Text Online Games - Common Newbie Mistakes

Newbies and Text Games

By Lorna Cowie

You have to face it. Everyone was a newbie once when the foray into text online games began and no doubt there will be hundreds more to come, but I have written these fine words in the hope that you, dear newbie, can get a quick grasp of how not to seem so band spanking new in a MUD (Multi-User Dungeon).

Leet and TXT speak.
This is put at the top as I think almost everyone can agree that any kind of leet or txt speak (coming from the term 'texting' on a mobile phone) is a horrible habit and should not show its ugly, word breaking face in any text adventure game. Words like 'lol', 'U', 'ur', 'Y?', 'rofl', 'h8', 'l8er' and any kind of combination of taking letters out and replacing them with any other letter (or number!) to make a phonetically spelt word, or in fact adding the letter 'z' to the end, should never be used when you are in a MUD.

Think of an online text game like a book. A very good book, written by hundreds of authors as they weave their characters into the story. You do not have to be perfect with the English language to be able to play MUDs, but a basic understand of correct grammar and punctuation helps an awful lot. Think about what you are typing. If you are unsure on how a word is spelt then try to have a word checker open, as it only takes a few moments to check if a word is spelt correctly, and you will be seen in a much better light if it is!

You are not a God.
I am sorry; someone has to break the bad news to you. You, my dear newbie, are not a God. Your character is not a God nor do they have amazing divine powers that will enable you to crush a human body just by giving them a stern look! It is sad, I know. But mourn not! You COULD be given divine powers, if you work for them.

Learn to role-play responsibly. Learn the limits of your characters and their skills, as they can become a good basic beginning of how your character can flourish. Let them grow slowly into the powers they will one day wield, as there is no reason to hurry. You don't hurry and skip through a good book now do you? This is your characters life, guide them into living it and becoming the true hero (or villain) they should be known for.

Read the Rules!
One of the most common mistakes is to skip through the rules thinking you know it all. It is possible you could, but in every MUD there are different rules and it is worth taking some time out to read through them to make sure you don't accidentally slip up.
Does the online text game allow you to be more than one character? Are you allowed to swear? Is violence in game frowned upon? Can you item trade between characters? What happens if you get in trouble, and how do you appeal against the decision? All this is important, as most MUD games will have rules that state that if they are broken, your character will be banned.

Be Polite
There is nothing more than can be asked of you other than to be polite. If you don't understand something, be it a command in game or a story line, then simply ask. No doubt there will be people in the online text game that are more than willing to help you learn the ropes. Be polite and send them a message with a 'Hey, sorry. I am new to all this. Can you help me?'. MUD gamers enjoy the worlds they are creating and to have another person join their world and expand with a new personality is a good thing.

Rudeness, as in the 'real world' (That place outside your front door) is seen in a bad light. If you are rude to someone, like your mother, brother or sisters, it would get you into trouble, and it will do so in a MUD as well. No one likes to be around rude people, so make sure you are not one of them by being on your best behavior!

Learn more by trying out some great text adventure games.

Lorna Cowie is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from http://www.IronRealms.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Lorna_Cowie


Lorna Crowie is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from

There should be no R in the surname. Alas, not the worst spelling mistake of my name, so no cookie award for you!

Fixed! Sorry!


Very good article....


I'm starting to get jealous. Maybe I should try writing one?

yeah same here

Biggest thing I goof up on all the time is not capitalizing "I", I feel like an idiot when I do it too. So far in this writing I had to correct 3 out of 5 i's heh.

Great article :)

I do that ALL the time, still to this day! :D

wut u meen nu 1337 speek?

Actually had a newbie tell me this once.

he loves being goofy even after being told about insanity. My phone autocorrects  A lot of my grammar.  That's the sad thing. Once switching to game....I have to stop and actually capitalize things.

What an odd lisp they had :-)

Either way, that's pretty hilarious.

i c.

Mischans anyone?! or REPLYing to a tell and then you get a tell from another person. Am I the only one guilty? nooooo- you know your names!

I'm definitely guilty

"You do not have to be perfect with the English language to be able to play MUDs, but a basic understand of correct grammar and punctuation helps an awful lot. Think about what you are typing."

A basic understanding perhaps. When followed by a warning about typos, I had to laugh at the irony.

The semicolon and starting a sentence with 'albeit' made me sad, though.

Albeit wasn't me. I do not albeit! :D Editing is editing.

The understand'ing' was totally me though! Nothing new there!

Albeit albeit albeit. Aliath is rubbing off on you too, huh?

It drives me nuts when people use bad grammar and spelling in anything, not just MUDs.  Of course, I see it a lot more outside of MUDs than I do inside.  I don't really see that happening that much in MUDs, most people I play with are good typists.  :)


Don't be afraid to ask questions or help in any manner! Something difficult could be explained to you or even dumbed down if it is really that complicating. It's nothing worth just quitting over when there are plenty of people able to help you out.

