NewWorlds has always been a promising MUD held back by gross staff overreach and painfully obvious favoritism toward bootlickers and donators.
I have been playing NWA on and off (currently way off) since beta, way back in 2004. In the ensuing decade-and-a-half, I have grown and changed dramatically. Andrew and the staff, not so much. In fact, the prevailing attitudes that I noticed as a younger player have only become a more crystallized and exaggerated version of itself as time has passed.
But let's start with the good: Much of the playerbase itself is quite enjoyable to roleplay with. This is a group that is devoted to the community they've helped establish. There's a reason that people stick with the game as long as they do, and it's because when the roleplay is good, it's very good. The creativity shown by these people never ceases to surprise and delight me. But the overall quality of RP has dropped dramatically over the years. Many players can't even be bothered to properly capitalize and punctuate their sentences, which seems like the bare minimum you can ask for in an "RP-Enforced" MUD. (I know that there are blind players who cannot do this easily, and obviously they get a pass). One of the strongest players in the game I think I have literally never seen stay in character for more than a couple minutes before he devolves into jokes and memes that so clearly break the rules. Of course, nothing ever comes of this, presumably because he has spent upwards of a thousand dollars for the privilege of saying "look at me, I am the captain now." And of course he's a thief, which is supposed to be the super secret guild reserved for the best roleplayers. I see a theme starting to develop...
The support system for newer players is probably the strongest part of the game. Players and staff alike are helpful to the max, and tours tend to be very informative and help give a little social circle with which to begin roleplaying. But the current head of the Immigrant (new player) Guild - good lord, the brazenness with which she abuses her privileges is astounding. This woman has expanded the responsibilities of the office to basically allow her to impose herself into seemingly every important "player-led" decision in the game, all without even bothering to play on a separate account from her Staff account. And this is to say nothing about her frankly abusive behavior when she encounters any sort of resistance. She will cuss you out in the most public possible manner, and continue to mock you on global communication channels for days afterwards. Try and respond in kind, and she'll accuse you of getting off-topic, or something like that. Openly abusing your position as a staff member is bad enough, but if you're going to do that, shouldn't you at least try to model how a good player should act?
Of course, Andrew himself loves to beam down and make sure his dollhouse is going exactly the way he wants it to. He's arbitrarily stripped guild leaders of their titles because they don't kowtow to his vision of what that guild represents, even if the guild is functioning perfectly fine. And he threatens to basically reset your character if you dare to disagree with him at all. I've seen multiple players quit over this oppressive attitude (myself included), and it's no way to run a MUD that is ostensibly supposed to be player-driven. In fact, nothing actually important is player-driven. If you want to give a speech in the center of town, godspeed! If you want to have any meaningful impact on the game world, better pony up the dough or sit down.
It just goes to show you that the biggest babies in the room are often adults.
And yes, the grind is so insurmountable at higher levels that the call of a monetary solution is hard to resist. There is rampant abuse of OOC chat clients like skype to ensure that the same cliques stay together and keep everyone else from messing with THEIR fun. Of course, this is often ignored by staff because the cliques in question are made up of high-rollers who have dropped a bunch of cash on the game.
So, all in all, if you've got an office job and you want an experience that's exactly one step above Cookie Clicker, give this MUD a shot. Otherwise, I would strongly encourage you to look elsewhere. Maybe give it a few months so you can enjoy the experience of being a new player, but once you see Andrew try to cobble together a coherent sentence during an important RP event, run for the hills.
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