Tuesday, May 31, 2011 | 8
You enter a poorly written article. The walls are slimy to the touch. You can feel a cool breeze coming through the cracks below. Before you stands the embodiment of arrogance and poor hygiene...I apologize for anyone who has absolutely no idea where I was going with that. We can't all waste our early (and late) teen years playing online text based games to fill the void that thin-mints couldn't.
There are no exits.
20/25 HP / 5/5 MP > Kill author
A MUD (Multi-User Dungeon) is one of the earliest forms of online gaming, but instead of purple weapons and shitty user-interfaces, they employ your imagination and don't insult you with any interface at all! Like most text-based games, MUDs survived by replacing graphics with innovation and creativity. I would pose that nearly any MUD that you could find today would have far more in the way of character development, equipment, and depth of lore than any current popular MMORPG.
I've been doing a lot of lists lately... Here is another list in no particularly meaningful order!
MUDs don't have publishers steering the shipThe best way to stifle any and all creativity in game development is to let a suit compare your project to what they consider similar products. When Rift was in development, I'm sure that at some point early on there were people in charge that thought they would make something new and exciting for disenfranchised ex-MMORPG players... Sadly, once a person outside got a hold of it, they ended up making World of Warcraft Part 3 (Part 2 was Warhammer Online).
MUDs protect their precious secretsThis may just be a symptom of the lack of player base in a typical MUD, but they tend to have secret puzzles and zones that have existed for years that nobody ever solved or found. The type of mystique of being able to solve a complex puzzle for the first time on a server is completely impossible to achieve in MMORPGs. Any MMORPG with any puzzles would have solutions posted on the internet before the game exits alpha testing.
If you don't think it is worth it to have things in a game that you may never be able to figure out, then you are stupid and this article isn't for you. A good puzzle is a very rewarding experience to the mentally capable, and it upsets me that developers do everything for the bottom ten percent. This leads me to my next issue.
MUDs don't care if you suckOne of the biggest problems with the hand holding in MMORPGs today is that it completely ignores the opposite end of the spectrum. World of Warcraft spent lot of time and money on making sure that anyone could play their game. What they failed to realize is that by oversimplifying everything so completely, they made the game so mind-numbingly simple that the difference between a great player and a terrible player really isn't that big.
There is no reason why someone who has mastered a system shouldn't obliterate someone who is drooling all over the keyboard. That is why god invented Bruce Lee and the Harlem Globetrotters (not at the same time, obviously).
MUDs have a real communityThe sense of community that you can experience in a MUD is due to the fact that if you don't know the person you're grouping with they could very easily betray you and steal your fancy shoes with the light-up soles. MMORPGs today dedicate to much time into figuring out how to restrict griefers so you aren't forced to get to know people on a level other than their class and level before you dive into a pit with them.
Call me crazy, but I think that knowing the guy who is responsible for making sure you don't die should be pretty damn important. Sadly, because of the aforementioned point, it doesn't matter who is with you in a MMORPG because any trained parrot is capable of pressing number keys in sequential order and being the best raid healer on Bleeding Hollow...