Unless maybe your question would happen to be "wer r tha grafix".

This was a big mistake I made on some of my first character. I died with all my gold not in a pack and my first guild gave me a lot of gold. :(

I am invinci...gurgle.

I once started a character with a 'cool' accent, koinda loike a liltin' scoundrel's brogue, dontcha know! It was fun for about the first thirty minutes after the tutorial, when I realised it would take me around twenty minutes to finish a simple conversation... I had to spend the next week roleplaying my character's attempts to learn to speak like everybody else.

Never again.

Whadder yah mean der buddy?

I remember logging onto Achaea the first time... and while I didn't necessarily have issues with the 'leet' speech or not speaking in full sentences....I sure had issues with dying a whole awful lot, and learning my way around.

And I'm SURE I'm not the only one that has died within the first couple days playing there to the slugbeast!

I died a lot on my first day as well while trying to explore the lands.  I don't particularly remember a slugbeast, but it was quite a long time ago.

SLUGBEAST.... *shakes fist at sky*

More on topic, this is a well-written article - we often forget that people need to learn what we often see as self-evident.

I died to the slugbeast in my first hour. Though my house mentor has now given me a feather tattoo so hopefully not again.

I am not sure about other novices out there, but my first time playing an IRE (in Achaea) resulted in me thinking that the guides were played by the same people each time I saw them.

The guides are friendly by default yet at the time I presumed their overly-friendly and oh-so-sweet tone with me was due to the fact that they had taken a liking to me and remembered our previous encounters. I was very wrong!

Needless to say I did make a bit of a fool of myself. Sending biscuits, blankets and letters to the guides so that they might not grow hungry or cold in the portal room. For my character's engagement I sent an all-too-sincere letter to Juliet thanking her for all the things she had done for me, and invited her to visit me after the wedding. Good times!


While it's not always the same people playing the characters it's always really awesome to know that one of the other guilds helped a novice so much as to have become a big part of their life!

Great story.


I miss onto clans all the times and tells its not even funny. And I'm not a newb anymore! Thats the sad part.

Confession time: When I was brand new on my first character I threw out a smiley emoticon on my House's novice channel. I was soon put right about that one, though!

Here's another bit of newbie advice I give over and over again: don't go spending your hard-earned gold in shops without asking your House/Guild/City first! Shops are the expensive way to do things, especially when you are earning the paltry gold available in novice areas.

What an excellent read. I especially like that you used spelt correctly, when commenting on literacy.


Though on the "Be Polite" note, I would like to state that being polite is not necessarily the case. Being polite, as a person to another person, OOCly, is, as I understand it, what is intended by the above, but just in case... Being polite to an enemy, in character, can be considered a treasonous action to your city/guild/organization of some sort. I would suggest, be as ignorant or mean to your enemies as you want, as long as it's all in character. OOCly, nobody likes to be around a jerk, and you don't want to be the jerk nobody wants to be around.

I think the only reason to be polite from the go is to remain in the "newbie shroud" as I like to call it. Stay under the radar cause everyone just sees you as this squishy nobody, while the whole time you are setting up your first system, learning your first combat techniques, gaining the levels needed to do some damage, then come full force and unexpected from the "newbie shroud" and catch people off guard. This works better on Achaea where there is many cities and characters aren't enemied for being.... created.

That happens in MKO, doesn't it?

I miss when the "lol" emote in Achaea would show you were unfit for survival.

The circle of roleplayers with whom I interact are such amazing writers that by associating with them, my vocabulary and grammatical skills improved so much so that the grades on my college essays improved. Aetolia and IRE: Putting You Through School.

..The other players have it. Aetolia's RP specifically is darker, and more violent. Being a newbie is definintely not an excuse to do things that would get you in trouble; it's certainly not a get out of jail free card. If you pointedly irritate players even after they've given you the bit of newbie slack, they WILL kill you. Just saying.

Pshk. Veterans have it hard. They have to deal with these often infuriating newbies mistakes without coming across as a total jerk and scaring the feeble little creature out of the game.


Although I find re-reading my old character descriptions from when I first started out in Achaea helps keep me humble.

Thats right, newbies. Thou art not God. So don't be so rude when you speak to novice aides. Or any other player for that matter. It's not nice, and the Gods are much nicer than you. And I'm guilty for not typing ' as often as i should.

Always amusing to see someone struck down by an actual God for impertenance, though.

I hate to say it, but even these people kill my RP Buzz in a way. There's absolutely nothing wrong with ESL learners, or people from other countries. Don't have any problem with them. But there's just something about those little mistakes that just ruin it a bit, for me. Don't even get me started about people with improper grammar! But definitely, playing these games, I think, makes you more literate and aware of what you're typing and saying, and in turn makes you a better player of these games

Hehehe...  all the city yelling "help insanity" and i was like ... what?



