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Old 04-10-2006, 09:02 AM   #1
Hadoryu
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So I had a shot at ClandestineMUD after seeing it recommended as good PvP, but I quit very shortly after realizing it was based on the D&D system from the first dikus - a system I personally consider to be quite archaic by now and severely uninteresting.

That got me wondering, aren't PvP MUDs moving ahead with new and more exciting combat systems?

So I thought I'd list the ones I knew about and comment on them and then I hope others can post and introduce me to new ones.

Diku's combat system, which is actually D&D rules-turned-code. A lot of the time it's just a matter of who has the higher level and better stats on their eq/race/class. I find it to be very uninteresting to use because it usually stacks statistics versus statistics and winning is usually a matter of plain old D&D powergaming. It leaves too little in the hands of the combatant and too much in the statistics making for a fairly detached experience.

Godwars II's combat system. I tried it out for a week or so and I did like it. I didn't particularly like what looked like underlying old D&D attack/defence rolls and such (especially with the 5% chance to hit/miss looking precisely like the 20 roll. It provided a fair bit of variety and some tactical thought and was actually pretty entertaining, although I didn't like how the power shifts were somehow too sudden. I either destroyed something or it destroyed me when the middle ground is usually where the most fun is to be had at. It is a pretty good system though, in my opinion.

Rapture/IRE/Avalon(?) system. This is the one I've got the most experience with and I do rather like it. It's very deep,  very tactical and nicely paced. I love the idea of status effects being a major part of combat because it creates a great deal of complexity and variety when it comes to attack and defence. It can be pretty difficult to get into though and is very vulnerable to scripting, which in my case is a good thing, but to most casual gamers is an inpenetrable wall. Luckily there are combat systems being given out for free on all IRE games currently.

Dragonball mud.. I don't know which. It basically had a system of entering a command, getting the message of the attack being prepared and then being launched and the enemy could react with a dodge or another attack. It was based on good reflexes and flexible thought. I really liked it a lot, thought I think that MUD either disappeared or I just for some reason didn't log in after a while. The MUD was highly interesting to play, barring the boringness of having to accumulate power-level.


So what fighting systems do you know about? What do you like/dislike about them? Share your thoughts.
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Old 04-10-2006, 09:28 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by (Hadoryu @ April 10 2006,23[img
http://www.topmudsites.com/iB_html/non-cgi/emoticons/wow.gif[/img]2)]Rapture/IRE/Avalon(?) system. This is the one I've got the most experience with and I do rather like it. It's very deep, very tactical and nicely paced. I love the idea of status effects being a major part of combat because it creates a great deal of complexity and variety when it comes to attack and defence. It can be pretty difficult to get into though and is very vulnerable to scripting, which in my case is a good thing, but to most casual gamers is an inpenetrable wall. Luckily there are combat systems being given out for free on all IRE games currently.
While I agree that their combat system is pretty indepth and fun, I must correct you on a common mistake.

Rapture is nothing more than a engine, a simple yet powerful enough scripting language tied in with the networking needs of a mud, nothing more.

We at Persistent Realms use Rapture, but that doesn't mean we will have the exact same combat system. We are using their style as a model, and improving(or so we think, heh) upon it more.

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Shameless plug, check out our forums for a little more detail on what we have released on our PK system. Last months teaser(we do monthly teasers of history and/or game systems each month) we gave a pretty important piece of our PK system out to the public. Also feel free to join our forums and give us your idea's for a perfect system, you never know... we might just agree with you and use it!
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Old 04-10-2006, 10:16 AM   #3
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Godwars II's combat system. I tried it out for a week or so and I did like it. I didn't particularly like what looked like underlying old D&D attack/defence rolls and such
It's not even close.

D&D uses a d20 attack roll, plus Strength, plus magic bonuses, and compares it to your opponent's armour class (AC), which is their Dexterity bonus plus armour bonus plus any magic bonuses they have. If you successfully hit, you roll a damage dice based on the weapon used plus strength plus magic modifiers (regardless of how well you hit), and apply it directly (regardless of how much armour they've got).

GW2 uses one of your four independant Attack ratings, depending on which location you're attacking with. Each attack rating is initially based on your Brawn, Grace, Size and Tenacity. It then adds a modifier depending on which of the 6860 fighting techniques you're using, another modifier for your weapon (depending on how damaged it is and how skilled you are with it), and applies any magical bonuses the item has. It then adds your Combat skill and appropriate weapon skill together and applies them as a percentage modifer, then applies the percentage modifier for a two-handed grip (if appropriate), and another percentage modifier depending on which of the 25 fighting styles you're using. Finally, you add spell and pain modifiers.

