Hello and welcome to my review. I've been looking for a good mud to call home for quite a while. But in essence, I left a paid mud to play this free one. This is an honest review for mudders who are seeking a non biased mud-review.
To begin with, this mud is not for the casual player, simply because it has a HIGH learning curve. Moreover, the game is not easy- far from easy. The only reason i insisted in learning it was because of the fantastic game maps, which i will talk about in a moment. I definitely did not regret it, because every few minutes the detail in this game would captivate me.
The game is based on tolkien world with three sides- The good side, being the humans, hobbits, elves, half-elfs, the bad side- orcs and trolls, and one more side of rogue orcs, on nobody`s side. All the players on one side can only talk to the players on that side, and have no contact with the other side if not in the same room. When you log on to one side and type WHO, you will see a total number of players. At times you may see only 30 people online, but that is the total number of people online at your side. You cannot know how many people are on the other side, although usually its fairly balanced, with about 30 people on light side, and around 20-30 on the dark side. I haven`t an idea of how many play the third side.
It is open PK between the three sides, meaning you kill on sight. However, PKing on the same side can have in game consequences.
The mud has extensive help files, but it's no walkthrough. There is no newbie training area, and after character creation you are literally thrown into the game. The help files explain every useful command, but doesn't tell you exactly what else to do. What it does encourage you to do however is to ask ask ask. Players are very helpful in this game, and about three times people came to me asking if I were new. After responding yes, they would have me follow them to various places, some equipping me with better armor, some giving me gold, and some offering to hunt with me. Players overall were (are) helpful, and not once were any rude on the channels, either to me or to each other. You will see curse words once in a while.
Expanding on the game`s difficulty, when you die, you lose all your items, left on your corpse. If you died to an enemy, they are free to loot your corpse. They are actually free to do anything with your corpse, really. But, the same way, you can have fun with your enemies, like stealing those hard to find equipment after a careful backstab. This may please some people, might scare others, but its good to know that everyone can have a chance at the stronger items (this pleases me). At higher levels however, I`ve heard that the stronger items aren`t hard to get.
Obviously, PK is a heavy part of the game. You can form groups of wizards, warriors and scouts (all PCs of course) and raid the opposing areas, or go solo hunting for an orc (or vice versa, forming teams of orcs and trolls to terrorize unsuspecting players!) Pk happens anytime- I was fishing at one time and suddenly an *orc* comes running into area and leaving just as fast. A moment later, an elf scout and a dwarve darted past the room, following the orc tracks. The whole time my character was there, obliviously fishing.
Remembering the idea that you lose everything on death, there is no banking in this game, meaning you cant store your equipments or treasures anywhere- you cant even work around it, for example storing all your equipment on your horse and leaving your horse at the stables. This, again, adds tothe difficulty of the game.
Moving on, lets talk about the game details. The room descriptions are excellent, and for a world so big, i was surprised to see so many different descriptions. I mean, this world is BIG. It is so big that I mumble on the idea of having to meet a player at another city. All players have movement points, meaning you need to rest up after traveling. So when I travel to other towns, this means having to set up camp quite a few times. Every player also has the need to eat and drink, though there is no death for not eating/drinking. The penalties are simply on your movement points, which take a LONG time to regen when you are dying of hunger. When you are out in the wilderness without food, you will quickly see how much this is a problem. Continuing on with details, you can carry a hunting knife or use your dagger to butcher creatures of the wild, get their skin for selling and their meat for cooking. When in the wilderness, you can cook your meat by setting up camp with the CAMP command, and cooking meat in the fire. To cook the meat however, you also need to have a pan from a shop, oh which you use to place the meat over the fire. You can eat the meat raw, but eating the meat cooked means filling you a lot more. Also, setting up a fire is important for sleeping in the wild, or else you actually start getting sick. You`re character starts sneezing and such, of which in the end affects your combat skills until you recover.
You can buy oil flasks at shops to fill your lanterns in case they burn out when you need them the most (you don’t see a thing without them at night). Basically, you definitely need to prepare yourself before leaving town- You need to have a knife, a cooking pan, and a fishing rod in case you want to fish for food, a lantern, oil flasks etc. Most of the above things can be attached your belt so you can free your hands, and including the lanterns.
More on details, I was surprised when my character was arrested for wandering into a town, of which I was not a citizen, with my weapon drawn. Guards came to me saying I was under arrest, and waited, actually giving me the option if i wanted to follow them to jail, run, or fight. I chose to follow, so I actually followed them through town and was thrown into jail. I was delighted with this feature, although I had to wait a few minutes in real life (in-game day) before being set free. One can be charged for many crimes, of which all adds up to your total sentence.
So after leaving jail, I found a shop of which i was interested in buying some supplies. The shops in the game close at sundown and open early in the morning, and you can actually see the shop owners preparing to open their shops (and close it).
The game has no potions, but bandages, meaning, if you get wounds, they can be bounded up with bandages depending on your skill. Or you can have other PC clerics heal you up. The game has an excellent weather system that affects you in many ways. There is also an aging system that modifies your stats according to how young or old you are.
Moving on, leveling in this game takes quite a while if you are new, although one achieves hero status upon reaching level 20. You can continue leveling up however, achieving legend status at level 27. From then on, it gets VERY slow to level up, although the max limit is 100 I think. The mud is 20 years old now in 2011, and only one or two characters have ever reached that level.
The world is big with many options for exploring. You can find wild horses in the wilderness and immediately ride it. you can also keep them in stables for later use.
Now, the best part of everything- The maps. The game is very big, and dedicated players have created what I find to be the best map for any Mud that I have ever come across. It is a real time mapper that you actually download, and connect through localhost to play mume. I use mushclient to play, and have the mapper open above the client so I see my realtime movements. Players won`t experience a single lag (at least I never did) from the mapper, and the map updates immediately upon movement. The map is exceptionally detailed, with little room icons to display what one might encounter there. You can find it through google, its called Mmapper. Google MUME MMAPPER. It is constantly updated, last time being in April of 2011?
Unfortunately this is not a roleplaying mud, since most player`s goal is to kill the opposing side. If you are looking for a roleplaying mud, this mud may not appeal to you. The game lacks a roleplaying channel and you`ll constantly see conversation of pkers (on the same side) through the NARRATE channel. There are also no clans (if I am not mistaken) for if there were the option, I would definitely be the first to create a roleplaying clan. I happen to like roleplay, and I and a few others insist in that aspect. If you want to roleplay with a small community, then feel free to join me.
Again, if after reading this review you decide to try the game, remember that it is very difficult to learn it. As a newbie, you may die by orcs or trolls ( if you adventure too far, or a group of enemies just happened to show up wherever you are), especially for the reason that they have no idea of knowing that you are a newbie. When we encounter players of the other side we simply see things like *ORC* or *TROLL*, and if you were on the bad side, *HOBBIT*, *HALF-ELF* and *HUMAN*. So, dying constantly and starting from zero may scare many players. The best thing I can recommend, and with good results, is to constantly ask for help via the NARRATE channel. People are friendly and from experience, they are quick to help those that died. Don`t forget to read the abundance of help files that are available too. Good luck on finding your home mud. I`ve found mine!
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