August 7, 2000
But his enthusiasm is short-lived. The streets of Med City no longer offer any challenge to him, he has grown too powerful for their occupants.
Troubled, he decides to ask the other "newbies" online for a bit of advice. He types "cl I need new places to xp. Any ideas?", sending a message to all of the members of the "Newbie Clan", the clan you automatically get signed up in when you get your name acknowledged, and leave when you acheive level 16.
Many answers come back, all proposing a different zone : "The Preserve" says one, "The Graveyard" says another, "The Secret Undergorund" says a third. "Labyrinth", "Chess Board", and even "Wilderness" are offered to him as suitable places to XP.
When he tells his clannies that giving him a long list like that doesn't get him any farther than he was at the beginning, they start quarreling about which zone is the best, and are about to get nasty when an Avatar steps into the discussion. Avatars are often on the newbie clantalk channel too, you see.
Calming everyone down, the Avatar says that all of these zones are more than adequate for him to Xp in, but that if he really wanted to get good Xp, he should set up a form with other newbies and wage battle against more powerful foes than he could if he were alone.
A few of the newbies volunteer for the form, and tell him to meet them at the "Great Tree", just outside the Eastern Gate to the City.
But first, they say, he should head to the market and stock up on goods from there. This market, just North-East of the Main Courtyard, they say, has all sorts of useful items for sale, for anyone who doesn't mind shopping around a little.
He heads East for a while, from recall, then sees the "South-Western entry to the Market", which he takes. The first stand he walks up to seems promising : a man standing behind a counter full of scrolls and potions greets him.
Checking out the shop's inventory ("list"), he decides to purchase a few "Scrolls of Identification" as well as some "Potions of god-like protection". Using the first on the second (hold scroll, recite scroll potion), he discovers that this potion casts "armor" and "bless" spells on him when he quaffs it.
He tries it out, then checks "sc a" (to see what spells are currently cast on him and their effects) and is happy to see that the Armor spell lowers his AC by 30 and that Bless raises his Hitroll by 5 and lowers his "Saving_Spell", or SS, by 1 (like its name indicates, the lower your SS is, the less vulnerable to spells you will be, because your saving throw against them will be lower and thus easier to acheive).
Making his way from stall to stall, he looks into a large two-handed warhammer, all sorts of protective combat clothing, and even some delicious local food preparations.
Having finished his supply shopping (and feeling very thankful towards the Gods for having given him the "Gift of Gold" when he reached his first levels), he leaves the Market, heads East on the aptly-named Market Street, and reaches the Gates that lie in that direction, and that he had passed in the Avatar's company not so long ago.
Passing the path leading to the ominous Graveyard gates, he stumbles into a marvelous world of open country, of vast and untamed wilderness, in complete contrast with the tame and not-so-tidy City of Medievia.
Remembering that the Tree he is searching for is supposed to be just East of the City, he looks in that direction, and sees a strange shape (it appears in the form of a circle, with an "a" inside it, like this : @ ), which he decides to investigate.
Upon reaching it, he leaves the wilderness and enters another "zone". He deducts from this that the @ shape marks the entrance to a zone.
This particular zone is the one he came in search of, the Great Tree. Making his way to its center, he passes rotting limbs and crying pixie maidens, imploring him to help them and their ailing tree. Sorry, he answers, continuing on his way, some other time maybe. I have friends waiting.
Once at the center of the Tree, he notices a passageway leaving Up. He takes this, and starts a long and arduous climb up to the very top of the Tree. His friends are there, waiting for him to show up.
- So, there you are! We were starting to think you wouldn't come!
- I wouldn't miss it for the world, he replies.
- Well, form up then.
He does, and looks around at the group. There are five of them, a mage, a thief, two clerics and himself, all ranging from levels 8 to 12.
The form leader, the thief, assesses the situation himself, then places himself and our friend in front, with a cleric placed behind each of them, and the mage in the back.