The mud then selects the best of your opponent's Defence ratings which are capable of blocking the attack (eg a sword cannot stop an arrow or parry two weapons at once, nor can a forearm block a sword, so those Defence locations would be ignored). The three Defence ratings are calculated in much the same way as Attack, and if none are available (eg if they're in cooldown from recently being used) your opponent will have a Defence of 1.

If the attack hits, the mud will then calculate the damage inflicted. Your base damage is calculated per-location in a similar way to Attack, adjusted according to your opponent's Resistance (so that tough people take less damage). The actual amount of damage caused is then calculated from the final result, depending on how well you hit your opponent, with additional modifiers based on how good your Attack rating is compared to their Defence - thus if you have a very good chance of hitting your opponent, you'll also typically cause a larger percentage of your maximum damage on a successful hit (and if you only barely hit them, you'll almost certainly cause negligible damage).

The inflicted damage then has to make its way through each layer of armour protecting the location struck - for example, if you hit your opponent in the chest, it might have to go through a breastplate, a chainmail shirt, a regular shirt and a vest before being applied to them (assuming they have no natural or spell armour, or damage immunities). Each piece of armour covering the location will absorb a percentage of the damage, depending on the damage type - a steel breastplate won't help much against a lightning bolt for example. The more damage a piece of armour absorbs, the more damaged it becomes, reducing its ability to soak further damage. Certain powers, talents, weapons and magic bonuses can give your attacks the ability to bypass a certain amount of soak, however. Depending on the weight of your armour, a small amount of the remaining damage will also be negated after applying the soak.

Obviously that's only the basic system (there are countless more modifiers and special cases which are also taken into consideration), but as you can see it's nothing like the D&D system.
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Old 04-10-2006, 10:37 AM   #4
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It can be pretty difficult to get into though and is very vulnerable to scripting
Food for thought: What's the difference between an automated combat system, and a manual combat system in which scripting is the most effective strategy?
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Old 04-10-2006, 10:49 AM   #5
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Ah, that's pretty complex, yeah. I suppose I was pretty unclear with what I meant or I simply didn't put it in the proper way. What I mean was not so much that the exact mechanics are like D&D (apart from the 1/20 chance for critical success/failure) but rather that attacking consists of applying modifiers to a roll and looking for the highest damaging combination of such to apply to the opponent. Eventually that limits your choice of techniques to two categories - effective and not so effective. Meaning often times you'll end up using the same attack against the same kind of opponent. The different ways to guard offset this by a decent amount, of course, but that doesn't broaden the selection too much.

I'll say again I really did like the combat system though, it was pretty fun.

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Food for thought: What's the difference between an automated combat system, and a manual combat system in which scripting is the most effective strategy?
This is a question that's been asked in the past. There are several points that differentiate the two and they're in favor of the manual combat system with scripting. I'll recount the ones I can remember:
A) You can never code a system to act as an automated combat system - the feedback you get isn't perfect, hence open to many shapes of interpretation. There's a lot of room to be creative there and those with a better understanding of the system will build scripts which are much more responsive than others.
B) An automated system will never give you the liberty of a system you scripted yourself. You have multiple options at every possible crossroad and they are differently viable in different contexts. The simplest example I can think of right now is that if fighting a class that can kill you at half mana, you'd want to keep mana above that border while letting health drop lower than that, but there's a class that can kill you at half health. You can't predict everything and the calls are a matter of sentient judgment. You can try and put a lot of intelligence in your scripted system, but it's your intelligence you're putting in there. The script will only work as well as you make it.
C) More often than not, there's no perfect solution. An automated system can't make the decision for you because it might actually a bad decision in your own biased point of view and it might come into conflict with longer term strategy.
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Old 04-10-2006, 10:56 AM   #6
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So I thought I'd list the ones I knew about and comment on them and then I hope others can post and introduce me to new ones.
I think you can abstract the combat systems you described even further:

o Auto kill/damroll/thaco (DIKU)

o Tactical action point queue based (Godwars II)

o Buff-heavy balance based (IRE &c.)

o Turn based (DBZ?)

