My first blog post detailed how a self-acknowledged luddite and traditional nerd first discovered the world of online gaming -- or, more specifically, MUDs by Iron Realms Entertainment. I was sixteen years old when a friend's boyfriend introduced me to Achaea. While I had never really experienced anything like it before, it did not take long for me to master the basics, and by the end of my first month, I found myself so enamoured with the game that I began to invest a couple of hours every day to to my newfound hobby.
The character I created back in 2003 is still the character I play today. She is called Amunet. If you play Achaea, maybe you've heard of her ;). Over the past nine years, my character has developed a measure of noteriety, infamous for her eloquence, her frigidity, and her resilience. Looking back, my transition from being a clueless, impertinent newb to leading some of the most powerful organisations in IRE's flagship MUD is a little astounding -- Amunet was certainly not always the ruthless, emasculating madwoman at the helm of the Chaotic faction. I'm twenty-six, now, and I've grown up since I started playing Achaea ...or maybe because I started playing Achaea, for there are certainly a few skills I may not have developed had I never been afforded this experience. Anyone who has shared a faction with Amunet has probably taken note of the massive differences between the sort of player I was prior to about 2006, and the sort of player I became. The success of my character is evidence that no matter how badly you initially screw up, the doors to text-glory are never truly closed to you in an IRE MUD.
For many people, choosing their character's name is the most difficult part of beginning a MUD (in fact, my friend and Housemate, Lianca, recently wrote this excellent post on the subject of naming a character. Check it out!) I didn't suffer any name indecision -- I simply plucked a name from something I found interesting. That "something" happened to be Egyptian mythology, and the name was that of a relatively obscure primordial goddess. Looking back, I do wish I had come up with something a bit more original, but I was far too involved in the game to change my name by the time I realised that I could have selected a better one.
After going through the newbie introduction, I made my second major decision, and joined what was then known as the guild of the Occultists. Unlike my character's name, this was a decision I have never regretted. Not only did the canon history of the Occultists intrigue me, but I was lucky enough to begin playing shortly after the restoration of Occultism, which was a very exciting time for people in the Chaotic faction. I was instantly drawn in by the game-wide and player-run events that were occurring, and apparently, so were a number of others. Within a year of when I started playing Achaea, several players who became influential in the Occultists also created their characters: Imyrr, Orklanishkal, and, of course, Flair, the infamous Prophet of Babel, just to name a few.
While I enjoyed my first few weeks in the game, to say that I was a natural would be a gross overestimate. Achaea's syntaxes are fairly intuitive, but there is also an extensive library of help files accessible both within the game as well as on the website, newbie guides to help answer general or technical questions, and novice aides in every guild to help new players ease into the roleplay of the organisations they've chosen to join (guilds are now called Great Houses, by the way, for reasons I will explain in a future post). These resources, plus the assistance of the out-of-character friends who introduced me to the game, were the reasons behind my quick acclimation, and I am very grateful to have had them at my disposal. The level of effort expended by the developers and producers of games by Iron Realms to ensure new players are comfortable and successful is nothing short of impressive.
Tomorrow, I'll begin to explain a little bit about Achaea's extensive lore, and how exploring it transformed my character from a snarky little text-whore into a committed member of the Occultists. For those of you hoping to hear a bit about Amu's chequered youth -- and my early stupidity -- this next post will give you a taste. If you want to make some text-based mistakes of your own, head over to the Iron Realms website and create a character!