Buffy MUD is set in the town of Sunnydale, California which happens to be centered under a hell mouth, and a whole lot of mystical energy. If you've seen the show, you know the story. You might also know that in the Television series it was destroyed. Well, they brought it back. They don't explain how, something big happened, poof. Which is sometimes the case in Buffy, so that's fine. In this game you generate your own character from a selection of races and classes, thrusting yourself into the buffy world. Okay, first I'll get the unprofessional stuff out of the way.
CHEATING: Ever since I started here it's been whispered, rumored, accused, etc that the staff abuse their positions here to make horrendously overpowered characters that rule the game. I can't confirm or deny this, but I'll tell you... What I know: In early beta phase, I witnessed the staff member 'Scarlock' trade character names with his mortal, 'Loki'. Scarlock then became a very powerful half-demon tiger warrior who abruptly smashed all opposition within days. (Including myself, and a friend who at the time were top vamps.) NOW. This doesn't mean he cheated, because being staff, he might have just understood the game better than we did and used this to his advantage.
I also saw, repeatedly, in my on/off play time here characters of the suave and successful type, well dressed, rich, etc, who suddenly swoop in and take over. These I have suspected as being Tyr, the main admin.
While the other stereotype tends to be the crude, brutish, and foul- mouthed (F this, F that! F'in F!) villain that walks about being bad and causing trouble.
These I usually suspect are Scarlock/Loki's alts. AGAIN, I don't really have proof, and in my most recent play times on the game it seems that these stereotypes have disappeared, so I also suspect the cheating has stopped (If it ever existed). But anyone who had played as long as I have, in the earlier times, will probably tell you (Read the past reviews) that there was cheating, a very annoying staff pet named Jacob (Who I think still plays), and the OOC channel being removed because people were calling them on their antics. (It has now been replaced with a different channel that you have to pay to access.) But, then again... maybe the vast majority of the player base were just all liars at that time.
Okay, now that we have the ugly out of the way, let's get to the good, and the bad.
GOOD: CUSTOM Characters: Out of almost every game I've played, Buffy MUD has the best options for customization. As a half demon, or demon you can purchase horns, skins, tails, claws, wings, defense mechanisms, offense mechanisms, and give each of them their very own brief description. It also includes 'changeto' and 'changefrom' descs, so as a half demon when you 'transform' or 'shift' between your human and demon form. You can actually write what you want people to see. Ex: Reviewer roars loudly as large demonic wings rip out of his back! This makes virtually anything possible in Buffymud (that can use Kung FU... See BAD). Zombies, Blobs, Lizard Men, Robots, Cyborgs, Any type of demon you can imagine, Hawk-men, Raven-men, The Kool-aid Guy. Whatever! You can make it here. It works.
The MENTOR System: As a newbie starting out in the MUD, you'll be hooked up with an evil, or good mentor. Depending on your alignment. This supplies you with a knowledgeable player whom you can ask questions of on your very own Mentor Channel. This even carries over to In Character assistance, granting you your very own friend and guide with very little effort on your part. It makes starting the game a lot easier, and it helps to have someone to watch your back.
BAD: The CODE: is very buggy. You'll probably notice frequent bug notes listed on the boards. Most of the features that were coded into Buffy MUD that are meant to be a plus, can actually end up being very annoying. The 'MAP' feature is broken, and only gives you a general idea of where you are, sometimes not at all. Sometimes quest mobs will give you negative exp. Certain shop items will have descriptions for something else entirely. Leaving some lairs will magically transport you to the other side of the map. You get the idea.
This wouldn't be so bad, except... they never seem to fix these issues! These have been around since I started here! YEARS ago! The only bug issues I find fixed are the really major ones, or the ones that are nagged out to an extreme. There are often crashes, but it's always quick to pick it up with an instant reboot, usually not even disconnecting you.
PLAY style: One of the biggest things that has bothered me from the start is that Health and Movement have been bunched into ONE stat, which is called 'Condition', or 'CN'. This means when you move, you lose health. You have to instead use the designated commands, 'walk', 'jog', or 'run' - the last is the same as just typing the exit direction. These paces are tedious, and you'll find a lot of players with the wings buff so they can simply fly around.
The COMBAT system is automatic, with some mid combat commands, based on a rock/paper/scissors function that relates to 'styles'. Kung fu/Aikido/Karate/ and Kick Boxing. You have to change styles as you fight to keep on top of your opponent. The problem of this from a roleplay perspective is that not every opponent in Buffy uses martial arts.
There are different demons, and entities that fight differently. But the system treats all opponents like human on human mortal combat. When you die, you're taken to the hospital, (or demon hospital) where you receive an injury timer, or 'IT', which means that you can't leave until your timer is up. If you encounter aggro mobs (carrying visible weapons and such will get you beat down by a mob of police, or demons, after some warning), or bite off more than you can chew you could end up waiting anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes. Sometimes more, sometimes less.
In an effort of realism, there is also showering, stench, clothes getting dirty, or bloody, and work out commands put into place. These all seem nice, but the little things start to annoy me after a while. There is no 'dry' command, after you shower, which means you have to wait 10 minutes for the code to dry you off. Clothes become dirty very easily when you're cutting open monsters for hours to get the next level, and eventually people don't even bother to change bloody clothes. Benching, or jogging to raise your chest or butt attribute (appears in your look as 'average' unless you devote time to it) will slowly raise it, but also slowly decline, even when you're offline. There are also jobs, with horrible code set in place, which is another way to grind for money in order to buy things. (Clothes, weapons, even skills cost money here.)
There are only a few healing spots in the game. Private apartments, your house, and the Bronze. The bronze is of course, always filled with people. But this is where the dropping off point is for staying true to the show. In the television series, you'd often see characters getting R&R in the bronze, relaxing after a hard patrol. In the game, you'll find dozens of people resting around couch areas, sitting RIGHT next to the evil they had just gotten done fighting. Boundaries are virtually non-existent. Why? Because evil characters need to heal too, and The Bronze has the highest healing rates. This forces people into unrealistic situations that only end up creating childish face offs, bullying, elitism, and all of that crap. If you're looking for quality RP here, you'll be disappointed. Especially if you're intent on experiencing the same kind of drama that you'd see in the show. The best you'll find at Buffymud are random squabbles, being abruptly shot down in the streets without warning or reason, and the idea that a perfect villain is akin to a bully.
My FINAL Word: This review doesn't even begin to cover all of the things wrong with this train wreck, in my opinion. Like, for example, ... Idle Checks that will randomly pop up to ask you a math question while you're AFK or fighting, which if you fail or don't answer in time, boots you off game.
But to be fair, I'd say if you're a hack & slash player and casual roleplayer looking for a new atmosphere, who likes to be creative with his characters, give Buffymud a try.
But if you've seen the show, are a fan, and often go looking for a 'buffy fix'...of real, meaningful RP, with plots and growth.. don't get it here. If anything, this game makes a mockery of the television show, and could even be described as one of its 'hell dimensions'....
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