I have played Realms of Despair for two years. I have quit four times, not counting the "breaks" I took after leveling a character where I took a week or so off and looked for other muds to play instead. Each time, I was brought back into the
game by someone I knew from the game who asked me to start playing again, except the most recent time, where I've so far refused.
The mud is featureful and vast, having lots of areas that might be fun to explore if I didn't get attacked by random aggro mobs and/or killed every time I explored. One of the most enjoyable moments I've had on RoD was probably exploring Machine Dreams. It was *interesting*, which is not a common occurance on this mud.
I find the quests to be ridiculously simple and tedious, with about as much variety as a sine wave. A common term I've heard for them is "cookie-cutter quests". They consist of the itemfind or mobkill, or kill the mob to get the item, or the scandalous "find the mob and turn it into an item" varieties. The one interesting quest I've been on was interesting because the mobs had cool descriptions, but it was still a stock mobkill quest. The more inane quests consist of "Hunt the Chickens", "Bounty on Mosquitos", "Rescue Santa's Elves", and the like. (There was also a hilarious "Drunken Goblin Slaying" quest, but the highly-coveted "glory" is not awarded for such things)
I suppose RoD would be a very fun place for people who like mobkill, but I frankly find it tedious and boring. I like things I fight to show some inkling of intelligence or at least not just stand there while they die. I think my favorite mob to
fight is probably the Alluvrian Horror, if only because he pursues. Mobs either switch tanks, or don't, which means that players pick who tanks, basically. Either by attacking first, getting attacked first, or controlling who tanks with styles. I find this all extremely disinteresting, while my companions typically seem to dislike any run where anything except "He just stood there and died" happens. Perhaps I would like mobkill a bit more if mobs were designed with a bit more thought
than "difficult = hit hard and have millions of hp".
Obviously, I enjoy playerkill a bit more, but even that can be rather tedious. Most of RoD is spam. Spamflee, spammurder, spamquaff. Pk might be a more interesting if there was more pursuit. In peaceful pk, any pursuit is probably luck or
accidental, as the Arena isn't a great place for such things, and, even in deadly pk, pursuit will only last as long as the victim's adrenaline, meaning the person has to be hit again within 13 rounds, or he's gone (recalled or quit), which is just as well, as, without heals, it is easy to die in one round. (The most interesting pk I've had was chasing someone through Grimoire for 20 minutes or so, but that is not a common occurance)
The game seems to be mostly about acquiring wealth through botting, multi, and spamming mobs. In fact, of the 200ish people logged on at any one time, I highly doubt that even half that number are different people. It probably totals at around a quarter. (8 characters logged on at once sure boosts the numbers of players we can claim, yay)
For those who like just having a place to chat, though, this is probably the perfect mud. The chat channels are constantly active with someone talking about something or another.
The game is horribly imbalanced, and will likely remain so as long as it exists. Imbalance is to be expected, people make bad calls or predictions on what will be good or bad (I've done it), but the problem with Realms of Despair is the
ridiculously slow rate that changes are made. One unbalancing skill can remain in effect for as long as it takes a lot of people to complain about it, plus a lot more time than that. Alterations give the distinct impression of a lack of testing,
or flagrant disregard to game mechanics, then may not be fixed for months at a time. When two-handed weapons were brought in, two level 44 warriors fighting 1 on 1 through sanctuary could kill one another in a single round, and lower levels than that could be killed in a single hit, through sanctuary. This was fixed in record time, meaning 1-2 months. If a code change is needed, a year's wait can be expected. Or two. Or it may never be done at all.
I read in one of the other reviews that new suggestions can be submitted by players, but find it only fair to state that new suggestions have to pass through three different councils, The Symposium, Visionary Consortium, and Council of Elders, and, if it passes all three of those, which is a pretty amazing feat for anything that isn't a social, it still can't really be expected to appear in the game anytime soon. All three councils are also rather fond of voting down things for completely nonsensical reasons, or no reason at all. A recent example: Allowing pk chars to be able to be online while rolling
characters (this is considered multi, even though level 1s can't actually be in the game in any way, or do anything at all) was voted down, for no reason, of course, which I suppose is better than half the reasons The Symposium gives for things.
The game has a lot of little features that are quite interesting, and at times, can be quite fun. These times, however, are often few and far between, and given the way the mud is run, I can't say that it is worth the trouble. I personally would prefer a smaller mud somewhere where changes occur at a reasonable rate, and something reasonably similar to balance exists.
I honestly have no idea why the mud remains determined to grow, as it seems extremely unable to handle the playerbase it already has. This is definately a mud for people who like things to "stay the same", whether they are balanced or not.