Medievia Developer(s) Michael "Vryce" Krause and others Engine Merc Platform(s) Platform independent Release date(s) 1992 Genre(s) Fantasy MUD Mode(s) Multiplayer Media/distribution Online System requirements
Medievia is a MUD, an online text-based role-playing game. The game was initially created by Michael A. "Highlander" Smith, Anthony "Balor" Rowley, and Michael "Vryce" Krause in March 1992, using the Merc 1.00 MUD engine. The relationship between the Merc MUD codebase and Medievia's code is the subject of some controversy.
- 1 Prominence
- 2 Game characteristics
- 3 Business model
- 4 Licensing and status as a derivative work
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
"Medievia: The most popular free gaming mud I know of. Pioneered the use of things like in-game spam ads for themselves and lack of due credit given for code (:P) but also has things like ASCII map terrain, large algorithmically generated areas, etc."
Medievia has the original four DikuMUD classes, each with strengths and weaknesses. The Warrior and the Thief are archetypal fighters, while the Cleric and the Mage are spellcasters.
Multi-Classing and Reclassing
Players start out at level 1 as one of the classes described above. By fulfilling all of the requirements for each level, players gain levels until they reach level 31. The requirements increase with increasing levels. Upon reaching level 31, the player has the option to multi-class, starting out again at level 1 as a different class while retaining the abilities from the previous class. This process is repeated until the player has completed all four classes and a total of 124 levels. At this point, the player commands the skills and spells of every class and the disadvantages of only the current class; these players are referred to as heroes. Regardless of the order in which a hero completed the classes, as a hero, the player has the option to reclass. Reclassing is similar to multi-classing in that the hero chooses a different class and must reach level 31 to become a hero again. Heroes also have the option of enhancing their bloodline.
Players wear equipment to increase their statistics or otherwise gain advantages. It is one of the driving aspects of the game, as the majority of players want to have the 'best' equipment. Useful equipment is obtained by killing a mob who has the desired equipment. Most equipment in the game has a limited lifespan; when its lifespan ends, most equipment's statistics deteriorate to what is called its 'base stats', though other outcomes are possible, such as the item disappearing or deteriorating to half of their base stats.
"Object tweaking" is a significant part of Medievia's equipment system. The term refers to randomization code that randomly adjusts the stats of equipment. There are limits as to how high or how low an item will tweak, but every object is unique and may display a 'freak tweak'. In this, stats can potentially roll very high or extremely low. When tweakable items are generated, the game randomly assigns them stats based on its base stats plus a random factor that may make the final stats higher, lower, or the same as the base stats.
A zone is a collection of rooms that sometimes has an accompanying storyline to it. Some zones in the game are found directly on the wilderness map while others are not as easily accessible. Many zones have internal puzzles or 'mazes' to solve in order to obtain experience or equipment, while others are cities where players gather and socialize. Zones have area types that affect how dangerous they are and the rewards found within them.
Clans and Towns
A Clan is a group of at most 51 players led by the Clan Leader and Co-Clan Leader. Clan members have a special communication channel. Towns consist of at most 3 clans and have another channel dedicated to communicate between members of the same town. Towns and clans can be thought of teams — all the towns are competing against each other for their clan rank. Clans get points for their ranking in several different categories within the game. Higher ranked towns get a hit point bonus based on their overall ranking in a number of areas of competition.
The Catacombs, or 'The Combs' as they are referred to amongst the community, are one of the fundamental areas related to the storyline of the game. The catacombs randomly move about the land from time to time, and contain randomized content. Mobs in the catacombs drop eggs which have many uses, including contributing to clan ranking. The deterioration of a piece of equipment can also be lengthened using eggs, and eggs can be traded to acquire practice points, which players use to train their stats or class skills. Most importantly, each player needs 1000 eggs to multi-class or reclass. Eggs are traded amongst the players; this makes up a significant part of the game's economic activity.
There are three types of dragons which serve three different game purposes.
- Transportation Dragons
- Good dragons are ones which assist players by transporting them abroad. Due to Medievia's enormous size it is not feasible to walk everywhere. A player may call upon a dragon at a cost of gold determined by a formula based on their total level.
- Wilderness Dragons
- Wilderness Dragons are evil dragons that hunt people. Evil dragons chase after players in the wilderness randomly, and attempt to kill them and steal their gold. Players can call upon good dragons to assist them in staving off these attacks.
- Lair Dragons
- Lair dragons dwell in lairs throughout the land. Groups of players hunt these dragons for their precious dragon hide. This hide can then be used to make special equipment, arguably some of the best equipment in the game. The type of equipment that can be made with these hides depends on the color of the dragon. When players encounter these lair dragons, dragon points are obtained and count towards a player's level requirements.
Autoquests are missions given to players to complete for rewards. The completion of an autoquest (or AQ) will usually grant a player with a gold prize, AQ points, and occasionally items. AQ points are also needed for level requirements.
