Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2006 12:58 am
|So I hammered out a FAQ today. It's a bit long, but I wanted to address a lot of questions and be able to give the feel of the game. Let me know what you think.
The Myst and Myst Online FAQ
This FAQ was designed to be a starting place for those GameTap subscribers who are unfamiliar with Myst Online,. the background and the community.
Myst Online: Uru Live
What is Myst Online: Uru Live?
Myst Online: Uru Live (often called MOUL) is the reincarnation of the previous Uru Live, offered as part of the GameTap subscription. MOUL is also available in several countries where GameTap is not for an independent fee.
MOUL is an MMO-style game in that it offers an online collaborative environment in which players (called explorers) can interact. The background for MOUL is the "D'niverse", the shared world of the Myst and Uru series.
What is there to do in MOUL?
There are a number of different activities you can do in MOUL:
* MOUL has several areas and Ages that can be explored. You can find puzzles of various sorts, some which you can solve by yourself and some that require you to work with others. Some have required community-wide effort, similar to an ARG. MOUL also has some simple mini-game style activities.
* There are fragments of information about the civilization that one inhabited the ruins in which the games takes place. There are notebooks which describe history and pass on details of culture. Additionally, there are tidbits of art, inscriptions and other things that are presented without comment, but hint at more of the background. Many players engage in a sort 'virtual archeology', but learning the histories, examining artifacts and language and more.
* There is a storyline in MOUL. However, story is a bit of a misnomer. Rather, MOUL has a 'living history'. Except in recordings, NPCs not programs, but rather digital actors. They are played by real people, and interact with players dynamically. They have their own personalities, beliefs and agendas. Players can interact with them and sometimes affect their lives. One character, for instance, lost his job with the DRC for inappropriate contact with explorers. Others have had public and private confrontations with these official characters.
Additionally, players become important parts of the community and the storyline. Some players, due to their activities in the game and the community, become important personalities in the game. Other players have developed characters that have become a part of the over all atmosphere of the game. Some of these have even been recognized by the official characters and thus have become 'unofficially official' characters.
* For you collector types, there are things you can find. There are clothing items you can find in various places, as well as 'Relto pages' which can modify your Relto (personal space).
* MOUL is also a place to socialize. You can meet on public areas, such as the city (called Ae'gura) or in public neighborhoods (often called Bevins). You can form a neighborhood with others to share some Ages between just you, as well. There are parties and get-togethers of various sorts on a regular basis, including comedy nights and even choir concerts.
* Cyan sometimes holds 'restoration contests' where players can submit artwork or such.
* The community provides lots of opportunities both inside and outside of the Cavern. There are communities dedicated to studying the D'ni language, categorizing animals seen in the games, creating art based off of the background and more.
What are Myst Online Episodes?
MOUL breaks content into episodes, which are periods of time that last from 4-7 days where new content is added and official characters visit the game and advance the main plot. These happen about once every four to six weeks and are announced ahead of time, so you can plan to be around if you like.
As of late Jan 2008, we are between seasons, so there are no episodes at the moment. GameTap and Cyan are in negotiations for Season 2 at this point.
I can't figure out how this game works. What should I do?
The best way is to often find other people in game and ask them to help you. If you can't find anyone, or are not interested in being social at the moment, there are a number of websites. Andrew Plotkin has a very good Newcomer's Guide that answers a lot of questions about how to get around.
Where is everyone? How do I find people?
When you start the game, you are on a mountain top in a place called Relto. This is your Relto, your own place. To find others, you need to get into the city. You can do this through your Neighborhood book. You'll need to get a KI (communications device) to really be able to get around. I suggest the Newcomer's Guide for details on how to do that.
Once you can get around easier, you can visit public areas in the Ae'gura or you can find people in a public neighborhood/Bevin. Two neighborhoods are particularly useful to newcomers. The first is A Beginner's Bevin. Customer support personnel (called Restoration Engineers or ResEngs) do regular new explorer orientations in the evenings here. The second is the Guild of Greeter's Bevin. The Guild of Greeters are a fan organization dedicated to helping out people new to the game. There is often a few people on duty to help.
What is "In Cavern"? What is "You are You"?
