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Newbie Guide: The Guides to Leadership

In life there are those who are the sheep, and those who are the wolves. The leaders of the game, without fail, are those people who lead the rest into battle. To be known as a good Tank ranks you as one of the most respected individuals on the game. Such respect is hard earned and deserved, and if you are the type of roleplayer who wishes to rise to the top, then read on.

Listed on these pages are 7 essays on the subject of Tanking. Each of which has been written by a fellow mortal on the game. Contained herein is a lexicon of information, passed down from the veteran players of the realm to anyone with the desire to learn.

Presented in alphabetical order, choose a name below and learn what wisdom each of them has to pass down to you about the genuine Art of Leadership.

[Amorphist | Aracno | Dubbeltje | Endy | Explicit | Purge | Sepe]

ZombieMUD FAQ on how to be a party-leader
Constructed by Amorphist, October 2004


It might seem strange to start a guide to partying in ZombieMUD with a disclaimer, but there is a solid reason for it. ZombieMUD is an experience that can be enjoyed in many different ways. This is certainly one of the many charms of the MUD, but also means that there is not one ‘best’ way to play the game. The best way to play the game is the way that you enjoy it the most. So consider the tips and tricks in this section as just one view on how to lead a party in ZombieMud. There are many others, and the truth is only in the eye of the beholder.

- Why party?
- Can I be a party-leader?
- What is the best composition for a party?
- What are these types of parties they are talking about: exp, eq and explore?
- And what are those so-called “Corn-parties”?
- How do I call together a party?
- I am a Tank, what are my minimum requirements?
- Do I take an Abjurer or Paladin-Hospitalar to protect me?
- How do I use the most important party-commands?
- Why are damage types important?
- Where do I go with my party?
- What are common mistakes I should not make?

- Why party?

There are several rational reasons why you should try to join a party in ZombieMud. You can earn good experience, you can obtain pieces of good equipment, you can solve that quest that has been bothering you, or you can explore areas that aren’t easily accessible for single players. Many quests and challenges in ZombieMud can’t be solved alone, so if you stick to solo, there are very large parts of the MUDworld you will never experience. But the main reason to party is because it is just good fun. Socializing is one of the main reasons why people still stick to MUDs in an age of graphically accelerated environments. Although it is very well possible to play solo, it is just less rewarding to interact with your Wildcat or a bunch of Undeads all day long (even though their level of conversation easily matches that of some players).

- Can I be a party-leader?

Yes. Everybody can. It is a misconception to think that partying is something that can only be done by higher level players. On every level forming a party can be useful because for every kind of player there is a kind of mob. A low level player can form a party to attack 100-500k mobs, a midlevel player can form a party to kill 1-2 meggers and if you are a truly tough cookie, you go after the ones around and above 3 million experience. Also the mobs you have to kill in order to obtain that nifty piece of equipment you desperately want, come in many different sizes. They too can be challenged by players of all levels. Thus a high level or a lot of worth is not necessarily a requirement to be a party-leader. What you do need is basically two things: knowledge and ability. If you want to be a commander of a party, you need the knowledge to know where to go and what to do in what situation. Also you need the basic abilities to be an asset to a party. In this guide you will find some tips on how to acquire the knowledge, but it won’t give you a simple walkthrough on how to be a party-leader. The real experience can only be gained by practice in the online MUDworld. Generally a good tip is to learn the trade from the best. There are many experienced players that have the patience to teach a player that is eager to learn and to train them in being a good party-member or even a party-leader. This does not mean you ask them to drag you around the world or give you a list with runtriggers (aliases in a MUDclient that bring you directly from CS to mobs). The worst mistake you can make is to run to a mob using an acquired path, but once it decides to come after you and track you down not having a clue where to go. That is the best way to get your party wiped (all members get killed by a mob). The best way to build up knowledge about mobs and the areas they are hiding in, is by finding them and weighing up their size by yourself (tip: learn the skill consider and use it frequently). This will take some time and patience, but good things never come quick.

- What is the best composition for a party?

