Player Score: 9/10. --- FANTASTIC!
Pros: The custom coding makes it hard to believe it's a Diku/ROM base. Nearly every NPC is interactive, as well as many room elements. Dynamic casting -- Casters don't just spam c 'spell'. Even melee battles don't use the same tired damage verbs. Whew. Personal merits and flaws chosen at creation ensure uniqueness. ASCII additions such as Element Field and Map make game fresh. Ever wanted to have your very own skill? Help Limit Break.
Cons: I'm personally not a fan of extended creation options. Some custom syntax's are harder to remember. Limit Breaks take a little work to set up.
Overall: Between the largely custom yet (mostly) memorable syntax, fun and never tedious quest/discovery system, and the ability to TALK to almost EVERY NPC in the game (Similar to Square/Enix games), End of Time is *easily* one of the best MUD's in existence.
So I found this MUD about a week ago while I was searching through some MUD forums. Logged into it last night after finally having a moment to play it.
Although I never really liked MUDs with a game/anime theme (I will not digress into why at this moment), I decided to give it a shot. The member on this specific forum had given it it's praise, and so I decided it was worth at least 20 minutes.
The very first thing I will say is that I was initially put off by the creation system. I personally am not a fan of largely customizable characters, especially when it can make the creation process take as long as 5-10 minutes, when I just wanted to play a game. I will not spoil exactly what you can customize, but as a new player I just sped through it ;).
So after going through the creation process and materializing in the End of Time MudSchool, everything seemed as normal. Another Diku/ROM MUD to fully explore it's custom areas, reap their treasures, and learn its (probably) small quirks...Right?
Hah, I was in for a shock. The custom syntaxing alone will blow any MUDder away. And it's not so robust that an experienced (or even newer) player will be lost. Some syntax's could have used some more thought, but like with all new things with heavily-documented help, I picked it up in less than 20 minutes.
The first thing I have to mention is NPC interaction. Just like all
of the Square/Enix games it's based on, in End of Time you can talk
to any NPC, simply by typing 'talk
Whatever you could find out in a traditional Final Fantasy game by pressing Action on an NPC, you can find out in End of Time. In Narshe, you can find a very familiar room with many battle scholars teeming to teach you about advanced in-game tactics, such as combination spells. Just like the games, some NPC's don't really have much to say, or won't be interested in conversation. And that's okay, too.
And speaking of combination spells, the casting system in End of Time puts every other MUD's system to shame. They did away completely with the old casting system in favor of a much more dynamic one, and having my first character as a caster, I was in for a treat.
So it starts simple enough -- you cast your spell. However, this is where the fun begins. You don't actually lose any MP as soon as you cast a spell -- instead, your character goes into a casting mode. You are still open to commands during this time, including truncate, which will cancel your spell and make you lose MP (but allow you to flee, etc).
You can brighten/fade to raise/lower the damage level of the spell, or expand/compress to increase/decrease the casting speed. All of these commands modify MP cost accordingly. Additionally, you can stack spells in a casting queue and modify each spell with any of the above commands, and more, as long as you have required MP. If you stack two spells that are elementally related (such as fire/earth), you will cast a stronger combination spell.
Another example is when you are fighting multiple enemies, or in a group. Again, in a nod to the games they are based on, you can WIDEN after casting a spell to target all enemies (for attack spells) or players (for heal spells). Interestingly, you can WIDEN a second time to include all legal targets (which would, in effect, attack players or heal mobs). I'm not far enough to know how the second WIDEN was meant to be applied, but I'm eager to find out!
It goes without saying that while I usually don't have problems remembering syntax's, sometimes I do forget certain ones, and have to be re-reminded. However, there aren't so many as to make casting a spell confusing, and you CAN just cast a regular spell without modifying it at all.
The old tired damage verbs and battle prompts have been mostly thrown out in favor of fresh ones. Not really much to say there, but it's always nice to NOT have to go through the same damage verbs in every MUD I play. Some of the battle prompts have references to FF10 which surprised me when I first read them.
There are many merits and flaws that can be applied to your character. They are meant to make your character as unique as possible, and there are limitless possibilities between them.
While I won't go into details about them, I will say this: Do NOT do what I did, and just speed through them to get into the game! Check help files on each one. One flaw that I chose doesn't allow my character to regenerate while he sleeps -- I was wondering about that for hours last night!
The ASCII art in this game isn't just for looks (well, some of it is :p). Notably, next to the ever common Room Name in a given room is a multi-colored array of /'s [//////]. Now, bear with me here -- this is one of the most innovative additions to any MUD I've ever seen.
The [//////] section (which is usually multi-colored in the game) basically outlines the element field of the room. If all of the /'s are red, for example, Red spells (Fire-based spells) will do enhanced damage. Additionally, Blue spells (Water-based spell) will do significantly less. And all you have to do to change the element field is to cast a spell of whatever element you want it to change to, which will change the newest /.
Even for non-casters, it's important to note since every player must choose a primary and secondary element. You will usually get more experience in a field that is your color, as well as more damage/take less damage. The opposite is true in an opposing field.
Of course, NPC- and player-initiated spells will ALSO change the room field. So it becomes more than just casting away mindlessly -- your preferred damage spell could hinder your partner's healing spell and kill the both of you.
Limit Breaks are the last subject I will touch upon. At its simplest form, it's basically a fully-customizable skill that is only usable when your Limit Bar is full. In order to fill your limit bar, you choose your limit mode which determines how you fill your bar. Stoic, for example, fills your bar as you take damage.
And, just like FF-series, once your Limit Gauge is full, let it rip! The Limit Break itself is fully customizable, with it's own command, room messages, and victim messages. This makes every character's limit breaks (you can have up to 4) unique and personal. It was a little work to set up, but it was well worth it.
Between the largely custom yet (mostly) memorable syntax, fun and never tedious battle and field system, and the ability to TALK to almost EVERY NPC in the game (Similar to Square/Enix games), End of Time is *easily* one of the best MUD's in existence.
As a player of many other games that don't measure up to it's caliber, I would like to see more players give this game a shot -- if you're anything like myself, you'll be up playing until 3AM on a Wednesday morning and have to call in sick to work.
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