Grays Overview of MUME

From Mumepedia


[edit] World

MUME areas are made following real JRRT map, it's rooms and NPCs pass thorough control so they look much like in books. This coin, indeed, has two sides. On the one hand, MUME is great for roleplaying, especially for real JRRT fans. On the other hand, due to extensive checking, building in MUME takes a lot of time (after 11 years just western areas are built - as far east as Mirkwood and Anduin, as far south as Dunland and Lorien; Rohan and Isengard in the progress, and no even signs of Gondor or moveover Mordor are seen). Also many interesting ideas get filtered out because they do not fit into the world described by Tolkien.

[edit] Game management and rules

Manwe rules with firm hand there. Unlike Diablo II or unofficial CS servers, MUME is not a safe haven for cheaters - they get revealed and punished in most cases. Also, unlike in such games like DAoC or UO where you have to pay in order to play, you won't get insane bonuses just because you are rich in real life. Can't say that MUME is bug-free, but most things are almost completely balanced there, and management keeps shooting last bugs. Though, sometimes they change some things that weren't bugs really - in case they feel like players have too easy ride. Also, get ready to the fact that many things which are common in other games (such as - transferring equipment from your powerful char to your lowbie, storing eq for fast reeq in case you die) are forbidden in MUME.

[edit] Stats and character creation

One of main positive features of MUME - there is no such thing as stathunting! You can set main stats (Str, Int, Wis, Dex, Con, Wil, Per) for your character at creation manually (but of course you can not max them all). Moreover, in the future you will be able to tweak these stats slightly (it is called 'limited reroll), until you reach level 26 (actually, after that you will be able to do that as well, but it would require rl year of not playing that char).

There are other groups of start that depend on main.

  1. stats that are always visible in numeric form - your physical bonuses.
  2. stats that are visible during non-combat time only - your hps, mana and movement points. During fight you will see just approximate verbal indicator of these stats.
  3. stats that are invisible to mortal player... Some of these stats can be still seen if you cast certain spell - though it's very hard to find a cleric who knows it, and agrees to cast it on you. Other are just impossible to see in numeric form - all you can do is to guess and listen to rumours...

Sometimes in MUME happen serious game system changes, which require from players tweaking stats of their chars. Not only it takes quite some time of keeping your character in 'retirement' on order to be able to reroll your stats, but also you can not change these stats too far from your 'reference stats' (ones that you set at character creation). So, basically there are two tactics of character creation:

  1. you make a character optimized for current MUME state and try to reach top fast using him. However, 'balancing' changes happen quite often in MUME, so do not expect such character to be viable for more than rl year or so.
  2. you make a character for the 'long run'. Avoid setting more than one (and better none at all) stats to max, and as well avoid leaving them at minimum. Such kind of char will not be very competitive in any given MUME state, but after some (long) time of playing just this char it becomes powerful just due to it's levels, even with such 'average' stats. Recommended for patient players.

In any case there are some advices of setting stats of your character.

  • Str stat mainly affects your ability to wield heavy weapons without penalty. Your carrying ability also depends on Str, and through it - your mobility and defence (heavily loaded character can not move too far, nor can dodge blows well). Despite rumours and practice of other games it does not affect your physical combat damage directly - just through your ability to learn combat skills. Choose your Str such way so you will be able to wield your preferred weapon (once you learn some about strength required for different weapons) - some 10-13 for caster, 15-18 for warrior. Avoid setting it to less than 10 unless you are making character for the 'current moment' only.
  • Int and Wis affect your spellcasting abilities. Simply put, max them as caster and leave at rather low values (9-11) as warrior.
  • Dex is your defence; also this stat affects many physical skills, combat included. Importance of Dex varied a lot in the history of MUME - characters with 19 and 10 dex were known to be very successful in their own ways. As beginner who doesn't know much details about MUME, it's good to keep Dex around 10-12 as caster, 15-17 as warrior. Same as for Str, avoid setting it to a lower value than 10, or your mobility will be quite awful.
  • Con directly affects your hit points. Simply said, the more Con you have, the longer you survive. This of course doesn't apply to thieves who can win the fight without taking any damage; but for all other classes Con is quite important. Warriors usually set it to max, seldom to max-1; casters - as high as they can afford (11-14 in most cases). Set Con high for your first char.
  • Wil, as well as Dex, affects misc offencive and defencive skills and spells (mostly protection from magic). Setting it to 11-14 as any class but cleric usually works well; clerics can raise it even higher. Warning same as for Dex - do not set it lower than to 10 unless you are making one-day character.
  • Per is secondary stat which affects mainly one ability: to track your opponent (enemy player). If you do not want to use 'track' skill, you can leave Per at almost minimum; but very few players who can not track are known as successful and dangerous opponents. Otherwise raise Per some: at least to 14 as warrior, to 12 as mage or to 10 as cleric.

