I'd like to share the three reasons I am making ATS my new home.
1. The hands on approach of the staff.
I came from a different game because I was sick of the indifferent approach the staff took to their players. And this was a pay to play game. The fact that the entire staff that I've seen for ATS is so very friendly and helpfull is truly a godsend as far as I'm concerned. In my opinion it's absolutely vital that you keep in touch with the player base and you folks do this admirably. Truly I'm not trying to brown-nose by saying that. heh.
2. RP Opportunities.
I find the detailed history and depth of the culture in the game very welcoming. It truly helps you imerse yourself into the game environment when it's well developed. The fact that the staff is continually expanding the history of the game speaks to an understanding of this fact.
A detailed history/back-story offers a myriad of RP oppertunities. Both between players and staff, and between players and other players.
Of course I Haven't been around all that long. However the fact that every night I have logged in since I started a staff-run event happened (Be it a world altering events or the fun little rock hunt) was simply astonishing. I have played several other "RP Mandatory" muds in the past. It seems however that the ATS staff truly takes that designation to heart, and does everything they can to make it a reality. While saying the players can do all their own RP is certainly a valid perspective, it also leaves a marvelous avenue for story development and character interaction untapped.
And of course I can't finish this section without mentioning the other players I've met so far. They all have managed to stay wonderfully in character. A fact I find so very refreshing having recently come from the RP wasteland.
I simply adore the quest system you folks have put in place. Instead of the usual "Go kill these things because" there is ana ctual reason for doing what you are doing. The NPC's come to life with a character and personality all their own. This also lends a refreshing believability to the game.