Why MUDs Own MMORPGs in the PvP Arena.

Elf Rogue

Player-submitted articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Iron Realms, the company or its employees.

 The concept of “health” is integral to most games you will find out there. You have X amount of health and when it hits zero, you die. Secondary resource bars are also common in RPGs. If you are a caster, you might use mana. If you are a damage dealing machine, you might have rage or energy or some other stat which indicates your attack power, but the idea boils down to the same thing; in the end, you have meters and resources.


 The core of combat in IRE games is focused around how to hinder these healing methods. You can give afflictions which have a variety of devastating effects – anorexia, for example, makes someone unable to eat or drink, while paralysis makes them unable to move. Classes like the Syssin from Aetolia are masters of stacking these afflictions to completely “lock” opponents up and prevent them from curing.
Damage isn't the only way to kill, and some classes such as the Cabalists even have ways to link their health bar to their mana reserves making them nigh impregnable against straight damage. Iron Realms MMOs feature “insta-kills” which are basically kill scenarios you can work to set up and then instantly kill an enemy with. For example, the newly revamped Carnifex guild features an incredible ability called pulverize which looks absolutely brutal when executed. To set up that kill, they need to strategically break enemy limbs and get certain afflictions to “stick”.and if their foe fails to cure them, the Carnifex knight can smash their hammer into their opponent's chest, crushing it into a bloody, fatal paste.

Gameplay Footage

This is just touching on the tip of the PK iceberg. Combat in MUDs is engaging, engrossing and enthralling and you can spend years exploring tactics and finding new tricks. It is a truly challenging and exciting experience, unrivaled in gaming, where quick thinking and clever tactics will let you rise to the top. 
Author: Moirean of Aetolia

Have thoughts on the MUD and MMORPG industry? Want to submit articles to IRE? Contact the editor!


good read


Yes! Very much so!  Need more articles like this.


So true


Very true.

No, we just need more articles. Bad or good.

This is true.




indeed! though there are fairly a few more good ones in the farther pages of the comments section.

I concur.

I post too many comments per article as it is! And more reading material might not go amiss, I guess.

Hehehe, yes. Though it's a bonus if they're good >.>


more good ones, hopefully.

hopefully more good ones.


yep more articles pls


I also agree that we need more articles like this.

As well as articles that put IREs in a better light, such as this. I'm new to them, but I love them all the same. This article helps tie in what I knew and what I wanted to know. For people who know nothing, now know a little bit more about this realm :)

nice to hear that!

Good call.


you should come play Lusternia and become an avatar of Lord Eventru with that name.


sure do

I think the authors should have to battle their articles against each other. There can be only one!

very much so 

very VERY much so!

I tend to agree they are always worth a read


I guess in some sense.


Definitely a good read. I've been tryint to turn my friends on to Achaea for a while now and I wish I'd had such a comprehensive and consice article like this to explain why I love combat in a MUD.

then show them this page

But then you're falling into their hands!

With everything there is to do when fighting mobs I can't imagine how intense it gets when fighting another player.

There is a whole bunch of goodies available when you meet another person in a fight. You won't be ready for your first one for sure.




Some good points.


Enjoyed this article.







seems like a trivial thing when you have "instakill" abilities.  They take time to set up, but for classes like Shaman, it's the only way to score a kill, not by slowly depleteing health.


Seconded. Much more complicated, and thus more rewarding.

Certainly cool!

certainly is.



I don't agree. They're not significantly more complex in all cases and complexity isn't always more rewarding.


Instead, instakills give license for developers to not really balance skills. Instakills seem to exist far more to excuse poorly balanced class design than to create more rewarding experiences.


If the goal was primarily rewarding play, then you’d have several paths to viable pk in each class.


Instakills have always seem more of a design copout to me.







Maybe so?

Maybe indeed

indeed maybe?


Maybe.  But perhaps there is another indeed needed.  Indeed!

I fully support that!

that I fully support !

However, your support is unsupportable.

Your statement is

more support

more support

extra support

extra support

extra support

I am fully pursuaded!

support, all around!

Quite so!

The support is building to unprecedented levels!

Its a healthy level of support


the support might grow to dangerous levels!

Recount please.

indeed, moar!

