Why use MushZ if you already have a client?
Me being new to muds, I just jumped right on to Mush from the start. This isn't always the case for everyone though. There are a lot of experienced mud players out there, and they prefer to use their preferred client. Of course there is nothing wrong with this, but There are some benefits to using Mush which you aren't going to get from another client.
Mush with Mush-Z is made specifically for Alter Aeon
When first starting out in the game, the amount of commands can be a bit daunting. This is made a bit easier with MushZ. Not only are there shortcuts like alt+h for hp, alt+g for gold, alt+v for movement, and alt+m for mana, a lot of commands are already shortened to make the game easier. These are like built in aliases, or shorthand commands to make the typing bourdon a bit less. There are also hotkeys for moving around, both for those with a number pad, and those without. Alt in combination with the right hand keys moves you in that direction. For example alt+j for west, alt +l for east, alt I for north and so on. If you have a number pad then you just press the number to move in that direction, 5 is where you currently are. For example 8 would go north, 1 would go south west, dash goes up, and plus goes down. This number pad navigation is what made me stay around, I was never interested in muds before because of the need to type in the direction I wanted to walk. This makes navigation simple and easy.
Though this isn't a list of all the shortcuts you can expect with MushZ, there are a lot of them to make many things in game much easier. Simple stuff like bsc for blood sac corpse, AF for checking your effects, stp and stg for putting and getting stuff out of your storage locker. Stuff like this already being built in makes a world of difference when learning Alter for the first time. You can focus on playing the game, and not so much on memorizing all the different possible commands you'll have to be typing in.
The MushZ config options
One of the best things about MushZ is the config screen. You can open the dialog by simply typing config in game. This puts you in a really big list of different config options specific to mush. These are things you'll have use for as you play the game more. There's stuff for each class in here, options to automate some tasks, and to make some things easier.
One of the first things you should do when logging in with MushZ is do 'config mud -force'. This sets up mush for alter, and turns on a lot of settings that you'll want to be using. Things like door chimes, and other beneficial options that will make your alter playing much easier. Without doing this you'll be missing out on a lot of features that everyone uses.
The different options are great to go through and check out. Though there may not be a use for all of them at the start, you'll find a use for most of them as you play.
The MushZ Buffers
One of my favorite things about Mush is the buffers you have for chats and other things which happen in game. They are there by default, and they make the game so much easier. You can simply use alt left or right arrow to move between buffers, and alt up or down arrow to go up and down through the messages in each buffer. Alt + home or end jumps to the top or bottom of a buffer as well. They can be reordered with alt + shift + left or right arrow.
Some of the buffers you'll have are channels for chats, say for messages in the say history, XP for a history of your kills and the XP you got for each one, clan for clan chat, friends for friend activity. There are a bunch of them, and it makes the reading and keeping up with what is going on much easier. I didn't know about this feature when I first started playing, but since I learned about it, many things have been much easier.
The MushZ Plug-ins
There are a lot of these installed from the start, and even more included with your install which aren't installed by default. Some of these I've found useful I'll be putting below so others know what is helpful.
asc_wph (asc_wph.xml): This is a waypoint bridger. This means it will automatically hop you around to your destination. This is very helpful when you are on the mainland and the waypoints are much farther apart. Many times you will try and waypoint to a location, but you'll get the error that the other waypoint is too far away. This allows you to simply type 'wph location' and jump there. If you have the spell group waypoint you can type 'gwph location' to hop your entire group to the new location.
asc_sslog (asc_sslog.xml): This add-on makes a buffer for your soul steals, and the soul steals for everyone in your group. This is both nice if you are a necro, and if you group with necros.
ConditionHelper (ConditionHelper.xml): This shortens the strings for the condition of people in your group. For example, instead of big nasty wounds it will just list as bn, small wounds will list as sw. With some mobs time is everything,and this allows you to get condition of mobs and people in your group faster.
friends (friends.xml): This plug-in adds in different shortcuts for friend commands. This way things like friend post can be shortened to frp, friend list can be frl. This just makes life a little bit easier with less typing.
mushZ_sid (mushz_sid.xml): This is a short ID plug-in which is much more useful than the built in short id. This allows you to customize the things seen when you id something, and also allows you to brag the last thing identified to a channel with the 'brag id' command. Once it is installed you have to make sure the server side short ID is disabled, then just type sid.
room_labels (room_labels.xml): This command allows you to add a label to the current room with the 'RLAB
Of course there is nothing wrong with using your own client, but for those new to alter MushZ can be a life saver. It makes so many things easier, and this allows you to ffocus on playing the game, not arguing with a client. I haven't ever used any other clients, but I do know how easy mush has made my Altering, so I'm simply passing this info along to everyone else who might be playing for the first time.