Initium is an addicting old-school indie MMORPG MUD-like title that offers permadeath mixed with Diablo's item system.

Fear Death Like Never Before in the MMORPG Initium

Initium is an addicting old-school indie MMORPG MUD-like title that offers permadeath mixed with Diablo's item system.
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There are few games out there that can make the player fear the death of their virtual characters. There is nothing to worry about knowing that if you die, you can simply reload your last save or respawn and everything is back to normal. That is of course until permadeath is introduced. Initium is a new indie MUD-like (Multi-user Dungeon that is generally text-based) and one such game to give you a permadeath experience on an MMORPG scale.

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Initium is being developed by Nicholas Armstrong and a team of other content developers. It is currently available to play through your browser on desktops, mobile phones, and consoles. It is a simple, yet interesting game with a player run economy, decent sized world and an item system similar to the Diablo series.

From a newbie to a glorious adventurer

You start off the game with nothing but your basic stats and the clothes on your back. No armour, no weapons and no gold. You can gain your first weapon from fighting enemies. Alternatively, you can often find lots of basic weapons and armour on the floor of the starting area that you can equip.

You start by exiting the town and exploring the surrounding wilderness. Here is where you will face your first enemy type the Troll. As you explore more and more, you will begin to find new locations to explore. As you venture further away from the town, the creatures you encounter will be stronger. With more difficult enemies comes greater rewards.

Sounds pretty run of the mills right? Becoming a great adventurer isn’t going to be quite that easy. Firstly there is no level up as such. You don’t gain experience and then level up. Instead, your stats increase with each enemy that you kill.

All equipment requires a certain level of stat before it can be equipped. So, in order to become stronger, you must fight. Fighting, however, is the most dangerous thing of all. If you die, your character and items are lost forever. The only way to continue playing is to start over.

It is a tough game, to say the least. I’ve had quite a few of my corpses laying around the world. Despite its hardcore gameplay and its simple interface, Initium is a very addictive game. It is easy to play and offers nail-biting situations due to its permadeath that few games can achieve.

Its interface may make it feel underwhelming. Look past that and get into the gameplay and its mechanics and you will find a game that is very hard to put down.

An economy run by the players

Initium‘s economy works very similar to other MMORPGs like Torn City or even Eve Online. It is completely run by the players. There are no NPCs and no computer controlled shops. The only way to buy or sell equipment is to other players.

You can buy equipment by talking to players who are looking to sell specific items. This is often done through the chat. Alternatively, you can view the player stores in your current location. Here you can browse through the player’s shops and buy any items that are up for sale.

When it comes to wanting to sell items, you can do so by setting up a shop yourself. You simply set up shop, choose what items you want to sell and set the item’s price. Once this is done you can open the shop anywhere that you are located. You, cannot do anything else while your shop is open. Often it is best to set up shop while you are not playing.

From what I have experienced of the economy, it is a fair one. I am yet to see any items for sale where players are looking for outlandish amounts of gold. Something that is often a rarity in games with a player run economy.

Nail-biting combat

The combat of Initium is somewhat slow but nail-biting. It is turn-based, where the player attacks, then the enemy attacks, and so on. At any point during combat, the tables can turn for either combatant. Misfortune tends to strike at the wrong time.

Whether it is because of a striking blow from a critical hit or you simply miss your enemy entirely. I think it is this table turning nature of the combat that has led to the game often being compared to Dark SoulsOf course, if things are looking grim, you can always attempt to run from your enemy. It doesn’t always work, though.

As previously stated, if you die, your character is gone forever and all your items are left on your corpse. You can attempt to retrieve them with a brand new character, as long as nobody else has beaten you to it. There is also an optional one-time $5 subscription you can buy into.

If you have this subscription active, it gives you a chance to be saved by another player. There is never a guarantee of this being the case. You must hope that either someone you know is in the area or that someone is generous enough to help you. Once you are found, the player will either have to bring you back to town or to a campsite in order to rest and heal.

Overall the combat to the game is good intense fun. It isn’t something that everyone will enjoy. If you like games with permadeath or hardcore RPG gameplay, then you might just enjoy what it has to offer.

Diablo style item system

The items and looting of Initium are very similar to that of the Diablo seriesWhen you defeat an enemy, they will drop any equipment that they are carrying, along with some gold. Like in the Diablo series, all equipment has a rarity. The rarity of an item is indicated by the colour of its name.

An example of this would be grey for dull weapons, white for normal weapons and yellow for rare weapons. There are other levels of rarity above those too that are shown by their colour. Every item you find also has randomly generated stats.

This means if you had three rare daggers, for example, they each will likely have different stats. It is ideal to check the stats of each new item you find. That is if it isn’t one that you have already grown out of. It is an exciting and interesting system that just adds to the game’s addictiveness.

You never know what item you are going to find on an enemy, as they do tend to change. Nor will you know what the rarity of it will be. It is a system that has worked well for many games in the past and so far, it is working brilliantly here too. 

A promising title in the making

Initium is still very much in its early days of development, with new features planned for the future, such as inventions (crafting) and material collection. Of what I have experienced of the game so far is but only some of the features it has available.

I am yet to experience events, PVP, and player controlled areas. I have quite some way to go before I would be capable of standing a chance in any of them. It really is a fun and addicting game, with intense combat, easy to use interface, a good item system and a fair player run economy.

It can be played pretty much anywhere, with it being available on consoles, mobile phones and your desktop. Best of all, it is completely free to play and is a game that any fans of the mechanics of Dark Souls and Diablo should check out.

Initium is available to play for free from its website using your browser.

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Damien Smith
Playing video games for over 23 years, love to write and love everything video game related.