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Old 09-04-2002, 10:28 PM   #1
Jazuela
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My experience with online text games is mostly Gemstone III and Inferno. One is a RP-optional medieval-based fantasy game, the other is an RP-required high fantasy game. I've been playing Armageddon, and love the hard-core roleplaying, but I'm not fond of the post-apocalyptic genre. Plus their room descriptions are really bad - if there's a street with 5 rooms in it, every single room has the exact same description, and there are very VERY few objects within the rooms you can intert with. For instance - if my character's learning to be a burglar, then it's probably a good idea to try and steal something from an abandoned place first - just to get the hang of the skill. But if you go into an abandoned place and the description says there's a desk, a chair, and a mural on the wall, you can't search the desk - because it doesn't exist.

Inferno was great, but I had a fall-out with their admin. Gemstone was a wonderful starting point but once I learned how to roleplay I became somewhat of a snob and left due to lack of RP in their game.

So what I'm looking for now, is something with the hard-core RP of Armageddon, in more of a high fantasy setting, and with the complex and intricate mechanics and code of Inferno. But I also like the type of "emote" and "tell" types of commands that Armageddon had - completely dynamic where you could target not only certain people, but even individual things they were wearing. I think what Armageddon offers is fantastic, but their room descriptions and lack of objects to interact with really take a lot of the "realism" away for me. Plus I never EVER liked seeing "A door opens to the west" and you can "open door" but you can't "go door" - you have to go west. If I see a door, I wanna go through the door, dangit. Just like if there's a wall, I don't wanna just type UP. I wanna have to actually CLIMB the WALL. I also can't stand forced hunger and thirst. It makes absolutely no sense to suddenly realize you're hungry JUST as a High Noble is giving you a lecture...or in the middle of an invasion tell everyone to hold up while you take a sip of water.

Okay - so this is a very long post, and I honestly didn't mean to get into a whole thing about specific games I've played, but maybe it'll help in case someone out there has something like a hybrid of the mechanics and detailed descriptions and objects of Inferno, with the hard-core realistic roleplay of Armageddon.

Anyone?
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Old 09-05-2002, 01:09 AM   #2
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DartMUD is where it's at .

There are a few issues you may have with DM though..

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... I never EVER liked seeing "A door opens to the west" and you can "open door" but you can't "go door" - you have to go west. If I see a door, I wanna go through the door, dangit. Just like if there's a wall, I don't wanna just type UP. I wanna have to actually CLIMB the WALL.
Welp, for most doors on DM you just go west or east. The reason being that door or no door, you just walk in a certain direction. Walking west through a doorway doesn't require any special action that would be different from.. say.. walking west down a street. Walls on the other hand, require you to "climb". Basically, any exit that requires some unusual form of movement (i.e. not walking) will use a special syntax.

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I also can't stand forced hunger and thirst. It makes absolutely no sense to suddenly realize you're hungry JUST as a High Noble is giving you a lecture...or in the middle of an invasion tell everyone to hold up while you take a sip of water.
Hunger and thirst are hardcoded in DM, but implemented in a manner that (IMO) adds to the game. You can play for hours after you initially become hungry before you're in danger of dying due to starvation/dehydration. On the MUD, just as IRL, you get hungry/thirsty during important and uninterruptable events, and, as IRL, you can wait until those events are over before eating/drinking.
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Old 09-05-2002, 04:58 AM   #3
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I dunno Thel, I'm not sure that Jazuela would find happiness in our little game. I'm sure our second evil head will chime in here shortly, too. ("I didn't know DartMUD had a second evil head." "You bet they do.")

Jazuela's interesting syntax preferences prompted the following random musings at 4 AM: DartMUD has a fairly comprehensive aliases system. For example, you can do:

alias eb examine bulletin board
alias pack put %1 in pack
alias gw sequence get %1; wear %1

and myriad more complicated things. I always figured this was pretty standard practice. Most MU*s that I've visited have had some sort of aliasing, yet I've seen many folks log on and bail when their "usual" command (e.g. "scan") doesn't work, without any evidence of knowing about the possibility of setting aliases... so perhaps it's not as standard in the mud community as I thought.

