What is a MUD?
A MUD is a Multi-User Dungeon. So what does that mean? MUDs and other forms of Multi-User environments (MUSHes, MUXes, MUSEs, etc) were the first version of MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Games such as Warcraft Online) to exist. They began back in the late 80s to early 90s and the code cores established back then are still in use today, though often heavily, heavily modified. Most MUDs will have information on where the code was developed through iterations and no matter what MUD, some names will usually be familiar such as Katja Nyboe and Sebastian Hammer.
Alrighty, that’s all great. But…uhm, what is a MUD?
For the player, a MUD is a place to meet like-minded people, possibly from all over the world, and share a common, imaginative environment. Unlike more recent online games, MUDs are all text based. Cities and wilderness areas are created through a series of ‘rooms’ that the player navigates through. Each room has a written description to let the players know the current setting. As the code developed and the commands and processes for creating rooms (Also called building, done by *drumroll* builders) were simplified, doors, locks, keys, etc. were more commonplace to add some trappings of a more realistic experience.
In addition there are objects and creatures that are also created for players to use. Objects are any non-creature items created by builders. These can range from weapons, clothes, and armor to tables, chairs, trees and the like. Different options in building allow some items to be held, and others to be sat on as appropriate as well as a variety of other limitations/abilities.
The last general category of things builders create are mobiles, often called MOBs for short. These are all of the living creatures a player can run across. They range from innkeepers, children, and random people on the street to forest creatures or monsters such as squirrels, kobolds or mighty dragons.
So, what can I do on a MUD?
Basically, anything. MUDs vary incredibly in settings and abilities conferred to players.
That is the real advantage of a MUD or any of the MU* settings. Imagination is the only limit. Whereas on a MMOG your character is there and limited by the programmer’s imagination and time for what can be done, there is no such limitation on a MUD.
In WoW can you do this?
Mazrim Taim looks up from penning notes in a ledger on his desk, his dark eyes glittering with mild annoyance while setting aside his quill. He folds the ledger closed. The writing instrument is odd for the lack of an inkwell and no worry over staining adjacent pages, for there was no delay in closing the book. Charged silence lengthens the moment as the man in control of the Black Tower assesses a young recruit standing just outside of his office, the recruit flanked by a pair of black-clad men, each with symbols of rank on both collars identifying them as full Asha'man, placing them among the most dangerous people alive. Reclining slowly back in the throne-like chair of black wood, Mazrim motions the young man forward.
Followed by the living shadows of his escort, the subject of so much attention hesitantly obeys, coming to a stop a pace in front of the heavy desk of deep red marble shot through with threads of black. Raising his gaze, the young man cannot help but be daunted by a tapestry on the back wall. It is of a red a shade lighter than the marble of the desk. Prominent in the center is a Dragon's Fang done in deepest black and taller than an Ogier, a symbol of darkness and fear associated with the most frightening tales of the last three thousand years. It represents madness and unfeeling destruction, a capricious and terrible might. In the office of the most powerful man in a place where men featured in collective nightmares have been gathered by the hundreds, the False Dragon commands in a deceptively quiet tone, "Explain yourself, recruit."
With current technology, and likely until fully body mapping can somehow be coordinated in an online setting, there is no way to set up such a scene, perhaps not even then.
Are there different ‘kinds’ of MUDs?
MUDs vary along several dimensions. Some of the most common are the devotion to Roleplaying (RP), killing MOBs or Playerkilling.
In every MUD there is a way to improve your character and different goals to attain. On most, killing MOBs is a way to gain levels as well as increase skills and statistics of your character. Statistics are representations of physical capability. On a Moment in Tyme there are three. Dexterity, Strength and Constitution.
Roleplaying begins with the act of creating a character, or person, that fits in with the setting of the MUD. It ends with having that created character interact with other players in the MUDs setting in a realistic (for that setting) fashion. (The helpfile rp on the mud or web page goes into much greater detail).
Playerkilling is the amount of focus there is on killing the characters of other players rather than the MOBs created by the builders. There are MUDs where this is the only focus.