Another interesting system is at The Inquisition, which has the option of a combat emote system (where you phrase your attack in an emote), though it's important to note that The Inquisition is not a H&S mud.

I'm developing a slightly different approach, a tactical round-based closed narrative system, where basically players have pre-combat tactical setup and three chances during combat to modify tactics. After three rounds the combat is over. The problem I have here is this kind of combat probably only suits me, so it might not be the best system to implement on a multi-user game
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Old 04-10-2006, 11:14 AM   #7
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How does that actually work at The Inquisition? Are there actual combat rules wrapped in under the emotes? It sounds pretty interesting.

The DBZ one wasn't really turn based as you usually had to react within a special time-frame, too early or too late and you'd have gotten hit, for instance. Then again, that might fall under a broader definition of 'turn based'.. Hard for me to tell.

Your strategical system sounds like an interesting take on things. Will it allow for any interference from players after the initial three commands? It looks suited to handling large-skale battles between armies and such. Even if it doesn't work out as a 1vs1 combat mechanism, it will probably make a very decent mass battle mechanism.
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Old 04-10-2006, 11:36 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by (Hadoryu @ April 10 2006,17:49)
What I mean was not so much that the exact mechanics are like D&D (apart from the 1/20 chance for critical success/failure) but rather that attacking consists of applying modifiers to a roll and looking for the highest damaging combination of such to apply to the opponent.
Well no, not really. Supposing your opponent has a target shield - how are you going to hit them? You could just go pure damage, but a far more effective strategy would be to use a feint to waste their shield defence, then go for a followup attack with your other hand. What if they're using a two-handed sword and you're armed with a rapier and main gauche? They're going to out-damage you...but using Crane style you'll likely have a better defence, so set your rapier into position for a counter-attack, then (after execution) lock their weapon with your main gauche, giving you enough time for an unparryable thrust before reseting your rapier back into position for another counter-attack. You can use swordbreakers to destroy their weapons, nets to entangle them, whips to pull them off their feet, bows to take them out from a distance, you can stab, cut or pummel with your sword depending what sort of armour they're wearing, you can hit them where their armour is weak, chop off their hands so that they lose their weapons, use a flurry of kicks, punches and headbutts to brute-force your way past their defences, etc, etc, etc.

The "highest damaging combination" depends on many factors, not least of which are the tactics your opponent is currently using, and how your 'combination' complements the other techniques you're using. If they suddenly shift the grip on their battleaxe to one hand and unsling a target shield from their back, for example, you're going to need to alter your tactics accordingly.

Regarding the 5% chance for a critical/failure - this is common for most combat systems, for obvious reasons, and I've never heard of a mud which didn't have it (or something similar). If you can never hit or be hit, then you remove entirely the element of chance from certain situations.

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This is a question that's been asked in the past. There are several points that differentiate the two and they're in favor of the manual combat system with scripting. I'll recount the ones I can remember:
The points you mention could also be built into an automated combat system as well. In fact you could quite easily build a scripting language into the mud itself, allowing players to override any and every part of the default choices used by the automated combat system. I guess you'd end up with something a bit like C++ Robots.
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:02 PM   #9
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I wonder if each combat system could be broken down into something like:

Automated Elements (choose one of the following):

* None: If you type nothing, you do nothing (i.e., "manual combat").
* Partial: You hit each round, and may also type commands (eg Diku).
* Full: Combat is fully automated - you cannot type any commands (eg Gladiator Pits).
* Optional: You may toggle automated combat on or off.

Manual Elements (choose zero or more of the following):

* There is a delay after each inputted attack executes.
* There is a delay before each inputted attack executes.
* Each inputted attack costs resources (movement, action points, etc).
* Each inputted attack applies a negative modifier to your character.
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:05 PM   #10
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But the elements which determine the strategy seem to be fairly static to me. I.e. you look at your opponent's setup and then simply adjust yours after which the fight is fairly linear. Or that's how it looked to me at least. Meaning, you adopt a single strategy from the start of the fight and stick to it unless the opponent's status changes - and that seemed to be the exception rather than the rule. I didn't get too far into the combat system, but that's what I thought I saw in it - there was usually one or two attacks that would be really useful for any particular fight and the rest could be ignored.

