A New Player's Perspective


Back in the late 1990's, '98 or so to be exact, my father began teaching me electronics.  I had been bugging him day and night for a computer all summer long, due to Starcraft just coming out for PC - mainly due to every one of my friends hounding me to play the game.  So one weekend, my father sat me down and taught me all the necessary parts to build a computer.  Working during the summer on a cattle farm, I loaded and unloaded square hay bales for a hefty sum of money at the time for being so young (~$12 an hour).  By the end of the summer I had saved up enough money required to build my own computer - so I set up working with my father to buy all the pieces.  The time came where we went down to our basement workbench and began assembling each of the puzzle pieces of silicon wafers, all connecting in unison to create something magical.  I had just built my first computer, and it may still be the most memorable, and valuable memory I've had in my life. 

By night, I had everything plugged in and was cruising along on my AOL dial-up internet, discovering a whole world that I had been missing for the first 10 years of my life.  I instantly became a gaming fiend, and moreover a technology nut - so much so that the fondest memories of my mother during my childhood was to "Get off those games, they're going to rot your brain" - I didn't care - it's what I loved, and still do to this day - 14 years later. 

That summer I ended up playing so much Starcraft with my friends I could hear the Zealots shouting "My Life for Aiur!" in my sleep.  The time came to eventually put Starcraft down though, and in doing so I ended up finding text-based MUDs.  By Winter I was heavily involved in a MUD called Valheru, and for the next 3 years I would play it everyday on schedule.  I ended up befriending a healer(myself being a warrior) and we stomped through the content like a steam train - she was young like me - just discovering this wonderful world of interactive text - and played with her father who was a Rogue.  

One afternoon - barreling down the long dirt road to my house after getting off the bus from school - racing to get online to meet up with Ellie(we had originally connected in game due to our names sounding so much alike) the Healer to see what new adventures we would set out on today within Valheru MUD - I found that she wasn't online.  Weird, I thought - even weirder that her father wasn't online either.  Neither showed up that night, or the next - a week went by, a month, finally her father came online.  I was ecstatic, for a second.  He sent me some tells, quite cautiously, to explain to me that him and Ellie had been in a car accident.  Then, he dropped a bomb, Ellie didn't make it.  Ellie had passed away - and her father was still going through therapy. 

That night I logged off, and I never logged in again - I stayed away from text-based MUDs as a whole. 


Until now - 11 years later.  A few nights ago I ended up finding an ad for Achaea, a text-based RPG, on a website I was visiting and my interest was peaked.  Both the wonderful, and dreadful, childhood memories came drowning back into my conscious from my early days of MUD'ing.  My journey began with making my character - WOW have text-based MUDs changed.  Selecting what class to play was eased by the intuitive graphical interface that was introduced to me for Achaea character creation.  It hints at just enough, with it's 2D drawings, to plant the imaginative seeds that will be used throughout the player's life to write their own backstory and to roleplay effectively.  I was excited at this, and ready to get into the game. 

With my character created, I was dropped into the intro tutorial - pretty basic stuff - learning how to move about, attack proficiently, and some of the lore of the world. When it came to select my class, I decided upon Jester.  I love playing utilitarian classes, and figured the jester would have enough tricks up their sleeve to deal with any situation presented, possibly having to play with a bit of finesse to overcome some of the crazy other-worldly monsters that I might encounter in this exciting place.  Deciding on a town and house was a bit more daunting.  What was the significance of a city? In what way did this differ from a house? Even reading the help files/manpages that were recommended for me to read while selecting these I was still a bit confused, hopefully I'll discover exactly what the functions of these two organizations are later on - I placed the question in the back of my memory bank and decided to push forward. 

An hour into the game I was out of the tutorial, feeling that I had more questions conjured than answered at this point.  What was the importance of equipment weapons based around my class selection and how would I upgrade these?  What abilities should I use to defeat my opponents?  What was the easiest way to orient myself with the world I was about to traverse in?  What places should I avoid at low levels, where should I go to level?

The last was answered as I dropped into the portaling room, where I was presented with multiple crossroads in which I may select to start adventuring.  I carefully read the sign posts and decided to start my adventure off in Achaea with some action, quickly scurrying to the Newbie Questing Areas.  Choosing a selection, I passed into the portal to Minia and begin slaughtering everything I saw in sight.

