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Wallowing in the MUDs with Raslazel

A series of articles about MUDs and gaming in general, involving strategy and commentary on role-play and having fun.

Author: Raslazel

MUDs vs. Traditional Games: Why Graphics are Inferior

Posted by Raslazel Saturday August 18 2012 at 4:06PM
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Now that I have your attention: despite the provocative title, I have no problem with modern games. When I’m not playing the top MUD, Achaea, I can often be found on a favourite Minecraft server or playing Armoured Core via Xbox Live. That being said, a world of text has several distinct advantages when compared to a graphical setting.

1. Rich, expansive worlds with deep histories that simply aren’t possible with graphics.

2. Low system requirements = greater accessibility. A lot of people are even able to play from their mobiles via java-based web clients.

3. More focus on real interaction than flashy combat. As the idea of a text world tends to filter out those with short attention span, a lot of room is left for decent roleplay and character growth instead of constant PvP. Mostly.

There you are, three solid reasons to play a text game versus a traditional game. Not that playing WoW is wrong, it’s just less fun for people that prefer a more thoughtful experience.

No clue what MUDs are? Think of them as MMORPGs in text. Most of them cost nothing or next to it to play. Does a free MMORPG that requires no download sound like fun to you? Try something by Iron Realms Entertainment, makers of the best MUD experiences around!

Highlights for Text Warriors

Posted by Raslazel Wednesday August 15 2012 at 7:40PM
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Living in a world of text requires a few basic skills, reading being foremost among them. The difficulty with this, however, comes when the action starts. The screen starts scrolling up at roughly the speed of light, blood is spilling, your curing and healing triggers are firing; it’s a truly chaotic experience. I’m Chris, better known as Raslazel from the Iron Realms Entertainment top MUD, Achaea, and I’m going to tell you how to read what you need to read and filter out the rest.

At best, the fast-moving world of text combat is nerve-wracking. At its worst, it can confuse some people enough to discourage them entirely. Obviously, no one wants this to happen. The trick is to focus on only the important things, those that affect you and, if you have them, your teammates. To do this, you should take advantage of highlighting. Most third-party clients support highlights and they’re easy enough to set up once you figure them out. Prioritise your highlights as follows:

1. Life-threatening conditions - Slow poisons, afflictions that can result in death or interruption of curing and insta-kill messages all fall into this category. Generally speaking, most prebuilt curing systems will include these.

2. Hindrances to normal combat – Anything that induces false lag, blocks your exits or otherwise prohibits normal function could go from inconvenient to fatal quickly. Make sure you know what’s going on.

3. Summoned creatures and other entities – This is pretty self-explanatory, but these things can easily lead to defeat. Keep an eye on them.

4. Defensive or otherwise harmful enemy-aligned item in a room – Be they sigils, runes, totems, whatever applies to your game, it’s handy to know that they’re there.

5. Names of known enemies – Even with just the names highlighted, you’ll be able to track them as they leave and enter a room or cause harm to you or your allies. Highlighting your current target’s name in a different colour is not a bad idea, either.

So, you see, while using highlights, you don’t need to read everything that scrolls across the screen. This may look like quite a few things, but it really isn’t considering how much actually goes on in a good melee. You’ll be notified every time someone sips a health potion, eats an herb, makes an attack, etc., so knowing what to read and what to ignore is important. Hope it helps, thanks for reading!

If you haven’t tried Achaea, or any of Iron Realms Entertainment’s other free MMORPGs, what are you waiting for? They’re free-to-play, require no download and besides that, they’re fun!

Character Descriptions: Getting Started

Posted by Raslazel Tuesday August 14 2012 at 5:39PM
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A good description is a point of reference for a lot of players. In particular, many will decide from your description whether to take your character seriously or dismiss you as a lolplayer. First impressions are important, even in text. My earlier posts about this topic (here, here, and here), I gave some good advice for improving a description, but it was pointed out to me that I said nothing about how to start one. I aim to correct that now. If you don’t know by now, I play Raslazel in the top MUD Achaea from Iron Realms Entertainment. I’m a long-time writer and roleplayer and I know a thing or two about MUDs.

1. Get a notebook. When starting a description, a notebook is the easiest way to view everything at once, rather than having to scroll up or down to see it. It helps visualise things and brings a personal touch to it.

