How it all began...
It was the summer of 2001, Syriac and Dezmond were just 15 and 14 years old respectively. For the past two years they had become avid players of The Final Challenge MUD. One day during the summer, TFC vanished without notice. Not well networked with the staff at that point, they had no idea what had happened and didn't know if TFC would come back. They had instant withdrawal and after talking to a friend in town they decided to make their own MUD. At this point, Syriac had some limited experience writing code, mainly BASIC and some HTML. He had no idea the undertaking he was about to embark upon for he decided he would do the coding and Dezmond would do area building. They went out on the creek with a notepad, heads full of ideas, boundless enthusiasm and mountains of optimism. They really loved TFC and wanted to replicate the features they both enjoyed, namely multiclassing, random objects, the god follower system and some of the quests. They also decided they wanted to take a few different directions, one of the first odd ideas was a race of merfolk. Fun fact: The area Atlantis was originally going to be the merfolk hometown. Ultimately the idea was scrapped. They also settled on Mystic Shadows for the name of the MUD. After some poking and prodding, Syriac was able to compile SMAUG 1.4a with Visual Studio 6.0 on his Packard Bell. At this point coding was still very tricky, but area building seemed fun and interesting. Walking around as gods was a lot of fun. At night time, Syriac (Then using the name Sirus) would fire up Mystic Shadows and invite his friends to connect and mess around. Bubba, Draven, Pius, Paython, Snappy and Legolas were some of the first people to enter Realm of Shadows and some of the first staff members. After a few months of building and tinkering, Syriac decided to take the MUD live. He decided to change the name to Realm of Shadows and got a money order for $5.00 and sent it out to pay for the first month of hosting. Realm of Shadows went live February 2nd 2002.
The MUD goes live
Still mainly accessing the internet on dialup connections, Syriac was very limited to how often he could actually get online to do work. At this point in the MUD, it was EXTREMELY buggy. People could one hit kill each other exploiting certain potions, the MUD crashed frequently, it was possible to skip ahead multiple levels at once and there was no multiclassing. At this point the MUD was still very close to stock SMAUG with a few tweaks and snippets installed that Syriac found online. Despite all of the quirks, the MUD became fairly popular. Syriac fondly recalls running to the local library to log in and see many people playing, new petitions to join the immortal staff, followings out hunting each other and he even enjoyed working through the growing pains. Shortly after going live Vorax joined Syriac to help code, he was far more skilled and seasoned and helped a lot in the early days. His main code contributions were bug fixed, the improved id spell, and basically everything in v2.13.