TMC Reviews: Babylon 5: The Last Best Hope
(Review Date: November 10, 1998)
TMC Reviewer: Sheryl Galchutt |
Mud Theme |
Babylon 5: The Last Best Hope follows the science fiction TV series Babylon 5,
centering about a huge space station, the Babylon 5 station, and including a
wide variety of very developed alien races, including Earth-derived humans. It
takes place in the year 2258 (only a single season into the show) and deviates
from there. Given the show's incredible thematic detail, it requires a
player to be somewhat familiar with the show to make sense of the details.
As it is a RP-oriented MUSH, there are a wide range of characters, representing
a good portion of the theme's aliens and types, from mysterious Old Ones to
normal techs and pilots. The news files on the MUSH do expect players to know
what Babylon 5 is, so either learn as you go or start camping out to watch the
show's confusing-for-the-casual-viewer episodes. Details, however, are
available on several websites, so there are alternatives.
Note to fans of the series: The deviations from theme may strike you as odd.
Shadows are overtly wandering around, and even seem fluffy and playful
sometimes, and the line between how some alien races are played in relation to
other alien races is blurred (Minbari risking life and limb for humans, Vorlons
behaving confusingly but in the way children are sometimes confusing, odd
pairings that seem to strike purists to the show as bizarre) to the point that
a lot of characters may as well be humans with odd physical attributes and
Mud Atmosphere |
The game is a pretty friendly game with a plentiful and available staff to help
new people. Besides being plentiful, the staff on B5 is very eager to bring
people in without looking forced. Questions on the guest channel were answered
promptly and well, referencing places in news as well as answering outright.
Even the players hanging about in the Out of Character area are very willing to
chat and offer suggestions.
New players can quickly get characters online, which is required for trying out
the character generation system (closed to guests). In addition to a stats
system, there are plenty of handy global commands for organizing people, though
space travel is still handled by a shuttle system and real space is promised. I
found the help files for some of the systems written in a somewhat arcane style
(the game's Org system, for example) and they do take a bit of reading if you
feel like coming to a full understanding.
Code seems to support the pure RP and story focus of the game pretty well.
Focus is on negotiation of conflict, rather than rolling dice, which leaves
much of the maturity and good sportsmanship up to the players.
Mud World |
The play centers on the Babylon 5 station, which is built to enormous
proportions. This would be fine for a playerbase of some 80-100 players nightly
with a few people to play hair stylists, but for the game's average (20-30
nightly login currently) it's confusing. Entire tracts of rooms must be gone
though to get to the RP centers, and it takes a while to remember the layout of
the multiple levels. For the stage the game is currently at, it's over-built.
The +who command does show the locations of people who can be located, which
helps find concentrations of people, but otherwise the ratio of
room-per-playable character makes much of the building useless travel and
scatters the existing playerbase.
There are a few other planets to support the various races, gotten to by means
of the shuttle system, and they are built slightly more reasonably. There are,
according to admin, plans to beef up plots involving places other than the
Station, such as a Mars rebel plot and political events on Earth.
Additional Comments |
Players seeking combat situations may do well to try out the RP, since the
theme and the MUSH do very much stress story. There is no space combat system
as of yet, and from the word, it will be simple and easy and not simulationist.
This is definitely a game for people who enjoy character development and
I've seen two other games running this theme and this is, by far, the better
one out there. It's very apparent that the admin enjoy the theme and want
others to join in the fun. Aside from the over-building and some difficulty in
snagging players zipping about said building long enough to enter into RP with
them, it's a very good MUSH for Babylon 5 fans with a need for experimental
theme and different ideas within the genre.
TMC Reviewer: Lynne Hall |
Mud Theme |
The theme of Babylon 5, as would be imagined, is the TV show Babylon 5.
However, for the dedicated fan, it has to be noted that this mud departs
from the timeline after 2258. Thus, the multiverse that is presented relates
to the events which occurred in the first series and some of the events
which happened in the second. This does provide a fairly concrete background
against which the events in the MUD happen and the various races and
allegiances are relatively faithful to the series. Again, however, there are
things that happen in the MUD which would not happen in the series, such as
Shadows being around and so on. In general though, if you have a good
knowledge of Babylon 5, it is not too difficult to fit in here.
Mud Atmosphere |
The MUD was reasonably friendly, the immortals were helpful and did answer
questions quickly, although some of the answers were a bit on the cryptic
side. The MUD is hard going at first due to the difficulty of determining
quite what you should be doing. Whilst there is a strong focus on
roleplaying and getting actively involved in plots, this is easier said than
done. However, the players are friendly and do try to work out how you could
fit your character into a storyline. I initially I found that it was quite
hard to pick up on what was actually going on and felt like a spectator,
although the role play was sufficiently good to keep it quite interesting.
Other people also seemed to get a bit bored and there were a number of
comments on the public channel which indicated that people were sitting all
on their lonesomes on the various planets.
Mud World |
The world is well built with many areas replicating a range of different
areas within Babylon 5. Due to the fact that Babylon 5 is on multiple levels
and spread out on several planets, it was actually quite difficult to find
people to do anything with. Some of the descriptions are a bit similar and
in my attempts to locate other inhabitants, I kept getting hopelessly lost,
but an immortal took pity on me and kept putting me back at a central point.
I found the areas well constructed, with good descriptions, and there were
some nice features such as limited number tables in bars and so on. The
shuttles and transports were also well thought out and their departures
broadcast on the mud, so you can move about quite easily. Unlike many MUDs
there was no combat system and no concept of levelling. Skills develop over
time and are not of great importance, the whole focus is on role play, and
the world just provides a background for this.
Additional Comments |
I really wouldn't recommend this MUD to anyone who wasn't a heavily
committed Babylon 5 viewer. The focus on roleplay meant that you need a
really good knowledge of the series. I was advised to read up on specific
episodes to build up my character background. One downside was the character
generation process, it took me over an hour to create a character. There was
help available from the immortals who gave you advice on why your character
wasn't quite correct and helped you change it, but the process was very
drawn out. The help files are complete, but the system is quite complex and
it takes a lot of reading to get going.
The main problem that Babylon 5 is currently suffering from is a limited
player base. There were rarely more than 20 people logged on and I spent
quite a lot of time trying to find people to actually interact with. It
needs a lot of people scattered all over the station to enable roleplay to
I would say that for the Babylon 5 fan who likes roleplaying, this is a good
mud to play on. It is well thought out and the current player base, whilst a
bit on the small side, is friendly and shows a strong commitment to
roleplay. Its construction shows a lot of effort, I found no bugs and there
has been considerable attention to detail. As more players arrive, I would
imagine this mud would provide an interesting place to act out a variety of