While I do not play much, I do keep an eye on TorilMUD still, and I am always interested when some long time mechanic gets changed. This time around it was age.
Back when it was created, in the Sojourn MUD days, it was an attempt to not only create a Forgotten Realms MUD, but also tried to bring Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2.0 mechanics, so back when I started playing it in 1993 was a place where you could find THAC0.
One of the mechanics that they brought over was age. Age was very much a thing in long term AD&D campaigns, but it was also something that could be quite relative. You could spend a year in a campaign where your character would only age days.
In a real time, always running video game though, time keeps passing even when you’re logged off. In TorilMUD one real life minute is one in game hour, so every day in game, where 1,440 minutes pass, ages you 60 days. You are aging five years a real life month or 60 years in a real life year.
I have characters from 2003 in the game, which means they’ve aged nearly a thousand years. Even my main, a half-elf who has had the rejuv treatment a few times, is pushing 700 years of age and has not benefited from the experience.
For elves, not a big deal. They just get better with age. But humans and half elves and… well… most everybody else… they have shorter life spans. A human rolls up at age 18, gains stamina into their 30s, and then starts to lose stamina and strength slowly after that. (Though, oddly , they kept gaining movement points, so you might have a weak, low hit point old paladin who could walk the length of the world as long as he wasn’t wearing any armor.)
To counter this, necromancers had a spell that would rejuvenate you, reducing your age to a more viable range. Like everything, there was some randomness to it, and inevitably I would be close to optimum and take one more hit only to roll big and end up younger than I wanted, losing a few hit point in that direction.
There was also an issue with paladins interacting with necromancers at one point, though I think they relaxed that rule.
But now the devs have decided that maybe aging isn’t the best idea. So with the latest patch notes they have declared eternal youth:
We’ve removed character aging with this patch. The concept of character aging is a relic from the past that adds nothing to the game today, while punishing players returning from a hiatus. Your character’s age has now returned to the realm of your personal roleplaying, where it belongs.
So it goes. It fit into the world of 1993, and perhaps wasn’t a bad thing when the MUD was only running four or five years between pwipes. But now, 17 years into its current run, age is really more of a punishment than a useful mechanic.
But isn’t that the way it goes with life?