Game Mechanics: Interesting combat system. Really confusing cure system with zero documentation on it, the idea being that you figure it out in-game by dying repeatedly. Crafting system is very lazy and many crafts you can achieve without any tools. You can branch a craft skill and just immediately start making stuff without any expected teaching done. You CANNOT learn a new skill or craft that isn't in your chosen Guild or Subguild no matter the roleplay done. You cannot change your stats no matter the roleplay done.
Feature Set: Interesting setting, very post-apocalyptic and kind of harsh depending on the role and location. Magic system looks pretty neat, haven't played with it yet because you need Karma to do so. They don't do account reviews for Karma, which is basically a Role Play Point which establishes you being seen as capable and trust-worthy. Karma is only given by Staff to their selected players. This Feature is what cost them 2 points for me. By reading their forums, following Discord, and then reading forums put up by players, you get a sense of extreme, deeply-rooted favoritism. I saw Staff in Discord themselves state that there are Admin who will just deny/close requests from Players they don't like and that So and So will never get Karma, or Karma is only for So and So. Seems really unbalanced.
Game World: SO SMALL. You have very limited options of where you can play as a New Player. You are forced to play in Allanak. It is hard to find a job unless you're wanting into the Arm of the Dragon (local soldier squad) or the Byn (local mercs). The Merchant Houses are difficult to track down and half the active players I saw on while playing were Nobles/Templars who didn't want to RP with the riffraff. So much shade is thrown on the official and unofficial forums about consolidating the game world to how little it is.
Community: Really, really unwelcoming unless you have a friend in the mix. They are toxic and hostile on the forums and worse in Discord. They can be extremely offensive, talking poorly of other races, political preferences, sexual preferences, and gender. They throw around completely inappropriate and derogatory comments about other players as well and Staff and their appointed Helpers join in. Really immature and makes me, personally, feel unsafe being there so I bounced.
Staff: Rude, flippant, and aids the inappropriate and offensive atmosphere in their forums and Discord. It is really, really bad when they brag about just closing Requests or denying them because they don't like a Player. The favoritism is rampant. You can see it in Discord when Staff flirt and praise this group of Players and are sassy and crude to another group.
Role Play: Lots of great and active players. I greatly enjoyed playing with those I met, even the ones who were super mean in-game but let me know in OOC what I was doing wrong and how to do it better so my scum could survive.
All in all. I really don't think the game is for me. I liked the setting and the RP I was met with. The in-game side of the game is great. The OOC side is really, really, really bad. I don't think its okay that Staff permits and encourages the offensive crap that goes on in Discord. I think it is really deplorable that they make fun of Players, sexual orientation, race, gender, or if a Player feels sexually harassed.
Game mechanics and features:
When the game was young, the features were great and superior to those offered by other games. It's been a lot of years now and having come and gone from the game for over twenty years, as well as spent some time on other games that wax and wane in popularity, I've got to admit that the the game isn't aging well at all.
There's some re-hashing and cleaning up of old features, but nothing new that competes with games like Labmud or even SoI. The latest huffing and puffing is about guild changes, but as far as I'm able to tell, they aren't actually doing something new with this, they're just watering what already exists down to provide more, but weaker choices. The magick system not only hasn't seen new functionality, but it's actually been downsized and diminished from what it used to be.
Neglect isn't enough for those who mismanage the game, they've got to strip it down, too.
There isn't as much of it as there used to be, but contrary to what a lot of these reviews tell you, there is still a lot to see out there. I knew a lot of the people who made those zones, wrote those descriptions and imagined up those cultures. They're long gone from the game now, but I know they, like myself, would be happy to know there are still people out there seeing and exploring them.
Skip the general discussion board, it was always a craphole and it's only fermented with time.
It used to be the staff existed to engage with players and make the game interesting. Now, it's nothing but a bunch of middle management types that haven't got an ounce of imagination to share between them. I'm amazed beyond all measure at how they can take something as rich with opportunities for fun and choke the life out of it, all while patting themselves on the back at a job well done.
There's still some good RP to be found, but like everything else that once made the game fun, it gets harder to find every time I give it another go.
It's hard not to feel old when talking about the game, so maybe it's time to stop.
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.
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.
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.