I've been having a lot of fun playing in Achaea - one of my favourite mud games. My character, Bryony, has finally passed the interview needed to become a Chevalier in the Templar House. That means she's no longer a novice, and has earned new privileges.
One of those privileges is that I get a falcon! I've been looking forward to this. All the knight classes can have falcon companions who assist them in battle. Falcons can attack your enemies, carry items to your allies in far-away cities, or track to someone and spy on them and report what they see to you telepathically. I think Percever and I are going to be great friends and I think he is awesome:
My special Templar-bred falcon.
In order to reach this rank, Bryony had to pass several little tests, showing that she'd learned how to do certain basic things like cure afflictions and navigate to common landmarks. And she also had to read a little bit about the values of the Templars, and then be interviewed about her own values and why she wanted to be a Templar. The interview was a lot of fun--it gave me a chance to think a bit more about Bryony's character, and to roleplay with her interviewer.
One of the things I really liked about Achaea when I made my very first character is the way the Houses are set up to help new players. Achaea is a very complex game, but Houses provide new players with a set of graduated requirements that tell you step-by-step what to do to learn how to get around...framing them as in-character requirements, of course, for the novice, but they are designed to help the player. Then, as you learn each chunk of requirements, you get promoted up a rank, which really gives you a feeling of accomplishment.
This helped me a lot as a newbie--I appreciated having a clear set of suggestions about things to learn first, and I loved having my progress acknowledged by a promotion. Even though this isn't my first character anymore, being interviewed by one of the knights in the House, proving that I have completed my requirements, and then being formally promoted, is a good feeling!
However, Bryony's true goal is to be knighted, and she still has a long path ahead of her before that will happen. The knight Houses have possibly the most arduous processes of any of the Houses in Achaea, in order to make the term "knight" really mean something. For Bryony to become a knight, she will have to prove that she has both the skill in battle and the personal character to be worthy to be called a knight.
Her next immediate goal is to reach the rank of Squire. The big requirement for that will be to improve her combat skills a bit, and then fight a whole lot, either in spars or duels or in raids and raid defenses. (But that's what I wanted to do anyhow.)
Achaea is the best MUD there is for PvP combat, and is also a great place to roleplay and just hang out. Take a look at Achaea or one of these other popular MUDs and see if text gaming is for you!