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The points you mention could also be built into an automated combat system as well. In fact you could quite easily build a scripting language into the mud itself, allowing players to override any and every part of the default choices used by the automated combat system. I guess you'd end up with something a bit like C++ Robots.
So how would that be different from just scripting in the client anyway? If you could manipulate everything (and you need to) then you'd be at the same level of complexity as with just scripting in a client. Worse even, you'd have no choice of client and/or scripting language.
And it does sometimes seem like putting up one piece of code against another, but fights do require a lot of active input as well. There are too many situations to script without going into the depths of complex AI.
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:10 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by (KaVir @ April 10 2006,13: 0)
I wonder if each combat system could be broken down into something like:

Automated Elements (choose one of the following):

* None: If you type nothing, you do nothing (i.e., "manual combat").
* Partial: You hit each round, and may also type commands (eg Diku).
* Full: Combat is fully automated - you cannot type any commands (eg Gladiator Pits).
* Optional: You may toggle automated combat on or off.

Manual Elements (choose zero or more of the following):

* There is a delay after each inputted attack executes.
* There is a delay before each inputted attack executes.
* Each inputted attack costs resources (movement, action points, etc).
* Each inputted attack applies a negative modifier to your character.
Those would have to be check-boxes and not toggles. There can be and are a number of combinations of these.
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:43 PM   #12
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Maybe my imagination is failing, but I cannot conceive of a text MUD combat system that can't eventually be automated to be at least as good as the best human can be. Depth is no barrier. Chess is already scripted, for instance, to be better than any human is. It's just a matter of time before Go is as well. Heck, the main reason we don't have competitive chess tournaments in Achaea (something people have requested for a long time) is because they can just be 'scripted' by using any commonly available chess program to play.

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Old 04-10-2006, 12:49 PM   #13
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Oh that is most certainly the case. What I rather meant was that the more complex and fast-paced a system is, the more open it is to scripting. The more simple and slower a system is, the less necessary it is to script. Finding a balance is going to be very difficult, of course.
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Old 04-10-2006, 12:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by (Hadoryu @ April 10 2006,13:49)
Oh that is most certainly the case. What I rather meant was that the more complex and fast-paced a system is, the more open it is to scripting. The more simple and slower a system is, the less necessary it is to script. Finding a balance is going to be very difficult, of course.
Right. Both complexity/depth and reaction times increase the value of scripting. Not much value in scripting tic-tac-toe given that there's no speed imperative and the strategy is so simple. Either speed OR complexity can, by themselves, create a very strong value for scripting too.

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Old 04-10-2006, 01:30 PM   #15
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But the elements which determine the strategy seem to be fairly static to me. I.e. you look at your opponent's setup and then simply adjust yours after which the fight is fairly linear.
Nope, definitely not, unless you want to die repeatedly. Strategies against mobs tend to be fairly static (learn a tactic which works against mob X and that same tactic will work again against mob X), although that's mostly due to the limited AI, and doesn't apply in PK situations. Still, you'll see the same trend in most fighting games (Street Fighter, etc), so I'm not convinced its necessarily that bad - the challenge lies in learning the strengths and weaknesses of each mob, and then exploited that knowledge.

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So how would that be different from just scripting in the client anyway?
That's the point - it wouldn't. Yet one is generally referred to as automated combat, and the other manual combat.

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Those would have to be check-boxes and not toggles. There can be and are a number of combinations of these.
Indeed - "choose one of" the first, and "zero or more" of the second.
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Old 04-10-2006, 01:38 PM   #16
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Nope, definitely not, unless you want to die repeatedly. Strategies against mobs tend to be fairly static (learn a tactic which works against mob X and that same tactic will work again against mob X), although that's mostly due to the limited AI, and doesn't apply in PK situations. Still, you'll see the same trend in most fighting games (Street Fighter, etc), so I'm not convinced its necessarily that bad - the challenge lies in learning the strengths and weaknesses of each mob, and then exploited that knowledge.
That's interesting then. I should give it another go.

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That's the point - it wouldn't. Yet one is generally referred to as automated combat, and the other manual combat.
Umm, no, that's not it really. It IS manual combat, as manual as it can be. It's the individual's choice to make part of their response automate. That can be done for any MUD. It's just too fast-paced and complex for most people to keep up with, hence people will alleviate some of that by making their computers do the work for them. Mind you, the information the MUD sends your way is often times purposefully obfuscated and gets in the way of automation.

What would transferring the scripting capabilities into the MUD itself accomplish, actually?

