View Full Version : Text-based MMOs - Castle Marrach, VR1 Crossroads, etc.

The Prince of Cats
2007-03-14, 10:33 AM
(Don't worry if you have never heard of Crossroads; a very lucky few ever have.)

I was thinking about the best experiences I have ever had with CRPGs and I realised that my favourite game was probably Castle Marrach, a game that kept me amused better than Everquest or World of Warcraft ever could. I cannot put my finger on why either, since there were no levels or fighting. I mean, the whole game consisted of <<verb object adverb, "say something witty">> and wandering aimlessly about a castle.

But it made me think. Why have I never seen a good 3D MMO that rivals even the most basic of MUDs for depth? And yet, the money all goes to the shallow games with pretty graphics and a short shelf-life...

Well that is amusing... I just found out that the lead designer on Crossroads was Keith Baker - Yes, that Keith Baker...

2007-03-14, 02:00 PM
The biggest advantage of text MMOs is that, for the reason that they are 100% text, implementing new features is easy, and also it's easy to have features that would be very hard, if not impossible, to implement in a graphic environment. Custom descriptions of your character, and even every single piece of equipment/cloth it wears is an example, but a very simple one - sky's the limit, or should I say - the coders' and the players' imagination.

There is also the RP aspect - many MUDs are heavy on RP, but this is not because of their text-like nature. Rather because they are relatively easy to code, as such do not require great expenses and therefore can exist even when catering to a small group of players (RPers).

Now, myself I have played several text MMOs. The one I played for the longest is undoubtedly Lusternia, from Iron Realms Entertainment. You might have heard about them, IRE's boss is blamed for every misfortune happening in the text MMO community, from downfall of roleplaying on non-RP enforced MUDs to child abductions. The game is rather hard to get to - a steep learning curve, and a pay-for-perks mechanism (although the aforementioned "perks" can be acquired in-game as well, and while time-consuming it's easy enough not to be impossible - I was one of the better PvPers in the game without paying anything) are turn-offs for newbies, but fortunately the admins ARE aware of that problem and are working on making the game more newbie-friendly. Many people are also very helpful to newbies, especially thosr from their own guilds.

Anyway, I wouldn't personally call graphic MMOs "shallow". There are many RP MUDs (I just realised that I used the term many times without explaining it - well, MUD is basically a text-based MMO), but there are also hordes of hack'n'slash ones, and even in this category the best ones are flooded under carbon copied clones of Diku/LpMud/etc.

Bleh. Wanted to post more, but I lost my interest. Damn ADD.

That Lanky Bugger
2007-03-14, 02:59 PM
I dunno if I'd call MUDs being deep games.

Part of it is the immersion. Are you going to react to "A balor springs up in front of you!" more viscerally than you're going to react to an actual 3D balor smashing his way through the dungeon floor? Probably not.

The problem is that to trade graphics for text, you've got to give up certain features, like the ability to customize your character's appearance. In a MUD, it's simple. The player gets 200 characters to go nuts with. In WOW, you'd have to include substantially more than just a text box to actually customize your character.

2007-03-14, 10:01 PM
Only two hundred characters, how limitting... I admit I play on Forsaken Lands all the fricken time, tried WoW got bored, tried EVE got bored. but FL has held my attention for years and years. Funny for such a simple game of words. It has everything, rp, pk, loot, all the good things of WoW but with tactics! I love tactics the lack of them is what drove me away from WoW's pk system, best equipment won, not best tactics.

If you are interested, uh... link, some where... Hrm... http://www.forsakenlands.org/forum/
And time to go back to being the silent cat.

pax pacis

The Prince of Cats
2007-03-15, 05:18 AM
I suppose it is just nostalgia. I remember the good times I had on these text-based games, the friends and so forth. If I actually decided to cancel my World of Warcraft account and got back into Castle Marrach, I bet I would quickly pine for visual MMOs again.

I don't know... I had to play about 300 to upgrade my wife's PC and mine to play Everquest 2, a little over two years ago. Okay, my other games run slightly better now, but it seems like I have never upgraded my PC for a MUD. I mean, a good book costs about 6 and that is all the graphical upgrades I need for my brain.

Bah... You know you are getting old when you start feeling nostalgic about MUDs. The next thing you know, I will start saying how BBS-gaming was superior to this new-fangled internet gaming...

2007-03-15, 08:24 AM
I knew we couldn't have a discussion on text MUDs without mentioning Achaea, Aetolia, Imperian or Lusternia! I played those games endlessly (Achaea for over five years no less), but I eventually tired of playing endless online games and so I cut back temporarily in August 2005 and have barely been back since. Other than Achaea for nostalgia reasons, my favourite is Lusternia.

Guiliaume, Aerdan, Tetharin, Xzilshar :)

2007-03-23, 01:58 AM
Text mmos tend to have a smaller player base. As such its easier for gms to take an active part in the game (such as events) and allows for more player custimization.

Also i think the whole seeing it in your head thing makes it fun.

My experiance comes from playing Gemstone (i think its GS4 now). Probably the best one, running something like 14 years strong.