[edit] Skills and practice system

There are 4 'specialized' guilds in MUME - warrior, thief, cleric & mage - as well as open to everyone ranger guild. Each of them teaches set of unique skills and spells. With levels you gain 'practice points', which you can spend learning skills. There is no other way to learn skills; no matter how much you use skills that you have, knowledge won't become better. This is done for balance reasons: ones who can spend a lot of time online will not get insane bonuses just because they have 'trained' their skills to ultimate levels.

Also there in MUME is one great feature which is lacked in most other games: ability to reset your skills and reprac again. For example, you can learn low level spells as lowbie spellcaster, later 'decay' them (getting practices back) and use them to learn better spells. And also you can reset all your learned spells/skills at once (it's called 'pracreset', and as limited reroll, it requires some time of inactivity - month rl before lev26, and year rl after that).

If your character is legend level (26+) already, and you notice that he loses in duel against same level/same race/same class opponent who uses same tactic as you, most probably you have statted him wrong. Consult players who are more expirienced than you concerning your skill set, and decay less usefull skills to replace them with more efficient. If this doesn't help, it means that your stat set is wrong... In such case there are two possible advices: either you level this char up a lot to make it powerful due its levels, or start another character. Before there was possibility to reroll this char after month of retirement - now this ability is gone... This is general bias of MUME - changes which make players to spend more and more hours online to be competitive with others; and indeed it helps to increase amount of players logged in at the same time - which is obviously goal of MUME management. If you don't play just for the sake of playing, but want to win in fights vs most powerful chars of MUME, you should be ready to spend months of ONLINE time. If you don't have that much time to waste on leveling and optimizing stats, then MUME isn't a game for you.

[edit] Classes and possibilities for multiclassing

There is no such thing as 'class'. Characters start as 'no-class', and can become everyone they want - depending on spells/skills they learn. Though, practices spent in one guild hurt knowledge in other guilds (with exception of ranger guild which doesn't hurt anything). So, you never become as good at casting fireball as pure mage and as good as swinging a sword as pure warrior, even if you decide to concentrate on these 2 skills only. On the one hand, it doesn't let someone become uber-powerful warrior-thief-cleric-mage combo; on the other hand, pure solo char in most cases lacks some vitals skills of other guilds, thus many players decide to roam lands in groups. Generally, being multi-class is much less rewarding in MUME than in other alike games.

Classes are quite balanced in MUME, each has it's advantages and disadvantages. For example, in solo caster vs solo warrior fight outcome heavily depends on area size. In the place of decent size, where caster can refresh pretective spells and regen mana most probably he wins because mana regens way faster than hit points. On the other hand, in small area in most cases caster dies being unable to even use his mana. Unlike in many other games, you can not say that 'mage is most powerful class here' or 'warrior is' - everything depends on how you use your character powers and advantages.