This is just a trial that every new player has to go through, and test of patience for every older player. The reward is priceless, but is also taken for granted a lot. Which is a flow of more newer individuals with fresh ideas who are interested in playing a text game for the long term instead of just trying it out for the short term. Who knows, that leet speaking player you've just pointed to 'help insanity' may just be the next great pvp'er to defend your city and lead terrific raids against your enemies.

I have to agree with pretty much everything outlined in the article. Read the rules, and behave accordingly. Don't take "shortcuts" in your writing, and listen to people who try to help you.

Great info on general MUD guidelines - now if only all newbs would read this!

I would add that you don't need to have your character fully developed in your head, the first time you log-in to a MUD. The world is dynamic, and your character will be too. A House Ephram joined in Achaea asked him for his background in an interview. He gave one, because it was required, but has rarely used it. That's morphed as he discovered his parents and had to figure out how to fit everything together.


A general idea of what you want your character to be, combined with a willingness to adapt as you get more involved in the game, will allow you to develop the character into a well-rounded person, and I feel that adds to my enjoyment of the game.

and no you can't roleplay an athiest

My newbie mistake? Not nearly asking enough questions, thinking I was expected to know things when several weeks into the game. Trust me, it is far more difficult when you are forced to ask your newbie question several months into the game because you couldn't stop putting it off. Ask soon and ask much, that's my motto. Oh, and even veterans sometimes still don't know about things that may be really obvious, so no need to be embaressed even if you have a newbie question way later than anyone else. 

This is true! Even the experienced players may not know some things. I've played quite a lot but I know very little about influencing, since I've spent my lessons elsewhere and have never played a character that can influence well.


For those who are slow typers or bad spellers, get a client with spell-correction and auto-completion. I don't use these features myself, but they're very handy! Some people just cannot spell, and I see the same spelling mistakes from them for years!


I just met a novice whose first language wasn't English. He passed it off as "the common tongue isn't my native language, I am from the shores of blahblahland". Great RP opp.

When I was a total newbie I thought I was pretty tough when I was like level 30 and up to like Bear stance or something in Tekura. I didn't know there was a whole plethora of other skills and artefacts etc. I tried picking some fight and I'm pretty sure the dude 2-shotted me. 

When I was a newbie, I thought the world was so big no one could possibly care what -I- was up to, so I carried on like a feeble-minded trollop.   A random conversation with an elder member of the Occultists Guild clued me in that my actions were indeed watched, measured, and would later be taken into consideration when it was time for me to seek some form of responsibility.   I got my act together with a quickness.   


If you thought I was surprised to hear how the elders of the house spoke about the newbies when I gained access to to GT (ah the olden days), then imagine the shock when I gained access to GTS and learned of this additional level of "secret" commentary about the actions of others.  

good points

I always have an urge to write txt spea. Thankfully i havent done that yet, even though being a newbie in our world. Good thing i always read game rules :)


can i write smiley faces here?

I'm glad I'm not the only one who is bothered by people saying, "i just joined the city... where can i hunt?"


"Let's eat grandma."  - "Let's eat, grandma." --> punctuation saves lives.

I personally think people tend to make a bit much of such things in MUDs. Also, correcting grammar ICly when the mistake in question wouldn't be audible to your character has always struck me as silly. But sure, when some comes at me all l33t-speak I do sort of uncontrollably judge them...

I was too intimidated, as a newbie, to ask for assistance from my big, scary city-mates. Asking questions regularly would've made my beginnings much easier, and there are plenty of people willing to help. However, at the same time, it's important to remember that there is <b>already</b> tons of information available to new players, and making an attempt at "doing it yourself" first is always better than asking question after question for information that's already been made available to you! Strike a good balance between the two and you'll be an efficient citizen in no time.

My greatest advice, and advice many others give, is just ask.  Just because you see me in a position of power doesn't mean I'm some big bad scary guy.  Ask me, I love helping people who are new to MUDs, it is way more fun than "helping" a novice alt.

I'm betting this was from the recent influx of bad newbies(the kind that attack people at random and refuse to stop even after being killed over and over?) So listen to what people tell you, learn the rules and the games ARE fun. 

...sucks being one, can be a pain in the backside to deal with one :P

One of the biggest mistakes I made was not joining a guild/house and thinking I can make do with just the help files given to me while I played. It did not turn out so well, and it is harder to make friends who aren't 'shady' as a rogue from what I have experienced. :(

I agree in that treating text games as like a well written story really benefits the world, your experience and even your imagination. I've noticed I've personally improved a lot of things when I try to be more detailed or simply immersive in my role playing role, plus it engages everyone else at a higher level then just blatantly saying or doing something.

The part about being polite is so important and not just for newbies.

