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Do note, I haven't played the other IronRealms MUDs that they have...but Achaea is probably the most popular, anyway.
So, supposedly the game gets heavy on having to pay real money to advance. I haven't got to that point yet, so I'm not sure how true that is. But their cash shop is stupidely expensive, so I doubt I'll be buying anything from there...it makes the cash shop from Allods Online look like they are giving items away for free. However, I'm not sure if one is 100% required to pay for the stupidely expensive shop, or if people can earn through in-game what they can from the shop.
Having said that...this is probably one of my favorite MUDs I've tried. I tried a lot, but none have really hooked me in like Achaea has. The world is fairly large, community from what I've seen is friendly and helpful. The city and house I joined are great (I'm a Sentinel and joined the city Eleusis), and I've met quite a lot of roleplayers while I've been exploring in the city. This is probably my favorite aspect of Achaea, is how friendly everyone is. But really, most MUDs generally have a nice community.
Now another aspect I like is you can walk to various landmarks...now for someone that enters an inn in an MMO and gets lost inside the inn...this is a great feature. As generally (in MUDs) I take 5 steps in some direction and then start going in circles and can never find how to get back. Kind of sad I know. :P Probably sadder I get lost inside inns. :P Though I haven't seen any in-game map like some MUDs have, but their are maps online that are good enough. You can also use a teleport portal system from level 1-20, but I personally don't use it...I don't want to get to level 21 and go "okay I have no idea where anything is"...better to me, to explore without using the portals.
Later you can also buy and customize your own house...I don't know much about this feature though, or if it is a cash shop thing or not...someone can go into more detail in that. But having a house is always awesome, I enjoy housing in various games and MMOs.
The only thing that seems a con so far, is it seems kind of grindy. But there are various tasks to do, like catching butterflies or giving corpses to the imp king or pixie queen...but combat is fun, some MUDs have an automated combat system...but Achaea you input different moves in for your character to do. I like that better.
Really, I think it is the community that I like a lot...plus for a MUD, it is a fairly large game (player wise)...since a lot of MUDs aren't as active. But even if it is large, most people I've met are great. But my biggest worry really is if one needs to use the crazy expensive cash shop to get ahead...especially since Achaea is PvP focused.
Really, there are a lot cheaper MUDs out there (some which are totally free)...that probably have more features than Achaea or a better world. But I like Achaea's dynamic aspect to the game. Many MUDs feel quite static to me. But even players in Achaea can change the game, story wise at least. I like that.
Other MUDs I like or tried are Discworld (best MUD in terms of world design) and Medievia and Materia Magicka have tons of features and an ascii based map. Discworld is totally free, and probably offers a better exploration than Achaea...but it is very grindy, a lot more so than Achaea. It doesn't seem to be very dynamic either, like Achaea is. Though the whole Discworld MUD is custom made, along with all the descriptions of each room. And as for the other two, I personally never could get into Medievia or Magicka, I don't know...lots of features, but the world didn't bring me in at all. However, I forgot which one...think it was Materia Magicka, does have a custom weather system that has different effects. That is a neat feature.