Your comment is unsuported.

Yes, instakilling seems the way to go.


I have to damage kill!

Instakill can become a draag

But I never was able to pull it off


But the Spiritsingers insta is so lame that I would rather tickle my opponent to death.

The rest of Wildarrane is awesome! D: I mean, the burst of damage after Discordant with a double Chill then Wildechord? >_>

though wildechord gets affected when they eat earwort...so I lose it JUST before I can deal damage.

I like having 3 instakills as a Celestine with Tarot

Sounds nice

death by laughter is the worst!

I agree.


Totally agreeing.


It's awesome that there are different ways to kill your enemies, rather than just depleting their health.

I'm sure even trying to set up the vodun doll is a pain though.

Instakills are pretty much a cheat so you don't have to balance skills.

All instakills, at least in Achaea, require either some sort of setup or are on a delay, and many can be easily interrupted. Yes, some classes may find it easier to instakill than others (Sylvans and Apostates), but I don't think any classes can rely on a single instakill skill to win all the time.

I kinda dislike insta's since MOST of the time they work far too well!

poor shamans, eh?


but hindering their curing enough to get to those instakills is the harder part!



Yep Yep

yep yep yep

That's really all there is to say about the subject.

So true

So true

Hindering is always a pain.  As a beginner it seems easy at first, but then you get knocked flat on your back when you realize they are not a brick wall and hit back.  Combat is an art of constant adaptation.

Hahaha, yeah. How dare they hit back?!?

That's what makes it fun for me!

Part of the fun, fun, fun.

I Trueheal your comment. Please start ovah!

Personally? i don't fully 'agree' with this fully.  Not that i find it bad read at all, but in truth theres just more ways to just screw people up.  Afflictions, bleeds, curses, debuffs, theft prevetions all exist in any mmo out there.  However the 'sense' of immortality is also EQUALLY appart of the world, everything wears out over time or just breaks appart its purpose.  Every class is balanced out more IN DEPTH in some text muds.  However....there are many i'd agree to say that any time fighting involves more then one person at a time, its just not any different at all. 


One needs a system to 'automate' you're self curing versus relying on a 'priest-type-class' to do it for you :P

To the premise. MMO pvp combat is, on the whole, far more accessible and easy to do. Mud pvp is a giant chore. The payoff is there, but there is a mountain of work to do to get there that you simply don't need, thus taking out the fun factor by a great deal. Don't get me wrong, I like my mud pvp, but MMOs on the whole have it beat out by miles and miles, and that's just how it is.

MUD pvp has a much steeper learning curve, yes. I find it all the more satisfying once I get the hang of it, though.

I hope that it's true because this stuff is hard to learn at first.


Hehe, wish me luck!

as i'm still learning it!


good luck

This point simply cannot be overstated.  Anything that is a challenge is usually worth it in the end.  This may in fact be the best thing Achaea has going for it and I mean that is a purely positive way.


Our PVP is much more indepth than any MMO pvp I have ever dealt with I would hope it stays interesting like this for as long as I play.

It is very indepth in some ways, however I feel like graphic MMOs sometimes are able to focus on things like team objectives better, or at least in a different way..

This. It's true of other types of muds too.

I think it has a little to do with spacial relationships. It makes it easier to coordinate yourselves when you can see where your teammates are.

It's also a lot easier to actually keep tabs on what's going on in combat

It's gotten considerably easier with the advent of for-purchase systems.


I tend to agree. There's just no beating point-and-click strategies.


i agree that pvp is so much more fun in iron realms muds than any other game i have played. Just has so much more dimensions when so many other games are just like mashing damage attacks and the highest leveled person normally wins.

Agreed.  There is an element of practice and skill... and well... talent needed.  To a certain... Very real extent artifacts can trump skill... But even then they are hardly always the be all end all.

For the most part, artifacts make you harder to damage kill, nothing that increases healing rate which is why affliction classes tend to be top tier unless you have ridiculous damage classes with arties to boost it over defensive artifacts.

I can't compare it to PvP in more standard MMORPGs, but I can tell you that my palms still sweat and my heart still pounds every time I get into an out-of-arena scrap.