In Cavern (IC) is the Uru term for being "In Character". This term will be familiar to role-players, though it has some specific connotations in the Uru community. Being in Cavern means that you accept the background as the cavern as real. That is, D'ni is a real place, and you are really there. You talk as if you are there, behave as if the game Myst Online: Uru Live isn't a game. The converse of this is Out of Cavern (OOC), where the assumption that Uru is just a game.
The former DRC Liaisons put together an excellent document describing IC, OOC and Role-playing in Uru.
Being In Cavern is not a requirement to playing the game. Some players are not interested in IC interaction. Others are interested in only IC interaction and will ignore OOC comments. Most players switch back and forth between the two seamlessly, however.
How IC is handled in Uru varies some from your standard role-playing game because of what is called the You are You concept. A play on the spelling of Uru (u-r-u), this concept means that you can play yourself in the context of Uru. When you are In Cavern, you just accept the idea that you are just you and you made your way to D'ni somehow. Not everyone plays in this concept, but a large number of players do. There is variation, of course. Some people play just themselves while in IC. Others play idealized versions or other variations of themselves.
This leads to some issues that are specific to Uru. One, the 'It's nothing personal, I'm just playing my character' is not as hard and fast a rule as many experienced role-players might be used to, since many people are playing themselves. Also, a particular group of people you encounter may have no interest in being IC. So attempting to force things one way or another may not be appreciated. Always gauge your audience.
If I role-play, what can I add or make up? Is fan fiction or fan story allowed?
This is a tricky question - you ask five players and you are bound to get ten opinions on it. At least.
The background has a definite Canon (see the Background section for a discussion on canon). Some explorers are only interested in that official history and those things that Cyan has created or approved of - these are things seen as 'real'. Others are interested in creating fan fiction and sharing it among themselves.
If you want to interact with the official history, or at least be compatible with it, here are a few possible rules of thumb:
* The more your idea departs from established canon or what is possible within the role of explorer, the more likely you are to get resistance (e.g. a professor coming to visit as part of a research project is more likely to be accepted than an alien from another dimension).
* The more intrusive your story is, the less acceptance it will get. (e.g. a fan fic posted on a forum will get less flak than jumping in the middle of other people's conversations and hijacking them for role-play purposes).
* The more liberties you take with the D'ni or the mechanics of linking, the less likely people will be willing to accept the story.
* Remember that there is a difference between what is real and what people say or think is real (e.g. your character claims to be a psychic. It's very plausable for someone to say that, or even believe it. But the reality of such a thing is questionable and ultimately the decision of Cyan).
If you are not concerned about compatibility with canon, then simply saying so and being polite in how you present your story is generally sufficient.
What are the Guilds in Myst Online?
Guilds in Myst Online are very different than what Guilds are in other MMOs. From an IC perspective, the D'ni had a traditional guild system that provided services for the D'ni people and acted as a government. The DRC (and through them, Cyan) have started recreating the Guild in modern times.
These guilds are not opposing factions, but rather will be organizations that focus on particular services and tasks in the community. These Guilds will have both IC and OOC sides, as they exist in the official history of the game, but also as organizations that fans can take part in.
Five Guilds have been announced. Only one (the Guild of Greeters) has been officially recognized. For the other four, fans have begun organizing themselves and working on projects in hopes that they will be recognized as the official Guilds when Cyan fully implements them. it has been pointed out that many of the restored Guilds focus on fan-created Ages.
The five guilds are:
* Guild of Cartographers - The Cartographers focus on the mapping of Ages. OOC, they have produced several maps of Uru ages for player use.
* Guild of Greeters - The Greeters focus on helping new players in the Cavern. They are an IC neutral guild, generally speaking. They have been officially recognized by Cyan. You can recognize a Greeter on duty by the helping hands icon on their T-shirt.
* Guild of Maintainers - The Maintainers were those who explored new Ages and acted as a militia for the D'ni. The expected role of the Maintainers OOC is to bug test fan-created Ages. They have begun writing commentaries on Uru ages and some fan-designed ones.
* Guild of Messengers - The Messengers act as the news and messengers in D'ni. They and their affiliates provide news on Uru and Myst, as well as assist in communications in the game.
