Holey moley and how to make Nephandi more enjoyable.

Every Sunday night at 7 p.m. The Symposium meets to discuss ideas to help improve the Realms of Despair. At least in theory. Attendance is usually so abysmal that anyone who’s willing to talk about anything can usually keep the floor while the others glaze over.

This has been the sad state of affairs for at least the last year, yet despite these meetings ideas still get processed and submitted up the tree with a few even making their way into the game. At some level the process works.

Part of the problem is that most of the people who volunteered to participate don’t. Another part is that there is 20 years of history of ideas that have been submitted, voted down by one level or another and that resurface and get resubmitted from time to time. The submitter feels like they’re being slighted when they’re told that the idea has been shot down lots of times before. I suppose if we understood why it was shot down then it would be a lesson to help grow our understanding but usually it’s a big ol’ raspberry.

So last night’s meeting started out with the usual suspects … 2 mortal members, 1 mortal head and the immortal head, hardly a quorum even in the current membership roll. The meeting started out with an assertion that Paladins are over powered (OP). I disagree with this statement – shieldbash may be overpowered but it’s only useful in a restricted group of scenarios. My opinion of Paladins is that they’re a specialty warrior class and that they’ve always attracted people who wanted a cleric that could hit. In other words, largely ignored by the masses. Shieldbash made it so that people wanted one in their army – along with 8 barbs and 8 thieves and so forth. So the new skill increased their use – as an alt in the bottom of the tool box.

So the question I put forth was, “So what?”. If they were OP then everyone would be spam using them everywhere, it hasn’t happened so I don’t think I’m out of line disagreeing with the sentiment. My follow up is essentially “What do you want to do about it? Do you want to down Paladins or up everything else?” I’d like you to understand how little investment I had to the conversation at this point: I don’t agree with the premise and don’t think meaningful changes to under used classes is going to do anything to help Realms retain players anyway.

I ticked off, tongue in cheek, that clerics and mages have already had some attention, the original suggester mentioned that vampires are already OP, I said Bladesingers and Barbarians are too new to be on the upgrade pile already so hey, there’s 5 of 13 classes down.

So … it was asked how can we fix Nephandi? The two mortal members agreed that they could care less if the class was deleted. I’ve always felt that they’re some weird evil mage thing that doesn’t seem internally consistent to their own premise. The idea was suggested that qlippothic shift (qlip) should have it’s own damage type and saves and so on. Ok, great. On the face of it I have no problem with that but I circle back to “so what?” Let’s say that qlip becomes the next big attack. I think the players would only take it and use it to spam particular mobs EXACTLY how shieldbash or choke or rend are used now. Then the prize mobs of that pack will get a resistance or immunity to the nephandi damage types and they’ll go back in the tool box.

So a new damage type to help 1 class that few people use. The discussion MONTHS ago about new damage types IN GENERAL went nowhere but …

You know, I’m not trying to be overly negative … I think I can come across that way because I’m frustrated and bored with small ideas when there are big things that need fixing that we don’t see movement on. To be fair there might be lots going on and as a mortal I just don’t see any of it – I always leave myself room to admit I’m wrong and have my head up my ass. I just don’t think a new class or a new area is going to do much to revive interest – players barely visit Winterlight or Florebit now despite interesting puzzles and great equipment. The sentiment was captured by Cellador on avspam – why bother, I’ll level characters for people and buy my eq. People have no idea how hard someone like Merkess had to work to get 5 people together to go to Seth – a team with experience who has never rotted a corpse can’t get mass to what is a premier mob. That’s the conversation we should be having. Attracting new players is great and I wholeheartedly think the game has tons to offer but as a Guildmaster I’ll tell you that they get annoyed and frustrated at problems that have existed for a long, long time that have never been addressed. In today’s gaming world they can be on a new game having fun in the time it takes to log into Facebook instead of being bored or frustrated with Realms. The challenges we’re facing require a hard look at the critiques people have been making for years … or at least an admission that what we’re doing now might not be working.

