I've mentioned before that the PvP system in Achaea is really complex and interesting. Like the other IRE MUDs, it's real-time, so it's fast-paced and exciting, but unlike most real-time MMORPG combat systems, it doesn't just turn into a competition over who is higher level, or who can type the fastest. Instead, combat requires both careful strategic planning ahead of time, and the ability to think on your feet in the middle of a fight.
Many games have PvP systems that basically involve two people hitting each other as fast as they can, and you see who runs out of health first...with a few added mechanics to make it a bit more interesting. In Achaea, only newbies try to kill people by hitting them over and over and hoping they'll run out of HP. Achaea's combat system requires you to have a much more complex strategy.
For one example, members of the priest class have an ability that lets them kill someone instantly, IF that person currently has less than 50% of his maximum mana points. So, if you're a priest who wants to use that ability, you need a strategy to try and drain the person of mana, or to get the person to drain himself of mana by using skills that require it. This isn't the only strategy available to priests though...just one of many.
A knight in Bryony's house "teaching her" how to kill people. Owww!
Some other attacks require just that you immobilize the person so that they can't get out of the room for 10 seconds. You start the attack, and if once 10 seconds is up your target is still there and you haven't been interrupted, the target dies. So then you need a strategy to get a person unable to run away for a bit.
The heart of Achaea's PvP system is the afflictions you can use to enact those strategic goals. For example one example of an affliction is a broken leg. If you have a broken leg, you will be delayed if you try to walk out of the room, and if you have a broken leg and are prone, you will be unable to stand up until the leg is cured. This means that breaking someone's legs is a major part of certain strategies for keeping a person from running away!
My teacher breaking my legs, while also using a venom that puts me to sleep. I think my coded curing worked here and I cured out of it okay, but it's a potent combination!
There are over 60 unique afflictions in Achaea, and most of them can be given by venoms, which means they can be given by absolutely anyone of any class. However, most classes have some class-specific afflictions that not every class has access to. A combatant in a particularly fast class may give his target multiple afflictions per second! What makes that balanced is that any individual affliction can also be cured very rapidly and easily by eating an herb, smoking a pipe, or applying a salve.
My teacher afflicting me with a lot of things rapidly, while I cure. The different colours are things I coded in, so I can see what's going on easier. Sorry the image quality is so bad though!
Thus, for the attacker, the goal is to form a strategy such that, even if their opponent is curing away, he'll still end up screwed, but not realize it until it's too late. It's a bit like chess or checkers: each person is simultaneously trying to execute an offensive strategy while also trying to figure out and respond to and defend against their opponent's offensive strategy. Except, of course, that it's all happening incredibly fast! Good combatants plan out both offensive and defensive strategies in advance, and then practice executing them in the heat of the moment.
One of the reason I like playing text games is because any really complex PvP system has to be in text form. You couldn't feasibly have hundreds of different possibilities for what your opponent is doing to you at any one time, and sometimes many of those things happening in one second, all represented in real-time video form, and still be able to respond to it all. With text you can, and combat in Achaea is a great example of what MUDs still have to offer that graphic MMOs can't.