This entry will be a summary of my experience in playing online Multiple User Text Based Role Playing Games.
When I was in high school, I played on a MUD called Lunar Eclipse. For a while, it was just a fun thing - I eventually ended up making friends there, and one of them was a high level mage. Mages, at the time, were one of the most powerful classes in the game: I, on the other hand, was a Paladin, one of the weakest classes. He took me under his wing so to speak, and he helped me zoom through levels. For approximately the middle third of the 1-101 level system, I was doing exactly what he said to do, rather than doing any decision making on my own.
This same system was followed through much of my levelling, up until level 95, where he stocked me up with all the best equipment and told me that it was my turn to finish up to Hero level, 101. I don't remember a lot about this: It was probably 4 years ago at this point. But I do remember that I eventually got there, and all the people in the MUD were pretty happy for me. I was the only Hero paladin in the MUD's memory.
I remember getting into fights over stupid crap with the administrators of the server. I remember telling an admin that she was so slow she didn't even notice that I was cheating by gold dropping (dropping gold from one character to give it to another character) -- she put me in Jail for 3 days (as per the rules for gold dropping) without verifying that I actually had. Of course, verifying something like that is something nearly impossible, and completely unneccesary to what was basically told as a confession, even if I was lying -- she did the right thing, but I disliked her for a long time after that.
For a while, I was a member of the clan of Kai, and helped to build their clan hall. However, Kai never really fit me very well: it was a very caring place, which is something along the lines of what my character fits into. However, there just weren't enough people. I eventually joined the Clan of the Dragon: they were a much more mercenary bunch, and much more historied. I created my persona as a Dragon: Although I was a Paladin, I was still a mercenary when the need called for it.
I spent a long time making up for my lack of skill with quests and points to build skills. I tried a lot of things that no one else had, and i was the testing grounds for many of the skills that the coder for the site was adding to Paladins to attempt to balance the class.
I was a builder for the site. I worked on recreating a whole area - all the descriptions were put into place, and I still feel that I built it. However, before the end, I got into a snit with the administrators, and basically asked all my rights to be removed. I came very close to asking for my character to be deleted from the MUD, but decided againsst it in the end - a wise decision, given that I'm still playing years later.
I haven't played much since then - a few hours here and there every couple of months. I've tried playing in other places, but none of it's really the same. Lunar is where I started, and I can't go anywhere else. I started playing when I was much younger, and could waste hours just sitting around. Now I spend that time on IRC instead, but that doesn't change the fact that I have fond memories of Lunar Eclipse, and I don't think it's time that will ever go away completely. It fades away for periods of time, but it always comes back, like so many things that play an important part in our past. And I think I like it that way.