or if I followed him, and he turned around and killed me. That would have been his right to survival. But instead, I left him alone and he came back to murder me. Thats crap.
When I bring it to light, there's an overwhelming response against me saying this neutral halfling had the right because he was chaotic neutral, even though chaotic neutral doesnt mean free right to murder by the helpfiles of the game.
Last I checked, this character hasn't been alignment outcasted, and still plays. So, either imms have to catch them in the act or counterstrike RP is all that really matters in AR. Those exceptional people are wasting their talent feeding a small group of people who just want to kill anything and everything, as long as the counterstrike RP role is fulfilled. 'He attacked my, and thats why I killed him'. complex characters, alignment actually meaning something, I think not. Its too bad because the mechanics of the game are so good that these few 'vet' players who pull this crap ruined it for me and a few others as well.
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