Just one class is exception from this rule - thief (aka scout, aka assassin). This class doesn't really need to fight because it has attack type which deals insane damage instantly - backstab. In most cases thief risks nothing and just waits for unaware victim which is low on hps. On the other hand, if you know that thief is around, he is almost harmless, since it's very easy (yet very boring) to search for possible sneakers around. Thieves are despised, unwelcome in groups, sometimes killed sameside (if caught stealing), they can not kill much decent monsters themselves and thus can not gain decent equipment - but in most cases they just strip it from other players. Playing thief is not adviced unless you enjoy boring life of an outcast, sitting hidden for hours and killing players without giving them chance to fight back.

[edit] Death system

There are several types of death in MUME, which have quite different consequences. Least dangerous is so-called 'dt-death' - when character drowns, falls from high cliff, bloodlacks, dies to poison or enters 'death trap' (dt - a room that kills a mortal char upon entering). Next is death to a player (also known as pk-death) - character loses 1/100 of his total expirience points, which means usually from 1/10 to 1/3 of expirience needed for next level. Next is mob-death - death to a monster (aka NPC): player loses whole level and his age is reset to start age (which means very harsh maluses to base stats). And finally, most painful is 'realdeath' - character dies totally, his level is reduced to 1. Though, there are just 2 ways to 'realdie' in MUME - if you are a Troll and sun killed you ('sundeath'), or if you became 'Sauron follower' due to unprovoked sameside pkilling on the good side (see next paragraph).

Indeed, no matter of death type, character loses all his equipment. He can try to retrieve it back from the corpse of 'his previous incarnation', but if he died in a place with other players around, chances are quite slim. Even if enemy players will not find your corpse and loot it - probably allies will (no rules are written against it). General tactic of highlevel character is: if you die, consider your equipment totally gone; never return to your corpse since killer(s) can wait for you to re-kill, and chance to retrieve eq is not worth risking another pkdeath.

Unlike in many other games, 'last blow' doesn't matter in choosing death type. If there is player of the opposite side (see next paragraph) in the room with dying char, death type will be always 'pk-death'. Otherwise game calculates who/what dealt more damage to that char. For example, you can not 'mercy-kill' heavily damaged by monsters and mortally friend to save him from mobdeath - even if you deal last (killing) blow, death type will be 'mobdeath' anyway.

[edit] Player killing, races and race war

Player killing (aka PK) is quite balanced in MUME. It is not chaotic world where everyone can kill everyone without any consequences (which means extremely hard life on low levels), nor boring world where attacking player is forbidden at all and only thing that players can do are kill monsters and solve quests. MUME is a perfect mix of these two extremes. Player killing it either allowed (and encouraged!) or heavily restricted, depending on the your race and race of your victim.

There are 8 races in MUME - Men, Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits, Half-elves, Orcs, Trolls and Black Numenoreans. First 5 are so-called 'good races', last 3 are 'evil'. Good races are permanently in war against evil ones. Member of the good side can kill any 'evil race' character on sight (and vice versa), but killing 'ally' without being provoked is seriously frowned by game rules, and can lead to "Sauron's list" - which basically means one-way ticket to realdeath of the character. Sameside killing on dark side is quite common and almost never punished by immortals (and different orc tribes are simply in war against eachother, killing members of the opposite tribe on sight), so for a new player it's easier to start on the 'good side'.

In crossrace battles (i.e. when opponents belong to opposite sides of war) almost everything is allowed - except just breaking game rules (such as computer-enhanced reactions, out-of-game communications between sides, etc). This means that you can not expect fair fights of even numbers, especially if you do not know your opponent(s). Any fight which started fair can end with opponents getting backup and overkilling you without mercy; and if you try to arrange fight conditions to make sure that no other players come and ruin your fun, there is high chance of getting whooped by members of MUME management (up to your character deletion). It is best to never play fair in MUME and never expect anything fair from your opponent. It is not very fun - but MUME is not a model of sporty competition, but rather merciless war. If you do not like it, you should better not even start playing it - or never leave areas which are heavily protected from enemy players by game mechanics.

