TL;DR - Players write reviews when angry. Don't let angry players keep you from experiencing something that could be wonderful. Give this mud a shot, what do you have to lose other than a few minutes of your time? Who knows, those few minutes could turn into years of fun like it has for me.
First and foremost, I'm not going to hide behind a veil of anonymity to badmouth a mud that I've been playing. I am going to be as honest as I can with the knowledge I've gained over the years -- of staff, of players, of the mud in general, and even of the code. My character is Breeki, the overgrown lizard and lover of cats, and I first created this character back in 2013 but knew of The Gathering (or simply TG) for years, back in its overtly-sexual-anything-goes heyday and the weight that the name carried with it. I had that itch to mud, an itch that comes and goes with time, and the mud I played on before was dead. Needless to say, I took the plunge and created a character (Breeki) who I originally thought was going to be a feline judging by the most briefest helpfile I skimmed on the race. I was wrong as it turned out the race I glanced at, Jalachara, was actually quite reptilian in origin. No matter, I liked the name and the stats I rolled so I rolled with those punches. I'm glad I did because this mud shows the love and care that the staff and players put into it. In the following review, I want to pick apart a few lines of previous reviews and what they've had to say.
First: The most recent review posted by Anonymous on July 31st, 2019 -- I have a good guess as to who this player is and their reasoning for what they say. They are the type of player who has to always have their way and it absolutely must be their way or the highway. They do not take criticism in any form and expect to always have the advantage and complaining tirelessly if they don't. What many don't seem to understand is that, though TG's roleplay-stat system is based on DnD (Dungeons and Dragons) the two are completely different and take different stats/points into account. This player, however, creates 'fixes' for skills/spells based on their own wants and desires to make their character stronger/more effective than taking game balance in consideration. In essence, what works in/for DnD does not often work in/for TG. For someone who claims to want to help the mud and promote it, this player is often at ends with both the staff and players by insulting them on and off the mud. They are, effectively, a large part of the 'toxicity' which they claim the mud has. All muds have their good, their bad, and their ugly. It's just all in how you view it and if you're a stubborn, ignorant little person, then you're only going to find the bad and ugly.
Second: Vella is a sweetheart of a player who it pained quite a few to see her leave and her review, though brief, was quite thorough. Her quitting TG and subsequent review marked a day where the staff realized they had problems and it was time to wake up. The main issue addressed was the staff had gone through and revamped a whole slew of the rules and enforce them. Before, yes, there were many players, such as the one in review in the previous paragraph, who bent the rules and lawyered their way out of trouble or simply claimed ignorance or alcohol for their tempermental tantrums. The imms would often do little about it and the situation wouldn't really resolve itself and, like an unruly and untrained dog, actions weren't taken to change those behaviors. But now things have changed. Problem players are being jailed as rules are being enforced -- thrown in time-out for their actions that, if they don't change their ways, will result in a ban. Players that share an IP, such as roommates, will not be able to hide behind a "you can't ban me since you'll ban them as well" as there are commands to permit some to play from that IP while banning others. As for the sexual/erotic roleplay, it is something that the mud is trying to work on. There are some players who mostly log on for that SRP/ERP and it's something that I don't see too big of a deal since there is no issue with them and they cause no problems. But we have a group of problem players who cause problems and who will hound and harass others for SRP both ICly and OOCly to the point that the victim quits. These players will hound, they will change alts, they will try all sorts of tactics and the biggest problem staff has is this: it goes unreported until a player quits and it comes to light. These are often habitual players -- players who are now going to face repercussions for such actions. Though Vella's review mentioned apathy as the leading cause of being let down, I will say that it's moreso unintentional admin stonewalling. For nearly all the RP lines that players run, it is chiefly up to one or two of the admin to see it through to completion. This is limiting if one or both become busy with life as life takes precedence over anything. Instead, the immortal staff (not just admin) should be able to help these lines come to completion, circumstances depending.
