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Old 10-17-2016, 12:06 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2015
Home MUD: Materia Magica
Home MUD: EmpireMUD
Posts: 14
Kurdock is on a distinguished road
Materia Magica - the Good and the Bad

I just started playing MM a month or so ago, and my experience has definitely been a roller coaster ride for me.

Good #1: Vibrant Community, Active Staff
MM averages around 60 connections at any given time. This relatively large playerbase have helped me overcome some difficult situations and enthusiastically answered my many questions about classes and other aspects of gameplay. A player named Cleft, for example, gave me some lightning wands to help me defeat a red dragon in the newbie town of Lasler. Those wands were very useful because the dragon had some vulnerability to lightning (I think).

Other than that, the staff have also been very responsive. After making a forum account, I asked Duende (the lead developer, not owner) to help approve my account. Within minutes, my forum account was approved. Some time later, I was encountering some problem where I couldn't enter the room where I was supposed to fight some Druid for a quest. A different immortal (Iyara) quickly came to my aid. Although she initially had trouble fixing the bug, soon she got it fixed and I could proceed. Needless to say, I have been very impressed at the amount of dedication these guys have shown towards MM, and I can definitely say that MM has a good future ahead of it in the hands of such hardworking immortals.

Good #2: Unique Features
There has been some controversy about MM being a ROM derivative and not a custom codebase. Nevertheless, MM definitely has some features that makes it stand head and shoulders above other similar MUDs. There's a well fleshed out seafaring system where you can purchase dreadnoughts and equip them with powerful cannons, ballistas, swivel guns, onboard sextants and various other upgrades. Players also have to recruit crew members for their ships and maintain crew morale. Sea combat sounds exciting (although I haven't tried it out) and players can fight pirates to amass loot.

Besides, MM has a unique quest system never seen before in other MUDs. They each have painfully custom-written background stories, and require you to do various things like visiting crime witnesses or shaving the vines off a vinebeast. Most quests have several phases that you need to complete before the quest itself is completed. Here's a link to an example of one such quest. Additionally, MM has a "marks" system where you gain additional rewards for performing certain actions. Gain the Mark of Wisdom by completing a statue's puzzle, or go on a quest to gain the Mark of Fire so you can get past the guards of Hellbent Mountain. There are hundreds of such marks and more are being added every month.

MM also boasts a nice politics system where players can run for Mayor of Rune. Elections are held every three or so Alyrian months (Alyria time is 4x faster than RL time). Mayors have builder-type control over the town of Rune, able to upgrade the rooms and pass new laws. They have a limited amount of power, however, so they can't change all the rooms in Rune to PK rooms, but they can change two or three for example. Less major changes include making some rooms immune to earthquakes etc. Another type of politics is clan alliances. Players can form clans with other players, but on the occasion the clan wishes to establish good relations with another clan, these two clans can form an alliance and enjoy various benefits.

There are many many features unique to Materia Magica. Another is how players can build, upgrade, and tweak their own homes as they see fit , in a number of major cities across Alyria. MM's in-game building system can be used by any player to purchase a housing lot and develop their dream home (or castle). They can furnish their homes with one of hundreds of customizable furniture selections from Van Pelt's Furniture Emporium and put out a bowl for your pet goldfish.

Finally, when a player completes their classpath and reaches a total of 240 levels (60 from each class) they can set off on the journey of becoming an Archon. This involves having to perform a very dangerous quest, and after that only are they able to ascend to the envied ranks of Archon. Now, some say that the fun of MM is locked behind the Archon rank, but I disagree. Archon IS fun though. For example, there's a race of otherworldly hunters known as the Ithrix who will stop at nothing to hunt down Archons. They're also known as Archon Hunters. On a higher level are the Archon Hunter Masters (Ithrix elite) who may even need a team of Archons to take down. Defeating Ithrix, however, rewards the victorious Archon with Archon Points that can be used for advancement. Dead Ithrix also drop tokens that can be turned in at a questmaster for practices, quest points and other good stuff.

Good #3: Lots of Accessibility Improvements
MM is known in several blind gaming communities as probably one of the most VI-friendly MUDs in the world. Tons of work has gone into making gameplay easier for the blind, as well as MXP and MSP support that is useful to non VI players as well. MM featured on a VICE article early last month for its work on blind support, and there is also a YouTube video showing one of our VI archons fighting an elite mob.

Bad #1: A Minmaxer's Nightmare
I'll start off by saying this game will drive you crazy if you're a minmaxer. This is due to MM's unique class system where you choose a class from each of the four archetypes over the course of your progression. Therefore you can make all sorts of combinations. The key to a good combination is to have as few overlapping skills as possible, while having some of the most important skills as well. Example: if Wizards(mage) have x skill,and Shaman(cleric) also has x skill, then it might make more sense to become a Priest(cleric) because Priests have y skill that Wizards don't have. This is further complicated because all classes have many skills.

One example of a combination (or in MM language, "classpath") is Cavalier-Monk-Druid-Bard, quite a common classpath seen around MM. Cavaliers are from the "fighter" archtype, Monks are a "mage" type, Druids are "cleric" types and Bards are "thief" types. There is no "best" classpath however, and most combinations can do fine in PvE, as long as they have some key abilities. Therefore as a minmaxer you will probably spend a few days deleting and restarting your characters to check out all the different options.

But that's not all. As a minmaxer you will want to get as many practices as possible at the start because of how expensive and rare practices are at endgame. You'll probably spend months in each class grinding quests and trying to kill every single boss in your level range. Worse still, skill training use up more practices at later levels, so you'll probably want to choose a Mage class as your first class because mages have a lot more skills to train. Unfortunately, Mage first class probably means you'll need to lug around lots of spellbooks and reagents (unless you're a Psionic, but Psis don't have many many skills and so is fine as a 2nd or 3rd class except in special circumstances), and it's nearly impossible to solo bosses.

Ultimately, just have fun. Play what you want to play. Most of the top placers don't min-max hardcore, they just play something that's "not bad" and use various gear to balance it out.

Bad #2: Controversy
MM is a controversial MUD. That's something I have to admit. it has faced countless external problems (a player writing a script to cheat on TMS, accusations of being a Rom derivative) and several internal ones as well (a change of ownership where the new owner/player used admin privileges to do stuff he couldn't do on his mortal). I think these issues have mostly cooled down now, and overall, just play what you want to play! As long as MM doesn't become a MUD where admins openly ban and troll, as long as there's a respectable player base, I'm okay with it.

Ok I'm kinda tired now. Thanks for reading and happy MUDDING!!
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