[ The Tale ] The MUSH hits Alpha
Alpha Test

January 2003

I would deem it "time" for Alpha Test Phase 1, on January 1st, 2003. It wasn't easy. The BUGS and ERRATA +QUEUES filled up pretty quickly, almost as fast as the NEWCHARS. The staff hadn't hit the "groove" yet. As predicted, we were losing players in Chargen, due to conceptual differences. Taking a quote from the PBeM campaign, Global Guardians, I let people simply leave, knowing I'd rather have a game where 9 people are very happy, than a game with 100 people, half of whom are disgusted and complaining.

Many of the systems on the MUSH were coded and @desced with understaffing in mind. Since I had seen many MUSHes fail because of lack of staff or staff inactivity, I created a few coded staff. Their job would be to handle the grunt bureaucracy work, and to remind staff of anything needing to be done. While Gord remains in the OOC Nexus and serves as disciplinarian, Stanley is on the +Creation channel, and occassionally answers FAQs.

Phase 1, even with the bumps and the yelling and wailing and gnashing of teeth, comes through better than expected. In the span of 3 months, 5 Long Term Plots get run, 2 Subplots begin, and 4 or 5 one-shots are done. An unexpected success comes when a Plot which was created by one player is finished by another, after the first player left the MUSH. The MUSH ebbs and changes, people come and go, and yet it still is able to manage.

Sadly, the "twin" MUSH of Olympus Island doesn't make it up. Capitol City MUSH sits undone, proof that a fully coded MUSH is nothing without someone to run it. RT (who was Happenstance) transfers to being staff on OIM. In the span of 2 weeks, he inspects 87 previously uninspected rooms and gets the grid up to snuff.

* May 2003 - Phase 2

Phase 2 moves along, less bumpy than Phase 1. Staff grows a bit, when Heimdall joins, and later, when our first Staff-in-Training is Pluto. Every combination of playtester is tried. Those who have and haven't MUSHed, and those who have and haven't played Hero System. Rules and files get tweaked, code is tightened up. But for the most part, the MUSH is quite solid. We lose more players than we keep, due to inflexibility or real life, but the ones who stay give out high quality RP. And, more importantly, immersion begins. The MUSH campaign world starts to feel real and alive. By the end of July, over 20 plots have been run and finished since January, and 9 currently listed in +PLOTS in August. While there are rough days, everything works better than we expected.

* August 2003 - Phase 3

The lessons of ChampionsMUSH would not be learned, and now Treyvan staff would drive a final nail into the coffin of their MUSH in mid-August 2003. The once thriving D&D game was a mere shadow of its former self. What is this doing in OIM's story? A player on OIM was also on Treyvan. She was heartbroken at what had happened and asked, "People I knew there are looking for a good game. Do you mind if I tell a few people about here?" I told her that was fine. In the days that followed, the amount of Guests connecting would rival the first week OIM opened for Alpha. We were about to be tested for open-readiness, with an influx of players we didn't know, and who hadn't played on ChampionsMUSH, and who didn't know the system.

On the positive side, while we did lose many because of the difficulty in the system, most were able to use chargen. One of them made a character that was approved. The android named Seven. Then, something happened and they all vanished.

* Sept 2003 - May 2004 - Phase 4: Crucible City MUX and The Neverending Alpha

The Treyvan players left for a place called Crucible City MUX, a Mutants and Masterminds place with a looser chargen and wider theme. I also went there to check it out. Dr. Manhattan set the place up in a way that was nearly the exact opposite of OIM. I decided to make a lower level social character there, and watch how things went on CCMUX. While it's certainly an okay place to play, and several people have criticized the way I designed OIM as inferior to CM or CCMUX, one fact remains: I did it for a reason. Everything was due to something learned elsewhere.

Meanwhile, by December 31st, 2003, the finally tally was up. In 1 year, 40 plots had been run and finished, and several IC happenings had altered the campaign world, yet not destroyed it. The apps remain fast for a Hero System MUSH, with turnaround under 1 week. While I get accused of being arrogant, condescending and elitist for having the various filters in the pre-approval phase, it serves the purpose. Those players who are flexible and willing to bend to the game, as opposed to those who want the game to bend to them, get in with relative ease. We are Beta ready!

So how come Beta was pushed back? Players voted and said that they enjoyed the past setting enough to play out the finale of it. So, we are still building to 1982.

Story of Beta