November '95 Mud of the Month

I was playing LPmuds – mainly as a wizard – for about two years, when I found a testmud at the university I used to mud through. At that time, my homemud was Loch Ness, which was located at Zuerich, Switzerland. This was the first LPmud in Switzerland – uhm.. yes, I am Swiss.. – and sometime later another one opened its gate, Quo Vadis. Don’t ask me why, but while other wizards from Loch Ness have been wizzing on Quo Vadis, I somehow preferred playing this testmud! Well.. I found out that “the money bug” wasn’t fixed on that mud, so it didn’t take quite a while until I was a wizard and I e-mailed to the guy running the mud – Drake – and asked him if it might be possible to create a real mud on that machine. It turned out that it is and so I got together with Drake and discussed what the concept of that mud should be like. He really wanted to base the whole mud on a map system.. At first I was sceptical, because I thought that wizards wouldn’t like the idea, that they would feel limited. But we decided that he should go for it and code the map system while I would recruit personell. He made clear that he wasn’t interested in “running” the mud himself, so I was doing the administration on the mud and he would make the map system, do the system administration of the machine and else shall be free to do whatever he wanted.

The first person that I asked to participate was Biko, a wizard I knew from World of Mizar (actually, I was member #2 of his knight guild and he was my sponsor once I wizzed there). He brought some other wizards he knew from Genesis and I guess also from other places; most notably Midian, who was going to be our first Quality Control Arch Wizard.

The God of Loch Ness, Meteor, was kind enough to give us the basic mudlib of Loch Ness. Of course we put in a lot of our own stuff. We had been in a hurry, because I wanted to open the mud before I had to leave for my military service. We started coding on January 10, 1992 and opened the mud on February 2, 1992.

Oh yes, the name. We had been brainstorming about a good name for our mud. It was clear to us that we were not going to use the term “mud” or “realm” in it as there have been quite some muds with those elements already. Bardoz was listing some words that he thought to be sounding “cool”. “Anguish” was one of them and this word really fascinated me somehow ๐Ÿ˜‰ [no, I’m not sadistic..] So I added the word “Ancient” to it and thus we named our mud “Ancient Anguish”. I must say, I’m still pretty please with that name, although we are MUCH too nice to fulfill this omen..

Well.. the mud was getting quite popular and suddenly we weren’t welcome on the machine anymore. [Drake left for Canada and the netadmin didn’t like our traffic *whistle*] We made a fundraising which turned out successful. We bought a Sparc 2 in the states and were able to run it in the Washington DC area before we moved the machine to the Washington State area, where it is located now. Oh yes, I resigned as God and implemented a Senate system and I’m now a Senator. [You can get more information on our government at our home at “http://ancient.anguish.org”]

I’d like to stress that I have been mainly the initialization force and that lots of people have put a lot of effort into AA, making it what it is now: The Mud of the Month!

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Flint: Arch of Law Why do I love AA? Well, I have been here from almost the start. I have watched AA grow and expand from a mud with 1 person on at a time, to one with 100 on at a time. Over the years I have met a lot of good people here. Which is why I love AA so much, the people. For whatever grief goes with being an admin here I know that the players appreciate what we do…and that most are good, and friendly people. Bytre: Arch of Quality One of the best things about Ancient Anguish is that we have a codified law, which everyone must follow, Wizard and Mortal alike. Our law is not defined by a single God, or subject to a single person’s whim. We are ruled by an international Senate, a governmental system which works quite well. The players of Ancient Anguish own their machine (a SparcStation II), having donated over $9000 to date for the equipment and upkeep. Ancient Anguish has a strict policy of NOT requiring people to pay to play.

We have a high commitment to the quality of the new enhancements to the game. Our World department works with a coding wizard to work the wizard’s ideas into our universe in a consistent manner, yet providing them flexibility with their creativity. Quality Assurance helps the wizard produce “describe all” areas which are well written, consistent with the mud’s interface, and bug free. The Balance department works hard to ensure that monsters aren’t too easy or too hard, and that their bounty is appropriate with their difficulty. It can be a very challenging process to get a project approved on Ancient Anguish, but when they are approved, they often rank with the best areas of any mud on the ‘net.

The classes and guilds of Ancient Anguish are very well developed and flexible. Different classes have widely differing abilities, and are played in a very different manner – a mage isn’t just a warmed over fighter with a couple spells. Each guild is well developed with a large amount of atmosphere and distinction. There is even a special Society of Killers for those who enjoy the challenge of player killing, but it is implemented in a way so that it has no effect or risk on the majority of players who do not enjoy player-on-player conflict.

The most important factor in AA’s success is the people. We have great players, we have great wizards, we have great administrators. And we have a great variety of them. We have a social microcosm of the world here, where people make friends (and enemies in some cases), fall in love, and get mudmarried. There have been many cases of people meeting on AA, getting to know each other, and becoming rl friends or marital partners. AA is nothing but a game to some, and to many others, it is much more.