A general party needs three things: a meatwall that takes the direct hits from the mobs you will be attacking (generally referred to as a Tank), someone to protect the Tank with protection spells and heal him when the healthpoints drop (generally referred to as a Protter) and then you need people that actually do damage with spells or skills (generally referred to as backrow Hitters or Blasters). A special position in a party can be claimed by a bard. A bard can enhance the attributes and abilities of a player by singing special songs. Therefore a bard is specifically useful if you have a party in which a lot of the members do the same type of damage. If you have a party with four hitters that use the skill slash, then adding a bard will certainly give a great boost to your rate. A bard can give all members of your party extra strength, dexterity and enhances the slash skill with the spell ‘visualize act’. Next to that a bard can contribute to the healing power (with a spell called “psalm of healing”) or do some nasty damage with pigeons or fire. The maximum size of a party in ZombieMUD is 8, but you will not need to fill all the party-slots to be able to go on a party. It is even so that for certain kind of parties it is better not to take too many people, because at some point more people won’t kill a mob faster (you will be spending more time running to the next mob than killing it).

- What are these types of parties they are talking about: exp, eq and explore?

The three main gains you can get from joining a party are experience, equipment, a quest or exploration. The essence of these types of parties is shortly explained in the section below.

The most common parties you will find are the experience-parties (in short: exp-parties). The best rate of experience can be gained in a party. No matter how well you can solo as a necromancer or inq-healer, your rate will never be as good as in a well functioning exp-party. The essence of an exp-party is that you take out many monsters in a short period of time. The size of the mobs you take out are dependent on the composition of your party. In an exp-party you usually find a Tank (meatwall), a protter (paladin-hospitalar or Abjurer) and some hitters (monks, rangers, samurais, fighters) or blasters (pionicists, sorcerers). A bard is always welcome to boost rate some but not absolutely necessary for an exp-party. Usually you won’t find any healers in exp-parties, because the protters usually posess enough healing power to keep a Tank alive.

An equipment-party (in short: eq-party) has a very specific setup. The mobs you fight are usually big and do nasty spells that can affect the whole party. So you need to take precautions and be prepared for them. Therefore to make an eq-party successful, you need at least a Tank, a healer, a protter and a cleric (the latter because you are probably going to die a lot). That leaves room for a few blasters to do some real damage. It is possible to do eq with hitters instead of blasters, but because it is hard for a hitter to change the type of damage they deal, blasters are usually considered more viable for eq-parties. Here too a bard is a quite welcome addition, they can increase the general damage that is dealt and add some healing power. In eq you will find the bard-spell “know your audience” very useful, because it tells you what type of damage a monster is most vulnerable to. The problem with this spell is that the bard will need quite high percentages in it, to get an accurate reading on the vulnerabilities of a mob. Higher level eq-parties often profit from the presence of a navigator. Many big eq-mobs are in areas that are non-relocable, track you down or block you when you try to leave the room. A navigator then comes handy to quickly substract you and your party from the battle zone.

There are many quests you can do by yourself, and many areas that you can explore by yourself, but there are quite some areas that are not accessible for lone rangers. So you will need a party to crash your way through blocked passageways or to buff it out with a guard that refuses to let you past. Quest-parties and explore parties are usually parties that are constructed ad-hoc, so there is no real standard configuration for it, except that you will need a Tank and a protter. To have a cleric available for ressurection will probably help a lot, because exploring or questing is a dangerous line of work. For the rest anyone can join a quest or explore party. An important principle in quest- and exploreparties is that many eyes see more than one. Very often hints and clues for solving a quest or entering an area are well hidden, and you have to check out many rooms and descriptions or try out many different things to get anywhere. The more people there are with you to help out with that, the more different viewpoints will be considered. Here it also applies that you can always ask a more experienced player for help or advice on what to do, but don’t ask for complete walkthroughs.

- And what are those so-called “Corn-parties”?

The name Corn-party is derived from an area in ZombieMUD that is called “the Cornfields”. In the Cornfields you find a large number of Corn-Soldiers that vary in size from 800k to 1,2m standard experience. These soldiers don’t track you down and even when they turbo (double in size), they can be easily handled by midlevel parties. The Cornfields are popular because there are many targets to kill and the fields itself are a large square with only some hidden dangers in the middle (you will find out about them when you join a Corn-party). They are so popular that many players go live in the Cornfields once they hit level 60. Some players even gained most of their experience by participating in Corn-parties only. They are big in levels and often loud mouthed, but they don’t know much about the MUD, except that there are Cornsoldiers to kill. These kind of players are often referred to as “Corn-Noobs”, and there even exists a command in ZombieMUD that will show you the way to the Corn-Fields (try typing “lollipop <player>”)

- How do I call together a party?