Combat in IRE games is most definitely an engaging and exciting form of entertainment, and I have a hard time believing its ferocity could be replicated in the WoWs of the world (though I've heard EVE might come close).

Even in arenas I get the shakes! :)

I'll remember that, heh

It always gets me antsy and my fingers sweat and I start refraining nonstop. ._.



Good time to check defs though

I sorta freak out in PVP

how so?


agreed. pvp in all IRE-games is nerve-wracking, to say the least.

the real problem is that it isn't muds that have better combat, it's IRE muds specifically. A lot of muds operate on the same "kill"(repeat) idea as mmos.




I feel like you're missing a very direct comparison to MMORPGs here?


Never was a fan of PvP much, however, PvP brings a whole new level to MUDs, and when I learn more, look forward to trying it out!




A greed.

A greed? You mean agreed?

I do like being able to automate parts to make up for my horrible reflexes and slow thinking. Now I just need to work on my programming...

and dearly, at that

Haven't played graphic MMOs, so I can't really comment.

I'm trying it out as a bard, how it works PvP with Wildarrane! Seems to be more burst damage and a bit of afflictions that are meant to keep the person from killing you instead of for you to kill them.

I've always struggled with pvp in Achaea, mostly because I rather feel that I'm not wired/don't think the right way. Saying that though, I do love to fight, raid, spar and defend if I have a small clue what I'm doing. The deaths rarely phase me and I'm always game.

I am Bill Nighy, and I think you meant "faze me".

You're welcome.

I think phase is a pretty punny way to put it.

I like most of your comments, by the way.

Combat for some of us is simply a challenge to aspire to or simply otherwise never achieved.

start this way.

MKO is the first MUD I've really tried to learn combat in. I mean... I sorta fought in Achaea, back in the day? A little bit, anyway. Though I got routinely destroyed, and had no idea what a system was. I always just found it incredibly disheartening that everybody else seemed capable of doing so many different things so quickly :/

but the article doesn't really talk about MMORPG combat at all... misleading title.



In my defence, the original article was longer. Seems that the editor choose to exclude parts of it.

This was boring. I read it because it was the most-recently-commented, and for once, regret it.

I'm sure you don't regret getting the credit for the comment though

And with the credit grabbed, the article is not worth much anymore. I wonder if they just accept every article titled with "IRE is better than something else" and put it on the site.


Perhaps this should be tested?


I'll have one!

...or two.

A good deal of MMO pvp can be kind of simplistic imo. I like the intricacies of the pvp in the IRE muds, though I can only speak for Achaea, the statement probably still stands for the other muds.

PvP in Achaea is like none other.  Combat by the seat of your pants.

This I'd say is my favorite part of IRE games. Not because I fight, but because I like puzzles, and complexeties, and I love to code and see this as a never ending challenge.

But I have difficulty explaining some things to my non-mudding friends.

Such as how there's logical things, like anorexia stops you from eatings, slickness makes salves slide off, etc. But then if your arm's smashed to bits you can't REALLY be sure it wasn't a one-shot illusion unless you diagnose, which takes time. "I'm pretty sure if my arm was a squiggly line I could tell that without doing a full self-analysis." is one thing I've heard


I agree with almost everything you said, I'd just like to add in that I've heard friends say that if both arms were broken you couldn't apply anything, even to cure your arms.  But I personally don't care, it makes it worth the rush.

Realistically, that's true, and in some games you can pick something like that up through symptom lines. I pretty much agree that coding and making a slicker and slicker system is a wonderful part of the MUD experience for some, and I disagree with the people who dislike systems.

The only IRE I know where it's feasible to manual without a system is MKO. But, even then, you'll still fail at life/PVP.



Very true!

Although this is true, however you don't have to diagnose.

If your arm is "a squiggly line" you wouldn't be able to use your weapon and based off that you'll know to cure your arms.


I absolutely love combat in Achaea, despite the fact that I'm terrible at it. The challenge makes it fun, whereas in many other MMORPGs, there are much simpler combat systems that just aren't worth it.


But systems spoils PK in someways, especially if bought.

I've only played one or two graphical MMO's, but I'd have to say that MUD PvP definitely has a much steeper learning curve and is more complex than the PvP of graphical games.

