Sceadeau has been trying for the last little bit to get Robb and I to start playing on the Arctic mud with him. I went to give it a spin the other day but ended up learning some things that made me uninterested in playing it heavily.
While I was playing I got to overhear a shouting flame war between some other players. It would seem the mud is what they call 'oPK' or open player killing. This means anyone can attack any other player in almost any room at any time. From what I was able to gather about this particular situation one of the players attacked someone else. Said someone else then sent out a request for help via some out of game channel (a Skype chat room or a Facebook group or something) and then 10 people were suddenly involved in the fight. They killed off the attacker, took his stuff off his corpse, and then proceeded to taunt him via shouts.
I find this very disturbing. In particular the idea that a high level player can decide on a whim to kill me and take all my items is very bothersome. It pretty much negates one of the best things about games like this: collecting gear. Either gear is so trivial to come by it doesn't matter if someone takes your stuff or gear is hard to obtain and then the best way to get gear is to find someone with gear and gang up to kill them. I am not terribly interested in being a bully, or in getting bullied, or in having my progress removed on the whim of a stranger on the internet.
Another problem was the inability to log out anywhere you wanted. If you quit the game anywhere but an inn you instantly dropped all your stuff on the ground. If you rented a room in an inn you had to pay an hourly fee based on your gear. So again, either gear is irrelevant and it's ok to lose it or you have to go to great lengths to protect it. The worst would be taking a few extra days off, running out of money, and losing all your stuff.
Now, maybe you can make the claim that this is pretty realistic. Having to watch your back all the time and not being allowed to just quit when you want does make for a more realistic virtual world. My problem is I don't think it makes for a particularly fun one. Sometimes I want to play a hardcore game where I can lose all my progress if I make a mistake or forget to eat or whatever... But then I'll go and play Don't Starve or zAngband or something where if I fail or not depends on my skill and random luck and not on some high level guy having a bad day and taking it out on me.
Maybe the last straw that drove me away was the non-Euclidian geometry in the starting town. I'm fine with weird room layouts in dungeons and the like, but the starting town? Are you trying to confuse me just for your own kicks? Walking in a circle should get me back to the same spot, not get me to a room above the starting room. It didn't help that I'd downloaded a new mud client that had automap software that was really, really confused by it.
After futzing with that client I decided to see about logging into the mud I used to play a lot back in the day, Aardwolf. I finally went and salvaged the hard drive out of my old dead computer and hooked it up to my working computer. I was able to get all my old scripts and import them into the new client. Woo! Most of them didn't work because they changed how brackets and quotes work between zMud and cMud but at least it gave me a framework to work with. I cleaned most of them up and now I have a functioning spellup script and a campaign window like back in the day. I even managed to win a global quest!
So much has changed, with the world layout completely redone (busting most of my speedwalks), the class system changed, and all sorts of new stuff added. I got kicked out of my old clan (probably for not really playing in 6 years or whatever) which is a little sad. I did get a couple tells from people though! One from someone who used to be a clannie in Amazon (I think) and one from someone trying to recruit me into the big evil clan. I'm not a huge fan of random PK, but at least on Aardwolf there aren't really negative consequenced for being PKed. You lose a bit of time casting your buff spells again and whatnot but you don't get any gear stolen or anything like that. There's a lot of new stuff to figure out, but I still have my old gear and all my big numbers from before which is nice. I like big numbers!