I should warn you, my English is good, but not great. You have my early apologies.
Game mechanics and feature set:
The game has been built on the back, of a hack and slash system. While it's changes are significant, the moment you enter combat you will find that most RP comes to a halt until the coded combat has ended. This makes for a very fun, very casual PvE experience, wherein you can travel at your leisure, engage with very simply designed NPCs with minimal risk of dying. It's very well-suited to casual players, such as myself, who don't have the time to engage in the more intricate affairs of the game, but would like to log in and have the ability to self-entertain.
The combat code is completely unsuitable for PvP encounters, because most players stick to FIGHT or FLIGHT instincts. They will hammer commands, to kill you as quickly as possible, or flee immediately and are back in a town in but a few moments. The few efforts I've made to extend an opportunity to people, to have some conflict RP, have been punished by their immediate escape via code. It isn't very much fun and "winning" takes precedence over a mutually rewarding experience. I believe this is because of...
THE GRIND. There is a always a grind to become better, in games. It's rare for you to pick up a game of any kind, wherein you aren't expected to get better as you progress. However, in ArmageddonMUD, the grind the most punishing and intense I've ever encountered. As someone who once frequented the Asian MMORPG market, I believe, I have the requisite experience and tolerance for grinding, to make this kind of judgement.
Here, it is immensely punishing and time consuming, wherein you will spend entire days of your life in the pursuit of becoming mediocre. There are ways and means to increase your "failure" rate, to make the process more tolerable, but these are, of course, considered poor form and are punished by a staff more interested in doling out punishments, than addressing the cause of such widespread grinding habits. You can choose to preference your WISDOM statistic over other, physical statistics, but this is only a benefit to players who have significant daily hours to spend on the game, and on grinding specifically.
The game promotes itself as a game, where RP is the central focus, but coded it in such a manner, that you will be marooned in mediocrity and easy victim for those who engage in the often rule-bending grind. You should have a natural progression, as you live your PCs life, but that is not the case.
The crafting system here, is not so much a means to individualize a character through a profession, as a means to print obsidian coins, the games currency. There is nothing about it that will let you stand out as Jack the Butcher, or Jill the Tailor. It is completely common for a rough and grizzled mercenary, to pump out dozens upon dozens of earrings, with his bare hands no less, and sell them for more than he would ever make, as a mercenary. A merchant can make everything, and each and every one of them does, in fact, make everything, because they can and there is no purpose in pretending to be a specialist.
It's based on a one shot system, wherein you take between 1 and 5 materials and wait for a craft timer to tick down. Then, you succeed, or fail. The timers usually make no sense, and it is not even a thing, to see someone produce a half dozen extravagant silk dresses in the same period of time, it takes someone else to cook but a single steak. The values of these items are quite often, beyond comprehension, in that, you can sell a cheap knife for a few hundred coins, but a finely made ivory knife will sell for less than a mug of cheap ale.
The P2P economy is all, but non-existent. You will find people who buy your raw materials, who turn them into massive piles of items, and then go and sell them all off to an NPC, because no one wants to use these items. They only want to use, the expensive and cool looking items, that come from merchant clans, and so almost the entire database of items that can be crafted exist as flotsam, rather than as goods with value to the players of the game.
When it comes to coins, making money here is easy. There is no challenge in getting it, no one will care or be impressed if you have a lot of it and you will struggle to find meaningful things to spend it on. Money is a non-issue, much like food and water, making the games gritty appeal feel very painted on. We pretend it's harsh and desperate, but it's actually a cake walk where the struggle is REMAINING a poor commoner in a believable way, and becomes quite hard to take seriously when it comes up as a point in a narrative. I don't believe this is by design, but because of the games age, and that teams of staff over the years, have built upon each others work, with the standards of their day, leading to an inconsistent and totally incomprehensible state of affairs.