For killing players of the opposite side you gain not just experience points, but also 'war points'. They are visible to immortals of high level only, but based on this stat there is a list of best MUME players - 'warlords list'. You, however, lose warpoints when you die; so warlord list often contains not the best pkillers (i.e. players who kill a lot of enemies, risk a lot for it, and die a lot due to it), but ones who manage to get some kills without putting themselves into any risk (i.e. ones who kill not that much, but never die). You may not like it, but this ability has highest value in MUME - your own safety first, kills later.

On the other hand, even member of the good side (aka 'whitie') can not feel himself completely safe even in 'whitie areas' - protected from 'darkies' so well so the latter won't come there other than in big packs once per few months. There are still enough sameside killers, who can kill you just because they had a bad day, even in the heart of whitie domain; or even worse - close you in a room with tough aggressive mobs, giving you mobdeath. Often it goes unpunished. If samesider attacks you and makes you run - at best he gets frowned and 'warned' by the management. If he attacks and you fight back, or if you abused eachother verbally before actual fight - gods might tell you that it was your own personal war, and they won't interfere. Best way to make samesider be punished is to let him kill you without fighting back. Few suchs kills (and sometimes just one) - and offender receives 'sauronlister' flag, which means that upon his next death he loses all levels ('realdies'). This, however, doesn't mean that he instantly dies... often sauronlister keeps running around killing innocent people, if he is experienced enough to avoid being killed. But even if one of his sauronlisted characters dies, nothing stops his from starting another - gods of MUME never punish samesiders with banning from the game...

There is only one way to be relatively safe from being killed by a samesider. Always, just *always* keep in mind possibility to be killed, never go low on hit points, always be ready to retreat to the nearest city (city guards do not offer much of the protection from samesiders, but that's still better than nothing). And the most important part - you should never leave your computer while being connected to MUME, since your character is totally defenceless while you go away. It's not a secret that the most successful MUME players are ones who do not have much things in real life to attend to.

[edit] Equipment

This is the stumbling block of MUME. Equipment has very, very big impact on fighting there.

Classes of eq, as well as almost everything else in MUME, are quite balanced compared to eachother. There is no such thing as 'absolutely best weaponclass', for example - each is good in some certain area: axes deal best damage per round and thus are best for killing unarmoured players and especially monsters; hammers are best to fight against metal-dressed opponents (i.e. most players); two-handed weapons deal great damage, but make wielder receive great damage in return (because of inability to use shield); swords deal relatively low damage, but are best to parry blows; and so on.

Almost the same applies to armours - some of them are good against opponents that deal relatively low damage (i.e. average monsters) - hard leather, other aren't very good against normal mobs but are better against supermobs and players - mail (especially mithril - known as fine chain mail), other good against any monsters and players, but are quite heavy and make wearer rather immobile - metal armour. There is, however, ultimate armour which offers insane protection from any damage and is still quite light (mithril plate armour - known as 'shining') - but it is extremely hard if not impossible to get, especially for not very experienced player.

Equipment means very much, especially in pk combat, especially solo pk. For example, in lev30 vs lev80 chars duel like 90% chances are that highest level wins, if they have same eq and skills; though, if lev30 is in full shining and with artifact weapon, but lev80 one wears basic mail or metals, and wields a common weapon - lev30 wins. Also, mage vs warrior of the same level in few rooms (where mage can not regen mana) in majority of cases means victory of the warrior - but, if mage wears full shining while warrior has average weapon and no anti-magic gear, mage wins easily. Once again, everything said is true if neither of the opponents is newbie - i.e. neither of them does any fatal mistakes.