I feel like reflexes ruin the sport of  MUD PvP. Seriously, nothing makes a new Shaman look more useless than having someone insta cure out of frigging no where. And lots of people don't even know what cures what and have the reflexes do all the work for them.

I don't know, maybe I'm just bitter.

If there were no reflexes then the game would be completely unbalanced. It has been balanced around having relflexes.

A day will come when there will be MUDs with graphics!

The possibilities are neither endless nor too ar away.

Agreed. It'd be so fun when that day comes!

I still suck at combat though

It totally does

MUD PvP has the same advantage over MMO PvP that MUDs in general have: ease of change with not having to worry about graphics. Granted, graphics are not always the hardest part of a change, but they do increase the time.


Aside from that, the benefits are arguable. 

Also, you won't get the same speed / complexity in a MMO like in muds.

though it's a bit different. There's pluses and minuses. I play IRE because of the sweet combat, but I play MUDs, ultimately, for the RP. If not for that, I'd be playing graphical MMO's. Or likely no MMO's, actually.

This is a silly 'article'. MUDs do not "own" MMORPGs for PvP and to think so is laughable. You list meters and health pools but MUDs can have those too. You touch on how IRE 'hinders' healing but many MMOs have mechanics in place to do the same thing. Ultima Online even had it, and that game is older than some IRE players. On top of all of that, they are about a billion times more accessible. If you think IRE PvP is wonderful for having layers of complexity, you have never played EVE.

I wish Magi had an instakill. Would be so much fun.



They do in Aetolia ^_^ Brands ftw!

they do??

I still haven't gotten to fool around much with pvp.



I still haven't gotten to fool around much with pvp.



Everyone should have at least a basic knowledge of pvp. If you are going to play explore all aspects of the game.

I liked this article

Cool story

I felt this article was missing more of an in-depth comparison...

PvP is too much computer fighting computer rather than person v person - i would imagine more thought goes into most MMO kills

I agree. I am one of the few people who does combat often who does combat with no system, and I am not very good at it (especially since I have no insta-kills). It really should be two people hammering different commands on their keyboards, not two people eating popcorn while their computers whiz text by them.

Meh. That's why you should build your own system! Knowing exactly what you're going to do and how you can fix it if things go wrong, is pretty powerful and fun.

But soooo much work...

Even when you are involved in making your own system, it's still the computer sending all the commands, and mainly the problem is that it's pretty darn difficult to concentrate on both offense and defense manually, while keeping track of everything. So you use a system and focus on offense, and that's pretty neat, I think.

The way MKO is now, you definitely have more combat options than you would in any MMO I've ever played, and you can fight in several different styles, so that's something that is really neat about the PVP system there.

The text goes by so fast I can't  see what is happening. Its like playing a game of chess while blindfolded and then opening your eyes at the end of the game to see where you went wrong.

Thats speed chess for you

I also have this problem many times. What is really evil is when you figure out that you mispelled your opponent's name after they killed you.

From what I've seen so far on IRE MUDs, PvP is more about how much money you can afford to spend on skills, or a system, or how good you are at scripting. There is some skill involved, but it's mostly in endgame against other people with similar set ups - and even then, it's only an edge, not essential.





Restricting everything to only the visual modality does make it trickier, but thre are a few ways to help...I know some people highlight certain lines such as omg you're about to get instaklilled, but there's also ways of setting up other windows to port information like wound levels, or even using sound notices.

Not a big fan of pvp. I don't want to lose experience

I kind of would like to see a bit more variety in the topics of these articles... Finding a new way to do the same thing (compare muds to mmos) does not make it a new topic... It just means you learned how to beat the horse another way. :-/  What happened to the old articles that were fresh and fun?  The ones that delved into the uniqueness of IRE games on a meaningful level?  This fluff is rather... Unimpressive.  Nothing against the author of this particular article - more a criticism of the selection (and arrangement) of them in general.

As the author, what kind of things would you guys like to read? I'm happy to pump out stuff that is interesting...I just need to know what it is. :D

An article on the different areas of combat: the different strategies, how often they happen and your opinion on them. In MKO for example we have open field fights between cities, village raids, sieging highcastle or veilgarden, a rogue hunt (a rogue runs into an enemy city itself and starts killing people), and occasionally a full out city assualt (most of one city tries to fight through the gates of an enemy city, usually failing).


