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This article was written by the god Shadowfax, and posted on June 1, 2012.

Ground string

Back in the day, you couldn't just buy ground strings like you do now. You had to earn it, or beg for it, and not just anybody had a custom ground string (except for that day and a half or so when Dentin made it so players could set their own ground strings. Of course, they did stupid stuff like make themselves look like rocks or the Deep Dragon, so that ended pretty quickly.) After I'd been playing for a while and was level twenty-something, I decided to try and get a ground string for Darklord. I wasn't subtle about it; I changed my title to something like "Darklord would like a cool ground string". It wasn't long before I attracted Dentin's attention...

I was grouped with Gisco, and we were fighting Charybdis and Scylla on the coast of the Northern Ocean. (I think we were running a cape for him.) Dentin popped in the middle of it and started trying to talk to us, but it was hard to talk through the noise of battle. Dentin tried to pacify the mob, but Charybdis is aggro, so Dentin picked her up. He asked me to take a look at my new ground string, so I ran over to Gisco's screen (he was playing on another computer in the same lab) to see it. "Darklord, bane of xp, cursed of the gods, begs on his knees to have his ground string removed." I told him it was so long that it wrapped around the screen and was too difficult to read. So, Dentin shortened it to what it is now: "Darklord, cursed of the gods, begs to have his ground string removed." I told Dentin that it was perfect. He smiled and disappeared.

Later one of the other gods (I think it was Talos, back when he was still Maxx) told me that Dentin was drunk and in a good mood. Lucky me!

The great corpse rots

It used to be that not only their gold but players' equipment remained in their corpse after they died. Naturally, this was a subject of much consternation for players, who would often mount a "CR" -- corpse retrieval -- to recover the body. Participation in a CR was considered to be a noble endeavour, and participants would go through great lengths to help those players retrieve their equipment, exposing themselves to the same danger that killed the first player. Often a CR attracted enough participants to overwhelm any danger, but sometimes the CR fell prey to mobs that killed the first players. Massive players deaths that resulted in the loss of all their equipment was called a "great corpse rot".

I remember the great corpse rot of '97 well. Here's a link to Tarrant's post on board 10. I also remember the great corpse rot of '98.

A group went out to the ice plane to run a tome, which, at that time, was still a scary place. I remember fighting greater ice elementals, and I got hit by a cone of cold and fled out into another one. I was spamming burning hands (which used to be a instantaneous direct-damage spell) and started attacking it, and it waxed me pretty quickly. A corpse retrieval was mounted, and it attracted a huge amount of players. Unfortunately, they were ill-prepared and poorly organized (mind you, coldsave equipment was not as plentiful as it is now), and the whole group got wiped out: Dowart, Tim, Samon, Kralen, Gamlin, Darksoul, Firebird, Gisco and some others. What's funny is that I can still remember some the great equipment that I lost in that fiasco: the oldest of old ogre feet, an old no-negative razor cloak, a pair of total 90 royal rings of chaos, a zero-weight titanium cloak, and an old 5d10 Bloodlust.

Gifts

I still have a quite a few knicknacks sitting around that I have received as gifts. A few of them have even gone on to become bonafide equipment. Some of them include:

  • the dead realm of Angmar - My weightless was a Christmas gift from Tarrant.

  • Darklord, trapped in crystal - This was a birthday gift from Tarrant. We made it back when the encasing trick was new.

  • Darklord's special blend of herbs and spices - This was a gift to Schlyne and Tarrant commemorating Thanksgiving of 2000. It based of a bottle of abodo completo that I brought with me from Venezuela. We used it to season Schlyne's turkey. It is now a buyable spellcomp in Zin.

  • a Sobakawa! (TM) (R) pillow - This was birthday gift from Heart.

  • a star! - This was a gift from Vember for making her laugh.

  • Groo-on-a-stick - For a long time, I had the only other copy of this gift from Draak to Groo. It is now sold by the black giants in the shadow plane.

  • The Shield of the Dark Lord - This was a originally a Christmas gift from Draak. It later was incorporated into the shadow plane as a quest item. I have an older version that is lower level that the current one.

  • the Sword of Asur - This clan red knights equipment was a gift from Druid. When Dentin made the clan changes, it reverted to a blade of trial and despair. T&Ds were the best mid-level weapons on the game for a long time.

  • Blade of Black Dragon's Bone - This clan dragon equipment was a gift from Malcolm. It was based on a chipped obsidian blade.

  • The Cape of the Unforgiven - This clan unforgiven equipment was a gift from Kralen. It has since reverted to Charbdyis' cape, which was decent low-level equipment in its heyday. A different version now loads in the moblin extension under the mob factory, which was based on the unforgiven clan area.

  • the ears of Flash - This was a birthday gift from Tarrant. It comes from one of our clan area mobs. It's got nuclear hitdam stats for head, but it's also level 50.

  • a demoncake - I've given these to Vivi the past few years for his birthday. I carry a few around with me.

  • a 'BORT' license plate - This was a gift from Vember for, as she quaintly put it, "surviving another trip around the sun". She liked the Swedish chef.

For a long time, I also had my own personal bulletin board that I got from Kralen, but Dentin asked me to get rid of it.

Playerkilling

I've never been big on player-killing, but I did dabble in it when Darklord was lower level. I remember one of my best kills, the time I killed Dowart (yes, the Dowart that later became a main port god), as a level 23 warrior. He was level 30 warrior.

