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Materia Magica (Browser)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
2.6
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.

Description

Originally launched in 1996 and still being actively maintained and updated, Materia Magica is a complex fantasy MUD set on the medium-sized blue-green planet named Alyria, in the galaxy of Sirchade. While accessible through any Telnet or MUD client, the game can also be played directly from any modern browser thanks to its own dedicated Java-based client which, as a nod towards the name the game was originally launched under, is called the Moongate Client.
Towns and indoor areas are presented through plain text descriptions, with a compass in the corner showing which directions the player may move to from their current location and some quick information about the next room in each direction. The wilds, however, are shown from a top-down perspective with the player at the center of the displayed area, with different characters and colors representing the various terrain types, buildings and landmarks.

While all new characters start their adventures in the village of Lasler and then move on to a town determined by their first chosen class, the game world consists of the entire surface of Alyria, as well as the Great Alyrian Underground, the Faerie Plane, which is the home of the Fey and Sidhe races, and the Ethereal Void, where players who are not Fey or Sidhe end up when they die.

Players in the world of Alyria can choose one of the 13 different races and, in whichever order they choose, four of the 15 regular classes, one for each archetype, though the exact classes available to each character are determined by race and, in the case of Cavalier and Valkyrie, gender. Character attributes are determined randomly at creation, though the procedure takes race into account and players may roll multiple times, choosing the attributes they are most content with.
A character must reach level 60 in one class before multiclassing by choosing a new class, from a different archetype. That will reset their class level to 1 and their proficiencies will also be reduced accordingly, though afterwards they will increase at the fastest pace produced by any of their classes. Characters who reach total level 240 gain the title of Hero and the ability to advance to the special class of Archon by fighting through Irda Isle's Proving Grounds and then completing the Domain of Arbaces. Then their total level will reach the maximum of 241 and their class level will be 61. An Archon's class level may be increased, up to a maximum of 241, by accumulating Archon Points. Levels 242 to 250 are reserved for the Immortals, who are the GMs.

Magic in Alyria is ruled by its twin moons, Trigael and Marabah, which emit a form of energy best described as chaotic. As such, spellcasters will find that their abilities ebb and flow according to the phases of these moons, as will the rate at which magical power regenerates. On top of this, most spellcasting characters will need to keep their spellbooks in good order and make sure they always keep a healthy supply of reagents on hand, though the magical abilities of some classes have different requirements.

Trainers may improve players' skills and attributes in exchange for practice points, though all skills can also be trained through use and in fact in most cases this is the only method of raising them past 75%. Practice points, on the other hand, are obtained by completing quests, leveling up and earning marks, the latter being awarded for achievements that range from defeating powerful enemies, to completing special quests generally known as "miniquests" despite usually being longer and more difficult than the regular quests, to simply being in the right place at the right time to witness a random event. This theoretically allows all of a character's skills, from all of their classes, to reach 100%.
However, the threats in Alyria, particularly at the higher levels, will be too much even for the best adventurer, so players may join each other in formations of up to nine, choosing a structure and positioning themselves in ways which are best suited for the task at hand. The ability to enter formations is not limited to players, however, and their enemies will also make full use of it every chance they get.

Players may also create and join clans, the maximum number of players in each clan being determined by its clanhall size. Clans design their own halls, according to the available resources and in agreement with the Immortals, can set their own rules and decide the ranks awarded to their members. Clan alliances, on the other hand, are groups of clans that formally join together to defend a town from invasions, gaining favor points which may be exchanged for bonuses granted to all alliance members if successful.

Player-versus-player (PvP) combat in Materia Magica is known as player killing (PK) and is of three types: Lawful (LPK) areas mean that all players killed in them will be restored to life immediately, Neutral (NPK) results in a normal death, while dying in a Chaotic (CPK) area will also result in the player dropping their items that lack the nouncurse attribute. Players can challenge each other in battles in the arena, which is LPK, but many other PK areas are strewn throughout the world. Players who belong to PK clans may attack each other even outside PK areas.

Other game features include mounts and mounted combat, seafaring, including ship PK (SPK) areas roamed by pirates, an economic system including banks, auctions and NPC, player and clan shops, player housing, marriage and handfasting, religion, politics, factions, customizable equipment through the use of relics, several special events that take place throughout the year and a hardcore mode which grants players various bonuses in exchange for a limited number of incarnations. The game world benefits from detailed history and lore, presented in game as well as on the game's website, and players and clans are also encouraged to help improve and expand these elements.

The game is free-to-play, but Reward Units (RUs) may be purchased and used to buy powerful equipment, houses, ships and other such items. Some of these items may also be bought with game money or quest points, but others may only be obtained in exchange for RUs, some of them also being impossible to trade in game. It is, however, possible to earn RUs without buying them with real money, by making useful contributions such as submitting new quests or pieces of history and lore.

A number of features are available in order to enhance the game's compatibility with screen readers and improve its accessibility for sight-impaired players.

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Alternate Titles

  • "Moongate" -- Original title

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Trivia

Core game mechanics

After a number of changes during the '90s, culminating with the massive overhaul which was the launch of version 4.0, the core game mechanics remained largely stable for several years, though new quests, items and even areas were regularly created and updated. However, the second half of the '00s brought about a flurry of additions, including clan alliances, invasions, favor points and the associated rewards, ship combat, pirates and ship PK areas, as well as a significant number of tweaks. Some new significant changes, including religion and the addition of the Sahuagin race and the Knave class, were introduced in the early '10s.

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Cavalary (5350) added Materia Magica (Browser) on Aug 27, 2012