I am somewhat saddened to see the Imp of Avatar writing 'reviews' in defense of actions (real or imagined) that have taken place on his MUD, by himself or his staff. This doesn't seem the proper forum for such a debate. Why encourage it?
That aside, I came here firmly believing I wouldn't vote for Avatar much less write a review. To be quite frank, I have had several disagreements with the Immortal staff on a variety of issues, often resulting in my being killed or otherwise maimed by the aforementioned Immortal staff. However, I can't justify writing a negative review based upon my poor experiences simply because it is a rare individual who gains the everlasting ire of one or more Immortals, and even rarer that the person be permanently removed from the MUD.
To the contrary, the new player will find average Avatarians to be quite friendly and the atmosphere equally so. If you're truly new to Avatar, there is a helpful place to start aptly named "Mud School" which will teach you the basic gameplay and commands needed to interact with the MUD. It's all very concise and direct. You will also find legions of helpful individuals (Immortal, Angel and Mortal alike) if you're in need of assistance or otherwise confused with regard to any aspect of the game.
When I first came to Avatar two years ago, I was entirely new to the "mudding" experience. I had never before engaged in a game at real time speed, nor did I understand just what I was in for. Nevertheless, I was greeted warmly and introduced to the game thoughtfully by very kind individuals who were patient yet very thorough in their advice as to how to play. You'll find this true today as well.
Avatar does actively promote grouping with two or more players, for whatever reasons (I still don't understand). In spite of this position taken by the Immortals, you may still excel if you prefer to gain experience by yourself. The game itself supports an almost limitless expanse of techniques to gain power, whether you're a Rogue, Monk, Sorcerer, or even a Cleric. There is a niche for everyone, including those who like to go it alone (as I do).
The single most important feature of Avatar, seemingly lost in all the negative reviews, is the people themselves. "Hack n' slash" aside, you won't find a more amusing bunch of people to sit around and socialize with. Whether we're discussing the latest addition to the skill or spell list, or bemoaning a recent death to a particularly disagreeable mobile, you'll find dozens upon dozens of people to share in your travails. While it's the game that hooked me, it's the people who keep me coming back.
Certainly there have been many changes I've railed against. But in my mind it's irrelevant to the new player, who will never know what it was like in "the good old days". Avatar, as it stands today, is still extremely fun to play and I find many of the changes (while player-unfriendly at face value) promote more ingenuity/interaction on the player end.
Frankly this review is far too positive and, in keeping with my character on Avatar (evil Sorcerer), I should be ashamed. I would love to be vile, hateful and mean but I've come to discover Avatar isn't such a bad place after all. The classes are ever-changing, the areas are in constant flux, and the variery of ways in which one may satisfactorily bring upon one's sudden demise boggle the mind.
Enjoy. I do.