Anybody else have any peculiar syntax peeves to share? Commands that you require to work or work in a particular way to maintain your interest in exploring a MU*? Favorite aliases? Perhaps a separate thread so as to avoid hijacking Jaz's quest for the Ideal Mud.

R.
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Old 09-05-2002, 07:42 AM   #4
Jazuela
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Actually, I have tried DartMUD before. I only made it through the chargen process, and didn't give it a fair chance perhaps... Does it have "channels?" If it does, can you turn them off so you never have to hear them? That was one thing I found horrible about so many games that boast about their RP.  A single in-character "ESP" channel is great, lets you know there are other characters out there. A method of "reporting" a request for assistance from a GM is also great as long as you don't have to hear everyone else's OOC reports.

But yes that was one thing that I did remember about DartMUD that I liked - being able to create in-game aliases, without having to futz around with ZMud. If I remember correctly, you can also rename things there too, can't you? Like.. alias cat Kitty - and whenever you walk by that cat you no longer see "a yellow cat," but instead you see "Kitty."

Edited to add: I just went over Raven's DartMUD site (great site by the way! and was reminded of a pet peeve of mine prevelant in so many games: auto-combat. I'm the type of person who needs to REALLY pay close attention to inputted text, and screen scroll for combat is just too much for me. Plus, I find it totally "not" roleplaying when you type "kill critter" and the game mechanics do the rest of the work. I want every single one of my attacks to come from me. I know there are games that have sophisticated combat and engagement systems, since I've played them. But combat isn't the only thing I'm interested in, and those games either lacked in roleplay, or lacked in admin integrity, or something else that I require in gaming.

Maybe I'm just too picky...but out of the thousands of games out there in MUDworld, there must be something that fits, no?

Anyone else?
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Old 09-05-2002, 03:01 PM   #5
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There's nothing wrong with being picky. But no game out there will meet all of your preferences. IMO, I think each player needs to decide what they are and are not willing to put up with, because something will always come up that is frustrating, even on the game that best suits your tastes.

If admin issues or lack of rp are two big things you won't put up with, but auto-combat is something you can deal with, it sounds like giving DartMud another chance would be worth doing. If you are interested in focusing on RP and not on gaining skills/leveling/advancing stats, I would recommend trying a Mush instead of a Mud. It likely won't have all the mechanics you are used to, but if you choose well, you'll meet a lot of great rpers who can guide you toward other games as well.

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Old 09-05-2002, 04:20 PM   #6
Jazuela
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Very true Sapphar. I don't "need" combat mechanics, as long as my character never needs to get involved in combat. If part of the game requires being confronted with a combat situation, however, I wouldn't be capable/remotely interested in playing unless there was an actual manual combat system. Even in situations like PKing - if my character automatically tries to attack, just because someone attacked me, I would really - REALLY - hate that. It would be the single-most significant thing that would drive me from the game. Reason being, once you have an autocombat system, it's no longer roleplaying. It's sitting there are your computer watching the game's mechanics do all the work until one party is dead.

I checked out a couple of MUSH places, but the ones I looked at seem to have no skill commands at all - and are, instead, pure roleplay. I LOVE roleplay. It's the reason I'm interested in gaming in the first place. But I want roleplay with skills that I can get better with (whether by practicing in them or training in them, or being taught by other characters, etc.). Actual skills that show up when you type SKILLS or STATS or whatever, where you can see not only what your character is capable of, but whether or not they're any good at it.

If I'm a novice, compared to someone who has full mastery, I'd like to know that - and not just because Lord So-and-so says so. Someone who is learning to be a master armsman, or leathercrafter, or mage, or cook, knows enough about the skill to judge that "compared to my observations of this other person, I suck goose eggs" or "compared to my observations of the guy who taught me this skill, I'll probably be better than he is in an hour or two." That's where numeric skill "scores" can really help me out.