Anyone can try to form a party, but in most cases a party is called together by a Tank or a Protter. Because the Tank is usually considered to be the ‘leader’ of a party, he can take decisions on what kind of party he wants to lead and who he needs to invite. When you start constructing parties and you show that you know what you are doing, you will slowly build up a team of trusted members that will come back to join you. A good partyleader usually doesn’t need to put much effort in gathering players for a party, but potential members will present themselves to you. But before you get that far you might sometimes have to put some serious effort in getting the right people together. A good tip is to become close friends to one of the protters that are around. Sometimes it can even pay off to synchronise your reincarnation with that of another player that is willing to do a lot of exp or eq in a certain period of time. If you have three people together like that (for example a Tank, Protter and a Bard), there won’t be a problem to find the right people to fill up the back row.

There are several ways you can look for partymembers, among which the ‘lfg-command’, the ‘who-command’ or the mud-channel:

? The ‘lfg’-command
There is a nifty command that is not used often enough, that is called ‘lfg’. Lfg stands for ‘looking for group’ and it lists those players that are currently willing to join a party. It is possible to add a variable to say what kind of party you are looking for, exp or eq. To check the exact working of the command lfg, type <help lfg>. The people that are listed in lfg are usually prepared to join a party. Alas the lfg-command is not used by enough players, so you sometimes have to try other methods.

? The ‘who-command’
If you want to spot players that are candidates to join your party, the ‘who’ command is a good help. With ‘who’ you can easily sort players of certain guilds that are unidle. For example typing:

Who monk unidle max 60

will give you a list of all unidle monks with a maximum level of 60. With those people you can then inquire if they are willing to join you in a party. When doing this, beware that some players are not what they seem to be. Be suspicious if you find a sprite with guildsetting Fighter, Ranger or Monk. He might be after the loot you gather in the party.

If you want to explore the who-command a bit more, type ‘help who’ and practice some with the possibilities.

? The mud-channel
A final way to gather a party is by asking on the mud-line, or simply keep an eye on people offering themselves on the mud-channel. Every time you see something like this:

[mud] playername: monk ready for exp!
[mud] playername2: blaster too!
[mud] playername3: w: exp

It means that there are players around willing to join you in a party. If you are a partyleader yourself you can always use the mud channel yourself to let other players know you are ready to rumble:

[mud] partyleader: Tank looking for some hitters (abj already available)

This will probably give you some response of players that were out there waiting to join a party.

Once you have a group of people together that will party with you, it is up to you. Show them what you are worth and word soon will spread about a new capable partyleader roaming the mud.

- I am a Tank, what are my minimum requirements?

As said, the most important feature of a good party leader is the fact that he knows what he is doing. This only comes with experience. But there are other abilities that will make your task easier. If you are a Tank, your most important features are your healthpoints and the ability to avoid being hit by mobs and to resist damage when you are being hit. Usually for a Tank it is not very important how hard you hit yourself. It is nice if you do some damage, but the real hurting is done from the back row (let that lazy bunch do some work too). Your healthpoints and resistances come partly with your level, provided you chose a fighter-type guild and race. A good guild for Tanks is the Fighter-guild, because they get the most healthpoints, physical resistances and parry/dodge/shield-skills, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be a Tank as a monk, samurai or ranger. Good Tank-races are the 1 handed races with cheap skills that can raise close to 100 skillmax. If you start out as a Tank, you might want to look into the Human or Cromagnon races. Another way to increase your healthpoints is to wear armour that will provide you with extra con-points and give you extra resistances against physical or other damage. A Tank-set does not have to be very expensive. If you check the shops, you will sometimes be able to find good equipment for a good price. It is very important for a Tank to wear a shield. It does not matter what kind of shield, but it will enable you to parry a lot of the hits that are thrown towards you. Skills that will help you to avoid being hit are Dodge, Parry and Inner strength (an automatic skill that helps you to avoid getting stunned) and if you are a fighter check out the skills Berserk, Ignore Pain and Rage. Also very recently a new feature has been added for higher level defensive fighter-Tanks that is called Wall of Steel and looks very promising.

- Do I take an Abjurer or Paladin-hospitalar to protect me?

Both Abjurers and hospitalars can protect and heal you in battles. A Hospitalar is a Paladin with a special sub-guild that gives him a good Armour of God (protection spell) and some nice healing spells. The disadvantage of this is that Armour of God (AOG) only works on mobs with an evil alignment. If a monster is not evil, it will just hit you as if there is no protection at all. So if you take a Hospitalar in your party, you have to make sure that you have a list of evil mobs to attack (tip: ask some higher level Paladin Templars if they can tell you about the whereabouts of some). The advantage of hospitalars is that they relatively have to study a small amount of spells and skills, so a player with low worth can construct a quite good Hospitalar. Also the AOG of a hospitalar is probably the best protection-spell against evil mobs that do spells. So if you have an urge to root out the evil in ZombieMUD, find a Hospitalar to accompany you.

