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Playing in the MUD!

I am Lianca, this is my blog. I am an avid player of Achaea, but I'd not call myself a gamer. The internet kind of scares me. Learn from my adventures, my mistakes and triumphs, perhaps even roll a newbie and join me in Achaea!

Author: Lianca

Using an out of game medium to organise in game events. Is this okay?

Posted by Lianca Saturday June 23 2012 at 8:25PM
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This article is very much opinion based and where you fall on the question will likely depend heavily on the type of game you play. For instance Skype parties are frequently used in World of Warcraft groups or for games like League of Legends.

For those of us like myself who play a roleplay-enforced game, where breaking character is considered rude and taboo, where using information gained via OOC means is frowned upon and where using information across alternative characters will get you punished by the administration, planning utilising the methods available in-character to discuss a possible coup, or organise a raid is more than encouraged. It's necessary.

This can open us up to some problems. In the top MUD that I play, Achaea from Iron Realms Entertainment, everything must be typed. Intricate, on-the-fly plots can take some time to type out, rather than just outlining it quickly by voice over a chat. For speed and input of a group conversation, the voice chat groups get the win on this front.

By discussing things in-game we also open ourselves up to spies: perhaps someone is eavesdropping at the door, or that letter is read and copied before it reaches its destination. Infiltration and spying is a very valid form of roleplay, and when done properly can be a right pain in the backside for the plotting character. So for security's sake, I suppose the check goes to the OOC chat group again.

This is all well and good, but we need to remember that we play games with other people, winning is great, but a lot of fun can be had from there being a risk involved: the chance of losing. Actually having your plot foiled or having your political group called out as the nefarious puppetteers that they are can open up entirely new avenues of roleplay and character growth for you and also gives a win to the other team.

Allowing the chance for others to come out on top is important, if your little friendship groups stomps on everyone repeatedly, you may find yourself with no one to play with.

To leave a papertrail or not is up to you, whether you conduct your business behind masks in shadowed caverns or via a sterile and safe chat medium is your choice. But perhaps don't make yourself infallible, many of our MMORPG's don't have an end game where the credits roll. When there is no defined win, take some chances and roll the dice.

If you've ever thought, "I'd like to try something different." If you want to step into a world where things are conducted in game, where planning out-of-character is discouraged, why not try a free to play MUD, like one of the great realms offered by Iron Realms Entertainment.

Marketing

Posted by Lianca Wednesday June 20 2012 at 12:59PM
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Some of our games give us the opportunity not just to kill things or quest, but also to be a shopkeeper. The top MUD that I play, Achaea by Iron Realms Entertainment, allows people just this chance.

Regardless of the game there are basic considerations that any budding marketeer must keep in mind when setting up or taking on the role of merchant.

First assess your competition, if you can only get health potions supplied at 500 gold, and a shop two doors down sells them for 350, can you stock and make a profit on this item? Likely not.

Discuss with people who shop in your city or locale. Are newbies having problems finding basic armour or clothing? Perhaps this gap in the market is something you can address, as there is a demand that needs to be filled.

While it is altruistic and very kind for you to sell as cheaply as you can, and I guarantee that you will shift stock, we run shops to make a profit. Whether it is for ourselves or the organisations we represent, makes no difference. Pricing needs to be carefully assessed, you need to be sure that you are covering supply costs, being able to pay your forger, your refiller and your tailor will ensure that you have stock to put on the shelves for years to come.

Maybe you plan on selling some day-to-day items like outfits or enchanted rings; these are always in demand so a small markup on them will bring more long term benefits as you are likely to get repeated sales.

Perhaps you have an incredible suit of armour, a one-of-a-kind, high stats forging. This is something you might be better offering privately, selling via auction can get you a better price if you have a few interested parties bidding against each other. If that is not an option for you price it according to your market and previous examples and cross your fingers. you might get lucky and it may well sell.