2. Write a list of features in the margins and draw little pictures, if you like. Anything to get the ideas flowing is a good thing. For example, imagine these scrawled in the margins of a page: dwarf - short, around 4 feet - dark, greasy hair of indeterminate colour – flat, ugly features, very blunt – small beady eyes. Use these things as a basis.

3. Think about the things you notice about a person first. For me, it’s their overall build and height. No need to be too specific. If I were writing it for a character, I might begin, “He is a stout dwarf standing at around four feet. Almost as broad as he is tall, his shoulders and body are quite wide.” There’s no need to be too specific, just let people use their imaginations. After that, I tend to favour hair and facial features followed by all the minute details.

4. Look at the finished product of this and move things around. The idea is to make it natural, putting details in the order that you would notice them. Physical deformities are high on this list.

5. Once you’ve got the first draft done, rewrite the description using the original as a guide. You’ll be surprised how much better it gets after you’re finished.

6. You should be ready to post. Short pieces like that start to suffer after more than one draft, so it should be good to go.

There you are, the basics of description writing. At least, this is the method I use and I get complimented for my descriptions a lot. Hope it helps and happy MUDding!

If you have no idea what I’m on about, you should try playing a MUD. MUDs, especially top MUDs by Iron Realms Entertainment, are a great source for finding fellow roleplayers and having a lot of fun. Completely free MMORPGs are few and far between, but IRE offers multiple opportunities to earn credits (in-game currency that can be used to buy powerful artefacts and master skills) without spending even a penny. Have a look, you can even play them as browser games!

Design for Beginners: Clothing

Posted by Raslazel Monday August 13 2012 at 6:18PM
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What to wear, what to wear…? If you’re like my character, Raslazel, in the top MUD Achaea from Iron Realms Entertainment, it’s not a hard question to answer. See, Ras is, among other things, a tailor. He wears whatever he feels like designing or making. In feeding his fashion passion, I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks for making solid clothing designs and I’m going to share them with you

1. Common words are just fine. I cannot stress enough that you do not need to beat your thesaurus to death to make a nice clothing design. It’s the order in which the words are placed, not the words themselves that count.

2. Technical knowledge of the craft helps, even if it’s only minimal. Do a little research on types of cloth, different weaves of those, methods of stitching and things like that. I couldn’t patch a hole in my pants, but I know the difference between tweed and twill. It brings a bit of authenticity to your work.

3. Establish an order and move from that. If the defining feature of your garment is the print, start with that and describe everything else in detail.

4. Be specific. Does your shirt have buttons? What are those buttons made of? Are those trousers you just designed button-fly or do they lace closed? In your materials and in every detail of the garment in question, be specific.

5. Keeping no. 1 in mind, don’t be afraid to embellish and really flex your writing muscles. It is a text game, after all.

If you keep these handy tips in mind, you’ll be a great tailor in no time. Don’t be afraid to make things for your friends and really enjoy it. For those special friends, you might even consider doing a “fitting.” Wink, wink.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “what game should I play?” and you haven’t tried an Iron Realms Entertainment MUD, what are you waiting for? With no download necessary to enjoy the full, free-to-play experience of Achaea, Imperian, Lusternia, Aetolia or Midkemia, there’s no reason not to give them a shot.

In-Game Theft – A Short Rant

Posted by Raslazel Monday August 6 2012 at 9:50PM
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Hello, I’m Chris, better known as Raslazel from the top MUD Achaea by Iron Realms Entertainment, and I’m here to talk about theft. No, not real-life theft. That’s a different blog. I’m talking about in-game theft. I’m all for it. I like the threat, what can I say?

I’ve never played a thief character in a MUD and I never will, simple as that. I don’t enjoy it. But, when my character has everything he needs (triggers, aliases, in-game defences) to stop it from happening, and a thief still manages to get something from him, that’s impressive. I don’t care what it is, either. A weapon, a piece of armour, a special vial or just gold, it’s all fair game if I’m dumb enough to let it get taken from me. It adds variety and danger (not to mention a bit of schadenfreude, when someone who spent a ton of RL money to buy IG items gets them stolen) to the game.

