Addicting Games Have Unspoken Rules

addicting games rpg elf
By Zhade Barnet and Jeremy B Saunders

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 be - 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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It's hard to play just one side of the game, so many times you'll want to create a second character opposite to the nature of your main character. Your alternate character (Alt) should be completely different than your main, and by doing so you as the player experience life from complete extremes at times. If you play both characters regularily, you'll come across information that one character would have knowledge about, but the other might not. Metagaming comes in effect when information is passed from one of your characters to the other, and the other acts upon that knowledge. This ruins the playing experience of others, and you could be caught doing so and other players might look unfavorably at your character. Remember, if your character would have no way of finding out, then chances are they aren't supposed to know!

Am I the only person who never created an alt?


I give up on alts very quickly - I much prefer to focus on one character. Besides, I don't have time for two.

I give up on them rather quickly too. But I keep creating more, to try to get a feel for all the professions, and all the factions of Imperian. I have yet to find one that I enjoy more then this character. But there are still so many posibilities, so I will keep on creating alts.

I created a fw before settling on this one - qwhich is odd cos there are only a few classes and a few races.  Too fickle , me

I make them and usually give up on them.

Pro of having an alt is that you don't feel as if you've wasted credits if you changed class.

Con is that many people don't have the time to split between multiple characters, or can't keep their IC/OOC friendships distinct between them.

hi darklyre!


I have never created an alt, and in fact, Achaea is the only IRE game I play.





I too have never alted.

Probably, yeah.

I wouldn't call this an unwritten rule. Mainly because in almost all roleplaying games it's one of the biggest rules, and it's written.

it's even worse when you leak OOC knowledge IC to characters who are ignorant and then act on the information


hi mannimar!

People normally have problems keeping their chars separated

Rule three is definitely important to make sure you don't get too invested in the game. Your imagination can make the emotions your character feels, feel real. You'll have a lot more fun if you can follow the rules but still disconnect yourself from your character(s) at the end of the day.

Yeah. There's nothing wrong with being emotionally invested, but some people get invested in the wrong kind of way. You should try to have fun, even when your character's not!

You should!

HELP scrolls are there for a reason. There's journals and libraries everywhere. Learn about your world and don't be afraid to read any and every thing you can get your hands on. Don't make yourself lazy by not trying to find the answer yourself.

Don't come from the school of thought of "It's all about ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME ME!" Nobody likes it. You're just one person in a group of fifty to hundreds. The story does NOT revolve around you.

perfectly in order! Otherwise the game would be very boring.

It may be difficult at first to start in a MUD, but you'll get the hang of it soon enough. Feel free to walk around, don't get disheartened even if you die. It happens! Oh, and if you ever need help, feel free to ask your city/house/guild/people.

Oh, and if you roleplay, people don't really like it if you god-mod. By that, I mean, you force people to do things in response to what your character does in your emote.

Alot of people will play a variety of characters in a game. You might know things about a certain player that makes their alts stick out like a sore thumb to you, or they may even tell you who they are. This does not give you the right to go around telling everyone else who they are, or who you think they are. You should try to look at each character as a clean slate for the player, and a wholly different person in-game. It's a serious breach of etiquette to reveal the identity of someone else's alter ego. And probably, an attempt to manipulate the games events, whether in their favor, or against them. It's probably an all around bad idea to reveal who your alts are to another player. If not because they will perhaps tell someone else, then because you shouldn't use the OOC information to manipulate how your characters get treated. When people tell you who their alts are, likely because they want to carry on an OOC conversation with you, while logged in as the unfamiliar character, in-game, you should completely ignore it. This part goes back to metagaming, mentioned by Cardi of Imperian above.

So this has a bit to do with the Not Crossing the Line Side and the Metagaming mentioned. It has to do with relationships. The fact of the matter is if your main character (lets call her Sue) is married to someone (lets call him Dean) and Dean has an alt called oh.. Fred... its incredibly poor roleplaying to get insanely jealous over Fred's new girlfriend or wife and trying to kill her every chance you see... Not to mention... If you have an IC beef with someone's character... it's incredibly rude and horrible roleplaying to try and break-up the OOC engagement of two players just because you are pissed that one of them stole your loot or for any other IC reason. The purposeful destruction of OOC relationships based on IC experiences or IC relationships based on OOC experiences is very poor form indeed. Don't do it.