Third: Many good points that I'll agree with at risk of hurting the feelings of others, yet has many points which are untrue or overly biased. Let's go down their list and talk about their points; some answers will be long, others simple. First and absolutely foremost -- yes, TG is an Adult mud even if we do have players who act like children; see the MudConnect category it's in and the very first rule of the rules helpfile. The first and second points, unfortunately, are something that needs to be addressed and something I touched upon in the previous paragraph. There are some staff members who just sit there and do nothing. They have been given a position that they don't utilize, that they don't help process letgains or help newbies or help regular players at all or even provide the helpfiles that some are looking for, and should be stripped of it. There is, without a doubt, an issue of admin controlling RP and players having to wait long durations (sadly, yes, months and longer) for some lines to continue as opposed to complete, taking lines from lower-tier imms who started it because it somewhat relates to something they have run before. While agreeing with that review, I do say that the immortal staff should be able to continue these lines or other lines to aid them in their completion, circumstances depending. There are storylines on TG that span many years and I don't mean IC-years, I mean actual OOC years. Those storylines are worked on by people who put their hearts and souls into this place but find themselves at odds with players because of disagreements with players who resort to snarky remarks and petty tactics when the fights/dice/RP isn't in their favor. Coupled up with some imms who are no more than a bump on a log, I can understand when the admin aren't okay with someone else who knows nothing of the years-long RP to continue a line. But, unfortunately, this stagnation kills both desire to RP something deep and causes players to spend more time off roleplaying in cliques or SRP/ERP'ing. In the next paragraph, we're gonna hammer through the bulleted list.
Yes, there are players who are married with numerous children intertwined in a sort of spiderweb. The staff knows this and they keep an eye on it while curtailing it as best they can. Raising those kids and incest is allowed on TG because such heinous acts happen in real life. Life is not all butterflies and happiness with nuclear families. Actually, a whole lot of different kinds of SRP is allowed but that doesn't mean you have to partake in it nor is it happening right in the open. This player only bases his/her knowledge on assumptions. Helpfiles are out of date: as of writing this, there are ~2400 helpfiles on TG and only a few imms who can change them. Yes, there are going to be helpfiles that are out of date but they're being worked through as best they can given everything else going on. Typos (not typo's), are found all over both IC and OOC. It happens. Only a few imms are able to edit the areas to change the words which involves replacing a whole line along with the colors to fix one word. Get over it. Maps in some areas are MEANT to be confusing such as in a labyrinth or a desert wasteland (yes, there are cold deserts). Just because you think it has no purpose doesn't mean it has none. Are there areas wrongly linked? Of course but those are few and far between. Areas that are closed off and moved HAVE been closed off and moved via roleplay, just like laws that were changed (not retconned) due to roleplay behind closed doors, probably roleplay that said player wasn't part of or had partaken in. The players in the 'spotlight' are often the players who seek out answers and further the RP line and/or are seen as the defacto leader of the group. Just because you're not in the limelight doesn't mean you weren't an important player. Staff will transfer players that ask for it. They always ask on the OOC channel and require verbal confirmation, they don't just randomly transfer players. Staff and Newbie Helpers and even regular players do insult each other and it's moreso lighthearted than any real heat. This can be hard to get across through text, especially so if you're someone unfamiliar with banter or busting each other's balls.
To (finally) conclude my monologue and let you, the reader, rest your eyes, I just want to reiterate that there are going to be good points, bad points, and ugly points to every mud and it's up to you to sift through angry and resentful reviews which overshadow reviews that show off the love or even a sense of neutrality and decide for yourself if you'd like to try this place out. I'm glad I did because it introduced me to people who I've grown to look at OOCly like family and to see that, if you have an idea, it doesn't just get lost to time but the mud's wizard of a coder will do what he can to get it to work, and most of the time he does. So come and try this place out and don't let yourself be intimidated by the vast colors, countless features, or close-knit playerbase. We all have problems, let's work through them together.
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