So if I have 20 ranks of weaponsmithing, and it's possible to have 400 ranks, then I know I have a long way to go before I can make anything worthwhile. If I have 40 ranks of hiding, and it's only possible to have 40 ranks, then I know I ain't gonna ever get any better - I'm the best anyone can possibly be, and I can work on mastering something else.

Even if this info is written out verbally - "You are a master craftsman in the skill of cooking." or "You are barely a novice, with many things to learn before you can consider yourself a journeyman" would be helpful.

So you see, I'm not ALL that picky - but these things need to have some significance in the game I pick. Room descriptions that include things in their descriptions should have at least SOME of those things in each room. I don't think it's necessary to have a sky and a floor "object" - but if there's a room that makes a fuss about how incredibly gorgeous the horizon is, then I should certainly be able to "look horizon" and see an incredibly gorgeous description.

Roleplay - I can find excellent roleplay as I've discovered in many games - Inferno and Armageddon are only two that I've mentioned though there are plenty of others. But when I get into one of the others, and become bombarded by OOC "tells" from well-wishers and helpful veterans, it completely and totally destroys my "suspension of disbelief" and I make a beeline to another game. If I want help, I would ask for it and be grateful for whatever help I get. But if I'm not asking, it's because I don't wanna know. It also means I don't wanna hear the OOC conversations back and forth among other people either. That's what chat rooms are for. Or "RP-encouraged" games are for.

I LOVE mechanics that work. I LOVE room descriptions that are fully interactive. I think dynamic systems are the best thing since sliced bread, though dynamics aren't necessary for me to enjoy the game. I love details into which I can really sink my teeth and become engrossed in my character's surroundings. I can even put up with a "list" of what people are wearing rather than have them included in the description paragraph...though it is a bit jarring at first.
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Old 09-05-2002, 05:49 PM   #7
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I'm with you Jazuela!

I'm leaving Inferno myself.  Not because a problem with a GM, but because I just can't afford it anymore. <g> The jump from $20 to $30 a month is too much, I'm surprised I even started and stayed there as long as I did. I would try the $15 new game, but I don't like PKing and I don't feel like learning to script. (yup, I'm that lazy) I'm not really into hunting anyways.

But what I want is a free (or cheaper) game.  Lots of RP, quests, and pretty easy to start.  I tried DartMud and Armagedon (sp? too sleepy to look it up), but I'm spoiled by Inferno and the way it was so easy to start and jump right in to play, that I just can't get into those games. Especially Armagedon, it really is harsh. *grin*

Anyway, I started playing Dragonrealms and its OK... but I might not stay after my free trail is over. So then I'll new something else to play.
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Old 09-05-2002, 06:41 PM   #8
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Oh I don't mind if the game is difficult or "harsh" like Armageddon. Honestly, I think it's an excellent game and has top roleplayers. Their admin is also terrific, from what I've read on their forum. It's just the 1-dimensional room descriptions and repetitive rooms that make the world so horribly flat for me. I'm spoiled like you are by the richness of detail in Inferno, but since I came from Gemstone, I wouldn't have a problem if the combat mechanics didn't include an engagement system. Either with or without would be fine - as long as it has a *system* and not auto-combat.

But that's why I'm looking for a hybrid. The rich, extraordinary, detailed, and completely interactive room descriptions and objects within the rooms, combined with the realistic and almost limitless RP mechanics of Armageddon. Free, of course, is definitely a big deal right now since I'm unemployed ::grumbles:: still.
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Old 09-05-2002, 07:53 PM   #9
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I was going to reply with a nice, long, rambling post about the wonders of DM. But I decided it would be better in the review section. I suggest you read that, Jazuela, and the reviews of Accursed Lands.