Ships were added as a feature of Medievia V, introducing a new seafaring element to the game.
- The primary purpose of ships is to collect Fae. Fae is collected by killing evil mobs while at sea. Under certain conditions, it is possible to raid other clans' ships to acquire more Fae. Having large amounts of Fae however will attract more danger.
- Larger ships are often equipped with magical guns that can be fired at sea serpents, which attempt to attack ships by ramming them. Killing serpents awards the attacking ships with a significant amount of Fae. Larger serpents often split into several smaller serpents when killed, leading to additional peril when the smaller serpents attack the ship simultaneously.
- The Khrait are a strange race of pirates from afar. They appear around ships that have enormous amounts of Fae aboard and attack these ships in an attempt to sink them. Players can sink Khrait ships for Fae, or capture them and kill their crew for even greater rewards.
Trading, which was introduced in Medievia IV, is one source of income within the game. The continent of Medievia has many cities with trade posts, connected by a network of roads throughout the kingdom. These trade posts each sell goods which a player must physically cart from post to post. Trading is an arguably dangerous task that often requires a group of people to complete. Most trade routes are reasonably safe. There are more dangerous trade routes which yield considerably more gold, but these are relatively unpopular. As a challenge, the game's Dungeon Master (or DM) attempts to improve a player's experience by generating hostile encounters for them. Trade points are required for a player's level requirements.
The value of goods will decrease from post to post as people trade. In order to revitalize the devaluing of goods, catastrophes will occur. These usually cause drastic increases in trade post values for the affected shop.
The Dungeon Master, or "DM", is a section of Medievia's game engine which monitors each player's gameplay experience. Medievia's developers claim this system can detect how a player feels and decides whether to invoke "mob factions" which help or hinder the player. Additionally, the DM makes self-controlled decisions affecting many other aspects of gameplay, such as weather patterns.
- Mob Factions
- Mob factions (or MFs) are basically a group of themed mobs which the DM sets upon a player (or players) in many situations, either to help or hinder a player in completing a task.
- MF Types
- The type of factions you may encounter are determined by the Dungeon Master. Little is known about how the DM determines which type a player may encounter, but the development staff have stated there is an attempt to balance a player's experience between good and bad. The severity, helpfulness and strength of a mob faction is determined by the risk level.
- Risk Level
- The further away one is from Medievia City (the center of the game map), the higher the risk level is. The risk level of an area will determine the strengths of both good and bad types of mob factions. Risk level only affects areas of the wilderness, including the waters which ships sail in.
When a player reaches Level 124, they are allowed to produce a maximum of two offspring. Each generation beneath a player grants the parent a special regeneration bonus giving them a greater game advantage. After a bloodline or people within a bloodline have a certain number of generations beneath them, a player becomes known as a Legend.
Bloodlines have their own communication channel similar to clans or towns, and players within the bloodline may communicate with each other telepathically.
Medievia is owned and operated by Medievia.com, Inc., which was registered as a corporation on 19 January 2000. The corporation derives income from Medievia by effectively selling players special donation items for use with game characters. The normal fee may be waived for players creating content for the game, for example by building zones or writing articles for the in-game newspaper. There are also annual sales, during which the cost of these donation items is reduced.
The donation items provide advantages to characters that are not attainable with equipment that is freely available. The major items are outlined below, with their costs in brackets, and their closest free alternatives where available. To help the reader to appreciate these numbers in context, it should be noted that mature player characters usually have between 500 and 1400 health, and between 40 and 100 damage roll.
There has been controversy over whether recent versions of Medievia continue to be derivatives of DikuMUD, and what effect this has on the legality of encouraging players to effectively purchase in-game equipment from the proprietors.
Licensing and status as a derivative work
Medievia was, at the time of its creation, based on the Merc MUD codebase(which in turn was based on DikuMUD). This is significant since, were Medievia still to be a derivative work of DikuMUD, it would be bound by the terms of the DikuMUD license.
Status as a derivative of DikuMUD
- "Thranz", a former programmer and administrator for Medievia, has stated that at the time he worked on the source code (c.2000, corresponding to Medievia version 4), Medievia still contained Merc code.
- Michael Krause (Medievia's owner) has stated that Medievia has been rewritten several times in its entirety, most recently in the switch between versions 3 and 4.
- Sections of code purportedly from Medievia IV, dated February 1996, have been compared in detail with the original Merc 1.0 code, and show a high degree of similarity, to the extent of apparently retaining comments from the original Merc developers.
- Two further sections of code, purportedly taken from Medievia IV in August 2000, show a continuing similarity to the Merc codebase.
- A signed fax attributed to Michael Krause, the owner of Medievia, has been made available online, which asserts, as part of a takedown notice, that the code dated 1996 used in the comparison above is authentic, and taken from Medievia 4.1C.