About the time I hit my 7th level, I received a tell from an unknown person asking if I had my house introduction yet - finding out that later this player would become my mentor in the house, Tyamat. I answered back with a no, what was a house introduction?  Did I miss this when reading the house help files?  Tyamat asked me to meet him in Hashan, at the house academy.  I quickly used a portal back to the portaling crossroads, and selected the portal to Hashan.  

Unfortunately, for me, I had selected the other Hashan portal - not the one for Damaris the Learned - which placed me on the other side of the city.  Not knowing where this Academy was, I decided to check my area map.  Possibly by luck, or fate, I was able to discover the location of the Academy fairly quickly - in which I began traversing to the other side of Hashan to the location in which I was to meet Tyamat for my introduction into the House.  Once arriving, a sense of pride spread across my face - I had just oriented myself in this confusing city, and found an area of interest by myself - my first real achievement.  

Once arriving at the location, Tyamat made his way to the Academy and stated that I would now begin my introduction.  Pretty formal introduction, reading through some help pages and discovering what my House was all about - I was a Crown Merchant, and respect to other Crown Merchant's and citizens of Hashan were of the utmost importance.  After reading through a few of these pages, I was asked by Tyamat, a series of questions.  This surprised me, as none of these questions could be answered unless you actually had read the help pages presented and understood them - I decided I liked this, as it would weed out the impatient players and target the players willing to actually learn the game. 

My answers were met with nods, and I soon found out about advancement in the house and the different ranks and tasks I would need to complete prior to moving up in the house. Between the multiple ranks, this was a rather daunting list - feeling that this should be more like the orientation tasks that are presented to new players where it would complete and mark as completed in the tasks list.  Since this wasn't how it worked, I decided to make and categorize each of the obstacles that I need to complete for the multiple ranks into one list, so that it would be easier for me to complete.  I decided to store this list for later, not thinking that I was ready to start on these just yet. 

After my introduction had been completed, I needed to pick a mentor - and quickly it was decided that Tyamat would be such.  After a few brief moments, Tyamat let me know that if I had any questions that he would be available - or that I could ask anyone in the House, and then sent me on my way.  I had unfinished business in Minia, so I set out to go kill some more monsters.  Eventually, I achieved my 10th level of experience.  At this point, I decided to switch areas.  The quests I had picked up in Minia, even using the details tab, were quite vague and I knew not in which area I should complete these within Minia.  When needing to give corpses to the quest giver, do I need to give them all at once or will they accumulate over time?  This was probably my biggest question when navigating the newbie quests - in which I found out later on that these would accumulate. Hooray!

Moving onto another newbie area, I found a cave in which I could bash bees and hornets to infinity - so this is what I did until level 20.  There were so many things that I had questions to.  Most importantly, how do I upgrade my gear?  I still didn't know.  I decided at level 20 that I would find out. Reaching 20 I decided to go to Delos to check out the bazaar there, to see if there was any gear I could obtain to upgrade my stature within the combat scene.  I'm not sure how I knew to look at Delos, I possibly read it in one of the chat channels while bashing - still not sure though.

I ended up navigating to Delos via walking to the landmarks, and decided to search all the vendors selling their wares.  I finally found one that possibly sold wearable gear.  Hmm, how could I compare the gear I'm currently wearing to the gear that was for sale?  What were the stats of each?  Were there specific stats for defenses and attack power and such in this game, I possibly missed this in the intro - but I'm not sure it was ever discussed.  How do I know that if I bought the gear that it was wearable by my class?  In fact, were there limitations on wearing gear?  What were these limitations of gear?  Could my jester wear any armor or were they restricted to lighter armor and my blackjack that I had obtained?  Questions that I would need to find out. 

Furthermore, I was dismayed at the pricing of the gear.  Questing in the newbie areas had netted me around 400 gold, enough for one or two pieces of gear - with so many questions surrounding my gear anyway I decided to go back to Hashan and rat - it was something that Tyamat had mentioned to me during the introduction on how to obtain gold.  I figured that saving up some gold while searching the forums and help files on gear upgrades would do me some good.  Throughout the night, while ratting I had made around 3,000 gold - enough to get me started I thought. 

I had also reviewed the orientation tasks, goals, and what to do next - though the what to do next help file was pretty vague and I still felt encumbered by the lack of knowledge I currently possessed and the route I should be taking on advancing in the game.  Holding onto my pride, I decided I wouldn't bug Tyamat - or Romeo and Juliet who had helped me with a few things in the beginning - trying to discover these for myself - as I figured they'd be etched into my memory by the time I found out. 