But still, people whine and gripe and complain that it’s ruining their fun. Get a life. If your in-game crap is that important to you, go outside and get some fresh air, it’s probably been a while. Think about it this way, if you don’t lock your house and you get robbed, you’re partially to blame. Don’t say that you shouldn’t have to lock your doors, you know you have to. Why is it any different for your character? Your character deserves to lose his shirt if he’s not willing to protect himself. You’re just whining that you can’t sit AFK in peace.

Nerfs to theft in Achaea brought this on, rant over. Again, I don’t play a thief, I just like what they bring to the experience.

If you have no idea, what I’m on about, you should try playing a MUD. MUDs, especially top MUDs by Iron Realms Entertainment, are a great source for finding fellow roleplayers and having a lot of fun. Completely free MMORPGs are few and far between, but IRE offers multiple opportunities to earn credits (in-game currency that can be used to buy powerful artefacts and master skills) without spending even a penny. Have a look, you can even play them as browser games!

Choosing a Class

Posted by Raslazel Monday August 6 2012 at 3:03PM
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Your choice of class is important. I could end this post with that sentence and it would get my point across just fine. It’d be a little obvious and contain no support, but it would be true all the same. In the top MUD Achaea, by Iron Realms Entertainment, I play Raslazel. He’s a Sentinel. Sentinels are like Druids (who can morph into animals and interact with plants), except they are not tied to nature in the way that druids are. They set traps and use their metamorphosis in conjunction with spears and throwing axes to overwhelm enemies. This style fits Raslazel perfectly while the purpose that joining their House gave him was just what he needed.

I told you that because it’s a good example of how to choose your class. Choose something you think will fit your character, as you envision him, nicely. If you decide to change later because that’s just not working, you’re all the wiser for it. Many people choose their classes willy-nilly without considering their character and wind up in a group of people they don’t get along with as a result. I’ve made that mistake, too. It’s important to decide carefully.

If you’ve never tried a MUD, why not give an Iron Realms Entertainment MUD a shot? Free-to-play, no download required and newbie-friendly, they’re not worth passing up!

Finding Your Voice – A Guide to Making Yourself Heard as a Newbie

Posted by Raslazel Monday August 6 2012 at 10:35AM
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So, you’ve finally taken my not-so-subtle hints and tried an Iron Realms Entertainment free MMORPG and now you’re a newbie. Fun! You’re having trouble breaking the ice. Unfun! Let’s see what kinds of options are available for you, shall we?

The first, best thing any newbie can do is announce that they’re new to their affiliated organisations. “Hello, I’m new to the realms. Could someone show me around?” Often, this is a good opportunity to bond with a person and learn new things along the way.

If you get the option, as a newbie, to join a house or guild, these are excellent places to make friends and form lasting relationships. There’s really little benefit to being a rogue if the choice is available to join a house or guild from the beginning, especially if you’re a true newbie to MUDs.

If there is a newbie channel, don’t be afraid to ask questions there. In most games that have them, these are monitored by older players who will answer your questions regardless of their factions.

In fact, don’t be afraid to ask questions, period. If you’re new, most intelligent players will understand and try to help. Make yourself known to people by asking questions and that will show them that you’re serious about fitting into the game.

Newbies make mistakes, don’t ever forget that. If an older player corrects you, don’t take it personally. Learn from it, they’re trying to help you succeed!

In Iron Realms Entertainment’s best MUDs, there is an extensive system for assisting new players already set in place. Between the newbie channels and vast libraries of help scrolls, it’s hard to go wrong. Try a free MMORPG from Iron Realms today and get your newbie on with no download required!

Four Overused Character Types and Why They’re Boring

Posted by Raslazel Monday August 6 2012 at 10:32AM
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There’s no such thing as an original character anymore. Recycled archetypes, nuances and flaws abound. Even characters you think are original have been done before and done better. That said, there’s nothing wrong with any of that. My character, Raslazel of the Iron Realms Entertainment MUD, Achaea, is your classic user - a womanising, self-interested jerk. I play him that way because it’s fun.

That being said, there are a few character types that get overused. You should avoid them because they’re terribly, terribly tedious for other people. If no one wants to play with you, there’s not much point in logging in.

The strong, silent type – This macho stereotype is good for two things, looking pretty and tanking damage. It’s good, because he’s lousy conversation.

