I was playing UO (ultima Online) when I heard about MUDs for the first time. Looking back upon it all, I can't beleive how twinkish and now seemingly boring UO was. Today's graphical games are so much more advanced in regards to graphics and playability. But of course, that is off-topic.
I was playing UO, and my brother told me about a game he was involved in with no pictures, many rules, and a vibrant and engrossing background. "My dear brother," I said. "Such a thing sounds too ludicrous to be true, or even remotely interesting. I'll pass."
It was a year later when he spoke to me again of it, and to humor him, I decided to try it. I mean, after all, what could I lose? It is thusly that I used Telnet for the first time and logged onto 220.127.116.11, port 4050, snorted quite derisively at the ANSI mantishead that greeted me, and slovenly created and submitted a character.
I decided, the next day, upon wandering about aimlessly for a few hours with my new and bewildered character, that this was not the game for me. Sure, I liked the idea of real RP. Perma-death? Whoa, not sure about that. I'd lose my brown backpack! No PICTURES!?!?! NO OOC TALK?!?!?! How the hell am I to find my way to the market, to buy a magic cloak of whatever and a half? No, screw this game. And back to UO I went.
I guess the little world stuck with me though, in the end, this little mess of words and persons and exotic locations. UO just seemed to be missing something. I didn't know what it was; I had my house, my guild, my uber-character...but something was missing.
So I spoke to my brother, and I asked him a little more about this world he played in, where the dwarves had no hair and the elves were taller than everyone, where the sands killed you and where there was no 3117.
And I created an elf named Krist, and never again looked I away from the world of words.
Since that time 5-6 years ago, I've tried other MUDs, but nary one can do what Armageddon has done to me. Some say that the combat code is horrible, some of the classes are over-skilled, others under-skilled, the IMMs at times unable to understand, the players mean, the learning curve too steep, the MOBs overpowered, and so on and so forth. They say the MUD is stacked against you. Even if all of this was true, it would still be worth it.
That's the crux of the matter. Even if this MUD was all the things that the critics say it is, even if it was absolutely the bane of a newbie, it is still worth it to play it like a religion. There is no place in MUDdom that can compare to Armageddon.
And when it comes down to it, in the end, I mean, if a game didn't challange you to be better, would it even be fun? Would it really be worth it, to play a game that you know you can't lose? I mean, what's better, frusturation at not being able to beat the puzzle no matter how many save games you've accumulated, or panic that everything you've done and accomplished might be wiped out if you make a mistake in a conversation? I mean, because there are no save games in Armageddon.
And in the end, when the bullet is really in the chamber and you really are facing the pearly gates, so to speak, can you actually not give this game a try? Can you live with yourself in the end, if you didn't try what is the best-written, most fleshed out, comprehensive, panic-inducing, well-playered, and absolutely absorbing game of any kind anywhere at least once? Isn't that kind of like making a million dollars a year and driving a Ford Fiesta, or being capable of going to the NFL and instead deciding to be a garbage-man?
And really, can you do that?