While ratting, I hit the 21st level - making it impossible to now portal.  So I needed to make my way back to Delos on my own.  Easy! I exclaimed, I'll just walk to using the landmark command.  That didn't turn out too well, and I was suddenly looking at the shore of Lake Belladona - easy I thought, I'll just swim.  So I started swimming, I figured my best route would just to head north, I'd hit the shore eventually right?  Wrong.  As I swam, I didn't realize I was losing health for each room I moved until it was too late. I tried turning back, but couldn't make - I sank to the bottom of the lake - my soul crying - dead.  I embraced death, and upon my rebirth I found that I had lost all my gold I had spent saving for new equipment. 

And here I am!  The 21st level and still loving the game, learning as I go along - sometimes painfully learning as shown above.  I have a lot of unanswered questions, I'm still not sure about gear - I understand what my House does but unsure really of the politics involved or what benefits I'll gain from being in a house.  I have no idea what tasks are included with me being a citizen, including ranks and defense of the city and such.  

I'm at that point that I'm very familiar with in games, where all seems lost and I have no real plan or path of where I need to go - but alas, I sort of like this feeling - it means I have much to learn, and learning is fun.  Time....time and trial is all that's needed to overcome this lack of way, and it's the time and trial I plan on putting into this game. 

Thanks to Tyamat, Romeo, and Juliet for helping, sometimes patiently, answering some of the basic questions that I just seemed to overlook. Thank you developers, and the players, for creating such a wonderful world to experience.  I hope that the next time that I write I will hopefully have found my path in the world of Achaea. 


  • Welcome! Glad you're enjoying yourself so far, and I hope to meet you IG. 

  • Glad you found the place. Your attention to detail should take you far.. =P
  • SherazadSherazad Planef Urth
    Thanks for sharing. This is actually valuable info for improving house novice requirements. 
    Bleh, work ate my gaming life.
    내가 제일 잘 나가!!!111!!1

  • edited May 2013

    you are awesome

    I can relate to so much in your post, it's a little scary. I, too, had a similar experience in a friendship I had developed on a MUD. I also quit playing text-based games in response to said experience. I'm really sorry about your friend.

    I'm also fairly new to Achaea. There are some differences in our stories though. You have way more balls than me and a much better Do-It-Yourself attitude. The first 6 hours of my sojourn into Achaea were spent combing over Help files and taking notes on the history, lore, and commands before I could even select a house, class, and city. I even solicited information on the forums from other players before making my decisions.

    I say all this because I want you to know how inspiring your story is and what an incredible talent you have for connecting with people through sharing your experiences. I am glad you're here and I sincerely hope you continue playing for a long time and continue sharing your valuable insights with us. You clearly have a lot to offer to any role-playing community, and I think Achaea will be better with you around.

    Most of all, I hope you have fun and enjoy this awesome game!

    Happy hunting!


    edit: if it would let me, I would like your post twice
    "Under all that we think, lives all that we believe, like the ultimate veil of our spirits." --Antonio Machado
    "The belief that becomes truth for me is that which allows me the best use of my strength, the best means of putting my virtues into action." --Andre Gide
    "It is not enough to have a good mind; the main thing is to use it well."  --Rene Descartes
  • KresslackKresslack Florida, United States
    edited June 2013
    Bookmarking this so I'll remember to come back and read it when it's not 5am and I haven't been up for 22 hours. From the length of it and the reaction it got, I can safely assume you're enjoying your Achaean experience, which is great to see. In my experience, Achaea ( and for most part all IRE MUD's ) can be very exciting especially starting out, simply due to the sheer size and vastness of them, both in playerbase and environment. 

    I've played quite a few MUD's who have been around as long or longer than Achaea and haven't gotten 1/3 of what they have done, chiefly Both a working Seafaring and City Warfare system. Enjoy your stay, hope you're having a blast. 

  • Threads like this make me smile and wish I were firing up Achaea for the first time again and getting ready to hit Alt+Tab when the 'No Games!' man in the university library comes around.
    Tvistor: If that was a troll, it was masterful.
    I take my hat off to you.
  • Welcome to Achaea !

    Don't worry about politics, you have a ways to go before you get there. Don't worry too much about city stuff either. Your primary organization is your House. That's where you will find the people who will help you with learning your way around.
  • @Elynull, just wanted to add that you're a very engaging writer. If you've any interest in fanfic, you might like to take a look at the Bardic - next deadline is the end of the month.
    Tvistor: If that was a troll, it was masterful.
    I take my hat off to you.
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