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Interviews: Aurelius, Alysira, Yeroc; More rants; Juliana: On Good Areas

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  CoD Issue 71                          ||                       May 2003
Table of Contents |
                  | Desk Of The Editor: We Want Feedback
                  | CoD Feature - Interviews with Three New Immortals
                  |    + Aurelius                                
                  |    + Yeroc                                   
                  |    + Alysira                
                  | Rants From The Summit: One Last Good One
                  | Furthering The Builder's Art: On Good Areas & MoLS
                  | News From Around The Realms: GoC GoD GoM GoT GoV RB
                  | Funny Bones: Amusing Titles
                  | The CoD Quest:  
                  | Elisabet's Corner:  
                  | A Thank You to Ceirana and Kinux: from the guilds
  Editor: Juliana                             Immortal Sponsor: Elisabet
  Staff: Ilsensine, Kellandra, Khaimran, 
         Qaulorn, Shadia, Shadrack, Simone, Vaile.
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  Desk of the Editor                                       by Juliana


 Welp. Another month, another issue, but a new face as editor. Matching 
 the standards of the previous editors is going to be very tricky, but 
 I'll try and do my best. Please ignore the dust as I settle in, and feel
 free to keep those comments coming. The only way I'll improve is if you
 tell me what you like and what you hate. :)

 If you write some notes up and mudmail me or post it on the CoD board, 
 hey, we might even be able to start a "Letters From the Readers" column 
 in the near future. An additional venue I'm going to use for readers to
 talk back to us: the Cry of Despair section of the Realms of Despair 
 forum. Check it out and give us feedback and opinions!


 Our feature for this month is Qaulorn's interview with three new 
 immortals: Aurelius, Yeroc and Alysira. Ganemanoimu indulges in one 
 last good rant, and it's a long one, folks. I muse some on what makes 
 a area nifty, using the Mountain of Lost Souls as an example. All that,
 news, a quest and more this issue. Enjoy!

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  Interviews with Three New Immortals - Aurelius             by Qaulorn


 This month, our intrepid reporter Qaulorn chats with the new additions
 to the wizlist of the Realms, and finds out just how they're taking to 
 immortal life. Without further ado, let's meet Aurelius, Yeroc and Alysira.

 Qaulorn: Alright. How are you doing this fine day?

 Aurelius: I'm doing wonderful, thanks for asking. You?

 Qaulorn: I'm good. Just a few quick questions to occupy our readers' time.
          How are you enjoying your appointment as an Immortal?

 Aurelius: Quite well, actually. Somehow the transition for me wasn't too
           shocking, it has been pretty smooth and everyone, both mortal 
           and immortal, was well receptive.

 Qaulorn: That is quite in tune with my next question. You've found the
          transition quite smooth I take it. Anything specific to mention
          regarding the "change"?

 Aurelius: Well, the biggest change was definitely the amount of spam I 
           now receive. I basically went from only a small handful of 
           channels on, maybe racetalk, yell, ordertalk and tells... to 
           something like seventeen now. ;)

 Qaulorn: Do you feel your leadership in RnF helped prepare you for the
          administrative side of your position, or are you just learning   
          it all from step one?

 Aurelius: Well, the administration involved with RnF was much deeper than 
           many likely figure. Our inductions were handled almost entirely 
           by leadership, as well as some very similar duties to that of 
           the immortals'. Channel monitoring, title monitoring, etc.

 Qaulorn: So you feel it did help.

 Aurelius: Ahh, yes. It definitely did.

 Qaulorn: How long have you been playing now Aure?

 Aurelius: Well, it's been awhile now. Nearly 5 years or so, I'd say.

 Qaulorn: Do you feel complete in your playing experience?

 Aurelius: For what I wanted to do here, yes, I feel complete.

 Qaulorn: Have you always wanted to ascend to immortality, or was it something
          that occured to you later in your playing experience?

 Aurelius: Interesting question. It had always been a pipe dream, of course.
           A lot of younger players aspire to join the immortal ranks. Though,
           the path I took doesn't bear many immortals, that of course being
           roleplaying. I never thought it possible really until the last two
           months of my mortality.

 Qaulorn: In retrospect, would you change anything over your last five years
          of play?

 Aurelius: So many choices.

 Qaulorn: It's an open question, feel free to answer however you like.

 Aurelius: Uhm, no. Not really. I might have been a bit more outgoing earlier
           on, but I've reached a point at where I am happy, and in the end
           that's all that really matters.

 Qaulorn: Anybody in particular you'd like to thank for assistance or support
          over the years?'

 Aurelius: There are a ton. Aphrael, Graelynia, Darshanin, Cersei, Nimue, 
           Kacy, Tiki, Sigwulf, Hoerkin, Syriac, all of Rol na Feinne, and 
           most importantly Anmect and Rowanne. I'm sure the list could go 
           on and on, but I'll spare you and end with those.

