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Good principles for text MUDs

pkpkpkpkpkpk Member UncommonPosts: 236
edited October 2019 in The Pub at MMORPG.COM
In my other threads I have explained why graphical online RPGs have nothing good to offer any more. In brief:

1) They were always made or owned by large corporations.
2) There was only a small window where they could be made according to sound principles before games like Everquest made that unappealing
3) Following point number one, they all crashed and burned chasing profits. A virtual world to Electronic Arts, Sony and Microsoft, was not what a virtual world should be. It involved radical change to increase profit in the short term while it destroyed the game in the long one.

With the demise of Project 1999, the last spark of graphics has ended. Text again reigns supreme.

With that said, here are principles that good text MUDs use. But first a quote by Richard Bartle:

There are some wonderfully original, joyous virtual worlds out there. They're exquisitely balanced, rich in depth, abundant in breadth, alive with subtleties, and full of wise, interesting, fun people who engender an atmosphere of mystique and marvel without compare. Newbies would love these virtual worlds, but they're not going to play them.

Why not? Because they're all text. Newbies don't do text.

None of these principles are required for a MUD to be good, but the best MUDs tend to have them in high proportion.

1) Character approval. You submit your description, background and other information to a game master, and he approves or dispproves.

2) Permanent death. This is not notable except in its absence from MMOs. Traditional computer role-playing games and online ones had it (Kesmai, MUD1). 

3) Enforced role-playing. No reason for a MUD not to have this. 

4) Food and water required. 

5) Challenge. Every MUD  with permanent death has challenge that I have seen, other than Hardcore BATMud.

6) Roleplaying tools. This is what separates graphical games generally from text. Very seldom are graphics used for role-playing. 

"I mean - you can't even *sit in a chair* for crying out loud. " - Kerry Jane on alt.games.everquest in 1999.

"Today’s graphical worlds are excellent at making a world look real, but as a consequence it’s harder for them to behave real. Characters jump into a river without making a splash, then swim across it in full armour without sinking, to emerge without being wet and with the glass of milk they’ve had in their backpack for several years still as fresh as the day they bought it" - Richard Bartle in 2011

7) Realism. Again not worth specifying. Graphical games stopped trying at all after the early days. Early MMOs had some examples of realism here and there.

8) Freedom to choose between a level or skill based system. The creator does, that is.

9) GMs enforce the rules and ensure people play by them. Careful study of player logs permits the GM to see just what a player has done.

10) In MMOs, players have limited power to affect anything.

11) RPP and roles. Even some of the light MUDs have serious player roles, whether tied to RPP or not. The early MMO Nexus (1996) had some of this and conceivably others that no longer exist. RPP can be tied to social class, wealth, magic, companions and other things.

12) MMORPGs began to limit which players you could attack, and to restrict looting of the corpse. This was standard by Everquests time. This was not traditional in MUDs, though it was not uncommon as they expanded in the '90s. It was unheard of on MUDs with enforced role-playing, as far as I know.

13) Alts are generally forbidden.



  • ArteriusArterius Member EpicPosts: 2,840
    What MUDS do you recommend 
    Currently playing: Outer Worlds (Xbox One X)

    Currently Reading: Skaven Slayer (Gotrek and Felix Book 2)

    Currently Writing: Champions of Legend Book 1 (3rd Draft)

    Currently Watching: Oz (Season 4), Soprano's (Season 1)

  • pkpkpkpkpkpk Member UncommonPosts: 236
    Arterius said:
    What MUDS do you recommend 
    The principles here are most commonly found in RPI MUDs.
  • gervaise1gervaise1 Member EpicPosts: 6,919
    pkpkpk said:
    Arterius said:
    What MUDS do you recommend 
    The principles here are most commonly found in RPI MUDs.
    How much do they pay the GMs? Assuming these also have: 

    "9) GMs enforce the rules and ensure people play by them. Careful study of player logs permits the GM to see just what a player has done."

