The Swamptober That Was

Well loyal reader, here we find ourselves again. That once a year post, whether we want it or not 🙂

In fact, I’ve been considering a post for a few weeks after a tell came out of the blue. That tell just expressed missing these posts. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

During October Sarakin and the rest of QC have been quite busy, and in tribute to their hard work, I’ve assembled a clumsy, tortured retelling of the month of quests just ended… It shall not under any circumstances follow the tune of the Twelve Days of Christmas correctly … ah well. You’re not looking for quality, you’re after quantity, and that’s where I won’t let you down 🙂

On the first quest of Swamptober, Sarakin just released,
A bunch of swampsouls, that we had to make deceased.

On the second quest of Swamptober, Zistrosk’s Jack O’Lanterns escaped,
Eat zombie candies until your sweet tooth is slaked!

On the third quest of Swamptober, I did oversleep,
So I missed the blue cookie monster, and the ticket I didn’t get to keep.

On the fourth quest of Swamptober, Eisengrim posted to me,
Swamp lizards taking over, getcha some glory and you’ll get a ticket added on for free!

On the fifth quest of Swamptober, Lilith’s letters we did see,
By cutting off of body parts, and names of mobs were the big key.

On the sixth quest of Swamptober, Zistrosk lost his heads,
Zombie noggins missing, go scoop them up, that glory glory piles and spreads.

On the seventh quest of Swamptober, Zistrosk and Romani married,
Wedding presents stolen by some thieves, returned by avatars gloried!

On an unrelated quest during Swamptober, Sarakin played survivor …
25 corpses later, and a game rename he should deliver.

On the eighth quest of Swamptober, Destre frogs are loosing,
Time is going quickly, but the tokens we’re producing!

On the ninth quest of Swamptober, a Turkey Trot broke out!
Zistrosk asciis tshirts, and turkeys die without a doubt!

On the tenth quest of Swamptober, Sarakin’s thieves broke free!
But what their weapons are for beats me!

On the eleventh quest of Swamptober, Destre’s frogs got drunk!
They were fighting mad, the booze gave them some spunk!

In an interlude of Swamptober, golden bugs appeared loose and free,
Mosquitos in the Mire, messing up where bug, and Destre laughing evilllly ….

On the twelfth quest of Swamptober, Destre up early,
Crickets chirping Sunday morning, no coffee makes you surly!

On the thirteenth quest of Swamptober, Lilith set bats free!
Swamp down near the elves, that’s where I went to get three!

On the fourteenth quest of Swamptober, cool cats on a fence,
Set amok by Zistrosk, the best defense a good offense!

On the fifteenth quest of Swamptober, Cain said follow me,
As Godzilla roared and roasted avatars on a killing spree!

On the sixteenth quest of Swamptober, Destre’s frosty quest,
Scrapping some people’s packs, reminded you that Ice Girth is best!

On the seventeenth quest of Swamptober, the Tickets that fight back,
Broke loose from prizes and started to attack!

On the eighteenth quest of Swamptober, Lilith’s Scrooges trick or treat,
Looking far and wide, prancing and saluting, requirements we managed to meet!

On the nineteenth quest of Swamptober, Destre’s tickets went underwater,
Into Octopus’ Garden we flew, and the tickets we did slaughter!

On the last quest of Swamptober, fire breathing bozos left face,
As they fell we see the end of the marathon, not race!

Tortured rhymes aside, if you got tired reading all of that, imagine how tired our QC immortals were in designing and hosting them all! Thank you all for all the volunteer work you put into our entertainment during your leisure time, this author, and many others, greatly appreciate it and you.

Congratulations, Neophytes

This short blog post is to congratulate Sarakin, Lilith, and Incendi on their ascent to the rank of Neophyte.

Sarakin has been known as a very long standing member of the Newbie Council and I am sure that he will be full of ideas on how to support our newest players.

Lilith is a very experienced player who is better known by her alt.

Incendi was well known in the PK community before taking on the challenge of rebuilding the Order of Arcanes.

Huzzah! Congrats all.

The trials by fire and slaying of dragons all seem a distant memory locked safely outside the door.

Sometimes it’s nice to kick back in the house. Sometimes you’ve spent so much time in the house that the idea of dragons ain’t so bad.