If you are a lucky shopkeeper, you might have a shop in the bustling marketplace of your city that can be easily pointed out to others. Sadly, we can't all boast such wonderful location. This is where my last point comes in, advertising. If people don't know that you are there, they likely won't come out of their way to visit your shop. Posters, word of mouth, discounts and basic marketing are your friends. Give directions and be specific about what you sell. But don't loudly promise the cheapest health potions on the continent if you are currently sold out, customers remember a bad experience far longer than a good one.




So, whether you play a free to play MUD, or a subscription-based, graphical MMORPG shopkeeping is all about knowing your market. Assess what's around you, stock to fill a gap in the market if you can, keep restocked, and price competitively without putting yourself at a loss and ADVERTISE.

Party animals!

Posted by Lianca Saturday June 9 2012 at 1:56PM
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Leading the bashing party.

Whether you play one to the top MUDs from Iron Realms like I do, or whether you play a more graphical MMORPG you are likely going to come up against the sometimes loved, oftentimes loathed pastime of bashing, hunting or grinding depending on the lingo of the individual game.

With a few perks we can dominate an area. We record repopulation times. We know what creatures to avoid. We memorise which require certain tactics and if they use any sort of afflictions or roomwide attacks. This is all well and good when the only butt you have to protect is your own, but eventually you might have to lead a party. Being the guidance for what tends to be a mixed level and mixed ability group can bring all sorts of challenges. For instance, just dragging them along your normal, high-level hunting route is likely to get your excited bunch of noobs killed.

So, what are some considerations you want to take into account, how can you set up your party for success?

First of all, location. I cannot stress this enough. Location, location, location, as the 90's realtors would chant. Picking your environment can be extremely important. If it's a place that proves a challenging hunt for you alone, taking a squishy bunch of newbies with you for the ride is likely to end up in mass death. Work out the offensive capabilities and defensive skills of your group. Can someone provide healing backup for the less capable folks? Are there runes, tattoos or special items you can hand out?

(Above is my current list of tattoos inked on Lianca in Achaea.)


As a general rule choose your prey to match the least capable of the group. If you are hunting the biggest scariest creatures around for the "Oooo" factor, make sure your party know how to deal with any special attacks, afflictions, and of course, what direction to flee! Leading a party can actually be slower when you have to safeguard an inexperienced group. Remember that the idea isn't usually for a fast bashing trip, but that those following learn something.

Sometimes the best targets are in areas that might be considered free- or open-PK. If you want to run these areas, as with the prey recommendations, make sure people know what their basic defences are, and what they should do in case of an attack. Check on their skills and ensure they know how to use them or perhaps give a basic strategy like GTFO/web him/heal her/target his left leg.

Preparation is key. Starting on a hunt with new or young players and having the lot slaughtered within five minutes does nothing for your opinion of yourself as a competent leader and tends to demoralise the group rather quickly. Take your time, explain clearly, be open to questions and tailor the outing to the weakest of the group.

From my personal experience in Achaea, leading a group of newbies on a hunting trip can be a lot of fun. Setting up takes time: inking everyone's tattoos and explaining what they do, pointing out things to look out for and teaching them skills to assist them in hunting on their own. It is this sense of community and immersion fostered by the environment that keeps me coming back to the top MUD. If you've been looking for something similar (it's free to play too!) why not check out one of the Iron Realms games, perhaps you'll even end up in one of my hunting parties!

Creating the name

Posted by Lianca Wednesday June 6 2012 at 2:46PM
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Some time ago when I created Lianca in Achaea (my MUD of choice,) I had to go through the dreaded 'picking a name' process. Luckily there is a wide variety of help on offer for the newbie in the Iron Realms MUDs, from volunteer new-player-helpers known as Guides, to a comprehensive, built-in HELP system.

Perhaps you thought you wanted to try something a bit different. Maybe a top MUD caught your eye, or that must-have title from awesome-games-company-extraordinaire was released today and you got a copy! One of the first things we have to do is settle on a moniker, this is something that may influence others opinions of you, it is what you will be known by to a community that you may be a part of for years to come.

