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

Problem Solving

Alter Aeon is a work in progress, and, while it is continually being improved upon, problems, both minor and major, do arise. With the game being as massive as it has become, oftentimes we the builders and coders cannot find every bug and issue on our own. We depend on you, the players, for information on where problems occur so we can fix them.

Mispellings

The most common problem that one may encounter is a simple mispelling or grammatical error in a game description. Most typos in mob, object, room, door and quest strings are best handled by the 'typo' command followed by a description of the typo. When describing the typo, try to be concise and provide the correct spelling if you know it. For example, if you encountered a mob with a typo in its long desc, you might describe it as such:

typo a naga lieutenant: 2nd line, vilet should be viOlet, 5th line, 'mane' should be 'main'

When using this command, try to use it while in the area where the typo occurs. Active builders usually check on their own areas once in a while to fix typos. But, even if you can't, you can use the command in any area, and builders will coordinate with one another to ensure that the typo is fixed.

Please remember to use the typo command for its intended purpose. There are other forums where one can gripe, rant or rage. Vandalizing an area's typo list serves no purpose other than to upset the builder.

Minor bugs

A minor issue in the code, such as a gender mismatch in an emote or a help page error, can be addressed using the 'bug' command followed by a description of the pertinent issue. Alternatively, one can contact Dentin directly, possibly using the bovine channel or sending him a mudmail.

Area problems

These are problems specific to a particular room, object, mob, door or quest that are not just typos. Examples of this include:

  • Erratic mob behavior - If a mob is behaving erraticly, such as healing its attackers instead of itself or not giving out quest information that it should.

  • Zoneloading problems - A mob or object isn't loading that used to. (Keep in mind that many mobs and objects have a load probability lower than 100% and will not load every single area repop.)

  • Quest errors - A quest does not proceed through its stages as it should.

  • Door issues - A door won't open, or a key won't work on a door that used to.

While the typo command would work, the best way to handle this sort of gameplay issue is to contact the area builder directly. You can discover a particular area's builder by using the 'where' command with the '-builder' (dash builder) switch. For example, if you type 'where -builder' in Sussex, you will get an output like this:

Creator:        druid shadowfax
Editors:        grolantor
String editors: gandor
Checkers:       draak

Not all builders are active. A quick way to find out if a builder is active is to use the 'builders' command and see if their name is on the list or not. (Note that this is different from the 'gods' command, which displays the pantheon and is for roleplaying; most RP pantheon gods are not active builders.) In the above example, one would see that Druid has long since left the game and does not appear on the list, but my name (Shadowfax) does.

It is usually best to contact the builder(s) listed in the creator string. For older areas, often the editor(s) will be the active builder in charge of the area. If not, the string editor or checker would be the next one to try.

If the builder is online, you can simply send them a tell. To check to see which builders are online quickly, try the 'who gods' command. Otherwise, a mudmail concisely describing the problem sent to the builder should suffice. Here's a good example:

Mudmail [ 4] -----------------------------------------------------------
To:    Shadowfax
From:  Felonia
Sent:  Wednesday, August 17th, 2011 at 10:47:58 am
Subject:  fix jo'kerin gardens non linear problem

jo'kerin gardens has a non linear problem.  it's probably supposed to be
mazey, but the linkage is bad enough that it really screws up the
minimap and makes navigating it confusing.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

I (as Darklord) send mudmails to myself (as Shadowfax) all of the time!

If you cannot find the proper builder and do not know who to contact, you can send a mudmail directly to Dentin. Please do not send Dentin tells - he is often idle and will miss your message. Send mudmail unless he immediately responds.

Common decency should be exercised when dealing with the mud's managers. Nobody wants to receive a mudmail full of profanity and insults, especially about an area that they may have put a lot of time and effort into.

Global and player issues

Any issues dealing with a player character are best handled by Dentin himself. Examples of this would be a player password problem or having equipment disappear off of your character.

Here is an example that happened to me. One time, the output for Darklord's skill table become corrupted. A bug appeared on my character when Dentin added more spells to the healing group, and Darklord couldn't cast any of the spells anymore, even though he had previously known cure serious and cure critical. Turns out that it was related to a change to the healing spell group that had been made years ago, which switched players' spells to one "level" lower than they were (heal became cure critical, cure critical became cure serious, and so forth). Darklord's healing spell group had been modified, and he was the only character left that hadn't relearned the heal spell he lost yet due to that change. Dentin quickly repaired the problem and fixed my character.

Problems on a massive, global scale are extremely rare, but they do happen. Glitches that cause crashes or are severe detriments to players would be examples of this kind of problem. Such cases require direct intervention from Dentin himself. He should be informed about these problems immediately if possible, or, if he isn't available, one can alert any one of the gods that happen to be on, and he can contact Dentin directly. If no gods are available, one can send Dentin an email at his address: soda@xirr.com. The following is an event that occurred last year that demonstrates the process:

It was the wee hours of the morning, and a player sent me a tell complaining that his hardened copper claws were the wrong weight. So, I popped in on him to take a look, and, sure enough, they were a few pounds more than the currently loading version. No sooner had I made the comparison, that I received more tells from other players complaining of other eq whose weight suddenly changed, some of them quite drastic. It became clear that the object weight problem was not an area issue, and it was becoming a global epidemic. Thankfully, Locane was on, too, and he called Dentin while I wizlocked the game and tried to help players with the most extreme cases, like those who were several thousand percent overencumbered or ending up with negative weight containers. Dentin arrived about twenty minutes later and solved the issue within a few hours.

Finale

I want to thank for taking the time to read this article. Working together with players like you, we hope to make the mud the best that it can be!


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