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Old 05-22-2011, 11:15 AM   #1
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 183
SnowTroll will become famous soon enough
Inferno: A plug for a new game I came across

In my exploration of various muds, I decided to branch out and try something different than my usual preferred type of game, and wanted to share a new creation with you guys that might be fun if it ever attracts a playerbase. The game is called Inferno: Shadows of New York. Definitely doesn't sound like the type of game I'd normally try. It's set in the modern day, pulls in some material from the three main White Wolf gaming archtypes (Vampires, Werewolves, and Mages), and touts itself as something of a MUSH-MUD hybrid. Reading all of that, plus knowing that the game is brand new with very few regular players, I'd normally pass it by, but felt like exploring somethng new. Like any new game, it isn't without its kinks that still need to be ironed out, but it has a lot of good content that's worthy of being checked out, even if you don't stick around, just as a source of interesting ideas. You can read all about the setting and related general information on the website, so I'll just hit the specifics.

What impressed me most about the game was its allowance for player-generated content. You make your own items to dress and equip your character, as needed, write descriptions for them, and assign them a reasonable cost if appropriate. So if the character you envision wears an Armani suit with sunglasses at night, or wears a kevlar vest while packing a Beretta, wants to have an entire wardrobe of clothes to change into, or runs a bar and wants to generate drinks on request, describing how they look and taste, it's all doable. Objects are primarily made by the players, as needed to facilitiate their roleplaying.

The same goes for rooms. Every player is a little bit of a builder, if they want to be. The game foregoes traditional n/s/e/w exploration of areas and just has a tree-type room list you travel between. If there's a bar, restaurant, office building, or back alley you think might make a good place for a roleplay scene, players can make and describe whatever sort of room they'd like, as needed, and attach it to the existing rooms.

Special events (dubbed "stories") can also be player-run. Any player who wants can essentially have their own semi-immortal character, called a "Story Runner." Story Runners create events, setting a desired date, time, and writing out a description of the event so interested players can be present if they want, then run the event, similar to a GM from a tabletop game. For example, during events, Story Runners can use special commands to query a player's stats and skills, send private messages as appropriate (e.g., a message to someone with an acute sense of smell or a unique knowledge of a certain subject area giving him information another character might not know or notice), create and control non-player characters, create rooms only accessible to certain people or at certain times while running events, make echoes, and so on. A trust and vote system exists, as a form of feedback, giving good/established Story Runners more control and enhanced commands over players who trust them. Besides running events, it's also possible for a Story Runner to simply wander around enhancing regular RP where they find it.

The game has a two-prong advancement system. The combat system is extremely simplistic, and really focuses more on how you picture your character fighting than on stats and strategy. By grinding against demons (the generic adversary when you're not picking fights with players or Story Runner NPCs), you gain experience, used to train combat disciplines. These disciplines control the outcome of each attack, but the specifics of the attack (the description of what the character does, and which of the available special status effects the attack inflicts) are written by the players, within certain guidelines (i.e., you would need to train a combat discipline to a certain value before having multiple special status effects tied to the same type of attack.) You get a bonus multiplier to your experience if you've gotten positive feedback for roleplaying, if you have an active and well-liked Story Runner character, and for a few other things.

Each character also has RP stats (i.e., how famous, wealthy, or attractive he is, certain special abilities or areas of knowledge, and so on). While some of these have an effect in combat (especially if a Story Runner is running a combat-based event and takes note of certain stats relevant to what's going on), a lot of them are primarily roleplaying benefits. Fame, income, social contacts, a large house, acute hearing, and a fancy car don't help you kill anybody (at least not directly), but these and 60 more things like them are still things a player might want to earn, especially for the story-moderated portion of the game. They also serve as a general guideline for roleplaying (i.e., you would be expected to have a certain level in your fame stat if you intend to RP that you're a world famous actor). These RP stats get raised using RP experience, which is earned simply by talking and emoting in the presence of other players. You get a bonus multiplier to this for similar reasons to the above.

A few typos and bugs, and some balance/tweaking issues exist, but nothing bad enough to ruin the game or detract from the RP. The extremely detailed customization and description system is also pretty different from a lot of muds, and kind of complicated, which deters some new players. But the biggest drawback of the game currently is its nonexistent playerbase. When I checked it out, I was lucky to see one or two others online, and even luckier to find them not AFK and able to roleplay with me. It suffers from the same problem most new muds suffer from: Someone trying it out logs in, sees nobody there, and quits. Then the next 20 people do the same. So if any of the above sounds interesting, give it an hour or two. I've been more than happy to keep a small window with the mud running while I play some other games or do something else on my computer, and chat with people who log in, just so it's not totally vacant. If a dozen others do the same, something might come of it.
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