TMC Reviews: Realms of Despair

(Review Date: July 5, 2001)
TMC Reviewer: Nick Herber
Mud Theme

Realms of Despair is a medieval swords and sorcery mud, but they break the mold of many others by offering up a plethora of new areas and heavy modifications to even the stock ones. Clans, guilds, councils and other factions all lend credibility and depth to the game's overall feel. It is not hard to get immersed in your surroundings either, for there is never a shortage of players on-line if you have questions or even wish to find someone to role play with. Spells and skills are in plentiful supply, allowing for continual character growth instead of a quick, easy mud to master.

Mud Atmosphere

Realms of Despair is almost overwhelming at first. I did a review on another mud several months ago and thought that their number of players was impressive, but I have seldom seen anything like Realms of Despair who doubles the aforementioned mud. Upon my very first log-on I was greeted with over four hundred people. One immediate concern I had was the importance of a new player on a mud of this size. However, all of my questions were answered very quickly, and if I needed an immortal, I was always able to find one. They were courteous, helpful and incredibly patient with me. Questing is very important for improving yourself and your knowledge of the world, but should you get lost, finding a helpful player is usually not a problem either.

Mud World

A large world, Realms of Despair is listed at 8,000+, and I have no difficulty believing that. One aspect I enjoyed was the detail of building in several of the areas. The newbie school did a great job of teaching me the basics and I quickly realized that I was going to have to be very aware of my surroundings if I was going to make the most of my gaming experience. Sometimes the size was a bit overwhelming, and I had no trouble getting lost for an hour at a time when I was not paying close enough attention, but I eventually figured it out and played on. Add in little things like MSP, and the overall feeling I had was one of being impressed.

Additional Comments

I am a big fan of a well-designed homepages. I am well aware that while these seldom improve how the mud itself is played, a good site is capable of enhancing story lines, improving communication between players and immortals and can just be plain-old-helpful. The Realms of Despair site was good in all of these aspects, placing help files and information in easy to read and find formats. Most people use clients but not all, and features such as this are a tremendous help. There is player killing, though it is limited. However, many people look for this feature in a mud and Realms of Despair delivers that as well for those who look for challenges beyond killing mobs and running role play story lines.

Summary

Realms of Despair is listed as having been created in 1994. Seven years ago this team came together to present the mud that can be played today. Dedication and experience like this is going to make a mud better than most; there is no way around this. Overall the effort and product are entertaining and well done. If you have an interest in Smaug muds, then Realms of Despair is certainly worth your time to look at it. Unless you seek only player killing or are intimidated by large player bases, then players of styles other than Smaug would do well to drop in as well, for there are certain to be elements they will enjoy too.