How To Build Your Characters Skill Tree
There are always two halves to a text game; roleplay and combat. One or the other may be more developed, but they always do exist. In the MUDs I frequent, the combat is very intricate. It is difficult to understand and follow, and even more difficult to master. Often, players find themselves wanting every single edge they can find in text game combat, which is understandable: winning is fun.
Usually each race in a text game has some sort of bonus attached to it, such as a some sort of balance boost, stat bonuses, et cetera. In addition, there are a few races that possess just the right racial balance to greatly compliment a large selection of classes. Usually, this has something to do with balance or tankiness. Have you ever noticed the abundance of troll warriors or cat-like rogues or elvish mages in most MUDs? Perhaps people like playing the stereotypes, but usually the intent behind these race/class combinations is combat-related.
Now it is perfectly fine for these stereotypes to exist, but doesn't it seem a bit trite if there are three million characters of each one in every text game out there (three million may or may not be an accurate number)? Surely some people want to be different, and surely some of these people still want to partake in combat. Even more surely (have I worn that word out yet?), these people probably want to have a fighting chance in combat, but how can they compete with these min-maxers?
Well, I bring good news: it is very feasible to do well in text combat without having to min-max! Admins and coders have put some love and care into their combat systems, and in almost all cases they would love to see everyone have an equal chance at doing well in it. For this reason, they tend to pay attention to thoughtful input and make changes where change is due. You should always talk with other players to see if something in a MUD is actually imbalanced before you suggest a change. From your perspective, something may be terribly, terribly broken... while from another it could be completely fine.
More importantly, mold your text game character into something you actually want to be, and then work with what you have. If you want to be a frog with swords, go for it! Keep in mind though that certain races will not pair well with certain classes no matter how hard you try. If you choose a bad race/class combo, you're basically shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to combat.
Remember also that you don't have to go to either extreme. There are more "neutral" races in most text games, like human, that can do just fine as any class. In my experience, these less extreme races are very workable. If possible, choose a class that has various kill strategies. If you set your opponent up this or that way then you don't need this or that statistic, and you need only type "blah" to get the kill. In general, a large amount of experience and skill in the MUD's combat system will enable you to deal with and overcome minor disadvantages, or just a lack of advantages.
While at a glance powerful racial advantages may seem too good to pass up, they are really not all that necessary for text game combat. I know the phrase is trite, but where there is a will there's a way! Don't stop yourself from roleplaying a certain race because you want to get into combat. Be different!
If you would like to try out some great online roleplaying games, check out these text adventures.
Chris J. Johnston is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from http://www.IronRealms.com.
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