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News & Features Discussion  » [Column] General: Recapturing that Old MUD Feeling

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40 posts found
  SBFord

Associate Editor - News Manager

Joined: 6/28/10
Posts: 13470

 
OP  5/26/14 4:16:50 PM#1

Before there was Ultima Online and Everquest, or even Meridian 59, there were MUDs. Standing for “Multi User Dungeon,” MUDs were the original MMOs. Played on mainframes with text descriptions and a simple command line, with no sound, no graphics, not even a map, you typed out your movements and actions in the game and waited to see the server’s response. You connected via your dial-up modem at 300 baud, and there were perhaps 20-30 players online at any given time.

Read more of Mark Kern's Recapturing that Old MUD Feeling.

Associate Editor: MMORPG.com
Follow me on Twitter: @MMORPGMom

  neotron

Advanced Member

Joined: 9/07/05
Posts: 21

5/27/14 2:22:27 PM#2

I played a lot of MUD's in the day (primarily LPMUD and Diku MUD's). None of the MUD's I played on had anything resembling a GM that actually interacted with the player base. There were admins (Wizards in LPMUD's for example, which I was on several) that actually built the world (LPC programming) but at least on the MUD's I played, they were strictly forbidden to interact with players in a game changing fashion.

 

I do think it would be awesome to have GM driven events in MMO's but given the size of MMO's and number of servers, it would be hard to achieve in a meaningful way. Today this typically is end-of-beta events which almost always turn out to be a horrible gameplay experience in terms of "fun factor". Last example is Wildstar which had devs come in and summon various bosses. There was literally 10-30 second lag, frequent disconnects and even the best computers could barely hope to go above 10 FPS at minimum quality.

 

As much as it would be cool to see, it doesn't seem likely that it's something that ever will exist on mainstream MMO's. It might be something indie MMO's can pull off, ones with a much smaller player base and a more intimate experience with the developers.

 

 

  Crusades

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/14/14
Posts: 494

5/27/14 2:24:20 PM#3
Amen to this article. I would love to see GM come into the world and actively shake things up. I remember playing Rolemaster Magestorm and randomly GM would pop in and say hi and just check up on things. It always felt like an honor to have them present. It was policing still though. What having GM do by orchestrating NPC's or even be at the controls of a World Boss would definitely add value. It would bring back some of that in game celebrity status that we used to know as well.
  Amaranthar

Advanced Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2171

5/27/14 3:18:46 PM#4
I think there would have to be a lot of thought to the fact that some of these GMs would sell their job out just to be "cool" to the players they get to know. But I do think there's huge value to this idea if proper safeguards can be installed into the system. And the game itself would need to be designed with this in mind.

Once upon a time....

  Ragnar1337

Advanced Member

Joined: 4/06/14
Posts: 62

5/27/14 4:06:49 PM#5
So how many GM's were ever in Firefall to do all that cool stuff? None. Players policing the community themselves? LOL Go take a look at how well that is working in Archeage where people are abusing the hell out of the report system and using it as a pvp tool. This guy has no clue what he's talking about. 
  Dreamo84

Defender of Worlds

Joined: 5/20/04
Posts: 2994

I actually still like MMORPGs

5/27/14 4:22:03 PM#6

Unfortunately, it doesn't seem practical. With all the problems your support team was facing in WoW. Do you think it would have helped if the GM said "sorry, I can't get your items back fierce Warrior but I can summon special demons for you to fight!"

It wasn't like your support team didn't already have problems they were facing. If automated systems could be effective I think they would have already been developed? no? That sort of thing tends to piss customers off unfortunately.

"if your account has been hacked please press 1 now"

 

  Po_gg

Elite Member

Joined: 5/12/10
Posts: 2035

5/27/14 5:07:13 PM#7

Nostalgia is great, there was a MUD article not while ago, I wrote there as well that it'd be great to bring back some aspects of MUDs - but highly unlikely it will ever happen, sadly. 20 years passed, that's a huge amount of time in IT and gaming.

Not to mention, from all those aspects, GM events? As neotron wrote above, it was even against the rules in many MUDs (true, I too played on a few which had a more open policy on this matter), and on the other hand it's not a rare thing today, I used to cite Codies LotRO for an example of GM events, but even at Turbine there's a few, like the Hobbit to Isengard series at the moment, or the Ettenmoors event was.

