Saturday, February 14, 2009

Aardwolf: The first session

Aardwolf is consistently the top-ranking text-based game at Top MUD Sites. Conspiracy theorists may claim this is because the current manager of TMS, Lasher, also runs Aardwolf. But Aardwolf was always prominent, even during the Synozeer days.

Before today, I'd never actually logged onto Aardwolf before. I decided this was a great chance to see what has made the place so popular and enduring since 1996.

First, I visited the website. It's clean and well-designed. They've got a game-related blog that publishes the latest in-game development news. And they've got a prominent PLAY NOW button that prompts you to download the Aardwolf client software.

What's nifty about the client software is that it's familiar to me: MUSHClient, customized to provide specialized windows for Aardwolf players. You get the main game window, your stats, and a map. Very nice.

Character creation is a fairly simple process. You pick a name, a class, a race, and then you're dropped into the live game. They've got hundreds of people on at any given time. I was greeted almost immediately on the Newbie channel despite the fact that I was just another face in the crowd.

The game nudged me onward to the Academy, where I began lessons to familiarize myself with Aardwolf's various systems: Skills, combat, healing, econ, equipment, etc. This was all automated, but I could stop at any time and come back to it later if I wanted. Some lessons gave three-question quizzes at the end, to ensure that I was retaining knowledge from the tutorial.

The only glitch I encountered: During the equipment session, I was given a bag so that I could learn to take stuff out. I took the items out and put them on. The tutorial warned that I couldn't proceed without having those items, even though I *was* wearing them. Once I took them off and put them in my inventory, however, the tutorial let me move on.

All in all, a very positive first glance into the world of Aardwolf. I'll report more as I continue exploring the world and its occupants.

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