    Potentially this is very time consuming. Consequently very - very - expensive. 

    Some early mmos tried to have active small teams of GMs. They basically couldn't afford it.
  • anemoanemo Member RarePosts: 1,894
    I like AlterAeon.  An EQ player will be familiar enough to get in and just bash stuff if they want to.  And has 20 years of content development to play with.

    It makes good use of text with a complex archetype system.   It’s different enough that I personally don’t like calling it a class system.  Where you level your main class at normal exp costs and following classes at increased costs.   With ability points from leveling being limited enough that you’re picking and choosing which abilities your build gets and at a trade off of how many stats.

    also crafting is interesting in that you can use your crafted stuff to actually change your play style.  Something a as they’re called in the OP "a big Corp" MMO would never allow (since if players are experiencing different ups/downs due to build/class/whatever it becomes more difficult to schedule monetization).

    Practice doesn't make perfect, practice makes permanent.

    "At one point technology meant making tech that could get to the moon, now it means making tech that could get you a taxi."

  • TheocritusTheocritus Member EpicPosts: 7,673
    I tried probably 5-6 MUDs....They aren't bad but here's what kept me from staying very long:
    1) Often had PVP
    2) Eating/drinking is not fun, especially if its a constant
    3) No concept of where I am at

  • MendelMendel Member EpicPosts: 3,910

    Here's how I feel about these "bullet points".

    1. Character approval.  Having a GM review and approve a character prohibits anyone jumping into the game on a whim.  It also requires a GM to be present and approve my character when I want to play.  If I want to join in a game, but it's 3AM where the GM lives, they have to be awake, or I end up waiting on someone.  Good idea in theory, bad implementation.
    2. Permanent Death.  Not interested.  Fantasy and even a lot of science fiction has numerous methods to return to life.
    3. Enforced Role Playing.  I've got no problem with this, but someone's going to have to define role-playing first.
    4. Food and Water Required.  Smacks of micromanagement.  Hard pass.
    5. Challenge.  Game play isn't challenge, no matter what actions it may emulate.  Besides, the main skill in a MUD is language and typing.  I don't find those as interesting topics for challenge.  And "guess the right word" is particularly annoying.
    6. Role Playing Tools.  Neither MUDs nor RPGs nor MMORPGs have anything I'd consider as a tool that facilitates role playing.  In fact, the only tool in most games is the chat channel.  In that case, Total Annihilation could be considered a RPG.
    7. Realism.  First occurrence of totally venturing off the attributes of a good text MUD and a personal bias against other graphics games.
    8. Freedom.  All developers and creators have this freedom in all manner of games.  So, this isn't really unique to text MUDs.  This isn't quite an attack on all other graphical games, but certainly the bias is again present.
    9. GMs. People enforce the rules.  So does code.  However, people can be more flexible, but also introduce favoritism and inconsistency.  Code provides a more restrictive experience, but ultimately more fair and balanced.  And, as noted by @gervaise1, people are expensive.
    10. Limited power.  Another attack on non-text MUDs, without pointing out a unique benefit.  More deviation from the basic premise.
    11. Roles.  That's a core element in all forms of role-playing games, from 1974 on.  Again, there is nothing unique about this anymore.
    12. Limited Attacks and Looting.  These came about to impose social contracts and mores on players.  These provide boundaries to acceptable behavior.  Unchecked actions tend to cause grief between players.  GMs can attempt to impose order on behavior and actions, but code can't.  A point for flexibility, but again, this point is comes across as more of a bias against non-textual MUDS.
    13. Alts Forbidden.  Actually, I prefer this,  However, it is a convention, not a rule and can apply to any form of gaming.
    Interesting post.  Behind the attacks on anything graphical, I felt like this was part of a recruitment drive for a MUD.  This should get a lot of play on a MUD specific forum.  Not so much here, I'm afraid.


    Logic, my dear, merely enables one to be wrong with great authority.

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