Keeping a Cool Head in the Heat of MUD Battle

Goddess artwork from Achaea

Everyone loves to see their own name light up deathsight (on the right side, of course), as we dish out textual retribution and wage fiery wars for cities, shrines, resources, or anything else. There's something deeply satisfying about watching our STAT STATS kill/death ratio turn positive until we're the last one standing.


Victory is a heady sensation, but it's important to remember we aren't shooting grunts in a Halo single player game. There are people on the other side of every deathsight, a loser in a battle for every winner. Everyone has a rightful desire to be the victor, but restraint in victory, and a willingness to sometimes lose, are vital in ensuring there will always be opponents to clash again. Repeatedly crushing an enemy or faction can potentially suck the fun of conflict out of the game for them, especially when accompanied by an obnoxious attitude or lack of restraint, which can result in having no one who's willing to fight. This can easily be exacerbated in cases of group and organizational combat where every blow must somehow be met with crushing retaliation that can turn cyclical.


How can we work to ensure that things don't get over the top?

  • Text pride isn't tangible, there is no loss of real face in letting your opponents have a win once in a while. Give them some encouragement in the form of small victories and perhaps you'll have opponents more eager to face you.
  • Try and keep a handle on your group party numbers; the offensive side should rarely outnumber the defenders. General might, skill and artifact levels should also be accounted for. If the city you want to raid has twenty novices present, that's not an excuse to bring ten heavy-hitters. Think in moderation and what your opponents will enjoy clashing with, and give people a chance, else they might not try at all.
  • Be OOCly reasonable. Other players have plans and schedules too, that should at least be considered when planning a raid. If you get an OOC message from the enemy saying they have something going on, it's usually best to back off for a time (maybe with a snarky shout or too) and return later.
  • Practice restraint, and don't tally attacks. Someone raids, someone defends, people attack each other. Don't hold grudges and seek out every little person who aimed a kick, punch, warp at you hours or days later when they're not expecting it. There will inevitably be another raid, and with it a chance for retribution. Doing otherwise will only discourage people from participating in conflict in the future.


Your factional opposite isn't your real life enemy, and we're all people who love and participate in the same role-playing communities. It can be easy to get caught up in the moment and forget the importance of restraint or maintaining a good attitude, but we should take every opportunity we can to remind ourselves. Our games, enemies, shrines, and text-grudges will all be there tomorrow, so don't be afraid to back off and call it a night. On the flip side, if you're on the receiving end of constant raiding, don't be afraid to speak up. Most people are understanding of planned events and desire to end a fight, at least temporarily. If you find yourself getting angry at the happenings in the game, step back, log off for an hour and calm down. You're not obligated to get upset over a game. 


Make sure your favorite MMORPGs are fun for you and the people you play with, and you'll always have enemies to clash against.


About the author:

A long-time fan of MUD games in particular, Julian Talley has spent a long time playing on both sides of most conflicts. A constant proponent of fair and reasoned gameplay for everyone, when he’s not playing his favorite games, he can usually be found attending college or practicing percussion.


When I was younger I got angry at the screen and rage on PT at my teammates, but being older now I just lol and get on with it. 99% of the time it's my own fault.

If PT is full of people you're familiar with.

it's just a game.


Don't tell them the truth.

It is NOT just a game.

Yes and everyone ultimately wants to have a good time.

everyone must die

they deserve to!

There are no games here!


hell no!

We take these games as seriously as those in Tron did. :| Life and death struggle!

oh yeah.





It's been a long time since I shed my physical form for one of Rapture code.

None at all.

it's not!

What next? You goin to kick my puppy?

If only I knew what I know now then..

It's a game? D:



which is why no one cares if people throw professional sports games, 'after all they're just a game.'


I agree, although I am still young :(

I agree though I am still old.

But I feel like I'll always freak out a little

I drink hot chocolate and take time off if I feel I'm getting to emotional.

i just dont fight

It's definately the one I use.

It's just easier 


Easier on the level meter too when you die as easily as I do




You also want to keep a cool head in a fight so you can win - panicking and having no idea what is going on in a fight will lessen your chances of winning or staying alive. Try and see the bigger picture of it all and understand what is going on at all times.

I need to get my highlighting and subbing put together so I can focus on the right details.



i love that feeling of getting "the shakes" in the lead-up to a fight.

Ugh, I don't. I play to relax mostly.

Relax, IRE games are my job!

I know what you mean about the shakes, although I mostly get them with unexpected fighting. So a spar doesn't get me all shakey, but a lone serp trying to gank me does!


I'll try to give you some of those in the near future! ;-)

People panic when they fight? :|

For my part. All that scrolling text... So fast.

Granted there's not really a way to 'clean up' all of that text. For me it is really debilating. However the more I engage in combat the easier it is to deal with, which is why I spar freinds as often as possible.


Sparring friends is the closest thing to a controlled environment as you can get, they'll slow down when asked and even better, they help you understand what they are trying to do.

I have not gotten into any pvp combat yet but I can see how that would be a big problem. Just bashing the text goes by so fast that I have to scroll back to make sure I didn't miss anything.

