New Worlds Ateraan is one of my first addictions and, to be fair, it's not a bad game. In some respects.
First of all, while the world isn't terribly big, it's well done and intricate, with a good number of not-so-easy to find or figure out places and quests (though occasionally one has to spend some time syntax guessing). Very enjoyable. There's quite a lot of exploration to do.
Next, the lore has some potential. It's cliche in many ways - we have elves, dwarves and cat people, just like in almost-every-other-mud-you've-ever-played. We have a religion of light, darkness and a neutral one. We have two major city states, one civilized and the other more barbaric. Not brimming with originality, for sure. But once you get into it, it's not bad - it provides a solid base for some interesting roleplay.
Now, the sad thing is that this base isn't used as it could be. While there are players who admirably attempt to squeeze out a lot out of the faith tenets or whatever little lore we have for various places, races and so on - the staff seems to have no interest in running plots, explaining unexplained things, moving it all somewhere. The world is mostly static, with maybe a major event taking place twice a year or so.
Well, to be completely fair, events happen a little more often than that. But they are usually invasions, which basically mean spawning mobs inside a town for mindless entertainment. Oh, and those can be very random mobs that have you wonder - 'Why the hell would this and that person come all the way here and attack our city?' Don't hold your breath, no one's going to explain anything. Who needs plot and consistency, anyway?
This wouldn't be that terrible if there wasn't another issue. PvP is a part of this game, of course, and so players often try to stir some conflict themselves. Not surprising - conflict is the essence of interesting RP. But! Guess what happens when the quarrel gets a little bigger than some random players throwing insults around and going after each others' heads? Most likely, you're about to see an important staff-controlled NPC pop up, tell his guild/religion/city to stop and... That's that. No more conflict.
There are more ways in which the staff stifles player RP. Staffers are allowed to have PCs, even though - let's face it - just about every player knows who they are. Those 'staff PCs' can also do whatever they please. They freely PK players, take important positions that are meant to be player positions and whatnot. Of course, they are of higher level than almost any player. And so, if you happen to kill a PC who happens to be on good terms with a 'staff PC', you are quite likely to be slain by that staff PC with its unfairly higher level. Hell, I know of an incident where an imm's char took revenge on someone without even having the IC knowledge to back his reasons up.
In good RPE MUDs staff-controlled characters are NPCs meant to create RP opportunities, be parts of plotlines, make the world more interesting. In NWA, they are there to flaunt might and make people behind them feel better about themselves.
I feel like this review is getting too vile. Time to stop. Going back to the good points, NWA provides a good deal of entertainment - learning guild powers, adventuring, generally figuring things out is interesting. It's just that once you get past that, you figure out there's not much more to do and slowly learn of the less pleasant side of the game. A nice MUD to spend some time on, but not worthy of getting really into.
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