The following is an interview with Moritheil on 9/12/03. Moritheil has been playing Sojourn for many years now, and enjoys leading newbies to their doom. Moritheil is a member of the Shades of Twilight guild. For the safety of the audience, this interview was conducted behind a five inch thick glass shield; no audience members were injured during the recording of the interview.

Y: To get started, please tell me about what year and how you got into mudding.

M: hmmm, I'd have to say about 95 or so
M: a bunch of friends I knew were into it... many don't play anymore
M: but let me see . . . Knetzar, Ronik, Tilandal, Pril, F... I forget this guy's name, a ranger.. Forilanol, I think.
M: oh and Nerzul :) can't forget him.

Y: Was Sojourn your first mud?

M: absolutely.

Y: What was it about Sojourn that caused you to stay here instead of playing another mud?

M: Well, I've played other muds, but none of them are nearly as interesting.
M: For example, Sojourn had a fairly stable pbase, with newbies alongside veterans. Those dynamics were interesting.
M: Another thing I love is that on a lot of muds all the stats are transparent. You don't get that here. You have to guess at things like exp and AC, although that's eroded somewhat this incarnation.
M: This way there can be real debate about what it's better to wear, and that sort of thing. That keeps it lively.

Y: You're a zone leader with a reputation for leading people to their demise. How did this get started?

M: Haha. Well, that's a fair question.
M: In my mind, all my zoneleading started when I was a real lowbie, and I didn't really know what I was doing.
M: This would be back on . . . Toril I guess. I had a paladin, and I hated exp.
M: But as a lowbie character I couldn't do jack in terms of zoning.
M: In those days there were tons of other mid/low characters, so it was easy to get tons of people for a group.
M: So to have fun I'd get armies and we'd demolish SS or lay waste to BGR, things like that.
M: In fact, I met Gormal in a 15man BGR group. We were attempting to kill the cormyrian guards on BGR for their eq.
M: At the same time, unbeknownst to us, a group was doing a dragon run, maybe Tiamat even.
M: so Pezdeath was set up.
M: So what we got was the entire mud was spammed with the demise of my 15 man newbie group.
M: it was incredibly embarassing, although I look back and it's riotously funny.
M: At any rate, after that event, I noticed Gormal leading his own groups more, since he was convinced *anyone* could do better than that.
M: I went down with the ship tanking to try to get more people out. Afterwards we CR'd everyone. and I just kept on trucking.
M: one of the things people said was, "We're getting more mileage out of the Purple Dragon Cormyrian guards than the real dragons." :P
M: So I think after that event my name was indelibly associated with megaspank in peoples' minds.

Y: Which zones have you lead, and of those, which is your favorite to lead, and why?

M: Oh wow. This is a real tough question.
M: Let's start with the first part. I've led nearly everything except the really high end zones like Tiamat.
M: Vault, TF, Jot, Oakvale, Brass, FP, AP, BS eq, ZK eq, rares like Zog, SG... all your standard difficulty zones, pretty much.
M: I haven't led some things like Muspelheim, but that came in after I didn't really have oodles of time anymore.
M: And of course the newer zones, Spob and Seelie, I haven't led yet. I find it fun to lead zones blind, though. So you might just hear of a massive CR effort sometime ;)
Moritheil winks suggestively at you. What's he thinking?
M: Oh, one thing I am proud of is that I lead Underdark zonelets several times on this character.
M: This culminated in slaying the deep wurm. That was really fun, and incredibly annoying to do since I had to run through UD a lot.
M: But in the end it was something nice, something off-the-wall that people point to and say, "See? Sane group leaders don't do this."
M: And that was part of the fun.
M: Hm, I guess that'll do for my favorite zoning experience - Underdark. Just because it was totally goofy and noone expected me to pull it off (death free, I might add), and it was incredibly risky.

Y: Nice.

M: It's so hard to pick a favorite.
Moritheil grins wickedly.

Y: I haven't seen you lead zones in quite awhile. Do you think you will be leading again in the future?

M: Yes, I think I will be leading again in the future. One of the things I really missed as a great many of my friends on here matured was the loss of a certain innocence to zoning.
M: When you take newbies into a zone, they have this amazing sense of wonder, and they feel really priviledged to be there.
M: One thing that really strikes me is how quickly this can change for many people - zoning turns from a fun jaunt into a chore or a hassle.
M: So, partly in answer to your question, it's my hope that Sojourn gets an influx of newbies. They're so much fun.
Moritheil chuckles politely.
M: But of course, I don't plan to miss out on zoning with the oldschoolers, so to speak, either.
M: In December, Gormal and Xyr are returning, and there's a great deal of hype.
M: So I'll probably be on for that.
M: In general, zoneleading is a two way street - if folks don't want to do a zone, I never make them finish it.
M: But for the foreseeable future, as long as people want to be led, Mori will be here to risk spank.
Moritheil grins wickedly.

Y: When you're recruiting for a zone, what kind of people are you looking for?

M: Ohhh, this is the question that always makes people sit up and stare.
Moritheil pulls a pillow out of thin air and stuffs it down his throat.
M: Heh. I really don't.
M: For me, that's the secret of leading. Honestly.
M: Don't look at the people you bring. If you want, you can always find some reason to reject someone out of hand.
M: But the flip side of that is, if you want, you can find some way to make things work with almost any group.
M: My best Attic run ever was done with a group of 12 warriors, because I basically just accepted whoever consented me first.
M: We had not a single death, and we were in and out in something like 25 minutes.