 Qaulorn: Lastly, what are your goals for the future? Anything in mind?

 Aurelius: Well, the road is a broad one ahead, and I really haven't a clue
           as to where I'll end up. I think I'll let the wind of opportunity
           and desire take me where it will. :)

 Qaulorn: Anything else you'd like to add?

 Aurelius: Sure. I'd like to thank Anmect and Rowanne again. The best two
           friends, mentors, and oddballs a guy could have. Oh, and hello Sam.

 Qaulorn: Good enough for me. Thanks for your time Aurelius.

 Aurelius: Thank you, fine sir.

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  Interviews with Three New Immortals - Yeroc               by Qaulorn


 Qaulorn: Alright, on to the questions

 Yeroc: Shoot :)

 Qaulorn: How are you enjoying being an immortal so far?

 Yeroc: Oh, I have no complaints.  Everyone's been nice, and supportive, n
        helpful.  It's been good :)'

 Qaulorn: How have you found the transition? Anything specific that's made an
          impact in the "change"?'

 Yeroc: Well, obviously it's different.  I was always a creature of quiet
        before, few channels, guild and racetalk only most of the time.  So I
        find things a bit more noisy than I'm used to, but it's growing on me

 Qaulorn: Any adminstrative experience previously on RoD? Perhaps in GoA? I am

 Yeroc: I was never a leader in GoA, not really.  Helped out where I could.  I
        was igqc rep for them for the last year and a half, did a few other
        inner things, but no, nothing really administrative. I had been NL in
        Dwarven Nation for a little over a year, but I think a lot of people 
        are of the opinion that that doesn't count ;)

 Qaulorn: I would count NL, personally. There is still a degree of

 Yeroc: Just a different kind

 Qaulorn: Do you feel that being NL as well as helping out in GoA prepared you
          for the burdens of immortality? Helped you learn how to handle
          conflict, etc?

 Yeroc: Well, I wouldn't call you a liar if you said that :P  I think it is
        fair to say that practically everything I have learned and gained on
        Realms I owe either to the Guild or Nation, at least in part. 

 Qaulorn: So, overall... You'd say the answer is 'Yes, It did help.' =p
          How long have you been playing RoD?

 Yeroc: Little over 3 years now

 Qaulorn: Was Yeroc your first av?

 Yeroc: First character I ever made, been my main ever since

 Qaulorn: Do you feel complete in your playing experience?

 Yeroc: In what way do you mean complete?

 Qaulorn: Its an open question really. Answer as you see fit. I suppose I 
          mean... do you feel that you've accomplished all you intended to 
          do to this point?

 Yeroc: Ahh.  Well, yes, I have always felt good about my time here.  I
        accomplished a great many things I am proud of, and met many people
        I have been proud to know.  So if complete means happy, I would say 
        yes :)

 Qaulorn: Have you always wanted to ascend to immortality, or was it 
          something that occured to you later in your playing experience?

 Yeroc: It was never really a goal of mine, to be honest, not something I 
        ever sought

 Qaulorn: In retrospect, would you change anything over your last three years
          of play?

 Yeroc: Nothing comes to mind that I would want changed :)

 Qaulorn: Anybody in particular you'd like to thank for assistance or support
          over the years? (Take as long as you like.)'

 Yeroc: Well, I think I have thanked or will thank most of the people I would
        like to privately, already.  If I do so publicly I will forget people
        and single some out and I figure it best not to do that

 Qaulorn: As you wish. Lastly, What are your goals for the future? Anything
          in mind?

 Yeroc: Nothing specific, really.  Just like to see what happens :)

 Qaulorn: Anything else you'd like to add?

 Yeroc: Nothing comes to mind :)

 Qaulorn: Good enough for me. I'd like to thank you on behalf of the CoD staff
          for setting time aside for this interview. Have a nice day.'

 Yeroc: Preciate it :)

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  Interviews with Three New Immortals - Alysira             by Qaulorn


 Qaulorn: Alright, I'm going to ask you basically the same question set as
          my other two interviews this month. Keeps it simple and cross-
          referencing the answers can be interesting. 

          Feel free to respond however you like to any of the questions. How 
          are you enjoying being an immortal so far?

 Alysira: It's great, a wonderful experience.

 Qaulorn: How have you found the transition? Anything specific that's made
          an impact in the "change"?

 Alysira: The sudden leave from the Guild of Mages and my friends was hard,
          I wasn't expecting it at all... But they are being wonderful
          about it =)

 Qaulorn: Do you feel that your involvement in GoM, on the Council of Mages
          and other various councils helped you prepare for immortality?