The emote system here is top notch, and I really believe it to be one of the best available, at the time of this posting. There are silent and hidden emote options that, when used creatively, can afford you a number of dynamic ways to engage with a scene. You can, for example, play footsy under the table, with that nobles wife, without him being able to see it, unless they're lucky, or are otherwise being vigilant against such things.
Unfortunately, many people don't employ the system to it's full ability and you will regularly see people using the "stock" socials, like NOD and SHRUG, rather than invest a few more seconds into writing out their own unique emote. That is a failing of it's players, and while I feel it is worth noting for the review, will not impact how I rated the game. It's a really, very good system and makes bringing your character to life, a real breeze.
The game world is quite small, and whilst appearing diverse on the surface, becomes quite same-same once you've explored it. You will find the same few NPCs, like raptors, rantarri, gurth and tembo, are sprinkled all over the game world with little variation. You can forage for materials, but you will find much the same things, no matter where your character is based in the world, making the world feel even smaller than it already is. There is little reason to explore, as there are almost no interesting landmarks to be seen and nothing tends to ever be added or changed, meaning once you've seen what a region has on offer, you have no reason, to ever really go back and see it again.
There are a lot of wide open spaces, where there is nothing to be found. No NPCs, no landmarks, no variation in room descriptions.
The room descriptions are often copy & paste jobs, and there are a lot of inconsistencies in them. The sky is red in some places, blue in others, and things like that.
The game world is ruled over, by eternal and omnipotent powers, and remains static. There is no means of leaving a lasting mark on the game world, and players are barred from rising to any position wherein they could direct the game towards change. Players are discouraged from pursuing change, and are quite often squashed by staff animating the game world, should they make the effort anyway.
It's not very interesting once your first time shine wears off, and doesn't do much to inspire people to rise above their dreary routines.
It is completely toxic and dominated, by the bitter, jaded veterans.
I would not recommend visiting either of the games forums. There are, in fact, two forum communities dedicated to ArmageddonMUD and while each insists they are better than the other, or have more ethical integrity than the other, they are both awful. The best way to enjoy ArmageddonMUD, is not to expose yourself to the toxicity in the community, and to avoid engaging with players outside the scope of the game whenever possible. I really do wish, I had.
I'm indecisive, as to how to rate the staff.
There are a number of them, who seem to work behind the scenes and remain quiet in the community. There are some who seem to feel as though they're entitled to antagonize the players, only to feign ignorance or blame player misunderstanding, when players get loud about it. It sounds to me, like the staff of almost any MUD, doesn't it? I won't call them bad staff, because I don't believe the game would run as it does, if even the majority of them were up to no good, or otherwise, in it for themselves, rather than the game. I've had enough time to see and experience their behavior, though, that I couldn't call them a good staff, either.
I've only had to deal with the staff a few times but, to me, the defining moment, was when I submitted a non-binary character. Where a simple, we don't accept those kinds of characters here would have sufficed, I was instead treated to a particular staff member going on for a few paragraphs, about things that were not just unrelated to the application, but also extremely uncomfortable to read through. I was treated to threats, accusations and overall, it could not have been more clear to me, that this person had some personal baggage, and I'd had the misfortune of triggering them.
I, of course, sent in a staff complaint, only to have it blown off.
Now, when I send requests in, it is ALWAYS that staffer who addresses it, so I simply don't communicate with the staff anymore.
These kinds of encounters are made even more troubling, because ArmageddonMUD is home, to the KARMA system.
The karma system is presented as a means, by which players are allowed or denied free access to "difficult to maintain" roles. In practice, it's the means by which the staff manage their favoritism in plain sight. Those who are favored by the staff, have a lot of karma and enjoy much higher coded power caps and other benefits, than those without karma, and the only way to even get karma, is to request it, an option that has been disabled for quite some time, now.
Those with karma enjoy a much better experience than those without, and it is completely subject to staff favor and bias. If you're like one of the other reviewers here, you have access to the game in ways other players, such as myself, do not, and of course, those people are all in favor of this system, and have very good things to say about the staff who administrate it. It is the classic haves, and have nots, and not only is does it function exactly as it sounds, but with the closure of karma applications, wherein you would write a small letter, explaining why you're good enough to have some karma, new players now simply have no access to karma and won't again until some indeterminate time in the future.