Y: wow

M: Yeah, it was intense.
M: I see so much emphasis on building the perfect group - one druid, 4 vokers, whatever.
M: I'm not sure that's healthy. The point now is that with the new overlapping classes, you should be able to pick up a random group and zone with it.
M: And I find that often that is indeed the case. Just have a little faith in the people you lead.

Y: What has been your greatest accomplishment on Sojourn?

M: My greatest accomplishment on Sojourn is all the fun times I had, and all the friendships I made.
M: To me, the best thing in the world is logging on and getting spammed with tells like 'omg spank!' and '*panic* it's mori!'
M: It's a great place to be, everyone knows your name, and they understand that you just want to have a little fun. To me, that's probably more important than writing zones or finishing a zone lead in record time, or having 50 or the spankiest eq.
Moritheil shrugs helplessly.
M: To each their own, eh? For me, it's about the people.

Y: Every mud has its ups and downs. When do you think the best time to play Sojourn was?

M: Oh man. Well, for me, the best time to play was I guess a tossup between the beginning of Sojourn III and the end of Soj II.
M: At the beginning of S3, there was this amazing vitality because all things were new, and I was sort of established, and people all over knew of me and would send me tells and work things out with me.
M: At the end of S2, I was just figuring out how to do those things. I was known, since it was after I'd pulled a few stints leading, and I had friends, but I was at the periphery of things.
M: So I guess the time that was best for me, personally, to play Sojourn was when I was "ascending," so to speak. Before I had any name recognition, I was a friendly neighborhood barker much like any other.
M: And it was an amazing process learning out about how to lead lots of zones, and figuring out tons of quests, and tinkering with things and realizing how some code worked.
M: It was a great ride.
Moritheil nogs at you, you must be right.

Y: When was the worst time to play Sojourn?

M: Hmm, I dunno when the worst time was, but the harshness of Toril to newbies always sort of stuck with me.
M: I remember getting yelled at by Imms for things as trivial as shouting "Can anyone help a newbie" because I'd died to WD casino owner
M: and the Imm (I have no idea who it was) yelled at me because I was level 7 and thus I shouldn't be panhandling for eq by then :P
M: Just really silly stuff, it always struck me.

Y: If you could change anything about Sojourn, what would it be?

Moritheil throws back his head and cackles with insane glee!
M: Ah, where to start?
M: I'd probably increase liches and squids in power, and raise the size of the group limit.
M: But even beyond that - since those are issues of the moment - I think Sojourn needs to be actively expanding.
M: I think we've gotten complacent, and we should be writing great newbie zones and advertising everywhere (well, finances allowing)
M: People sometimes forget that new players are the lifeblood of any game. And MUDs forget that at their peril.
Moritheil peers around intently, looking for something.
M: Aside from those two issues - one of balance, and a larger concern about new blood - there isn't much I'd change.
M: I suppose I'd try to increase the response time on issues players raise, or something. I always wondered why there was no Ombudsman.

Y: As you may know, soon Sojourn will be divided into two muds, one run by Miax, and one run by Sheverash and Cyric.
Y: Most everyone has an opinion on this matter. What is yours?

M: Well, I have to say, I'm still a bit flabbergasted by the news. I've spoken with imms about it, about where certain things were going, and Shev himself said "I don't know."
M: It's sad that there's a split, when what we need to do is consolidate the player base, but perhaps drastic measures are needed for us to realize we need new blood as well.
M: I've heard Miax's server is going to be bandwidth-restricted, so I'm guessing that the bulk of people will probably choose the Shevy/Cyric server... more bandwidth seems to imply less lag ;)
M: Of course, I've been told that I have to make a decision about where my zone goes, and things like that, and I honestly have no idea yet.
M: It's all very fresh in my mind. But we'll see!
Moritheil winks suggestively at you. What's he thinking?

Y: Of the two muds that will be formed, what will be your criterion for deciding which to play?

M: Well, I don't think you can have Sojourn, or Toril, or whatever you want to call it, without a significant mass of people. At least 500+. It just isn't the same without that.
M: Heck, even now, I feel weirded out because it's incredibly rare that I meet anybody new.
M: Even the evils know me, or know of me, and shout out spank jokes whenever we race to do a zone.
M: So, I'm really hoping one of these muds will pull in a lot of people. I'm hoping to see familiar faces next to a plethora of newbies.
M: If I see that, then I'll know my choice is made.

Y: What do you think will happen to the two muds?

M: I think that what will happen, unless something happens to differentiate them, is that one mud will be viewed as "superior" by the players
M: and after that things will just snowball. The other mud will have like 40 regular players, or it'll be played when the popular one crashes.
M: not a fate I would ever wish on something this grand, but I call it as I see it.

Y: What are some of the things you do IRL?

M: Oh wow! Free plug space!
Moritheil grins wickedly.
M: I'm a student, currently. In my free time, I also run a roleplaying game called In Nomine
M: It's about demons and angels, and set in the modern day.
M: It's very cinematic, but very much grounded in reality. It's a nice counterbalance to the FR hack and slash on Sojourn.
M: Aside from that, I write songs and poetry, and do scientific research. A bit of everything, you might say :P

Y: This is the final question.
Y: Where do you see yourself in the future?

Moritheil crosses his eyes.
M: I honestly have no clue. Life's an adventure, and we make choices, but we never really understand the consequences until years later, if ever.
M: Here's hoping I make the right choices!
Moritheil give you an ice cold foamy beer. Go ahead have a drink!
Moritheil hands himself another beer and guzzles it down.

Y: Thank you :)

Moritheil grins wickedly.
M: thank you!
Moritheil gives you a great big, warm hug.


[Yarash's image]

[Yarash's image]