The effervescent girl – Bubbly describes her well. Not only because she’s perky, but also because she’s empty - nothing inside but air.

The obvious sex alt – Using people to get what you want is one thing, it causes conflict. Just putting yourself out there and begging for it doesn’t fill any holes. Well, it does, but… you know what I mean.

The all-scar – If you’re five hundred years old, I’ll buy some scars from either combat or RP. If you’re an eighteen-year-old newbie with scars all over your body, you’re an emo mess just begging to be incinerated.

This is not a complete list by any measure, but it covers the four most common and most annoying of the lot. When you create a character, being an average Joe is often the best bet. Most often, the special snowflakes are the ones that will annoy good players the most with their LOOK AT ME attitudes.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “what game should I play?” and you haven’t tried an Iron Realms Entertainment MUD, what are you waiting for? With no download necessary to enjoy the full, free-to-play experience of Achaea, Imperian, Lusternia, Aetolia or Midkemia, there’s no reason not to give them a shot.

Lore and History - Making the Past Work for You

Posted by Raslazel Thursday August 2 2012 at 10:30PM
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In many MUDs, like the best MUD around, Achaea by Iron Realms Entertainment, you’ll find an expansive lore surrounding the world you’re thrust into. Rich with its own mythology and events, learning at least the basics is essential to fitting in to the setting.

Whether your character invokes the name of their race’s patron diety (I promise you, if I have to listen to one more “by the hammer of Phaestus,” I might snap) or recounting centuries-old stories handed down from his family, knowing the lore of the world never hurts.

It’s essential, then, that you obtain at least a cursory knowledge of your surroundings. This can often be found inside in-game books and help files and/or learned from other players. Most of it’s written with the reader in mind, at once making for an interesting read and helping to educate on why things are as they are presently.

If you’ve never tried a MUD, why not give an Iron Realms Entertainment MUD a shot? Free-to-play, no download required and newbie-friendly, they’re not worth passing up!

Triggers, Aliases and Macros - Excuse Me?

Posted by Raslazel Thursday August 2 2012 at 1:13AM
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If the title of this post sounds like a foreign language to you, this isn’t a bad read. Players use these things to make their lives easier and automate certain mundane tasks in MUDs. I use them myself for curing, tattooing, inkmilling and many other things in the top MUD Achaea by Iron Realms Entertainment. It’s easy to forget that many people have no clue what they are, however.

Some MUDs have a browser client, like those from Iron Realms Entertainment, but many require a third-party client to be used to connect to the game. I recommend Mudlet – it’s fast, free and has a huge support community (including two in-game clans that I know of). I can’t go into how to make these things because it varies between clients, see your client’s help documentation for details.

Triggers are, in essence, cause and effect lines. They read a line of text from the MUD and then execute a command or group of commands automatically. For example:

Trigger line: You are unnaturally stupid.

Result: eat goldenseal

For this example, your character would eat goldenseal (the cure for the stupidity affliction) when the trigger line pops up on the screen. Trigger lines are often copied and pasted directly from the MUD for accuracy.

Aliases are shortened commands for quick execution of complex or hard-to-type tasks. These are your best friends in fast-paced combat scenarios.

                Alias: ts

                Substitution: touch shield

Typing ts into your client would result in the client sending the substitution to the MUD and your character would touch his shield tattoo. It sounds complex, but it’s easy. I easily have 80-100 of these on my main character at the moment. Learn them, use them, love them.

Macros are like aliases, but used for more high-priority things. They can be accessed with one or two (usually shift + another key) keystrokes and execute immediately without the need to press ENTER.

                Key: Numpad 8

                Command: north

In this example, a basic movement macro, numpad 8 causes your character to step north. They can be used for combat functions, as well:

                Key: F1

                Command: touch crystal

Pressing F1 causes the character to touch his crystal tattoo, restoring health instantly.

All of the examples are things I actually use in Achaea, for clarification (with much more complex functions that check balance and queue the action, but we won’t go into that). I try to give practical information, whenever possible. If you haven’t tried Achaea, or any of Iron Realms Entertainment’s other free MMORPGs, what are you waiting for? They’re free-to-play, require no download and besides that, they’re fun!

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