TMC Reviews: Allusia: The Web of Deception

(Review Date: November 19, 1998)
TMC Reviewer: Christina Francis
Mud Theme

The areas that make up the Web are fairly consistant in that they fit into a medieval-fantasy theme. They range from the standard and CAW zones, to popular book based, to completely original. All are mixed together almost randomly, but the builders have done a fairly good job in welding them together.

This mud seemed to go to great lengths to get new players in a role playing mood - from homepage to newbie tower. Creative bible-like passages adorned the extra descriptions in the tower, giving a fresh way of teaching the basics beside the old fashioned "type xxx to do xxx." Sadly, the only real role-playing I witnessed was on a board, where players discussed their choices of alignment and in-character grudges.

Changes in code have been disguised behind a magical comet's passing, so it seems there is at least an occasionally active storyline to play by.

At the end of my review I asked a couple people what they thought the mud's theme was. Their answer: fun.

Mud Atmosphere

I had assumed that since so much work had been done with the homepage that the mud would echo it's dark mood. After logging in I was assaulted with yellow room descriptions, and the other colors of the rainbow were used for mobs, objects, etc. I immediately lost that wonderful haunted-house feeling and continued through the newbie area.

You won't be heralded by a shower of "welcome to our mud" chats when you enter the game, and the entire immortal staff isn't going to trans you up to God Central for a quick hello. This seems to be a mud suited towards the average to experienced players, although help is available if you ask for it. In several hours of play I saw only a handful of chats, most in reply to newbie questions or to say public goodbyes. I didn't see any flaming on the chats or the boards that went beyond light-hearted banter. I didn't see any real tension between Imms and players except for one case of a suiciding newbie: apparently one of the practice mobs was hitting too hard for him, and the god online at the time countered the newbie's pleas with silly banter. The newbie did suicide, but returned immediately after.

There were usually ten to fifteen people online at a time (US nighttime) and a multiplayer limit of two. During the times I played the Web it was normal for at least half of the people online to be too high for their level to be shown on the wholist.

Mud World

For those who like to explore, this mud is definitely for you. Upon leaving the newbie tower there was one sign with directions to the main city. There were only a few maps available with a note that more would be coming soon. There was also an area list that showed what levels would fare well in which zones, but you are usually left finding your way to those areas on your own. Sometimes a difficult area is dangerously close to a newbie zone, but if you're cautious and use the consider command, you should be safe.

The newbie order (Genesis) is very close to the tower you entered through and it offers a healer and shops. Directions for a couple of safe areas are in a post on the Genesis' board.

The city is only a few hops from the newbie tower, as are the boards. It is pretty easy to navigate though it's much larger than good/old (:P) Midgaard. The descriptions do an above average job of letting you know where you are (recall scrolls are pretty affordable just in case) and a city map is available in 'help' format.

Cosmetically, room descriptions seemed to be in about the same format throughtout the mud, so you won't be coming across very thin or badly wrapped paragraphs. The spelling and grammar were both pretty error-free. Colors are bright and varied so that you can usually tell at a glance whether something is important enough to read or ignore.

Another thing worth noting was the mob programs. You can't hold down a real conversation of course, but the Web makes good use of entry, exit, event and speech triggers. There were a few problems with combat and equipment imbalance, but grouping should get you past it.

Additional Comments

Player room-building contests were posted on the boards while I was reviewing. I really enjoy things like this, as it lets the players feel more at home, gives the builders a much-needed distraction, and often the players' rooms will spark a builder's creative streak too.

Another thing some people might like is the help system used on the Web. Instead of scrolling through pages of text, you type help . For example, you've just read page 1A ("help whatever") - to read beyond the first twenty-or-so lines you have to type "help 1B", and etc until the last page. Personally I like page parsing, although if you know what page you need you only have to view a small part of the file.

On the down side, my first impressions were rather bad. I had always believed that it was bad mudiquette to fight in a room where someone else was already fighting. In the Web's case, it is technically legal to do so as long as you don't attack the same mob. Policy states that you can't camp in a room to get the mob - but even if you're active, the same rule apparently applies.

The second downfall was the lack of an alias command. Zmud can be a nice substitute if you play that way. Triggers might be a mess for you as the Web often has several messages for an event. In spellcasting you might lose your concentration, or maybe your nose itches or a fly buzzes near....

Levelling was also fairly difficult depending on the class you chose. The utter newbie might get disheartened quickly by a rapidly inflating experience table and few points for mob kills. (Experience is also gained for success of a skill or spell.) It can be bought of course, but most objects I saw in the shops were for level 5 and above. I know it doesn't *sound* too difficult, and perhaps there are some insider's tricks to speed things along. While I trudged through the tower one word came to mind: monotony. As the first thing a new player sees it does a wonderful job teaching the basics but not in keeping a player's interest. The battle floors could probably be expanded some so that newbies aren't touching elbows during the more crowded hours (and also to give something more to look at for three to five levels).

The newbie training zone quickly became as difficult as any normal level beside the obvious disadvantage of good armor and weaponry. At the upper few floors it's almost too difficult on beginners, as some mobs can hit for over half your max hitpoints (when wearing the eq picked up throughout that area). I would reccommend starting two characters to play together or you'll probably be in for a time consuming trip to the next level. Clerics can be almost painfully difficult to level and warriors very simple. Race also makes a big difference when it comes to how much experience is needed to level.

Summary

It seems that a lot effort has been put into making the Web safe for children. The admin are very friendly and the Web advertises a lot of very nice features, but it can be hard to level and explore them. While I feel the mud is more designed for the average to experienced leveller, the role-players will have only a slightly easier time finding people to interact with given the Web's small and often quiet playerbase.

I don't think these pitfalls will last though. The game has a full set of legends to grow into and the coding seems sound. As more people enter the Web the role-playing barrier will dissolve. With time the admins will fine tune the balance of the mud as they add new features. Overall I believe Allusia: the Web of Deception is an above-average mud for its good areas and pleasant staff.