Dragon Swords: 30 Minute Review *They say that a MUD has less then 5 minutes to capture a new player. I offer a MUD 30 minutes to capture me within it's game world. In a mere 30 minutes, no player will have the ability to experience all that a MUD is, and all that a MUD can be. Take this review as it is, merely the top of an iceberg.*
At Character Creation, Dragon Swords excelled. The greeting screen wasn't mind blowing, but for a game with the unique name of 'Dragon Swords', it fit. The proceeding menus utilized color the way it should be, providing players with an easier way of sorting information. The race menu itself was filled with information, arguably too much. All the -1, +1, -3, etc... are little too much for a new player to take and seem to complicate things. That being said Dragon Swords provided a solid handful of races which seemed to be well constructed. As opposed to some MUDs that offer up 4000 races which are all alike.
The class selection screen was neat as I had come to expect. It offered up information on each class, and allowed for an easy and informed choice. At this point, I was a Human Warrior. Following my choice the MUD offered me some extra info on my class, which again was delivered in a neat, easily readable presentation. Moving on...
Unfortunately, once I logged into the game, my experience went downhill. The color use, was AWFUL. Bright reds and yellows filled my screen flashing EXP COUNTDOWN! EXP 4XXXX! I almost had a seizure. Through the constant updates on EXP countdowns, and chat messages coming through I was able to find my room description and learn about what I was supposed to do.
Dragon Swords offers up a thorough MUD school, arguably one of the best ones I've seen. However, it does have it's shortcomings. Early on, I noticed several spelling errors in room descriptions, which kind of taint the experience. Also, a lack of proper information makes some parts a little confusing. From the training room (I had 350 practice sessions, but I didn't know that each training upgrade cost 100 practice points), to the Newbie Questmaster who wasn't very helpful, and was a little glitchy. The biggest problem with the MUD school is the constant barrages of EXP COUNTDOWN!!! and all the other messages filling my screen while I'm trying to figure out what to do. Having to constantly scroll up my zMUD screen to find the room description is a hassle most new players wouldn't undertake.
The combat system in Dragon Swords is pretty much stock MUD combat. Type Kill, go get a cola, come back and loot the corpse. That being said, stock systems works, so why fix it. I killed of the last few minutes of time in Dragon Swords wandering around the Combat School delivering a beat down to some 'Dumb Mages', and weak warriors.
Final Word: I pointed out a lot of 'problems' of Dragon Swords in my 30 minute play time. However, if you can get past the flood of color, and have a friend or two already playing in the game who can show you around, you'll most likely find yourself enjoying a solid MUD. There were nearly 50 people online when I logged in, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves.
The NPC's in the MUD school all seemed to partake in the game world, some chatting with me, others casting spells upon me. And when I gained up to level 2, I'll admit I did get that feeling of wanting to keep going and get level 3. I can't say I'd recommend Dragon Swords to anyone new to MUDding, however if you are a seasoned vet looking for a new MUD, I'd recommend giving it 30 minutes of your time. You might find that 30 minutes turn into 30 hours or more.
Vatiken's 30 Minute Review... Sept.27/08
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