TMC Reviews: Abandoned Realms

(Review Date: October 17, 1998)

TMC Reviewer: Brandon Brown
Mud Theme

Upon entering Abandoned Realms, you find yourself in the town of Seringale... or rather, in the newbie school of Seringale. Yes, they do have the stock newbie school that other Diku/MercMuds tend to sport, but who's counting. Experienced players will have no problem quickly finishing the newbie school and going out into the mystical and dangerous worlds of Abandoned Realms.

Unlike many other heavy-role-playing MUDs, Abandoned Realms has done a decent job of keeping out those NPCs & characters that just don't fit it. You won't find an Ice Cream man running through the town, nor will you find a spaceship in the countryside. Everything seems to fit almost perfectly into the time zone and theme.

As a replacement for clans, five cabals have appeared in the world. These cabals are filled with high-level players, who perform various secretive tasks in the world. (" Espionage is quite precisely it -a cabal of powerful men, working secretly " Frank Conroy). These cabals have also been given various skills useful to keeping control in the world. The [Justice] cabal, for example, has a "guard call" skill, which they use when trying to keep the peace in Seringale. Players must obviously fit in with the cabals; a certain align/class/race is often required.

Mud Atmosphere

Newbie help seemed a bit difficult to get in Abandoned Realms. Though they do have the newbie-chat channel, not many people seem to actually listen to it. There's also a lack of helpful Immortals (as displayed in their own summary. I found myself having to ask various times at different times of day until I finally got an answer to one of my various questions. Considering that I'm a decently experienced player... a real newbie would have a great deal of difficulty in Abandoned Realms.

Taking the average approach to Pkilling, Abandoned Realms sports the ability to kill your friends and foes. To keep this from getting out of hand, though, they've implemented group and PK ranges, which greatly helps keep the balance. The PK ranges have been devoted a lot of time to their creation, in which the Administration uses the level and experience of the player, along with the creation cost and the class/align/race of the players. All mixed together, you very rarely find an 'unfair' kill.

The classes/aligns of players often stick together, and a strong brotherhood of the classes is emphasized. Often, I found myself among my fellow Shamans, defending our guild from the constant attacks of the good- aligned Paladins or Healers. Obviously, as a lower-level player I couldn't do much but watch, since the attackers were quite far out of my pk range. But, your fellow (older, more experienced) class-brothers are just that: they often brought back a piece of equipment that I might need, or teach me the ever- evasive techniques of escaping a superior attacker. In a world of danger, it's nice to know that you can trust somebody.

Abandoned Realms sports about 50 - 100 players online at peak hours. One of the better parts of this, was the server had virtually no lag, keeping the gameplay fast and interesting.

Mud World

The world of Abandoned Realms sports about 35+ zones, the majority of them remaining original or altered. The town of Seringale has been redone, compared to the general Midgaard found in most DikuMuds. Personally, though learning a new town may be difficult, it does keep the mud to seem real. (Why would the same town be in two different 'worlds[muds]'?)

The NPCs in the world are highly interactive, ranging from the guards greeting you at the gates, to various animals slapping you if you poke them. This seems to increase the realism... nobody sits completely idle in the real world, why should they in the our fantasy worlds?

The one sad thing about the world is that apparently the builders seem to think the players run around with 'brief' on all the time. Various room descriptions are short/erred, and some don't even exist. Personally, I very rarely use brief, as I'm always interested in reading the descriptions - almost like reading a book, you could say.

Additional Comments

Though you can tend to get an idea of it, the storyline doesn't really exist in Abandoned Realms. There's no main goal, no great reason for its existence... absolutely nothing that I could find in way of a story. Though this has it's benefits (leaving it to the player to make their own storyline), it can tend to leave zones lacking a bit. It's often nice to have some zones corresponding with the storyline of the world, almost like a full-game quest.

As a general suggestion to the Immortals, I would suggest having more GMs/Immortals online (seeing that there's only about 6, 5 Impls, and 1 lower god). They could assist in helping newbies, and could watch over the world, enforcing the rules. Yes, that's supposedly [Justice]'s job... but I did notice many corrupt members of that cabal; stealing corpses and items by using their cabal skills, etc. In essence, somebody unbiased and uninterested in gain should be watching the watchers.

Summary

In summary, Abandoned Realms, though not the best place for a beginning mudder to visit, is definitely worthwhile for those interested in a heavy role-playing and PK mud. The Immortals summary of their mud claims, "Brains over brawn".. though it might not be entirely true (beyond casting a blind spell/skill to keep the victim from attacking back), the fairness of fighting within the PK range is definitely better than a full hack-and-slash.