-Krotho
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Old 09-05-2002, 08:23 PM   #10
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I don't "need" combat mechanics, as long as my character never needs to get involved in combat.
DartMUD frankly has a pretty crappy combat system, however it's entirely possible to make a successful char without ever fighting anything. (It's been redone recently, so you see some really nifty descriptions of what's happening during the fight, but it's pretty much the staring-at-the-screen bit which is why I prefer playing mages. There are strategic adjustments called allocations, which basically determine your fighting "style" as well as which skills you're most likely to learn.) However, just because someone attacks you doesn't mean you'll attack back. You can set what you want to do when someone attacks you, and it can be anything from fighting back to screaming in terror to shouting that x is attacking you to blowing them up with a well-chosen spell.

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Actual skills that show up when you type SKILLS or STATS or whatever, where you can see not only what your character is capable of, but whether or not they're any good at it.
DartMUD has more skills than you can shake a stick at, which are represented by names like "not very good" rather than numbers. It's also a classless system, which I really love. You don't *have* to join a guild, and even if you do, you aren't restricted in what skills you can learn. (A healer is capable of learning how to blow stuff up, although he might not want to let his superiors know about it.) It's really hard to be a fighter and a mage at the same time because certain skills conflict with each other, however there's nothing preventing you from trying anyway. You're gonna suck a lot longer than people who just pick one or the other, but if that's your cup of tea, go for it.

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Room descriptions that include things in their descriptions should have at least SOME of those things in each room.
DartMUD generally does really well at this. You may find some old areas where there's a window mentioned in the room desc but you can't do anything with it, but that's becoming less common as they revise old code to fit in with the new stuff. Rooms, people, and even some objects also have smells, and some rooms have sounds apparent when you listen. Some rooms also look different depending on what time of day it is, and you can look up to see approximately where in the sky the sun is. Places get lighter or darker depending on the positioning of the sun or moons, and how many light spells are active in the area. When in the outdoors (we call it the hexes because it's an ascii representation of terrain shaped like hexagons - in color, even) you'll be able to see different amounts of distance away, depending on your vision stats and what time of day/night it is. Also, some objects and exits are hard or impossible to see or use if you have bad vision stats, which makes it really interesting when someone tries to lead you through a path you can't see and you get attacked by some critter...

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But when I get into one of the others, and become bombarded by OOC "tells" from well-wishers and helpful veterans, it completely and totally destroys my "suspension of disbelief" and I make a beeline to another game.
DartMUD has no channels, unless you count the occasional creator announcement (which is really pretty rare). You can shout, which makes you heard by everyone in the town or other area you're in, or you can yell, which makes you heard in a few adjacent rooms, or you can say, which is only heard in the room you're in. There's an ooc command, which is basically the ooc version of say, i.e. only heard in the room you're in. So if someone's talking about what they watched on TV and you don't wanna hear it, you can easily go elsewhere (or ask them to stop, of course). There are also communication spells, but in any case they're nothing like channels on other muds.

The only drawback I see to attracting newbies is that even if they bother to read all the helpfiles (most of them don't *sigh*) is that it's a VERY hard world to stay alive in if you're the let's-go-kill-some-mobs type player, and there's a LOT of stuff to learn, not just in terms of commands but in terms of how the game world works. Skill advancement is typically very slow, it can take 2 years to make a really good mage (keep in mind that there's over 80 spells, not to mention supporting skills, and then you can learn other skills like crafts on top of that) unless you have a lot more help than anyone deserves. Most people don't wanna stick around long enough to do that.

I hope I've clarified some of your points, and that I didn't just bore everyone to tears.
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Old 09-05-2002, 10:28 PM   #11
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Well Onyx I actually made it past chargen and I LOVE the new "lessons" thing. Only problem, was that I set an alias so that "look at" could be done just by typing "look" and it messed up the whole thing. When I went SOUTH at the prompt during the lesson, it sent me south, but instead of seeing the room, I got an error message saying I couldn't look at that. I had to delete the alias, but it took me awhile to figure out how. Then the lesson just kinda stopped working - didn't go any further and I had to skip the current lesson to get beyond it. I tried to look for a way to communicate "live" with the staff (assuming someone on staff was around of course), but didn't see anything in the helpfiles in game or on the website.

