Lost Souls is a world rich with options. You can choose from over 42 races (with 14 more available as in-game options), and more than 24 guilds/professions along with over 26 Associations (loosely affiliated groups, like mini guilds) to create a unique character. Want to play a werewolf? We have that covered. A knight in shining armor leading a small army of faithful vassals into a large-scale combat? We have that too. A berserk, axe-wielding dwarven battlerager? Sneaky cultist of Kali who uses poisons and subterfuge to bring down political targets? A martial artist who is able to focus their inner strength and visualize changes in the world around them to manifest many esoteric effects? An invoker of the elder gods capable of invoke Great Cthulhu, Eris, and Hecate? A princely Amberite questing to eradicate the forces of chaos in the name of Order? A swaggering brute that lives to sing bawdy songs, and engage in the time-honoured pastime of drinking lots and lots of beer? A mage that manipulates the weather both for attack purposes, defensive purposes, and for political gain (He who controls the wind, controls the vessels which bring trade to the port cities)? We have all of that, and more.
What we don't have are the typical character classes that choke down so many other muds. No simple-minded warriors, no back-stabbing thieves, and no generic magicians. We've taken those basic concepts and given them much more depth and playability.
The atman system allows up to 10 incarnations all under the same game soul, so there is no need to make a completely new account or delete a character if you come across something new that you'd like to attempt, or if you think up an interesting race/guild combo.
There is also a system of skill specialization, which allows you to fully customize the skill development of your character.
Also unique to Lost Souls is the limb based combat. You can lose limbs, rip your opponent's arm off and beat him with the bloody stump, or target you opponent's leg to hinder his ability to flee effectively.
Despite the intense amount of violence possible in combat, there are many other options for your adventuring enjoyment. Experience can be gained by exploring any of the cities (or even the overland map) of the immense world, most quests offer experience, and clerics are even rewarded with experience for healing others or curing diseases. Advancement is definitely possible outside of combat, even to the point of the game having a leaders board for pacifists, who have never registered a kill in their entire existence.
Another option for development is within your associations. Some associations have internal ranks or alternatives to xp levels, usually geared towards activities geared specific to the goals of the organization. Basically, it is advancement by promoting the goals of your organization.
With the exception of Clerics and Rangers, you will not find the generic professions here (and even in these two cases, they are steadily evolving away from the stereotypical models found elsewhere). In fact, the entire mud is in a constant state of evolution, as more content is made available to the public.
From a strictly player perspective, there seems to be a solid cast of 5 developers/builders, with miscellaneous others showing up from time to time. Of the five core, two split their time between developing the mud, and actually playing it, so that they know firsthand if something is too difficult or too exploitable from a player perspective and oddly enough, they are among the most approachable players on the mud. One developer spends most of his time as a player and works towards enhancing the player interface, such as by adding in new functionality to the status bar and fine-tuning the interaction between developed projects and the playerbase. The last two, I am not sure they ever incarnate as players, one creates the code that drives the entire world and pushes forth the cutting edge projects, and the other is simply a builder who crunches out huge amounts of areas, crafting the physical world into a coherent, logically coordinated plane of existence. The developers themselves usually have a fair amount of transparency when it comes to upcoming projects.
It may not be apparent at first, but player input is actually taken into consideration, and there are many different means in which you can get your ideas in front of the development team. Several players have blogs dedicated to their adventures on the mud, and the wiki has several places open for players to offer their input.
Upcoming project releases are usually announced over the public channels with increasing frequency as the release date gets near, and there is a fair amount of open discussion about where the mud is heading and what projects/areas are slated for future development As newer areas come out, the amount of detail contained in them is extraordinary. You can actually stop and smell the roses.
Smiths brand their signature weapons/armor with their trademark. If you kick the stray dog, he will treat you differently than if you give him a few scraps to eat. Pack animals actually travel in packs. Different regions have their own distinct flora and fauna, weapons and armor, and even cultures. Sometimes you can tell what region you are in just by looking at how the peasants dress and act.
The overall feel of the mud is one of tremendous possibilities. As the mud progresses, it gets more and more incredible in every aspect. If there are any features that you find attractive on another mud, just give the development team some time, and seed the ideas of how useful that feature would be, and eventually, you'll see an even better version of what you liked show up in Lost Souls.
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