When I started this blog, I promised myself that I would try not to post anything negative. MUDs have been a largely positive influence for me, and a major source of entertainment - it is rare that I have anything negative to say about the experience of playing. Unfortunately, that hasn't been the case over the past couple of months, and while I am loath to say anything that might shine an unflattering light upon the game I enjoy, I feel as though I owe my handful of readers an explanation for my absence, and the truth about one of the pitfalls that comes with playing a politician in a MUD.
Part of participating in conflict in Achaea is making enemies ... and very rarely, those enemies might take things a bit too seriously. I've been fortunate enough to avoid people with that level of, ah, "intensity" for most of the decade I've been playing Achaea. Back in July, however, my streak of good luck drew to a close. I came home from class and sat down to write a new entry in this blog. About halfway through the post, I realised that I wasn't certain about the validity of something I'd written, so I logged into Achaea to check my sources. I noticed that I'd received a few messages in the fifteen hours or so since I'd logged out, so I decided to take a look at those before I proceeded my research. Immediately, all thoughts of completing my post fled my mind.
Contained in the messages were two things: most prolific were the frantic posts from my allies (and a few good Samaritans) telling me that there was a vicious rumour circulating - not about my character, entirely, but also involving me, the player behind her. Unfortunately, due to the nature of the drama that unfolded (and the level of administrative involvement it took to get the matter sorted out) it would probably be considered imprudent to provide details here in this blog. Suffice it to say, however, that the charges against me were both unsavoury and untrue.
We've all had encounters with griefers - people whose sole purpose in a game is to ruin the experience for another player - and typically, we think of griefers in terms of PK. In MUDs, especially those in which roleplay is enforced, and there is an active political element, you sometimes come by a different sort of griefer. Instead of killing someone repeatedly until they quit logging in, this sort of griefer isn't above trying to ruin the credibility of the player behind a character to try to run them out of the game. That is what happened in this instance - one of my character's political rivals took his defeat a little too personally, and lashed out in an attempt to scare me into quitting Achaea. Needless to say, it didn't work.
Thankfully, people possessed of these tendencies are relatively rare - in fact, until I logged in to the disaster, I had no idea that this guy was -that- invested. I'd considered him a friend OOC, insofar as someone can be a friend over the internet. I suppose it just goes to show that you have to be careful with whom you trust.
All in all, it took about two weeks for the dust to settle, though I still, on occasion, will receive a harassing message, or some late-comer - one of my character's new students, or a friend coming back from inactivity - will send me a frantic communique telling me that they just heard something awful that I ought to know. I have refrained from posting here because there was a small, but rather obnoxious minority of players who supported my rival, and displayed that support through aggressive, threatening messages through instant messengers and on my Facebook wall, among other places. I was concerned that they would begin airing their discrepancies on this blog, thus perpetuating the drama in a community that has little, if anything, to do with it. But, one cannot live in fear forever!
I want to stress that this situation was an ANOMALY. This sort of thing doesn't occur with frequency in any Iron Realms MUD, and I assure you that the vast majority of the players in Achaea are mature and considerate. This certainly is not an issue that should reflect poorly upon them, or upon the game's administration. Achaea's gods and administrators, especially the game's producer, were polite, professional, and very, very quick to work with me to find a solution. I can't praise them enough for the deft manner in which they handled things. I can say with confidence that I am certain they will manage any spot of unpleasantness with the same level of finesse.
Tomorrow (or later today, provided my mom's Labour Day barbecue doesn't leave me too drunk to write), I will pick up where I left off before I disappeared. My most sincere apologies - truly - for my extended absence. It won't happen again!