I’m one of those oldfashioned people that still loves to play MUDs. Some of you may not know this, but the MUD scene is still pretty big! However, the whole community is spread out over hundreds of really small games with just a dozen of players. But this is not what I wanted to discuss today.
For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, a MUD is just like an MMO, but without graphics. Instead of graphics, the whole game world is described with text. Actually, the first MMOs were called “graphical MUDs”, because they were exactly the same, only with a layer of graphics on top. Lots of concepts that we use in MMOs nowadays are concepts that came from MUDs. But some standard MUD features are only occasionally implemented in modern MMOs.
So let’s discuss a couple of pretty standard MUD features that I would love to see in an MMO:
Lots of MUDs offer multi-classing. After reaching a certain level on your first class, you get to choose a second one. And then a third one. And so on! Often, a special ‘hero’ class unlocks for those who have reached the highest level in all the standard classes. I love this system because it allows for a lot of variety within the same character. Also, in some MUDs your level is reset with each class, so you get to revisit lowbie areas. One MMO that has a great multi-classing system is Runes of Magic, but I don’t really know of any other MMO… do you?
2. A donation room
Imagine there was a special place in your favorite MMO where you could go and find awesome gear on the floor. MUDs often have a donation room where people drop items that they do not need anymore, and pick up items that were left there by others. You would think this is an easily abused system, but it’s not! Mostly, the items left in the donation room are low-level items which can be used by newbies. Isn’t that a nice welcome?
3. Multiple social groups
In most MMOs, you can only be a part of one guild. But in a lot of MUDs, you can belong to multiple social groups. Often, guilds are based on player class (e.g. if you’re a mage, you can be a part of the mages guild), and then you can join a clan of players, and multiple societies based on what you like to do in-game, interests that you have, etc. Again, this allows for varied gameplay with the same character, whereas otherwise you’d have to make an alt if you wanted to join a second social group.
4. Eating & Drinking
5. Movement points
I’ll talk about these last two features together. In a lot of MUDs, you’ll start to feel weak if you haven’t had enough to eat or drink. You’ll also start to feel tired if you’ve travelled too far without resting. It’s clear why both these concepts aren’t used in ‘modern’ MMOs. I can imagine that lots of people would be frustrated if they had to interrupt their dungeon run for a rest, or to go find a sandwich and some water, but on the other hand, I think eating, drinking and movement restrictions allow for more immersion.