New players, are like second class citizens there, and must go through a lengthy process of asking for permission and explaining our intentions, and hope the staff rule in our favor, to access things like magic. This is the process I went through, wherein I had the above mentioned encounter, with outrageous and offensive staff behavior.
I decided, to give 2.5 stars for staff, because as horrid as my experience with them has been, there are those who also enjoy great staff favor and relations, and have lots of fun with the game.
Your mileage, may vary.
It varies, and widely at that.
I've found that there are many who emote well, and can carry on a character that is to be believed. There aren't a lot of plots in the traditional sense, but there are always at least a few players out to do something, so there's usually at least something to talk about when you encounter them. One of the biggest hurdles in ArmageddonMUD, is getting your foot in the door and quite often, that is where new players stall out and quit. It's quite a popular opinion, that you have to be good enough, to be allowed "in" on what's going on, because people don't care to waste their time and resources on other players, especially new players, who tend to have a higher mortality rate.
If you can get "in", and find a group of fun players to play with, it's a really great time, but that can be very hard to do.
You will encounter a lot of low effort players, who are more interested in sexing, or erotic role play, than the game world and it's goings on. That isn't to say, everyone who is there for the ERP is like that, but I noticed here, more than other RP MUDs, that RPing sex often and for extensive periods of time, is a very prevalent. It's easy to avoid, by avoiding taverns and clans, however, so don't feel as though, you're forced to deal with all the time, if you don't want to.
Another thing to note, is that the game allows for very young characters and they are also quite often, sexually active. The game considers them adult, because of the generally harsh themes, but if you're sensitive to these kinds of things, you should be aware of it, as it can be a bit irking if you stumble onto it unawares.
I would say that, overall, ArmageddonMUD is the very definition, of your mileage may vary. I have had some really, just amazing and fun experiences there, but they've been few and far between, and it's hard not to let them be clouded over by all the bad experiences there. It you decide to give it a try, do it without exposing yourself to the community, and keep a firm grip on your expectations. If you deal with staff, well, good luck, maybe you'll get lucky.
I played Armageddon for about a year. Before that I was a staff member in Shadows of Isildur.
Armageddon as an RPI takes a hit with the stock game mechanics often found in hack and slash games. The rigid choice of which guild your character is does not offer a wide range of customization that would be expected in an immersive game. Compared to similar games like Shadows of Isildur, Harshlands, Sindome, or Arx MUSH, Armageddon is severely lacking with its lack of a skill-based character generation system. This leaves the mechanics at a mediocre level at best.
The game seems to run on a DIKU codebase with features added on. The nice thing about DIKU is that it's familiar, on account of how popular it is in the MUD world. The programmers who work on the game seem very active but the game seems to have taken a hit with a couple of losses on staff.
One of the best features of the game is its emote system, which allows for the player to target other players and items with various symbols like ~, !, and more to print their short description out in the way they would see it. So if you do "emote nods to ~man" most people will see " nods to the tall, muscular man", but the tall, muscular man will see " nods to you". Very immersive.
The game world is very hyped up as being a harsh desert. However resources are practically infinite once you know how to get them. This leads to the harshness of the world being mostly imaginary (with few exceptions such as super-strong mobs outside the city). The city of Allanak is an interesting setting at first but once you realize there are no other options it becomes very confining. I would have liked to see Tuluk, which has more documentation for it than Allanak, but is unfortunately closed for play.
Unfortunately the community is not very good. Those who have posted reviews saying it is good are in the in-crowd of the community and probably see it from a different perspective. From the perspective of a player who has been around for almost a year compared to many who have been around five, ten years or more it is clear that the community is broken into tiers. Newbies are constantly ignored both in game and out unless they make an effort to please veteran players in some way. I was outright told that my character was refused a promotion because I did not consent to erotic roleplay with my character's boss. I have asked questions and been ignored or told to be quiet.