I'm definitely tempted to return and play Abandoned Realms as a player now, instead of a reviewer. As long as you basically understand how to MUD, and don't have many questions - it's a great place to play.


TMC Reviewer: Jason Everroad
Mud Theme

The theme of this mud is almost non existant. In searching I checked out the web site, the MUD help files, and even resorted to trying to find immortals and asking other players, no such luck..so in this aspect I will explain the theme as best I may from what I have seen. Abandoned Realms is a mud based on the kill, or be killed theory. It seems to be a chaotic realm, where the powerful must always look over there shoulders for the new, power starved adventurers waiting for the chance to finally prove themselves. New adventures also should be aware of the fact that even they are not immune from attack, as gold and status are also very important aspects of the mud, and what better way to advance yourself than to take out some goody goody paladins, and steal their donation money for the church, or too knock off a couple theives, and rid the world of a few of those lowlifes, and take their money for a good use, such as buying some new armor and weapons for you.

The only tiny bit of a background one might get is from reading the help files and checking out the laws section...there are some interesting things to note in there about "Rules of the Realms". Also be sure to check out the help files on CABALS, these give some clan style avenues and means for roleplaying in the realms, and a bit of the backgrounds for each of them.

Mud Atmosphere

I must say...I was very impressed. The mud has noticably friendly players that enjoy grouping and working as a team. Teamwork is definately emphasized, for both roleplaying reasons, and also for just the basic fact that "three" generally are stronger and work better than "one". I only had one run in with a player who PKed for a somewhat weak reason. I was taking a bit too long to get some items from a shop and he grew irritated and attacked me. In reality one could say there was a "in character" reason for doing this, but I feel it was a bit extreme. In many instances I had beed asked to group with others, and have never had even one problem with any group I was in. Roleplaying on this mud is something they do encourage, and in honesty, I met some very good roleplayers. I even had a run in with a Fire Giant who did not like me because "I was one of the good guys and needed a lesson in the power of evil" (I was playing a Paladin) What really impressed me was the fact that even though PKing is not only condoned but encouraged, players rarely abuse this. In the fire Giant instance he asked me OOC (Out of Character) whether I really wanted to fight or not. This was nice in the fact new players won't generally be attacked for no apparent reason, and be bullied around with no chance for character advancement.

Mud World

From what I saw there was a lot of Stock areas, and not a whole lot of original places to wander off to. The town you start off in (Seringale) is pretty interesting however and gives you quite a bit to do in itself. Something of note that was very interesting to me is shopkeepers will close up late at night, and go upstairs and go to sleep. You can wake them up, and they'll just tell you to come back when they're open. (Let the poor guys sleep people) Want a cool weapon? See some armor on someone that you just HAVE to have? Well, good luck, some items are very rare, and if you want to get them you just might have to beg, borrow, steal, or..yes...you knew it was coming...KILL to get the item you desire. Always remember though, someone out there might want what YOU have as well.

On another note spelling errors were basically non existant, of course some of this may be due to my not seeing a whole lot of new areas to explore. In a mud like this though the focus is definately more on the roleplaying, and the "paranoia" aspects of it, so I don't feel the lack of alot of new area's detracts much at all from the mud. Also, the few new areas I did visit were done very well, and made you actually "want" to pay attention to what it reads.

Additional Comments

Color..Color..Color.. there was VERY little color that I noticed when I enabled Ansi color. It really wasn't that bad, but for those who just LOOOOOVE alot of color on their mud's text you might be a bit disapointed. The mix of races and classes were indeed nice. There was a good selection, but it wasn't a ludicrous amount like I have seen in some muds. Upon entering the mud you will be asked for an original, and medieval style name, and from what I saw people pretty much obeyed that rule. Oh, you'll see the occasional player using a somewhat unoriginal name, but for the most part I felt the rule has been enforced well. (kudos on that)

I would definately advise players with any seriousness at all in playing the mud for an extended time to visit their home page. It gives ALOT of useful and insightful information on the races and classes, and also some pointers on how to use them effectively in PK situations. (very nice) Also, be prepared to spend some serious time rolling up your character when you decide what you'll play, as training comes very rarely (every five levels you get 1 training session).

Summary

A very enjoyable place to be, where you can "flex your physical and spellcasting might" and also indulge yourself in some pretty decent roleplaying. Color usage and new areas are not strong points on this mud, but it's large player base with good players and a constant feel for always looking over your shoulder, should be more than enough to entice any person who enjoys PK muds...and who knows even non PKers might want to take a shot at it...it can be...fulfilling *maniacal laugh*