In spring 1992, an event took place, that although predated the birth of Malevolence by several years, formed the first chapter of our story. Xanax, who was working for Dynamix, a PC game company, was granted semi-illicit access to Greylady, a server on the University of Oregon network by a certain SV (who is even on the Nethack Credits!).Xanax and his roommate at the time, Darktoast, began to explore the seemingly endless possibilities of the internet.
Several months went by, as the pair, discovered telnet, ftp, gopher and mail. They were of course, in addition to learning, looking for the ultimate internet game. In their travels on the net, they heard about MUDs. MUDs appealed to both, since both were literate and imaginative.
Xanax eventually found Realms of the Dragon, and since it had most of the coolest features ofMUDs (player killing, saving equipment,guilds, etc), he started "Mr. Blonde", a thief. After a few days, Darktoast logged in and began his illustrious career of thief, guildmaster and eventually Administrator of Malevolence.
Within months, with help from like-minded crazies, RoD was in chaos. Darktoast and Xanax had taken control of the Thieves' Guild, and instituted guild systems that had transformed the thieves from the weakest, least organized guild into an organized, well functioning unit. Newbie thieves could safely practice their craft knowing that their guild would back them up. And when trouble happened, the guild had an immense bribery operation which provided them a source magic, healing, and stolen equipment.
Some techniques used in defense of the guild used literally every thief online to coordinate massive attacks on enemies, with newbie thieves providing intelligence and using stolen and/or bribed range weapons from other guilds.
Of course this caused much consternation. Thief was already individually the weakest class, but the organized crime that the guild was perpetrating was causing (heaven forbid!) other guilds to either ally or conflict with the thieves. Eventually, after much lobbying by some players and pet creators, the thief class was further castrated. Although this impactedthe rate of advancement in thieves, and many thieves suffered under the ridiculous punitive measures, guild effectiveness was still high, and now the thieves were pissed. This all added up to even more conflicts.
Finally, after more behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing, RoD officially closed the thieves guild and purged. That was the end of the Thieves' Guild on Realms of the Dragon, and to this day, RoD is thief-less. Darktoast continued guild-less for a while, but eventually gave up. Xanax began his first incarnation of his namesake, a Drow Mage character, and played for a while, but eventually he too gave up on RoD.
Both began to turn their attention to starting a MUD of their own. Several attempts were made to install one on Greylady, but the old server just could not handle it. The breakthrough happened a couple of years later, when Darktoast became associated with Harborside ISP, in Brookings, Oregon. With permission, and after more research, the Heaven7 mudlib and Amylaar driver were installed, initially temporarily, until a better alternative was found.
A few weeks later, the first crop of coders was found in a MUD-type chat, Fishroom, which was dedicated to freshwater aquaria. Shwaine was one of these. Many had never even been on a MUD, and none had ever coded, but enthusiasm carried the day, and many of these original coders are still on Malevolence today.
It was shortly decided to keep the H7 mudlib, pimples, poopstains and all, but to alter and fix it to our specifications. After many stumbles, the libcoding was taken up by Shwaine.
Malevolence ran (nearly) constantly for over two years, and gameplay was vastly improved. Many mudlib features were added and fixed, and the lib went from under 5 megs to over 20, with thousands of rooms added. Two new guilds were added as well.
In July 1998, Malevolence was hacked into and the intruder destroyed the hard disk. The owner of the machine removed it from Harborside, and that was the end of Malevolence on harborside.com. Attempts were made to install the mudlib on a DEC Alpha proved fruitless, and it was not for another six months that Xanax and Darktoast with help from Dolph, Shwaine, Perin, and of course Chancellor, Malevolence was back up the following Februrary. The new host, SDIC.net provided both a machine and net access, much to the delight of everyone.
Work resumed on Malevolence, and even more bugs were fixed. Darktoast has settled into the general Administrator role, with some neat areas to his credit. Xanax's role has been that of innovator and experimenter, creating AI and new monster types. Shwaine continues to be the main lib coder, and probably knows this lib better than anyone on the planet.
And so that is the story, at least from the top... many players have great ones too.