Though sometimes people are just ICly rude.

The biggest mistake not mentioned here in my opinion is painting outside the lines early on with your first character. Doing things such as half-breeds, inventing new powers your character isn't supposed to have and inventing other new things when you're not informed about the environment means that many won't take you seriously. Make sure you understand the world first. :)

It's so funny when newbies are disrespectful. It's like they don't realize you could crush them.

Please ask as many questions as you like if you're sincere about playing.


Dear non-newbies pretending to be super annoying newbies,

Just don't do it. We can spot what you're doing, we have access to every channel that you do (provided you're in our guild), and we will not hesitate to kick you out before you get to 'have your fun' or whatever it is you're doing. Just remember that the world doesn't revolve around you!




MuD games do seem to attract less of a... shall we say immature playerbase? So while there will always be a minority trying to ruin the fun for others I'd imagine it won't be a higher number.

Achaea is a huge world and it can be overwhelming at first. Thankfully there are Houses which are a great tool for learning your way around!


attacking covenant's butterfly :(

Basically the things that will get you accepted in the real world will still work in Achaea.  And the things that aren't very well accepted in the real world aren't very well accepted in Achaea as well.

*shoots self in face* Even some experienced people have... such... wunderbar spelling.

As someone who is often pushed in to doing all the intrductions for the newbies in the house, i've often seen the same thing,newbies not being sure of OOC and IC, I remember once a newbie asking over the city channel if we have "vehicles" to get around on, this is of course greatly frowned upon.


I fully agree with this article though, it is a good thing that people are forced to use proper spelling and grammar as we use "w8" "4" "b" ect. for cellphone texts and also online chat.


I'm glad this article was posted  it may give some insight to those who wish to play the right way and being respectable and excell faster without the people in their presence shuddering from the lack of grammar and spelling and facepalming in embarrasment.

I still AM a newbie and I facepalm everytime I make a blatantly obvious newbie mistake. My favorite was not knowing someone was a Vampire. I play a Templar. That didn't go over so well.

I really never ran into that many uppity novices.

I think the worst 'mistake' for a newbie is to remain silent. It's best to talk to people, even if you feel uncomfortable.

I should have read this article when I was a newbie ;-)

Great article. My grammar may not be perfect, but playing Aetolia has helped me improve at least a bit. I am better at describing things now than I was before... 

Achaea is a text game. The way you present yourself and communicate is 100% through text. If you use text badly, by not punctuating or spelling well, you seem like an idiot, no matter how smart you are or what you're saying. So make friends with your shift key.

It's a roleplaying game, so you should come up with an interesting role to play. Don't make your character just a standard digitised version of yourself, sharing all your morals and habits. "Interesting" isn't the same as "unique", so it's better to keep it simple with a few character quirks like extreme overconfidence, or being kind of stupid and naive, or a coward, or having a predilection for eating rats, or saying "aye" instead of "yes". Don't claim you're a thousand year old vampire, with a sign of the cross carved over your forehead, different-coloured eyes, day-blindness, and a lisp, and an identical twin who finishes your sentences. (Twin roleplay never works out - one of you will always get tired of it within about a week.)

Ask for help. People are pretty nice and helpful in this game. At the least, they'll point you towards someone or somewhere else that can help you, like the newbie channel.

I agree.  Blatantly bad grammar or spelling is so annoying to me.  

My first one. I remember shouting around like a moron and killing a Gods' loyals.

Comon newbie mistake. Thinking I care about their love life of lack thereof.

I have never made those mistakes. My biggest mistake is playing MUDs like single-player games.

Oh thats me - of course in Elvandar, it is single player!

A more common newbie mistake is not being able to recognize sexalts from a mile away.

Or those with a 'shy voice', th is a shy voice? Does she stu-stu-sterdur like sooo many. There's a cure for it in Achaea. I get the RP it just seems widespread sometimes. Being less cynical though, being an alt myself.. it wasn't too difficult to get started as a Serpent. Subterfuge! All the fun in the world. My main, though, being that I played only one MUD before Achaea after a long break, I didn't know much of what was going on. Thankfully a certain House found me and my characters not too horrible. I really should join a Serpent House, rogue can be fun at times but the 'not liking rules or structure' thing tends to get old.

Your character is not a God nor do they have amazing divine powers that will enable you to crush a human body just by giving them a stern look!

evileye bleed?

ooh, ooh, doing emoticons in tells. Even experienced players do that, and it regularly bugs me

a good set of advice

haha, as if being impolite is a mistake just common to newbs

Yes to politeness, please, newbies :(

Still a mild-to-moderate newbie, myself. I'm getting better, though! ;D

I'm sad that I see a lot of these.

When I used to be HoN, I got a lot of that, yep.


Nice article.  This should be required reading for everyone fresh to the IRE MUDs, or any MUD for that matter.