There are MUDS that focus entirely on Playerkilling (PK), Mobkilling, or Roleplay (RP). Most function on some combination of the above.
Even on MUDs that focus on Roleplay, a character’s abilities and power are determined by the statistics in the Playerfile (PFile). A PFile is the electronic file that contains the statistics, skills, level and other abilities of a player. If the roleplay of two or more players cannot be reconciled by the players, the coded abilities are looked at to come up with a solution.
As an example, if a first level character is claiming he would win a fight by virtue or RP’ing that he did when his opponent is a female warrior of 50th level that outclasses him in every statistic and skill, his claim would hold no merit.
So, how are disagreements handled on a MUD?
On most MUDs, the parties engaged in RP can simply attack one another, just as they would a MOB. The player with the better stats tends to win. However that is not the way such things are handled on a Moment on Tyme right now.
How are disagreements handled on this MUD?
A Moment in Tyme is currently in the process of reprogramming (coding) a massive upgrade/revision. In the meantime, -everything- is handled through RP. Experience is gained through RP, all interactions are handled through the same. Gaining skills is done through RP, improving abilities is- right, done through RP. Even fights are handled through RP. If there is a disagreement on the outcome of a confrontation, administrators of the MUD, also called Immortals (IMMs) will help resolve what should happen.
The majority of the time, players are able to handle all issues that arise.
There are places where there are no stats and everything is handled by RP alone. This type of place is generally called a MUSH. It is important to remember that despite similarities between the way a Moment in Tyme (MiT)operates currently compared to a MUSH, MiT is still a MUD at heart and code overrides RP in some situations. In truth, code should –determine- RP.
Another quick example. A player may RP that he or she is a master of moving silently and unable to be seen, or able to climb glass walls effortlessly. If that player has no skills that reflect such abilities, this would be inaccurate RP.
Alright, I’ve got all that. What is a Moment in Tyme about?
A Moment in Tyme is set in a world detailed through series of books written by the late Robert Jordan called the Wheel of Time (WoT) series. There are many helpfiles on the MUD itself that can give much of the background of the book series. Of course the best way to become familiar with the setting is to read the series.
The MUD does not follow the exact progress of the series. In fact, since departing from the timeline of the books shortly after the confrontation at Dumai’s wells, and in some details even before that, there are very marked changes. The helpfile ‘timeline’ (seen on the MUD or the web page under ‘help timeline’) will detail many of the differences so that readers of the series will have a good understanding of the current situation on MiT.
That sounds great! So…uh…how do I start?
Simple enough. Log onto the MUD itself and follow the prompts/directions for a name and to go through character creation. Once you are done with character creation you can work up a background and submit it to the appropriate immortals through the mud’s mail feature (help mail). This is only required to join a guild or to play nonstandard characters.
As examples, playing a street urchin requires no approval. Playing a warder in training that is the son of a Amadician noble will require the approval of the leader of the warders and maybe even the leader of the Whitecloaks or other immortals. (It would be quite strange for the son of a noble from a land that absolutely hates the women warders serve to then become a warder. Still, with the right background, it is possible.)
To get a list of current Immortals and Guild leaders simply type ‘wizlist’ when logged onto on the mud.
Since MiT is devoted to keeping the RP of all players in rough line with the atmosphere of the WoT series sometimes this approval process requires changes to submitted backgrounds. The immortals and guildleaders are fair-minded and devoted to cooperating with the player as much as possible while balancing the goal of maintaining an RP environment that is in line with the source material.
That is a quick introduction to MiT. As always, if there are any questions, please ask on the ooc or newbie channels when on the MUD. All of the IMMs and most of the players are able and willing to help in most ways.
Is there anything else I need to know?
Most people that play MUDs use a client which is an application that makes a variety of things easier with the telnet connections MUDs use. Among the most popular are ZMUD and SIMPLEMU. Zmud requires a purchase after a trial period while SIMPLEMU is free though donations are encouraged for the use of the shareware. There are others as well which can be found by a web search using MUD Client. Links to the ones mentioned above are: