How Your MUD Newbie Can Make a Splash in a Sea of Seasoned Players

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Have you ever started playing a new game and felt totally lost? It is somewhat similar to being the new kid on the first day of school. You do not know anyone. All the instructions are hard! And it seems like everyone has a clique with snappy catchphrases that makes it seem as if they are speaking a foreign language.

Gaming versus Roleplay

This is especially true if you are familiar with playing video games, but not the act of interacting with other characters within a game. For example, if you are playing Call of Duty on Xbox Live the objective is simple. Go shoot the other team as much as possible so that your party has the most points by the end of each round so that you can win the match.

The only way to communicate with other players is to chat through your headset, and the game provides little in the way of customization. (Unless you have a custom class to get different types of weapons and such, but that is an article for a different gaming platform!)

Getting Started

When I began playing Imperian for the first time, I had no idea what I was doing. My closest thing to a MUD experience up to that point was Zork. Despite using a variety of commands and reading everything on the screen, there was no mailbox in site. My only hope was to progress through the newbie tour and hope I could avoid being eaten by a grue.

Fortunately I managed to join a guild which led to finding a person who I consider the most helpful mentor within the game. As I gained footing within the game, she offered tips and advice that I still use to this day, regardless of what type of game I am playing. Here are some that I found most helpful. If you plan to start playing a text-based MUD, maybe they can help you, too!

Read the Instructions – If you want someone to sit around and hold your hand, leading you from quest to quest and prodding you about what to do at each location then you are not really gaining anything. In fact, you are missing out on the pride of knowing that you figured out things for yourself.

Probe Everything Here – I am fairly certain that the INFO HERE command is pretty common among all five of the Iron Realms games. Once you use IH or INFO HERE to know what is in the room with you, then you can PROBE things to learn more about them. Here’s a hint – if it is loyal to another player or an organization, do not kick it.

Don’t Wait for Handouts – People have gold and credits because they earned them through hunting, questing, or some other entrepreneurial venture. If you need help padding your bank account, then take up a hobby that helps you to earn gold. For example in Achaea you can sell off corpses of rats that you kill or catch butterflies for Vellis.

No Means No – If you ask someone to take you hunting, refill your vials, cook food for you or do some other chore and they say no, have enough respect for their time to not ask them again. Trust me when I say that you will not truly appreciate this until you reach a higher level and possess the means and abilities to help others who are just starting out in the game.

Using the Resources Available to You

Each Iron Realms game offers an introduction to those just starting out. After finishing the trial, newbies have the benefit of guides who can answer their questions and provide them with basic assistance until they reach level 21. Beyond that there is a plethora of resources both in and out of the game and as a last resort characters can use ISSUE ME to ask the Divine a question directly.

However the best way to submerge into a new game is through character interaction. Join a guild or a house, and a city. If it turns out that you totally hate it then you can usually quit and join another with little to no drama. And if it turns out to be a huge problem, then you can always roll up an alt!


Seth Grayson is a hard-working college student who enjoys playing all of his favorite Iron Realms MUDs from the comfort of his own dorm room. Even though his major has nothing to do with creative writing he enters all the Iron Realms’ bardic contests in hopes of winning the top prize. When Seth isn’t attending classes or gaming he works as a barista in a local café.


Reading the instructions is a must! Please don't test peoples patience by re-asking everything they already wrote down for you.

We'll answer, or at least some us of will. But I prefer to point people to the relevant help file as well when they ask in the hopes of them getting the hint and reading them.

This is what we were always told to do as novice aides in the Sentaari - if someone has a question that's answered in a help file, direct them to it. The idea being that they'll get used to looking there first, and that also there is probably other worthwhile knowledge in them.

newbies in MUD games benefit immensely from one-on-one time with established, patient players.

Otherwise there's nothing to invest them to play.

I enjoy teaching them, even if it's in help files.

And can be a good opportunity to slip in some RP

I agree. It's also more fun for the newbie to learn in an interactive way, rather than be told to go and read a scroll on their own.

I personally find it easier to pay attention to a mentor than most of these scrolls :P


That's true, and it's what the mentorship feature is for. As far as I know most Houses require a novice to have a mentor before they will promote them at this point, and that's probably a good idea.

and are sometime driven away by the same.


If a newbie is driven away by roleplay interaction, that's probably for the best as roleplaying games obviously aren't for them.

and these players should be honor'd. in the honours line sense.

Agreed. Good mentors are hard to come by.


it is the worst is when a newbie ignores any instructions for reading




Doesn't the making an impact as a newbie thread hav lots of stories of people being given too much reading and realising they didn't have to do it?


if all is about reading then when i am going to really play the game like zork. all i do since i first play the game is all read this read that read sign read plaque read oath read scroll read help, even i have to read the room where i was in. if i may suggest just make the reading more simple and the syntax more simple or friendly like zork

Talking with people individually always works better.

And not only helps with learning, but I think player engagement, and retention.

at times you need to take it public.


Wish I'd read this before I started lol

You can still learn!

Solid advice.

uh huh

I doubt newbies will read this, but I wish I knew this when I started. I never begged, though.

Read what? I'll wait for the video!

good article

I enjoy articles about MUD games

Don't we all?



I could have used this advice back when I started

unfortunately, it will be hard to read this for anyone who's truly a newbie


Unless you refer them to this article in-game, of course.

good list


well done

I like no means no

I could have used that particular piece of advice when I was a newbie. I probably pestered more than my fair share of orgmates.

I can't imagine starting over in a new game I have tried it a couple of times guess I'm just stuck in Achaea which is not a bad thing at alli love it there but good list overall kinda wish I had had it when I started

ugh, people who won't take no for answer when they want to tag along hunting are the worst.