Getting OOCly jealous because someone's got another imaginary IC relationship on the side :O

Whether or not you know what your doing, it doesn't matter. Rules are in place to help us understand what to do, and how to do it better. My past has taught me to understand that balance. To be better, you first have to initiate yourself, and learn. Don't just suddenly come in and go, "Yeah, so I've got a better dude than this, don't think about it!" chances are the Divine are always watching, and will always keep their eyes out. Just give it time. RP within yourself. Initiate yourself. It's not so hard!

One unspoken rule which I think was left out is the act of correcting others. I find this important particularly for new players, who do not have the knowledge of certain policies or customs not stated in the help files. Like for example in Lusternia, new players would often mention levels instead of circles so I think it's more of an "unspoken duty" to the old players to correct and orient them of the terminologies used in the game.

Its to save them pain and torment, days later. Tis all

I do agree that letting the new players know what terminologies are used in game is very useful to them. As then when they come across it in conversations they will understand what everyone is saying. Another unspoken rule that I think goes along with that is if you don't understand something or you can't find something, speak up! If you need help with something ask someone in your guild/city/house/order/any organization you're a part of for help. We can't help you if we don't know you need it. Also, on the flip side of that, I think it is good to periodically ask if anyone needs help to allow for someone who is more shy to feel more comfortable about speaking up and asking for help.

Going on rules 2 and 3, I'll also have to add that you should try your best to keep your OOC feelings for someone else from affecting your feelings for them IC and vice versa.
I've seen people who had little disputes in their guilds where they ended up leaving, and somehow this carried over to ill-will outside of the game. Remember, just because a person is playing from an enemy organization does not mean that you two cannot possibly be E-friends outside of the game.

Likewise, try not to show too much favouritism to people who you know OOC. While perhaps you can somehow work a bond in with them IC, think twice about whether they really deserve that guildfavor.

4. Get Involved

While being new to a MUD can be incredibly intimidating, don't be afraid to ask for help through the proper channels. Most older players will be happy to assist someone new, especially if they are asked in a respectful manner. Don't demand attention, or you may end up receiving the wrong sort!

All that aside, be brave! Your interaction with the world is what you make of it, and the more you participate, the more it will involve you. New adventurers are always welcome, and don't be afraid to integrate!

5. Be respectful of your fellow players. How many times have you gotten ganked or taunted or ripped off or some other horribly unpleasant experience in your graphical MMORPG? I've come to discover that in text based RPG's, because everyone is interdependent upon one another for the high quality roleplaying that we all crave, players tend to be very respectful of one another. Now, this doesn't mean these games are filled with sunshine, puppy dogs, and stuffed bears (though we do have all of those things and more) but rather that players conduct themselves in a mature, respectful manner the vast majority of the time. You can hold grudges, have an arch nemesis, and play the most evil or chaotic character known to the Gods, but there is an underlying value of respect that almost all text based players adhere to.

In the odd event that you find the occasional character that lacks common respect and dignity, a very active staff of moderators is available to assist in any recourse that is permissible within the rules. Respect and unbeatable support, it's a win-win.

6. The gods exist and should be respected. If you refuse to accept their existance and divinity 1. you will look silly and 2. you will be hit by lightning or turned into a shrub. However this is so common sense that it is never mentioned.


It's true, but lorewise the edhel in Midkemia aren't suppose to worship them. Not that I'll get my panties in a twist if people want to, but my character's not obligated to do the same. (Doesn't mean I don't respect them as game admins!)

for sure

Very true!


Fur realz

hunt vermin when sharing a room with others.

I find that most games also include the central gathering spot in that don't hunt vermin rule.

why does "Addicting" have to be in the title? Tetris is addicting, and has none of these rules.

tetris.. you gotta love it.

It really is amazing how many people have trouble staying IC when they first start. I know after the first butt chewing I got it pretty much cured my want to say ANYTHING OOC.

I remember that I kept asking Juilet if she were "real" or not. I was quickly pointed towards a scroll called help insanity, and rightly so.  If someone off the street walked up to me and asked me if I was real or not I would surely assume they were suffering from extreme crazy.

no fourth wall!



have fun is in all games, in some form

most of these are pretty well spoken, actually

Be ready to write essays.