MUD In Your Eye


A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there lived a breed of online text-based game called a Multi-User Dungeon, or MUD. The MUDs thrived for a time, and then along came a beast called EverQuest, followed by its larger cousin, WOW. Together they killed the MUD forever. Or did they?

Ten years ago this month, a MUD I wrote for called Iconoclast was the MUD of the Month on the MUD Connector. At the time, the other MUD admins and I had the following to say about the new breed of upstart graphical MUDs:

People still like to read. And so text-based muds are not at all threatened by the appearance of graphical muds. The Internet is a big place. There's room for all of us.

Text-based muds are superior to many other forms of technology because of what they offer. It's a unique experience, and it won't be going away.

Of course, MUDs very nearly went away a few years after we wrote that.

But an interesting thing happened the other day. Our MUD admin logged on and noticed that we had a half dozen people actively role-playing on the MUD. We were intrigued. I put out a call for players to return using a few old Iconoclast player mailing lists, and within six hours we had 22 people on the MUD. As I write this, we've maintained 15 players for over 8 hours.

It would seem that in spite of -- or perhaps, because of -- WOW, people do have an interest in MUDs. What do you think? Do you have any favorite MUDs that you still play? Do you think MUDs offer anything that WOW and its ilk never can? Weigh in. Share your MUDdy thoughts and links below.

I only ever played in a MUD, what, 15 years ago? While visiting a cousin whose father was a professor in a local University I was exposed to unix and networks and MUDs. Heh, we were on summer vacation, so we'd play all night, go to bed come morning, hang out for a bit in the afternoon and then spend another night playing. This went on for a week on two consecutive summers.

Haven't played since, though. Who's got the time?

I think MUDs still have a future - I ''still'' dream of starting up my own MUD, and actually settled on a codebase, I think, that I'd start using ( - primarily because it's LPMud based, and I like the idea of editing external files). It's never happened due to my own innocence when it comes to MUD creation and playing, but I certainly do think they're viable. I've been watching numerous "visual MUDs" come (I hoped for NWN2 dearly, but wasn't impressed) and go, and still nothing that fits my goals. is the next one I'm watching.

I've never actually played a MUD. I think I've tried before, but I found the interface too difficult to dive into.

That, and I find it hard to role-play in real time without face-to-face interaction, body language, or at the very least, voice intonation. Role-playing with comeplete strangers is difficult too.

Random tangent: I'm curious as to how many Gamegreners play MMOG's, be it WoW or another one. I played Wow for a bit, right after it came out, but didn't have the time to keep up with my friends in power level, and so dropped it after a few months.

I have a lifetime membership to LOTRO (that I won at the Child's Play Charity Auction), which is the only one I'm actively on. I used to play DDO and COV. I also have a 14-day trial to WOW sitting in front of me.

But right now I'm trying to focus on my MUD so no gaming allowed!

I have played a few old-school pseudo-MUDs that are browser-based. I'm still fond of Legend of the Green Dragon (a rip-off of legend of the red dragon, one of the first real online rpgs that stressed people working together). I fiddle with Urban dead, which is definitely multi-user and text-based, but I don't know if it woudl qualify as a MUD. It still funa all get-out though.

Murkily MUDdily yours

Well, I've played a bit of Guild Wars (got to 13th level, I think), which has no subscription fee (BTW, I'm selling my copy, if anyone's interested).
Other than that, I've decided I've got too little time on my hands to:
A) Dedicate it all to one game.
B) pay 15$ for so few hours a month.

I played mud 5 years ago.
I want it now... :) Nostalgy

I played on a few MUDs (really, I mainly played on a single MUD that went through three incarnations). This was in the late 90s, early 2000s. The MUD was FaerunMud, or Faerun, based on the Forgotten Realms setting and using a heavily modified codebase by Aaron Brace. It allowed tactical movement within a room, among other innovations.
It was the funnest game I have ever played on a computer.
What MUDs can offer that other online games cannot is simply the ability to DO ANYTHING. As was posted above, some find it difficult to roleplay without the face-to-face benefits of eye contact, body language, vocal inflections and facial expressions.
A good MUD does allow for all that though, through the magic of emotes.
emote frowns deeply, and rubs a hand over his stubbly chin. "Well, at least I think it does."
The close, deep rp available, the intricately imagined scenes, the detailed living world -- no graphic can yet show that depth, where text and human imagination can.
MUDs live!

I used to play on FaerunMUD as well. It was great until TSR/Wizards hit it with a cease-and-desist for implementing the 2nd Edition rules so completely and for following the campaign and source material so closely. It was easy to roleplay in a setting such as the Forgotten Realms, which is as familiar to most players as classic fantasy settings like The Lord of the Rings. Unfortunately, the MUD that rose from those ashes (Rauvyon) is nothing close to the original. The new setting is based in some celtic/faerie/druidic thing, which drove most players off (actually, kept them from returning after the TSR/WotC incident). If anyone knows of a MUD with familiar rules (such as AD&D 2nd Edition) and a familiar setting (such as Forgotten Realms), please post! Save us from the stock MUD clones.