Throw MUD at me!

So next week I’m going to be starting a one-month series on MUDs for Massively, and I’d love to know which you consider to be the biggest, best and most influential ones.  Throw names and links at me, and I will smile at you benevolently!

22 thoughts on “Throw MUD at me!

  1. I can only list ones I actually played.

    And damn you! Now you’re making me remember those days fondly. Must fight installing a client 🙂

    Tsunami –, lpMUD

    Use to be that every 3-4 hours, the MUD would restart into a PvP mode. The players online would vote for how the PvP would function (use the MUD rooms or square arena; team based or free for all). When in normal mode, it was a PvE MUD but did allow PK (player killing).

    Something that was fairly unique to this MUD were the Monster and Dragon race/class. Monsters were made up of several sub classes. Dragons were a separate class; again with several subclasses.

    3 Kingdoms –, ldMUD

    This one is/was a interesting mix of Fantasy, Science and Chaos. Not many games allow players to be a Jedi, Vampire (looks to be removed?), or Knights. There are more classes than this, but gives an idea.

    Medievia –

    It was interesting for two reasons. First, there was an ingame trading system where you could buy goods in one location and sell them elsewhere. The rates exchange rates on those goods changed based on ingame events. To go with this, the overworld travel was actually a type of ASCII based graphics. You would see a square of the world around you that you could travel around in to move between towns/dungeons/areas. Only when you went into an area did you drop back to the standard MUD textual room descriptions.

  2. maybe not the biggest, but they had a GREAT system for User created groups called Clans. Drakontas Sporos for Life!

  3. Avatar for the PLATO system at University of Illinois

    Very old, very grindy. It had guilds (different meaning though), an economy, and a forerunner of special events!

    Oh, and David Allen’s Mordor game was a PC-clone of this game.

    And free to play, if you don’t count the tuition I had to pay to get access, and the GPA point I lost by playing. 🙂

  4. Sadly, some of the most influential MUDs are no longer with us. You could browse through the old* archives and see some of the issues we debated back then. Good times!

    I still play Discworld and Lost Souls occasionally, both of which originated back in 1991. Discworld’s development contributed a significant amount to LP MUDS in general. As Wilhelm mentioned, TorilMUD is a good example of a Diku MUD.

    There are a surprising number of MUDs still in existence, and the MUDconnect database still looks like it gets regular updates. I’m looking forward to reading the articles!

  5. None really were, the influential ones were the MUCKs and the MUSHes. The social muds like LambdaMOO and FurryMUCK. The gaming MUDs just were little self-contained things that embodied the worst aspects of the genre.

  6. I played Sojourn which turned into Toril MUD back in college. Oddly when I did pick up EQ, which wasn’t until the platinum pack, I felt like I was playing Toril MUD with pictures. The slash commands and the concepts were so similar. I think if you look at the credits for vanilla EQ and the first couple expansions they actually credit the folk from Toril MUD.

  7. I played, to excess, a mud called Dark and Shattered Lands, with the (in hindsight) very confusing acronym of DSL. It’s another DikuMUD, based mostly on Dragonlance, but a surprising big and successful one – with large numbers of players on at any time.

    Being in a non-native timezone, I remember waking up in the middle of the night to take part in the yearly arena based Clan wars – scheming as one of the senior figures of the Conclave of magic to find ways to get around the fact that we were very one dimensional. I remember the Kingdoms going to war with each other (the Non-pvp “guilds”), marking armies across the globe. I remember manning a cannon on a ship, any then fighting off boarders. I remember the rivalries – particularly the Elves versus the Dwarves.

    But the main thing I took out of DSL, apart of a tendency to get addicted to these types of games, is the fun of staying “in character” while otherwise just playing the game. The lack is my greatest disappointment with every single other MMO I’ve played since.


  8. The only MUD I ever played was the Discworld one and I found it to be a lot of fun and very representative of the source material. Looks like it still exists too.

  9. /signed for Gemstone 3 (now IV) and DragonRealms. I loved both of those games, and as far as I know they are still around. I also played on Allanthya MUD for a good long while, but it has since shuttered. Some information available is available through the wayback machine at

  10. I can’t even count the hours wasted playing MUME (Multi-Users in Middle Earth), a Tolkien-based PvP MUD. I started in 1996… stopped around 2002.

    Key features that would never fly today:

    * Massive XP loss on mobdeath (usually 1 full level)
    * Somewhat big XP loss if pkilled
    * Travel point system (needed to explore the world to earn levels on top of experience)
    * Fully lootable corpses – corpse runs HO!
    * Deathtraps – careful where you walk or you could die and your corpse would be unrecoverable
    * Movement point / endurance system preventing you from spamming your way to safety
    * Lockable/blockable/one-way doors to trap unsuspecting players

    Yeah, it was pretty EFFING hardcore! 🙂

  11. As Beleg said: Gemstone 3 (now 4). <— Gemstone specifically <— entire suite of games

    As far as MUDs (or text-based, multi-user RPGs) go, this is the highlight for me. Discovered in the early-days of internet mass consumption, as a free service on AoL, it morphed into a subscription model game. The company (Simutronics) has a great record of releasing quality content, at a glacial speed. They are still expanding classes, and have a giant world that has a history and lore spread across two simultaneously running games. The geography of Gemstone alone has various racial nations with deep history, and the gameplay has an endless advancement, even after reaching the level "cap".

    Interestingly enough, and easily tied into MMO-speak, they are the same company that developed the HEROengine, which is what SWTOR used to build their game. It's also one of the cheap, cloud options for liscening for indie developers (~$5000 for a lisence on a handful of users).

  12. I think the only true MUD I played, assuming you’re separating MUD from MUSH, etc, was Northern Lights way way back in the day.

    Now, if you’re including RP-type MUSHes in your list, then I’ll recommend Otherpace at to you. I’m no longer active there, haven’t been for a few years, but I keep touch with a few friends there. It has more than a decade of history.

    I used to play several other games, but most of them have ceased operations long since.

  13. DragonRealms. By far the most robust RPG I’ve ever played, whether MUD, MUSH, MOO, or MMO. Absolutely blows away everything else when it comes to combat mechanics, crafting, social interaction, world events, character customization, role-playing, and player-based economics. Also, it’s amazing fun.

    I remember the first Halloween shortly after launch (this is back in ’95), I was hanging around Riverhaven with some friends when the old mansion there began vomiting up hordes of undead. People were dashing into the mansion and getting killed, which meant their bodies had to be dragged out to the courtyard before they could be rezzed. Watching dozens upon dozens of players coordinate their attacks while providing cover for those tasked with retrieving bodies was my first “wow” moment in gaming. I played all night. Sixteen years hence I’ve yet to experience anything like it in any of the other myriad MMOs I’ve played.

    There is no graphic engine or bleeding-edge tech that can compete with the power of the mind’s eye. None.

  14. The biggest and best ones in the rp-required genres that have withstood the test of time have been Armageddon, Shadows of Isildur, and OtherSpace, certainly.

  15. I feel compelled to say StrangeMUD, as it was my gateway drug and I have many fond memories, but its population is not what it used to be.

    LegendMUD has come to me highly recommended via Nugget @ Posterous, though I have not played it myself.

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