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Indeed - "choose one of" the first, and "zero or more" of the second.
Toggling passive abilities falls under "manual" then? Hmm. I suppose you could make that work.
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Old 04-10-2006, 02:43 PM   #17
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Maybe my imagination is failing, but I cannot conceive of a text MUD combat system that can't eventually be automated to be at least as good as the best human can be.
In theory, sure - one day I'm sure computers will be able to write an entire mud.

However in practice, there are two ways to make a combat system which people don't script; either you make it so simple that it's not worthwhile, or you make it so complex that it's not feasible.

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Depth is no barrier. Chess is already scripted, for instance, to be better than any human is.
Chess has many permutations, but it is conceptually very simple, and has no element of randomness. Even then, the amount of raw processing power required for a computer to beat the top chess players is excessive.

A complex combat system is likely to have far more factors to take into account for each decision, and cannot reliably plan ahead. Furthermore, the client won't be able to access all of the information required to form decisions, rending it fallable.

I doubt you could create an enjoyable combat system which couldn't be assisted through scripts, aliases and triggers, but you can certainly minimise the advantage, and create a combat system which cannot be automated as effectively as a good human player (based on the limitations of current technology).
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Old 04-10-2006, 03:03 PM   #18
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Umm, no, that's not it really. It IS manual combat, as manual as it can be. It's the individual's choice to make part of their response automate.
I was specifically talking about building the scripting options into an automated ("The points you mention could also be built into an automated combat system as well"). Simply adding scripting functionality to an automated combat system doesn't make it into a manual combat system, surely?

Or are you referring to the ability to override the default manual commands? In that case you're not chosing when to attack, you're just choosing to replace your default "hit" with something more specific like a "sweep" or "headbutt" - the combat itself will continue regardless of whether or not you type anything.

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What would transferring the scripting capabilities into the MUD itself accomplish, actually?
As you yourself said, "the information the MUD sends your way is often times purposefully obfuscated and gets in the way of automation". If the goal of the mud was to create a game in which people could choose their own form of automated combat, then you might not want that obfuscation. You might also want to level the playing field between those who use clients (much like some muds add aliases), or simply have the feature as a side-effect of implementing a complex mob AI and feel that you might as well let players take advantage of it (particularly as you could then reuse their scripts, perhaps to give the impression that the mobs are learning and adapting).

However the main reason for the example was to try and draw the line between automated and manual combat.

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Toggling passive abilities falls under "manual" then?
If they don't involve typing anything (other than the toggle command), then I probably wouldn't consider them manual, no. If the toggling was part of the game (eg you have to choose to put up your defence, but it costs something, and can be knocked aside by the attacker) then I'd probably categorise that in the same way as the attack commands.
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Old 04-10-2006, 03:09 PM   #19
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It really isn't that simple.

First of all, in chess, every single move causes a change in status. In chess there are as many possible statuses as there are possible combinations of piece*position and all of them are significant. In combat it's very, very rarely like that. The possible statuses can usually be reduced to a much lower number. Or even simpler - you can just react to specific statuses and ignore most others. Combat systems are more practical to script that chess.

The point isn't to make a combat system that can't be scripted, it's fairly impossible to do so. The point is to create a system that can be exciting, yet doesn't need to be scripted. The balance lies between making it fast enough and complex enough so the faster players will still be excited and so the slower ones can assist themselves with some scripting. That's what I think at the moment, at least.
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Old 04-10-2006, 03:15 PM   #20
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So I had a shot at ClandestineMUD after seeing it recommended as good PvP, but I quit very shortly after realizing it was based on the D&D system from the first dikus - a system I personally consider to be quite archaic by now and severely uninteresting.

Clandestine's PvP system is not stock or even similar to D&D at all. If you just "tried it", then you obviously did not level to the point where you could even experience player-versus-player combat. The opening 50 levels (there are 205 max levels) use mostly stock Diku spells; however, these spells are worthless in PvP and worthless once you reach level 50. It is more along the lines of an introduction to the game.

I could refer you to Clandestine's two PK Logstations if you were truly interested in its actually rather unique and fast-paced PvP, but knowing you to be little more than someone who comes on here to blindly defend IRE's Matt and flame other MUDs, I doubt you were ever logging on with hopes to find a new place to play anyways.

Long story short; get to level 205 if you want to experience PvP at Clandestine. One should become acquainted with a MUD before attempting to blindly PK anyways. Now let me read the rest of these posts and catch up.
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