(This is a blog about the free-to-play MUD Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands, produced by Iron Realms. If you like what you see, go check it out! I'm looking forward to playing with, or perhaps against, you soon!)
I'm Father Lyr Darion, a priest of the Shallamese House of the Empyreal Assembly, a priesthood dedicated to serving Good and the Divine Protectors of Good, the Te'Serra.
At least, that's my RP introduction. I'm just your average 20-something MUD player in real life (which is what again, exactly?). I thought I'd make my first post on this blog just describing what a MUD is, what the differences are between Achaea and, say, World of Warcraft, and why you, the reader, might find Achaea both a good place to game as well as a place to improve yourself in real life!
Intrigued? Let us continue!
What is a MUD? I'm sure this question has been answered many times by many others, but here's my definition: Imagine a choose-your-own story where you write your own character, and hundreds of others are writing their characters, simultaneously! In real time! It's such a thrilling experience that World of Warcraft or other MMOs couldn't even dream to come close to. Cities are run by players, clans are run by players, Houses are run by players. Laws are enforced by players (mostly, there are a few admins to deal with griefers). The programmers of the game merely provide the platform for creating our own stories.
This is completely different from an MMO like WoW because you are merely yet another adventurer among many others. How do you make a name for yourself in a game like WoW? Having the best equipment? Even if you fully flesh out your character's roleplaying (RP) background, you're still operating in a system in which you have no control. In Achaea, you really do have the power to change things and make your name known across the entire lands, whether it be as an able combatant, a cunning politician, a greedy merchant, a loveable fool, ... the list goes on and on. This combined with over a dozen class choices makes you feel like your character can truly be unique. No more seeing dozens of people with your exact armor configuration because it's "optimum" -- in Achaea, everything can be customized.
So how does this pertain to real life? Since I began playing about two years ago, I've noticed two things happen in my real life: I became a better writer, and my imagination expanded tenfold. After playing games where you run through, grind up levels, get gear, and then feel a sense of "satisfaction" that is manufactured, I realized I wanted something more. And after interacting and roleplaying with others in Achaea, my skills at thinking of creative solutions to situations that are within character has dramatically improved. No longer do I just think of the stereotypical, cookie-cutter solution that every game uses. I'm free to "bend" the rules.
So, have I piqued your interest? Head to Achaea's website, where you can play for free (yep, no subscription!) right in your browser! in a future post, I'll talk about using the cross-platform program Mudlet to connect to Achaea, but the HTML5 browser client is extremely polished and lots of the population use it to play.