Addicting Games Have Unspoken Rules
Good Addicting Games Have Rules to Observe
Usually, these will be stored accessibly within a help file, and newbies will be strongly encouraged to read them before they start. Don’t be put off; the rules in a text game aren't there to stifle your freedom, rather to allow you to play within a safe, enjoyable environment within the text games. But what about the other rules? You know... the ones that aren't in a help files? Yep, these are the unspoken rules, and they're just as important. This isn't a new concept; real life is full of unspoken rules and so are online text games. It isn't written, and nobody's ever said it to you, but it's acceptable to visit the beach in a bathing suit, but not the bank. You can hail a taxi to ask for a ride but not to ask for directions. You can flirt with your wife's mother but not her sister (maybe that's just me). Think of the difference between the spoken and the unspoken rules as the difference between law and culture. The unspoken rules of a text adventure game will vary between online text games, but there are some which will be common wherever you go. Here are some that I've learned the hard way so that you don't have to:
1. Know the Concept
As a ‘newbie’ you won’t be expected to know everything about the text game, or indeed very much at all. Nobody expects that you've read all of the lore (if the game you’re about to join doesn’t have an extensive lore, ask yourself why you’re playing it). What you will be expected to know is what kind of text game you’re playing. Don’t be surprised if nobody bothers to answer when you pipe up on the newbie channel of a high-fantasy game and ask whether you should use shotguns or grenades. Another facet is where the game sits on Player vs Player (PvP) combat/conflict and Player Killing (PK). You’ll make few friends in a low-PK game if your first action in the virtual world is to start stabbing other players. Equally, don’t expect any sympathy if you keep getting attacked by people if the whole point of the game is to stab other players (again, ask yourself why you are playing such a online text game). Seriously, find out where the game sits, because MUD text games can range from no PvP whatsoever to completely unrestricted PvP. If you can’t find out the concept/genre and what’s expected in terms of PK within about five minutes, then save yourself a lot of frustration and play something else.
2. Don’t Cross The Line in Text Games
The line between YOU (“OOC” – Out Of Character) and your make believe alter-ego in the game (“IC” – In Character) is important. Now, if you’re looking for an RPG text game, then it’s probably because consoles have forgotten what that TLA (Three-Letter Abbreviation) stands for. Sadly, not everything you find when you search for ‘RPG text game’ involves role-playing in any meaningful sense either. If the game you’re considering expects you to be IC, screaming about the lag beast or the rising price of oil can really spoil an otherwise enjoyable and immersive experience for other players. That isn’t cool. If the game’s OOC, then be sure that that’s what you want, because bouncing in and speaking Olde English will result in you getting laughed at. GOOD text adventure games have very clear rules on this – the unspoken rule is that you should know what’s expected. And, folks, if it needs to be said, what happens on one side of the line stays on that side. Don’t punch your brother in the mouth over breakfast tomorrow morning because he didn’t share his loot with you on tonight’s dungeon run. Equally, if there are both IC and OOC channels in the online text game, please use them as such. Don’t come into the lobby screaming at somebody because of an IC grievance. Nobody wants to hear it. Again, a few minutes of research could save you many hours of grief.
3. Have Fun
Please, please remember it’s a game. It may be more interesting than your real life, but it’s nowhere near as important. If somebody’s harassing then either use the ignore function, or report it and log out until you’ve cooled down (don’t play ANY text adventure game that doesn’t have online moderators). If you’re fixing to toss your laptop out of the window after the hundredth time you failed that quest (I’ve been there) then maybe you’ve played enough for today. It’s a game, folks. Just an online text game. If it isn’t fun, then you may need to adjust your attitude, make a new character that better suits your style, or find another game. Life’s just too short. If you haven’t yet gotten into MUD text games then you’re just letting the finest things in life pass you by. There are so many online text games out there that you’ll find something to suit your every need and quirk. If you’re not sure where to start looking, then your first stop should behttp://www.topmudsites.com - find out what people are voting for! Know the Concept, Don’t Cross the Line and Have Fun, and you’ll soon be enjoying the ageless, quiet craze that is text adventure games.
If you are interested in addicting games then you should try out the Iron Realms online text games.
Zhade Barnet is a player and text game enthusiast from Iron Realms
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