I'm a big fan of the poop sandwich style of writing feedback. In other words if you must criticize something then stick your criticism (the poop) between two nice things (bread? mmm). Anyway, no more cussing. Let's begin.
BREAD SLICE ONE
Armageddon bills itself as a roleplaying intensive game. Its tagline is 'Murder, Corruption, Betrayal'. It is set in the harsh desert world of Zalanthas where you can't even get a drink of water for free. The documentation is extensive. So extensive, in fact, you likely won't be able to read it in one day, or three, or ten. This is not a bad thing. The more fleshed out the game world is the better it tends to be. Clearly Armageddon benefits from being over 25 years old as it has had all that time to form, and reform, and define itself. The idea of Armageddon is extremely good and extremely sound. It has a lot of potential, and undoubtedly hundreds if not thousands of people have found Armageddon fun at one point or another.
Creating a character is relatively easy. There are lots of resources available to a new player, including sample characters, a walkthrough, the helper system and the General Discussion Board. Picking a guild and subguild is easy. Writing a background is pretty easy provided you understand you are writing a Level 1 character here. Keep those origins humble.
Then you enter the game. There's a newbie tutorial that's helpful if Armageddon's your first MUD. There's a pre-game shopping area where you can gear your character up before they head out into the harsh world. Allanak, here I come!
THE ... POOP
This is where the disappointment starts to set in. You start in the local tavern's dormitory and wander into the bar. You're looked at. You try to introduce yourself. There's several people at the bar to introduce yourself to. And... nothing.
It's not like I'm talking to NPCs here. These are PCs. They're talking to each other. They're just too busy to talk to me. One of them is trying to get laid. The other is trying to play hard-to-get. The third is looking for an elf to beat up. The last one is wearing a hood indoors and is keeping to themselves. One or two of them look at you, sure. But they don't respond. They don't try to inquire further.
It's fine. I'll just give a prompt. 'I'm looking to join the Byn, who can I sign up with?' The Byn is a mercenary group and the recommended clan for new players. I'm hoping that by the grace of God there is a Bynner in the tavern willing to recruit me right then and there. Wouldn't that be lucky? I can play a mercenary and learn about this deep game with some in-character friends.
Then I get my first response. 'Sign? What do you mean by sign?' someone asks. Then it hits me. The stupid little thing I had forgotten. Most people in Zalanthas are illiterate. They can't read or write. In fact, for most people, it is a crime to read or write. So I try to correct myself via the out-of-character command to try to explain that my character wouldn't say 'sign', that they would know people can't write, that he can't write, and he would use a different word like 'join'. 'Sorry, I meant to say join!'
The response I got was out-of-character: 'You said sign so roll with it.'
Roll with it. Roll with it how? I made a genuine mistake as a newbie. I tried to tell them that I was a new player and made a mistake and would appreciate if it was just ignored this one time.
'Sorry but no. In-character actions have in character consequences,' was the response I got. Generally, this is a philosophy I can agree with. However, these are my first few minutes into the game. Making such a simple mistake in my first few minutes of play, surely, was forgivable? Apparently not this time.
I hate to admit it but at this point I started to shake at my keyboard. All those hours reading the documentation and crafting a character, and my character could be arrested or even killed for saying 'sign up' instead of 'join' within the first few minutes of play. I moved my mouse over to the X on my MUD client and closed out. I'll try again tomorrow, I thought.
And, yes, I logged in the day after. People were, again, at the bar. I tried to introduce myself. 'You were the guy that said sign up last week right?' By last week they meant the RL day before (1 week in-game is 1 day RL). Some completely different character remembered that I had made a mistake yesterday, although this was a week ago in-game, so this character had the words 'sign up' in his thoughts for over a week.
I tried to work past it, then I closed my MUD client again. This time, I decided to spend time with my kids. I'll try again tomorrow, I thought.
I did not try again the next day.
Trying to ask for help was a nightmare. Between the spammy Discord, the unfriendly forum and the unresponsive live helper chat I could not get a word in edgewise. My introduction to the community was piss-poor and frankly I didn't expect it to get better than that.
BREAD SLICE TWO
It's nice that these features are there. It's nice that some players will be able to find them useful. It's nice that I got my character approved within minutes. It's nice that so many people are so passionate about Armageddon. Maybe I could give it another try sometime. Right now though, I just don't feel up to it.
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