I've been through dozens of muds on tmc for the past few months and have yet to find a place to call home. Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction.
Here's what I'm looking for:
1. Focus on combat Attention to systems and balance. RP is fine as long as the combat is compelling and allows for a variety of strategies and encourages teamwork. Not something where you just "kill dragon" and go grab a drink… not to say that it has to be super innovative. Just well done. PK preferred, but not necessary. I'm really looking for a challenge.
2. Active developers with a strong vision Nothing is more disheartening to me than finding a game that was once awesome, but is now stagnant and empty. When I say strong vision I mean I'm looking for a game that just isn't a grab bag of cool ideas - there are a few out there that I've come across with a bunch of really cool features (basically every player suggestion is implemented) whose long-term implications or overall cohesion were not considered. Devs that are as passionate about good design as I am.
3. Classes I'm looking for unique classes that employ different tactics and play styles. Multi-classing is ok as long as each class has something to bring to the table and it doesn't turn every character into the same muddled mess.
4. Miscellaneous Minor issues. Color. I don't want it to burn my retinae, but I don't want to have to futz with my client to be able to break down the information. Points if I can customize it extensively. Also, maybe I'm just spoiled, but I can't play any game that requires me to type the entire name of an object and won't allow me to shorten it. It's kind of sad because I found a couple games that seemed like they could be fun, but I just couldn't overcome the frustration that this caused me.
It is an enforced RP/PK MUD. Though I admit, it is less focused on RP as I would like. PK is the primary focus of this MUD, don't let anyone fool you into thinking otherwise. If you want a challenge, this MUD will certainly give it to you. It is a collection of the best PKers I have seen in a MUD.
It has a lively community of very helpful players via the forum. Though don't expect the same attitude in game. Some of the players can be massive pricks PK wise, but it's all part of the harsh world.
They use color very sparingly in this game, and I wouldn't have it any other way. If you desire more colors, you can always add highlighting triggers. (I used highlighting triggers for PK purposes)
The game is boasted to be incredibly balanced at level 50 (the max level) and for the most part it is. Though the players have gotten to the point where it again requires some fine tuning (people, like me, have been with this MUD since 2000).
There is no such thing as multi-classing. You are a warrior, berserker, ninja, etc. There are many different classes and different possible combinations, giving much replay value. I played there for 9 years and still there are combinations I have yet to play.
As for not naming objects, the game allows you to abbreviate all you want. You can even type get 1. to get the 1st item in the room, attack the 1st person, etc.
Vision… The game, admittedly, is not being developed as actively as one might like. Suggestions, even good ones, are hardly if ever implemented. I would say that is the biggest drawback this game has. They are VERY reluctant to make any changes to the code. However the in game world is pretty open to change. It has been said that through RP anything can be accomplished, which is very true. Though it rarely is. PK is the power people use in this game, and it shows.
Anyway this is the game I would recommend you check out. I did not leave because I disliked the game, I just felt it was time to part ways. I'm developing my own game now and I don't think I'll be turning back but if I did, this is the place I would call home.
I'd like to recommend my own game, The 7th Plane (connection info in my signature). I'll attempt to address your requirements:
1. Combat is partially automated (if you choose it to be), but there are many NPCs that can not be defeated in this manner without manual input of commands and lots of strategy. Additionally, there are some NPCs that can not be defeated without a small group. There are many considerations to make going into a fight, pertaining to stance, armor (light versus heavy, what magical enhancements to use on it), weapons (blades sever limbs, whips entangle, etc), skills, etc. The strategic possibilities are quite numerous. As for PK - there is some, but not a lot. It tends to be mostly friendly matches between willing participants.
2. I have spent eight years developing The 7th Plane, and I do so based solely on my vision of it. It's just about the most cohesive game in terms of world and layering/integration/interaction of features that you'll find. Development is still active - the last major content update was in November, which was the release of version 2.3.0.
3. I have four classes, which may first appear to be similar in nature to classes from other MUDs, but that similarity is shallow and cosmetic. Each class is designed to provide as different a play experience from the others as possible. For instance, Werewolves are bruteforce combatants, whereas Magi tend to rely more on planning and the element of surprise. Monks excel at up-close combat, just like Werewolves, but they are more of a thinking man's fighter - needing to select techniques to exploit the opponent's weakness, while stringing together combos and actively maximizing parry rate. Finally, the Lampryi, my re-imagining of Vampires based on the story of my game's world, are a very stealth oriented class, capable of much trickery and deception. Finally, not only do the classes differ in play style, they also differ in progression (a major component of the game is character building, which takes a long time). Werewolves quest for spirits. Magi study books in an ancient library. Monks practice with and learn from NPC Senseis. And Lampryi gain knowledge through consuming blood of varying quantities and qualities.
