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Reader Comments (23)

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 5:39PM LazyLemming said

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I wish MMOs would start doing the awesome events Gemstone III did. I remember the first time all the reality tears happened and undead ran amok in the game city, with all the players trying to ban together to end the event.

Nothing would freak you out more than heading to the town square for an Empath to take your lacerations, only to find raging combat as a horde of undead rush everyone. Nowhere was safe during these events.

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 1:18PM Durinthal said

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@LazyLemming

Agreed. To me, nothing beats having another human on the other end, directing NPCs and able to adjust on the fly. No amount of scripting can account for every stupid action players decide to take.

Additionally, unique events lend to a deeper connection to the game. I still vividly recall one of my earlier forays into DragonRealms. I was standing on one of the trade routes when a volcano erupted, destroying the primary training area for my class and killing more than a dozen other characters. The hall was rebuilt a few rooms away, and the blackened ruins of the tower are still there a decade later (nearly 50 years in-game).

..sheesh. If I made a new character now they would have been born while my older characters were adventuring.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 5:46PM Twitchy5 said

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Playing Atonement currently, and working on my own (Basically going to be metro 2033 in New York). And before you say anything, I've coded MUDs before, I know how to do this.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 6:01PM sortius said

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Ahh, this takes me back. My name actually was first used in a MUD, sortius the thief.

I also ran a MOO for a while, that was great. Taught me a lot about the logic behind MMOs. Maybe that's why I'm such an efficient leveler these days.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 6:02PM Morgshrum said

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Gemstone would also have big events where special vendors came to a part of the world occationally where you could get special loot only available at them, you could even make one of a kind personal weapons and armor.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 6:28PM PrimeSynergy said

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Anyone else play/played Wyvern? Ah...good times

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 6:28PM Darkkhorse said

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I played Tele-Arena and Major MUD mostly... they were both great and lots of fun to play. We made many scripts using Q-script in Qmodem and Mega MUD that would take you places in the game... quest - fight certain mobs... and of course power level or gain items/money. It was good times that could never be replicated today just because it was a different time with much different technology. I had a friend that threw up a BBS and we were playing Major Mud again.. but we used sysop powers which made it a bit boring...but to grind your way, by hand through that game... no thanks.
they were good times, made lots of friends... pretty much like MMO's today.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 6:30PM cowboyhugbees said

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This is slightly off topic, but can anyone recommend to me some good single-player text adventures? Something with a skill system like that last screenshot?

Always been on the lookout for something like that.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 7:22PM (Unverified) said

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Circle: 22, 0 deaths, teaching, scholarship, etc.

Guess moon mages still don't spend much time outside of the middens.

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 1:04PM Durinthal said

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@(Unverified)

Kssarh teleports them back if they stray too far.
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Posted: Apr 5th 2011 8:04PM DancingCow said

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Would have been to mention some of the still very popular muds, eg. Discworld, 3k etc.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 8:12PM Addfwyn said

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Played RetroMUD for ages, still poke at it from time to time, great great game.

Posted: Apr 5th 2011 10:05PM 10thDoctor said

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I'll have to say this was a great read. Took me in the 'way back' machine to the times when I started college and obtained a 'magnus' account. Then while doing some math homework on the NeXT machines in the lab (those things were so fraking cool at the time) I would have some x windows open playing PernMUSH and Netrek.

I think I spent the past 20m just sifting through clutch records from the old PernMUSH desperaty trying to remember my char name, and failing, lol.

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 1:38AM (Unverified) said

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I never have gotten to experience one unfortunatel, but it sounds like everyone has a lot of good memories from them.

If I were to play one what would you guys suggest?

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 2:03AM Jeromai said

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@(Unverified)

Really depends on what you're looking for. As essentially a tourist from MMOs, I'd suggest not locking down to a codebase so quickly and trying out a bunch to get a feel for them. One thing to note is that the commands do tend to differ from codebase to codebase, but standard compass 'nesw' movement, inventory or 'i', 'con' for consider tend to stay the same.

Google 'top mud sites' and pick a MUD off the list, that should assure you of a MUD with at least a smidgen of population left (coming from MMOs, that means dropping your expectations to about 25-150+ odd people online though.)

I would also point out that some of the MUDs advertising are pay muds, or microtransaction-based (like F2P MMOs), some of them fairly sneaky about it, so don't get shocked if a progress barrier comes down halfway through and/or do your research beforehand.

I still have a soft spot for Realms of Despair. Its SMAUG codebase has very MMO-like features, folks will no doubt be able to recognize Everquest resemblances, including the whole 'game starts at 50' raid-like schtick. It has a number of original areas built lovingly by players, some of which include text adventure-like puzzles, but ultimately still with a gamey stat-based/xp/combat and progress oriented wrapper.

Discworld MUD is also pretty special to me. Completely different codebase, totally eye-opening for how faithfully it recreated the city of Ankh-Morpok and the rest of Terry Prachett's world. More RP/immersive, puzzle-based, than stat-based combat game imo.

Of the pay muds, I found a brief visit to Achaea and Medievia also very eye-opening studying the game mechanics and design that they used.

If you were bored, I'd get a proper MUD client (one that allowed colors, scrollback and being able to backspace and edit before sending text, unlike basic telnet), get a list of MUDs and just click on names that seem interesting and see if the MUD is still going.