But main problem of the MUME equipment is eq flow between sides of war. Many pieces of eq can be used by just one side only. Some items simply have 'anti- good' or 'anti-evil' flags. Others are affected indirectly. For example, darkie races have no access to the shining armour (mob guarding it is too tough for them), their NPC smiths can not resize mithril armour, and armour of the wrong size is unusable. Any equipment that belongs to one side of war and can not be used by another side usually gets destroyed once it falls into hands of the side that can not use it. Basically it means: if you are great player-killer, you can enter war on low level with very basic eq, and gain most of the best eq (so-called 'legend eq') from fallen enemies. Still, you never gather full set this way, since enemies do not keep eq which is usable by your side only. This means that you will have to learn how to kill smobs (super-mobs - very powerful monsters) that load (or guard) this eq, even if you hate boring monster-killing. On the other hand, if you don't like pk and enjoy exping and smobbing, you will not keep your nice set for long - without pk experience you will not last for long once you encounter enemy players; and indeed you will not complete full set of eq if you never leave safe zones! So, to gather decent set of eq and *keep* it for long you have to be both good pkiller and good smobber - which is not that easy...

Of course there is another way to complete competitive set of equipment - become just a good pkiller, kill a lot of enemies that load equipment usable by both sides, and trade one-side eq that you need for it. However, this way is rather slow - since you need to find a player that has an item which you need, needs your extras and agrees to trade. There are shops in MUME of course - but nobody uses them as source of legend eq. Reason is simple: item price system in MUME is broken - for example, shops offer for mithril armour 10x higher price than for metal armour, even though it's at least 100x harder to get a mithril piece than to get a metal breastplate. Same applies to legend weapons. As consequence, nobody sells legend eq in shops - and MUME economy stays at the level of stone age barter system.

Another way is to make friends among powerful MUME players and give them your extras for free when they are in need (just killed and naked). Of course, you can never be sure if they return the favour; also you can not be sure if ones whom your spared eq will be online when you die and need reeq. Only way to make this unreliable way more or less reliable is to make very, very many friends - but indeed this takes insane amount of playtime, as well as extreme personal charisma. There is, however, roundabout way, used by the most warlords (except these who are good enough to gather full sets on their own only): start playing MUME in group of real life friends, or just in lab. Then you can simply hoard extras for your friends, reeq them when needed, and call then in rl when you need reeq yourself, but they are offline. This way also gives you ability to pass most harsh MUME rules - such as anti-banking rule (one that forbids you to store extra equipment to reeq yourself when you die), and eqtransfer/ charseparation rule (one that forbids you to dress up your new characters in playable eq sets using your highbies with a lot of spares).

Oh, and of course there is last, simpliest way to gather and keep playable eq set for a long time - live in protected areas without leaving them. They are mostly populated by small to average mobs, so you won't need any legend sets to play there. Obviously, you will not gain any high levels just by living there (level 30 or so may be your cap), and indeed you will not gain any renown/fame/ respect of majority of other players - but if you do not need it, why not... Only problem is avoiding death from boredom.

Generally speaking, if you want to be competitive in MUME, you should better gather some friends, better if you know them in real life. As I have said in the 'Skills' chapter, this is what MUME manamegent wants - make you bring more friends to MUME, and thus increase it's playerbase. Loners who don't care about any relationships have very severe disadvantages there, and if you are one of them, you should better seek for a game where abilities of solo players and groupplayers are more balanced.

[edit] Link importance

Simply said, it is extremely high in MUME.

Firstly, your link should be stable. Tx is perfect, [A]DSL and ISDN are more or less ok (depending on ISP and phone exchange hardware quality), modem is not! Possessing any skills or equipment will not help you if you lose link or suffer from 'lag' on the common basis. Things happen very fast in MUME, some seconds offline in pk situation often mean death (unless you are defwarrior - unhittable defencive tank). Do not expect to be spared while linkless. Enemies can not tell if you are linkless or not (you gain 'linkless' flag when server notices your latency, but it is visible to allied players only), especially in huge fight. Long ago there was some kind of code of honour which demanded to let linkless opponent live; not that everyone followed it, but still linkless ones had high chances to survive. However, not that much time ago management of MUME released a new rule which completely killed this code (together with hiding 'linkless' flag from opposite side players). Simply put, majority of MUME warlords have ultra-stable links (excluding thieves - their abilities to sneak and hide offer decent protection even if link goes bad). There were some people who warlorded from shaky links, but they didn't stay on the list for a long anyway.

