|Issue:||Issue 30, June 2005|
You know the type; you've probably met them before. They're the ones that ask you to stand in some godforsaken part of The Land you never even knew existed whilst carrying odd items and spinning anticlockwise, and then they complain when it doesn't teleport you to the Dragon's Isle!
These people are called Explorers, and it is their greatest desire to know everything about The Land and its inhabitants. By exploring, I do not just mean searching out new locations - I mean it in the wider MUD sense of experimenting and information gathering. (See DEFN EXPLORER and DEFN HCDS in the game for more info on this).
Once you have played MUD2 for a while, you get to know most of the areas of The Land. It is at this stage that you might find yourself wanting to learn some tricks that might gain you an advantage in the game or that might just be interesting in their own right. It is these that I myself specialize in - no, I'm not about to reveal any of my secrets, that would spoil things (and get me fodded too...) What I can do is give you a series of tips and pointers (no, not THAT kind) on how to go about some discovering tricks of your own.
- Use expendable characters to test out risky things. Novices can do most of the things that mages can (and some things they can't - e.g. Touring, which is handy for gathering information) so use lowlifes to test stuff out.
- Try using unusual items together. Most items are only useful on their own, but when combined together they can become far more powerful.
- Try to make sure you know what all the items do. Players can be quite forthcoming with information (or at least hints) if you ask nicely.
- Snoop on as many people as possible (if you don't know how, then do your best to find out) - you can pick up lots of information and tricks this way. If possible snoop on the more powerful personae, or those that you know to be Explorers.
- Read all the DEFNs that you can (as in the command DEFN in the game). They can often be an invaluable source of facts.
- As a general rule, the newer and harder to get to an area is, the more likely it is that there will be tricks to find there. This is because the long-running areas have already been tested to destruction by generations of explorers over MUD's 20-year history, and any tricks that were deemed over-powerful or unrealistic have been written out. Most of my best tricks have come from the newer Pagoda and Giant areas (remember Apeomancy, anyone?).
- Likewise, wizzes quest areas can be a gold mine of potential tricks. They are very rare though - bother the wizzes to show you some!
- Tricks don't have to be useful - some of them are just fun to do, like the Apeomancy above. (120 or so apes running around the Land, all because of me ... shame they've taken it out!) Just about everything has a use somewhere along the line, so take note of anything at all unexpected that you see.
- If you're going to be really serious about it, keep notes on the effects of the various items and features of the Land. This will allow you to compare items and see which ones could be combined together well (NB - not even I do this one...)
- If you think of something which would be very tricky to pull off, but which might have an interesting effect, ask a friendly wiz (i.e. most of them) to help you test it. They'll probably be glad to know about it (although they'll probably perceive it as a bug) and can help you test things that would take a lot of effort for a mortal to do. Also, if you find anything really unfair (like a trick that lets you make wiz in a set) do the noble thing and tell the wizzes about it, using the BUG or WISH commands. Any attempt to abuse the trick will probably end in tears (or, worse still, a fod!)
- If a trick of yours gets written out then experiment some more and see how the rules have changed. Often, the new rules will have other holes in them that can also be turned to your advantage.
- Use accomplices. Often two players can achieve what one could never do. If the wizzes complain that your ideas are being spread around too much, suggest that they help you test them instead.
- Finally, a tip for those of you finding still finding your way round The Land - use AUTO X. It's a very neat command - trust me, you'll like it.
Most importantly of all, remember that it is your experience of the game that decides your true power in MUD, not your level. If a set costs you points or even a character, but you learn from it, then it's been a success. Knowledge is power after all...