 Alysira: Yes, the Guild of Mages and Newbie Council helped me so much over
          the years, in more ways than the obvious. I don't know where I'd
          be without them.

 Qaulorn: You answered my next question quite well. What impact has your
          experience in NC had?

          How long have you been playing RoD?

 Alysira: I've been playing for around two and a half years, give or take a few

 Qaulorn: Was Alysira your first av?

 Alysira: My first avatar, yes, but not my first character.

 Qaulorn: Do you feel complete in your playing experience?

 Alysira: There are some things that I would have enjoyed to do, but I have no
          real regrets =) I'm sure I have a lot of playing left to do

 Qaulorn: Have you always wanted to ascend to immortality, or was it something
          that occured to you later in your playing experience?

 Alysira: I only wanted it in the last few months... Before then I had just
          been obsessed with GoM and NC =)

 Qaulorn: In retrospect, would you change anything over your last couple
          years of play?

 Alysira: No. Although there has been ups and downs, I have made many
          incredible friends, and I don't know what I'd do without them.

 Qaulorn: Anybody in particular you'd like to thank for assistance or
          support over the years? (Take as long as you like.)

 Alysira: Too many to mention without missing someone...But everybody from
          the Guild of Mages, Newbie Council, and the Cry of Despair staff
          I learnt so much from all of them.

 Qaulorn: Lastly, What are your goals for the future? Anything in mind?

 Alysira: Just to live life as it comes =)

 Qaulorn: Anything else you'd like to add?

 Alysira: No, thanks for the interview Q =)

 Qaulorn: Thank you.
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  Rants From the Summit                                 by Ganemanoimu


 First, I want to apologize for the appalling lack of quality in my recent
 articles.  I've been a little stumped for ideas and had difficulty finding
 motivation.  Needless to say, this month has provided ample reason for me
 continue my incessant ranting.  As of such, this will probably be slightly
 longer than usual.  And since I don't really want to make too many weird
 separate articles, I'm going to cram in a few other points in.  Think of 
 them as more mild annoyances, as opposed to full-out rage-inducing phenomena.
 First, I know a number of you have access to those lovely databases which
 provide you with the names and stats of all eq in existence.  However, you
 should be aware of their relative value.  A lot of stuff that is flagged 
 clan or those with amazing stats are very rare and difficult to get hold of.  
 Their value can and is usually measured in seth sets.  If you don't know what
 a seth set is, you probably can't afford the item.  Seth sets consist of 
 Lifebane, shroud of darkness, and Demonic Whispers.  They're approximately 
 valued at 400mil, 325 mil, and 250 mil respectively.  My best advice is to
 ask your friends or organization members for eq at your level so you have 
 realistic expectations.

 While I'm on the topic of relatively new players, I should also point out 
 that I strongly dislike players who place themselves on pedestals above 
 newbies. For example, when someone asks a question on the quest channel, 
 rather than than screaming at them and saying HELP QUEST.  Perhaps it would
 be better to answer their question and direct them to the appropriate 
 channel.  They don't know better and are just in need of a little guidance.
 Acting like the elitist jerk you are doesn't help the situation.  And 
 frankly, as smart or as buff as you think you are, there are always people
 better.  So, don't think you're at the top of the heap.  You're just another
 face in the crowd.  Also, everyone started as a newbie, you only get mad at
 them after you've told them 3 times directly.
 You're going to find that this article is going to be bouncing between
 different viewpoints, so bear with me and realize that I'm merely seeking a
 balance between two extremes.  Anyway, as a new player, you should try to
 understand that while other players are willing to HELP you, they're not
 willing to DO things for you.  Take a look at this example.

 A: 'How did you get the moleskin patch from Cress?'
 B: 'Why don't you figure it out?'
 A: 'Because I didn't figure it out'
 B: 'Hence my saying why don't you.'
 A: 'Because I tried but didn't'
 B: 'Therefore people who have should automatically give you
     the information?'
 A: 'Why not?'
 Hi, do you see this conversation going nowhere fast?  Now I'm not going to
 argue whether the information should have been made available or not, nor do
 I really care.  However, what pisses me off is a lazy newbie who believes 
 that he/she should be given the information because, he TRIED.  Sorry folks, 
 if your best isn't good enough, you're just going to have to be better.  