We’ve been meeting a lot of players on Realms lately who have been cooped up at home, all of us doing our best to cope with … well … 2020. I swear if I see even 1 locust … I’m heading for the hills.

It has been a trying year for many, many people. Some of our players are feeling a financial crunch because they’ve been off work due to shutdowns. Some have had family members directly effected by the pandemic. Some are health care workers dealing with many patients and with the effects of the wildfires too. Some may have lost or been evacuated from homes and are playing from family’s homes or from hotels.

To everyone who is enduring everything that 2020 has lobbed at you, you’re doing a great job even if it doesn’t look feel like it right now. We’ll get through this together … at a distance 🙂

I was playing Realms in September 2001 when the towers were hit. It didn’t matter if you were Ringbearer or Guild of Druids or new or old. We knew, one way or another, that we were in it together. Then, as now, we have different ideas about what the best things to do are, or what the priorities should be. I have been glad to see that when the MOTD scrolls past so many have left their disagreements at the door, grabbed their text swords and tackled the problems that they could and left worry behind, if only for a while. I’m also glad when people have needed to talk about how rough their day was, or how shaken up their world is. I’m glad your virtual world is giving you something solid.

I hope we will all see each other in a reunion of one sort or another when this is all over, and we will toast having been through it. I think these challenging times bring out the best in many of us.

I’m glad you’re here. You are doing the best you can, and that is alright.

Hang in there, we’re in it together.

Realms of Despair – Tricking you into learning for over 25 years …

Well, you think that all you’d need to do is open up Rodpedia and follow the blocks on the pictures along until you got where you were going. Who knew that you should stop at each one of those blocks and read that spam that has been scrolling past?

I think we’re all guilty of it at some point. The author aside, is anyone willing to confess that they’ve read every room in the Forgotten Woods? Ok, ok, well you’re exceptional, I on the other hand have been known the odd time to look at the pretty picture and move my butt from A to B with config +brief on.

Back at Christmas we held a quest in Ringbearers. 12 actually. The 12 Quests of Christmas. We picked items for people to go get that would help them build up their skills and maybe help take away some of the apprehension of trying something new. I really enjoyed it and I think it went over well, the feedback was pretty good.

For some of our guys it kindled a desire to get a new hat for their vampires. It turns out that scrapping black brimmed hats or barrik’s helmets wasn’t their idea of a great time. Sure, we could have gone after the Devil but instead we sought out the elusive Maniacal Tendencies. Which is what you need to earn one, so well named!

If you ever spent time talking with Sylphain about Lascivias’ areas at some point the conversation turns to Sesuad’ra Rift. I don’t know if anyone has ever completely solved that area or if Sylphain was over analyzing things but there is definitely an intricacy to the area and its relationship with other Lascivias areas, notably Abishai’s Morgue.

What do the two thoughts have to do with each other? If I’m recalling things correctly, around the time of the Shattering Lascivias was working on the overhaul of the Underworld. For reasons completely unknown she was unable to finish it and Selina and Kinux stepped up and worked on completing it.

There is a very intricate story tangled into the area with one seemingly glaring problem. While most of the area is the Greek underworld, Satan is the ruler of the area. To be fair while the area is called the underworld Satan’s domains are referred to as Upper and Lower Hell. Within the Realms of Despair things have been reimagined … I suppose using Tartarus might have worked but for whatever creative decision it was not. This isn’t a criticism, just an observation.

Satan is re-imagined as female and wears a Corselette of the Furies. The help file weaves together the story of this Underworld with Olympus, who sent the Furies to discover if Hell had been cut off from the Realms or not. Once reporting on the discovery of an entry way to the Lower reaches through Sesuad’ra Rift. Then they disappeared. The help file warns that Hell has no fury like a woman scorned. One question to ask is which woman has been scorned and by whom.

In playing through the area you will be confronted with many puzzles. In trying to find clues to the next steps you might, as I have done, read ancient plays about Athena and Apollo and the stories of Orestes. You might think about the Underworld in Olympus, more properly called Hades, and wonder about the stories of the gods presented there. You might spend hours with friends pouring over room descriptions, making lists of keywords to try “the next time we’re there”.