Very much! But damn that feels good.. 

Good advice, wish more people followed it.  Remember, you have no real enemies - they're all people playing a game WITH you, so fighting them should be a way to work with them to have a good time.

That is a very good point. Everything you are going through on your side of the screen is the same thing the other guy is going through on his side.


will always hate to lose, but if you want to win you must be willing to lose, accept the consequences of your actions...

The key  to winning a group battle, whether the attacker or defender, is strong leadership and cohesive group members. It matters not if you front up with 10 artied up dragons, if they're all doing their own thing they can be taken down one by one.

You don't need strong leadership if people are willing to follow an everyone can do their role.

just slow your breathing, then scream, "FOR GODS SAKE! WTF?! WHAT IS THIS $%$#%?!?!" and that is how you keep your head in.. oh wait.. nevermind >>

Inner peace

It can be a struggle at time. Great article! A much needed read for all who play these games.

I fear this (The "bad behaviours" listed in the article) are what have turned me so against combat. It's honestly the worst part of the game for me, and I could be perfectly happy if it never existed at all. I never used to hate it, I simply acknowledged that I wasn't any good at it. But ver time, those that acknoweldged alongside me would hunt down the character BECAUSE of the fact that she's an easy kill. Kill her repeatedly for no other reason than that they could. I think THAT is the reason that has, true, shaped part of her aggression and frustration that has helped to make the character who she is today, (Read aggressive and frustrated) but has also made me so bitter with all the combat-heavy changes that seem to exclude any reasonable roleplay from the ... You know... Roleplaying game. Shards? A system designed to fuel conflict entirely independent of any roleplay virtue. Obelisks. And now cults, which were supposed to be a beacon of hope for those of us who lost RP because the Orders went down, and they're turning out to be another pointless combat engine intended to make us clash.

And the problem isn't that these things exist. Balanced combat with an overall understanding of WHY it's being done (Not just "I'm bored, let's go kill non-comms cause it jaks up our PK score.") but giving some kind of an avenue to open up more to us than "I really don't want to log in today. I'm not going to get anything fun done, I'm just going to be fighting and dying all month, and that's just not fun."

Because, that's the sort of reaction those bad behaviours have led some of us to adopting. Problem is, the admins keep trying to fuel it that way, and are purposely ignoring the handful we could ALL name off the top of our heads that keep perpetuating the problem instead of being in any way useful to the world at large.

Haven't started doing group combat yet, but I'll keep this in mind when I do start.

Whenever I retreat (to avoid dying), I worry that it was premature or unnecessary. I'm sure that sometimes it has been, but I've never gotten much trouble from party members about it, for which I'm grateful.

I haven't really done group combat yet. It gets a little spammy sometimes.

It helps to gag unimportant things

<--extraneous comment gagged -->

I hope people don't read this; I want to get rage tells!

I had a more feral and wild Artemis in mind, but still, great pic!

Earring out when in doubt.

Earrings are so expensive, I'm surprised anyone at all has them, let alone a dozen of them.

Pretty necessary though, no?

This is a very interesting article. I haven't really done any combat yet, but I'll bear these things in mind. Most of them are common sense, really.



Colored echoes in pretty pink and sunset orange!

it's messy.

Don't always have a choice...

Don't hunt. You won't value your exp so much :)

I liked it. :) Helpful, too

I liked the artwork too.

I also liked the art. One of the better pieces, I think.


Plus credit, though the point is still that the artwork is awesome.

they used to post the artwork here to comment on directly, I remember

Just stop hunting and fighting is terrible advice. Both are fun and add much to the game experiance. The trick is not to get upset when things go badly. Think of it as a game of checkers. do you get made when one of your pieces is jumped? You shouldn't it is going to happen and you are going to jump pieces too. We are here to have fun not get stressed out and mad. Now the only thing I have left to figgure out is how to listen to my own wise words. The next time you see me fuming at someone for splattering me all over the room please do remind me of what I just said.


The points made in the article are pretty good. Though as mentioned by some of the other commenters unless you completely remove PvP there will always be people that hunt down those that can't fight back effectively. Weither it's a fear of fighting something that could hurt them, not wanting anyone else to have a chance to reach their level of power, or maybe just roleplaying an utter bastard. If you run into someone determined to PvP then try to remember their name and book it. And if your good/know someone who is maybe setup a highlight on their name so you can try staying away from them. One of the other games I've played had several names that were pointed out to new players as "run like hell if they enter the area" characters.

And thank you for that. Sometimes, I figure I can't be the only one to realize it, and others I can't help but feel like no one notices that it happens (Depending on whether I'm talking to pro-combat lifers or tiny steamrolled-like-me folk.)

  • hmm

Indeed. Get enough credits, get the combat artifacts, be more likely to win fights, and then be less likely to rage!


comat artifacts while nice don't ggarinte winning over someone without.  Depends really on how good your oponent(s) are and perhaps thre system.

Really good guidelines here for keeping a conflict civil. I've never enjoyed being ground into the dirt time after time simply because the org I'm in has less active combatants than its enemy. I'll be keeping these in mind!


