What to say about the Realms of Despair that has not been said already? Well, I shall leave you with my own humble thoughts (I have not played for too terribly long a time) and let someone else worry about originality.
- A very stable code (SMAUG) and a very energetic computer with very reliable connections (that's a lot of 'very's, isn't it?) provide reliable access and a consistent environment that just refuses to have very (one more 'very') many problems! =)
- Vast array of commands, 'rooms', 'mob's', and the like provide for thorough interaction with the game environment.
- Fun, interactive, and well-developed learning environment (the Academy).
- Great variety of classes and races, player customisable descriptions and biographies, a decent variety of skills, and a vast (if at times odd) selection of items to aquire and use provide for great character variety.
- Very large world with a great number of things to see and do of copious varieties. One of my favorites is finding all the numerous places I can go shopping; if only I had that much money IRL!
- Helpful and friendly people (not only the Immortals, but just everyday players as well) often give answers, aid, or alcohol (in the game) and whatever else a character in need could ask for.
- Help files are more than just a reference, but an interactive guide book that your character may carry along as their very own possession.
- An awesome and ingenious mud-mail system where characters actually purchase quills and parchment, write a letter, and post them with the interactive mailing services found within the game . . . hey, this is pretty darn nifty as well.
- Hack-and-Slash gaming is more prevalent than in-depth roleplay. However, role-playing is available through clans, guilds, and the like. My best suggestion for if you want to role-play without joining a clan or the like is to bring a friend online with you. Or perhaps you might ask one of the immortals to guide you towards more role-play oriented events occuring within the game.
- Again on the role-play 'issue', many players (sigh . . . myself included) spend a lot of time just levelling their characters instead of 'role-playing' within the environment and having levelling be a natural outcome of actions carried out by a well-developed character doing what that type of character would really do given their circumstances . . . (big, quasi-philosophical issue of gaming that I won't go more into here).
- As for the levelling, there are times when it seems character growth is a bit stunted. Without more in-depth role-play present, it seems not much is available to do for the lower-level character but level, level, and level again. This sometimes takes on the aspect of a chore, rather than a game.
Realms of Despair is a wonderful little place (if anything with 'Despair' in the title could also be said to be wonderful =D ) to spend your leisure time. Perhaps not as flexible on the role-play as sitting around the old dinner table with your friends and a handful of dice, but still a very entertaining and interactive world. I would highly recommend RoD to anyone who enjoys MUD'ing. Just be sure to bring a heap of spare time and refreshements; RoD is very addictive and chances are you won't be getting up from your computer for quite some time once you start.