The MUD Connector has an interesting review of Duris posted:
I’ve always enjoyed Duris and still play it off and on (maybe half a dozen weeks a year), but it has always had so many flaws that I end up getting fed up and walking away after a while. Part of it is administrative, sure, but a lot of the problems are core game design — at the core it’s an excellent MUD, but so much of it is an unnecessarily frustrating mess that it doesn’t really have much longevity for me. I think it comes from the original philosophy of the design — the creators really didn’t differentiate between “difficult” and “irritating”.
For example (and I’m mainly referring to Duris from a few years ago because that’s what I know best):
Randomly killed by random-spawn unpredictable scan-track mobs in the underdark for no logical reason, or = annoying.
Instantly killed because you were attacked by a drunk orc when you try to leave the inn in your hometown and since you’re level 1, assisting guards one-shot you (and your class doesn’t have sneak) = annoying.
Getting killed in artifact-wielding players in low-level zones and having your corpse looted of spellbooks/totems that you are too poor to replace because you’rer a newbie = annoying.
Player-wiping because you want to refresh the player base, purge an overabundance of equipment, or replace the world maps, or cover up the fact that the game mechanics still need some work = annoying.
Needing to use your head to come up with a strategy to defeat mobs, complete a zone, or accomplish a task = difficult.
Being forced to rely on your wits and diligently reading room descriptions to solve quests or puzzles = difficult.
Optimizing your equipment and stat bonuses based on how you want to perform in combat and doing so by real combat experience rather than reading the source code = difficult.
Somehow they seem to think that and difficult are both beneficial. Difficult makes players keep playing because things aren’t too easy. Annoying makes them log in to WoW.
I still find it incredibly amusing that I was more-or-less programming for Duris during the 2000-2001 “arms race” with Basternae 2 — every time I added a feature or convenience command that was neat but didn’t affect game balance it would show up on Duris a week later.
Even so, I can’t really say I have anything against any of the admins of Duris. After all, I’ve never even met any of them (except Xyzom from old Duris, who I actually lived with for a while and worked on Illustrium Arcana with — nice enough fella but we haven’t kept in touch). All I can do is judge by their product, Duris: Land of Bloodlust, which needs some work.