TMC Reviews: Materia Magica(Review Date: December 17, 2007)
TMC Reviewer: Joanna
Since 1996, Ingenii Interactive has been running Materia Magica with a custom codebase. With 241 player levels, this game offers a touch of everything for adventurers. New adventurers begin in a small town, where they explore and gain experience until the tenth level is reached. At that point, the player begins a new journey through wild lands and other cities or towns. The first 60 levels are dedicated to the class the player chose while creating their character. After 60 levels in the player's current class, it is possible to multi-class, with up to one class in each group (Fighter, Mage, Cleric and Thief). This adds more perpetuity to the game, as you will be back to square one with your class while still maintaining a high overall level. After level 240, it is possible to become an Archon, which is the highest of all player levels.
As a new player, it may be intimidating to be among the group at Materia Magica. Depending on the time of day, the day of the week and the week of the month, you may run into a different sort of crowd at any given time. The novice channel is available for new players below level 45. This helps players who have recently been through the lower levels to offer assistance to the fresh new players, and it appears to be effective. There are also players who are designated as guides. The guides are able to join the novice clan to help newer players, as well as monitor the prayer channel in case an immortal is not able to respond to a newbie's prayer.
The first few levels pass by fairly quickly. There are quests that can be done before level 10, but the time it takes to get your bearings might just be too much time for you start the quests before you complete your stay in the newbie town. It all depends on how your attention is focused, like any other game. One handy feature is the small map on the upper right hand corner of the room description, which offers you information about your exits. This is handy when you are in a hurry and can't be bothered with reading descriptions, but it is also possible to miss information if you use only the exit map. Once you have ventured out of the cities and into the rest of the Alyrian world, you will see an overhead map rather than detailed room descriptions. The overhead map has a key that explains what types of terrain are depicted by the symbols and colors on the map.
Quests are available not only in the low levels, but also as a character's level increases in varying forms. In addition to quests, characters earn "Marks", which are the result of specific actions. For example, the Mark of Youth is earned by completing a quest whereas the Mark of Truth is earned by performing an action. In the cities, there are quest masters who reward quest points which can be used to purchase quest items held by the quest master.
There seems to be quite a variety of items and equipment within the game, which adds to the intrigue of the game itself. There are also challenges in the Arena as well as games of Capture the Flag. The usual features are there, including marriage and owning homes. Even though it takes a while to move up in the level "tiers", it seems that may enjoy the game enough to start over from scratch multiple times.
It is possible to go through several levels and not meet many other players in this game. When the Who list that extends 5 or 6 pages, it's very easy to be lost in the crowd. Although it does seem that many sections of the game are dedicated solely to the hack 'n' slash variety of MUD, there are opportunities for role-playing. The middle of the road MUDder who enjoys both hack 'n' slash and role-play will find this a very interesting game. A PK MUDder or one who enjoys hack 'n' slash the most will love this game.
Even if you aren't in those camps of MUDders, it's worthwhile to check this MUD out. They seem to have great ideas going on here and it's hard to say what the future will bring in Materia Magica.
Questing and combat leveling through the 241 player levels of Materia Magica are augmented by multi-classing opportunities at 60 level intervals. The interesting quest system and overhead maps that offer a quick source of navigation are base structures that add flair to the game. A plethora of other players raises the bar of intrigue and future potential in this MUD.