* Guild of Writers - The Writers were the Guild that actually wrote links to Ages. OOC, it seems they will be the vanguard in creating fan-made Ages, including the design, 3D modeling and coding of actual Ages and areas in game. They have already organized the Age Building communities.
Can we create our own Ages?
Right now, there is no way to create an Age and upload it into Myst Online. However, this is a direction that Cyan Worlds has stated they intend to go. Many see the new Guilds as the first step in that direction.
However, many enterprising members of the community have developed ways of designing Ages and accessing them using the stand-alone version of Uru: Ages Beyond Myst. Several ages have been developed that you can load and explore. It's unclear how this will mesh with Cyan's plans for user-created content.
If you are interested on Age Creation, the place to start is the Guild of Writers site.
Where can I find out more about Myst Online?
A good place to start is the official forums at http://www.mystonline.com. There are also a number of excellent fan websites. See the Community section for more info.
The Myst Series
What is Myst?
Myst is an adventure/puzzle game that was released from Cyan (later Cyan Worlds) in 1993, run by brothers Rand and Robyn Miller. Myst was a huge success, becoming the best-selling computer game of all time, until the Sims took that title after the turn of the millennium. It's style was unique in that it used little to no inventory, high-quality graphics and a non-linear progression. See Wikipedia's entry on Myst for more information.
What is the Myst series?
Myst spun off a number of projects, including video games and book. These are primarily focused on the characters of Atrus and his family: his wife Catherine, his father Gehn and his children Sirrus, Achenar and Yeesha.
There are Five games in the Myst series:
Riven: Sequel to Myst
Myst III: Exile
Myst IV: Revelation
Myst V: End of Ages
Myst has been re-released in a few different versions, including the Myst Masterpiece edition, realMyst (a real-time rendered version of Myst) and ports to the Pocket PC and Nintendo DS. Myst, Riven, Exile and realMsyt are available in the GameTap library.
What are the Myst novels?
Myst also spun off three novels, which describe back story of the world the games are set in as well as details about the lives of the characters in the game. The novels are:
Myst: Book of Ti'ana
Myst: Book of Atrus
Myst: Book of D'ni
They can be found compiled in a volume called the Myst Reader.
Is there a Myst movie?
At one time, there were plans for a Myst mini-series, However, talks fell through. Recently, there has been a group of people trying to generate interest for a Myst movie at http://www.mystmovie.com
The Uru series
What is Uru?
Uru is the second series by Cyan worlds, set in the same background as the Myst series. Uru is set in the present day. Uru differs from Myst in terms of game play in that Uru gives you an avatar with which to interact with the environment. Uru games are done entirely with real-time rendering.
There have been several installments in the Uru series:
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst (with two expansion packs: To D'ni and Path of the Shell)
Myst Online: Uru Live
As Uru means 'gathering', Uru is used to refer to the community that has formed around the Myst and Uru series.
What is Uru: Ages Beyond Myst?
Uru: Ages Beyond Myst (sometimes called Uru Prime or ABeM) is a stand-alone game that introduced players to the Uru concept. Originally, you could sign up for Uru Live once you bought Uru: Ages Beyond Myst.
After Uru Live closed down, the content from Uru Live and some that was being developed for it were released in two expansion packs: To D’ni (which was free) and Path of the Shell. Later, Uru Prime and the expansion packs were sold as a bundle called Uru: Complete Chronicles.
What was Uru Live?
Uru Live was the online MMO component of Uru, funded by Ubisoft. You were able to play the content of the offline game as well as added areas. You were also able to play the game with others, as well as interact with an ongoing storyline.
Uru Live was closed down before finishing beta.
What is Until Uru
After Uru Live closed down and the expansion packs were sent out, Cyan Worlds released the server code for Uru Live and allowed fans to run their own shards. There was also a patch for the offline game that allowed you to connect to these shards, and a one time fee to support the authorization server.
There was no support for these shards from Cyan, as they focused on other projects. However, a small but devoted group kept the servers running, as well worked on reverse engineering the server and client so that they could extend the functions and content. Until Uru was shut down when Myst Online: Uru Live began.
The Background - the D'niverse
Note: this section contains some light spoilers.
What is Canon?
