@camlorn: It's the wiki newbie guides that I was counting as help. I don't count the in-game book, because not only is it vague enough to be useless, it's more than possible to generate a character that can't read it in the first place. And keep points are, in my opinion, exactly what we're talking about: systems that disadvantage players for quitting. This can be by just forcing you to drop eq like lost souls does, charging rent for quitting, not letting you quit accept in particular places, etc. Quitting is not an in-game action, and thus having any kind of in-game penalty for quitting is absolutely unacceptable. Even Alter Aeon does this; as I understand it, characters age even when the player is offline. CoffeeMud is another one hugely guilty of that. While they aren't rent systems, they still serve to penalize players who have lives, by making the character old and possibly even unplayable do to age if the player has to be away from the game long enough. When a player quits, he should not lose anything, and absolutely nothing what so ever should happen to his character while he's away. Anything else is not only unfair, but it can also promote extremely unhealthy behaviour in people with addictive personalities. My complaint about keep points isn't that they're unrealistic. It's that they exist in a mud that seems to prefer realism over everything else. Newbies who complain about the difficulty are told that it's because of realism so shut up, and newbies who complain about keep points are told that muds aren't realistic in the first place so shut up. While you're being nicer about it, you're doing exactly the same thing that every other lost souls player does: brush off all complaints from newbies by saying that they aren't problems in the first place, or if they are, then lost souls isn't for us...with the implied subtext that it's because of our own stupidity. If you haven't seen that exact! same behaviour in places like 3kingdoms, I can only assume that it's because you are playing a mud where your friends outside of the mud are already playing, and can help you out until you know everything. That makes the mud seem much easier to you, and can make it extremely difficult to understand why other people are having problems so serious with the game that we find it unplayable.
Yes, alter aeon has cliques. However, you don't need to be invited into any of them just to play the game. You can read the help, do the quests, and advance perfectly fine without them. Somewhere like lost souls, unless you are invited into the clique, you can't even generate a decent character, never mind get and keep any decent equipment, or kill even a single creature. 3Kingdoms, Asylum, Cyber Assault, and Discworld to some extent, all share this problem with advancement requiring membership in the exclusive friends with the high level good old boys club.
@bladestorm360: Well, yes, not playing those games is really our only option. Unfortunately, mudding is an extremely small hobby. I know of one person who tried mudding in an unfortunate place (slothmud I think it was), slammed into the clique of older players who hate all newbies who they don't know personally, and decided that all mudders were a bunch of ancient jerks who are bitter about the coming of graphical games and don't want anyone else in the clubhouse. They never connected to another mud. I'm absolutely positive that this is a story that happens over, and over, and over again. So I kind of feel like if we don't start trying to brow-beat some of these exclusive games into opening up and being a bit more newbie friendly, all they're going to do is harm the entire community by driving off potential new mudders. Also, by ranting in a place like this forum, I am at least slightly hopeful that I can get people to see the flaws in some games and game types, and convince people to stop playing them, and thus stop supporting the developers who do these terrible things.
edit: On an unrelated note, keep points also seem to have had an amusing and quite unrealistic side effect in lost souls. As I was connecting and fiddling around for research purposes, to make sure I'm not just running my mouth, I went down into the sewers and found...an absolute treasure trove of dropped objects. I can only assume this is happening because of the large numbers of players who connect, realize they can't even kill a rat, then disconnect and never log back in again. I LOLed. Also, the character creation process now calls me an intermediate player...despite the fact that I have only once gotten a character over level 1, and that was only because an oldbie was looking for a mount and I happened to be mountable.