I’ve been a long time MUDder, typing away at text based games since I was thirteen. Now I’m twenty-two and I gain the most enjoyment from RP-enforced games, such as Armageddon, SoI, Inquisition, etc. I love, more than anything, shared storytelling -- which is what I believe these types of games supply; a direct link to pour your imagination into another person’s cup, watch them drink it, and view their reaction.
For a while now I’ve been disenchanted with the current line of RP MU*s. No matter where I looked I always found some glaring problem that stopped me from playing the MUD, whether it be lack of depth, or something to do with how skills were obtained. I’m a player who knows what they like and can generally sum up a MUD by if they have those factors. I love dark themes, where the code supports RP rather than grinding. That said, I also like the MUD and its staff to be light-hearted enough to know that not everything is going to be perfect, and that sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the ride. I love it when policy is made so issues never happen, rather than made to deal with them when they do.
Haven: Mist and Shadow to me represents all these things. It’s the MUD that, recently, I’ve really taken to calling home. The theme is dark and revolves around a town in Massachusetts called Haven, where the Gate, a link between worlds, has been open. The Gate is hardly as simple as a portal though, and affects everything in Haven with its magic. It’s drawn a large party of supernaturals (vampires, werewolves, angelborn, demonborn, faeborn, etc) into a sort of Cold War, in Haven and without, for control of the Gate. At the top there are three factions, the Hand, the Order, and the Temple -- each with different motivations and reasons for wanting control of the Gate.
A basic premise that involves a whole lot more than that; Haven really provides a role for everyone in this theme. Supernaturals are a big part of the world, but natural humans have an equal stake in it. Drug dealers, superstars, and underworld thugs all roam the streets -- along with health nuts, playboys, and general laborers. It’s all a cohesive world that’s really amazingly done by the staff, who provide great tools to the players to fill out the nooks and crannies, one of these which is storyrunning.
With storyrunning, players can basically become your traditional RP-imms. They can ghost echoes into a usually instanced scene with players, lead them through adventures, and present a variety of challenges to them. In essence, it’s exactly like being at a D&D table with your buddies, and it’s a grand time. The system is sound, with a variety of resources at the SR’s disposal.
Experience in Haven is earned by emoting, and karma -- another resource -- is earned by emoting up to a point, and then earned by other activities such as running stories, or being awarded by storyrunners. Staff members have been very hands-off in my time playing, allowing players to generally run the show with the exception of a few well-done staff monster encounters. The code really gives the players all the things they’ll need to prosper and screw each other over for gain. Factions, rather than being stale origins of conflict with nothing to do but measure each others dicks, have a variety of resources to fight each other over, with combatant characters being just as essential if not more-so than those with combat experience.
Crafting is a breeze, with a great amount of trust and customization put in the hands of the player. It’s a traditional ‘get any item and restring it to what you want’ system that’s made all the more diverse by the sheer amount of modifiers you can attach to an item, and the system of attractiveness which actually takes into account your clothing -- making clothing, and nice clothing at that, have worth rather than just present a random bit of fluff.
Combat and movement in Haven is a little more complicated than it should be, both with semi-steep learning curves. However, Haven’s only OOC channel, the newbie channel, hosts the voices of helpful players who are more than happy to answer new players’ questions. Most players are generally very helpful, and the lack of other OOC channels means that I communicate OOCly as little as possible with players, which I love. Most drama in RP games, in my opinion, comes from OOC channels and getting attached to other players in that way. While I can’t speak for other players, I’ve seen little OOC cross-over or interaction, which is always something I look for.
In summary, Haven is my new home, and I’m glad I found it. It hosts an incredible number of uniquely coded features, bears a supernatural theme while keeping itself grounded in realism, and has a great bunch of players I can just lose myself to RP in, rather than worrying about OOC bull. I’m not censored, I can be coddled if I need to be, and most of all I’m given the tools to make my story the way I want to. I’m hooked.
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