Also don't whine and cry when you have to wait 1 real day to be embraced... 1 day... 1 day...

not whining and crying seems like a good idea in general, really

awesome advice



just lamekill them and avoid their rage.  Lots of splash

Horribly, Horribly mean.
What is lamekill anyway? 

hate it when newbies bet. When they ask nicely I don't mind so much, but begging? nuh-uh.

Interesting article! In my opinion, newbies are inevitably bound to work their way up a bit, before being able to but into everything. Yes, even the annoying ones.

Excelent advice. I must say that Achaea has a great help system which really helps out, not only when you're a newbie but also later in the game.



This is a good article for newbies. I'd also add to consider joining a House in Achaea. They're a wonderful source of help for a newbie and can also help you get used to the idea of roleplaying.

Join a house. Unless you are playing a newbie alt and don't need the help, a house is the best source of information and help that you can get. It is in their best interest to help you so you can eventually help the house.

really? make a splash in a sea of players? really?

about being polite and having common sense, finding  good mentor may be decisive, it is too bad that most mentors only take on proteges expecting benefits, and do not really care about the proteges

I found that you hit the level limit too early for mentors.  i think I had ben playing for twwo days - second day someone took me hunting - got me to level 50 in about an hour, suddenly can't have a mentor

That can make it kindof difficult. I went hunting on my second day and jumped up really quickly. Luckily I had my mentor before I went or I would have end up in that same boat.

are really important, I think. Especially if you're new to MUDs, you need a good one to help you out and who is willing to make time for that.

good read

great read





I don't think Mentors are that important. There's the Guides to help with stuff, then there's the Ambassador, who has aides (sorry if you're using a screenreader... you may have misinterpreted that). And there's also a Head of n00bs in each House.  Achaea's given to them on a plate!

For alts, though, mentor requirements can be a pain.

Mentors are over-rated. You are your own best teacher. And there is a help file somewhere on almost everything, however, a good first time orientation is invaluable.


Learning from older players now and again can help greatly, though


It is easy to get overwhelmed at the start if you don't have some kind of help simply because there is SO much information. You need to be shown/told what is or is not relavent to your situation.

It is easier in the moment to get the answer handed to you but you will be far better off if you are able to figure out where to find the answer yourself. That way later on you are able to find your own answers when there is noone else around.

Nice read

nice read

Spend some time with the HELP command. Not just reading the basic documentation, but also being familiar with how it works. If you type "HELP doll" in Lusternia for example, you will get 3 results pointing you at help files that contain the word "doll". The help system is a great way to learn about the game without having to ask anyone. Sometimes it can be hard to find what you're looking for though!

it's still pretty hard to make a big impact if you really were a true novice

Sometimes they leave bad impacts

agreed fully


yep yep

glad that we're still seeing new articles about. I do hope that it stays this way

is very bad mentors sadly... I try to be a good one and yet I have very few proteges but they are cool








The first time I tried Achaea, I became completely overwhelmed with the amount of files I was told to read. I never played anything like it before and every other paragraph was "Read HELP SO-And-SO and HELP THIS OR THAT. I gave up, but returned a few months later, tried again and realized I didn't have to read every help file in existence before I could play the game. I've been playing around nine years now. I still don't know everything, but I get along fine.

I think Houses can be guilty of giving their novices a lot of HHELP files to read, even before they've had their introduction, which is definitely overwhelming. While it's important to learn to try and find something out on your own before you ask, there needs to be a balance between that and interacting and learning with real people. You're right; you don't have to have read every single help file to play the game.

Yes! No means no!

probe everything +1

For this to be turned into a HHELP file.

as one in such a situation.







Good Read

I'll keep these tips in mind.



what about new oldbies?

I think you need to throw yourself into it a lot at the start andf not let up for a while.  Start conversations with as many people as no matter how frivilous.  Oh and don't join a Guild with no members on the same time that you are playing.  It would be nice if whenyou joined a Guild it told you how many actice members there were at the time you join so you are not alone straight away.

ask lots of questions, but not too many....and not from me...kidding.  Just be original!


Mentors are not what players keep making them out to be. While they can be helpful, they can also be very harmful when your house allows mentors' complete and total freedom to do what they want to their proteges. Having to rely on other players (who are not policed by the house's leadership) for advancement purposes can run players off if the mentor turns out to be insane.

This exact thing happened to one of my characters, and I'll never view mentors in the same light. I'll also never join a house that requires its new members to have mentors.

There has to be accountability with any position of authority.

plus 1



Great little "starter" guide.


free credit



Shamefully this.

This article had some great points. It's true that you get out of the game what you put into it.

An awesome article!

look around your org.  Find the things that need to be done.  Do them.  Don't be afraid to ask questions or speak up.


Credit comment.

ideas helped alot


I enjoyed reading again :)


Being genuinely new to Achaea, I've found the best way to integrate myself was to get active in my house and get myself recognized. I've met one or two people there and as a result, I've been able to talk to them about strategies, concepts and other helpful things that has facilitated my integration into Achaea.

If someone around my level says no, I kill them.

I firmly believe that if you are going to be immersed in a game that is all text, you should get uwed to reading helpfiles. with that said, having someone to interact with can make it all the more worthwhile  



Finding a good mentor is not neccicarily easy

try asking for advice

If you've a question, chances are enough people have asked it in the past that someone bothered to write it down. In IRE games, there's a help file system. Want to know more about quests? HELP QUESTS. What kind of armour you can use based on your race/class? HELP ARMOUR. There's something for just about anything. If you join a city and a House, they also have their own archive of help related files relevant to the organization and what's expected to be known and accomplished. Before asking, try reading. You'll save people time and show that you're resourceful and proactive, which are BIG pluses in a novice and don't go unnoticed.