- Alright then, he says, let's see what this tree has to offer.
He leaves West, then Up, and everyone follows him. The thus find themselves perched on top of a limb, high above the tree. Looking about, they can see the City, and the golden spires of the Castle.
The leader looks at a sign that has somehow been erected on the branch. The newbie does the same, and reads upon it a list of the different destinations offered by the "Magic Cloud" which leaves from there.
This Magic Cloud will bring you to a wide variety of zones, all suitable for newbies, and this instantaneously, and for free!
The North exit, he reads, leaves to the gates of some unknown village, and, as the newbie was considering asking where this leads to, the thief exclames:
- Okay guys, we're headed to Ungiri!
With this, they all leap North onto the Magic Cloud, which swoops down and drops them at the requested destination.
They find themselves in a dense forest, at the beginning of a path heading North, towards a tribal village. The group enters this village in silence, wary of the sudden calmness which is decending upon the woods.
Their first encounter comes when a young hunter strolls down the path. he notices the group stnding there, but too late in order to avoid the thief's dagger, which plunges into his back. Reeling back in agony, he gets kicked into the next world by the boot of our newbie.
They retreive a few Gold coins off the corpse, which they split, as well as a "deep blue potion". They pass this to the mage, who identifies it, and tells them that it casts "remove poison" and "remove curse" spells upon drinking.
They find a great many of these potions on the different mobs they encounter and kill, and the newbie manages to collect quite a few for his personal use.
They continue exploring the zone, and come to a hut with a locked door, in the North-East of the village. The thief picks the lock, and the formation enter the hut, ready for action.
To their dismay, all they find is a seemingly empty abode.
- Perhaps it belongs to that hunter we met before, suggests one of the clerics, which gets a round of laughter.
On the off-chance, the thief tells the other cleric, who is of higher level, to cast "detect life" upon himself and to see if anything comes up. Sure enough, he says that he can sense... something. He isn't sure what that something is though.
Our newbie has an idea. He tells everyone to get ready for battle, then uses his "charge" attack, which attacks all mobs in the room.
This sends the until-then-hiding mob, the Ungiri Leader, flying. With the cleric duo busy healing them, and the mage casting for all he's worth, the two physical fighters, or "tanks", manage to overpower the Leader, the newbie finishing him off with a powerful bash.
He examines the corpse, and retrieves a "Talisman of Transportation" from inside it. He asks the form what this does, and they answer that it is an item that you hold, and which when used casts recall.
- It may not be of any use when you still have the ability to cast recall just by typing it, says the thief, but when you lose that at level 16, having a Talisman becomes essential.
He asks if he can keep it then, to which they say that of course he can keep it, and that they all have their own anyway. He thanks them warmly.
As they are about to set off again into the zone, the newbie receives a message in red telling him about fiery rain falling from the sky, doing no damage. The newbie can't see any effect, but the mage and clerics are in a state of utter panic.
- Ack! says the mage. A Firestorm!
- A what? asks the newbie. What does that do?
- It stops you from casting spells!
- Um... says the thief, after having checked out the weather with the "wea" command. It's a biggie, we head better leave.
Chased out of the zone by the hostile game environment, they all recall and return to the Tree.
- Hmmm... I'd like to take us to the Labyrinth now, says the thief, but I think a trip to the mage's workshop is in order first.
He heads one room west from that leading to the Magic Cloud room, and heads Up. He then heads North, and the group suddenly finds itself in front of an old and wize-looking wizard.
The newbie types "list", and sees that a large variety of potions and staves are for sale. The others stock up on Yellows (detect invisibilty), Oranges ( sense life) and Magentas (heal and armor).
The newbie gets a few of each, plus a Staff of Sleep and a Wand of Invisibility, just in case.
Their shopping completed, the group heads once again back to recall, and hurry back to the Great Tree.
- Alright then, announces the thief, this zone will be tougher than the last, so I want everyone to be real careful, ok?
