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This review has been reposted here, with permission, from the Tour de MUD blog. The link to the original blog post can be found here: click me.

GodWars II
Mud Title: GodWars II Admin: KaVir
Up Since: 2003ish (Beta Testing began January 11th of that year)
Codebase: Custom – Featuring Manual Combat and a Roomless World.
Time Played Before Review: 2 weeksish.

Mud Summary: God Wars II is a combat-oriented, PK-heavy MUD that has been completely built by KaVir from the ground up, who continues to develop for the game. The combat system is unique, deep, and complex and is fairly well balanced — though, as usual, most swear on some things being overpowered, and tweaks to the system are often made. A personal dislike is that the Mud is very RP-discouraged, but it doesn’t try to be anything like that so I can hardly condemn the place for it. Someone described GW2 to me as ‘the ultimate time waster’ and I tend to agree — and we both say that in both a complimentary and condemning manner.

Grade: A (+++unique combat and movement, +customization, +war, +GUI. Poor Documentation, Sometimes Faulty Mechanics, Players can be a bit offensive)

Pros: God Wars II is defined by two core mechanics: the combat system and the movement system. Because it’s based in a roomless world many people who are accustomed to the standard ‘go north to the next room’ system will find it hard to navigate around the place. Typing ‘north’ doesn’t take you to the next room but a predefined distance north, and one must type “ff” (feet forwards) in order to go between standing still, walking, jogging, and running. This system allows for distance to play a major factor in combat: mages and archers are able to keep their distance from foes, while conversely it is important for melee-fighters to be in range for their weapons to have their affect. Wearing heavier armour restricts movement speed, making choices between heavier armour and more speed an important decision.

The combat system doesn’t involve things like ‘kill ‘ or ‘cast fireball’. Instead attacks and spells are managed by manipulating the limb associated with them: targetting a mob and then typing ‘rs‘ might cause you to slice with your right-handed weapon, for example. Stringing together basic moves like this creates combos which, while used in weapon-fighting, are completely necessary in magic-fighting: rf, rp, ro (fist, point, open) could cast a Stream of lightning at a foe, simulating actual casting mechanics. I found myself aliasign a lot of these things for ease, though, simply because typing these commands so often becomes a bit of a hassle; I type ‘lstream’ and my client sends the above sequence.

Those that find deep, active combat systems a bonus will probably enjoy GodWars II for this reason: at it’s best it is deeply engaging, and what I’ve seen of the PvP is very fun and enjoyable. Supporting the manual combat is a plethora of talents and powers that allow very extensive customization, easilly the most I’ve seen on a Mud to date. Stats play an active and very, very important roll in determining results of combat and I’ve found myself deeply pondering the exact distribution of stats that I want. that you can constantly change your character build makes this even more fun: changing between a power-based great-axe wielding smasher and a sneaky darkblade-summoning stabber is as simple as reassigning stats, dropping talents and powers, and picking new ones. The only restricting in respecing is that once you’ve decided on one of the broader classes you have to stick with that decision, but given that most classes have magical, combat, and sneaky builds this really isn’t too much of a restraint, especially in PvE.

Two things that also have to be mentioned, while not as game-defining as the core mechanics, are the war mini-game and the MUSHClient GUI that KaVir has added to GodWars. The former is a very creative and strategic game of poker, while the second is a plug-in for the powerful free client that adds many more graphical elements, and mechanical shortcuts, to the game. I’m on my second playthrough of GodWars, and I’ve found using the GUI has made things so much easier: being able to click on a map to travel to a destination has made the world of difference.

Cons: As much as I love playing it, GW2 is far from a perfect MUD. Early on I found that understanding the complexities of the combat system incredibly difficult until an older player helped explain it. Things like cooldown, soak, and other various attributes of combat aren’t very well explained in the helpfiles, and learning a good character build can be a very frustrating series of trial-and-error. While the players are quite helpful in answering questions, and the playerbase is enough that it’s rare you won’t receive an answer, that you almost have to ask for advice is something that can’t be anything but a negative.

Further, as far as the actual mechanics go, there seem to be some issues. Within dungeons (which are not heavilly used: most of the combat happens on the vast worldmap) walls do not block spells or projectiles and the AI pathfinding is horrible: sometimes, as a mage, I found myself targetting an enemy, running away down a few twists and turns in the dungeon, and then simply lobbing spells from a safe distance to kill off powerful foes. At times, this seemed necessary; because so much of the chances of success are put into proper stat, talent, and power distribution all that work can lead to you simply getting creamed by the enemy in a matter of moments, which gives quite a depressing feeling when it happens. Nothing is worse than spending 30 minutes changing up your build to a new style to go and find out it sucks against what you were fighting.

Also, at times using the magic system can be frustrating. Because the processor produces combos out of the commands you enter in, and because you can chain combos together, there are instances where I accidentally cast something I don’t mean to because my combos overlapped. The most common example of this is if I use a spell that ends with a point and then try to teleport somewhere I can’t help but cast a Blast of Wind area-of-affect spell before teleporting, because the ‘Windblast‘ spell overlaps point and the first two gestures of teleport. Another example would be when I cast the ‘Mystic Armour‘ buff on myself, then try to cast ‘Forcefield‘ instead of actually applying the intended buff I cast Detect Invis on myself and have to re-cast Forcefield.

As far as the playerbase itself goes, the only complaint I’ve had to far is that some people can be a bit annoying, and it seems the same people can be quite offensive on public channels. Poorly disguised (if that!) racial slurs have been uttered, though I don’t get the feeling the person is trying to be offensive. It’s enough to make me scowl behind my screen, and that level of immaturity isn’t something that I like, even if it is to be expected on a PK-heavy MUD.

Closing: God Wars2 is going to be the type of place that I always have in my back pocket, even if I don’t actively play it. It’s the type of thing that you can bring up if you’re in the mood for mindless violence that has a bit of a mind to it, and from a strictly developemental point-of-view it gives a ton of unique (to MUDs) approaches that can change what you look for in a text-based game. But be warned: typically people either love God Wars II or hate it, and there’s really no pre-defined checklist to know which you will be, save that if you find a MUD not worthwhile to log onto if there’s no Role Playing. I definately advise connecting to it at godwars2.org port 3000.

The author of this post is Bobo the Bee and GamingHUD.com extends it’s special thanks to him for allowing us to repost this.