I have to say, a large number of the reviews available here are hitting the nail right on the head. After playing this game for ... somewhere in the 3-5 year range on and off I finally walked away after a lot of the little things began to pile up.
Positives Customization: This custom code-base is fantastic for customizing items, and descriptions from forehead to feet. You can build roads and houses, and shops, which can provide jobs to players and provoke areas of social interest. Unmatched by any other mud I've seen. Once you get the hang of it, the customization menus are very smooth. Scars, details, clothing, tattoos. Attractiveness code based on the corruption theme that isn't just based on your physical appearance but your social status, wealth and a whole slew of intangibles.
Lore - The lore is pretty cool once you get it down. Very strong roots in some classic / non-classic World of Darkness and more standard Vampire/Wolf/Monster tropes that are pretty solidly built, all in all.
Abilities - This game has some seriously cool things that are class/race relevant coded in. Vampires hypnotize and feed on folks, and hate the sun. Highly customize-able and complex shape-shifting form code. Magic casting, combat trees and socialite talents.
RP Combat - When there aren't too many people involved at once, Combat is done 'slow'. This means you get to input your commands, and then emote out your combat move which I LOVE. It lets you really have fun fighting someone else, even if you know you're going to lose. It's MUCH better than 'kill target' and is backed with several talents and abilities based on your "class/race", most of which are balanced and useful.
Daed - While it's true what a prior review said that if you aren't being involved with the Meta-Plot you don't have a lot of visible or 'feel' of impact on the world at large really, Daed does a great job of trying to make inclusive story even to players he doesn't like. Always has something interesting up his sleeve when he's not being stressed out.
SR System - At base it's complex but simplistic at the same time. Very cool, if not implemented to it's fullest. A variety of features here that are not quite finished(?) and therefore un-utilized. You can build the rooms you need to create your adventure sight from a spooky mansion to an alley in Boston. Multiple types of 'story types' that can be utilized.
Complex Expansion - There are 'Off-World' realms that can be explored to an extent. These worlds also include the ability to build roads, set up properties such as houses or shops. Not as fleshed out as they could be, but dedicated players can really breathe them into life. You can also create Dream worlds, where you can create your own smattering of stats and rules to try and role play by. The stat system for them is pretty basic but it still allows worlds within the world. Room count limit is decently high as well.
Sex Code - I'm listing this as a positive because apart from some of the features that are DEFINITELY overboard, there's some good here. It's tied intrinsically into code that is designed for higher-end characters. As an adult-themed game this is a well-developed way for socialite and non-combative characters to exert power and manipulation over the weaker characters. Violence and other options are also viable as a way to sustain your energies.
Negatives SR System - Because the game is heavily based on your need for Karma if you wish to advance beyond (mostly) harmless, almost the only thing you see with this system are the story types which provide the largest output. There is an endorsement system and some back-end that gets largely unused due to minimal staff count, and possibly some of those features not quite working or not being quite finished.
Discordance / Tyr - A prior review mentioned a very poor treatment on the forums. This was almost certainly Discordance. The forums are by and large a very toxic place and they do their part in keeping it that way to an extent. Another review mentioned the Implementer being abusive in his power in changing code to his liking etc. I have seen this happen, during my tenure.
Player Base - Other reviews are pretty on point here also. A lot of OOC clique activity. A lot of questionable play and very much a rampant feel of win at all costs I found. It's not every player but enough that it can and has been problematic on a large scale. There were peaks where this died down when the base was focused on the Meta Plot activities because it drew a lot of that 'flexing' off and turned focus on trying to touch the story in some way. Some players are very cool, and helpful even if they later antagonize you in the game so it's not all-encompassing but I've definitely seen gas-lighting and dissemination too.
Needs (IMO) More actual staffing with tiered levels of responsibility and commands viable - More bodies is number one. People who can reliably handle small time changes here and there to validate sponsored SR system stories or fix mistakes that the code sometimes perpetuates with more ease. The players are supposed to provide a whole self-sufficient staff of sorts as SR's to do a lot of this but they're very limited (to avoid abuse) and the clique nature of the players largely makes this non-existent as it stands now.
Go Public - This game IMO really has a beautiful blend and marriage of role play / MUSH elements and MUD / Grind / Combat elements. Letting it be developed by all-comers and new-comers could really see it grow into something new and exciting and not collecting dust-ancient. If the Implementer is determined to make his buck, license it. I imagine he'd get a fair amount of success with that, too. Either way, new growth and development could be huge.
All in all, this is a really outstanding piece of coding, but most of the time the staffing and the bad-apple players really kind of start outweighing the really amazing positives here (which is really sad!!!). If you can manage to keep yourself a small group of friends and you stay well out of the way of anyone flexing around you can have fun with this game but be prepared for long-term disappointment.
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