So far it’s been a blast. This difficult area is very well written and contains lots of intricacies and hidden surprises. Even if I knew the answers to the final puzzles I doubt that I would feel like I’d have understood everything within the area, something that would keep me coming back for more as the Tower of Despair still haunts my imagination so many years after the Shattering. Thank you to the builders who have worked on this area for the many hours of fun and frustration trying one zany idea after another. A top notch work of art.

Hey world traveller, don’t let that candy rot your teeth!

Ahh the summer vacation, a quick world tour with no cares except getting disarmed while teleporting or keeping fly running to avoid no-fly DT’s. I’m talking about Zistrosk’s RoD 2020 Summer Vacation of course, every other kind of world travel well … is on hold for the foreseeable future.

First off a tip of the hat to Quest Council, and to Zistrosk for this quest. Like the Silver Anniversary quest this was very straight forward and encouraged teamwork. 100 locations scattered about the Realms. A tour book that told you how many locations per area, and a block of text that could be picked at to provide clues.

Unlike some past quests I saw a great deal of camaraderie and support in the community. A few of the locations were difficult, but not impossible to reach and took us on a tour of the old school “hard” areas like Abattoir Asylum, nearby Dracula in Transylvania, front and center with Gaelcath, and a mandatory trip into Seth’s Fortress. It was nice to see some of the very old locations, though newer players wouldn’t know where the mobs had been removed for various reasons, us older folk noticed. Who knows, maybe a troll will return to the Abby at some point, fixed up and run worthy for the modern standards.

As the quest draws to a close the response has been quite positive among the players. On a personal note I was impressed with how the tourbook operated, it reminded me of a proposal I brought up at TS a while back to have an achievement system developed … without recoding in the system perhaps a first step would be a crystal ball or whatever that told you what you still had outstanding to do. As Zist points out adding too many variables to a character is not a great idea, but it got those wheels churning once again.

Kudos to Zistrosk and the Quest Council, and now back to our regularly scheduled distractions 🙂

We must be having fun wrong!

I’ve heard the phrase “we must have been having fun wrong” a ton of times over the last year or so, usually to describe a change made to an area or skill that disrupts the status quo.

I heard it when the experience formula changes were brought in preceding prestige characters being introduced. I heard it after gold farming was impacted by what I assume was changes to the economy code. I heard it loudly after Lord Seth’s Throne Room was changed.

Yet it’s really only in the last year where I’ve taken time to think about what that phrase means to me as an individual player. How do I have fun on Realms? I do enjoy having characters that I think reflect good abilities and that is useful in lots of places. Yet I know that other people can simply buy and sell the same gear that I’m going to run or quest for. To me grinding out gold is a low risk, low skill activity, but why would it bug me if someone puts their time in to doing it while I choose to go on a run? In a way, sometimes I’ve felt like it devalues the efforts I’ve made to learn runs and how to survive on them. That’s where I was having fun wrong and it took some thinking to recognize it.

Some recent players have more or less been trafficking for fully dressed characters and I had to stop myself and think about why that bugged me.

To many of you reading it’s obvious what the problem was. I was valuing the adventures I’d been having only as much as other people valued them. I bought into the text high score syndrome.

When I was away from the game for years it wasn’t the DR on my character that I remembered or the time I got a really good buy on auction. It was getting up at reboot and putting characters in the La Chute trans maze to go to Danbala with the Guild of Druids. Of popping our first Danbala skull unexpectedly after that change was made and brainstorming where else to look for pieces until we managed to get a Garland of Skulls. It was the thrill of being included in going against Orcus and Hastur as part of a team, not for the gear – the Spiral I have today is the only remnant of those runs I have, I never earned any of the Hastur equipment, but in the puzzle solving. The spitballing ideas around. Following the Black Monk and absolutely misinterpreting everything he had to say.

I also still possessed the skills that I had developed because I needed to work on them for playing Realms. No – not how to quaff fast, or learning to flee and reenter the room and attack. Learning to write triggers. Learning from there how to create databases and websites. Those were things I took away from the game. All I wanted to do was get rid of all the little bits of paper from my desk and lo and behold.