 Now, if you wanted to be more productive, you might have tried "Does getting
 the moleskin patch have anything to do with...?"  Or that kind of line of 
 questioning. Anyway, point being, just because the information exists, 
 doesn't mean you have a right to it.  
 Another point that might help to mention in these above situations is
 politeness.  Now, I'm sure your mother will tell you to be polite for those
 nice-ish moral/ethical reasons.  However, I don't pretend to be a nun, and
 neither do you.  Frankly speaking, politeness gets you a lot farther in messy
 situations then being abusive.  As much fun as it can be.  And if you are
 actually expecting the person to do something, perhaps you should politely
 hint at it instead of making the person instantly go on the defensive.  Take
 the following retarded statement.  
 A:  No offense hun, but you aren't leadership material.  
 First, this statement from someone who doesn't really play anymore, makes it
 somewhat illegitimate.  Secondly, to point out the obvious: "no offense, but
 you suck," is going to be pretty offensive no matter how you try to cover
 it in whipped cream.  Like what do you want the person to say?  "You are
 absolutely right, I suck as a leader."  How about saying "I think you should
 have dealt with the situation with so and so better because he/she didn't 
 seem to get the message."  
 Why do I suddenly feel like I'm in an ESL (English as a Second Language) 
 class?  Like does this not scream out as common sense to you? Perhaps you 
 should remove yourself from the computer and learn a few social skills?  
 Getting a few slaps or knocked on your behind will teach you what's right 
 or wrong really quickly.  Perhaps we should ask the immortals for a weekly
 shutdown of a few hours to force you to interact with people.  People who 
 can see your ugly face and make their own rude comments.  My justification
 for being rude?  You've probably been told this a million times and maybe
 eventually you'll wake up.  

 Anyway, continuing on, let us examine the ever-popular statement "It's just
 a game."  Personally, I hate this statement.  This statement has been used 
 to justify everything from character stealing to buying eq with RL cash to 
 god knows what.  The facts are pretty damn simple, yes it is a game.  

 However, this doesn't mean that you shouldn't try to play hard to do well.  
 No one plays a damn game just to lose it.  The whole point is that you want
 to come out on top.  However, there are no set terms for winning or losing 
 here, so it's all in your head whether you are achieving the goals that you

 Also, it's perfectly fine to be upset about DTing and losing a set of eq.  
 You don't have to be all like, "Oh it doesn't matter because it's just a 
 game."  Ask anyone playing on a NHL hockey team that just got eliminated from
 the playoffs, does anyone say "Oh, it's just a game?"  No, they say, "Well 
 we didn't play as hard as we should have, our opponent played really well and
 we weren't able to handle it."  Yes, they are disappointed, upset or whatever.
 On the other hand, they aren't going to go jump off a building because they 
 lost, there's still next season, and anything is possible.

 Now swinging right along on our tour of morons of the Realms, as you look
 to your left, we find ourselves at certain leaders and administrators of 
 Despair. Everyone says, they are volunteers, they are spending their own 
 time to make your and your organization's life better.  That's all very 
 well, however, leadership is still a position of responsibility.  

 Just because you volunteered to do it doesn't mean you're allowed to suck.
 If you can't handle the burden of leadership, don't do it.  And when I say 
 handle, I mean to actually perform the duties of leadership.  It's not good 
 enough to log on, lock yourself in your room with a few favoured organization
 members and chat amongst yourselves.  It's the job of a leader to mingle with
 masses and lead them.  

 Personally, I believe very strongly in leading by example.  How can you ask 
 anyone to do something if you aren't doing it yourself?  And yes, I'm a 
 leader as well, so don't think I'm just talking for the sake of talking.  If 
 you're not prepared to do the best for your organization, then for the sake
 of the organization and all of its members, leave already.  You're not doing
 them a favour.

 There's a line in the Guildmasters handbook that says to give your worst
 guild member every chance to redeem or prove him or herself because your
 worst guild member may eventually turn out to be your best guild member.
 However, I'd just like to point out that that's a pretty rare case and more
 often than not, your worst guild member, is your worst guild member. It's
 not pretty, but sometimes you just got to give them the boot.

 Also, as a member of your organization, you have a duty to be active and
 to help out with activities and such.  Don't join and expect that nice
 phat runs will be handed to you on a silver dish.  You aren't there to
 reap the benefits of some experienced buff people already inside.  You're
 there to contribute to the team.

 Also, if you're retired or aren't really active in the organization, please
 do not complain about activity or anything.  If you really cared, you'd make
 an effort to do something.  I can't stand people who just sit there and talk
 and talk and talk but don't do anything.

 Frankly speaking, if you don't like your organization, you can always change
 it.  Don't like the people?  Get your friends to apply and join.  Don't like
 the activity?  Go start your own runs and do things.  You don't need a leader
 to hold your hand the whole way.

