First, I would like to thank you for your review. At the time of this response I am writing, it seems that player reviews have been turned off. I have gotten this changed, for I feel that is essential in order to further develop Mordor. With that said, I will start by saying that I have been around Mordor since before it actually became Mordor (1997). I have gone through every stage, from newbie to alliance leader, to Immortal. I am one of the current coders/programmers for the MUD. Now, in response to your comment(s), here are my (personal) opinions:
I am very happy to hear that you felt that Mordor was true to Tolkien lore. It is something we strive for, and now we have even implemented the long overdue area of Barad-Dur (Phase 1 of 2) so you may want to come back and level up to check it out. :)
In response to the multi-classing and skills, I completely agree that it is extremely hard to practice up skills through use. That is actually one of the minor projects that I will be working on, although it is not at the top of my current priorities. The skills currently are practiced at the guild master to a proficiency that is much higher than I believe it should be, and thus the practicing of the last few percentiles has been made almost ridiculous. I plan on changing this so that about half of the training must come through use, and so that use will make you more proficient in the skill (or spell) much quicker.
As for classes and sub-classes, it is very unique, as you said. Everyone has a main class, and than a second class which is slightly less powerful but still extremely important, and so on and so forth to through the fifth basic class. The downside that many people may see in this is that everyone seems to be part of everything... which is where remorts come into play. Upon reaching level 70 overall, and level 101 overall, you are allowed to gain a new remort class. Remort classes on Mordor are just an extension on top of the 5 basic classes. You can think of them as Knight being levels 101-200, above Warrior, and Assassin above Thief, etc. The remorts hold much more powerful spells and skills, and are fairly well balanced against one another but each in their own unique ways. This is where players 'master' a class, for anyone can learn the basic mage spells, but only a wizard can learn the truly impressive ones. Also, the remorts expand the power that the 5 basic classes have, again, each in their own fashion. On a quick side note, I would also like to mention that although you can cast cleric spells as a 4th class cleric, it is harder to cast them and they would not be nearly as powerful as a primary cleric. The sanctuary bonus, for example, would only be partially as effective (although still worth the time of casting) and the heals get exponentially lower based on class order. Then again, a warrior-ranger combo probably wouldn't need the healing as much as a cleric-mage combo. These are just a couple of examples that explain how all the spells and skills are balanced based on order.
As for the questing system, it is much different than other muds with not only the classic 'kill monster X' and 'find item Y' type quests, but also other unique forms of quests that are only home to Mordor. I have also upgraded the quest system to a tiered system. This was done originally because players at level 10 would quest for the quest items that everyone shared, and would suddenly be able to take on level 50 mobs because they were equipped with the best items in the MUD. The new tiered system makes lower tiers much cheaper than the higher tiers, and you can upgrade lower tier items to the higher tiers at the appropriate levels by only paying the difference in the costs (which is nice since you don't get penalized for buying the lower tier equipment that way). As for the reason that questing is not allowed before an overall level of 25: the creatures/mobiles are scaled to different level brackets. At the lower level brackets, the game is meant to be easy, so that you can learn how everything works in a convenient manner. For this reason, the lower bracket is easier than other leveled mobiles even after taking the difficulty:level ratio into effect. In order to stop experienced Mordorites from creating a new character and questing in the lower bracket of mobiles and essentially cheating the quest system, we decided that it was best not to allow questing at that level. Also, for a new player, there is already more than enough unique aspects to become accustomed to without having to learn the ins and outs of the quest system... and then throw into the equation that some of the new players may have never played on a MUD before. For experienced Mudders, it should be fairly easy to grasp the differences Mordor offers compared to other MUDs, and in turn you can level up much faster and then receive more possibilities in how you wish to advance your character (levels, skills/spells, equipment, alliances, questing, immortal quests, remort classes, etc.). As for the purchasing of stat-points for 22,000 quest points: This is meant to be something that is purchased after you have already gathered all the quest equipment that you desire. This is meant to be one of the end-game character advancement options, but it is available to lower players in the event that they wish to remain at a mid-level range and still raise their stats. Each stat point that you buy is equivalent to half of the total stats a maximum level (150) item can give you, and it directly affects your character's stat instead of taking up an equipment slot, so the players that have bought the stats are more than content with them.
Dying before level 50 is an extremely easy thing to overcome. At all stages in the game, your items stay with your corpse, but below level 50, your corpse follows you to your grave. At level 50 you are allowed to join alliances, and are therefore able to request help from the alliance mates if you are unable to get your corpse for any reason (although it isn't a very common scenario that help is needed). There are also almost always players that are willing to help others get their corpses back, especially from locations where you may not be able to get to the corpse easily (if for example a level 60 walked into a level 125+ area and attacked something they shouldn't have). It is also not uncommon to see good players helping evil players, or vice-versa, in these situations. A vast majority of Mordorites are able to separate in-character actions and out-of-character actions in order to help everyone enjoy their time as a person (not just a player). Also as an added bonus, one of our other coders recently added a nice change so that your quest items stay on your character even if you die, so that in the rare event that you do not get your corpse back, you do not lose anything that you can't find on a mobile that is your level or lower. The quest items that you spent weeks/months questing for are not lost from your character.
As for the charming and summoning, players can only charm or summon one creature. A cleric gets a bonus +1 creature limit, and priests get another +1 bonus. Also, the summons are not introduced until you reach remort levels. The summons set up is also another project I am working on, where they will change so that they are no longer meat-tanks with more hit-points than players, but are instead specialists that have lesser or equal life as a player. An example would be where a summoned fire elemental could cast different fire-based spells, or perhaps even have their own unique skills not offered to players, once the wizard is powerful enough. This way it would act as just another player in the group, and not as something that everyone hides behind. I agree, however, that the current process of summoning and charming is much to easy to hide behind at higher levels... yet there is only so many things I can implement at one time. I'm glad you mentioned this however, as I am now more inclined to make it a much higher priority on my list. :)
As for grouping, you don't lose experience in groups until its quantity reaches 6 or higher. The experience punishment also becomes higher and higher as the group gets larger. This way you won't see a group of 10 players just slaughtering everything in an area in order to speed through levels. At the same time, allowing up to 5 players without any decreased experience results in much more cooperation between players, as well as forming friendships and alliances, as you mentioned.
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