Second, if you want to be successful and competitive in MUME, it's better to have fast link. Not that it is impossible to warlord (and the main part - stay on warlords) having slow link - MUME knows even some Australian warlords - but it takes much less skill and playtime if your ping to MUME is 50ms or less. In most cases warlord list is filled with European (especially Scandinavian and Baltic) players.

Now, when you know quite some about MUME, you can probably decide if it is good enough game for you to play. I will try to help you to choose a game to play, depending on your player type.

  • If you like J.R.R. Tolkien and his world, as well as everything tolkienish, and want to play a multi-player game in JRRT world, MUME is probably the best for you - especially if you don't care about colourful graphic and point-and- click interface. Probably I will not lie if I say that MUME is the most time- proven among well-populated Tolkien MUDs, and most well-populated among time-proven.
  • If you do not really like pk, but prefer to compete with other players at killing monsters and gaining levels, you can as well play MUME - you will just have to learn basics of surviving pk encounters. Still, I would rather recommend you Diablo II (on the, indeed). Compared to MUME, there you do not lose levels once you gain them (while in MUME you can simply lose in a blink[/linkfreeze] what you have gained during some 20 hours of exping); you can not be taken from exping process for a [long] time needed to reeq once you die (since you can not lose your equipment); also there is ladder of highest level players, while MUME has just warlords list.
  • If you are rich in real life, and want to have extra bonuses due to it, I'd suggest you to play EverQuest, Ultima Online or even better Dark Age of Camelot. These games are much more user-friendly than MUME, and you can have even more bonuses if you buy more than one account there (multiplaying comes to mind) - but indeed, it comes for a price (in rl money, of course).

Now, if you play multi-player games mostly to fight and kill other players, but you want to play a free game, there is still a choose.

  • If you just want to spend time messing with other players, and do not care if you win or die - it doesn't really matter what do you play; but indeed, you can choose MUME as well.
  • If you like 'everything is allowed' kind of fights, if you like to win due to being more vile and cunning than your opponent, if you like to prepare a lot for pk fight by killing mobs and gathering ultimate eq set, if you would enter fights where you have 99% chance to win rather than fights where you have 50% chance, finally if you have very stable link - MUME is THE game for you. Prepare to spend months if not years learning pk tactics, map, learning everything about overpowered equipment, invisible character stats, reveal hidden formulae to optimize your character, and of course main parts - keeping your link stable (which sometimes requires decent money) and devoting A LOT of time online, and you will be among the best. Also, as I've said, another one of most efficient ways is to come in group of rl friends and learn the game together, supporting eachother and ignoring or killing other players.
  • If you prefer fair fights without pre-requisites, if you can not spend much time online but rather come and duel from time to time, well... not sure if you need to play a MUD rather than Quake or CounterStrike or smth alike - but if you want to, I can suggest you 5000. In that MUD you start at lev30, never lose it and never gain levels, all equipment you can gather during 'war' time only (and it disappears after end of war) - basically, 100% fair game where only thing that matters is your skill. Only problem is that it usually has too few players online to fight against; however, you can always seek for other alike MUDs - since learning them takes very short time.
  • If you want suitable balance of the two extremes above, I'd suggest you to follow me to the 4000. It is quite time-proven MUD too (around 7 years online), based on Zelazny's 'Amber Chronicles', Tolkien books, as well as some other sources (thus the name - Lost Realms). As MUME, it has balanced pkilling and race war, quite big world map, decent set of balanced equipment and so on - just, unlike MUME, it rotates more about pkilling rather than around exping and role-playing. There is takes way less time to complete your pk set; also there you are allowed to store excess equipment and money in case you die, so reeq process takes really small time if you are good pkiller and keep your store and bank account high. There is no such thing as 'useless character' since stats of any char can be totally rerolled after just rl month of retirement. Basically, you can spend most of your time pkilling there, most of the time wearing full set even if you die a lot (but still kill a lot).
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