I've been thinking of writing this review for a long time and I'm finally getting to it. I've been playing for about a year and I'll try my best to show both the good and bad aspects of the game as fairly as I can.
As an introduction, the game has two areas where you could start in, the north and the south. The former is an easier version where you have people coddling you in every step. They have an extensive touring system where the regular players show newbies around the town. The latter is a harder verson without any of those but is more roleplay intensive in that you gotta figure out most things in character (IC). There is a wide selection of guilds one can join depending on their taste, some guilds are more killing oriented, others are more about writing and designing, there is a guild for those who just want to get on without it withough going through the hassles of an extensive interview/tasking rp. Again, the guilds in the north are more accomodating compared to the ones in the south.
Coming to the players, I feel that most are helpful (atleast on an ooc level). The staff get asked for help quite often and from what I've seen they help you out most of the time, they don't interfere in an ongoing event unless things take a turn for the worse.Then there are the 'guides' who are regular players with escalated privileges who reduce the staff work loads and help out others with minor problems. The game has quite a few blind players and they have some extra options available to them to make certain things easier.
The biggest thing about the game is the RP, people really takes it seriously. You have jobs (with the related occupational hazards), you have religion, you have marriages, you have a king, his subjects, different racial/guild behaviour.
Now coming to the dark side,the most important bit I'd like to address is with the leveling, if you're gonna be running around killing mobs for good gear or be able to participate in any group events that involve fighting you NEED to be at a decent level. Even otherwise, the fragility at a low level means you'll lose contacts/gear/resources etc that you put so much effort into obtaining. So a higher level is always a good thing BUT the game mechanics make it hard to get there, I believe it is there to encourage roleplaying, but the rewards for that are low and you sorta feel 'stuck' if you attempt to level up that way. Also, idling is heavily encouraged, a lot of things have timers that ONLY RUN when you're online so it favours those who can leave their computers on for a long while. There is a huge difference, if you log in just to play, what would reset in a day could take weeks.
Finally, the donations. While I agree that the mud needs money to run, some things are only available to those who donate. There is no way to transfer the said items in game. At a quick glance these items don't seem to really give a competitive advantage and I belived it for a while, but once you understand the mechanics you'll realize that it does make a difference, the perks aren't obvious at first.
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