TMC Reviews: Carrion Fields

(Review Date: December 10, 1999)
TMC Reviewer: Brandon Brown
Mud Theme

Have you ever read the summary on the back panel of a book; then begun reading the book to find that there is no similarity? To be honest, that's how I felt upon entering the worlds of Carrion Fields. Before visiting, I read an interesting (yet rather stereotypical) story on the battles of Chaos and Order, located within the game's in-depth website. And then, entering the realm, I find no further mention (except through the 'story' command) of this epic battle. The realm picks up with a totally different story: the battles of races and classes, and so on. So, beyond Thera's story of creation, there is no essential theme - just a regular (or so it seems in the beginning) life in the realms of Carrion Fields.

Ahh, but don't think that there's nothing to devote yourself to in this world. Upon choosing your race and ethos, you'll be left to decide your spheres and religion - which all narrows down to, in layman's terms, your character's virtues. An impressive array of choices are presented to you, allowing you to design your character's sphere in any way you see fit; let it be the pursuit of knowledge, the valor of war, or the art of music.

Mud Atmosphere

What is a MUD without her players? Absolutely nothing. This is where I find Carrion Fields to excel in. A large base of players, more than 80+ at normal times, most of which seem to be friendly and helpful. I met a few amazingly helpful players, all of which took me under their wing and showed me around, taught me the realm, and even offered me a few maps that they had compiled. Upon one journey, I was with two "newbies", who revealed to me (OOC) that they had been playing for two years under various different characters. They find Carrion Fields so enthralling that they continue to create new characters and try to advance up again.

Unfortunately, the roleplaying atmosphere did seem rather non-existent for many players. They seem quite content to simply "hack 'n' slash", without any roleplaying. Upon a few adventures, my fellow companions were discussing sound cards and game controllers, until I began to exaggerate my roleplaying - I guess I made them feel guilty ;) Being a strong advocate of rp'ing, I feel that players should do it on their own, not just follow along with somebody who decides to roleplay.

Mud World

An almost non-stock world is always enthralling, but only when the rooms have descriptions worth reading. I found, upon travelling most of the world outside (and partially inside) the main town of Galadon that very little time has been put into describing the world. Upon walking through, directly outside the town, I found the exact same description for nearly 25 rooms. Granted, a few sections of a road may be the same in reality, but as you get further away from civilization, wouldn't you assume the surroundings would change?

The object database, though seemingly normal as far as standard mud objects go, was vastly limited in quantity - which I found rather nice. Only a certain number of objects would load in the realm, making it more difficult to get what you wanted and increasing the amount of pkills necessary for equipping your character. "You may have to kill your neighbor for his armor", a help file claimed.

Additional Comments

Lag was always a problem here, as well as system halts and various crashes (or perhaps it was just a very long slowdown). I found this the most annoying and ever present factor of the game for me (glancing down at my notes right now I see every so often the term "Major Lag" with a couple of exclamation points for emphasis). Granted, lag is not always the fault of Carrion Fields and their equipment, but could also be the routers used to connect my PC to the server. Following this idea, I always made sure to rotate between three ISPs everytime I would connect - unfortunately, the lag remained a very present problem with each connection.

The administrative staff (Immortals) were, as far as I could see, very rarely present, and seemed to not play a major role with players, as their help files incur. It's suggested that players ALWAYS roleplay and ALWAYS follow their sphere and ethos to assume that you're always being watched. Apparently the players (at least those I encountered) do not follow this ethic. I did also encounter one or two administrators who felt the need to play the part of an immature child, a few of those annoying types who interfere greatly by simply being a problem to a player. Following and echoing, etc.

The website itself is an amazing source of information and facts, and is definitely a great starting place for newbies to the MUD. It features a well-documented help section, as well as links to outside sources and help files. It also details all spells/skills/songs, etc of the classes and defines the races of the world. A must read for anybody new.

Summary

Overall, a very interesting place to play. Though lacking a massive role-playing environment in relation to it's imitators, it still brings out a large world of intrigue and combat - enthralling any player who may dare to venture into it's realm. So, if you're interested in a friendly world, filled to the brim with features, quests, and interesting people, enter the world of Carrion Fields.