This is a bit of a meta topic. Canon is what is officially real and true in the D'niverse. This is defined by Cyan, more specifically Richard Watson (aka RAWA), who is a Cyan employee and the official D'ni historian.
That being said, what actually is canon and what isn't is not always well-defined. In many situations, we only know what we have been told by others from an IC perspective, not definitively that it is true. (This is much like real life. How many of us have actually been to, say, Antarctica? Most of what we know is hearsay.) In many cases, we can rely on what we are told, but not definitively.
As an important note, the Myst games and novels are not considered completely canon. Rather they are considered relatively faithful dramatizations, and in a few cases, the 'reality' varies from what is mentioned there.
Another wrinkle is the fact that as players, we are interacting in what is considered the real world. So many of the actions we do in the game are by default, canon. For example, if I have a screaming match with someone while IC, then I had a screaming match with someone. It happened. This is a little fuzzy when it comes to emoted actions. Saying "I pull out a gun and mow you all down with gunfire" is likely to be ignored.
What is the D'niverse?
The D'niverse is one name for the background shared by the Myst and Uru series. It is what is considered real - the Art of linking is real and D'ni did exist. The rest of this section will talk about the nature of the D'niverse.
A brief introduction to the D'niverse can be found in the first (and so far only) episode of the IC documentary, the Deep City:
Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JMDjTuEWsY
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnNTMAJQBjM
What is the Art of Linking? What is a Linking Book?
The Art of Linking (more commonly known as the Art) is the ability to create books that transport you, physically as well as what you are carrying, to other dimensions (called Ages). These books are special books, written with special ink that precisely describe the universe it connects to. There are, strictly speaking, two types of these books - descriptive books which define the connection and linking books which use that connection to transport people. Often, the term 'linking book' is used as a catch-all term. There is a 'linking panel' on the front page of the book which shows where it links to.
Since you can write the description in a linking book, you can control where it leads. So if the D’ni needed something, they generally just wrote a connection to a universe that had it.
Creating the link to an Age is called Writing an Age. One who does so is known as a Writer.
To use a linking book, one opens the book and puts one's hand on the linking panel. You are then teleported to the place the panel shows (the book remains behind - though there is an exception to this rule). This is called linking, and is the primary form of transportation in the game. If you want to get back, well, you better hope there is another book you can use.
How this works involves a long discussion on quantum mechanics and other things which we won't go into here. But ask any long-time fan, and you'll get an ear-full about it.
What or who are the D'ni?
The D'ni are a human/humanoid people who are an offshoot of the Ronay, from the Age known as Garternay. 10,000 years ago, they fled their world, which was going to be destroyed when the sun went supernova. They look human, though a little taller and their eyes are more sensitive to light. D'ni can breed with humans.
The Ronay fled to one age by using linking books, while the D'ni (essentially a religious cult) fled to another Age using their own linking books. They established their new civilization in a set of caverns below the surface of this new planet, which is also known as D'ni, or just the Cavern.
Incidentally, the Cavern is also a few miles beneath the surface of Eddy County, New Mexico, USA. So that means that the D'ni have been living underneath the feet of humanity for 10,000 years. They had never made contact with the surface, since they used their linking books for what they needed.
About 250 years ago, the D'ni were wiped out by a terrorist attack perpetrated by two of their own people. Those that survived fled to various Ages.
The ruins of the D'ni caverns is the primary place where Myst Online takes place.
What is the D'ni language?
The D'ni language is also known as D'ni. There are several examples of it in the Cavern. OOC, it is a real language, in the style of Tolkien's Elvish or Star Trek's Klingon. It was designed by RAWA. We don't know too much of the language, and a part of the community has taken documenting and analyzing the language as a hobby.
How did people get down there from the surface?
The first confirmed contact with the D'ni by humans is with a woman named Anna (called Ti'ana by the D'ni), in the 1700s. She got lost in the caves in New Mexico and stumbled upon a D'ni exploring them. She was taken down to the city and lived there for a time, marrying a D'ni. She gave birth to a half D'ni half human named Gehn, who was in turn the father of Atrus, one of the primary characters from the Myst series.
Ti'ana's story can be found in the novel Myst: Book of Ti'ana.
