TMC Reviews: Malevolence

(Review Date: February 25, 1999)
TMC Reviewer: Laszlo Vincze
Mud Theme

Malevolence is basically a medieval fantasy MUD. However, it seems that whenever the concepts "historical accuracy" and "fun" came into conflict, the coders of the MUD chose the latter, and somewhat ignored the former. The result is a mainly medieval feel, with a bewilderingly haphazard collection of anachronisms. There is a mob called "Hitler" (set in the appropriate "Hitler bunker" area), a dinosaur park, and "joints" you can smoke, to name a few.

Mud Atmosphere

The MUD's friendliness to newbies was one of the first things I noticed, and one of its best points, in my opinion. Most people were very friendly, and more than happy to answer my questions promptly and accurately. This held true for players and immortals alike. The player base is very small (I never saw more than 10 people on at once, and there were a few times when I was alone on the MUD), which means that you get to know everyone (and vice versa) pretty fast. The players seem to like meeting new people, and I felt like a part of the community in no time.

I must note here that while the banter on the chat channel is friendly, it is often quite explicitly adult. This holds true for the MUD in general, too. The imms seem to think that as long as the players act grown-up, they deserve to be treated that way, and the players seem to realize this. The overwhelming majority of the players on Malevolence realize this, and are mature in their conduct. I witnessed no silly spamming or whining on the chat channel during my stay. Profanities were unabashedly used, but not abused.

Roleplaying on Malevolence is rather limited and perfunctory. While players would cheerfully gossip with me about any and every imaginable topic, and many of them would even engage in some in-character chatter, if you are a hard-core roleplayer, you are likely to be disappointed with the MUD at this time. Of course, if the player base expands, the situation may well change.

Mud World

The world is original, as far as I could see, and descriptions are well done, though at times a little unorthodox... for example, the description for one part of the starting city is a little poem. The only problem I had here was that the descriptions seem to be plagued by a large number of typos and other similar errors, which really took away a part of the enjoyment I got from reading them.

Combat descriptions are colourful and interesting. Unfortunately, some of the descriptions are somewhat inappropriate against non-human foes, like "With a dextrous strike you stab Dove in the arm."

Races are rather standard, with minotaurs being pretty much the most unusual - none of the weird and wacky things you can find on other MUDs. Classes are quite interestingly done, however. There are the 4 basic classes, which you can join and leave at any time. You can be in several classes at the same time, and can even quadruple-class, should you want to, but the more classes you're in, the harder it is to advance. You can alternatively choose to join a guild, Paladin, Sorital or Ranger. Guilds usually have some of the special abilities of several classes, and a few special abilities of their own. If you belong to a guild, however, you cannot belong to any other classes or guilds.

One thing I found praiseworthy on Malevolence is a type of mob, called an "AI". These are basically random NPC's. What makes them special is that they are quite uniquely coded, giving them some semblance of intelligence. These AI's can loot corpses, change equipment, attack players and each other, and run away from battles which seem too difficult for them. The part I found most intriguing was that the AI's don't just pop into existence. Instead, they woo each other, then mate and have children (other AI's). I really was quite impressed by this.

Additional Comments

Advancement on the MUD seems to be, like many other things, geared to encourage newbies. With many skills that can be (at first) cheaply advanced, progress for the first 10 levels or so is gratifyingly fast. Along with the friendliness of the players and immortals to newbies, and the fact that PK is practically nonexistent, (there are VERY strict restrictions on it) this MUD would be quite ideal for anyone new to MUDding, in my opinion.


Malevolence has its faults, and if you are an avid roleplayer or a die- hard playerkiller, (pun unintended) it's probably not the perfect MUD for you. If, however, you are someone new to MUDs, or just looking for a fun place to hang out, chat with people, and go on the odd rampage or two, I definitely recommend trying it out. The MUD is a very good place for newbies, but has plenty of features that will interest and surprise even the most experienced MUDder. I enjoyed the time I spent here greatly, and I'm certain that with the expansion of the player base, Malevolence could easily become a a truly classic MUD.