I'm writing this today because I've played a lot of the recent MMORPGs touted as open world, player driven and sandbox, and have yet to be satisfied by any one of them. Truthfully finding the kind of epic roleplaying experience I'm looking for is absolutely impossible in today's MMORPGs; Mortal Online came really close to what I was looking for, but the constant ganking left me discouraged. I've been spoiled by MUDs, their sense of community and character customization mechanics appeal to my need to have complete control over my character. I like creating a description of my character instead of picking from preset face and hair options.
The best MUDs I've played had a playerbase of 300 - 500 people online, spread out across 6 player-ran cities (and some rogues). So each city would have maybe 20 - 40 people online. Because MUDs are in text, you're reading what is happening in the game, so it creates an extremely immersive environment if you're a book reader. For example, you could be standing at the entrance of your city, hanging out with friends. All of a sudden;