TorilMUD – How Information Access Has Changed

More memories of the “old days.”  Part of my TorilMUD 15 year anniversary celebration.

Once upon a time, years back, there was a player who was very involved with SojournMUD/TorilMUD.

Cherzra, or something like that, was the name of his main character.  Somebody will come along and correct me, but that is the spelling that sticks in my mind.

He played a lot, made some zones, and generally worked with those who ran the game to help advance it.

Eventually though, there was a falling out with drama, bad feelings, and the like.

I was not a party to any of this.  Most of this is second or third hand information, and simplified at that.  I did not meddle in these sorts of affairs.  I hid from the gods and sought to draw as little attention to myself as possible.  But that is another tale.

So this player, angry at how things played out, decided to hit back at the game.

He took information he had acquired about the game, some of it obtained through his privileged position, and he…

PUBLISHED IT ON THE WEB!

Children cried!  Women fainted!  Men wailed and tore their hair out!

This was heresy!  This was not done!

There were MAPS!  Lists of ITEMS with STATS!  Details of QUESTS including where to find QUEST ITEMS and related mobs!

This was beyond the pale.  His accounts were deleted, his IP address blocked, and any access he had revoked.

Mentioning the mere existence of this web site or, heaven forbid, actually passing the URL to somebody in game, was a good way to get yourself in trouble.

Of course, we all went and peeked in at the site to see this illicit stash of information.  I think I still have some of the files stashed away in .zip archives on my drive.  Much of it is completely out of date now.

Eventually those with whom this player had clashed left the game and, his ire cooled, he took down the site.  He knew the enormity of his transgression and did not leave the data up out of respect to those still working on the game.  It was the decent thing to do.

This is how things were back then.  Publishing such information about a MUD was simply not done.  It got you warned, banned, and/or deleted.  Secrecy was the word of the day.  Players were to discover the world by themselves and keep that information to themselves.  No street signs allowed!

You might have a guild web site with limited access as a store house of information, as long as you kept it low key.  We had one for Shades of Twilight.  And even then we had people in guilds who would not share information about quests and the like.  That was cheating.

Today, however, what Cherzra listed would hardly make the starting point for an Allakhazam affiliate.  It might make for a second tier wiki at best.

The access to information that sites like Allakhazam gave us, access that felt so illicit back in the early days of EverQuest yet proved so necessary to many of us, began to feed back towards the MUD world.

TorilMUD got an official forum, so there was discussion about the game.  The team that ran the game began to share information with anybody who cared to read it.

Somebody put up a site with general maps of the realms and was not struck down by a thunderbolt.

Eventually a player name Alilsil set up a ZMud bot that had a database of all of the items he had identified.  You could send him a tell with a key word and the item name and he would send back the stats if they were in the database.  That was tolerated then accepted by the gods.  Today a player named Kegor has an advanced version of that running in the game.

Recently, I was told there is now a web site called TorilEQ that has a listing of equipment identified on TorilMUD with advanced search functions.  It turns out that this the web interface to the database Kegor uses.

I have yet to find a site with quest walk through guides for TorilMUD.  I am not saying there isn’t one out there, but I have not found it.

And standing here today, I am not sure which makes me boggle more, how much things have changed or the state of affairs that were the norm 10-15 years back.

7 thoughts on “TorilMUD – How Information Access Has Changed

  1. Tipa

    I remember when EQ was like that. I’ve told this story before, but will tell it again: My first character was a wizard, and aside from the rather unhelpful spell names, had no idea what any of my spells DID. They all had Vance-ian names (D&D was based on Jack Vance and Fritz Leiber’s stories as much as Tolkein). O’Keill’s Flickering Flames was, I think, the spell that I had no clue about but couldn’t find anyone ANYWHERE (or anything on the web) that gave me a clue.

    2 point damage shield. I used to try and kill monsters with it. I thought it was burning them to death.

    NOT knowing everything about the game going in, just little hints and tips and scribbled locations on graph paper, made the game what it was. And I bet that was the same thing that drove EQ’s predecessor, TorilMUD, as well.

    Dang. You know, every time I read one of your Toril posts, I get an urge to try it out :)

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  2. Sara Pickell

    In a sense I miss those days. More though, from the aspect that I don’t really want to take part in an information war with players. How, really, are you supposed to reach out to the players and impart a sense of mystery and magic, when the cold hard numbers are a mouse click away?

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  3. Ramon

    Sara and others: That’s something I’ve always wondered as well. I never really played WoW but signed up for a trial a long time after BK was released. Everyone around me seemed extremely focused jogging through the early grind. It wasn’t just twinks, also other trial players with guidebooks and the right websites. They’d scoff at me for not knowing where things are, what add-ons to install (“lol u got no monkeyquest”) and for actually reading the quest text to get some sense of the atmosphere :P

    I’m now on a free account on Anarchy Online. I’ve played that at launch day and for about 30 days, and it’s amazing how it changed. I’m not using any helper sites this time, and I think I can roughly feel the same way as with EQ back then.

    I met an NPC in AO who shares his philosophy about death and opinions on souls vs. cell scanners vs. reconstructing people on a cellular level and I was grinning, I wouldn’t have talked to that NPC had I been following a bunch of quest guides.

    So if you want to have that feeling again, you just have to create it for yourself and you will be at a disadvantage compared to other players. But perhaps it’s worth it for the better atmosphere.

    Related tidbit: Remember when those sites were called spoiler sites? My first EQ guild expressly forbid referencing spoiler sites in guild chat. Fun times ;)

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  4. Rondandal

    The player base is hardly what it used to be on Toril anymore. Sad really. I remember when getting a group together to go zoning was exciting and a pretty big deal, especially if you got to go along. Now I would compare the general attitude towards zoning as like going to the store – you know where you’re going, you know what you want, you go, you get it, you come home. There’s still plenty to explore though. I might not buy as many ID scrolls, but there’s probably as much forgotten about Toril as there is shared. I still enjoy wandering around and walking into places I wish I hadn’t, I’m just less likely to find anyone else to drag with me.

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  5. Miguel Cardenas

    Im from Mexico, my first player on Torilmud was in 1995, Im very good writing triggers and my first one was in HOMELAND to store all the items I had identified, I share it with Kegor and he made his own version, I SHARE my knowledge to another player whit the same skills. WHY?

    Because I know about 560 D&D players and only 3 created a player on Toril, because they found the game quite difficult to play, they hasnt ANY programming skills, the MUD is great but you CANT PLAY because there is too few people inside, if you need a certain item or quest for your char you must wait weeks for a party of people whit great eqq and good fellings to help you in echange of nothing,

    I just want a game more frendly to play, because an identify scroll is expensive and you simply cant memorize all the items in the game, plus the quest to get them.

    About 3 years ago, people didnt play evil chars and I Dont know why, my player was transfer from Homeland to Toril in a merge, NAKED and only at lvl 35, Admins never told me why they refuse to give me something to start.

    I return to the MUD about a week ago, too few players, same hard rules, If I cant find info about how to solve quest im gonna erase my Zmud again, and wait another 10 years, mabbe admins finally understand they must change if they want different results.

    Forgive my bad english please.

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  6. Oggsk

    Toril has changed the death penalty. You no longer risk losing gear with death, you are put in a location where you can either wait to be ress’d or enter a portal. The cost is damage to your equipment which can be repaired at any shop and a 10 min death fatigue. Ressing, greatly reduces both the cost and the time of the fatigue.

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