 Ultimately you can mold the organization in the way you want it, next thing
 thing you know, you'll be the next leader and have the official authority 
 to do it.  Hey, and if worst comes to worst and you can't get done what 
 should be done?  Just quit the organization and be done with it.  Don't 
 spend the rest of your life picking at scabs until it scars.  Move along 
 with your life.  
 Thanks for hearing out a long-winded, senile, old geezer.
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  Furthering the Builder's Art                              by Juliana


On Good Areas and the Mountain of Lost Souls (MoLS)

 -= Story / Setting / Theme =-
 It's no accident that this is my first listed criteria. An area with an 
 intriguing theme stands out. Its originality helps a player remember more
 of it, as opposed to being yet another forest area with trees and animals
 in it. MoLS certainly passes this with flying colors. I was fascinated 
 when the initial premise of the mountain prison was explained to me, and 
 I sure felt nervous "signing away my rights" before I could enter the 
 area proper.

 Remember that high potential is not enough for a setting. It has to be
 realized. The entire area has to be consistent. The storyline should be
 threaded through everything. The history and background of the area should
 influence how the area looks now. The Barren Peaks geo has enormously high
 potential. And I've never been more pained and frustrated that the original
 builder's vision was never realized to completion. Instead it is a scarred
 patchwork of things that could have been, unexplained mysteries and
 insufficient clues scattered amidst empty corridors of rooms and death traps.

 -= Size and Density =-
 There's a reason why we call geos "geos" and not areas, you know. We realize
 that the intended function of the geos are different from that of a proper
 area. They're structural, skeletal frameworks while an area is the meat 
 itself. At the risk of belaboring an obvious point, empty strings of rooms 
 with pretty but repeated room descriptions do not a good area make. 

 If you're going to make an area, err on the side of the "small." For some
 inexplicable reason, a dense area crammed full of things to do in a teensy
 number of rooms feels less problematic than a giant area with four mobs in
 it. I'm a firm believer in each room of an area having a unique appearance
 and function. Excess corridors and junction rooms make my hair stand on end.
 Perhaps it's just the thought of trying to write room descriptions for them,
 when I know they have no use except to take up space.

 I have to admit that many areas pull off corridors, junctions and linking 
 rooms with more finesse than the geos. And it can be argued that if one 
 wanted to simulate an area realistically, and give it some size and bulk, 
 -some- space needs to be taken up by essentially empty rooms. 

 If one looks very closely at MoLS, it contains a considerable number of
 empty corridor rooms, such as those on the snowy mountain top and those
 threading through the prison levels. Yet it doesn't feel as if it is
 wasted space. They're not corridors to be dashed through with no attention
 paid to them. Each room description is different and well-written, adding
 to the mood of creeping through the different environments of the prison.

 Perhaps the addition of aggressive mobs to each prison level helps in this
 respect, because it slows the player down enough to keep him looking around
 at his surroundings.

 The alternate school of thought, which I happen to prefer, is more 
 representational than simulational. It comes from building areas to a vnum
 limit. And it might also reflect my leanings towards interactive fiction
 games. MUSHes also tend toward this style.

 We don't need six rooms spaced in a rectangular shape to indicate a large
 dining room, thank you. Not unless you have something different and
 interesting going on in every corner. Just describe it in a single eight
 to ten line room and we can use our imaginations.

 To indicate bulk and space, make your descriptions more general and use more
 sentences. Off the top of my head, I can't think of an example from another
 builder's area, but I do believe Faya and I succeeded in representing the
 flavor of each sea-elven Kingdom (made up of whole cities) in about three
 rooms per region in Mathlaan Lagoon.

 -= Programs =-
 For an area to remain memorable and withstand the test of time, the standard
 of writing should be high in general, all the nitty gritty details have to be
 filled in, programs functioning without a visible flaw. You should make me
 forget everything I know about building and smaug progs, and immerse me into
 a believable area.

 Programs should offer me feedback through well-written echoes. If I put
 weight on a pressure plate, I want to know that it actually sinks and not
 just have an exit open silently without warning. MoLS carries this out 

 Programs should also work invisibly. If I am supposed to drop something upon
 entering a room, for heaven's sake, please check that I am carrying the item
 first. If you just force me to drop  and I don't have it, the mud
 echoes "You are not carrying that" back to me. That completely ruins the 
 sense of immersion, since I realize that I've just been forced to do 
 something by a badly-written program. (This flaw is not found in MoLS, but 
 in an area I shall leave unnamed.) 

 A notable "trademark" characteristic found in all Kinux/Selina areas is that
 of the atmospheric echo. Most of their rooms randomly echo a sentence that
 adds to the mood and atmosphere of the area, be it torches flickering as a
 chill breeze blows past them or the sounds of a living forest. This is a
 simple thing to do, yet it adds so much immersiveness to the environment.
 I've nearly jumped out of my skin a few times while exploring MoLS before
 realizing, oh, just another atmospheric echo.

