So I've played this MUD, heavily on and off for about 5 years now. When I say this, I just want to clarify that I have taken long breaks in those 5 years, and have created a large number of characters, to include special races and the like. A little background on my MUD experience, I have played 3-4 MUDs very long-term, with the longest run being a MUD based on the Wheel of Time (and largely PK oriented) for 15+ years. I literally started when I was twelve yearsold, and now I'm twenty-eight (kind of sad, isn't it?) I'm just writing this review to share some thoughts and feedback I've had in this game as I've played it. It should come as no surprise, but coming from a largely PK oriented MUD to Forgotten Kingdoms is night and day. I'm not opposed to RP, but holy wow is it enforced with an iron fist on this MUD. You better have the patience of atibetan monk if you plan to play this game. It is in no way built for the casual gamer. If you want to advance in this game, you better be ready to put some serious play time into your characters. It's not just a long amount of time investing into the game over weeks, months, etc., but more accurately, most of your RP interactions are going to turn a five minute ask and tell situation into a two hour full meal deal. Is this bad? I guess it depends on the situation.
As I said, I don't mind a bit of RP, but I am also here to play a game, and I decided to interact with you most likely for a reason. I guess this is where I'm just going to say that if you're wanting to play this MUD as a solo build, or because you just want to casually play (casually being the keyword) a great Forgotten Realms-based MUD, then you may want to look elsewhere. To reiterate, this MUD is TRULY amazing as far as the in-game content, and replication of D&D 3.5 goes. It is honestly the only reason I keep coming back. I'm a huge D&D/Forgotten Realms fan, and with all the class/race combinations, it's just absolutely thrilling to play a character in the world these guys have created. I even enjoy their kismet system, where it rewards players for their loyalty to the game by increments of 1 kismet per hour played. Apparently you can get kismet by other means, but it must be through special roleplay or something else, because I have acrued 1500+ kismet on my account, all of which is from hours played. This kismet can be used for 'special' races, not always meaning better bonuses or stat points, but most do have such perks. The absolute biggest drawback of this game is trying to gain information on anything within it. They have cornered all users into a situation where the only two ways to gain information is via in character interactions, or by finding hints via their forum search (which doesn't help all that often anyways). In my experience playing the game, and trying to acquire information on certain quests, or locations is like pulling teeth. You'll be forced into roleplaying for a while, and even though they have a 'tell' system, it is highly frowned upon to use it for acquiring information, even for in character use. RPishly, it is considered 'mentally draining.' This leads to most long-distance communication being forced into an in-person meeting. As I said before, this does not sit well for those who frankly don't have an hour or two of time to spare, but instead just want to play the game.
The in-game help system is extremely robust, and is a shining example on what all muds should strive to look like. You will VERY rarely find a missing help file in game, so this helps quite a lot. Additionally, Forgotten Kingdoms (FK) does provide a forum to peruse at your convenience. This forum is primarily used to report bugs, view future world events, research specific class/race/worldly backgrounds found within the game, and finally, for applications.
Applications are used in this mud as the means to contact immortals in the game. Whether it be to report mishaps, or to inquire and/or request certain things, this is the main place. Be prepared to wait, as it is an all-volunteer staff. You may hear back within the day, or not at all (as has been the case for me in the past). A big part of the game is their 'Faith' system. And once you become a part of it, it's really not all that bad, the only gripe I had about it is that for most faiths, it requires player 'faith managers' to join you up. This particular gripe was so bad in my case, that I had over 350 hours on one character before I was faithed. Coincidentally, that character was a Cleric, and in this game, clerics need to be faithed to access a majority of their spells, and every spell over the 5th level. As you can imagine, this was a huge hamstring, but I was still ultimately able to obtain the highest level in the game (50) without being faithed. Let me tell you though, especially as a Cleric, once you become faithed, you basically become a brand new character. This was very exciting as a player.
This review wouldn't be complete without talking about some of the choices I decided to make while playing this game.
They do appear to have a sort of strike system for players that decide to cheat, or act 'afool.' To my knowledge, I have two strikes, the first was acrued because I decided to use a zMUD Tick Timer to prevent me from idling out of the game. By doing this while I was using a skill called 'meditate' I was gaining higher levels in this skill, even at times when I was away from the computer. The second strike was when I setup a series of triggers to make one of my new mages level without much intervention on my part. For this, I was given a strike, and the character in question was deleted. It's also worth mentioning that all punishments are handled by 'someone,' which can be quite infuriating, even if the player is in the wrong.
In addition to the reprecussions for my above strikes, there were a couple of situations that were handled poorly in my personal opinion. For example, there was a situation where my character 'attempted' to walk into a closed door (I accidently typed 'south' in a room with a locked door to the south) By doing so, the guard thought I was trying to break in, which to my knowledge doesn't appear to happen anywhere else in the game. I submitted an application to get this fixed (because it made me fail a questline) and was told that the actions were justified, and that what happened should have happened. Take that as you will. Additionally, after running into a blue dragon and fleeing from it, I realized I was being chased by it. Doing what any rational person would do, I went to a city where I thought i'd be safe. A couple of guards died, and I don't know why, but the dragon stopped following me, so I rested. Suddenly, the dragon walked into my room again, and was -clearly- being controlled by another player, and consequently died from it (dying is rough in this game). I submitted a complaint report, and they told me the player (immortal) was reprimanded, but they thought I was trying to kill guards for the money they possessed. Also take that as you will.
The only other annoyance that comes to mind is that about half the quests in the game (and there are a lot of them) are well made, and give proper clues to keep you interested. However, the other half are poorly made in that you are given very vague 'hints' on how to continue with them, and I daresay most quests are VERY easy to break by doing minor things like turning in items while invisible, or not speaking in the right language to hear them. Also, if you have a quest where you have to fight something, but then you die doing that quest, chances are it will be considered 'failed' and you will be unable to ever finish it. I've been wanting to write a feedback review to this mud for a long time, but as has been said in other reviews, what you say, can be used to hurt you in this game. The final reason I chose to submit this review now is because during a quest involving riddles (which I personally can't stand), I posted one of them on a third party website to see if others could figure it out, in doing so, someone found it, reported it and when I did not deny posting it, I was penalized by 'failing' the quest, a loss of glory points, and loss of a part of the items I gained from completing the quest initially.
This mud has its ups and downs, but ultimately is for a few very niche group of players (and those that follow their ways), which is a real shame because the world and game by itself, is wonderfuly amazing.
TL;DR -- This MUD is as true as you're going to get as far as D&D and Forgotten Realms is concerned, the world, and
gameplay is absolutey incredible. If you have a lot of spare time, and love to roleplay, this game is right for you,
if you are a casual gamer, a PKer, or just someone who enjoys playing games in a 'single-player' fashion, this game
will not suite you. Most of the games problems are generated from lack of information, or unhelpful quest hints.
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