Lost Souls is easily one of the most innovative, customized MUDs out there. You will not find a generic, out-of-the-box MUD experience here. Unfortunately, this is also a MUD with some pretty deep flaws.
First the good. Characters are highly customizable; dozens of playable races can be combined with a large number of guilds (classes) and associations, and an extensive system of skill specialization provides for a huge variety of play styles.
The game world is huge, and while there is some variation in the quality of the areas, most of the areas tend to hold up pretty well. At times, it does feel like the size of the world is there largely to hinder character movement between areas of interest, and while there are several ways to move around the world more easily, the starting player will most likely find the sheer breadth of the game world to be one of its more intimidating and frustrating features.
Thematically, this MUD mainly conforms to the high fantasy genre, although the fact that the MUD has been around for over 20 years and the development staff has changed quite a lot in that time means that the overall experience can feel somewhat disjointed. At times, the stitched-together feeling of the place can tend to break one's immersion. While some attempt has been made to create an overall mythology for the place, it often feels quite artificial. In other words, as long as you don't care how the sausage is made, it's enjoyable enough as an overall experience.
Play is highly combat-driven. While there are opportunities for character development outside of combat, the bulk of development comes committing genocide on as large a scale as possible as quickly as possible. What quests there are range from the epic puzzle to the epically disappointing go-and-kill some NPC in a far-flung location with no motivation other than a little blurb telling you to.
Unfortunately, there is no real community here. On the typical day, there may be a few players actively playing the game, while the rest are AFK, sitting around spouting inanities in the global chat channel, or botting. Grouping with other characters is nearly unheard-of, as most of the game is set up for a purely solo play style. Botting is unfortunately rampant, and while botting isn't necessarily actively encouraged, some of the advancement mechanisms of the game highly incentivize it. Role-playing is more or less nonexistent.
This is not a very family-friendly game. Coprophilia, tentacle-rape, and other 'mature' themes are a part of the in-game world as well as being openly and frequently discussed by the community on the global chat channel.
In a way, large chunks of the game are victimized by the game's innovation. Large changes are made to the mudlib without updates to guilds and areas to ensure balance or compatability, so several of the older, unmaintained guilds end up losing their viability.
The game has a system of perks for donations to the game, but the perks offered are often game-breaking; here you will find some of the most egregious examples of play2pwn.
The overall complexity of the game can be very off-putting to newbies, and the community just isn't big enough or engaged enough to counteract that.
Still, this is a unique MUD experience, and for all its faults, the MUD is highly addictive for those who are self-starters and those who enjoy a great deal of variety, even if the variety doesn't always make a whole lot of sense.Post a comment