Abjurers are more versatile than Hospitalars, because their spells protect against a certain type of damage and have no align-restrictions. Also a higher level Abjurer posesses the important vulnerability-spells that make the damage your party makes more effective. A disadvantage though is that in order to be a good protter, healer ánd have sps left for vulnerabilities, an Abjurer needs to have a lot of worth. So lower level Abjurers will probably only be able to part of these tasks or do them slowly. A great advantage Abjurers have is the posession of the spell Iron Will. Iron Will will protect a Tank almost completely against getting stunned. Hospitalars have a spell that give stun-protection like Inner Power (increases the inner strength of the Tank) or Stun Resistance, but these are not as strong as Iron Will.

- How do I use the most important party-commands?

The ‘party’-commmand has many possibilities to organize a party which are shown with by typing ‘help party’. The only way to get a good feel of the party commands is to practice with them. Here a short explanation is given of their usage.

The first command you will use is the ‘party create <name>’ command. You can choose the name of your party yourself. When you use this command to create a party you will automatically be the commander and leader of the party. The commander of a party is the one who created the party and has access to special partycommands. The partyleader is the Tank. This means that if you create a party you will be Tanking the party, or in other words, if you or one of your partymembers attacks a mob, you will be taking the hits. If you don’t want to be Tank, you can still create the party but you will have to give leadership to another player. This you do with the command: party leader <playername>. Sometimes it can be important that a certain player other than the Tank creates a party, and that is when the Tank did not train the "battle tactics" skill, but another partymember did. When a party is created, it checks the percentage of battle tactics the creator posesses. This again is important to determine how often members of the party will do so called party-criticals. These are special hits that do quite a lot of extra damage, to express the tactical advantage a party has over a single mob. For individual party-members it is important to have studied the skill 'leadership' because this skill determines how often a party-member will do party-criticals. You can spot the a party critical by the extra messages you get after you did an offensive spell or skill.

Usually it is the commander of a party who decides where to go and what to do, but it is also possible to give movement to another player. The party will then follow that player (though the Tank will still take the hits). This is done with the command: party movement <playername>.

When you have started a party you can then invite other players with the ‘party invite <playername>’ command. When you do that the composition of the party will have a ranking. The Tank will be first, but the second player you invited will be second. This seems trivial, bit it is very important in the sad occasion of a Tank dying. If a Tank dies, the second member of the party will take his place and take the hits. Therefore it is important that the second member has a good amount of hitpoints. For this purpose you can use the ‘party place x y’ command. If you have a party looking like this:

1. Tank 1000 hps
2. Protter 200 hps
3. Hitter 800 hps

You might want to consider to type: party place hitter 2, so when the Tank dies, the hitter will have time to run away, instead of dying in just one hit after the Tank dies. This does mean that the second player in row will have to know a little of what to do in case the Tank dies. They have to know in what directions you can find a safe exit. So don’t hire a zombie to be in second place of your party (better even: don’t hire any zombies for your parties).

A last command you will probably use quite a lot is ‘party status’. The output of this command gives you some important information about your party like the order of players, their hitpoints, spellpoints and the fact if they are following or not (pf on/off). For a partyleader it is important to keep a good track of this info. For instance you don’t wan’t to start a battle with a big mob if your healer is low on sp. In ‘party status’ you can see if this is the case. Another important fact you can derive is if all partymembers are following you. If you decide to run from one end of the mud to another it is quite important that everybody is following (especially if they can’t relocate to you). Also ‘party status’ gives an estimate on how much experience you have gathered and at what rate. For exp-parties the exp-rate is considered to be an important factor so partymembers will keep an eye on that score. If you want to refresh the exp calculation of your party, you type ‘party reset’.

A handy feature in the party-command is the fact that a party has its own party-channel which can be used by the members of your party to talk with each other. This can be done for just idle chit-chat, but is also very important to exchange information and give orders to the rest of the party. For instance the party line is used by a Tank to tell the rest of the party whether his protective spells are up or down, or what skill he is using to start an attack. A party leader can set the color he will talk on the party line so noone will miss your commands. To talk on a party-channel you use the command: p’ . For a Tank it is also very important to relay his actual amount of hps to the party-channel, so the healers will know in what shape you are. For this purpose you can type ‘sc party’, so changes in your amount of hps will be displayed for all other players in the party. To toggle this feature off, you type ‘sc on’.