 One possible way of improving on this great idea is to include a number of
 different echos instead of one per room. There is a fine line to walk between
 atmospheric and just plain spammy, however. Ideally one should randomize the
 echoes within one random program, instead of adding ten to a room. Thus it
 avoids the low chance that all the echos will fire at the same time and 
 create a paragraph of spam.

 -= Linearity / Narrative / Story / Puzzles =-
 Yes, the category of Story repeats twice. That's just because I find it so
 important. I don't just plow through an area looking for good pieces of
 equipment, although that helps in the longevity of the area on this 
 particular eq-focused mud. I want adventure in my areas. I want to boldly
 traipse through myriad obstacles in an attempt to defeat the dread ogrillion
 of the Gauntlet! I want to travel through an Excalibur-influenced dreamscape
 in my quest to find Mordred and Merlin. I want to head deeper and deeper into
 the mountain dungeon to find that demon rumored to be imprisoned within.

 Most areas with an avatar-level mob achieve some degree of success in this.
 It just makes sense after all to put it at the end of a hard-to-reach path.
 The tough part is to make the obstacles just challenging enough, but not so
 frustrating that it turns players away. What advice do I have? Check out the
 Bill of Players' Rights by Graham Nelson, an adventure game programmer,
 and a Classification of Puzzles by Gareth Rees. 

 Use your common sense and make something -you- wouldn't mind running through.
 Something fair. On no account should you include death rooms and DTs just
 because it'll be fun to watch morts run into them when your area ports!

 There should be enough clues pointing to the desired solution. Assume 
 players are extremely dense and do all but throw the walkthrough at them.
 Keep giving positive feedback via echos if they approach the right direction
 or do something close to the correct thing. For example, if you walk into 
 the temple ruins in Bartok Grove carrying a particular object, there is an
 echo cluing you in to a new fact. If they do the wrong thing, tell them it's
 wrong via an echo, and include a hint that points in the right direction. 

    "There's a fine line between a challenge and a nuisance:
     the designer has to think, first and foremost, like a player 
     (not an author, and certainly not a programmer)."
                               - Graham Nelson, 'The Craft of Adventure'

 The only way to get this fine-tuned is to playtest with real players. If
 you've just dreamed up the greatest quest in the world, after you program
 it, get a few of your friends to solve it individually. Sit with them and
 watch them. Ask them to tell you their line of thought and to describe what
 they're trying to do. Without a doubt, they'll surprise you by trying new 
 things, breaking other things, cruising through what you thought was a 
 difficult part of the puzzle, and then getting bogged down in something 
 you thought was completely obvious. Take copious notes and start fixing 
 all the trouble spots. 

 As for linearity in an area, a certain amount of it is good. Without it,
 you wouldn't be able to create a narrative. And if you can't tell a story,
 the most your area can be is some sort of a SimPark simulation. Which isn't
 to say that a realistic simulation isn't good, but there's a limit to the
 amount of Real World Physics(TM) you can apply to a mud, before it stops 
 being fun.

 Yet I wonder if things might not be further improved by branching linearity
 and alternate endings. MoLS does what it does splendidly, but when push 
 comes to shove, once you've solved it once, there's no more suspense inherent
 in the area. The arrangement of its rooms is intrinsically linear, pushing 
 you toward the big demon at the end of the dungeon. You can only go backward 
 or forward. 

 It'll take a lot more planning and building, but it might be nice to see in
 the future some areas in which your alignment or you yourself decide the
 path you take. To take MoLS as an example, what about possibilities where
 you could bring something to the demon for a reward if you were evil, or try
 to free it from its prison? 

 The one place I feel MoLS falls short in, is in the degree of choice of
 certain puzzles. Perhaps it's my RP background winning over mobkill, but I
 would have never thought of brutally murdering prisoners to get any items,
 especially when it was established that you could talk to Cedrikor near the
 beginning of the area. 

 Then there's the forced "torture on the rack" sequence to get further along
 the path to the demon. It's wonderfully coded. I greatly admire the complex
 programming. But it makes me a degree uncomfortable to do it to a fellow 
 player. It would be logical to allow a neutral or evil-aligned character to
 do such things to get past the obstacle. But for the devout-aligned, an 
 alternate solution to the same puzzle couldn't have hurt.

 -= Conclusion =-
 I've shamelessly used MoLS as a foundation for discussing random opinions I
 hold about good areas. This is simply because it's one of my favorite areas
 and does so many things so well. It's memorable, so it's stuck in my head 
 even though the last time I went through it was several months ago. There's
 tons more I want to say about including lots of mini-quests and a good mix
 of mob difficulties that MoLS achieves perfect scores in, except that I've
 run out of space. Doubtless there's a lot of other important stuff that I 
 have missed as well for this column. 