- Hans Henrik Staerfeldt, an author of DikuMUD, has expressed a clear view that Medievia is derived from their work.
- Michael Siefert, an author of DikuMUD, has stated, "I have been shown the MidThieveia code - version 4 I believe it was (approx. in 1997). Only a very brief examination was required in order for me, as an author of DikuMud, to recognize my old code. There is no doubt that it is Diku based."
- In 2005 Medievia's Director of Media & Marketing claimed as Medievia comprised over 450,000 lines of code (over 560,000 in 2006) while Merc 1.0 only had 28,000 lines of code, that did not make them a derivative work of DIKU.
- It has been stated that Medievia, since version 4, has been written in C++, whereas Merc 1.0 was written in C (see  for more on the differences between these languages), and that as such it cannot be considered a derivative work.
- Michael "Vryce" Krause has stated that Medievia is now a 64-bit application (see  for more on what this involves), whereas Merc 1.0 was not.
Comparison with the terms of the DikuMUD license
The following comparison is based on a copy of the DikuMUD license available here, and explains the compatibility of Medievia at present with the DikuMUD license. If Medievia is derived from DikuMUD, it is legally required to meet these terms.
You may under no circumstances make profit on *ANY* part of DikuMUD in any possible way.
You may not remove any copyright notices from any of the documents or sources given to you.
Any running version of DikuMud must include our names in the login sequence. Furthermore, the "credits" command shall always contain our name, addresses, and a notice which states we have created DikuMud.
Some consequences of the code provenance controversy
- Hans Henrik Staerfeldt, one of the Diku codebase authors, has stated that his belief that Medievia had violated the Diku license was among the reasons that he no longer contributes to the open source MUD community.
- Some Medievia administrators, including "Thranz"  and "Omawarisan"  have resigned, and have cited concerns over Medievia's licensing as all or part of their reason for doing so.
- ^ Wanted, bullet proof Merc Code
- ^ a b Medievia's statement regarding its origins
- ^ Encyclopedia of Muds entry
- ^ Mud-Dev FAQ
- ^ a b c Hahn, Harley (1996). The Internet Complete Reference (2nd ed.). Osborne McGraw-Hill. pp. 727. ISBN 0-07-882138-X. "Looking for a highly-populated mud? [...] Medievia allows for multi-classing [...] On Medievia you will encounter clan wars and a variety of environments such as [...] the catacombs with their thousands of randomized rooms."
- ^ a b Towers, J. Tarin; Badertscher, Ken; Cunningham, Wayne; Buskirk, Laura (1996). Yahoo! Wild Web Rides. IDG Books Worldwide Inc.. pp. 151. ISBN 0-7645-7003-X. "Even during the most terrible morning hours when we should all be asleep, like around 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., Medievia has over 100 sickos awake and typing away. [...] Medievia also has dragons that you can fly around on, making those long trips to your favorite areas go by really quickly."
- ^ Carton, Sean (1995). Internet Virtual Worlds Quick Tour. Ventana Press. pp. 151. ISBN 1566042224. "MEDIEVIA Cyberspace's theme fits your typical adventure/fantasy categories."
- ^ a b Medievia
- ^ Pennsylvania Department of State Business Entity Filing History
- ^ a b The DikuMUD license, hosted by CircleMUD
- ^ a b Google groups archive of former Medievia programmer Thranz's comments regarding the code authorship controversy
- ^ a b c d Richard Woolcock's comparison of Merc 1.0 and Medievia IV
- ^ Richard Woolcock's comparison of Merc 1.0, and Medievia IV in 1996 and 2000
- ^ A signed fax attributed to Michael Krause, Medievia owner, asserting the authenticity of the code.
- ^ a b Google groups archive of Hans Henrik Staerfeldt's comments on Medievia
- ^ a b Vryce, CEO of Medievia.com, Inc. (2006-11-25). "Hiring Two Programmers!". Archived from the original on December 20, 2006. http://web.archive.org/web/20061220035410/http://medieviatalk.blogspot.com/2006/11/hiring-two-programmers.html. Retrieved 2008-02-25.
- ^ a b Soleil, Medieva's Director of Media & Marketing (2005-05-08). "Welcome, Medievia". Top Mud Sites Forum. http://www.topmudsites.com/forums/tavern-blue-hand/1478-welcome-medievia.html#post17344. Retrieved 2008-02-25. "we do not consider ourselves a DIKU derivative. ... Again, I will state, that the Merc code was 28,000 lines of poorly written C. Medievia today is almost 500,000 lines of C++. ... Medievia today is about 451,000 lines of re-coded C++."
- ^ Compatibility of C and C++
- ^ Medievia News article dated May 26, 2006
- ^ Porting Linux applications to 64-bit systems
- ^ Omawarisan's spew - A former administrator's view on the code authorship controversy
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