Note: one command you might want to use in a party is missing from the party help file: if you type ‘party kills’ you can see the mobs that you have just killed and the amount of experience they donated to your party when they departed.

- Why are damage types important?

Sometimes you will hear partyleaders ask for players that can do a certain kind of damage. The existing damage types are: acid, asphyxiation, electric, cold, fire, physical, poison, psionic and magic. These are important for two reasons. First, almost all higher level mobs in the MUD have a natural protection against the standard physical damage. If a player does not wield a weapon or wields a weapon that does no special damage, he will only deal phyisical damage. Against other damage types most mobs will have less protection, thus wielding a weapon with a certain damage type will usually make you do more damage. When you purchase a weapon it is therefore normally important to make sure it does a certain kind of damage (usually other players or websites will tell you if that is the case). Higher level Samurais or Monks will be able to put some kind of damage type on their sword or knuckles themselves (generally referred to as 'preffing' your weapon). A second reason why damage types are important is because Abjurers have spells that can make mobs more vulnerable to certain damage types. If your party does the same kind of damage it will make the job for the Abjurer easier.

To deal the correct damage types is most important in eq-parties. Higher level eq-mobs are usually completely invulnerable against certain damage types. That means if you don’t carry the right type of damage, you can blast or hit it forever, but it won’t lose a single hitpoint. The bard-spell ‘know your audience’ (kya) will tell you what kind of protections or vulnerabilties a mob posesses. The protection the mob has the least should be the pref that the hitters hit, or blasters blast with. Also in exp-parties it can be important that your party carries the same damage. This is not because the mobs you do in exp-parties have certain kind of protections (in exp-parties this is quite random, except when you are doing the same kind of mobs in the same area), but because your Abjurer can’t cast too many vulnerability-spells before running out of sps and time. Weapons never do 100% damage of a certain type but also a part physical damage, it is wise for an Abjurer to make a mob not only vulnerable to the damage type your party is carrying, but also to physical damage.

- Where do I go with my party?

As a party leader it is very important to know where you take your party to kill the mobs you need for exp or eq. There are no real restrictions to what kind of mobs you can or should do, but it is usually smart not to pick mobs that you can’t handle. The only way to find the right monsters is to go look for them. Eq-mobs are usually well-hidden and in many cases you will need additional information on how to find them. Exp-mobs are spread out all over the mud. Some examples and the areas where you can find them are given below.

- Low level parties: 250-500k mobs. Most of these mobs won’t do very nasty spells, but some do. Unicorns in Saurus area, Alligators in the Damorra Swamps, Gremlin workers in Starwind’s area, Squires, Orcs and Bountyhunters in Concordia Castle, Fish in the underground river in Darkwater, Guards in the Neckbreaker desert, Barkeeper and Arwen’s chambermaid in Rivendell, Og in Sirros and female Natives in the valley of Mystery.

- Mid level parties: 1-2m mobs. These mobs do spells, hit hard but will generally not do area spells or have nasty tricks up teir sleeve: Dubbit, Tunnuk and friends in Terray, Craftman, Merriadoc and Master healer in Gondor, Kiord, Gerrakis and others in the Neckbreaker desert, Corn Soldiers in Cornfields, Jessica, Knights and Lords in castle Concordia, Ranger in Saurus area, Elmo and friends in the circus, Ghosts in casle Greenlight, Hu the Shopkeeper in Ravenkall, and Male Natives in the valley of Mystery (1m and bigger) A bit bigger are Gevalia’s monks, Yro in Tyr, Elder in Varalor, Xoth in the mage Guild, Paladin Commander under the Cleric Guild, Vargan in Vargan’s Castle, Joyce the shopkeeper in Ravenkall, the Heucuva’s, Zombies and other undeads in castle Greenlight or Ghosts under the Brownie Tree (2m)

- High level parties: 3m+ mobs. You can figure out where they are yourself and if not you better run back to the Cornfields.

- What are common mistakes I should not make?

- don’t run into the ocean
- don’t forget to bring food for an exp-party (all the running around will make you hungry)
- don’t run into death-traps if you don’t have a navigator to pull you out
- don’t start a battle if your healthpoints are low and your protections are ‘down’
- don’t start a battle unless your healer/protter has at least some spellpoints (check with ‘party status’)
- always know where you are, so you know where to run when some mob decides to track you down

[Amorphist | Aracno | Dubbeltje | Endy | Explicit | Purge | Sepe]

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