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UPTIME: 4 d 20 h 26 m


3. The first things to do in a new MUD

3.1 On almost all MUDs, after a short introductory sequence, you will be asked to enter a character name. Some MUDs allow you to enter "guest" to take a look around without making a new character. But it's often good to go through the character creation process just to get a feel of what to expect and how much effort has been put into the MUD. Make sure you understand and abide by any naming restrictions. After you pick your name, you will often be asked to select a password. Remember to keep this secret, unless you have no problem with people logging on, stealing your stuff, pretending to be you, and affecting your reputation on the MUD. If a MUD rejects your password, that means you have probably chosen a name that is already in use. Pick another name.

In Necromium, you will also be asked whether you want ANSI colour. Pick "Y" or "N" according to your preference and whether your client program supports ANSI colour. Necromium's naming policy requires a medieval, non-offensive, name - please don't pick something like "Korn" or "PimpDaddy". When starting out, take some time to read through the explanations of the various classes. If in doubt, start with a warrior or a cleric. These classes probably have the easiest time making it through initial levels; warriors because of their multiple attacks and damage dealing ability, and clerics because of their ability to heal - it allows them to survive where others cannot.

3.2 You should then undergo the character creation process - the alternatives presented may seem quite mind-boggling, but do keep in mind that it's early days yet, and if worst comes to worst you can always create a new character. One way to help yourself through this process is to read, thoroughly, any documentation available - be it on the MUD website, during the creation process itself, or through web-pages created by other players on the MUD.

3.3 Once you're logged in and playing the game, you will then need to go through a checklist of things that you will need to learn to survive and prosper.

   (a) Is there a newbie help system? Many well-run MUDs will have automatic systems in place to help newbies learn, quickly, what they should be doing.

When you start out on Necromium for the first time, you would be well advised to take the newbie tour. Just say "Y" when prompted. After you're done with the newbie tour, you should type "help" and read it through. Other documents worth reading are "command" and "policy". Then type "info" and read through information postings that have been made over time. This will bring you up to date with what is happening on the MUD, and the key rules in place.

   (b) Almost all MUDs will recognise the command "help". This should bring up a list of help topics, from which you can find out as much as possible about how to interact with your new world. Most will also recognise "command" or "commands" which brings up a list of legitimate commands. Finally, most MUDs recognise cardinal directional commands, "up", "down", and permit you to "look" and "say" things.

   (c) Learn where you can rest safely. Sometimes you will need a place to take a breather, or go away from your computer for a break. Seek safe locations, and remember how to get back there.

In Necromium, as long as you are below level 10, you can type "recall" at any time and be brought back to a designated safe room in the continent you are currently exploring. In the continent of Necromium, you will be brought to the centre of Necromium City, which is Necromium Square.

   (d) Get a "feel" for your immediate vicinity. Explore a little. If the MUD you are playing does not have an overhead mapping feature, and if your client does not support automaps, make your own maps. This can form a base for your future exploration.

Necromium's unique overhead mapping system makes geography easy for you. This system continually updates a 5x5 map of your immediate vicinity. You can thus "see" exactly where you are and what surrounds you. Your player character will always be at the centre of this map. The newbie tour (you did take the newbie tour, didn't you?) will show you important locations in Necromium City which you should remember.

   (e) Learn how the game works. Understand what's important, and what's not. For example, just how important is eating and drinking? What is the effect of using X weapon instead of Y weapon? Should I boost my intelligence statistic or my wisdom statistic?

   (f) Learn how to interact with non-player characters. Not every thing that you encounter is going to be a player character. Non-player characters (often referred to by the community as "mobiles") offer other avenues for interaction. And ... don't just kill everything in sight. Not everything can be killed, and not everything will take it kindly (it ... hurts, you know). Every action has a consequence ...

Some non-player characters in Necromium are notoriously powerful for unsuspecting newbies. Try to "look" and "consider" before you decide what you want to do - these commands will show you the description of the mobile, and give you a rough indication of its level of aggression and power.

   (g) Find out what the MUD uses to measure advancement in the game - is it experience points? Is it gold? Is it property accumulation? Is it the number of quests completed? Decide whether or not you want to "powergame" - that is, to advance as far and fast as you can. Or do you want to take your time and smell the flowers?

In Necromium, players advance by accumulating experience. Because it is a fantasy-based MUD, experience is accumulated through successful combat. You will gain experience points (XP) which go towards increasing your levels, and character points (CP) which can be used to increase your skills and abilities. Increased levels will grant you more hit points (ie. your ability to withstand damage), mana (ie. your resource pool from which you can cast spells), and moves (ie. an allotted number of points which are used up as you move around). Increased skills or abilities will grant you added powers and benefits. As a new player, you will receive several guide books automatically. Read through these to find out how to allocate your CPs in the way you see best.

   (h) Learn how to communicate with other players. Most MUDs will recognise the command "say", or "tell". Other commands could allow you to communicate with your group of companions, your clan, and/or everyone in the MUD. Use these commands to ask around. Be courteous and friendly, and it's very likely that you'll receive a friendly response. However, some people may be busy doing other stuff, so don't be put off even if you get some initial curt responses.

   (i) Most of all, make friends. If there's one skill you must master in any MUD, and which is 100% portable from MUD to MUD, that skill is making friends. Even if you want to be a bad guy, you'll need people for reconnaissance and more people to watch your back. This skill is more important than your typing skills, how well you can program aliases and trigger scripts, or your ability to figure out the formulae used to calculate attack and defence probabilities. Don't instantly pick the highest level player you see and make friends with him. Pick people around your level, similar to you. You will have much more in common with them, and you have more scope to grow together.

   (j) Last of all, try to get to know the management staff of the MUD - sometimes called immortals, gods, or implementors. They always appreciate some praise every now and then, and there's no harm in letting them know you're having a good time.

Another good thing to do in Necromium is to type "recall" and "clanedit" and follow the menus to join the Newbie Academy, where you will gain access to some neat resources, other academy members, and specific immortal characters assigned to assist players.

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