This is a friendly, family orientated mud and I have several hundred hours in here already. After what I consider a good enough run to make a balanced opinion, here's my thoughts:
It is a great MUD spoiled by a few annoyances and the odd draconion 'IMM'. Read on!
If you can get a balanced group you can have hours of fun, but overall the game is heavily unbalanced towards groups and pointedly towards hitters as you advance in levels. Unless you are a Dragon (a class has effectively been removed*) there is little chance of soloing any significant number of levels. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, outside of fixed ranges of about 5 levels you get no experience awarded. Put into perspective, despite a mass of protective spells, healing potions and offensive weapons and spells, mobs 15, even 50+ levels lower can slaughter you as a cleric. IF you win, you get 0 XP because you are too powerful for it, if you lose kiss goodbye to all the worked since you levelled. A tad frustrating, no.
* For instance, to get even the chance of a Dragon you now need to get at least 750 levels (easily over 1,000 hours input). Then you get a percentage chance of succeeding to start all over again at level 2 as a Dragon. If you fail, I believe you have to wait several hundred levels before trying again. If you keeping failing. you conceivably end up back on square one with nothing! Similar rules exist for other races and for the Sorcerer class.
I have heard the IMM's reasons, largely to do with game balance, but it doesn't mean I have to like it or even agree. Given a Human needs 1,000 XP to level and a Dragon 10,000 XP I would have thought that deterrent enough. Remort at Hero, yep that'd be reasonable. But to face 50 canon fodder levels to reach Hero, up to a thousand Hero levels to become a Lord and then 200 Lord levels before you can try for one? And you can still fail... !
Overall, I genuinely like this MUD, but if like me you like at least have the option to explore solo, perhaps it's not for you. Lag in the evening (GMT) is a *major* turn off too, but this is only since moving the server. I can assume this will be ironed out in time. In the end analysis though, I am still mudding with Avatar, though at times I find it frustrating and unplayable to say the least!
Another factor that turned me off is the worshipping element to the game. As a newby at level ten you get a startling message saying you can now worship and are pointed to the help files. They are obscure to say the least and give no indication of the true effects of worshipping, many of which are negative and deliberately hide the cost to stop worshipping! In fairness, you can remain atheist.
"Unworshipping" costs in practice points:
At level 15 :- around 25
At level 50 :- around 60
At level 51 :- around 200
At level 101 :- in excess of 500
At Lord level :- Several thousand
Typically you will gain 6 points a level, 2 as a hero. Also bear in mind you *should* be learning new skills during this time and it can take MANY levels before you realise you've made a major mistake. As a Giant Warrior it is effectively impossible to unworship!
I posted a constructive comment to this effect and one of the IMM's deleted it within minutes, if not seconds! Right or wrong, it gave me the feeling one of the IMM's had had a bad experience with some wacko cult (as opposed to real worship of whatever diety) and are taking it out on the players. Either way, it says clearly that the people running the mud couldn't care less about the opinions of the player base. Overall, this has completely soured an otherwise excellent MUD for me and I don't know if I want to return...
At the end of the day, yep, it's up to the owners how they run it, but if they drive the players away with unpopular changes and rigid attitudes, what's the point ? Shame, I really liked it here...!
Being fair to the administrator, Snikt, if you want to comment to this, I will add them to the review on my website...