TMC Reviews: Batmud

TMC Reviews: Batmud

Since April of 1990, BatMUD has been a presence in the mudding world. With 100+ players online at any given time of day, it is plain to see why the MUD has been in existence as long as it has – it is loved by its fans. A unique feature of this game is the client that the game developers have made which greatly enhances the experience of the game. It includes separate windows for tells and room descriptions, so that quick movements through the large world will not inhibit communication with other players. The client is an integral part of enjoying this MUD with ease. BatMUD has long been a part of the community and continues to excel as a game.

Although the website (www.bat.org) experienced difficulties due to an attack which compromised information in October 2007, the game administrators pushed forward and released a new website in November 2007. Features of BatMUD include 44 total races, with 31 of them offered during character creation. There are also player-run races which are accessible by invitation only. Maps available on the website demonstrate just how large the game world is in BatMUD. Not only is the BatClient available to players, it is also being continually updated. It is not a lengthy download and is available from the website. While the client is available, the administration has made it clear that it is not going to render access via other methods (telnet, mud clients) obsolete. It is an enhancement that is not pushing out the other ways of access.

As a new player, BatMUD is an interesting and, at times, overwhelming game. Plenty of newbie helpers and more advanced characters are able to assist on the newbie channel (which can also be turned off for those who do not wish to hear it). The initial levels are gained not by fighting unrealistic monsters but by exploring rooms within the game world. Experience in BatMUD is gained in multiple ways, which is quite refreshing. As a newbie, there are also quests that can be performed to advance levels more quickly that also have the added bonus of teaching more about the game world. As levels increase, there are more varied quests.

One is barely able to scratch the surface of this game with a week or two of play. There are seemingly limitless options, even including players founding cities. The world is vast and it would be a long time before a player had ever explored each and every room. Maps are used in the room descriptions to help make the size of the world a little more manageable. When playing with the BatMUD client, these are separated out to enable a player to make the post of the text in the game. The map has indicators for entrances, players, NPCs and changes when darkness falls. Beyond the city or zone gates, an overhead map is used which helps to travel quickly from one city or zone to another while still being able to see who or what is nearby.

The quests offered within the game begin as simple assignments that help to increase a newbie’s knowledge of the layout and history of the game. As a player progresses in levels, the quests become harder and involve more intricate puzzles which make them very worthwhile to crack. It is easy to advance in levels prior to completing the quests for those levels (unless the quest is required for advancement), so if one desires to complete a quest it is advisable that he or she does not advance too quickly through the levels. While gaining XP comes easily and automatically, levels are only advanced in certain rooms while the player has the appropriate amount of experience available. This aids in the goal of quest solving because the player is not automatically bumped up to the next level and can still attempt to solve the quest even if he or she has enough experience to move up.

The items and equipment within the game appear to be as unlimited as the number of rooms. One particularly helpful piece of equipment is a shovel, which enables the player to bury the corpse of their prey. If a corpse is not buried, it can come back as a ghost – and ghosts are much stronger than their living counterparts! All items and equipment are lost when a ‘quit’ command is issued. The alternative is to issue an ‘ld’ or ‘Link Dead’ command which severs the connection but leaves the player’s character in-game. Items are then stored until the next reboot. Ultimately, renting a room or using a chest to hold items is the safest way to ensure they will be there upon the player’s return to the game.

Using parties is also very popular in BatMUD and the code provided to facilitate those features appears to be very good. There is a long list of commands to be used for parties (help party), and it is much more advanced than most MUDs. The creator and leader of the party can both move the positions of other members. They can also invite more members to join the party, remove members, force members to follow the leader and disband the entire party. Using a party is a good way to perform quests as well, but it is noted that quests do have some key factors to determine if it is finished or not. Because of that, it is important that only one person in the party performs any quest operations.

This MUD seems to be the most enjoyable for the player who has time to devote to it. The world is large and the history is wide, which leads the game to be a very in-depth process. While it is possible to be a part-time player, it is most likely the most enjoyable for the player who has time to devote to seriously playing the game. The features and amenities of the game (such as the BatMUD client) help to ease the learning curve of the game and make it more approachable. This is a highly recommended MUD for anyone to check out, whether they are a part-time player or a MUD creator. There is much that can be learned from the excellence of BatMUD.

Established in 1990, BatMUD is a well fleshed-out game of gigantic proportions that offers much in the way of entertainment and purpose for its hundreds of players. Despite the steep learning curve, nearly every style of MUDder is likely to find something to appreciate in BatMUD. The stylish BatMUD client assists all players in making the most of the game and the diverse quests help players to gain experience and knowledge about the game.

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