An article on the relative strengths of the various classes. With games like Lusternia or Aetolia with dozens of classes it is really hard to choose which class to pick.



Honestly, I'd probably prefer a much more basic system than most of what IRE offers. Curing itself isn't really indicative of a fighting environment. I'd also say I've had substantially more fun in 5s on WoW and any MOBA (LoL, DotA, HoN) than *any* team fight in IRE. Hell, even horribly uneven, laggy 1k+ fleet battles in EVE were more fun.


I will say instakills are probably one of the best 'innovations' in IRE, since they do make some decision making matter. 

I agree on the first section. I don't think instakills do much apart from punish people without lazer powered scripts and 100% attention.

With combat reflex systems out there is ir pvp really that different?  I'm not a combatent everyone knows but, doesn't it come down to what your class can do and who has the better coded scripts? Just mostly asking.  I'd like responces.

Curing/afflicting in Achaea is definitely complex. Whether that's a good thing or not is debatable. By far the worst thing about its complexity is that it presents a barrier to entry. It's so complex that you more or less need to automate your reactions. Coming back to Achaea after going dormant and losing all my triggers and the rest of it, it was hugely discouraging. Once you get into it, that depth becomes enjoyable. But I'd say the majority of people who play the game don't engage in PVP.

Looking at other games, complexity presents itself in different ways. Guild Wars 2 has slimmed down its skill bar, relative to other MMORPGs, to ten skills, in the name of balance and simplicity. In League of Legends each champion only has four abilities, but that game is by no means simple.

ilusions and force are pretty cool too

With autobots et cetera it's not an option anymore. Also force is situational decent, but the high cost of EQ (atleast in Aetolia) makes it more or less useless against anyone competent.

monk mind command blows, though.

Since everything in Achaea is automated. Kinda cheats a little bit.

From any other RPG I've ever heard of (well, other than the other IRE games), that it's tremendously difficult to explain properly.

in Mud, your main defense isn't jumping around?

I concur.

Stupid thing will destroy the muds and took away the core.

like enabling bot-like features?

Curing systems?

Been liking brands for a kill option lately. They are fun to pull off.

graphics based games can only be as complex as the graphics allow for. text based games allow for a much greater reach in strategy and complexity.

Bollocks. That is like saying text based games can only be as complex as the text allows

The real problem is not so much the output (the graphics or text you see during combat) as the input. I suppose it's theoretically imaginable to have a graphical game where the input was in the form of complex text commands, which could then be as complex as in Achaea, but what you saw was not text scrolling down the screen, but instead a very fine-grained graphical representation of what was happening.


That could theoretically be awesome, but that level of fine-grained graphical representation, of as many different things that can happen as can happen in the IRE combat systems, each represented properly no matter how many things were happening in a short time, is completely beyond what current games would be capable of. It would also be vastly too bandwidth-intensive. So any video game will necessarily have to have a much simpler combat system.

but much of the input in graphical games is actually text. Virtually no game send graphics over the wire.

Since Tema can't fight.  At all.

I am




I have been playing for 8 years and I still suck at combat.

I like that there are multiple ways to die: health 0, mana <50% for some classes, and all the instant kills and beheadings!

It makes everything more interesting.


love lusternia pvp, more fun than achaean but needs far too many credits.

Yea, I've been around in one guise or another since day one and I don't have a single kill under my belt.

graphics for some of these fast changes in combat in achaea would be impossible to do.  An action like a punch punch kick which happen in a fraction of a second in Achaea would have to be an animation that takes a few seconds and that changes how things feel during combat in graphical game

Nice article!

for yourself




Combat is spam. It is easier to get headaches from textcombat than from graphical combat.

I agree but, people somehow stil manage to be great combatents in lusternia

It's a bit of a downer when you find out most of the best fighters use the same system.

Move stuff to other windows! Miniwindows, and the like. I do that for my channels, people have all sorts of GUIs to help them out. Though, I do understand if there's even like 6 v 6 in a full on melee, it gets spammy. Especially if you don't gag things, like hold / release breath.



