(This nostalgia piece departs wildly from my usual expository style of writing articles. It is by no means a comprehensive work, and some of it is pretty obscure and arcane. Quotes are randomly interpersed throughout. It does not pretend to be objective. You have been warned.)
Last fall marks fifteen years of me playing Alter Aeon. I started in
the fall of 1996. The mud was a little over 1 1/2 years old at that point, so
there are some things that came and went that I missed out on; however, I've been
pretty involved in the game since then. In January, when the mud celebrated
17 years of existence, I decided to record some of
my ramblings and recollections, musing over my years of playing
the game for the next few months to produce this article.
"The Game" it indeed is, for I still often refer to Alter Aeon by that just
simple moniker. Whether in the foreground or the background, it seems to
have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Oh, and I'll get out all of the relations so everyone can understand this
properly. Shadowfax is my god character, and Darklord is my one and
only mortal nowadays. My wife's main mortal is Felonia, and her builder char is
Kagome. My brother is the god Draak, who has several mortals, but the one
he makes himself known by is Gisco. The omnipresent Tarrant/Void (who Draak
and I affecionately refer to as "EvilMasterRob") is my friend from high
school. Schlyne ("Pinky") has been my friend from the first grade and is still
part of the pantheon despite not having played for years. Darklord is an elder
of clan Lawful Evil and always will be.
EvilMasterRob is the one responsible for getting me (and many others) started in
the genre. When we were juniors at Seneca Township High School, I cut my teeth on
mudding playing one called Endless Nameless that I believe was a Merc-style mud. I
didn't play there for long, because EvilMasterRob had continued
his search for a mud that interested him and settled on one he picked from the
top of a mud list called Alter Aeon. To get me started, he lent me one of his
storage characters, Darklord.
You tell the clan, 'remember when you first gave me this char?'
Tarrant tells the clan, 'heh, Darklord was my storage character'
You tell the clan, 'i was a lev 8 war'
You tell the clan, 'my title was 'Darklord the Devourer of Worlds'
You tell the clan, 'why was i devouring worlds anyway? :P'
Tarrant tells the clan, 'it just seemed right'
I came to like playing as warrior. It was an uncomplicated class that had an
easy to role to fill; especially so, since back then there were far fewer warrior
skills. So, EvilMasterRob let me keep him.
I changed my other levels around during the course of the next few
years. Originally, Darklord's secondary class was mage. I started leveling up
cleric as my secondary, but later I realized that I would get more hit points
by leveling thief instead of cleric. So then thief became my secondary. Even
later still, I wanted to gain access to invisibility and stone skin, so I poured
xp into mage to make it my tertiary instead of cleric. My wishy-washiness kept
Darklord from becoming level 30, although I did have a lot of total levels. I didn't
gain level 30 until 1998; I had been playing for about two years. In the
meantime, I started building and had released three areas before reaching level
August of 1998, I left the mud to become a missionary for my church. I spent
the next two years in Venezuela (for the most part, I was kicked out of the
country a couple of times), where I didn't even see a computer much less
use one. I returned to the states in August of 2000 and moved to Utah, where
I built an area based on my experiences in South America. At
the beginning of 2001, I moved back to Illinois, and I played
Darklord non-stop for another burst of leveling to get him up to dual-31
thief/warrior, 107 total levels. Darklord pretty much stayed that way while I worked
intensively on building over the next several years.
EvilMasterRob moved back to Illinois not long after, settling down in Ottawa,
not far from where I lived. I went to see him every once in
a while. In March of 2002, I had been dating my future wife-to-be for a few
weeks, and I decided to take her with me on one of my visits to see him. During
the hour long journey, we agreed to get married, so when we arrived at
EvilMasterRob's apartment, he was the first person I was able to introduce her to
as my fiancee. Pinky also moved back to Seneca, and we used to hang out with him
and her throughout our engagement and had a lot of good times. My wife and I were
wed September 7th, and not long after she started playing on the mud, too.
My wife's first character was a cleric named Maha. Later, she created a warrior
named Spots. Unfortunately, in the summer of 2003 she suffered a back injury
that caused her to be bedridden, and she stopped playing. She started up again
in 2008 with her current crop of characters, Felonia chief among them. Felonia
was originally supposed to be a thief (hence the root word of her name), but it
turns out she liked playing as cleric better and switched primary classes. Funny
thing is, now Felonia is higher level than Darklord is!
My brother and I had elaborate plans for expanding the Naginag Combine. We worked
very hard to build it and give the polish that quality areas ought to have. I
knowingly did so at the expense of my own character, but I thought the project
was important, and I really had a lot of fun building it all.
I started playing with Darklord again hardcore in fall of 2010,
when the necromancer expansion went in. I got him up to level
14 necromancer. I couldn't level any more than that because I didn't have
enough fame. After Dentin made the last fame requirement changes, Darklord had a
deficit of a few hundred. I've been working on getting him fame ever since. This
year, I made a new year's resolution to spend at least 20% of my time on the mud as my
mortal. I hope to get Darklord's cleric up to 22 so he can cast resurrect and
heal, and I'd like to level up necromancer a whole bunch and maybe make it
My brother and I have always been close, but I think one of reasons we've been able
to stay close is having had the game. We played together all the time, and later when we
started building, we've frequently cooperated with one another on building
projects. We're always sharing new ideas about the game
and building on the lore we've created. I believe that I could make a
similar statement about my wife. She plays about as much as I do,
and she's started building, too. So, the game has always been common ground for
us to talk about, and, although it doesn't happen much anymore because of our work
schedules, we always have a lot of fun when the three of us get on the game
at the same time. The family that plays together stays together!