More recently, D'ni was discovered in the last few decades. A major archaeological effort was started, under the auspices of the D'ni Restoration Council (the DRC). It was during this restoration that, in 2003, other people from the surface (i.e. players) began finding their way to D'ni by other means, with the help of Yeesha, daughter of Atrus.
What is the 'restoration'?
The restoration is central backdrop of Myst Online. The DRC acts as a sort of unofficial government in the Cavern, doing the actual restoration of buildings and D'ni technology. They employ a number of contractors and other employees called Restoration Engineers or ResEngs. The DRC members are all official characters run by Cyan employees. ResEngs are the grunts of the restoration and double as OOC customer service reps. The DRC has had many funding issues, which has led them to close the Cavern down at times, or take long breaks from the Cavern.
The explorers (players) began finding their way to the Cavern through the intervention of Yeesha. Many reported being 'called' to the New Mexico desert. There is a standing rivalry between the DRC and the explorers, who generally have different ideas about the purpose of the restoration and the future of D'ni.
vidkid7 has compiled a Story So Far thread which describes the restoration from the time of Uru Live until and including the first Episode of Myst Online, entitled Scars.
A summary of the episodes can be found here, at the MYSTlore wiki.
For a more day-by-day description of events can be found in the Cavern Today forum on the UruObsession site.
Who is Yeesha?
Yeesha is the daughter of Atrus, and thus the granddaughter of Gehn and the great granddaughter of Ti'ana. She is one eighth D'ni. She is also an amazingly gifted Writer. Her abilities far exceed what the D'ni were capable of, and are so advanced that they seem like magic. For example, she can link without the use of a book.
Yeesha claims to have drawn explorers to D'ni to help with the Bahro.
Who are the Bahro?
The Bahro are a non-human race that the D'ni seem to have enslaved for an unknown period of time. Yeesha was instrumental in freeing the Bahro from their enslavement just in the past decade with the help of explorers. They are now free, and their activities have had a major impact on the history of the restoration.
What fansites are there about Myst or Uru?
There are hundreds of fansites about Myst and Uru. Here is a small selection to get you started.
D'ni Pedia and Writer's Ring (DPWR) - DPWR has extensive information about the D'ni background
MYSTlore - a wiki about the games and the D'niverse
UruObsession and MystObsession - sister sites that have details about both the Myst and Uru series, including walkthroughs, hints and more
The D'ni Desk Reference - information about the games. Thorough, though much of the information is dated
Guild of Greeters - home of the Guild of Greeters and a good source of information about Uru
D'ni Jazz Club - a fan site with detailed information about Uru and Myst Online
Rel.to - a directory of Myst and Uru resources
Myst Headlines - aggregrated news from the community and an RSS feed
Where can I find others who play Myst or Myst Online?
There are a number of communities and forums online for Myst and Uru.
Myst Online: Uru Live forums - these are the offical forums for Myst Online
UruObsession - the biggest community of Uru fans
MystCommunity - another active and long-standing Myst fan community
DRC forums - the offical forums of the DRC. This is an In Character website, though there is an OOC section to the forums
The Lyst - a mailing list for Myst fans
Are there non-English fan communities?
Yes, Myst and Uru have strong communities all over the world. The official forums have subforums for multiple languages. There are also several fan sites. Here are a few:
Are there face-to-face gatherings of Myst and Uru fans?
Myst fans get together on a regular basis.
Mysterium is a yearly convention of fans in the US, usually in late July.
Mystralia is a yearly convention in Australia.
Other details can be found at on the MOUL forums.
Where can I buy Myst and Uru stuff?
Myst merchandise is available from MystWear. You can also find a lot of items on eBay. The novels are available on Amazon as are the games and some of the soundtracks for the games. And, as mentioned before, Myst, Riven, Exile and realMyst are in the GameTap library of games.
About this FAQ
This FAQ was written by Blade Lakem of the Myst Embassy, a fan organization that tries to introduce people to the Myst and Uru universe.
_________________Your story is Unwritten.
Unwritten - Adventures in the Ages of Myst and Beyond
MOULagain KI#27460 - Second Life: Vax Sirnah
Last edited by BladeLakem on Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:31 am, edited 2 times in total.