So, how do we choose them? What are the important considerations? What should we avoid and why? What resources are out there to help us?

A big part of choosing your name or handle depends upon the game and community you are about to enter, many have specific rules, and guidelines to help you. If you're picking your screen-name for your Microsoft account then dandymike2012 is just fine. Granted it's not especially imaginative but it'll do the job for the Halo parties. However if you want to enter into a world that encourages or demands roleplay our dandymike2012 won't fly for a couple of reasons. Dandymike, for a start, is a compound name: a name made up of two or more words. This can be frowned on in certain communities and seen as a bit childish. Numbers in a name for a roleplay world can be seen to be breaking immersion. No one really names their child sexkitten36, at least not if they love them or give a damn. Remember, your name will set you up in a society. Do you really want to be a part of a city ruled by xsnugglelizardx and be expected to hail him by name?

With all that said, we don't always plan our start in a new game, perhaps someone linked you to an MMORPG and demanded you roll a toon to play with them. Suddenly you're faced with the order to "Enter Your Character Name" and the mind goes blank. Perhaps play with some letters, alter some common names, add a bit of flair to make it your own. Sure Jason is a fine and solid name, but it isn't very original. Why not alter it a little? Jassyn makes it a bit more special. Some games are strict on immersion into the roleplay environment and some names have clear real life associations. Whilst Adolf is a good solid name, it reminds most people of the Nazi leader during the mid twentieth century. Napoleon is another that is hard to see past the real life association to blend into a game community. Again, this goes for famous names from fiction, such as Merlin, Sauron or Picard. If you still draw a blank at the box that requires filled for you to continue, why not google up a name generator? Some give all sorts of options for refining your search: length, male, female, modernistic, medieval-sounding, et cetera. With a few clicks your character name could be right there.

Another mistake that many fall into is combining titles or surnames into their chosen character handle. This is where a bit of research into the world you wish to play in comes in handy. Many have systems in place to add a suffix or prefix to a character name, allowing one to join families, wear the name of their game-wife or husband and earn rank and notoriety.

The biggest thing to remember is to be original, you are starting up a life for this character, make it his or her own. If the game you wish to play is roleplay-enforced or -encouraged, keep that in mind. Don't insist that your pussnboots69 is perfect for an Arthurian inspired community, because it probably isn't going to fly very far with the other people you wish to play with.

In the end, the name you pick is pretty much the one you're stuck with unless you create alternative characters or give up entirely. Be sure that it is something you could imagine people greeting a serious character with or addressing letters to. Basically, if you are embarrassed by the idea of an admin using your chosen name, it's probably something you want to rethink.

If this has inspired you or you've perhaps thought up a great name that doesn't fit into the game you currently play, why not come and make good use of it in one of the free to play MUDs from Iron Realms!

Freeing the gender roles. Play a text game!

Posted by Lianca Sunday June 3 2012 at 5:55PM
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I consider myself lucky. I am a female player with a female character, in a top MUD that is both roleplay and pvp intensive. I am invited to join in on what are considered scholarly pursuits, leadership roles and combat forays. The fact that my character has a bust size is irrelevant to her achievements. This is not the case for everyone.

Many people play games that are graphically rendered, and in this day and age they are visually beautiful. The choices for our character creation are invariably sex, race, perhaps height, skin colour, eye colour and body type.

It is a sad but predominant trend in many that the women are scantily clad, with visually rendered armour that really isn't going to help against much, and grace the back ends of our parties with supporting roles as the buxom healer or the demure priestess. These are roles that many find ourselves shoe-horned into. This can be especially so in the more classically designed, protagonist driven games, where a woman tends to plays second to the leading man.

But we don't all want to be wives and daughters. Simpering characters that need a man to look out for her are awfully stereotyped and don't really cater to the competent female who wants to lead. A woman who wants not just a family for herself but to be the provider and defender also, whilst not having to sacrifice her identity as a woman to do so.

