Medievia in the 1990s was one of the foremost MUDs (in terms of popularity). The current playerbase appears to be predominantly from the mid-2000s: there are few real new players in the game anymore, and also only a few older players. The size of the playerbase is dramatically reduced from 500+ online at peak times a decade ago, to 100 or so now.
There were two keys which made this MUD special at one time: balance and the size and activity of the playerbase. Medievia traditionally attracted a strong gamer element, role-play was never wide-spread, and the emphasis was on skilled combat, singly or in groups. Unfortunately this is how Medievia was, not how it is. I want to try to explain why later.
The game at present consists of a handful of activities. Exping is still a major activity, although it now takes very little time to reach maximum level with help (a month at most). Most players now have many maximum level characters. Multi-level requirement means you will also need to perform several other kinds of tasks to level.
You will need to do AutoQuests: incredibly tedious 'fetch this, visit that mob' trivia hunts that are accomplished by looking them up in Internet databases. This feature is essentially a very poor copy of another game's excellent quests. You may need to do trade runs, which means running through hundreds of almost identical rooms between two places, occasionally being overwhelmed by very poorly coded AI swarms. You may need to go to the catacombs, a vast six level, thousand room or more zone in which 'eggs' load on the ground and mobs. Unfortunately, almost all the rooms are from one of a handful of patterns (seeing a theme here?) and there are quite a few special procedures to make this search frustrating rather than enjoyable.
Medievia promotes its dragons heavily. They come in three varieties. There are dragon taxis, which you hail by typing 'call' and which for a fee will slowly (unless you pay dollars for a speed-up) take you to most places in the game. There are wilderness dragons which may attack and kill you out of nowhere if you are outside a zone (unless you hail a dragon taxi for more money, which can double as your savior here). Finally there are lair dragons, which provide more points for leveling, usually require 14-18 players to attempt, and the experience of which is mostly pages of spam as you fight and or die without what you do making much difference.
There are several other features Medievia has added in recent years. Shipping was a much heralded new feature to allow sailing on Medievia's oceans. Originally envisaged with piracy and trading, perhaps involving skill and teamwork, it rapidly devolved into one person sitting solo at sea for five or six hours shooting 'serpents' (more poor AI mobs) with ship ammunition and winning 'fae': a new class of stat the game invented which can now be had by the billions. After all, bigger numbers means more fun?
Underocean was a new idea, fancifully described as a first person perspective raytraced display (in text). What this means is you have an incredibly spammy ugly display as though you are looking through the water at letters. With practice, you can read the display, and if you can overcome the many remaining bugs, you find that incredible amounts of money and, yes, fae are available if you have 10-12 hours free to fight more poor AI mob swarms, of a handful of different types.
Adversary is a MUD within a MUD. Billed as a PK fragfest with disposable characters, it was hyped for several years before its release. It was the first big failed new feature, and the pattern was informative. It was a zone with no mobs, a lot of new spam (a 'listen' channel that tells you who is around you, totally broken by the fact that it takes no account of walls and floors). The equipment that loads is poor and hard to become excited about. Death is permanent, and you start as a low level where anyone can log in a saved maximum level to kill you. When it turned out people didn't want to play, the playerbase was bribed with quest points in huge numbers to do it anyway.
The real story of Medievia over the last few years has been poorly designed and poorly implemented new features in which the playerbase had little or no interest. The initial negative reaction was met with freezes and gags, and an unbalancing system of rewards set up to bribe people to use it anyway. Thus gold is almost worthless now because of shipping and underocean, and the easiest source of quest points isn't questing, it's sitting in adversary with a friend, without any risk or skill being needed.
The old features do in part remain. Chaotic player killing allows the stealing of equipment after a kill, and was a mainstay of older and more experienced players (just killing each other with nothing at stake becomes tedious after a while). The introduction of delevelling on death in CPK chased a lot of players away, because it forces the people who want to fight most to spend most time doing things they don't want to do, like exping, trading, egging and so forth.
Medievia has many excellent zones available to a hero player, although only a tiny fraction of the playerbase at any one time knows their way around the top end zones. More common is for 4-8 semi-afk sheep to be dragged from one equipment mob to the next by a 'leader'. This is what is meant in Medievia by an 'eq run'. For the few players who learn them however, these zones can be a worthwhile source of entertainment. Due to the tweak system (items don't always have the same stats when looted) and the deterioration system (items only last 6 months to a year at most) there is a constant demand to run equipment zones.
This has so far been about Medievia from a technical aspect. The bigger problem for Medievia is that it has always had problems with its immortals. Accusations of cheating in a MUD like this are always going to be rife, when it caters primarily to a gamer crowd. However there have undoubtedly been serious incidents of cheating over the years. More troubling still is the disdain with which players are treated by the staff.
To understand the reason this is significant, you should realize that Medievia is not free to play. A typical maximum level character ('hero') is an investment of hundreds of dollars of someone's money. This can be taken away on a whim; for cursing, for insulting an immortal while drunk, for using a feature that turned out to be a bug, for criticizing a change, for complaining that your friend was just deleted. All of these can and do regularly result in the loss of your character permanently. Medievia now charges up to $50 per character to have them restored, no matter how unfair or unreasonable the original deletion was.
In an almost unheard of step, Vryce (Medievia's owner) has instituted an enclave system whereby he hand picks players to provide feedback. Anyone else providing feedback risks a gag or a purge. Players in this enclave are removed if they provide feedback he doesn't like. It's important to understand that Medievia will take your money, but that no-one at the top plays or has played the game in a long time. And absolutely no-one wants to know what the players think.
The vast majority of the people I have known have been purged. Some made more characters, to spend time with the friends they made in game rather than to play it. Some did not.
Be warned, playing Medievia almost certainly means losing friends, time and money. Once, it was a good enough game that that could be ignored. Today it certainly is not.
Incidentally, this submission is anonymous because it is understood that criticizing Medievia publicly results in forfeiting one's characters. Conversely, had this review been positive, I would have been entitled to in-game rewards. Read anything on the subject of Medievia sceptically.
Use the following form to submit your comment. Please keep in mind these guidelines:
Expect bugs while we transition TMC to a new platform, please help us by reporting them!