Ancient Anguish has 5 player races (human, elf, dwarf, orc, half elf), 8 player classes / professions (fighter, ranger, paladin, cleric, mage, necromancer, adventurer, thief? Nah, thieves don’t exist on AA), and 5 social guilds (the Monks of Antana, the Knights of Drin, the Scythe Clan, the Courts of Chaos, the houses of the Eldar). There are about a dozen towns and villages scattered across the map, and dozens of dungeons, castles, towers, caves, and other sites for adventuring.

The player base of Ancient Anguish remains quite active, and is international in nature. We routinely average over 80 players online at a time, with peaks over 100 quite often. In the middle of the night, we rarely fall below 30 players. We consistently have a user base of around 5500 (after an inactive player purge), and stay at about 200 to 250 wizards.

Our world is very expansive, and built around a consistent map. Nobody knows exactly how many unique rooms there are, but estimates run from 7000 to 10000. There are about 50 or 60 detailed areas created by wizards, and development continues at the pace of two or three per month.

Leoz: Arch of Mudlib Why I think AA is great? Several reasons:

Areas go through an approval process before going in the game, which greatly raises the quality level of areas, and makes the areas coherent with each other and the MUD. Things tend to work well together and when you go into an area you expect to not see laserblasters. Areas are approved by World to make sure that they fit into the general framework of Ancient Anguish, by Balance to make sure that they are balanced with other areas (no one area should have items that are easier to get and more powerful than others), and by QC (quality control) to make sure that the area is “describe-all” and relatively bug/typo-free. We attempt to make it so that if a player might try to do an action, they deserve to get a better answer than “What?”

Huge map, on which the areas can be placed. Self-adjusting magic maps which show you a map of your surroundings wherever you are on the map. Lots of wandering monsters and a great variety of descriptions. Areas are scattered around the map, and you might have to walk a little ways to find them. Map also has a lot of stuff that can be hack/slashed if that’s your thing. The players. The players make AA what it is. There are a few troublemakers, as always, but there are lots of great people and a lot of them like to socialize and help out others. There are also guilds (social organizations) for different types of players. If you are the type who wants to be self-sufficient and not help others and basically want to take over the world, all without any help, you probably belong in the Scythe. Monk members tend to help other Monks out more, etc.

The political setup is considerably more stable than in most other MUDS. We have a senate which can vote on decisions. There is no single God. There are a few Arches who are responsible for particular tasks.

We, the players of AA own our computer. It was bought for the donations of the players, so it can’t be taken away. We have a contract for the connection to the internet from PacificRim, who’s been very helpful.

The sitename is easy to remember ๐Ÿ™‚ ‘ancient.anguish.org 2222’, or ‘anguish.org 2222’ :).

It comes close to the beginning of the alphabet :).

Sully: Arch of World and Map I love AA because it is original and compellingly real. The map consists of geniune topography…there is a history and a depth of detail that makes you feel that you are exploring a true alternative world.

There are plenty of help files for newbies…enough intricacy to be challenging yet not overwhelming… Because of this consitency in the reality around you, the social relations between players are very real. There is role-playing, but also true revelation of self.

I think that AA is a model of the way that virtual worlds, whether structured as fantasy or duplicate “offices” , ‘will be prominent in our future. I am lucky to be able to be so intimately involved in its continued growth and development.

Agarwaen: I like AA the best of all the muds that I’ve been to for a lot of reasons. One is that it’s is VERY well run. The admins are fair, accessible, and hardworking (especially considering they all work for free). And the system of arches and senators balances each other without the power-concentration of ‘God’-oriented muds (which AA used to be). It’s also a large mud, run on it’s own machine that was bought with money donated by the players (over $7000). It has a variety of areas while still maintaining a continuous historyline.

Finally, the people themselves make AA the greatest. They have pride in their mud and what they’ve accomplished and built here, and it will perservere for a long time to come because of it. And we’re still growing!! So enjoy… Lord Agarwaen BlackHeart

Pris: Let’s see, where to start, I guess the Internet itself is a good place. You have this enormous space without dimensions…a place called the internet, mass anarchy I guess would probably be a good description. Within this sea of anarchy you have self imposed isles of reality (or in fact fantasy) called MUDS, that in itself is something worth thinking about…Muds are the islands that make the internet fun to swim in.

Now, AA in particular. I first discovered mudding through a friend at Uni, and although I’d never tried anything like it before I must admit I was tempted. Not because it was ‘cool’ or because of peer group pressure. I just felt I was ready to try it… I felt I was ‘mature’ enough to cope with the whole aspect of it. I was pretty wrong…soon I couldn’t get enough, I had to kill that troll just to feel good each day, soon I was onto thanes and then the real problems started….I found the Mad Prisoner. It was terrible.. I couldn’t get enough. AA is a great game for many reasons however the main one in my eyes is the way it all fits together…It’s the only mud I’ve found that actually feels like a real place…mostly due to the coding but also because of the excellent people.

