Here's some commentary from Slart!

Barren Realms, more so than any other MUD I've ever played (not that many), is not just a game, but also a community.  It's a place, as Kytar said so eloquently in one of his notes, where you can go and be anyone or anything you want to be, and still be, for the most part, accepted by the community as a whole. This is not to say that the game part of BR isn't important; however, many of the people who have been around and played here the longest find that it's the community of BR that keeps them coming back.  You don't have to be an immortal or even a hero to be a vocal, vital part of the BR community.  With few exceptions, levels are only a part of the game Barren Realms; they are not really a large part of the community.

One of the exceptions to this rule is our tradition of newbie helping. I consider newbie helping to be a part of the BR community.  It's not really a part of the game (though we do have game based rules to keep it from going too far).  We have enough players who have beaten the game part of BR (heroes and immortals) that we are almost always able to have one of those players provide other players with some of that expertise as they start out here.  It helps people get into BR on a personal level, and I honestly believe it's a big part of why BR's so successful.  There is one thing I want to say about newbie helping right now:  no hero is *required* to help newbies if they do not want to.  It is *not* your "job."  If, however, you buy into the tradition, and you want it to continue, your efforts to keep it alive are *greatly* appreciated, even if it doesn't always seem so at the time.

Newbie helping on BR is one of those things that actually does start with *you*.  When you go to help a newbie, you help not only that newbie, but also all the other heroes who believe in that tradition.  I'm not going to get on my high horse and tell you that it's always enjoyable. Sometimes, frankly, it's a real chore. These are the sacrifices that you make for something if you believe in it.  If you're proud to be a part of a MUD community that gives a little help to people just starting out, then you have to be willing to be that part of it that does the actual helping. It's nothing more complicated than that.  Some of the immortals give small rewards for helping newbies.  I'll be honest.  If you want to cynically milk this reward system for the prizes involved, I don't really mind.  Be my guest.  Again, you're helping not just newbies, but also the other heroes who maybe aren't all that eager to take on their seventh newbie that day. Just please be aware that isn't their purpose.  Those prizes aren't given as an incentive to get people to help; they are given as a token of appreciation for being a helpful part of the community.  If one person helps as many newbies as another, and one gets a prize and one doesn't, you're right, that's not fair.  Neither is life.  Don't worry about it. Barren Realms is one place where I can assure you that you'll get what's coming to you (either way) if you're patient.  The rest of the world isn't always so reliable.

This brings me to immortaldom.  This is where I'm going furthest out on a limb.  People look at becoming an immortal as a goal.  They shouldn't.  It's not something you can achieve.  It's something that happens to you. There is no magic formula; it's not a matter of you play for X months and  you help Y newbies and you make Z contributions to the newsletter and you're in.  My observation is that people are promoted mostly as a sign of trust and respect.  It's to show that the persona you bring to the Realms and the your efforts to make the Realms a fun place are respected not just by the other immortals, but by the entire community.  It's also to show that you have earned the trust to enforce the rules, maintaining the integrity of the game part of BR, as well as settling disputes when they arise, maintaining the happiness of the community part of BR.  Most of the people I have known that have become immortal since I started playing here were acting as immortals for some time before they were promoted.  By this I mean that people respected and sought out their opinions, that mortal level characters sought them out to resolve disputes, and that they took this trust as a responsibility.  That's largely what it is to be an immortal, whether you get the level and title or not.

Fundamentally, most of the older players here, be they mortal, hero, or immortal, all buy into a similar philosophy, which is this:  the important things in Barren Realms are not levels or items, but people.  Immersing yourself in the people who make up BR is the one thing that will keep you coming back long after you've avatar-ed your 100th character.  Take it from a person who has been promoted; there's nothing of any tangible value that comes from it.  I'm honored to be an immortal of the Barren Realms; it means I am a respected member of a community which has meant more to me for the past year and a half than I've really ever told anyone. However, it really changed little:  I still basically talk to the same people, I still make an ass of myself regularly over chat, and I still perform stupid little stunts like making Don Henley sing Eagles tunes every once in a while.  I did all that stuff when I was a hero.  I still try to help people out when I can, I still try to give the best advice possible when asked, and I still, yes, try to help newbies when needed. I did all that when I was a hero, too.  I'm still me.

Cutlass, when he was promoted to level 153 a little while ago, gave a great line that really sums it up; "It's like the last level, only more so."  If what you get out of BR is based on goals within the game, you'll run out of them pretty quickly.  If, however, you come on BR to have a little fun with friends and strangers, and to help perpetuate those parts of the community of which you are most proud to be a part, then you'll have fun here for a long time to come.  As long as you don't hurt anyone else, you're more or less welcome to have fun on BR any way that you can get fun out of it.  However, those behaviors and attitudes that are most respected and appreciated are the ones that fall in line with the common philosophy.  That's the best I can explain.



      When one first begins playing Barren Realms, it (to be politically correct) starts at the Barren Realms Academy where it can then go through basic training. After gaining a few levels the new player is sent out into the vast world of areas that are known as the "Realms". 
      With hard work and dedication that player works itself up the mortal ladder until finally it reaches level 51. Ahh, yes, level 51, the mysterious life of a hero is now at the player's fingertips! (Does level 51 remind you in any way of Area 51?)
     The most important thing to do when you hero is READ THE HERO RULES!!!! I can't stress to you the importance of these rules. They took a long time to write, and take awhile to read, but they're what keep BR in order....(well aside from the immortals, heroes and avatars that stick together to make it a happier place for everyone.)
      OKAY, enough of that boring (but extremely important) stuff, here are some of the spiffy things about being a hero! 

Top Ten List

10. Being able to teleport no matter what race you are.

9. No more detect invis, nope, we have something much better for you that never wears off.

8. Having so much gold you don't know what to do with it.

7. Not getting annoyed to Hades from hearing the shopkeepers "whine" about their shelves constantly being full....you'd think they'd get used to it by now, sheesh ;)

6. Never having the message "You can't carry that much weight." Actually, you can still get that message, but only if you're the biggest pack rat in the whole world.

5. Having a seperate channel for the heroes, avatars and immortals to talk about "important" issues ;) ;) 

4. Relief from trying to unscramble drunken tells from your silly alcholic friends ;)

3.Renames....need I say more? Look at our eq one of these days, you'll see what I mean.

2. Ahh, the joy of newbie helping. There's a satisfaction one gets out of eating...errrr...helping new and frequently kind people. 

1. Having the chance to gain one hundred more levels and the status of AVATAR...*starwars theme song*

Honorable Mention: Having the imms mess with your head! Trust me, they do it even more when you're a hero :)

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