Following what was said above about the community, the staff tend to protect veterans and themselves and look at newbies as potential threats or alt accounts. While many do their duty seemingly quickly (Akariel, Nergal, Xalle, Cayuga, Shalooonsh) most others are slow to respond. The community tends to like staff that interfere the least, and by interfere they mean surprise animations, commenting on the forum and offering advice. This has led to a conservative staff base that is reluctant to change the game or go out of their way to do amazing things for players for fear of being criticized. I for one was pleased to see my staff animate for me. But it seems like the community drove out many hard-working staff members like Cayuga, Nergal, and Xalle because they either voiced their opinions too loudly or got burned out by doing things for players for no reward.
As this game is an RPI you would expect the roleplay quality to be top notch. However it tends to hang around the mediocre level at best. Most players are playing a character which is good, but many characters seem to have goals of the player rather than their own goals. Male characters in particular are often looking for erotic roleplay which makes it hard to play a female character who wants to use their time productively.
I have played for about a year and stopped in mid December with the holidays. I decided today that I would not be going back. This is bittersweet however as I can't say I didn't have fun at least some of the time I played. However most of the time it was unfortunately a slog. Many games are out there that offer intensive roleplay without the high barrier to entry imposed by the community or a lack of good game mechanics as imposed by the rigid skill system. I would suggest that you play Armageddon if you are interested in the setting but avoid the GDB (general discussion board), the alternate "shadowboard", or the Discord channel as these are places where the community is at its worst. If you must talk to people outside the game, keep it to the staff or to the helpers as they are mostly helpful.
I tried my best to set a fair score for each category but I'm not going to restrict myself to writing within those categories because I'm not a big fan of review breakdowns. If you excuse my language I'm a big fan of the shit sandwich style of writing feedback. In other words if you must criticize something then stick your criticism (the shit) between two nice things (bread? mmm). Anyway, no more cussing. Let's begin.
BREAD SLICE ONE
Armageddon bills itself as a roleplaying intensive game. Its tagline is "Murder, Corruption, Betrayal". It is set in the harsh desert world of Zalanthas where you can't even get a drink of water for free. The documentation is extensive. So extensive, in fact, you likely won't be able to read it in one day, or three, or ten. This is not a bad thing. The more fleshed out the game world is the better it tends to be. Clearly Armageddon benefits from being over 25 years old as it has had all that time to form, and reform, and define itself. The idea of Armageddon is extremely good and extremely sound. It has a lot of potential, and undoubtedly hundreds if not thousands of people have found Armageddon fun at one point or another.
Creating a character is relatively easy. There are lots of resources available to a new player, including sample characters, a walkthrough, the helper system and the General Discussion Board. Picking a guild and subguild is easy. Writing a background is pretty easy provided you understand you are writing a Level 1 character here. Keep those origins humble.
Then you enter the game. There's a newbie tutorial that's helpful if Armageddon's your first MUD. There's a pre-game shopping area where you can gear your character up before they head out into the harsh world. Allanak, here I come!
THE ... POOP
This is where the disappointment starts to set in. You start in the local tavern's dormitory and wander into the bar. You're looked at. You try to introduce yourself. There's several people at the bar to introduce yourself to. And... nothing.
It's not like I'm talking to NPCs here. These are PCs. They're talking to each other. They're just too busy to talk to me. One of them is trying to get laid. The other is trying to play hard-to-get. The third is looking for an elf to beat up. The last one is wearing a hood indoors and is keeping to themselves. One or two of them look at you, sure. But they don't respond. They don't try to inquire further.
It's fine. I'll just give a prompt. "I'm looking to join the Byn, who can I sign up with?" The Byn is a mercenary group and the recommended clan for new players. I'm hoping that by the grace of God there is a Bynner in the tavern willing to recruit me right then and there. Wouldn't that be lucky? I can play a mercenary and learn about this deep game with some in-character friends.
