Hail immortals of the Realm of Magic (and other MUDS if you found this page by accident)

This is part of my leaving gift to you and you really should read it to the end, even if you are badly annoyed by some of it's passages.

First I want to say that breaking game rules is a serious crime in a game, but players tend to find and abuse gaps. It is far more easy for the administration to punish those players afterwards than fixing the bug in the games program, but by only punishing players you annoy players who found pleasure in doing so and so they leave. I know for sure that several bugs that were abused existed for months or even jears.

A MUD is a role playing game and so you should strongly separate different characters of a single player. If one char is always using bad language and killing other chars and this is against your policy but another char from the same player is behaving good, there is no reason to punish both characters. These  characters are different roles. By punishing both you make roleplaying impossible.

Punishing someone for telling you his opinion to current changes of the game is one of the worst thing you could do. Finding good solutions to a problem isn't an easy task and so it should be normal to discuss about it. Otherwize it will end up in a despotic dictatorship at immortal level and a deserted MUD on the mortal side.

Talking about evolution of a MUD. Making changes to the world the players act in is basically a good thing. The world isn't static. Taking away overpowered items may result in an outcry of protest but sometimes is necessary. Reducing the power of the mayority of items makes no sense. You will just ruin the current balance of the game and annoy every player. Removing or replacing stock zones may lift the quality of your mud but that's a task you should do before te MUD opens to the public. Later you only should improve existing zones carefully or add new ones. This is because information is the only true treasure in a world where only words exist. Knowledge is what long-term players distinguishes from newbies. If you change the world too fast, especially parts that long-term players knew for ages, then you will lose them and ruin the climate between mortals and builders. If you really have to make major changes, build a story around it, make a game out of it.

Talking about what in RoM was called 'balance'. I came to the conclusion that several high immortals seem to think that balance is a 2-dimensional function with only one maximum where the balance lie and everything that is disturbing this balance may result in the MUD rolling down all the way of the mountain. I tell you that balance is relatively solid, it is more like a valley than like a mountain top. I tell you that it is not like a single valley but a complete region with lots of hills and valleys. Pushing the spot of balance out of one valley results in stabilizing in another valley. And there is a lot that influences the balance. Publishing secret information does, annoying or criminal behaviour does, spamming does, changing the basic rules of the MUD does, deleting, changing and adding zones, items or mobs does, interplayer behaviour does, the behaviour between mortals and immortals does. It is part of the administrations job to decide which influence you tolerate and which not. It is part of the administrations job to guide the parameters of the balance carefully to reach a state that suits most needs best. In the RoM I found that the balance junping from valley to valley with no time to ever decide if the current state may be a good one or even to let the balance stabilize. I told you this in summer 1997 for what I was told to 'shut up' and HL said this in spring 1998, but there is still no change in the administrations work.

Cheating, abusing immortal knowledge and promoting mortal chars with an immortal char are things that are forbidden in the Realm of Magic even though 3/4 of all immortals I got to know better tend to do these things. I concede that sometimes I did that too by visiting zones that I did not know they exist except by my immortal knowledge. I tried to lead this new knowledge in nice exploring quests although I failed miserably for different reasons. In my opinion it is part of human behavior to use knowledge and so you should guide this to legal forms that are acceptable. Maybe you should remember human mythology that is full of examples of such behavior.

This is not the screaming of an annoyed or mad punished immortal and player, but the analysis of an experienced problem analyst and skilled roleplaying master. Build your own opinion over all this without prejudice and personal aversions. Your MUD can only win through that.

So long,
    Jochen Reuther