Materia Magica, originally named Moongate, is a custom codebase MUD published by Ingenii Interactive that has been in operation since 1996. In 1996, Moongate diverged from a ROM MUD known as Nevermore. On January 20, 2001, Moongate relaunched itself as Materia Magica with a custom codebase. Its popularity during peak playing hours can reach over 300 simultaneously connected players.
About the Realm
The fantasy world of Materia Magica, known as "Alyria"
, consists of four major continents, a massive underground area known as the Great Alyrian Underground
, and an ethereal zone known as the Faerie Plane
The overall theme can be compared to the likes of Middle-earth
wherein different races live in strife and bloodlust is commonplace. The lead implementor, Vassago
(Ryan Addams), administers the game along with several other "Immortals" (so named because of their "godlike" status in the game).
Though hailed by players for its detailed, text-based environments, Materia Magica is based on the principle of endless killing and leveling up
. MUDs of this type are often disparaged as "hack and slash
". Recent improvements to the game such as the addition of a ship combat system
and roleplaying enhancements
indicate that the game is attempting to expand beyond this 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 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. It is through this code snippet that the concept of "automated questing" was introduced to the MUD community. The quest snippet is no longer supported but can still be found (along with several variations and derivations) for download on several websites.
It should be noted that 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
and 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.
Players may choose from one of twelve adventuring races
Most of these races are standard fantasy fare, with the exception of the two faerie races, Fey and Sidhe, that are unique to Materia Magica.
Materia Magica allows players to choose from one of fourteen 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.
Materia Magica offers an extensive clan and alliance system.
A clan is a group of players joined by a cause in which they all believe. Each cause is different and sometimes difficult to understand. Many clans have websites outside the game
that further elaborate on their function and purpose. Clans are created and run through acquisition of special clan gemstones from a dungeon.
There are eight different types of clans available for players to create: Circle
, 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 significantly 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
which don't change the gameplay much currently, but do provide roleplaying
Connecting to the game
The game address is materiamagica.com, available on ports 23, 4000, 6666, 8000, and 9000.
While Materia Magica can be played with any standard  or MUD client, it offers its own Java-based, multiplayer browser game client custom developed for the game, known as the Moongate Client The Moongate Client is integrated with the game engine and offers a Materia Magica-themed experience.