My success with getting big gear pieces or going on big runs has more to do with the people around me and the legacy of notes and experience that has been passed down by players long gone. When I think back though, I had more fun exploring Wendle’s Mansion than I had sitting through hours of S/O or Seth. I am exploring things and loving it. I don’t care if I get loot, really, I just want to be part of figuring out how the loot is got.

That fear of missing out I talked about before, it can come back easily if I let it. For now though it’s under control, especially if I just do things I consider to be fun. Being a reliable part of the team has been a big part of that.

To the golders, script levellers, traffic channellers, all the best in your goals. You’re having fun your way. God bless.

The portals to your adventure

When you journey to the Realms of Despair what portal transports you? Do you use the web based client at Do you log in through a piece of software like CMud, TinTin, or Mushclient? Maybe you’re using a mobile device and BlowTorch is more to your liking.

In 2014 I wrote a draft article called SMAUG HTTP. I never published it because I knew that the tremendous effort needed to convert the game engine that runs the Realms of Despair from a Telnet server to a HTTP based engine was unlikely to gain support. I speak only as an outside observer but I imagine that any of the handful of coders active on Realms would rather put their time into changes that will add more fun and adventure. Not at all an unreasonable point of view!

I abandoned that idea and looked at the Realms Web Client, which I think has been a phenomenal tool for allowing new players to experience Realms without undertaking the burden of installing and configuring a new client. It just doesn’t fit with today’s model of how software is delivered, does it?

When I started on Realms the idea of downloading software and spending an hour getting it set up before I played for 1 minute was absolutely standard. Now you log into a web portal and if you can’t have an account inside a few minutes, pfffft, next!

The problem we have in our community is that we are past the peak era when lots of people were actively contributing to projects. Not just SMAUG itself, but also the clients that are available. Zuggsoft hasn’t issued a new version of CMud since 2011 and seems very unlikely to do so. Mushclient was more recently updated in 2019 and is well supported on the forums. TinTin is in active development with the hopes of converting it to a commercial project.

The problem becomes that each has strengths and weaknesses and none of them hit it out of the park. CMud has a mapper that is hard to beat, and a relatively friendly window system, along with robust scripting capabilities. On the down side it is Windows only and full of very irritating memory/file corruption bugs. If you’re like me and able to work around those issues, it’s hard to beat. I may be biased, I started with Zmud more than 20 years ago, and the old dog likes to make maps.

Mushclient is, in my opinion, the most stable piece of Windows mud client software available with top notch scripting capabilities. Written by Nick Gammon the client makes it very easy to create a structure to share scripts between characters and suffers from no corruption issues I’ve ever encountered. I’ve used it for my bots and been very happy with it. Unlike CMud it’s much harder to see the active state of memory if your variables are involved, but like anything that is a trade off that can be worked around.

Most of its files are text based making for easy sharing and easy backups. The menus are not bad, once you get used to where everything is. I made a serious attempt to move to Mushclient full time but I just couldn’t live without the interactive automapper. Nick … if you’re listening, let’s talk about it 🙂

TinTin is an older product that has had new life breathed into it. Myrr reached out to me about getting involved with using it, and introduced me to it’s mapper. Like Mushclient its mapper is of limited interactivity. It records things that CMud’s does not, like terrain type, and attempts to auto generate a graphical map, which is very fun, but is ultimately more difficult to extract information out of than either of CMud or Mushclient. I think this is because this one is available on multiple operating systems and has a distinct linux feel to it. If you’ve been living in that command line world with no windows available then this one might be up your alley. It lacks new user friendliness, even setting it up for the first time is non-obvious. The names of files you need to edit aren’t documented and you find yourself on the Discord channel feeling like a fool trying to get the thing running at times, but I applaud the author’s determination to revive the software and make it not only useful, but progressive.

All of these products are computer based. I’ve used a couple of different mobile technologies which I’ve blogged about before. The biggest thing to say about playing Realms on mobile is that you better set up buttons for things. Where you can argue that fast typing can get you away from macros or triggers on a PC, even the finest Bluetooth keyboard is going to be a pain for mudding on a phone. Not introductory level, but absolutely cool once you’re ready for it.

