Review Submitted By:
Started on Forgotten Kingdoms
Nov 25, 2016
TMC Listing: Forgotten Kingdoms
The following review is the opinion of the review's author [Itikar]
and in no way represents the opinions of this website or its staff.
Forgotten Kingdoms is a MUD set in the Dungeons and Dragons fictional universe
of Forgotten Realms. It is a roleplay enforced mud with a very well done game
engine that yields a harmonious mix of roleplay and hack 'n slash.
The roleplay on Forgotten Kingdoms is pretty fine with many good players
capable of developing their characters with consistency regarding the lore, yet
without being banal. New players are actively involved in plots and events, and
cliques or groups of 'cool kids' monopolizing events are luckily non-existent
in this game. So one can feel part of the world right from the first steps they
move in it. Player groups, the most important of which are the various faiths
and churches, are quite open and heartily welcome new members and the community
is friendly and devoid of any toxicity.
The class system is centered around four basic classes: warrior, cleric, wizard
and rogue. All new characters will belong to one of these four classes. Then,
after creation, they will be able to choose a further specialization and they
will join one of the advanced guilds through quests which are in part automated
and in part related to roleplay. Warriors can choose to become either fighters,
rangers of paladins respectively. Clerics can become priests or druids, by
joining one of the many churches of the game, which can be managed by other
player characters of the same religion. To join a church a character will be
given a personal quest to complete, after which they will become initiate of
that faith, and if they are clerics, they will unlock additional skills and
spells. Also characters of other classes can join these churches if they want.
Then there are wizards who can decide to become generalist mages, able to cast
spells of all magical schools, or specialist, who have an advantage with the
spells of a specific sphere, but are barred from those of opposed schools. And
at last we have rogues who can become thieves or, after submitting logs with a
performance of an original work, they can become bards.
The best classes to try the game are the warrior or the cleric. The warrior, in
particular if one decides then to become a fighter, allows to travel the world
without much worry about the enemies one can encounter. Clerics on the other
hand allow to experience the game more fully, both from the roleplay aspect,
being required to choose a patron deity to develop their potential, and from
the mechanical one, since they have access to the fine spellcasting system of
the game. Wizards, on the other hand, are a difficult class, especially for
beginners, and they will struggle at first levels. Again rogues, at last, are
the most difficult classes to play and they are heavily reliant on groups to
make full use of their abilities. Because of the high difficulty rogues are
blocked for new players, and will become accessible to them later.
The spellcasting system is a virtuous reproduction of the D&d one. Spells need
to be memorized, so that planning one's memorization list has a very big
tactical impact on the battlefield. Not only that, but even deciding when or
not to use a spell can truly make the difference between victory and defeat,
or better, life and death. In addition to that spells may require components
that one needs to gather either by buying them in shops or by collecting them
in the wild, from monsters or by finding them. So one may find themselves
crawling into smelly sewers tunnels in search for beetle chitine or going
after birds to pluck feathers from them. Spells, and more in general skills
and feats for all classes are distributed widely in all the world, so that
to unlock all of them one will need to explore extensively or interact with
other characters to discover their location.
This is also a great opportunity for exploring and savoring the depth and great
care put in creating the many areas and quests in the game world. This will be
particularly interesting for the old Forgotten Realms fans but everybody can
easily appreciate the quality of the fine building in the game, feeling like
walking through a novel of R.A. Salvatore or Ed Greenwood. It is amazing to
find oneself walking down the many streets of Waterdeep, stopping in one of
its countless inns to drink a mug of ale before going to adventure in a nearby
dungeon, or go in Tantras and find the legendary wyvern stew.
Even finer is the Underdark setting that lies below the surface world. The
legendary city of Menzoberranzan, home of the dark elves, and Blingdenstone,
the capital of the reclusive deep gnomes, are some of the finest areas in the
game, which will seem a dream come true for every Underdark fan.
New areas are also steadily and continually added to the game, making the world
always bigger and bigger, and ever more detailed, to the point that even old
players, who have played from more than ten years, will easily find something
new to discover.
The staff is present in the game and quite active, polite and very ready to
help, with player applications being addressed sometimes in the matter of
hours, depending on how complex they are.
There is an IC tell system, that, thanks to some amulets, allows characters to
meet and talk easily without needing to use OOC means such as instant
messaging. This shifts many discussions and matters into the IC sphere,
yielding endless possibilities for roleplay.
The PK system is based on consent, so that PK becomes an avenue for roleplay
and not the source of endless peeving. However, while PK requires consent, this
does not mean that PvP is absent from the game. On the contrary it is an
important element, especially considering the various faiths and races hostile
to each others, but it involves a much wider series of aspects, quite much more
many-sided than simply jumping at each other's throat.
Another very intelligent system is the kismet. Kismet is a kind of currency
accumulated on one's account. One point is obtained for each hour of play, but
it can also be obtained from rewards from the staff or other players for good
roleplay. These points can be spent to create characters of special or uncommon
races, as well as, to some extent, classes or alignments.
Also the death system is pretty interesting, giving depth and the right weight
to the event of death, without finishing the story of a character by dying
permanently. Before level 10 if a character dies they respawn, without items,
where they had started, so not differently from many other games. After level
10, however, if a character dies they stay dead and they are sent to an
afterlife room. From there however they can still call for help from their
friends or even from their gods, to be resurrected or for their remains to be
recovered and then raised by a mob or PC priest.
For what concerns newbie assistance, new users can also access a very effective
system of helpers through the 'ask' channel, who will help gladly new players
with anything they need. The userbase at the moment in which this review is
written ranged from 6-7 users in low hours to around 30 online users at peak
times, with helpers almost always online.
The layout is pretty well done, with a very clever use of colours, and with
the possibility to turn on the enhanced vt100 interface which shows a map,
mobs in the rooms, and status affects at all times.
Every rose has its thorn, however, and while this game gets right really an
amazing number of features there are a few poor design choices which must
necessarily be mentioned.
The first of the is a mechanic taken from tabletop D&d that makes so that more
powerful races, such as the drow or the tiefling, are balanced with the
standard races, such as humans, dwarves, etc, by being at a lower level with
a similar amount of experience. This however was widely known to be a broken
system in tabletop already. This basically relegates these level-adjusted races
to roleplay choices, except that the higher amount of experience needed to
level up, makes them very difficult to enjoy also for players who are precisely
interested in their roleplay! Needless to say the damage this mechanic does to
the game is immense.
Then there is the lack of true alternatives to Waterdeep Market Square where to
meet other characters. This is particularly bad because several races, such as
orcs, goblins, drow, etc. are obviously not allowed into Waterdeep, and anyway
that city is still unwelcoming toward evil characters. To be fair there are
some social hubs where evil characters and dark races can meet with other
characters, but these are not visited as often, and, more importantly, not
easily accessible or advertised to newbies who could enjoy them.
Eventually there is the crafting system, which is actually very well-developed
in this game. Unofortunately the crafting is somewhat incomplete due to the
lack of enchantment mechanics. The problem however is that whatever a character
can obtain with these skills will be inferior to the first magical item a
newbie obtains from one of the many random quest rewards.
To conclude it can be safely stated that Forgotten Kingdoms is a pearl in
the current mud panorama which can offer fun to players with different
playstyles and expectations. It is definitely a game that anyone interested
in roleplay muds should try at least once.