I'm one of the types who soaks up almost everything - I learned that the hard way, and now I read the manual - and in fact if a game promotion here on TMS doesn't include a website, but only the connection info, I won't bother trying to play their game. If it doesn't have manual, I ain't interested.
The more complex, the better - as long as the information is spelled out in plain english. The combat stuff on dartmud, unfortunately, was written in "mobkillerese" so I didn't get it at all. But I'm sure if I decide to actually try and kill something, I'll find someone to give me a hand.

Room descriptions were pretty good in the first place on Dartmud, though I did notice a couple of duplicate rooms in my first hour with my new character. But yeah I like objects. I have a "thing" for them. And I'm a total nitpicker when it comes to writing, but I've learned to get over that.

Some of the character names in Dartmud though - man they're just horrible. One guy's name - jeez I don't think even HE could pronounce it if he tried. Looked like he just let his cat walk on the keyboard when it came time to pick his name.

So how do you send a "report" to staff if you need their help with something?
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Old 09-06-2002, 04:43 AM   #12
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The combat stuff on dartmud, unfortunately, was written in "mobkillerese" so I didn't get it at all. But I'm sure if I decide to actually try and kill something, I'll find someone to give me a hand.
Yeah.. you tend to end up with round-based automatic combat controlled by several layers of complex algorithms (driven by cauchy functions (gotta have those rare "miracles" to keep things interesting)) when the systems are designed by math majors .  The system was also designed to attempt to mitigate the effect of lag on determining the outcome of a confrontation where possible.  Manually driven combat systems heavily favor those with low latency (and remember, DM was created back in '91, long before broadband (or even the internet! ) was in wide use).

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Some of the character names in Dartmud though - man they're just horrible. One guy's name - jeez I don't think even HE could pronounce it if he tried. Looked like he just let his cat walk on the keyboard when it came time to pick his name.
Some people choose names that actually sound like words in their racial language.  The "gibberish" seen by the player of a character who is a non-speaker of a given racial language is generated according to the heuristic defined for that language.  As a consequence, you may see things like catfolk named rrrowlsffst, as that is a string that might plausibly be generated according to the heuristics of the catfolk native tongue.  Other common strange names would be spyder names, generally looking like ktktktkaktk or something similar (usually shorter).

As for contacting the creators, if it's urgent, you can try "tell"ing one of them (creators are the only people you can send tells to from anywhere in the MUD).  The philosophy of DartMUD's creators is to create a detailed and complex automated world (by automated I mean a world that doesn't require creator intervention to function), so sending them tells unless it's an absolute emergency is probably a Bad Thing™.  For general questions, you could try the OOC boards in OOC land, or the discussion forum, which can be found here.
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Old 09-06-2002, 07:49 AM   #13
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I know nothing about the mudschool, haven't created a new char since long before they put that in. Rest assured that no matter how helpful it is, nothing replaces long hours of gameplay for figuring out how the world actually works. We used to be pretty much stuck up, back before the mudschool..."If they can't figure it out, we don't want em playin here anyway." We have a lot of helpful players (including me, I hope ), but most of us have been there for years and if you don't understand something the first time we explain it, it gets really old. Now that we have a lot more newbies (active players per month gets up to 400 sometimes now, whereas it used to be constant at 250-300), I expect a lot of changes.

As for combat, don't sweat it. You don't need to understand how the innards work unless you plan on playing a fighter. Heck, *I* don't understand how the innards work, and I've played a few fighters. I think mages are more interesting anyway, because you can socialize while practicing, as opposed to a fighter who just stands around sparring some npc all the time.

Ok, how'd this get to be the "DM thread"?
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Old 09-06-2002, 04:27 PM   #14
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Wow, you managed to break the mudschool. Nifty.

The look alias thing was an easy fix. Not sure how you managed to halt the lesson - it reminds you what you're supposed to do next if you enter a few commands that aren't what it's looking for.

Also added a line to the mudschool curriculum to introduce the "unalias" command.

Anyway, thanks for the bug report - we're not proud, we'll take 'em any way we can get 'em.

R.
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