TMC Reviews: Wheel of Time

(Review Date: November 16, 2000)
TMC Reviewer: Nicholas Herber
Mud Theme

The foundations of this world are based upon the Wheel of Time books by Robert Jordan. It is a fantasy world made up of non-stock areas that fans of the series are sure to recognize. You begin in a "circle of light" that gives you access to cities such as Caemlyn and Amadicia. Once you leave the circle, then you can never return. There is heavy emphasis on combat in the game, especially against a Channeler. There are commands for taking people hostage as well as the regular player killing options, all without any sort of level restraint. The action on there can be very swift, but also very interesting if you can keep up, but that leads into the atmosphere part.

Mud Atmosphere

For the most part, this mud is a friendly one it seems. The immortals are helpful and courteous, and if you ask for player help, you will likely find it. There is no shortage of players, with the low around forty-five and the high just tipping over one hundred at night. The helpfile system for newbies is somewhat frustrating, since it is just one huge helpfile broken into subject headings. I would have found it useful to be able to call up segments of it at a time. The website, however, is quite sharp and does have the helpfile for newbies stored in there, which makes it easy to use. The website includes a great deal of info, as well as some nice graphics. I found it very helpful in getting me pointed in the proper direction. There was a lot of chatter in the time I was on, literally spamming me like crazy so even helpfiles were a challenge to read. There was also some swearing and such going on, so for those offended by such language, they might wish to be prepared. I did like most of the areas. Rooms were well described, and there is a strong sense of role-play, if you can find the right people, and with as many as they have, I found that not to be a large problem. There is a very strong sense of group effort here as well. Standing alone is very challenging to say the least, and makes you an easy target if you are not careful. Still, I enjoyed the atmosphere, and while not having read the books, according to many of the players, the theme of the mud was very close to the stories, and they enjoyed that aspect a great deal.

Mud World

This is a pretty large mud, sporting a large number of rooms and areas, and none of them are stock, which is important to me. Now, they advertise an average of 100+ players, which I seldom saw, and during day hours, that was not even close many times. My first logon, there were forty-five on there. The who list is also a bit deceptive in this regard, because it shows linkless people on there as well. They only have five rules, but they cover a great deal of ground. There is no multi-playing allowed, and you are not allowed to switch characters right away either; there are time frames that must be observed in between. There is wide-open player killing range for those who enjoy that. They claim extended race and class selection on their TMC page, which I find interesting, since there really are not that many classes or races permitted. Equipment is saved, but only if you find an inn. I personally like that idea, but I also know I have to quit on the spur of the moment, and lost eq a few times that way (got to love kids), so I did find it quite frustrating as well. The design is good though, with no real bad bugs or crashes when I played. Things ran very smoothly most of the time I was there, which is a tribute to the code in my opinion. The most innovative code in the world is useless if you crash every couple of hours.

Additional Comments

Wheel of Time is not newbie unfriendly, nor would I call it newbie friendly either. They claim it is not a 'hold your hand' sort of mud, but there was a time or two I felt like I was being fed to the wolves as well. If you make fast friends, you will come out all right, but there is no newbie school or any form of training grounds to help with command familiarity. Also it is rather easy to lose eq early on as well, which can be frustrating for someone who does not know the mud inside and out.

Summary

I did enjoy this mud, and I thought they had several innovative concepts. I would like to spend even more time on here, then try the more advanced race and class combination, and see how that goes. I would say that if you are interested in player killing and look for large player bases, then this mud might be for you. They have been open since 1993, and Wheel of Time seems a very polished product. On the other hand, if you are strictly into role-playing, or do not enjoy player killing or for that matter do not like huge hordes of players, then you might very well find Wheel of Time somewhat intimidating. This mud has a great deal going for it, and as proof, just look at how they have accrued several awards and a huge fan base. I would say they are doing something very right, but that it is a taste that will not suit all comers.

Comments from Nass, representing the Wheel of Time Administration

... Just some small corrections, as the reviewer obviously reviewed it a few weeks ago, and not only have some of his points already been solved but he may not have had the time to get a true picture of the mud!

  • "There was a lot of chatter in the time I was on, literally spamming me like crazy so even helpfiles were a challenge to read" - in fact, only 2 weeks ago we made it so that newbies have globals off by default. So either he reviewed the mud before that came in, or the reviewer turned on globals himself, in which case surely it was his own choice?
  • You cannot actually see the number of players that are there by just logging on (when you log on you only see the numbers on the side that you play, ie not the enemy or the immortals. So seeing 50 on the human side is meaningless =). A better, and more accurate place to look for player numbers is http://wotmud.org/num.php
  • "The who list is also a bit deceptive in this regard, because it shows linkless people on there as well" - in fact, this is true only for 5 minutes, then they get automatically removed, and the linkless people are not included in the count at http://wotmud.org/num.php for the very reason that it's there that we take our numbers from. Note: only updated every 10 mins, and only valid for that reboot (every 12 hrs). Keeping linkless players on the 'who' list reflects the also intra-race nature of the PK, as we have had cases of people seeking to escape death by cutting link, and we think that's a bit lame and an easy escape that needs some form of redress... So we keep them on 'who' for a bit so that they are still a valid target. Personally, I also think linkless players are also due to the large number of logins that we have via our website, especially from people that just don't like the idea of a mud and kill the applet page rather than typing quit (which requires a tiny bit of mud knowledge).
  • "The helpfile system for newbies is somewhat frustrating, since it is just one huge helpfile broken into subject headings" is only part of the story. We have one help called help newbie, that is indeed 13251872618268 miles long. But it is also on the website, at http://wotmud.org/game/help2.html, where it's all nice and pretty and segmented too =). But we also have every individual help, ie help eat etc, that is segmented, whilst when you log on there is also a talk by the guardian covering the most basic things. On top of that there is a new clan, just introduced two weeks ago, the Mael Mahdi'in, that exist solely for the purpuse of helping newbies.
  • "They claim extended race and class selection on their TMC page, which I find interesting, since there really are not that many classes or races permitted.": Fades and dreadlords were both seen fit to be described in this way as they correspond closest to what is traditionally known as extended race and class selection, perhaps the reviewer didn't have a chance to look at how they come to be...?