Wheel of Time MUD: A Review

WoTMUD is a circle engine MUD that has been around for as long as it could have been essentially having been founded in 1993. It is definitely not a stock circle MUD at this point in its life and has had decades of changes and improvements. The Titans of Text featured the current owner not too long ago on the podcast and you can find a get of WoTMUD’s history and current direction straight from the horse’s mouth there. WoTMUD is, of course, based on the Robert Jordan series The Wheel of Time.

Starting Out

The character creation processes is as you might expect in a circle based MUD. Gender, race and class are all prompted for selection. It also asks you where you’d like to start out, and the list is quite long at 17. A bit of help here might have been nice as this probably makes some sense to fans of the book series but to me they were all just names. One might visit their website first to gain an understanding of what the implications of starting in each area is.

WoTMUD drops you right into the game facing an NPC who can give you some starting equipment and a barrel that contains torches and some food. You need to grab some torches; heck grab all the torches. You do NOT want to be caught in the dark here. It also warns you that you should find a place to rent before you log out. Yes WoTMUD has a rent system. The Titans episode contains a bit of an explanation as to why.

The Gameplay

The gameplay is what you might expect from a circle based MUD, at least as far as the combat goes. WoTMUD is entirely massive with a great number of areas and land to explore and is divided along the lines set out in the books between Dark and Light sides (and a third, the Sea People). With this division comes an intrinsic element of PK and competition. I believe you can avoid the PK elements but not engaging in them would be denying what is the true appeal of WoTMUD which is also the base reasoning for the Rent system still being in place. Not being able to log out safely anywhere in the world definitely adds to the nature of a always on, 24/7 PK MUD.

Like PK I don’t believe RP is a necessity, WoTMUD does not bill itself as an RPI, but denying that part of the world also seems counter-intuitive. The intrinsic us vs them nature of the game world begs for some level of RP engagement. Additionally Light side characters can become what is known as a “darkfriend” which drives a bit of spy games for those on the lightside.

The Lore

WoTMUD, if you haven’t seen the website or listened to the podcast mentioned earlier, is an officially recognized Wheel of Time world. That isn’t to say Jordan’s estate chases down and sues every other Wheel of Time based MUD but they have a letter from Jordan himself signed and everything so WoTMUD is not only entirely based on and steeped in Wheel of Time lore and history they are officially allowed to be. According to the current steward, Austin, WoTMUD is currently floating around book 8 with their own sets of diversions from what is set out in the books.

Wheel of Time itself is pretty much an expansive fantasy world of intrigue and poor race relations, like most large scale fantasy worlds. There are a few caveats in that the magic users, Channelers, are split along gender. Female channelers are “good” or lightside and male channelers are “bad” or darkside. I believe at some point in the book series the changing of that becomes a major plot point but the MUD has not engaged with that storyline as of yet.

There’s a lot of people riding about on horses swinging swords at one another with the cadre of otherkin such as dumb lumbering giants but the players are mostly going to be human.

The Web Presence

There are actually a few websites to check out here. The one linked a few times in this review is the main website which is beautifully designed and contains a wealth of information about the game. There is also an extensive wiki that the main website refers to often.

If you hit up google looking for information on the MUD you might also come across their older website. I’m not sure if anything is specifically incorrect here and it is very extensive in how much information it has which makes it look like the official website but it is definitely not the current site.

Overall

WoTMUD is a storied DIKU style MUD. If you like diku style combat in a fantasy setting with a lot of interpersonal conflict you can’t go wrong giving it a try.

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