Having played Armageddon MUD for nearly eight years now, I will begin this review by stating that I have developed a very love-disgruntlement relationship with this mud. Without being too self-aggrandizing, I like to think that I have seen this game at its best and its worst and, as a result, have a fairly broad base of experience from which to draw for this write-up.
I'll start by discussing the meritable points of Armageddon, many of which will doubtless ring very similar to the multitude of other positive comments placed in this review section.
Armageddon's strongest feature, by far, is its flavor. The inherent grittiness; the dark 'anti-hero' fantasy overtones that define just how truly potent a well-written, well-cultured world can be to the imagination. The sheer volume of history and culture (assuming you ever really become privvy to it, as much of it is pretty difficult to access) is immensely impressive and can, on a good day, succeed in completely immersing you in its dark grandeur. Armageddon is, in essence, a vast group-told story that never really seems to quit expanding. For the most part, I feel the Staff does a very solid job of defining this world and maintaining it. I do have a few disagreements that I think bear mentioning, but I will relegate those to the latter segments of this review.
The code is also stellar, on par with anything I have ever seen elsewhere in the mudding community. It is incessantly being worked on and tinkered with and, believe it or not, a good deal of the changes seem to be a direct result of player criticism and commentary. The Staff is very responsible in terms of coding and truly seems to take the players' suggestions to heart. This, in and of itself, is a very enheartening and uplifting point and one that I don't necessarily feel mudders can find just anywhere.
Armageddon's players seem, for the most part, to be somewhat more mature and dedicated than playerbases I have seen on other muds. Of course this is a generalization, but experience bears it out for me. I will agree with a few previous reviewers in stating that the overall level of quality in the playerbase does seem on a gradual decline, but this very well may be an inherent flaw in this reviewer's mindset. I'm old, jaded, and rather crotchety. It is entirely possible that I've simply raised my personal bar with each passing year and that the playerbase itself has not changed much, for better or worse. Regardless, I will still testify that the Armageddon playerbase is remarkably more impressive than any I have seen elsewhere, even to this cynical reviewer.
Armageddon's Staff is...well...a perfect microcosm for the world today, as it should be, given that it is comprised of 18-22 people of varying ages, backgrounds, and mindsets. Just as in real life, you'll find Staff members whose personal philosophies and views mirror your own...and you'll find those who think at odds. You'll also find the entire gamut of human likes dislikes, loves, and hates. But then, what can you expect? The Staff -are- human, after all.
Some members of Armageddon's staff absolutely amaze me with their diligence, courtesy, attentiveness, and passion. Others, you never even know exist. And of course, there are the token few with whom you simply cannot get along. Strong personalities are like that, and believe me, Arm's Staff is full of them. I like to hold the idealistic view that the entire Staff is perpetually professional and are always willing to put personal feelings aside and view the game with a cool, unbiased eye. Sometimes that view gets rattled, sometimes it is bourne out in full. As a collective unit, the Armaggedon Staff deserve all the accolades one can muster. They've become the Immortal Glue that holds together one of the most stimulating, envigorating, and captivating virtual worlds known to man. I will, however, issue this caveat: Some of these Staff members have been around forever and they bear lengthy, lengthy grudges. I've seen them give plenty of second chances, and I've also seen them hold animosity (or at least cold indifference)for years. As you may have guessed from the tone of this segment, this reviewer is one who has seen the best and the worst of what the Staff has to offer. To this day, I'm still paying for some indiscretions that were committed during the early years of the Clinton Administration.
Do I think this is fair? No.
Do I still play? Absolutely.
Commentary on Staff can really be boiled down to this: Its their game. They make no bones about that. On the whole, they are remarkably receptive to the requests of the playerbase and I try not to let my own battered ego and personal feelings interfere with my view of the game and the Staff as a whole. I've committed a great deal of the leisure time of the last 8years of my life to this game and I like to think of it as time well spent, regardless of the reputation I may have earned.
I love the hell out of this game. I contribute where I can, duck my head when I have to, and have learned to bite my tongue when things don't go my way. However messed up things get for me, I seem to keep coming back, time and again, to relish my time in this imaginary world.
You know, at the outset, I had intended to be fair and post a few negative comments on Armageddon before this review concluded. But in the course of writing it, I've realized that such things would likely only discourage prospective players from becoming involved in this, what has proven to be one of the best social and intellectual pursuits of my life. Give the mud a go and you'll likely come up with a few pet complaints. We all do.
And when you discover those complaints, air them as you need to, for better or for worse. And if that doesn't work, just learn to sling them up on a shelf somewhere, take a short break, and return once more to approach Zalanthas with a new perspective. I have the utmost of faith that you'll find the experience to be worthwhile.