The Godwars codebase is something I also found amusing. For its imitation of White Wolf werewolves, vampires, etc, with over-the-top superhero/god-like inflation of players over world mobs (as it is mostly a PK-focused codebase - or PvP-oriented, in more MMO terms.) You'd run around hitting things for tens of thousands or millions of damage. Not sure if any of its descendants are still running.
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Posted: Apr 6th 2011 7:48AM Scrobes said

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Ahh these were great. I remember various Star Wars MUSHes, focusing on roleplaying. One was cool that it had a sort of language system in it. Your character could switch language (if they knew several) and if you didn't have high enough language skill it would just come up as garbled words when someone was speaking a different language. It was a very nice touch. I think the MUSH was based on the Star Wars West End Games pen&paper rulebook, and had its own space traveling/ship system.

I also remember an Alien vs. Predator MUD I think. That was.. interesting. It was focused more on PVP. Obviously you could play as Predator, Alien and Marine, though I can barely remember the details now.

Finally, there was one I tried based on AD&D rule system, and that was fun. They seemed to be a dime a dozen, and I'll never remember the specific names. But lots of fond memories of these MUSHes/MUDs.

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 9:09AM ChongShin said

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MUDs were so vicious. Instant death traps, man. Just, "go east", BAM, like that. Your character falls into a pit and dies.

They also had a great sense of humor. You would get random crazy MOBs that were conjurations of the programmer's irritation or too much drink. We had "lag monsters" shortly after they upgraded their Internet connection or computer. You would get whiner mobs or begger mobs that followed you around, etc. etc.. taking them out was SO satisfying. :) Then there was the old lady or other random encounters that would kick the snot out of you.

Basically they were very similar to a by-the-pants pen and paper game. A lot of humor and a lot of fun, but a lot of things that really couldn't be done in today's MMOs.

What I think that we could and should get are more creative wizard classes. In the MUD you had a wizard that mixed elements to create their spells. You had to discover some of the more powerful ones yourself. They also had more involvement of deities, although EQ2 sort of tried this at one point. Special powers from each deity, sacrifices of defeated MOBs to build favor, special resistances from them (based on maintained favor), random encounters with mobs from enemy deities.. etc etc.

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 11:22AM (Unverified) said

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I probably got into this at the tail end of the era and only played one, called HoloMuck. Two things that were unique for me was the ability to actually create content for the game that others could experience. Of course, you had to pass certain tutorials to prove you learned how to "program" the content. The other part of that was a sort of precursor to the graphics to come, by using ASCII art to illustrate/enhance your content. And of course what would multi player be without making friends, who got married in game and then latter in life. Soon after his came The Realm by Sierra. But the joy of having other players adventure in the world I created within the world was very special.

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 11:51AM Ergonomic Cat said

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I was a MUSHer not a MUDder, but I did a lot of it for a time. I was more WoD than any others, so I did a lot of City by Night ones. Atlanta and Chicago were my favorites. Most of them required new players to be humans, but you could petition to be a Special.

Problem with those games is that they require so much investment. You can't just pop in at a random time and find content. You needed to be on when friends ere and the like.

Still, some really fun times. I once had a player ask me a very personal question about feminine issues because my character was female, and apparently convincing enough. That was a bit awkward. ;)

Posted: Apr 6th 2011 3:45PM Space Cobra said

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@Justin Olevetti

"Right from the start, MUD1 had the template for many MMO staples that we take for granted today, such as levels. Bartle once said that "design decisions Roy and I made for MUD1 have been passed down unaltered through generations of virtual worlds, often without designers even realising that they had a choice in the matter."

Actually, a slight insertion of info is needed here: While they did make many design decisions, most of them came from the DnD books that they drew their inspiration from, Leveling and Stats in particular. I don't think they or anyone else could have easily came up with a numerical system on their own. DnD was clearly an influence and it influenced them to add it in. The system was "logical", more or less, and easily implemented via computing language than say a "word" based system (such as saying one is "strong", "average", or "weak" versus giving a value of "18", "6" (or "9", depending on your interpretation), or "3".)

As for rememberance:

Early on, I tried to get into online gaming, first through the hourly services (CompuServe, GEnie) then through AOL (also hourly at that time). MUDs, MUSHes, and MUCKs and more were a cool part of that. Heck, even AOL's chat room (Red Dragon Inn, taken from GEnie) gave me the experience to type fast, read chat fast, and use my imagination more ways than any graphic MMO could hope to do so. Heck, I went to FurryMUCK and some variants, a few AnimeMUSH/MUCKses, a Star Wars MUCK or two, 3 X-Men MUXes, DikuMuck, a few fantasy-ones and more. It was right at my fingertips and I kept on exploring and trying these out.

But don't let things fool you: There WAS level-grinding on MUDs and even Gemstone (and grinding items). Typing a command such as "attack sheep" (or whatever that sheep-creature was in Gemstone) or "att sheep" was a chore to do over and over (no macro for this kid!). Sometimes lucked out with "a shp" and at least I could type "n" to "go north". And you had staples like debuffing of stats after death that could be either waited out in some games or you HAD to see a healer in others, item stat loss and all the rest. These are not as new as many think they are. (You'd grumble over them at that time, too! But at least people were more willing to sit in the town square and roleplay while waiting on a heal or buff at that time, definitely seems to be MORE RPers then than now. Maybe the "shiny graphics" has made more people anti-RP nowadays?)

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