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Alter Aeon
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This article was written by the god Shadowfax, and posted on Feb 17, 2009.
It was last updated May 14, 2013.

This article will provide information about how time works in the game, how it affects one's age, and what age does in the game. Aging has many subtle effects, and understanding these can help players of all levels.

Game Time Vs. Real Time

Most circumstances in Alter Aeon are governed by game time. Very few in-game aspects are determined by real time. The number of hours played is real time. Real time is provided by the system clock of the computer that runs the mud.

Game time regularly advances by standard units called ticks. A tick is 10 minutes of game time. There are 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day. There are seven days in a week, thirty days is a month, and a year in Alter Aeon is 11 months.

A tick is averages about 30 seconds of real time. Therefore, an hour of real time is about 120 ticks, and there are about 3000 ticks in a day of real time. Time passes roughly twenty times faster on the game than in real life.

Spell durations are governed by ticks. Spells durations appear on the score screen, and indicate the number of minutes remaining. When the spell durations reads 0, you know that it will expire the following tick.

A great many other aspects of the mud are regulated per ticks, such as area repopulation, offset resets and aging, which will discussed below in further detail.

In certain scenarios, such as combat or regeneration, things happen much more quickly. They are measured in units of time called rounds. Rounds occur approximately once per second. Melee combat is discussed in greater detail in our Mechanics of Melee Combat article. Regeneration also occurs on a per round basis, with the total regeneration of each stat (hit points, mana, and movement) listed in the 'statistics' command occurring over the whole of a tick, divided equally among the rounds therein. Thus, if you have +60 hpregen, you will regenerate roughly two extra hit points per round.

Age

A player's age is measured in game time, with all new players starting from 17 to 22 years old. Not many things are affected by age, but young players regenerate/heal hit points faster than older ones, and players will find that they regenerate mana faster as they increase in age. Further, older players have more mana than younger players, and the young will more hit points than the elderly. Players age whether they are logged in or not.

(For information on using age to increase your mana regeneration, see our article on optimizing mana regeneration for spellcasters.)

A player can change their age by wearing equipment that has an AGE effect. The effect is added (or subtracted if negative) from the players current age, and players will regenerate hit points and mana as if they had the new age. For example, if you are 18 years old and wear a piece of eq that has an 'AGE by 2' effect, you will regenerate hp and mana as if you were 20 years old. It is possible to wear eq that makes you adolescent or infant age or even negative age without ill effect. (On the contrary, you'll regenerate hit points like crazy when that young.)

Players on Alter Aeon are fairly long-lived. As stated above, as players age, they regen mana faster, but they also begin to regen hp slower. This is rarely a big deal, however, as one can expect to live well past the second century mark before hp regeneration gets so low that a player actually starts losing hp each tick instead of gaining hp. From this point on, your character would be dying. Players who reach this age can use eq and magic to keep themselves alive, but eventually they will succumb to old age without doing something to prevent or reverse it. Odds are that you'll never have to worry about this during the normal course of play unless you purposefully try to age yourself, which is an uncommon means of improving mana regeneration. This is explained in the next section.

The mud will send a pretty message to you when it is your character's birthday!

Aging

Your character ages in game time. Though your character will age faster than real life, it is still a fairly slow rate and nothing to really worry about.

Players can increase the rate at which they age through equipment or magic. While aging at an increased rate, you may occasionally get the message: "You feel yourself getting older...".

A piece of eq with the AGING effect will potentially add to your current rate of aging. Each positive integer has the possibility to increase your rate of aging by a maximum of 256 times, meaning that for every tick that passes, the character could age 256 ticks. Wearing +2 aging will add another 256 to the potential rate of aging, meaning the your character could age up to 512 times faster than normal (256 x 2 = 512); +3 would increase its potential by 768 times (256 x 3), and so forth.

Usually a player does not actually age quite so fast, since this aging effect potential granted by equipment is more often than not attenuated by activity level. For example, an active player out running xp will take advantage of a larger portion of his increased potential for aging than a player that is idling in his recall.

The haste spell ages a character very fast: much faster than is possible with equipment alone. If you do not want to age, be careful receiving too many haste spells or wearing eq with haste attached.

Aging equipment is rare and powerful, and using such equipment or the haste spell to age can produce weird side effects; however, aging yourself artificially permits you to take advantage of the increased mana regen available to the elderly. The efficacy of this procedure is debatable. A player has to devote time into aging the character. Since the character is now very old, such a player will soon have to drink from the Fountain of Youth and lose knowledge of their skills and spells or risk dying of old age. Then, they retrain their lost skills/spells and start the aging process over again. It is not a technique for beginners, to be sure.

Your current, modified age is show in statistics screen, but, for a more accurate display of your age, the whoami command will show both your actual age (regardless of eq or aging effects) and your modified age, with the actual age first, in the following format: "You are 20 years old, but feel like 52." If your age if negative due to eq, the latter part will read "but feel incredibly young!".


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