 

What I would love to see from the MUD / MUSH era is the totally open access to the game code. There's the Foundry in STO and Neverwinter, and it's great, but still that's only used for missions. Maybe the release of AC servers from Turbine will jumpstart the modding aspect in the genre. It won't be as free as MUDs were, simply due the tech changes. That era is gone already. C and LPC was so clean and easy, if you had the inspiration you could write a whole area with storylines and npc's and quests in a weekend. A good one, I mean.

 

Actually, I don't think we could "recapture the old MUD feeling", ever. We can play MUDs today too, obviously, but that's not even close to the original times. Back then, it was a close and tight community, with frequent offline meet-ups, etc. We can't go back to that, because the world is changed. I mean, the internet was still pretty much rare, which already narrowed down the "accessible" playerbase to college (and later high school) people. Today the net is more common than clean air.

Accounts were also rare, usually one net access per person (and those who had multiple, were the "chosen few"... I had one in all 3 colleges/unis which had direct access to the backbone in the early '90s. Yep, I was cool :) ), so manners and netiquette actually ment something - if you were once kicked from a game, then it was final, you couldn't just create a new one (not to mention the best games used invite-only character creation). Today obviously that's not the case anymore.

Also it ment there was no altoholism, one user = one character, which was great for manners again, with the smaller playerbase where everyone knew everybody :) Like when on an afternoon we took one of the free practice rooms (20 pc's with net) for some gaming, and "Damn this xxxx, how can he be such a lamer... anyone knows him?" and 2 rows behind a dude said he's in his college and the following day if you hop over with some beer I'll introduce you to him and you can discuss it in person :) 

Good times... the strange thing is I still remember most of the people from my favourite MUD, with faces - and character names. I knew their names too, maybe I could even remember a few of those if I'd try hard, but we called each other on character name irl too, for years :) That's also something not for today. There are famous characters in games, but even they have alts as well. These games are Massively multiplayer now, with thousands of people.

  Elandrial

Hard Core Member

Joined: 6/11/04
Posts: 149

5/27/14 5:08:38 PM#8
hate to tell him but MUD are out on pc's as well way after mainframes days.i was playing a mud as well as everquest.yes you can forget getting online help now days or even in some cases offline.one mmorpg i put in a service request for pw reset,as i was not getting the email.9 months later i still had not heard back and had long since gave up.after a year i finally did hear back saying my request had expired and to resubmit it.what a joke.
  WarWitch

Apprentice Member

Joined: 9/18/04
Posts: 91

5/27/14 6:49:36 PM#9

I admined on Paradox mud  for years from the start and 3 others.

Sadly what U can runinto is the gms leading guilds and overpowering them. 

Gm run events do add spice to any live game.

The trouble with any scripted game is it gets boaring fast.

on Paradox we had one coder that coded everything randomly so even the zone map was never the same. Of course he went on to work at ms and make the big bucks.

 

  Foobarx

Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/16/14
Posts: 459

5/27/14 7:12:29 PM#10

Let's try to recapture that old neanderthal man feeling... because in essence, you're trying to do the same thing.  For the feeling to be the same, you literally have to teleport back in time, where nothing that you know now or experienced is even in your imagination yet.  Can't be done.  Sure, you can reminisce and have nostalgia and all, but it will never be the same again, ever.

 

This is why trying to recapture the past fails when the past is still fresh in your mind.  You can do a remake of a movie, and do it incredibly badly and still make a mint, so long as those watching it have no clue about the original.  Once they have a frame of reference, everything changes.

 

This is why MMOs are in a rut... they recycle stuff that we've all seen and done before... sure they slap a different coat of paint on it but at its very core, it's still the same.

 

What I miss are the puzzle-like games that Sierra did... you know, where if you did even one thing incorrectly, you could never solve the puzzle... and it happily let you do it and let you continue on in the game without letting you know you screwed up the second quest in.  Imagine finding out when you were level 90 that your chance at the holy grail weapon was trounced the moment you chose not to collect 5 apples for the little boy by the road.  Can't undo that oversight after the fact.  

