|This article relies on references to primary sources. (July 2007)|
Materia Magica (sometimes referenced as MM), originally named Moongate, is a well-known custom codebase MUD published by Ingenii Interactive that has been in operation since 1996. In 1996, Moongate diverged from a ROM, Nevermore. Its popularity during peak playing hours can reach over 120 simultaneously connected players.
The fantasy world of Materia Magica, Alyria, consists of four major continents, a massive underground area called the Great Alyrian Underground, and the Faerie Plane, an ethereal zone. The overall theme is medieval fantasy wherein different races live in strife and bloodlust is commonplace. The lead implementor, Ryan Addams, administers the game along with several other "Immortals". Addams (under the handle Vassago) was also the creator of the popular 1990's IRC script PhoEniX.irc.
Materia Magica is a text-based game based on the principle of endless killing and leveling up. The game does provide roleplay and non-combat elements, such as a ship combat system and roleplaying enhancements, helping to expand the game's content beyond the typical hack and slash classification.
The histories of Alyria are based upon several official stories as well as player-contributed material. Player and clan websites devoted to Materia Magica are encouraged and even rewarded through website competitions.
Each player character (PC) is built around four classes, one of each of four types: thief, fighter, mage, and cleric. Arrival at the highest level of the four classes bestows the title of "Hero" on the player, which is followed by a separate fifth class, "Archon", that each hero has the option of becoming. Players may choose from one of thirteen adventuring races. Players to choose from one of fifteen classes (depending on race) and allows progression in that class from level 1-60, at which time in order to progress in the game the player must change classes and can then gain another 60 levels, etc. This can be done up to four times. Players can select only one class from each of the four class groups: Fighter, Mage, Cleric, and Thief. When a character reaches level 240 (60 levels in each class) they are known as a Hero and have the option of undertaking a special quest known as the Domain of Arbaces. Upon successful completion of this quest they are granted the highest player level achievable in the game, level 241, are given a power boost along with additional skills, and are known as Archons.
Players can also ask quest masters for quests, in which they must complete a series of tasks in a timely manner for the quest master in return for quest points, practice points, experience points and gold. Quest points can be used to purchase important items which help with gameplay. Quests are one of the main ways, besides leveling, marks, and miniquests, to acquire practice points in Materia Magica, and as such is a popular aspect of the game. Quests that fall outside the official quest system are known as "miniquests", do not usually have a time limit, and often are much more complex. Rewards from these can be virtually anything.
In 1996, Vassago released a version of the game's (then known as Moongate) quest code that had been modified to work with generic MUDs. The quest code, known as "automated questing" because it generated quests with random goals upon request, quickly became a popular code snippet and was used/modified by many MUDs. The quest snippet is no longer supported but can still be found (along with several variations and derivations) for download on several websites. Materia Magica itself no longer has what can be termed "automated quests" anymore, having replaced their questing process with the release of the 4.0 version of the game with thousands of pre-written quests. The quests now have their own story lines and the goals are no longer randomly chosen.
Materia Magica also features a system of measuring progress throughout the game known as the Mark system. It is one of the alternative ways to questing and leveling by which a player can gain experience and practice point rewards. The granting of a Mark often comes with a one-time (Each Mark can only be obtained once per player) practice point or experience point reward. Marks can be obtained automatically when the player reaches certain predetermined goals within the game (such as completing a certain number of quests) but can also be sought out by completing miniquests. Marks can also be obtained just stumbling upon them.
Clans and alliances
Materia Magica offers a clan and alliance system. A clan is a group of players joined by a cause in which they all believe. Clans are created and run through acquisition of special clan gemstones from a dungeon. There are eight different types of clans: Circle, Order, Cult, Coven, Court, Guild, Tribe and Lodge. Additionally, clans can combine into groups called alliances. Alliances can choose to defend certain townes and protect the townes from invasions which happen with some regularity, thus earning them favor points. These favor points activate bonuses that are granted to the entire alliance.
In October 2007 the ship combat system was expanded to include pirate ships that patrol certain waters of Alyria's oceans (these are known as "ship pk" zones). The pirate ships feature colorful captains that hurl sea-based insults while bombarding player ships with a variety of weapons, including cannonballs, ballistas, harpoons, and fire launchers. AI routines are utilized to allow the pirate ships to hunt and target others who sail the ship pk waters. When sunk, pirate ships grant experience points to the opposing ship captains and their shipmates, and leave behind steamer trunks of cargo (such as gold ingots and ship weapon ammunition) that can be recovered and sold for profit at numerous cargo traders. There are factions of pirates that don't change the gameplay much currently, but do provide roleplaying possibilities.
- John (2008). "MMOs vs the World". "On the MUD side of the house, I think most every MUDder who's been around the block has heard of ... Materia Magica."
- Joanna (2007). "Mud Connector Review of Materia Magica". "Since 1996, Ingenii Interactive has been running Materia Magica with a custom codebase."
- Ryan Addams (1996). "ADVERTISEMENT: (rom) MOONGATE Mud". "Moongate is a new mud, based on Rom 2.3 & 2.4 beta, with many improvements and additions to the original."
- Christopher Negus; Francois Caen (2008). "BSD Unix Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and NetBSD". "The original IRC client was ircII. It allowed the addition of scripts — in some ways similar to macros found in productivity suites — that automated some of the commands and increased usability. The most popular was PhoEniX by Vassago."
- Joanna (2007). "Mud Connector Review of Materia Magica". "Although it does seem that many sections of the game are dedicated solely to the hack 'n' slash variety of MUD, there are opportunities for role-playing. The middle of the road MUDder who enjoys both hack 'n' slash and role-play will find this a very interesting game. A PK MUDder or one who enjoys hack 'n' slash the most will love this game."
- "Reference - History". materiamagica.com.
- "Towne Hall - Events". materiamagica.com.
- "Reference = Bestiary". materiamagica.com.
- "Reference - Classes". materiamagica.com.
- "Quest Guidelines". materiamagica.com.