Then I get my first response. "Sign? What do you mean by sign?" someone asks. Then it hits me. The stupid little thing I had forgotten. Most people in Zalanthas are illiterate. They can't read or write. In fact, for most people, it is a crime to read or write. So I try to correct myself via the out-of-character command to try to explain that my character wouldn't say "sign", that they would know people can't write, that he can't write, and he would use a different word like "join". "Sorry, I meant to say join!"
The response I got was out-of-character: "You said sign so roll with it."
Roll with it. Roll with it how? I made a genuine mistake as a newbie. I tried to tell them that I was a new player and made a mistake and would appreciate if it was just ignored this one time.
"Sorry but no. In-character actions have in character consequences," was the response I got. Generally, this is a philosophy I can agree with. However, these are my first few minutes into the game. Making such a simple mistake in my first few minutes of play, surely, was forgivable? Apparently not this time.
I hate to admit it but at this point I started to shake at my keyboard. All those hours reading the documentation and crafting a character, and my character could be arrested or even killed for saying "sign up" instead of "join" within the first few minutes of play. I moved my mouse over to the X on my MUD client and closed out. I'll try again tomorrow, I thought.
And, yes, I logged in the day after. People were, again, at the bar. I tried to introduce myself. "You were the guy that said sign up last week right?" By last week they meant the RL day before (1 week in-game is 1 day RL). Some completely different character remembered that I had made a mistake yesterday, although this was a week ago in-game, so this character had the words "sign up" in his thoughts for over a week.
I tried to work past it, then I closed my MUD client again. This time, I decided to spend time with my kids. I'll try again tomorrow, I thought.
I did not try again the next day.
Trying to ask for help was a nightmare. Between the spammy Discord, the unfriendly forum and the unresponsive live helper chat I could not get a word in edgewise. My introduction to the community was piss-poor and frankly I didn't expect it to get better than that.
BREAD SLICE TWO
It's nice that these features are there. It's nice that some players will be able to find them useful. It's nice that I got my character approved within minutes. It's nice that so many people are so passionate about Armageddon. Maybe I could give it another try sometime. Right now though I just don't feel up to it.
Let me preface that this is a review as a player for a few months but a vetted one to MUDs, having played elsewhere for a long time. I am going to break down each of the below with 1-5 Good or Bad Points to facilitate my review reasoning:
A. Game Mechanics
1. Talk script on NPCs, this is cool. It would be even cooler if it was dynamic, changed, and could be paid ICly to change to something like an advertisement of a rumor of so and so.
2. Weather simulation beyond just simple changes of seasons is pretty neat. It would be neater to see that the moons actually waxed and waned realistically like on other games.
3. Charact creation is pretty simple, straightforward and easy to use. This is a boon to a newb. It could be more informative on what you're expecting while being a newb because not everyone reads the website.
1. Crafting is so unrealistic. While some crafts require tools, many don't and you can sew a beautiful dress without anything but silk in no time, no RP really required. This is just asking for people to spamcraft and yet Staff frown on that. I am used to far more strict, structured craft system that requires a list of supplies, materials, time, and skill to complete.
2. Zero structure on sex/babies. It is in no way required by the Female PC's Player to ask your consent to become pregnant. This might sound weird to some but look at it this way. What if you do not want to play being a parent because of OOC trauma? What if you decided your PC is infertile, you inform them of this, and they still go along with it? All you can do is ICly claim it is not your offspring but you are still forced into a mode of play you didn't want to be in. It is also recommended but not really enforced to be realistic with pregnancy and babies, pregnancies are almost always perfect, babies are completely virtual and therefore there isn't any kind of real IC cost or consequence for not taking care of them.
B. Feature Set
Good and Pain
1. The Way. This is a neat concept being able to reach out mentally to others, sort of like some kind of in-game chat function. It is neat. But also annoying because it is not scary enough to use since Staff limit more and more risk with Mindworms.
