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Moving from player to immortal in the mud world can be a very exciting, yet traumatic experience. Not only is there an expectation for you to produce code for new areas in the game, but there is also the assumption from players that you will help them out just as you used to when you were mortal. Sure, you could kick down some of the priveleged information of the game, but you'd more likely find yourself a player again (or worse yet, nonexistent) if you took this path. So thus begins the split between player and immortal.
Now why do some people think notes should be green?
I've always felt that there was some "imaginary line" between the two positions, not only because of the added commands given to immortals, but also because there always seem to be more restrictions on sharing of information when you become an immortal. It's difficult to know what you can tell a player friend and what you can't, and so most of the times, you end up telling them nothing. This can certainly peeve some people off.
If I had an Australian dollar for the amount of times I've heard "You think you're better than everyone else now that you're an immortal!" said to myself or another immortal, then I'd probably have accumulated $AU600 by now (approximately $US0.73). It's hard to know how to handle dealing with players and yet not give out information that can ruin the game for others. I'm a softie at heart, and I know sometimes I step over the line and just "tell too much".
With immortality comes a loss of innocence. For me, I derived so much more enjoyment out of playing a mud before I found out how it worked that sometimes I wish I'd never become an immortal. I've met many people who feel the same way, but besides having a brain-wipe (tempting as it may be), there's no real way to erase the knowledge that what you're playing is just a bunch of files and calls and 0's and 1's. It's almost impossible to not have your perception of the mud change by knowing how it works. Ultimately, it can lead to further difficulties such as loss of friends. The power of a C-derivative program is greater than you think.
Players who have never been immortals can't really understand. It lies beyond having the intelligence to program a file, and more into the lack of challenge in the game. When you know the inner workings, and know when you run into X monster in Y area that he'll have Z spells and Q hitpoints, the adrenaline rush that comes with attacking an "unknown" just never kicks in.
I was different when I was a player. Sure, I was five or six years younger as well, but I was different with how I saw the game, how I thought things worked, and how I acted toward other players. I saw things differently; I explained nuances of the game with such great detail that I know now was incorrect. I added my own depth and breadth to the game just by using assumption and imagination, and I had a great time doing it.
I'm different now as an immortal. I'm five or six years older, but I see the game differently. I see it as a bunch of numbers, a bunch of text, all run by a driver, compiler, scripts. I understand arrays and mappings, for loops, while loops, regular expressions, when to use each. I understand that something can look complicated just by using messages, with the base code being extraordinarily simple, and I understand what function is called when, what stat means what and how to maximize my code to not lag the mud.
Do I have as much fun? Not in the way I used to, but coding a mud gives a much different sense of "fun" to me now, and watching other players enjoy the game and make those same assumptions I did gives me great pleasure. Having a player state "Wow! This rocks!" gives such a sense of satisfaction that it's worth it.
But I miss my lost innocence. I miss not being able to share with my friends exactly how the cool things I created work, and I miss being able to enter an area and be surprised at the secrets and scared of the monsters. I miss not knowing how something worked and having to make up my own explanation and theories, and sharing those theories with others.
At the same time, I love creating, I love making something out of nothing. I love how I can whip something up with relative ease that makes the enjoyment of others increase in my game. I love the knowledge I've gained, and I love being able to modify and expand a world that exists not only as a text medium, but also in the minds and imaginations of others.
I figure I can take the flak, for I've found something that gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride.
October 1999 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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