We went into the PK rift that used to be in Unholy and he backstabbed me before I could bs him. We started following one another and grouped so we could spy on each others' health. Being both warriors, we didn't bother with spells and just wailed on each other, him bashing me and me kicking and trying to disarm him. I finally managed to disarm Dowart and promptly picked up his sunblade. (Back then, players' disarmed weapon fell on the ground. It was standard procedure to grab an opponent's weapon to prevent him from re-arming and return it to him after the fight.) Both of our hp was getting down to about 20%. Dowart whipped out his backup weapon (a titanium longsword, ircc) and suddenly landed a good bash, and wimpy kicked in and made me flee back into the temple with him in tow. I entered the rift again even though it was likely that I would lose, and, sure enough, Dowart bashed me again and knocked me into negative hp. Luckily, the tick hit (players used to regen on the tick like mobs do), and I regenned back into positive, so I quickly kicked him (since bash lags longer than kick) again, bringing him down to almost nothing. His next bash missed, but my followup kick did not, and that one got him into mortally wounded territory. He died to my next melee attack. I brought him his corpse (I didn't want his gold) and sunblade, and we both had a good laugh at the audacity of what had just transpired.

Btw, at the time of this writing, Darklord still doesn't know the bash skill. This experience proved to me that kick was more useful, and leap attack is even better besides. Another fun fact: I didn't use a single practice to learn kick. I got it up to perfect through sheer usage.

I remember another time when I fought with Shadowdeath (the old one). He was a level 30 mage iirc, and I was a level 26 warrior at the time. It was way late at night, and there weren't many other players on. He was already pk, and I met him in Dark Temple Square. I spelled up and went pk, immediately landing a good backstab, but the tables quickly turned. Mages had a huge advantage in pvp combat back then, being able to dish out massive damage with spells, and warriors didn't have any such means at their disposal. I did, however, as a good tank, have a firesave suit (the only specialized tank suit I had at the time, saving throw eq was scarcer back then!) which I donned after receiving a couple of devastating demonfires. I cast heal twice and started following him. He must have noticed that his spells suddenly started doing way less damage, and, after four or five more demonfires, he switched into a melee suit. I quickly changed from firesave into my full tank outfit, and the battle continued, him doing hardly any damage against my pure armor suit while he tried to dispel me and I tried to disarm him. Thanks to his high mage level, his dispels whittled away at my defensive spells. He knocked my sanc down, and I had less than a couple hundred hp left but plenty of mana, so I just spammed harm at him. He started healing himself, but he had little mana left because of all of the spells he had cast. I harmed more than he could heal, and, after chasing him around town while he autofled, I finally finished him off with a flamestrike because I didn't have enough mana left for one last harm.

Ironically, Darklord doesn't even have the heal spell anymore. Not long after this fight, Dentin made tremendous changes to the healing spell group, upping the level and int/wis requirements. It was much needed, because the hallmark heal spell used to be only level 15! Everyone's heal spells were changed to be one spell lower than they had been, meaning Darklord's heal spell became cure critical wounds, and such has been the case ever since. At least I had it at perfect.

Oh, and don't think that I'm bragging about these fights. Naturally I remember the wins better than the losses, which were many. I wasn't a very good pkiller overall, but after so many fights I was bound to win one once in a while!

Gold

I can still remember how easy it was to acquire large sums of gold. Gold used to be fixed amount dropped by a mob that was set by the mob's builder. The armorer from Merlin's monk area used to drop 20k, and the baker and chef dropped 5 and 10k each. The Dean of the Mud U used to drop 50k. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I used to break into the mud u (having a lower level alt summon me) and kill that guy. I'd go back between him and the monks and rack up a quarter million per hour, since both areas had a fast repop timer. Now about the only way to run that kind of gold is to get lucky on the slot machines in Natchsburg.

Because gold was so easy to get and because I was such a hoarder those first few years of playing, I have a lot of gold. My personal playing habits are such that I hardly ever spend gold in-game, preferring to run my own equipment, with or without help, or, on occasion, receive eq as gifts. This past summer, I bought credits with gold through the money market for the first time (1000 credits to buy purple fire as a gift for my wife). I've since gotten some more just to try it out, buying practices for Darklord. I'm surprised how easy it really is to spend gold, get credits, and use those credits to buy practices. I suppose if someone was willing to spend the money, they could buy enough credits to learn everything skill and spell on the game. That's a disturbing thought.

This past January, I auctioned off a small portion (30 million) of my personal fortune for real-life money for the first time ever so I could buy a laptop. I have to say that it was quite satisfying to receive something tangible for all of my efforts in the game. I think I might sell off some more gold later this year.

I made a donation to the mud, giving back 10% of what I received for the 30 million gold I auctioned. It is the first monetary donation I've ever made, and the first time I've ever spent real money for anything related to Alter Aeon. I have to say, the experience left a bad taste in my mouth. It felt weird giving money to something where I have contributed so much to its advancement. It's like I should have been giving money to myself or something. I probably won't do it again.

Potions

A few stories about potions come to mind. This one time, a potion that Kralen brewed turned me into a plant for about two weeks. I'm a bit sketchy on the details, but, if memory serves, then it was around the time when potion-making was first introduced. The CHAR_TYPE object effect had long since been removed from ordinary equipment, but when brewing first went in it was possible to brew potions with object effects under certain circumstances, and that is what happened to Kralen.

When the potion lore skill first came out, Gisco, who had not yet learned the skill, brewed a heal potion and submitted it. Brews that generated a heal spell were much coveted, yet this recipe didn't work for other players...so much so that it attracted Dentin's attention. Dentin asked Gisco to duplicate the recipe, which he did, generating a legitimate heal brew. Dentin then gave Gisco a couple of practices and asked him to learn the potion lore skill, which he did. He then tried the recipe again, but it didn't work. Apparently, players without the skill would make different potions with the same recipe than those with the skill. Dentin fixed that bug soon thereafter.

And, for a long time, Evilavatar's character description was simply this:

He is neuter thanks to Scott's screwed up potion.


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