Long after the meeting I managed to come up with something to at least try and work down the road that was presented. I suggested they should have a skill that halves the duration of any magical spells (so your sanc is halved if you’re fighting a neph), halves the damage from magical sources and drains mana. The answer that came back was “yeah but most damage is from prog damage so it won’t fix that”. True. Most mobs don’t cast sanc or elemental shields either, they’re aff_by.

Never mind … you get it by now.

Hey! Do you remember when deities were immortals?

With the post from Kinux we’ve ascended into the upper echelons of the wizlist. These lofty heights hold some of the Realms’ oldest immortals, members of the Council of Elders whose vision helps to shape the game we enjoy together. Over time even member of the CoE retire and their contributions become blurred into the fabric of Realms until it becomes a day to day part of our lives. Today’s contributor falls squarely into this description. He was one of the people who helped to create the deity system that still exists today, deities whose names were in fact the names of Immortals. These are the deities who were retired in the Shattering and whose replacements can be called Deities 2.0. He’s also someone who came out of the woodwork following the Realms of Despair Facebook page and enjoyed these recollections enough to take the time to write one for our enjoyment. With thanks I present Witherin!

Most of my memories from back in my time on RoD have been reduced to a warm, fuzzy blur. So when Tharius talked to me about making a contribution, I held off. I wanted to ponder it a bit. Do some actual research to recall some items. But I think I’m ready now.

Sad to say, I haven’t been involved in RoD for quite some time now. I think I left sometime around ‘96/’97 or so. Give or take. I’d married another RoD member and she had left RoD under a cloud that left me stuck between a rock and a hard place. I would have liked to have continued with RoD, but… Well… Marriage.. The choice was really a non-choice from the moment it was presented. Lol! Years later, the marriage fell apart and life was a long, hard struggle after that. When I finally did get
back into gaming, World of Warcraft caught my interest. And that was that.

Ok.. Enough about the “after”. Let’s dive into the beginning. I got my start with RoD back around ‘93/’94. A couple of my co-workers played and were old high school friends of Thoric. So I thought I’d give it a try. My first character was named Witherin. Several more were created afterwards. Arcana, Celasquida, Hronak and others I can’t remember. But Witherin was always my main. Sad to say. I can’t even remember the race/class he was. But I had a blast leveling him up. From the outset, I allowed
him to have a somewhat dark and mysterious persona. It tied into my social awkwardness (growing up with a hearing loss tends to lend itself to wallflower status in large social groupings), and let me take the social aspect of the game on my own terms. I got to Avatar level at a good clip. Not record setting by any means. But I was happy with the pace. I was a bit lost for a while once I hit Avatar. Not being as skilled with the social aspects, it took me a while to find my footing. In the meantime, I would spend time with my other toons and explore aspects and areas that I hadn’t touched on as Witherin.

It felt to me like it didn’t take long at all before I was sponsored to be Imm and got the promo. But that could very well be the blurriness of time having its influence. It took me a while to get a feel for being an Imm. Most of the time I was just monitoring/approving toon names; acting as intermediary with disputes between toons; playing bad cop when I had to (seems that dark and mysterious persona lent itself well to this); and peeking at the code underlying things to start to get a feel for it all.

Of the major things I was involved with.. In relative order, based on shoddy recollection, I’d say the helping to write the Newbie guide; helping with the formation of the Newbie Council; creation of Thul’Abhara; and the creation of the deity system. I had a hand in all of those things to one degree or another, and likely other things as well. Thul I was very proud of. I’m glad to see it’s still there after all this time. The deities… That whole thing was a great idea that turned into a pain in the butt to get working right. First public shot at it, the player items were not well balanced at all. Some were just too
over powered. Some were more along the lines of cosmetic items, rather than actually useful. So a lot of tweaking was done. I’m glad to see the deities are still there and have become such an integral part of the game.