 

That was the old MUD feeling... whatever your imagination dreamed up... because guess what, you had to use your imagination back then.  Today it's far too visual, far too voiced over, far too much spoon fed everything.  You claim you want to play a game as a distraction, but only if it doesn't occupy your time.  Really?  And just why are you playing games in the first place?  To occupy your time.  Who cares if it takes 12 years to make level 1... it's 12 years well spent compared to the .0006 nanoseconds you spend in game now.

  filmoret

Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/29/13
Posts: 119

5/27/14 7:19:20 PM#11
I found muds more immersive then the current genre.  I was the General of the Draconian Army.  I had first hand men and women and they all had identities.  It meant something to be the Commander of the army and it meant something to lead that army and be a member of that army.  There is so much that we had back then that was lost and there is also much that has been gained.  Yes I do miss the days when a GM would take control of this really evil monster and ravage the town killing city guards and spouting about their evil plans for the universe.  The members of the armies would gather to battle such a beast to great rewards and fun roleplaying.  We are talking about 17 years ago and the current genre has not even come close to replicating these instances.  I don't look for it to happen either.
  Theocritus

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/15/08
Posts: 3613

5/27/14 7:45:39 PM#12
Ive tried several MUDs over the years, usualyl after getting burnt out on mainstream MMOs, and just never could find oen that I really liked...usually there was something about the game that was totally gamebreaking.
  Samhael

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/28/04
Posts: 614

5/27/14 7:59:16 PM#13
It seems like most MMOs launch with their customer service not in the role of "game police" when they are so much needed. Perhaps at some point a few months after launch when things quiet down a bit, they could be re-purposed or replaced by tools. But after ESO's recent launch, it was quite obvious that a greater hands-on involvement was needed by game police.
  Snippet60

Advanced Member

Joined: 5/08/08
Posts: 18

5/27/14 8:05:20 PM#14
Your time is up, Kern.  Attempt to re enter the hearts and minds of gamers somewhere else.  Even if this recent deluge of articles has something remotely interesting in it to discuss, the fact that you destroyed your reputation is all I can focus on.
  Solar_Prophet

Hard Core Member

Joined: 11/10/13
Posts: 643

5/27/14 8:48:19 PM#15

And yet you had your very own MMO with which to utilize all these ideas, yet completely and utterly failed to do so. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but actions speak louder than any photo album.

You had your chance, and you blew it big time. You're a has-been who's desperately trying to become relevant in the MMORPG industry again, perhaps with the hope that people will once again be swayed by your grand ideals and hollow promises to hand over their hard-earned money.

Forget it. You're done, and nothing you say will change that.

 

Today's message is brought to you by the U.S. Department of Education! Making our children more stupid since 1979!

  nathanknaack

Level Designer - CCP Games

Joined: 2/02/06
Posts: 27

5/27/14 8:50:49 PM#16

What you describe in the last section of your article is pretty much exactly what we did when we ran the Sansha live events in EVE Online a couple years ago. We even recruited members of the customer service team to help out, just as you suggested. You know what? It was absolutely fantastic!

 

I would just pop into a moderately-populated region of the map, go invisible, spawn a swarm of NPC bad guys, and do a supervillain monologue on the public chat channel. A few minutes later, anywhere from a dozen to (at one event) 1,700 players would fly in to be part of the battle.

 

And the best part was that, since all of EVE takes place in one "world," the events really mattered. They became the news of the day. Players spread word to each other and attendance grew event by event.

 

Seriously, it was a blast. Check out some of the YouTube clips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kEpo4vRGOTc

  grummz

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/07
Posts: 56

5/27/14 8:57:10 PM#17
nathanknaack, that's really cool. EvE always did have the best events. Would love to see this spread to other games!

Follow me on <a href="https://twitter.com/grummz">Twitter: @Grummz</a>

  grummz

Novice Member

Joined: 1/07/07
Posts: 56

5/27/14 9:15:50 PM#18
The news part is the best, the talk about it for days later. Great stories, great moments. We've lost a lot of that in modern MMOs. Next article is going to touch on another thing we've lost: downtime.

Follow me on <a href="https://twitter.com/grummz">Twitter: @Grummz</a>

  starmoonsun

Novice Member

Joined: 10/19/11
Posts: 6

5/27/14 9:21:31 PM#19


Mark, your articles always inspire me a lot. Thanks!

Oh, to the haters: "Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as you please." --Mark Twain

 
  LordZeik

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/17/08
Posts: 185

5/27/14 10:22:50 PM#20
It's been such a long time since I've enjoyed muds. I tried to play a few a couple years back, but I just didn't get the same feel. Dragonrealms, gemstone 3 heck even the herc and xena mud were fun. Once in awhile the gms would even give you a learning/exp bonus if your rping wasn't half bad for the situation they were acting out. I'm still waiting for more mmos to try and adapt the mud mechanics into them.
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