TMC Reviews: After the Plague

(Review Date: September 28, 1999)

TMC Reviewer: Selina Kelley
Mud Theme

After the Plague is a medieval role-playing mud, focusing on life (funnily enough) after the plague. Whilst roleplay is encouraged, it did not seem enforced, and there were no direct help files to aid in comprehension of theme and history. From what I could gather, however, there is very strict adherence to thematic consistency insofar as rooms, monsters, armours and weapons goes.

Mud Atmosphere

Whilst quiet, I found every player I met to be extraordinarily friendly and helpful. Some were especially patient when answering my questions, for which I am grateful. For the first 2-3 hours of play, however, I did not get the chance to interact with anyone at all, making it difficult for me to learn the ropes. As far as areas go, I found it easy to immerse myself into game-play. Searching for wood to build a fire to cook some meat I butchered from a deer was a welcome change to the generic 'feed/sacrifice/defile/etc corpse' commands of most lp muds, and was very cleverly implemented.

Mud World

To complement the mud, After the Plague has a website that gives a user important information about gameplay, as well as sport a full-colour graphical map of the realm. In-mud, I found it frustrating that many of the help files either didn't work, or didn't do as they described. I was very curious about many things, but answers were severely lacking in my search for explanations in documentation. Thankfully, my questions were answered sufficiently by players.

The exit system I found was quite unusual. Apart from being able to type the normal directions (east, northeast, up, down, etc), you could also 'enter', 'dive' and 'follow' paths. Following allowed a player to continue on a path until they reached a fork in a road, effectively cutting down some typing-time (which I always appreciate!). One could also 'dive' in lakes, although there didn't seem to be support for underwater adventuring (ie: needing breath to survive). Houses, trees, rooms, holes and more could be 'enter'able.

I only found information on two classes, Mercenary and Elementalist, but both seemed well-fleshed out and stable. A levelless mud, After the Plague keeps track of a players' "level" by way of skills, spells, and stats. As you adventure, so you gain more abilities and more strength, and hence a higher "level". I must admit I am used to muds with levels, so I found the lack of levels disconcerting.

I have never before seen such a superb implementation of languages. Not only was the translation accurate (ie: if someone says the same phrase twice, and you do not understand the language, it will be 'translated' into the exact same 'gibberish' twice), but you also learn languages by being exposed to them -- if you sit and listen long enough, you will slowly learn how to speak it. Translation and learning was gradual enough that you could slowly recognize certain words and phrases in the speech pattern. Very well done.

Additional Comments

I liked After the Plague, but I must admit that my first couple hours were spent with me frowning at the screen. With better documentation, After the Plague could be an excellent mud, but even without it, it is definitely a mud that's worth looking at. I found the staff to be quite friendly on channels, but not frequently there (at least not visible). The players are definitely an asset to the mud, being helpful, patient, and understanding.

Summary

After the Plague should only be for the experienced mudder. While the mud does not seem to be terribly difficult skill-wise, the learning curve is long, and extreme patience is needed. I felt the patience was well-rewarded, and would certainly put After the Plague on my list of 'Muds to Keep'.

Comments from the After the Plague Administration

In fact you could find information on all of our guilds (18 opened guilds at the moment) if you have typed: help guilds. About underwater: you were simply lucky, 20% of our newbies first death happens because of the lack of the swimming skill. Even the lake in the hunting grounds (newbie area) has some deep parts.

-Avenger, co-admin of AtP