Along the way, promotions happened. Always nice to get the recognition and being able to do more for the game is great. But you do begin to feel that disconnect.. The separation from the players. I did my best to counteract that.. Playing on my alts.. Keeping a couple of them anonymous as much as I could.

Near the end of my time on RoD I was lucky enough to get bumped to the CoE. I never really felt like I belonged with them. Not from any cold shoulders on their part. All were approachable to one degree or another. I just… Well I always felt like the little brother tagging along with the older kids. Brought in because they needed one more and I was just.. There.. To be fair that was mostly my own insecurities.

In any case. I think I held my own. And if I didn’t actually do anything spectacular beyond adding in my own two cents to our private discussions, I think I can feel good about my short time amongst that lofty crew.

All in all I had a great time on RoD. And I keep telling myself I should revisit it (I actually did a couple of times for short stints. But it never felt the same without having the name Witherin (a restricted name, of course)). Had a few romances. Made many friends (some of whom I’ve been lucky enough to reconnect with). And walked away with a ton of warm and somewhat fuzzy memories.

Expert explorer? Huh!

I wanted to write a quick post telling you about my first day back on the Newbie Council.

As I’ve written before I first applied to NC when I was level 15 on Tharius and was encouraged to give Guild of Rangers a try for a while instead :-). I was eventually accepted as a member under Julie and Stoney as co-heads and then continued as a member under Sarah. I don’t recall if I was a member under Loril and Stoneheft when they first took over, but if I was it was as Cready, the mage I swapped into NC when Tharius immed.

Things change. Pre-auth and the academy are radically different from when I first joined. Those of you who have seen the stock SMAUG setup know what I’m talking about. I was part of the project to revamp it way back when and if I search hard enough I could probably find the packet of paper that Sarah mailed to me when it was in progress.

Of course even those changes are gone, about 10 years ago Loril and many contributors set about revamping it into what it is today.

I spent my first day on NC going through pre-auth with a fine tooth comb and while I found a TON of stuff I’ve never noticed before it’s distinctly possible that I missed even more details. I tried very hard to come at it from the point of view of someone who was new to the game and I must say that it is very well written and doesn’t assume knowledge of commands. Everything you need is presented to you to get you through the area. My only long time beef is the wall of text that is help start 🙂

So dear reader, perhaps you are an explorer of great renoun, expert at spotting all the little details. Here are a few things I wonder if you know:

  1. How many dragons are in pre-auth and what colour are they?
  2. What 3 players are immortalized by having their stories recorded in pre-auth?
  3. What is it that keeps shooting sticky fluid and capturing that poor bat??

There’s lots more.  I really encourage you to take an hour and go through the Sunless Sea and absorb the detail in the area. I had more fun adventuring the area than I’ve ever had creating a character 🙂

Oh I did field questions from new players during this adventure through pre-auth … you know the regular [NC-ON] lifestyle, though as a thief I plan to avoid an addiction to those funky blue potions.

A conference or meeting to discuss a particular subject.

Oh what’s the title about?  You’ll either have to ask Romani or bear with me a minute.

Once upon a time in the Realms of Despair I was part of both mortal councils simultaneously.  Tharius had been in the Newbie Council for years and Raemakoin became the Guild of Druids Symposium representative.  Later after imming and deimming, Tharius became the Symposium rep for Dragonslayers.

In casting about for ideas on how to participate in the Realms I remembered how much I enjoyed The Symposium so I had no hesitation in asking Romani if I could become an “at large” member.

I didn’t know how this would go over, certainly it’s been a long time and a lot of things in the Realms have changed that I am still not aware of, so a “not now” would not have been all that much of a surprise.

The mudmail went off to Beleth and Sunday night I logged in hoping to meet up for a quick interview after the regular meeting.  By the end of the meeting I was back in the Symposium and eager to get caught up.

Thanks Romani, Beleth, Stoneheft and anyone else who participated in this decision.

If you have ideas that you’d like to help develop and get into the game, feel free to drop the Symposium a line either by mailing one of the members directly or by posting on the TS board in the Town Hall.