I'm new to this community and look forward to participating in discussions of MMOs. I guess I'll start by saying a bit about myself.
I've been playing Achaea, a MUD from Iron Realms, for almost eleven years now. For that entire time, I've played a single character, and, as you may've guessed from my username, a single class -- mage. I'm amazed that one game has managed to hold my interest for all this time. I mean, I loved Ocarina of Time, but I played through it twice and was pretty much done with it. That's the great thing about MMOs, though--the fact that you play with other real people really increases the replay value. The flexibility that comes from not having to worry about graphics and animation allows for Achaea's community to have a greater level of influence on the game world, as well.
But that's the whole topic of this blog. I'm not going to try to lay it all out in one post. To start I want to talk about Achaea's mage class.
The mage class is one of the earlier classes in Achaea, preceded only by Paladins, Priests, Monks, Sentinels (a ranger-type class), Druids, Infernals, and Serpents. That may not seem too terribly early, but in fact it makes the mage class the eighth out of (so far) eighteen classes in Achaea (counting the Dragon class, which is a reward for reaching level 100). The class was created in 2000, and I joined Achaea not long thereafter.
As you might be able to glean from the list, the earlier classes tended to be a bit more conventional than later additions like Jester and Apostate. But in fact the mage's skills are linked to the mythos very nicely.
Two out of the mage's three unique skillsets -- elementalism and crystalism -- are linked to the realms of Achaea's gods. Lorielan rules the Crystal Realm, and Agatheis the Elemental. This means that intermittently throughout Achaea's history, mages have been involved in some pretty big doings. The religious RP of Achaea, in which players ally themselves with "gods" who are volunteers selected from the player base, allows for this. Research and investigation into skills needn't be pure play-acting; if a god gets involved and sees what you're doing as worthwhile, an elemental ritual can become an act of elemental power. On one occasion I saved a building from collapsing, and on another, prevented a hole from being repaired a hole in the fabric of space-time.
My point is, the role of mages in Achaea is defined by a fictional history and backstory, not simply by their roles in combat. Runescape or WoW can't compare to the depth, and if you're wondering, "what game should I play?" the Iron Realms games, which are all in this style, might be for you. I look forward to getting to know you guys and continuing to post these Notes from Achaea!