 At the same time, no area is completely perfect, and it would be remiss 
 of me to analyze one without mentioning what I think are its shortcomings.
 All the above are personal, subjective opinions and I hope Kinux and 
 Selina forgive me for deconstructing their area. :)

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  Guild/Order News                                        by Kellandra


 Guild of Clerics
 This month has been a long and difficult month with our Guild First
 Gatersade moving onto other endeavours.  We wish him all the best for
 the future!  You've been a great leader and done so much for the guild!

 Our new Guild Second is the newlywed Silfaere! Congratulate her on her
 recent marriage to Mnenarchment (as Shadia) and her appointment to the
 ranks of crazed kumquat leaders. We're sure she'll do an awesome job.

 A number of other clerics including Cissal, Ingwe, and April have
 retired and cashed in their Carrot(TM) Pension Plan.  So we sat around,
 got drunk, fed each other dirty carrots and began to write some poetry to
 ease the suffering!  Enjoy!

     Feet propped on a gnome, I sat.
     I read the notes, plain and flat.
     All you who depart,
     You break my poor heart;
     Your ankles were so nice and fat
                                  - Zancnor

     There once was a guild full of clerics,
     whose members fell into hysterics
     when, soused on merlots,
     ankle-bitten by gnomes,
     they forgot where to find dirty carrots.
                                          - Taiya

     Joining the guild that is the best
     It is oh so much better than the rest
     I must be real lucky
     Cause they all chose me
     GoC rocks! I do attest!
                         - Annale
 Also, the Guild of Clerics had a lot of fun with this year's IGPK and was
 very proud to show that clerics CAN fight as we tied first place!  Thank you
 to everyone who made the IGPK possible!

 Care to join in the whacky fun?  Come visit us at nw, 2w, 2n, e, u
 from DH square and engage in the funnest times this side of the Shattering!

 Guild of Druids
 This month, Delana was elected 2nd and Horlore moved up to 1st. 
 The guild wishes good luck to Scathach on her life in the guild with
 fewer responsibilities.  Yulia, Gribble, Eibhleann, Miraloma and Nire
 joined the guild this month as new inductees, Rasukonza is now an 
 IC veteran and Grezelle is a new IC trainee. 

 Guild of Mages
    Runs this month in the Guild of Mages included Bahamut, 
 Jade, Legba, Dobra, Nelson, Costerix, Father Time, Rez, Kahl,
 and Carnifex. 

    Recently there has been a return of mages from the past to
 the guild including GarytT and Lectral, with frequent visits by
 many other old and wisened mages. We hope to see more of these
 old friends. New mages to the guild are Dukhrem, Abremelin, and

    This month we were contacted by Obruo, the son of Pseulak. 
 He is seeking to follow in his mother's footsteps and has 
 challenged the Guild of Mages to a showdown. His goal is to 
 rid the lands of magic once and for all. With the loss of our 
 beloved Il'Liara the mages due to his mothers attacks, we now 
 seek vengeance upon our ancient foe. May magic be with us now, 
 and always. 

 "Strength in intelligence, Power in wisdom, Unity in kinship"

 Guild of Thieves
 April has been a busy month with many guild members working hard on their
 ARC. Congratulations to Theodor, Amorthan, and Brennar for achieving their
 respective levels this month. Runs have been the primary focus this month 
 with an average of 1 run a day with 3 kills per run each time. Good work 
 thieves, keep it up.

 IGPK saw the guild tie for 1st place with GoC. Congratulations to all those
 who participated. Special grats to Radihatarn who got most KB again for this
 year. Abelard proudly wears our newest medal around his neck. A gold prize 
 was also awarded to the guild which will be decided upon as to how it will be
 used in the near future. Thanks also go to Zilensko for setting up and 
 running various pk practices and to Radihatarn for organising the pk teams 
 that went in for the competition. Everyone benefited from the practices.
 Our newest inductees this month are Faardokyn, Zydane and Nokomis. Please all
 welcome them and make them feel at home in our Guild. Also congratulations go
 to Lox, Amorthan, Tuile, Flarene, Jharkus and Krangari for becoming full
 members in the guild.

 The Quest Council put on a quest this month. Ardaria placed 1st, thank you
 to all those who participated. Fun was had by all. A realms trivia quest was
 also done. Thieves found it challenging but a lot of fun with many realising
 they need to bone up on realms trivia.
 Well, the wind is warm, flowers are blooming, birds are twittering...
 must mean that winter is over and the thieves are out and about exploring,
 running, making friends. Any level 20 thieves who are interested in joining
 our Guild, please read the notes in the Recruiting Office 3s 2w n w of DH []
 or contact a member who has IT in their title. They will be more than happy
 to answer any questions you may have about joining the Guild.
 The Triad

 Salutations from the Guild of Vampires,

 April was a busy month for turning Chylder into fully developed Guilded
 Vampires. The Guild proudly welcomes Taloche, Beltim, Tantaloc, Savron,
 Fargoth, Jozan, Iuxta, and finally Pavol. May they find solace in our 
 unholy halls forever more.

