Dragonball Z: Fighter’s Edition: A MUD Review
DBZ:FE doesn’t offer a whole lot of lore or history for itself, stating simply that it is circa 2013–2019 and comes to us from ThunderZ. The landing page of the website does offer a bit of context:
Looking for a Dragonball experience that’s about more than simply watching your virtual power level increase? Drag(*)nball Z: FE is a Dragon Ball Z MUD run on a completely custom codebase that uses the BYOND engine. It was built from the ground-up, and seeks to follow the inspiration started by Trenton’s Dragonball Z: Fighter’s Edition (DBZ FE) and Rcet’s Dragonball Z: Reality (DBZ Reality). Gameplay focuses on a completely interactive combat system, where your character only attacks when you give the order, and your defenses are similarly your own responsibility!
I am no stranger to the Dragonball series nor the influence and long standing legacy it holds within the current manga and anime culture. One might say without the likes of Dragonball, and perhaps jojo, we wouldn’t have the many Shonen properties we have today. We’re talking about combat manga here. Just as cat iz 4 fyte Dragonball is for hand to glowing beam attack fighting.
We’re going to skip over the lore bits here. DBZ:FE clearly intends to represent a world where people are fighting other people with punches, kicks and energy blasts so if you were looking for lore read the manga or watch the shows every Saturday night on Adult Swim.
Right from the start you’re presented a choice of races: Saiyan
Halfbreed, Human, Namekian, Android, Icer, Kaio, Genie, Demon, Alien, Bio-Android and Spirit with Kanassan and Mutant teased as future implementations. There isn’t any explanation in game or on the web of the major difference between them but quite frankly most muds limit the difference between the races for power balance reasons anyways.
You choose gender, alignment and an impressive number of body traits next. Hair length, color and style in addition to eye and skin color, height and body type. All of this shows in the score display once you’ve logged in so it contributes towards your in-game appearance.
Once all the choices have been made you’re dropped into the game seemingly right into, or over, the ocean. You’re handed a number of quests which I believe are race and alignment specific.
New quest obtained! ‘Global Takeover’
New quest obtained! ‘Choose your Path’
New quest obtained! ‘Something wicked, this way comes’
New quest obtained! ‘Life After?’
You’re also shown the Help Newbie contents which allude to other help files for more specific systems.
One interesting aspect of this MUD is the visual map it presents on using the look command:
The tiny asterisk is your position, centered, and the rest should be fairly obvious from a visual standpoint. What planet you’re on, the available exits and what coordinate you’re currently in are shown around the map as well. Everyone can fly and swim so the fact that I started in the ocean make no real difference here.
The thing you’re after here is someone to fight. All four of the quests I started with involved defeating someone in combat, gaining power level (which you get by.. defeating people in combat) or, oddly enough, dying. Dying is a fairly central element in the dragonball series, though, so it’s probably not that odd. Thankfully you get a skill called “sense” that tells you the exact coordinates, name, direction and a rough “consider” of everything near you. With that in hand let’s find something to fight. DBZ:FE makes it a bit easy to do this one given as soon as you can find something with the sense command you can use the fly command to travel directly to them.
The combat system comes with a few nuances. There are no automated attack rounds such as you might find in a Diku and your attacking commands do not produce instantaneous results. Most notably it reminds me of a match of rock/paper/scissors. Your attacks can aim high, low, left and right. They trigger an execution timer within which the opponent can issue a corresponding avoidance command.
Combat messaging is functional and not atypical to what one might be used to in a combat oriented mud.
* Red Ribbon Soldier begins a high sweeping motion… (parry high / duck / sweep)
Incoming attacks indicate what avoidance commands will work against them. Attacks run on a roughly two second timer and…
* Red Ribbon Soldier tries to hit you with a sweep!
…may result in either a hit…
* Red Ribbon Soldier’s roundhouse >>>ERADICATES<<< you! ==
…or a block.
* You have jumped over Red Ribbon Soldier’s sweep!
Timing of executing an avoidance move is important as they execute faster than attacks and can whiff if done too quickly. The trick is avoidance moves and attacks cancel each other. It is an exchange of blows, then, to time blocking an attack and immediately queue your own attack after the block occurs so your attack will execute while they are attacking you.
The Web Presence
The website is functional as a landing page. It lists the races, planets, how to connect and how to find the discord. It could definitely use a bit of love.
If you want an interesting fighting system giving DBZ:FE a try won’t steer you wrong. Personally, I favor automated combat a bit more; I can definitely appreciate the nuances of this style of combat but getting the timing in on the dodges and getting attacks in between them feels like it could be scripted out a bit too easily or boiled down to a number of complex macros which I feel defeats a lot of what it’s trying to accomplish.
Aside from combat there isn’t a whole lot going on either but that is somewhat true to the source material. This is Dragonball Z Fighter’s Edition after all.