How to have a successful and fulfilling career on a TFE mud - A guide for newbs.
Submitted by Gnoggh

Please keep in mind this is just one person's opinion, and as such, may be disagreeable to some. So be it.

The Basics - Learning Stuff. First and foremost, you, the Newb, need to make the effort to educate yourself about the game.

Read the help files.
There is a wealth of information here. You will continue to use the help files throughout your career as a TFE denizen - you might as well get used to it.

The Shoes Make The Man - Equipment counts.
Get armor, as much as you can wear. Get a weapon, the best you can find. The best deals are generally on auction. Ask for newbie items. Ask other players what kinds of things you can wear and how you might acquire them. Don.t ask them if they have anything in the bank you can use. Items wear down, some much more quickly than others. Do not let your equipment break unless you can replace it easily. If you cannot afford to repair it at some point, put it in the bank until you can. If you need cash, try auctioning a worthless item for five or ten thousand coins. You never know when someone might take pity on you and bid on the item. though this might backfire, especially if you appear too greedy.

Make a map.
If you do not have an innately perfect sense of space and layout, you will eventually get lost. If you want to find your way home again, maps are very helpful. The maps need not be detailed or complete, but you should know enough about the geography of your immediate location to get to all the required shops and to an area where you can kill things. Also, it helps to identify those places where the mobs are too high a level for you to tread. I would also suggest that once you have a relative grasp of the geography and are somewhat comfortable moving between towns that you throw this idea out the window and strike out with the intention of getting lost. There is no teacher like experience.

Learn the lingo. Mobs are monsters.
Pop means to get an item though any one of a variety of methods. Countless others. Pay attention - most of the meanings can be deduced though context.

Learn the etiquette.
Regarding Channels:
Use the appropriate channel (help channels). Period. Many people elect to close certain channels because of personal preference. When you circumvent other people's decisions by using an inappropriate channel, you are not respecting their decision. This may make them angry, less likely to answer questions, or even make them filter you (help filter).
Regarding questions:
Newbs have an obligation to learn as much as they can as fast as they can. Most of the players on this mud have been around for some time and know many things. Many are happy to answer questions. Some people like it so much they become Avatars - players who help other players! You can tell who is an Avatar because they have an AV next to their name on the who list (help who). Approach an Avatar with your question first, if one is available. Preferably by using the newbie channel. Many players become annoyed when someone asks the same question five times because they were not paying attention when it was answered the first four times. Or when the answer to the question is in a help file the person was already told to read. Or when a question is asked repeatedly because no answer is immediately forthcoming. A good way to approach this is to ask on a public channel if someone is available to provide you assistance - and ask them to contact you. When asking a question to a person directly you may get a message indicating that person is in combat - that moment is not a good one to ask a question. Allow 5 minutes for people to get back to you because it can easily take that long (and longer) to complete a run. A 'Run' is when a group or individual stomps through an area as quickly as possible killing mobs in the area. See my point about group roles to understand why it might be dicey for someone to respond to a request for assistance in this circumstance.

Regarding groups:
During a run, chatter is bad. It distracts everyone from performing their intended roles. Some groups never shut up, and that's ok as long as the group is good with it. Some tanks will kick people out of their groups for not shutting up. Know the line - try not to cross it.

Learn Group roles of the different classes.
Grouping is the best way to utilize your abilities to gain experience for yourself and your comrades. Each class provides something unique to a group. Clerics obviously heal. Warriors and Monks can do a ludicrous amount of damage quickly. Paladins make good tanks (damage soakers and group leaders) and can step in to provide some healing. Mages can tailor their spells to many specific situations. Rangers have a little of everything, as do Bards. When a group of adventurers get together to run an area, they usually each have a specific role that they play, and during the run the success or failure (often DEATH - help death) of the group depends on each person playing their role accordingly. I will outline an example:
The following group is going to try to kill Bulliwugs, which are vicious sneaky frogmen with poisonous bites.
Abe WARRIOR - Abe is going to tank (ask on newbie if you still do not know what I mean) and lead the group around the area.
Betty MONK - Betty is going to try to bash the mob knocking it to the ground so it cannot hit the tank.
Chuck MAGE - Chuck is going to keep the spell "Detect hidden" on so the hidden (remember I said sneaky!) Bulliwugs will not take the party unaware.
Donnie CLERIC - Donnie will heal the tank (during battle even) so that the tank does not die.
Eduard BARD - Eduard will sing for the group while they are resting between runs to provide numerous benefits to the group.
Frank PALADIN - Frank is going to back up Donnie healing, provide the tank with cure poisons so that Donnie can focus on keeping the tank alive, and maybe rescue anyone who happens to get accidentally attacked.

Now if each person focuses on his or her role, the group works efficiently. Now lets say Betty is slacking off... The tank takes more damage because no one is knocking the monster to the floor. The group spends more time resting, less time killing.
If Chuck doesn't bother to tell the tank where the hidden mobs are. Surprise! And it may not be the tank that the mob decides to attack.
If Donnie stops healing the tank, then the tank may die and the question becomes Who Will the Bulliwug Attack Next?
If Eduard forgets to sing, everything slows down because they don't have the numerous boons that Eduard's singing provides.
If Frank doesn't meet his obligations the run may be slower, the cleric may run out of healing power too soon (like in the middle of a battle!) - the cleric may have to spend time and mana on curing poison on the tank that could be spent healing the tank, and someone might get jumped and die.