Which brings us back to the Realms client. I’ve used it many times and though it suffers from some of the critiques I mentioned on the other clients it has the distinct advantage of being web based. Fire up a browser and go. It is developed and supported by the people who are working on Realms and so feature wise it can be tailored exactly to our game. I genuinely believe that it has the potential to be the client of choice for our player base.

To create an experimental development environment I asked some of my students to create a HTML5 Websocket client that could connect to Realms to try to play around with it and they did in just a couple of months time. Another project team chose to work on a web based mapping software for Realms that could read and render CMud’s map files. Another success. Bringing these ideas together and then expanding on them further could make the Realms client top notch.

I think that there are questions about this though, for example I have no idea how much server overhead administering the client creates. The client itself runs on your device, but it has to be back ended by a Realms server. Not only that but the original point I made about developer’s time … any time spent on reinventing the wheel with a client is time away from expanding the game itself.

I saw a recent TS vote pass that suggested multiple characters connected through the web client. This was part of my student’s project as well. We know that players need multi-character support. Whether it should be added to the Realms client comes down to the intention of that client: is it a vehicle to get people to try the game and then they will be vested to install a stand alone client, or is it an opportunity to demonstrate the full capabilities of a custom SMAUG installation on a 25+ year old adventure game?

Maybe there is a possibility of custom web clients in the same way people used to make stand alone executables. This one is problematic because you’d have to trust the person running the client not to steal your passwords or you’d have to have your own online database that you configure a connection to … we’ve done some stuff like this using DropBox or Google shared drives to sync our CMud profiles across computers, so it might not be that far fetched. Update (2020-08-05): One possible work around to the trusting someone with your passwords problem raised here has already been solved in industry. If the Realms server were willing to provide a third party login authentication service in a similar way that you can log in “using your Facebook account” to other sites, this could keep the control of your password between you and the Realms site while allowing a custom browser client to be built by third parties.

I still think the Realms client has great potential. If only the escape key would clear my input bar ala Z/CMud and not disconnect me routinely.

Have fun, stay safe!

Quarantine? Quest-antine!

Hi everyone, we might be stuck indoors but that doesn’t mean our imagination can’t wander through the Realms in search of fun and adventure!

I hope you and all the people around you are doing well. The pandemic has been a very challenging situation for most, we have been asked to voluntarily, and in some cases legislated, restrict our personal freedoms in the hope of serving the greater public good. I’ve watched this swirl around from the eye of the hurricane, I’m very fortunate that I’ve been able to work from home and that my income has not been disrupted. Starting from that position something like wearing a mask is a minor inconvenience. I realize that for others who are at their wits’ end that it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Wherever you fall on this spectrum, I hope you are taking good care.

Some have suggested that the whole COVID-19 emergency is a hoax, including one of my former colleagues who counselled his students to reject all the restrictions put on our personal freedoms. All I can say is that the people I know from Realms, and elsewhere, who work in the health care front lines would most strongly disagree with you. To those workers – thank you for all the extraordinary measures you have gone through these last few months.

With people stuck at home I’ve noticed an influx of new faces in the Realms of Despair. Some are returning players visiting to see if the lights are still on. Others have heard about the game word of mouth. To all of you who have shown up lately, welcome! We’re glad you’re here. There’s a great community of people around doing all sorts of things, find one that fits with your idea of having fun and run with it 🙂

That’s all for the moment, in the coming weeks I want to share some of what I’ve been up to the last 10 months and share some ideas of what I might get up to in the coming year. Right now I am scripting videos for running courses online in the fall and the thoughts of an online newbie guide is in my head – not only the game itself but the tools around the game: Mushclient, CMud, writing triggers and scripts, Discord, and so on.

If you’d like to be involved in any of that or have any ideas, please reach out to me in game or at

Until next time, stay well, have fun, and may all your RNG rolls be perfect.

Grüß Gott Adventurers! Happy Oktoberquest! The annual celebration of FOMO :)

Ah, the Realms has looked festive with avatars of all sorts prancing about in Dirndl and Lederhosen, looking all over to get their hands on some hot, steamy sausage.

