Before ATS, I hadn't found a MUD that kept my attention since the early 2000s.
The world is incredibly custom with layers upon layer of lore that is actively being discovered by characters. This is a lively, dynamic world where the characters (and players) influence the actual gameworld with their actions. It takes dedicated and caring staff to do that, and ATS has some of the best I've ever seen. Roleplay is required, and race as well as societal issues can be conflict sources.
Roleplay is huge here. Layers and layers of options. Combat and magic are complex, there's no 'autoattack' bs here, this is all controlled and with fine-grained controls: You'll have to switch up your attacks to manage your risk exposure!
More tangible to the game world, there are an array of unique races with their own dedicated, thorough Lore. Each race feels different from the others - lizardfolk, high magic users with purple skin, dragons that grow over time, and several really interesting races that can only be unlocked through gameplay and roleplay. Many options.
Class options are huge here, too, with every class being broken into two subclasses that have definitive styles and very different skills. Magic is especially complex with several types of magic users whose capabilities are very diverse - enchanting and learning new magics to imbuing items with powers or simply calling a storm of fire down on enemies. Some of the classes are incredibly difficult to play, and are only for the advanced - which I absolutely love. Max level is 100, at which point several late-game systems become available: you can give yourself new abilities and extend the skill level of current abilities. Up to level 100 contains a material 'grind' for weapons and armor, after that are other grinds for materials and components for the late-game content.
Along the way to 100 several unique and interesting systems open up - class specialization, attribute development, new skills unlock continually.
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