I want to write a review for what I believe is a very good MUD as well as challenge someone's review that has gone uncontested for nearly 7 months (One written by Sumwon Neirbi dated 11/29/00)
Sumwon says that the purpose behind RoD is to simply "level a character", and then goes on to say that by doing so, you completely miss out on the point of a multi-user dungeon which is to interact with it's players. Let's put a word out on the review now that I'm going to refer back to time and time again: CHOICE
You have the CHOICE to level a character from 1 to 50 (the MUD's maximum level. Level 51 and above are reserved for the administration staff). You have the CHOICE of not leveling, and simply chatting on a channel, or roleplaying with others. While the Realms' roleplaying community isn't hard coded (there are no OOC channels, and words like 'you' aren't recognized by code to be changed to 'thee', 'thou', or stay 'you' depending on the context), the Roleplaying community is certainly active. Depending on your race, you have a special channel which only YOUR race can hear, and there are numerous sites by dedicated Realms players which contain the most recent logs of the roleplaying storylines. We also have National Olympics, where races compete against each other.
But back to the point, the CHOICE is yours to interact. If you ask if someone would like to group with you to level, there will almost always be a guaranteed reply from someone. Mind you, it's also someone else's CHOICE to group with YOU.
As for what certain level one must be and how many hours must be logged in order to become a member of the Adminstration Staff, they are set there for a reason. I don't know about other MUDs, as I have but rarely played outside RoD, but being a fresh newbie who isn't at the maximum level and then being offered a spot on the immortal community doesn't seem very right to me. As for the 500 hours, if they're spent just sitting AFK or idle for the entire time, you will not be noticed for the immortal community just for that. ANYONE could be an immortal that way, 500 hours is hardly much time, but in that time frame, you have to be recognized and show that you have a commitment to the MUD that you've played. This also doesn't mean just showing up, greeting the people on all channels and then gaining new equipment or leveling a new character.
Interaction can also occur (and is encouraged) by being a part of a Guild, Council, Order (or Clan if you're a pkiller). In one of these organizations, one learns and experiences what the rest of the MUD is about. Guilds, Councils, Orders and Clans are NOT limited to just avatars (level 50) so anyone who CHOOSES (a conjugation of the word 'CHOICE'), has the motivation and right of mind to join one, can.
As for the unbalanced classes, this is where further interaction becomes a CHOICE. You can opt to level a character of another class (as multiplaying is allowed) or you can find some friends and become a powerful fighting force. While it is sad that some classes are, at the moment, unbalanced, in a group, any class is worthy of defeating one of the top monsters of the game.
Finally, the comments made to the immortal staff are what really make your review something less than that. To denounce that they use their power and reputation only to better themselves and friends cannot go unchallenged. Admittedly, some give in the to the greed and control they have, but they are quickly stripped of their status, and this is true of any MUD you visit. You will rarely find a MUD where someone exerts more control than they have a right to, and they stay on the Admin team.
To also say that the Admin team has also spam voted for RoD is out of the question. We have an incredibly large player base from all over the world. It is not the Staff who voted for the MUD but the players who have CHOSEN to say that RoD is the Top MUD.
I have been a devoted player to RoD for 4 and half years. I've CHOSEN to do everything under the sun for the MUD, and this is what makes my time there so worthwhile. You don't have to be a 100% pkiller, or 100% roleplayer, but you can CHOOSE to be if you want to. There are so many options for the players here which is what keeps things fresh for players. I have been a Nation Leader for the Half-Elves, and am currently on the team for the Realms Newspaper, in a leadership position in a Guild and in a joint mortal/immortal run council. This has been my CHOICE. I have CHOSEN not to be an ultra-buff, super-elite, armed-to-the-teeth player with a full army of characters or a pkiller. The freedom to be what you want to be is what is by far the most rewarding and prevailant aspect of Realms of Despair and what makes it one of the best MUDs around.