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TMC Reviews: Babylon 5: The Last Best Hope


Babylon 5: The Last Best Hope QuickFacts

TMC Listing: Babylon 5: The Last Best Hope
Server Type: [MUX]
Site: babylon.monolithwebsystems.com 2259
Homepage: http://

TMC Reviewer: Sheryl Galchutt
Mud Theme

Babylon 5: The Last Best Hope follows the science fiction TV series Babylon 5, centering about a huge space station, the Babylon 5 station, and including a wide variety of very developed alien races, including Earth-derived humans. It takes place in the year 2258 (only a single season into the show) and deviates from there. Given the show's incredible thematic detail, it requires a player to be somewhat familiar with the show to make sense of the details.

As it is a RP-oriented MUSH, there are a wide range of characters, representing a good portion of the theme's aliens and types, from mysterious Old Ones to normal techs and pilots. The news files on the MUSH do expect players to know what Babylon 5 is, so either learn as you go or start camping out to watch the show's confusing-for-the-casual-viewer episodes. Details, however, are available on several websites, so there are alternatives.

Note to fans of the series: The deviations from theme may strike you as odd. Shadows are overtly wandering around, and even seem fluffy and playful sometimes, and the line between how some alien races are played in relation to other alien races is blurred (Minbari risking life and limb for humans, Vorlons behaving confusingly but in the way children are sometimes confusing, odd pairings that seem to strike purists to the show as bizarre) to the point that a lot of characters may as well be humans with odd physical attributes and different languages.

Mud Atmosphere

The game is a pretty friendly game with a plentiful and available staff to help new people. Besides being plentiful, the staff on B5 is very eager to bring people in without looking forced. Questions on the guest channel were answered promptly and well, referencing places in news as well as answering outright. Even the players hanging about in the Out of Character area are very willing to chat and offer suggestions.

New players can quickly get characters online, which is required for trying out the character generation system (closed to guests). In addition to a stats system, there are plenty of handy global commands for organizing people, though space travel is still handled by a shuttle system and real space is promised. I found the help files for some of the systems written in a somewhat arcane style (the game's Org system, for example) and they do take a bit of reading if you feel like coming to a full understanding.

Code seems to support the pure RP and story focus of the game pretty well. Focus is on negotiation of conflict, rather than rolling dice, which leaves much of the maturity and good sportsmanship up to the players.

Mud World

The play centers on the Babylon 5 station, which is built to enormous proportions. This would be fine for a playerbase of some 80-100 players nightly with a few people to play hair stylists, but for the game's average (20-30 nightly login currently) it's confusing. Entire tracts of rooms must be gone though to get to the RP centers, and it takes a while to remember the layout of the multiple levels. For the stage the game is currently at, it's over-built. The +who command does show the locations of people who can be located, which helps find concentrations of people, but otherwise the ratio of room-per-playable character makes much of the building useless travel and scatters the existing playerbase.

There are a few other planets to support the various races, gotten to by means of the shuttle system, and they are built slightly more reasonably. There are, according to admin, plans to beef up plots involving places other than the Station, such as a Mars rebel plot and political events on Earth.

Additional Comments

Players seeking combat situations may do well to try out the RP, since the theme and the MUSH do very much stress story. There is no space combat system as of yet, and from the word, it will be simple and easy and not simulationist. This is definitely a game for people who enjoy character development and interesting concepts.

Summary

I've seen two other games running this theme and this is, by far, the better one out there. It's very apparent that the admin enjoy the theme and want others to join in the fun. Aside from the over-building and some difficulty in snagging players zipping about said building long enough to enter into RP with them, it's a very good MUSH for Babylon 5 fans with a need for experimental theme and different ideas within the genre.

TMC Reviewer: Lynne Hall
Mud Theme

The theme of Babylon 5, as would be imagined, is the TV show Babylon 5. However, for the dedicated fan, it has to be noted that this mud departs from the timeline after 2258. Thus, the multiverse that is presented relates to the events which occurred in the first series and some of the events which happened in the second. This does provide a fairly concrete background against which the events in the MUD happen and the various races and allegiances are relatively faithful to the series. Again, however, there are things that happen in the MUD which would not happen in the series, such as Shadows being around and so on. In general though, if you have a good knowledge of Babylon 5, it is not too difficult to fit in here.

Mud Atmosphere

The MUD was reasonably friendly, the immortals were helpful and did answer questions quickly, although some of the answers were a bit on the cryptic side. The MUD is hard going at first due to the difficulty of determining quite what you should be doing. Whilst there is a strong focus on roleplaying and getting actively involved in plots, this is easier said than done. However, the players are friendly and do try to work out how you could fit your character into a storyline. I initially I found that it was quite hard to pick up on what was actually going on and felt like a spectator, although the role play was sufficiently good to keep it quite interesting. Other people also seemed to get a bit bored and there were a number of comments on the public channel which indicated that people were sitting all on their lonesomes on the various planets.

Mud World

The world is well built with many areas replicating a range of different areas within Babylon 5. Due to the fact that Babylon 5 is on multiple levels and spread out on several planets, it was actually quite difficult to find people to do anything with. Some of the descriptions are a bit similar and in my attempts to locate other inhabitants, I kept getting hopelessly lost, but an immortal took pity on me and kept putting me back at a central point.

I found the areas well constructed, with good descriptions, and there were some nice features such as limited number tables in bars and so on. The shuttles and transports were also well thought out and their departures broadcast on the mud, so you can move about quite easily. Unlike many MUDs there was no combat system and no concept of levelling. Skills develop over time and are not of great importance, the whole focus is on role play, and the world just provides a background for this.

Additional Comments

I really wouldn't recommend this MUD to anyone who wasn't a heavily committed Babylon 5 viewer. The focus on roleplay meant that you need a really good knowledge of the series. I was advised to read up on specific episodes to build up my character background. One downside was the character generation process, it took me over an hour to create a character. There was help available from the immortals who gave you advice on why your character wasn't quite correct and helped you change it, but the process was very drawn out. The help files are complete, but the system is quite complex and it takes a lot of reading to get going.

The main problem that Babylon 5 is currently suffering from is a limited player base. There were rarely more than 20 people logged on and I spent quite a lot of time trying to find people to actually interact with. It needs a lot of people scattered all over the station to enable roleplay to occur.

Summary

I would say that for the Babylon 5 fan who likes roleplaying, this is a good mud to play on. It is well thought out and the current player base, whilst a bit on the small side, is friendly and shows a strong commitment to roleplay. Its construction shows a lot of effort, I found no bugs and there has been considerable attention to detail. As more players arrive, I would imagine this mud would provide an interesting place to act out a variety of storylines.

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