TMC Reviews: Hidden Worlds

(Review Date: November 30, 1998)
TMC Reviewer: Christina Francis
Mud Theme

"This is mudding the way it used to be. And we like it like that."

Feeling nostalgic? This Merc 1.0 mud has been modified for an early 'diku' feel, and they don't plan on upgrading any time soon. According to the homepage (which can be worth a stop to get the feel of the game) it's been in its current state since about 1993. Bugs have been fixed and small things added on for playability, but this is antique mudding all around.

If you're looking for roleplaying this isn't your game. There are people here who might like to try it for a time, but in general it isn't something you can count on. The player's names range from the completely absurd to the artistically unique. The admin are pretty relaxed with your choice (I always assume profanities are a don't) so feel free to choose a name you like even if it doesn't sound exotic. I saw ten people online at a time, often more, and a multiplay policy of "it's okay, but it shows lack of character." The highest level on the wholist was 30.

Basically, it looks like Cheers: everyone stops by for a time, gossips, grabs a beer (level) or three in between, and when they leave you know they will be around tomorrow to do the same.

Mud Atmosphere

The idea behind the game is that if players can handle themselves like big boys and girls it will leave the admins more time for coding, areas, and the spaces in between. True to their word, I never witnessed an immortal dealing with a player (but I also never saw a player that really needed dealing with). Despite the lack of policing, or perhaps because of it, people seemed very friendly and happy. It was also not unusual for the immortal staff to spice up play with a few well-timed global echoes or mob tells. It wasn't long before I felt comfortable around the players. Several clans are available and you can create your own with a few restrictions.

Regardless, the first thought I had after logging in was that this mud wasn't suitable for children. It's a testament to the friendliness of the players that they would include me, a newbie, in a discussion on 'male anatomy'... not that it wasn't wholly entertaining, but it may not be what you want the kiddies seeing or, worse yet, repeating. Profane, suggestive, and other borderline gossips were not a rarity, so you may want to keep that in mind before you decide to toggle on the gossip channel.

Mud World

The world is mostly made up of 'public-domain' areas. There's some good old Diku standards, the newbie Arena (Rom), and a couple of others sprinkled around for variety. Their ad on this site boasts a mostly original world, but I only saw (on their area list) around a dozen zones I haven't played somewhere before. To its credit, many of the areas I had assumed were standard are in fact very heavily modified. This trend may hold for the areas I was unable to explore due to my low level.

Descriptions on the areas that I didn't immediately recognize are done fairly well. There was rarely a time where I felt lost. The world looks like it is tailored to the new mudder: there are few suprises along the way, and most areas are easily navigated and understandable. If you get lost there is a recall command that will poof you back to the safety of Midgaard's temple.

Experience and levels are easy to come by even with level restricted items. Occasionally you will come across a badly formed room description where a carriage return has been put in to seperate paragraphs. With everything (except comm channels) in the same color it can cause a little bit of difficulty while reading through rooms.

Additional Comments

Rarely does someone put out code that is perfect - that's why there is Quake II and Windows 98. There is always something that can be done better, easier, faster... Where Hidden Worlds sees antique mudding at its finest, I see a good game that could be even better with some of the more modern add-ons. I think standard (circle, rom, etc) colors would enhance readability, not detract from the 'Diku' feel this mud has so diligantly maintained. When text is all you have, make it look nice and easily readable.

Also, if you're looking for lots of shiny new toys to play with you will be severely disappointed. Autosac, loot, abbreviations, and aliases would be big time savers that aren't pushy ... if you don't like them then you don't have to use them, and the mud's mood would still be intact. If it weren't for my telnet program's triggers and extras this game would have been a severe headache.

What Hidden Worlds does sport is a wonderfully open multiclassing system. If you get bored with your Cleric and wish for more attacks, you can always go train up as a fighter and voila - there's no need to recreate or hassle the imms to expand your character. Of course your core class takes less experience to level, but your options are virtually unlimited if you don't mind taking a little extra time.


If you want something with all the newest bells and whistles, this just isn't your game. Seasoned players will find little here that they haven't seen before, but it's a good place to visit when you need a nostalgia fix.

However, if you are a complete newbie scanning for a good mud you might want to check out Hidden Worlds. For all the goodies it lacks, it is probably the easiest to help you learn the basics. There are notably fewer commands to learn here than in the other muds, so you won't feel as bogged down with the technical stuff. There is also a VERY friendly, helpful playerbase to guide you along.

Moving up in the world is easy, for newbie and veteran mudders alike, with lots of skills and spells to play with from the first few levels. Want to backstab, heal, have three attacks, and maybe a little magic missle for the heck of it? Have it all: create the dream character your real life DM would never allow.