From a -willing to learn- point of view, it's bloodly harder in text.. Had been PvPing with fun and success in a couple of MMOs, but when it comes to Achaea where I play, erk, I feel like being a total PvP dumb.

having never played a morpg  from what sighted people have told me you just click on things  so, in IR text based it's a lot more complicated.  like others have said steep learning curve.  I love to  watch combatents fight though. it's really amaising.

Well, that's not always true, having an easy click way to fire your skills don't means fights get easier, your opponents has the same. It just get you an easier start, but then focus on differents things. From what I've seen setting the right reflex makes a lots of difference, you learn fighting differents things and get ready to face that again, thinking about wich skill to use. EnemyA can use skillA, so being warned about thingA popping and get ready to react fast. In a more click and fire visual way, you will be hardly pressed with other things like setting your keyboard with the right shortcut to be faster, omg I'm loosing 1k phisical mitigation there, but if I switch my equip like this I get +x offence, that means 0.1 more DPS in 2 minutes with rotation A, so if Im fighting something like Y and S, wich will be playing like this because he's using itemA and itemB or itemC and itemD I'll better be using that or again that other else, Oh but if I get the fight lasting longer I can switch and that Skill might be used like that aaaaanddd sooo oooonn.. So it's not like you can say it's easier, it's just that, after the fighters skills and experience wich will always be the most important thing, in a MUD like this there's not much more, a Visual way to KEEEL allows you to make so that the +1k mitigation mentioned before makes difference, where +1 constitution in Achaea is much less important.


So I'd say in MUD like Achaea fighting is simpler (where simple != easy !!!) than in other MMO.

That's a nice balance, more fight scenarios, less char building options in MUDs, less fight scenarios, more char building options in MMO.


Then again, this from my point of view, had been playing 2 MMO for a bit and being really new to fighting in MUD, so read the above as said from a total newbie. Some MMO/MUD might be difference from my experience.

I find debating more enjoyable, and no xp loss


It gets funny at times

PVP for Bloodpriests changed so much since I stopped playing, I have to relearn to fight but its still fun.



I always enjoy explaining the complexities of IRE combat to those of more recent, "traditional" MMOs. It's fun to either watch the jaws drop, or feel smug as they assure me their game is equally complex with it's DPS vs damage mitigation abilities.

just show them how it goes live, they'll think you're in the Matrix

IRE is partially damage vs healing, partly affliction vs curing. That's mostly on a 1v1 or small team level. Once it blows up beyond 3-4 people a side it's mostly just burst dps.

Thanks for writing this!

What about the ranged VS melee difference.  The text room gives a pretty nice dynamic there.

I think the only ranged stuff we have in lusternia is psionics and specialisations and the demigod zap ability. I'm not sure if runes would be consitered ranged as they're only one room away.

Range combat sucks, it is all about melee and rushes onto totems.

range is fine?


Timed instakills are unnecessary, and some guilds get access to as many as three.


Man, I wish I could buy an artifact bow in Lusternia.

I like paint chips

I like... chips


suicide mice :)

At least in aeon things move by slowly enough that I can almost see what is happening.

Fighting in retardation vibe ftw.

Good article


the satisfaction you get from winning mud pvp.

If you coded your own system or not.


I see

Yeah easter is great.

as the tile says



I don't know if it is fair to say that it is better. Different, yes. More complex, yes. Cooler, probably, but better? I think it is a bit hard to say

non-text is easier, to be sure

Right now I have to say that in theory I agree: MUD combat (at least IRE) seems a lot cooler than WoW PVP. But honestly to know for sure I'll actually have to figure out what exactly is going on first. It's certainly less accessible! :D

Combat is very complex! But also very interesting.

I was expecting more of an in depth comparison between MUD combat and MMORPG combat. Maybe it's just me, but I felt the article was too short.


It is so complex

I can't play in a non pvp environment. I no longer favor cowardice.

Decent read.



combat offense, than defense these days. Defense can be bought, but a good offense requires an actual understanding of all the mechanics and how they work (in order to get around said buyable defenses). I'm also interested in a system that can pick, or at least limit the choices of viable strategies for a kill... basically a system that adapts/learns as you battle. No real idea how to start on it though :/

I don't think that's possible, unless you consider a system auto-asking you for possible reactions as combat offense.