Long term results for all of this: Less XP and loot for everyone. Usually, your group members will be quite vocal about what the think of your performance in the group. Often it is positive. Sometimes it is not. Think of this as constructive criticism. Your reputation will precede you. People who fail to meet these obligations will find it more difficult to join groups. Those who make a habit of failing to meet these obligations run the risk of getting kicked out of groups, may find themselves abandoned in the middle of an area, or could even possibly be dragged to a player kill area and dealt with in the most severe fashion possible. That would be an extreme example, but if someone dies repeatedly due to another person simply being AFK and not communicating this to the group (for instance) then grudges are likely to be made.

Generally, people have realistic expectations of other players. When a higher level group invites a newbie to group, they are not going to have the same expectations of that person as they would of a higher level character. Perform your role as best you can and you will leave a positive impression.

Light Side vs Dark Side. A few generalizations:

  • Lighties are chatty. This annoys darkies to no end. The lightie chat channel can get quite busy. The darkie chat channel is practically invisible because darkies do not use it. Watch the gossip channel (which is available to all) for a while. Most of its users will be lighties.

  • Lighties are 'nice', Darkies are 'mean', Part 1: Auction. How many times has something like this happened? A Newbie asks for a woolen blanket (a good newbie item to have) on atalk. A lightie puts one on the auction block for a very low price. I bid on the blanket because I know that I can sell it to someone else for 10x the price the current seller is asking. All of a sudden lighties indicate their displeasure in various ways on various channels... I'm not being mean, I'm being smart. The blanket has a market value that I choose to recognize and act on. If the benevolent lightie wants to give the blanket away cheap, then take the time to meet the Newb and to drop off the blanket. That's what I (the evil guy) do so that the stuff I want to give away doesn't get out-bid on auction. Some Lighties think of the Auction Block as UPS. Its not. Notice that if you type "help UPS" you won.t find anything.

  • Lighties are 'nice', Darkies are 'mean' Part 2: Darkies are Unhelpful to/Intolerant of newbs. There maybe some truth to this but not for what appears to be the obvious reason. Here is how it works.

    Point 1- Its easier to be a lightie newb. Until recently (and now with only the exception of elves I think) all light races started in Chiiron, the hub of activity for the lightie world. Starting off there means access to many people and the help and support they provide, be it other newbies to group with or higher level players who can help with equipment. Chiiron is conveniently located near other easily accessible towns and areas, so it is easy to learn the game here. By contrast Voaleth (the starting town for darkies) is not nearly so heavily trafficked, and is stuck way down in a hole in a hidden cave in the hinterlands. Staring off there as a true Newb almost guarantees you days of quiet solitude in which to kill bats, slugs, and homonculii. all without necessarily coming across another soul. And then you get to try to find your way out of the caves before you can even think about where you might be on the surface world. This is a daunting task for someone new to the mud.

    Point 2- Generally, Darkies are more experienced players. From observation, true Newbs that start off as darkies often restart as lighties to get the obvious benefits. Conversely, some lighties elect to restart as a darkie because in many ways it is more challenging. Think about the long term effects this has on the demographics of the players . being a darkie generally implies more experience as a TFE mudder. This does not mean that all lighties are less experienced players or that all Darkies are veteran players . this is certainly not the case. I do think the differences fade as the characters get higher level but I think your average level 5 Troll monk can kick the shit out of a level 5 Halfling monk seven days a week because chances are better that the level 5 Troll monk has been playing TFE muds for a while and that player knows (and has) all the right equipment, while the Halfling monk player has a better chance to be a true newbie.

    Point 3 - More experienced players believe in the .Put up or Shut up. principle. I believe this is true of both Lightie and Darkie players. There is less tolerance for poor conduct from other players as the character level gets higher. It just happens that the bar is initially higher for darkies because of Point 2. This is (mis)understood by some, especially those who do not know how else to interpret this behavior, as arrogance. It is a reflection of those player.s knowledge and skills, and the basis for the general belief that darkies are unfriendly to newbies.

  • Lighties are 'nice', Darkies are 'mean', Part 3 - Darkies Will PK (Player Kill) You. Some may, this is true, but so will some lighties. I would say that in my own experience, been whacked more often by lighties than darkies, but that.s an academic point. Darkies admit to hunting other players on occasion while Lighties say they are .protecting their homeland. (at least in the elven village). I think that just makes Darkies more honest. Players who don.t like the possibility of getting killed by another player usually stay out of the few zones where this might actually occur. Mostly, this works well. Don.t consent to the actions of players you do not trust. Don.t leave people on your consent list. Use the No.Summon option. These are all smart things to do, and decisions to use these options should not be based on the race of the character you are consenting, but how well you know and trust them.