Juxtaposer: Ok… 2 things I love about AA are all the different options on classes and guilds… they’re all very different from the classes on other muds. And I like the trivia games. They give you something to do if you don’t feel like killing monsters.

What I love about AA is the friendly atmosphere among most of the mortals… I like the fact that crazy wizards are held in check and aren’t allowed to screw around with the mortals like on Eotl…I like the well-developed and imaginative areas…as well as the games of Trivia and Stars that make schoolwork all that more impossible to get finished…

Damocles: Let’s see I started playing Ancient Anguish after hearing about it from a friend of mine on another mud. Wrath the Wizard was the one who told me about it. I created my first character on here and becamse a monk cleric. I was obsessed with the reality of this world. From Running CX for early xp and cash to all the lower level areas, with goblins and wasps etc. The size of the map let me explore areas where I could be left alone.

The social aspects of the game are unrivaled from any place I have ever seen. From the guilds to the different classes, and the way the tourism concil handles thieves. (HA!) When I was a mortal, playing the game was a regular occurrence. All day on weekends and all night on weekdays.

There is just sooo much to be done on here, even if you don’t want to play. You can play poker, trivia, stars or whatever that game was called. Someone was always there to help me when I needed it, and when I got to the higher levels the quality of the areas of the quests were very challenging.

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Catty: To start with, in general, the people you meet on AA are a great bunch of people. You can start some great friendships on here, with a broad spectrum of cultures. Most people are only too eager to help with any problem you may have, and there is almost certainly some one on the game with expertise in the area of your problem.

The game itself :-
The coding is of wonderful quality. I have played a few other muds.. particularly when AA’s HD went down ๐Ÿ™‚ but I return to AA regardless as I much prefer this world to the others I have seen. The uniqueness of the areas is great. No Robin Hoods or other cliches.

The challenge is also good. Gold and experience is not that easy to come by compared to some other muds, but on the other hand is not so rare as to make it to hard. I think the balance is just about right.

And then there is the most interesting bit for me. Just watching the social aspects. This mud is it’s own culture, with laws, an economy, social relationships growing and fading. It is fascinating.

Linna: Why do I love this mud called ‘Ancient Anguish’? Well, let me tell you…. When I first logged in about 2 1/2 years ago, the net was new to me. I had no experience working in a mud, or on the net in anyway, but I thought that I would give it a try. I had heard about AA from my cousin, who was also just introduced to this mud. He had told me stories about what he had done on the mud, and what had happened; telling me about all the silly things that were shouted and said across something called his ‘guild line’. All these things ran across my mind as I typed in the ip number and began to think of a name for my character. I had to log in about 5 times before I could think of a name. Finally, I chose this name. I typed in the name, then thought of a password, messing up the spelling of my password when it asked me for it a second time to verify it. So, I logged in again, taking my time to get through the process of making a character. Finally, I was in to this virtual world that my cousin had told me so much about. I had no idea what to do, but at the login point (which at that time had been the church) there were people standing there who were more than willing to help someone as new as myself. And so, I began my ‘life’ on Ancient Anguish. Throughout these 2 1/2 years on the mud, I have met many people; people whom I consider to be some of the closest friends I have.

There are times when I can log on and just forget about the ‘real’ world, and just concentrate on this ‘virtual’ world. But there are also times when I can log in, and talk to people about almost anything; life, problems with money, relationships, etc. It’s those times that I value most on here. Most people are willing to listen and offer advice when it’s needed.

The last part of Ancient Anguish that I love is the quality of the mud. Areas that come out, and that have been here long before I first logged in are the best that I have ever seen on a mud. The descriptions of the rooms, the monsters, the items…. it almost makes you feel as if you’re really there, looking at these things. I have to ‘tip my hat’ (so to speak) to the people in QC, Balance and all the other committies who have a hand in making the decision about whether or not to let an area/item/monster out on the mud. Law has also been a great part of this mud. When they get a complaint from someone, they look into both sides of the issue before deciding on what action to take. I’ve been on some muds where they just take one person’s word on a matter before taking action. My hat goes off to them too. Whenever there’s a bug in the mud, of something’s out of place, the wizards are usually available to help fix the problem or to explain that we have an alias that conflicts with the command that we are trying to accomplish. Well, there’s more that I could say about this mud, but it would just restate what I’ve already said. In my opinion, this mud is the best that is out there, and I hope that it continues to be the best. Thanks for all the memories already had, and those yet to come….

Darby: I love AA coz it doesn’t cost anything. Other than my internet account. At this point in time, Im quite low on cash so I cant afford to go out all of the time. AA is like a big get together with friends and we can do rl stuff like drinking or playing poker but it doesnt cost me any more money. AA was my first internet experience and I was wary of who I might meet but it seems that the administration here keeps the creeps out for the most part.

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