Lensmoor MUD — A Review
Lensmoor is a ROM based mud that has been around since 1997. One can even find a post as far back as 1999 on the note board from their website to prove the fact. It is not an RPI, though roleplaying seems to be encouraged, and it is fantasy themed with a race list boasting the normal cast along with several types of fae, a reptilian based race and selkies. (sea critters)
The first thing that strikes me, and perhaps this is just a sign of the times we MUD in, is that there are people on and using global channels fairly often. I hate to mark down “people logged in and actually engaging” as a feature positive or otherwise but it’s a nice surprise when logging into a MUD for the first time. Additionally, it seems players can mark themselves as helpers, which is denoted by some color shifts in the who list, and of the 11 other players online only 3 had not marked themselves as such.
Character creation is very ROM like. Name, password, gender, race and then a final option to use the “advanced” creation system which I did not. Following that you’re dropped into one of two zones of your choosing. You get 3 options from here. You can attend “full on mud noob” training which I’m gathering teaches things like Inventory, Score, Wimpy, cardinal directions and the like. You can attend “lensmoor” training, which is what I chose, or you can straight up enter the game. It’s good, especially with a system 2 decades old, to have those choices.
The meat and potatoes in Lensmoor is, of course, very familiar for me being a ROM. They’ve done away with classes for a skills based training/on-use system which I am very much in favor of. There is an “atrophy” mechanic which kicks in at a global level and seems to act as a softcap on total skill proficiency so possibly no 20 year old character uber tankmages running around. The basics of combat remains very Diku in nature with auto-attack rounds and the typical “you VERB the ENEMY with your NOUN” messaging.
Further down the leveling road are the promises of player housing, complex clan dynamics and in-depth, complex crafting.
Lensmoor is effectively divided into two lands, the continent where the city of Lensmoor is which is more or less geopolitical stable fantasy lands of verdant forests, rolling fields and villages and Antrippa the dark wasteland continent. You can start on either of these which is a nice touch.
Beyond that the lore seems to mostly be in the hands of the players and history itself. It’s not uncommon for a MUD (or any fantasy themed game) to use an unspecific setting as the backdrop and it is especially useful when trying to work in all manner of individual players’ histories and storylines.
The Web Presence
The website is a bit of a dichotomy. From a guest/new player standpoint it is somewhat serviceable with a section to look up help files, the news board and some other minor information but it is lacking in any real information on the game world or themes. The layout and design is slightly dated but absolutely usable and easy to navigate which is, along with content, the most important part.
Interestingly, and this is the other half, it has a tie-in to your actual MUD login to allow you to see who’s online, what your current score output is and usage of the note board. It also has an “editor” which I can only assume is web-based OLC for staff members.
I can’t help reiterating my bemusement at seeing people interacting with each other live in a MUD over global channels. Everyone wants to see their MUD as offering a markedly different experience mechanically as all other MUDs but when it comes down to it most Diku family MUDs feel the same. No matter how heavily you customize your ROM if it stops feeling like a ROM then, well, you’ve lost a core audience.
The most important way MUDs become unique is the people in the game and the experiences they provide each other. If you’re into the Diku/LP style of combat and mechanical basis you should give Lensmoor a go for sure. You can’t go wrong if you’re meeting new people.