This weekend, I thought I was going to be unable to make my Sunday game. (Turns out I was able, though I was a couple hours late) Facing a week with no gaming, I decided to enter the stygian underworld of MUDs, a throwback from my junior high school days when the Internet was new and shiny and sort of barren...
I found a free MUD and created a new character. I quickly found that this MUD has the same issue I had with most MUDs back in the day, which is that it is a harsh, unforgiving world where you must spend your first few levels killing gophers, bumblebees, and old ladies in the park. Seriously. The most powerful opponent that my nascent character has been able to best is a "young man." He was minding his own business in the park until I murdered him for sweet, sweet xp. After obtaining enough to level, I wandered randomly around the perfectly square shaped city until I was finally able to stumble across the Fighter's Guild so that I could gain 2nd level. As far as I can tell, there are no maps to the Fighter's Guild. The game is also nearly deserted, so there isn't anyone to ask, either. On the rare occasion that I run into another player, they are either "linkdead" and non-responsive or they have nothing to say because they are trying to kill all the gophers before I can kill them.
I first tried to bypass this dismal existence of sociopathy, but the areas outside of town are totally unsurvivable for a beginning character.
To me, MUDs embody what happens when a sandbox goes wrong; players stumble around in listless confusion, taking their boredom and frustration out on whatever they happen across. (Unless that thing is too powerful, of course...I tried to throw down with an undertaker in a library and he laid me out...back to picking on small animals and the elderly)
I'm actually playing the game as I write this blog entry. I click over every now and again to make sure I'm not getting schooled by a duck or a young woman who was feeding the pigeons.
...damnation, I know there are brigands in the forest. How much longer do I have to endure this bullshit before I can go on something resembling an adventure?