A round of nods are his answer.
Taking a gulp, he jumps onto the eastern cloud, and in a flash the entire form is inside a gloomy maze of a zone.
They set off into the Labyrinth, following the only path that is offered to them. But soon, they reach an intersection.
- Um... Where do we go now? asks the lower-level cleric.
- I don't... know... mutters the thief. I have never lead a form in here before.
As they rested, discussing the best course of action, action came to meet them, in the form of a large bull-headed humanoid, commonly known as the Minotaur.
With a cry of war, the beast lifted its mighty axe and brought it down upon our newbie, maiming him. While they were attemting to regroup and defend themselves against this unexpected aggression, the Minotaur has enough time to render the poor newbie stunned, at death's door.
Had it not been for the rapid reaction speed of the clerics, who healed him as best and as fast as they could, the next hit of that fearsome axe would have been fatal.
Regaining his lost spirits, he joins his friends in their battle against the abomination. Many a wound is given and taken, but, with the clerics' help and the mage's support, the tanks are once again able to defeat their foe.
They quickly loot the corpse, sharing the gold among them. The newbie receives the Minotaur's battleaxe, a fearsome weapon indeed.
Having rested and their spirits high off of their success, they do what they should have done in the first place : ask their clannies for help. One of these, a lvl 14 mage, tells them to constantly head East whenever they can, South when they can't go East, and West when they can't go South, until they can go South again.
Following these instructions, they finally set out, heading steadily South- Eastwards. They encounter quite a few other mobs on their way, but all are easy compared to the Minotaur.
After a while of South-Eastern trekking, they enter a room containing a beautiful altar, guarded by an equally beautiful acolyte. Taking no heed of this, the thief tries unsuccessfully to backstab her.
Enraged, she chants out a spell and places her hands upon him, burning him painfully. The thief, in agony, yells out to our newbie:
- Bash her! Don't let her cast!
This he does, and notices that bashing does in fact stop her from casting her mighty spells.
Without her spells, the acolyte is no match for the form, and dies a relatively quick death.
Once again, they relieve the corpse of its belongings, and share the booty. The clerics are overjoyed, as the corpse contains excellent equipment for their class.
Backtracking a bit to the last intersection, they resume their South-Easterly trek, fighting off Goblins, Kobolds, Snakes, Crabs, and all manner of hideous cretures.
Thus, they arrive to a bizarre place in the labyrinth, a small marketplace of sorts. Apparently, this is a place of renown, for the thief tells his partners that this is what he had been looking for.
They enter a place called the "Labs Apothecary", in which the Mad Alchemist sells a wide variety of potions, not all good for your health.
Everyone stocks up on Green potions, the same that appear on corpses every so often, and are used for healing, and on misties (detect evil, detect invisibility and detect magic).
Leaving the Apothecary, they continue South, then head West, killing some Stirges and Thieves on the way, and finally follow a path heading northwards, which ends in a dark pit, from which growls and snarls can be heard.
- I think that this is the entrance to the passageway that leads to the Goblin Castle, says the thief. I've heard of this before. I think that we had better go back to the City now, because Gob Castle is really out of our class.
- Yeah, and I have some ... stuff to do anyway, says the mage.
- Me too, says the higher-level cleric. Lotsa stuff.
They wisely leave the Goblins alone and recall back to the security of Medievia City.
- Well, thanks for the great form you guys! says the newbie.
- No problem, answers the thief. Let's do it again some time.
They all exchange waves and hugs (it is at times like this that the socials become truly useful, typing "socials" gives you a list of these), and part their ways, all the more skillful in their respective arts and more knowledgable about the wide world of Medievia.
Looking back on it, the not-so-newbie anywore will always deem that it was at that exact moment that the true awesome power of the game hit home, that he discovered all that it means to play Medievia, and that that day was for him, as there is a day for all of us, the beginning of something big.