I'm sorry to see that you had a negative experience on Avatar. Let me assure you, yours is the exception, not the norm. Most new players enjoy their time on Avatar, and judging from how long Avatar has been around, and how many of our existing lords and heroes (not to mention the Immortals) have been playing, they enjoy the time here too.
You mentioned our Mudschool. I'm glad to see that you spent a bit of time there and thought highly of it. It was designed by one of our Immortals who happens to be an educator in real life. It is a great example of how we try to welcome new players, as it introduces brand new mudders to mud commands in general, and experienced mudders to Avatar commands specifically.
I'm sad to see that you did not get a response when you were NCHATing for assistance. If our playerbase can be accused of anything, I would not think indifference is one of them. If anything, our playerbase is usually _overly_ helpful, where a new player asks one question and gets 10 responses! I wasn't logged on at the time that you were, and didn't see what was happening. There may have been an auction going on. There may have been a big group death that the players were massing to rescue. Who knows?
What I do know, is Avatar is one of the few muds that has created an entire class of experienced players to assist others. (The Angel class, of which I am part). Our sole purpose is to help new players and introduce them to Avatar.
I do know that Avatar has one of the largest HELP FILE libraries available. Don't believe me? Check out the site at http://www.outland.org/helps/mortal/
And those are just the Mortal helpfiles. There are hundreds more for Heroes and Lords.
And, to be honest, the playerbase at Avatar is one of the most helpful and honest groups out there. Sure, there are a few players that will make jokes, snicker, and even berate a new player. However, our Immortal staff has established rules that this is not the standard, and any player who is observed flaming, berating or otherwise harrassing a new player will be dealt with appropriately. ( I have seen a player lose a hero-level character for repeated beratement of new players.)
All in all, I think Avatar is one of the best MU*s out there for new players. Avatar is definitely not a mud designed for 'power leveling' And as for skills and stats both drawing off of the same pool of 'practice points,' well, you and I both know that you are not going to love EVERY aspect of the game. Most players really enjoy that part of Avatar, as it makes leveling much simpler.
Again Jon, Im sorry you had a negative experience with Avatar. I hope you give us another chance. I hope you log on during a time that I am present. I hope you give me or one of my Angel peers the chance to demonstrate that we are the best mud out there!
(I apologize for the length, and thank you for reading this. :)