1. Shops. So many of these never change, don't match fashion documentation, and those that do change with seasonal rotation are still stagnant and have similar deviations from documentaton making it a little awkward to buy. The shops rely heavily on PCs to stock by selling to them but with limited funds so it is an immediate mob-to-market mentality after reboots.
2. Skills. The grind is maddening for combat and for crafting it doesn't make any sense to be doing Craft A and then all of a sudden know how to craft an entirely different skill. I am not sure there is any perfect way of crafts, though. Other games you 'branch' recipes so you learn how to make Shoe C from making Shoe B.
3. Magick. From what I can gather from reading the Forums magickers used to be way scarier and prevalent. Now, though, it is mostly either Staff making Scary Thing B or you see a Gemmer in Allanak and no one bats a lash. It just seems like a missed opportunity on Staff's part to gimp such a neat concept.
C. Game World
1. The setting is nice with a refreshing, but not original (Dark Sun) take on elves and dwarves. It is a nice escape from more high-fantasy-esque worlds.
1. It is SO SO SO small. You die, you make a new PC, and you're right back with people you knew before even if you try to go elsewhere because there really isn't anywhere to go that is far enough away. It sets you up to NOT be able to let go and entices you to fall into the same circles over and over again. Luir's is basically a mini-Allanak. You'll know when Friend B died because all of a sudden there is this new guy in town with the same style, wording, and he is on you like sand on dunes like you're old buddies.
2. Given how small the world is, a majority of the rooms are copy and pasted and you'll wind up going through some dunes for 12 rooms and they're all identical. You can go down a road for 10 rooms and find the same thing with maybe a tiny shift in the last line to note a fork in the path here or there, but otherwise cookie cutter.
3. A majority of information on the world is not on the website and the only way you'll find out what Plant A is IC but the person you find out from only knows this obscure name/information because they've had that information handed down to them through their many characters or they saved the name when they were Staff.
4. It is so limited and this time I don't mean in the size, I mean in the feel. You can get fast-tracked to a point in promotion in a clan and then no more, meaning you're going to be for IC years or until you store/die. There is no political growth. It is like watching Days of Our Lives, the only thing that changes is who is kanking who right now. Staff micromanages plots and instead of giving players an avenue to even try, they just say no.
1. Helpers. They are helpful and that is good. Though they really shouldn't be asking for a player's AIM though, because that is opening up some OOC opportunities of the bad sort.
1. The forums are terrifying and toxic. Even posting a simple question or opinion and you are likely going to get treated like the dumbest person ever. Staff will sometimes lock a threat but that is not really fixing the hostile environment.
2. Favoritism is so rampant that even a newb can taste it after sitting in Discord for 20 minutes. You can tell who is friends with who with Staff in no time.
3. Sexual harassment from other players. This is not okay. No, I do not want your dick pic. No, I don't want you to have my phone number. No, just because my PC is nice to you does not mean you should PM me and suggest we should get to know one another because you just FEEL its meant to be. Stop. It.
4. The Shadowboards. This does not help the community having a group of people hell-bent on encouraging the toxic nature of the community.
1. There is active Staff. This is good. Some games I have played Staff were not the most active.
1. Lack of professionalism. While players do not pay to play with money, they are with their time and being treated poorly, like an annoyance, like an idiot, etc. is not okay and it will not encourage player numbers.
2. Favoritism. See above for Community.
3. Stifling. If it is not their plot, their plan, their want, they will squish a player's hopes and dreams and stifle the love of the game right out of players.
4. Changing the wrong things. Instead of listening to players about what they want as a whole, Staff is focusing on the wrong values; mechanics. They have limited magickers, karma, mindworms, closed essentially a huge chunk of the game, etc.
6. Role Play - All I can say is there are great roleplayers who do their best to stick with it and make the best of the world they have.
Will I stick with this game? No. Likely not. It has cool parts but the fact that Staff is actively making the world smaller and options even smaller, it is not something I want to invest my time in.