In case you missed it, the two are linked…. (case … linked … waka waka!)  If you gather your sausages in your Oktoberquest themed Dragonhide Breastplate or Godskull Shinguards you only have to gather 6, which qualifies you for the secret bonus.  The super secret that Zist cooked up after people complained about HAVING to wear the quest themed gear … well, now you don’t HAVE to … but there’s 5 points a day if you do.  Incentivize the behaviour you want to see.

About a week into this quest we had a blow up, Zist and I.  I’m sharing this because in the aftermath, I realized that once again Zist has poured a ton of time into creating this quest and continued working on it when it was live so that it would be a fun experience and the reward for his hard work is a lot of complaints and gripes.  I think there’s something to be learned on both sides but I’m going to start the conversation on his side.

He told me he started working on the quest in late July.  In order to pull it off there are several thousands of lines of programs written in the SMAUG language.  Having worked in it a bit, I can tell you, the word fussy doesn’t start to do it justice.  Now … that’s normal programs, but things like trying to make a wall clock 10 second delay, as opposed to just saying “meh, 3 ticks whatever that works out to, about 9 seconds” to make Marius very predictable on timeouts … I’m not even sure where you start on that.

I’m looking at this year’s design and I see that Zist took the feedback from last year’s quest quite seriously.  Last year’s quest was insanely time consuming both for Zist and for questers.  The goal of making it very accessible to people in different time zones led to people trying to be available at EVERY point opportunity.  Simply saying you could only try 2 a day or something like that might have worked, but again, gripes if you do.  Lots of people scripted the entire thing.  Triggers were written to allow people to run their characters like bots.  Before the big reveal that the mobs could be shared with more than 5 people and that you could farm off everyone and share with everyone, the quest was getting quite nasty as different groups tried to maximize their team’s earnings – paying people gold to share was frowned on but at least you could see the logic in it, after all, you could always offer more … but some of the comments directed at people actually caused some people to just log off and not come back.

To avoid that there’s a fixed rotation of things to go do, once you’ve accomplished your bit for the day, you’re done.  There’s still things to figure out, but it’s very much an individual effort with some communication.  Big problem that Zist faces is … how to spread the points out in a way that people can “win” and yet have it so that people can potentially catch up/swap positions/have some “action”.  Well really, it comes down to the Keg smashing tapping that is pretty much RNG … getting 4 reliably is fairly doable, getting 6 is riskier, and Bill.  F@$%ing Bill.  Now I’ve been a fan of solo mob kills … Brutus, Jimmy Da Fence, the Falcon … I enjoy those challenges, but Bill is certainly not killable by all classes despite assertions to the contrary.  My shieldbash would need a large jump up (yes, a paladin this quest, as I continue the hunt for prestige) before the 20 or 25 point Bill would be doable.  Like others I have lost lots of points trying to kill the stronger Bills wondering if typing “kill bill” was the insane healing trigger, or if using quaff heal instead of q heal, or if it was the potion chest or or orrororororoorororor…. before learning that to weaken him depended on how many miniquests you’ve done that day, and then again trying to move up 1 level from 10 point Bill to 15.  1 attempt per day for a major chunk of the points has not left much room for error … and my error was choosing Paladin.  The winner of this round is apparently Infernalist in the great crap shoot.  Yes, there’s a guy on top of the points scale that might disagree, but I don’t think Incendi has to be involved with Operation Move-The-Potion-Store-To-Bill’s-Room every day.   Disappointing because lots of effort going in, and doing a lot of the right things and knee capped by the class choice.

Yet in the hopes that Zist will do tiers of prizes, as the 25th anniversary quest was done, just keep plugging away, do your best, and hope he calibrated his score system so that it doesn’t expect you to do damn-near-heal-to-full-every-round Bill.

So the blow up… Marius got new dance moves part way though a day.  Zist’s side: hey man it’s getting late, I held off and I’m tired.  My side: yeah but lots of people have already got points today on easy Marius and I get effed up because of this change.  Already falling behind because of Bill, eff this!  There was lots more to it like an arms race on how many triggers I could write and how annoying he could make the programs.  For the record, no one wins in an arms race.  Did I write one trigger for each social?  Nope.  I wrote 3 triggers to get my character to do every social, another to detect the output message and a third trigger to write the triggers for me.  I can see this as frustrating for Zist, he works on this stuff and we just script it because we view it as annoying, an obstacle to the points and prizes.  Guess what, that’s how we view levelling, golding, farming apples, brewing potions, buying and selling gear, fighting Seth … and we respond with scripts and it works because the scripting languages are more expressive than the mud’s language and our computer only has to deal with 1 person … where the mud has to be responsive to everyone online.