4. I use color extensively throughout the game, but it's very color coordinated and used consistently - white background, with special characters and objects colored logically (grass is green, water is blue, blood is red, etc). There are no random or flashing colors. The colors should not clash (no alternating reds and greens, for instance). They look roughly the same on most clients - the only potential change to make it look right would be the default text color, if your client uses an odd one. The color can be turned off completely, though. As for abbreviations - they work for most character and object names with most commands. If you decide to play and find a command that doesn't accept abbreviations, just tell me and I can probably fix it.
Final Note: Most players of my game actually have alts of all four classes, with many hundreds of hours devoted to them. Since the character building process requires such a lengthy time commitment, I have a policy that I never delete character files. I have not deleted a single one in six years. This means that players are free to come and go as they please. Many play a few months out of the year and leave to come back the next year. I have also seen players start a character, play for a while, lose the connection information by some accident (hard drive crash, etc), then be unable to find it again until randomly stumbling across The 7th Plane for the second time, many years later, finding their characters just as they were. This scenario happens quite often, believe it or not.
GW2 meets all of your criteria, but you've already said you played it so I'm assuming there's something you didn't like about it. I'd be interested to hear your feedback.
Actually, I do admire your mud quite a lot. I tried 3 or 4 times to get into it even.
The problem is that I'm dyslexic and the actions taken by mobs are wordy and quick enough that the mental overhead is too much for me to process in a reasonable amount of time. I tried getting around this by simply memorizing text patterns, but I eventually gave up on it.
I also found the movement awkward, but that's not why I stopped.
The problem is that I'm dyslexic and the actions taken by a mobs are wordy and quick enough that the mental overhead is too much for me to process in a reasonable amount of time. I tried getting around this by simply memorizing text patterns, but I eventually gave up on it.
Ouch, I can see how that would be difficult. There are better ways to get around it though.
The first thing is to reduce the amount of text - try "config combat spam" (ignore other people fighting), "config technique spam" (removes the technique names from combat messages) and "config defence spam" (removes your successful defence messages).
Then use "config damage info" to display an info line below each successful attack - you can then ignore the messages outright, and instead just focus on lines starting with "–==>" and the coloured damage number. It's hard to show it on MudBytes because of the background colour, but it'll look something like this:
You drive your left fist into the hairy ogre's stomach. –==>>> You crush the hairy ogre's body for 62 damage. You slam your right fist into the hairy ogre's face. –==>>> You crush the hairy ogre's face for 72 damage.
2826/2854 (2175)> The hairy ogre bashes his cudgel into your chest. –==>>> The hairy ogre crushes your body for 34 damage.
You should probably also type "colour theysweepyou RED" so that if you get swept it'll display the entire line in red text - then you don't have to worry about reading for that either, you can just react to the colour with a recovery move.
The naga queen whirls her right whip in a low arc, coiling it around your legs. The naga queen gives her right whip a swift tug as it coils around your legs. Your legs are yanked out from under you.
I also found the movement awkward, but that's not why I stopped.
Most players dislike the movement at first - as I mentioned in the other thread, it's one of the biggest stumbling blocks for psuedo-newbies.
I realize I'm a few hours late here (talk about quick sales pitches!), but I'd like to throw the StormHunters hat into the ring. I'm one of the two imms there, and we both log daily. If we're not around at the precise moment someone talks to us, we have a forum on our website for questions and announcements and what have you.
There's no RP, so I can confidently describe the mud as having a focus on combat. The mud has an object crafting system to supplement this (you get specialized gear from crafting, while the looted/found stuff is mostly more generalized), but it's completely optional. It uses a multiclass character system, and there are clear distinctions between class play styles, though you'll see this most readily in the higher tiered classes. There are lots of options for class combinations, and each combination will have a different play style than the others.
To address your point of name shortening specifically, there is information on this in the mud school area that I'm almost certain no one reads, even though it's displayed in an obvious color. The mud does not use autocomplete, so if you type "kill gob" it will only attempt to attack "gob." On the other hand, the asterisk (*) acts as a wild card, so if you "kill gob*" you can attack either a goblin or Gobnolator the Conqueror*.
I'm always happy to see new players, so feel free to stop by. If you have any specific questions, it's likely someone will be around to answer them, even if that someone is another player. The imms and players both tend to be fairly helpful, so don't hesitate to ask.