Sunday, September 11, 2016

Moria: Let's Try This Again

I played Moria for a while last year, until eventually giving up.  I always planned to get back and finish it, but the monolith that was The Game of Dungeons v8 intervened, and sucked up a solid year of gaming.  Now I'm back, and with no other games to distract me I plan to go hard at Moria and complete it.

I've posted about the game before, beginning with this post right here, but it's been such a long time that I feel like I should run down the basics again. Here goes.

Moria is, of course, and D&D-style fantasy RPG, originally developed for the PLATO mainframe by Kevet Duncombe and Jim Batton circa 1975.  It's the first ever CRPG to use a first-person perspective, and it may even qualify as being the first-ever multi-player RPG.  Whatever else I say about the game, it should never be forgotten just how innovative and ground-breaking it is.

The game is set in the land of Moria, which is a subterranean realm split into six areas: City, Wilderness, Forest, Desert, Cave and Mountain.  The City and the Wilderness have but one level, and the other four have sixty levels each.  Don't expect the names to correspond to the geography, though: everywhere you go in Moria it's nothing but wire-frame mazes, and the only thing that changes is the colour of the walls.

You can tell it's a forest because the background colour is green.  Sort of.

There are three goals to strive for in the game: making it onto the Hall of Fame, becoming the master of one of the guilds, and finding the Reaper's Ring.  The Hall of Fame is simply a list of the players who have scored the most points.  Points are earned by killing monsters, so theoretically all I have to do to earn a place in the Hall is grind, grind and grind some more.  Becoming a Guildmaster is a matter of raising the relevant stat to 50, and spending a load of gold (about 3 million, if my calculations are correct).  Again, lots of grinding involved here.  The Reaper's Ring is my ultimate goal, and can only be found in the deep levels of the Forest, Desert, Cave and Mountain.  Apparently it drops a level every time it's discovered, and was last found in Level 38.  Once I've located this bad boy, I'm going to call it game over.

That's me: British, Apprentice Wizard.  Sitting last in the monthly records.  Only 48,000 points to go!

Characters have four stats: Cunning, Piety, Valor and Wizardry.  Each of these corresponds to one of the four Guilds.  The stats are also tied to the four different attack types in combat: trickery, prayer, fighting, and spellcasting.  As you win battles, the stats most used will increase over time.

That's a basic run-down, but the game has loads of features: character aging, food and water, a robust equipment system, spells, and more that I'm probably forgetting.  Then there are the multiplayer options, which I haven't been able to use at all.  This is a game with a lot of stuff in it, at least as far as gameplay goes.

The problem is, that while the game has a lot of stuff in terms of features, it doesn't have a lot of stuff in the dungeons themselves.  It's the same problem I had with The Game of Dungeons v8.  The maps are enormous, but there's nothing in them except for wandering monsters.  It's holding my interest at the moment, but soon enough the long, hard slog will take its toll.

That's all I'll cover for now, as I only intended to do a quick refresher on the game.  I also don't want to exhaust any of the topics too quickly.  I could be at this one for a long while, and I need to make the material last.

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