I asked then if Joe had already locked in his win… here 2 days from the end I see it’s not far from being a true prediction.  Good for Joe, no sour grapes, no gripes, but there was never a hope of “competing”.  Which takes me back to FOMO.  WHY does this stuff get under my skin?  I know I’m not alone but I’ll just talk from my own experience.  Well that fear of missing out.  In a lot of contexts around Realms FOMO is just part of it.  You’re not part of the right group to get into the right runs, so go gold and when someone feels the time is right to auction gear, you can get upgrades.  You know you’re missing out.  Oktoberquest, and other long quests, have presented an opportunity for people to complete the Guardian set, arguably better than the drow set or the glory for a month long quest.  I don’t even think about the aff flying ankles and stuff like that, I’ve been near the top but I know my life is too busy to pour the time into really mastering a quest to get there.  So those opportunities are things to look forward to.  When they feel like they’re disappearing it’s a kick in the ass where you hoped to improve your character.  Yet it really doesn’t matter.  It’s text on a screen that one day won’t matter at all.  Well … it’s nice to compete and to be thought of as being competitive.  To be held in esteem by your peers for playing well.  It might be virtual reputations but within the community that helps open some of those doors the year round.

For Zist, I’m sorry that I, and others, give you so much grief and not enough appreciation for the hard work you do designing and administering the quests.  We look forward to them and they do stimulate activity in our shared fantasy escape.  Thank you for taking the feedback into account, not just of this one ranger’s gripes, but of the entire community.  If we didn’t care we’d just log out and pull the plug and never look back – in some strange way our complaints show you we care, not just about the one line of text loot at the end of it but also for how we get there.

25 years of Realms of Despair

Happy silver anniversary Realms of Despair!

25 years is an amazing amount of time, especially to those of us not yet resigned to our actual ages. I was in my early 20’s when I started playing … and now I’m not, can you relate? No? Go to bed you whippersnapper!

I can remember this game in an era where I had just graduated from predominantly single line, turn based, multiplayer games on BBSes.  Coming online and seeing 300-500 characters online was amazing.  Today the numbers are a long way down, and there’s probably more people bidding on some of the auctions we look at in those last crucial 10 seconds, but the game is still alive and well.  By and large it’s stable and people continue to contribute to it regularly.

One of those contributions was the Silver Anniversary Quest hosted by Zistrosk that concluded with the end of August.  This post has been on the back burner for a while, but his gentle nudging has finally got me typing it tonight.

I enjoyed the quest.  Unlike Oktoberquest 2018 there was no sniping at one another.  There were definitely groups working together, groups that kept their lists quiet, but that’s normal competition.  I enjoyed working with the people I did both in and out of the Order of Ringbearers.  Lots of people were definitely hustling to do everything they could, Myrr, Joe, Incdeni and many others were spotted running around the Realms in the great hustle.  My very slow prestige leveling paid off when I was able to retrieve some items from Ezard’s Fields, Sentinel, Gauntlet, and elsewhere.  Aside from killing some mobs I’d never killed before I made a new character of each class and finally made a list of the Sunless Sea area items, explored every hometown, visited every single deity I could, no Grishnakh or Tempus upgraded sigils though and mapped my way though the Badlands getting my first gryphon lantern, a neat item that gets even cooler when you wear it on pk character.

For more information see the RodPedia entry for the Anniversary Quest

In closing a thank you to Zistrosk and Stoneheft for their work on this particular quest, but also to all the immortals, leaders, firsts, seconds, avatars, pre-avs who didn’t make it who have walked the Realms.  For 25 years the lights have been on.  Whatever our goals as players I think we feel some investment in this game and community.  It is a place like no other where you have so much input into the game.  If we want the lights to stay on find some way to chip in and help out.  Say thanks to your favourite hard worker.  And thank you for being there along with me on this journey against the random number generator.