 The Methuselah and Sires would like to congratulate Nymath as she is now a
 fully licensed Sire. Tyrie is in the final stages of her Sire training and
 is showing much promise.

 As always, if you are a Vampire of level 20 or above please drop by the
 Secluded Parlor just west of Moloch and fill out an application today. The
 Guild of Vampires is located on Law Ave next to Annir's Clothing. The most
 recent incarnation or our Web Page can be found at:

 Darkness is a part of everything - We are that darkness. From the darkness
 comes a power - That power resides in us. We have banded together to help
 those of us who need aid, to guide those who seek to learn.
                                            ----Whispers of Aalakab-----

 The Order of Ringbearers welcomes Sumitra and Achika to our family 
 upon completion of their acolyte period.
 We would also like to thank our team leaders namely, 
 Thartos for leading our Explorer Team,
 Lirotess for leading our Induction Team and
 Reatha for co-leading our Elite Fighting Force 
 for good leadership, comaradarie and strong dedication.  

 Ringbearers strive to grasp the rings of Truth, Honor and Knowledge, and if
 you are able to uphold these rings, applications can be forwarded to our
 members with IT in their titles.
 For more information, please approach one of our ITs for an RB guide, or read
 help inductions or check out our webpage at:
Tempus StarProfit

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  Amusing Titles                                             by Aeriel


 Abelard, your friendly Wally-world greeter. 
 Barthisaurus Rex... and you thought we were extinct...
 Devensea....dirrrrrrrrty old man.
 Eihpem, retteb si sdrawkcab semitemos.
 Fianavar has the most cuddly and creative title. 
 Gaan is a bad man!
 Galloff is working on a title 'cuz her last one was dumb.
 Hope struts her sequined, beaded bumlocks. [Inductee] (MaidenStone)
 Janice thinks Ligor is a nymphomatic necropheliac.
 Keatrix LifeBringer: Queen of Delayed Reactions. 
 [AFK] Korim Vancour - rbeep in case of fire. 
 Larson: Luck can't last a lifetime unless you die young.
 Luniz LifeBringer has issues, but likes Miss May best! 
 Nelinde Orbb'Jhinrae, Purveyor of Fine Poisoned Foods. 
 Nelkum the Stud McMuffin (say LSPELLS)
 Milani"Good girls go to heaven. Bad girls go everywhere.
 Seritious is ready to kick Brakky butt.
 Syriac remembers High School lunch, can he sit here? No?  (Rol Na Feinne)
 Taila: don't find papercuts romantic (Coven Hierophant)
 Tainiponi gives free rides!
 Zayanne"Witches get itches too.   . . "
 Zaymian is training please bother. 

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  For the Storymaker                                       by Elisabet


This month's quest is again for the wordwise. Below you will be given a list
of 10 items. Your mission is to write a story (no more than 3 mudnotes) using
as many of those items as you can. Stories will be judged on their creativity
and those using the most items. You must mudmail Elisabet with your story
no later than Midnight, on May 24, again it may not be more than 3 notes
long. Stories must be kept clean in nature, and should not be rude. As always,
if you have questions, please ask, don't assume.

Here are the 10 in-game items:
1.  A fish skeleton
2.  A strip of bear meat
3.  A beautiful sunflower
4.  An osprey talon
5.  A pale yellow dress
6.  A small ginseng root
7.  A steaming cup of hot chocolate
8.  An unused journal
9.  A sundial
10. The robe of anointment

Good luck with your creation. I can't wait to see them!


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  Elisabet's Corner                                        by Elisabet


Hello Readers!

Welcome to the new format of the Cry of Despair. I am quite excited to 
see the rest of the changes that Juliana and the staff have in store for
us. I'm sure it will be full of great and new things.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or concerns, please let
a member of the Staff know, or post a message to our group in the
Realms forums.

Happy reading,
Elisabet Evenstar-Atal

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                             Ceirana and Kinux


 Ceirana and Kinux were appointed Overseer and Advisor to Guilds respectively
 this month last year, more specifically on May 13. So this month marks their
 one year anniversary in these positions.
 Both of them have done a wonderful job as advisor and overseer. They helped
 to put in the new guilds, to iron out the various problems that crept up as
 people explored and tested everything. They have been there whenever needed
 to listen, to recommend courses of action on various topics to all Leaders.
 They have been invaluable to us all over the past year.

 Thank you for everything you've done for us! 
 From Angelea Endymion, on behalf of all the Leaders.