For this I suggest you try a text game, a MUD, perhaps one of the top MUDs offered by the Iron Realms Entertainment group. Your class abilities have no base on your sex, your description is as buxom and curvy and your skin as visible as you want it to be. If you want to be a top combatant, the only limitations are your choices, and no woman is less that if she chooses to bloodline children or teach novices. The healing skills of a priest in Achaea, for instance, are paired up with the formidable powers of the summonable angel, accompanied by a spiritual mace and the Inquisition. A priest is no longer simply a support class, but a frightening opponent whether male or female.

The growth of your character has as much to do with his or her sex as it does hair length (not a great deal). Competency, hard work, proof and ability are what will get you that House, City, or Order leadership position. What you look like is irrelevant to the accomplishments of your text persona.

If you've ever been relegated to the "woman's work" of healing, or left behind on a combat foray because a youth needed teaching in your graphical games, make a change, stand up and be the accomplished person you want to be. In a text game no one can see the bosom bounce and you bleed just the same as the men. The loss of the graphical representation is actually a freeing thing and a step forwards in mentality rather than a step back in development.

Of course, this works twofold. If you want to play a pacifist male, or play perhaps a homosexual character, this is allowed--nay, encouraged. Not all male characters are buffed up combatants, many are religious figures, or scholars. There are no expected roles in Achaea for males or females. One does what one wants, the consequences are yours to deal with.

So, if you've ever been frustrated by the bra and panties options for your fledgeling femme, or if the role of the buffed up, masculine knight is just not your bag, why not give one of the MUDs from Iron Realms a try? Your characters looks, clothing, mannerisms, and even voice are all up to you.
 

Daunted by the idea of designing in text?

Posted by Lianca Friday June 1 2012 at 12:49AM
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Daunted by the idea of a world in text? Don't know where to start with your description? Lianca's basic guide to designing and bringing life to the text world.
 

A text game can give you so much freedom, especially when gamer crafts like tailoring and jewellery design are added, as the players of Achaea, Iron Realms' top MUD enjoy.

 

While this is a great thing, if you are new to MUDs it can be a daunting prospect, or even a turn-off for some. There is a lot to consider, restrictions in place perhaps, or maybe you are not so confident in your writing ability, and might be embaressed at showing off your personal creations to others who share your game.

The first thing I can recommend, is don't be afraid. Everyone started out nervous, but if you don't try you might be missing out on something that could become a passion, something that will help you improve your writing skills and that might open up opportunities for your character as they grow.

Next, scribble down some ideas. If you are writing a character description, think about height, body type, skin/fur/hair colour, facial structure and any odd features. If you are designing a piece of clothing consider material, cut, colour, special preparation and embellishment. Each of these points can be expanded upon. Form a sentence about each and you have a design almost ready to go!

Once you have something in the works, does it fit the period of time you are playing in, or the culture in which your character resides? If you play in a medieval scenario, would a zipper or popper buttons really be suitable? Perhaps switch fastenings out for more period appropriate toggles with materials of bone and stone. Maybe your character description features dyed hair, in which case a peroxide treatment just isn't going to be viable. Instead, consider coloured beads and braids, or a plant dying method. These are all factors that are going to bring vibrancy and life to your creation.

Now, you might think this is all ready to go. You've described all the points and made sure it is historically or canon appropriate, but take another look over it. If you find you repeat certain descriptive words, make use of a thesaurus (I use thesaurus.com) and change up your language. This can really make something more vibrant, and you might learn a new word in the process. If you struggle like I do with puncutuation (I hate you comma, you beaslty creature!) ask a friend to look over your work. Mine tend not to mind too much so long as I learn from their instruction.

If you are now happy with your creation, you can finally have it made. Describe yourself, submit your snazzy trouser design, and add a bit of yourself into your world. In a free to play MUD like Achaea you can really personalise your experience.

Character creation doesn't have to be slider choices for hair/eye/skin colour and bodytype. Your clothing doesn't have to be restricted to what is on the shop rack. Come and play with us in one of the top MUDs and broaden your horizons along with your vocabulary.