World Review: Sherwood Dungeon
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World Status: Operational
Sherwood Dungeon is a shockwave based, gaming virtual environment. It is in essence, a MMO boiled down to its finest base elements and given a 3D feel. A combat world, with chat added on the end, it often feels lacking, and even boring after prolonged participation.
That said, it does feed the achiever mindset very well, with an almost limitless potential for character growth through levelling, purely because dungeon levels, character levels, and item powers are constructed by formula, and never really stop.
As the name might give away, the world is set centred around Sherwood Forest, in which sits Sherwood Castle, and below the castle, the never ending depths of Sherwood Dungeon. Your main task as a player, is to enter the dungeon, kill whatever you find there, and keep descending the levels, killing and more killing, without end.
The items have strength based on level. For example, a level 1 shield found on level 1 gives four points of armour. A level 2 shield found on the next level down, gives 8 points of armour. A level three, 12 points, and so on. This formulaic method ensures that there is never a need to create more content as players advance. During the review, by means of teleporting, dungeon level 9999 was located, scouted briefly due to the incredible strength of the mobs found, and stairs, presumably to level 10000 were located.
The formulae do not apply to everything, and there is some degree of character customisation. There is a selection of five base avatars which players may choose from. With these avatars, players may change the vestment colours, or the hairstyle (note: not the hair colour) of their choice of avatar. Players are then free to change avatar choice or colours as often as they wish throughout the experience. The choices are divided into two male avatars, two female. And one undead.
Avatar quality can be best described as middling. You can very clearly see the individual polygons, and the faces lack detail, but the modellers have clearly tried to create something human-looking with limited technology.
The world is divided into an unknown number of shards, each holding a complete copy of all maps. A new shard is created any time the number of players on any one map of a given shard exceeds 20. Presumably they also compact in the same manner. However, this does lead to the possibility of exiting map A on one shard, entering map B, and immediately being bumped to a second shard as that map is full, then going back and being bumped to shard 3, as shard 2's A map was full.
Thus, it is very, very easy to lose a party of friends if you go exploring in a large group. There is no remote messaging capability, so all messages are across the same map only. This means, once you are lost, you may be lost for the evening.
Sherwood Dungeon is a very popular gaming world, with 1,100 players online when this review started, and 985 online, six hours later. This latter number was the lowest it dipped. Unfortunately, the majority of the individuals encountered were German, Spanish, or Italian in about that order, so meaningful conversation was difficult.
The community size is undoubtedly helped by the lack of necessity to sign up for an account. You are welcome to literally just type a name in and go. Doing this, you start out as a new level 1 player in the forest, and can proceed normally from that point on.
If you do decide to register, you can. Registration is free, but requires an email address. This saves your character between sessions, and allows you to access the paid features. Yup, Sherwood Dungeon makes its money from selling pets, and mounts. Pets include wolves and many different varieties of dire spider. Mounts include varieties of dragon and stallion. In each case, the price is a cheap five us dollars per year to add them to your account. This nominal charge is enough to pay for the servers, and since there is no active staffing, presumably this is all the world requires.
As a nice touch, if you spend a couple of hours levelling your character, then decide to register, it keeps all your levelling and equipment details unless you close and reopen.
For some, its the thrill of discovery, the freedom to strike out, to pioneer. Whether its mapping new lands, or exploring unknown fields of endeavour, to be first, to boldly go, this is what explorers live for.
Sherwood Dungeon seems to have an infinite number of maps. The dungeons are not instanced, but do appear to be laid out mathematically, likely generated by feeding a number sequence into an algorithm. Every four levels, the walls change, in the pattern:
Work, work work. Everybody... You have this burning desire to succeed, to achieve renown, to be the best in whatever field you set your sights to. No matter what, you must be the best... What will you be? A powerful warlord? The leader of a town? You're ambitious, and crave power? This section is for you.
Sherwood Dungeon goes on without end. You can level up as high as you like, with an infinite number of quests to take, all of which have the format "kill # of monster**** on dungeon level ##". You level up as you deal damage, one point of experience per point of damage dealt, whether to a mob or another player. Chests and barrels scattered randomly about the levels, give loot such as health potions to use to advance further.
You get your fun through fighting, killing, pillaging and pilfering. From despicable thieves, through sneaky assassins, great military generals, and noble knights, you love to kill, you live to kill.
Sherwood Dungeon is very player killer friendly. Players can change their avatars' vestnment colours to any of: red, blue, green, purple. These four colours represent casual teams, and you can player-kill any avatar wearing a different colour to your own. You can also change your own colour at any time.
Sherwood Dungeon is basically a 3D MMO with all but the base elements boiled out. It could also be said that it is the probable future of all MMOs as they remove more and more storytelling in favour of the exp grind.
Fun for an hour or two, but unlikely to be one you will enjoy returning to.
Rating 49 / 100
Client OS:Win 2K, Win 98, Win 2K, Win 2K