Drink all the booze?


please make Mhaldor read this. I so get tired of the hours-long border raids, exterms, etc after the Eleusis raid brigade eggs them on a little, or even when they don't. The idea that I can't do anything for longer than a half hour without someone doing any of the above again lately makes me just up and leave the realms when it starts... the constant fighting is not fun, get over it! The fact that I can't hide on an island or Meropis anymore makes it suck even more.

There'd be less of a problem with this if both sides had to agree to initiate combat, in every case. The tradeoff is that it's less realistic. Don't think Mhaldorians don't have the same feelings.

Realistic or not having both sides to agree to a raid might be better then just letting raids happen whenever. After all does the raiding side actually pay attention to if there's enough defenders in where they want to raid beforehand? Making it so that both sides had to agree or perhaps just have a certain number of awake players might keep raids down when there's only newbies exploring the city being raided.

text pride very important!

The arm does look a little weird.

how about keeping your cool in the heat of mud wrestling, am i right?!

Wakka wakka wakka!


This is not a credit comment I assure you


Moar articles!

I would feel terrible if I found out that someone let me win a fight.

If someone wants to hold a grudge for centuries because someone kicked him, I would think of it as in IC trait.

Actually, not everyone enjoys lighting up dethsight. I'm prefectly fine influencing, thank you. :D

But, but...I want to get better at fighting.. :o

Bullet point 5. If all else fails just log off.

a good article

a lot of people could learn from this

And the use of highlighting...

a good read

the articles seem to be making up for lost time, now

free credit


that is a point

I get the shakes.






`Very good points to keep in mind. I raged a bit the first time I was killed in a raid. I'm glad I read this sooner rather than later.

Good advice!


If everyone understood these very basic no-brainer courtesies, we'd always have a very healthy PvP. Sadly some people get too much into it and are far too addicted to the 'high' of winning to ever consider basic sportsmanship.

That might be why poor little furrikins get attacked!


I agree with the idea of fairness, but unfortunately there will always be people out there who aren't interested in fair or a challenge.



I was hoping this was about not panicking in a fight :/

a very useful article

they're making up for lost time with these articles

a very good read


Credit is due?

A raid is a raid. I get annoyed with an inconsistent PT, but you get over it pretty quick. I don't jump people at complete random... mostly. However if I consider your actions a betrayal of city/house then you'll die a few times (or I'll attempt to kill you) over a rl week. I personally think that's reasonable, but being hunted down for a raid a day afterwards is a bit ridiculous. I would say the same if you act in defence of someone being jumped as well.

gotta stay calm!

trying to think of new and clever ways to use your skills while you're in battle sucks.

I think I would quite like to answer every blow with crushing retaliation!

First , I didn't think a Goddess would be so skinny. Second, This has been a good read. I am guilty of getting upset when I get killed. Perhaps I need to lighten up a bit.

Don't do combat!

Best thing in a fight is when you know you've shaken your opponent. Surprise the heck out of them, watch them flounder and die.

But a good combatant will remain calm and adapt to your surprise in time to get out of it if you are not prepared to finish them quickly.

very important

try not to fight minutes before sleep...

I simply love the battle and roleplay of it. I do not mind defending the forests against Mhaldor because it is what makes the game exciting even if I do die, it is no big loss because the experience of it was worth it!

Wouldn't be so bad if 99% of the time the person you're fighting isn't, A) an immature kid, B) some angry guy in the military, or C) a combination of both

good thing i don't fight... or log in!

achaea pls

Great article Tarkor. Wasn't quite what I thought it was going to be about after reading the title though. I thought it was going to be about how to avoid panic and focus on the things you need to do to win in combat. I often go like a rabbit in a spotlight when the text starts scrolling by at a hundred miles an hour!


I don't get angry, I just get frustrated and don't fight

I've gotten pretty good at keeping a cool head during games. Can't say I have raged at this one yet.

Very good

Too many arties to rally PVP


Highlighting could be very very useful man, along with aliases :P

Highlighting could be very very useful man, along with aliases :P

These tips might help out!

This should be -required reading- for anyone who wants to PK!

pay attention to party

Now if I'm ever winning, I'll know what to do!

I don't fight, I'm a snugglebunny



when it's hot

Really good advice for the hotheads.

Rather frusterated with how relentlessly Shallam is being raided, even though there's no shallam left to raid. Guys, cut them some slack lol

Really, it's for the best.


Is this OOC article or just pretends to be?

I freak out.

free credit

The scroll is too much for me to even try. I'm over 200 in lusternia and never got a hold on it.

I thik so too.  it gives points so no one feel s greafed.   I know from experience just a few instigaters can make you feel like you are.  if everyone follows theses rules it'll be a enjoyable time for everyone even douring combat

The goal is to see combat as a means to an end, and not get upset when exp lost



Credit comment.

Glad I'm not a knight, I imagine they have a harder time keeping their cool what with all the honor weighing them down xD

omg gaia's back!



just mash buttons!



face rolling