A few weeks ago I got an email inviting me to join in a beta test of a new online game. They promised to take online gaming to a new level and turn it into a form of literature. Even though I have heard arguments of this nature before, the game was free to play, I was bored and so I decided to check the game out.
Ed. I did not write this, but it was in our database as "anonymous" so I added my name so it would list properly.
Triad City is an online multi-player, text-based game. A MUD or MUSH for most of you. I'll admit up front, that I haven't really spent any time exploring this avenue of gaming in the past and so don't have a lot of prior experience to base my impressions and feelings on. The only other online game I have tried was Castle Marrach from Skotos, and I wasn't too impressed with that game.
I made my character for Triad City and dove right into the city.
New characters start out on an island that is in the middle of the city. The city is divided up into three areas, with sanctuary island in the middle connected by bridges and a subway system.
I had a little difficulty with some of the commands at first, since I kept on trying to use command words from old Infocom games that I played on my Commodore back in Elementary school. The game provides a very nice site which explains quite a bit about the game. All of the commands are listed and accessible with examples of how they are used.
I've been told that most MUD and MUSH games don't care too much about character skills. Triad does. There is a complete list of skills, their pre-requisites and a guideline for how difficult they will be to learn. There are some skills on that list that you have to wait until 10th level or higher to learn. However, the first skill that you have to learn is "learn". You can't learn any other skill until you have learned the skill of learning.
Each of the three areas of the city are governed by a sort of overarching alignment philosophy. White = good, Black = evil or bad and Grey = neutral. The significance of the colors doesn't become really important until your character reaches 10th level or so and fully commits to following one color over any other.
As a character you gain experience by going around the city and exploring. You can also get experience by buying or selling items and learning new skills. There are a couple of sweet spots that will gain you experience quickly, but they are hard to find, so don't count on them unless you can find a guide.
The other players have so far been very nice. They are more than willing to help a new player and contribute greatly to the game having a 'community' feel to it. Combat is something that characters can engage in while playing, but after 6 levels, I have still not had to deal with it. A definite plus in my book.
As the game continues to develop new areas are added and available to explore. A future development that has already popped up in a couple of areas is the concept of character residences. There are three or four character residences that I have found so far and I have to say that I love the idea. It gives the environment a Snow Crash kind of feel.
I spoke with one of the designers and there is no plan to ever charge for playing the game. They are looking at charging for some extras, such as if you want your character to have a huge mansion to live in, but they do not want to charge players to just play and have fun.
I recommend checking the game out. I've found it to be a nice way to fill in odd bits of time online, as well as when I have a whole afternoon or evening free to waste. There isn't any of the cliquey feel that I ran into at the Castle Marrach beta, and I have to say that I just really enjoy a nice, simple text-based game. Call me old-fashioned. Go check it out. Now!