The Command Line Interface
Letters to the editor
- George Reese
Putting the "Game" in your RPG
- Aaron "Ajax" Berkowitz
- Michael A. Hartman (Aristotle@Threshold)
The life of a mud player
The Mud Situation
- James Wadsley
Muds as Social Learning Environments
- Dianne P. Butler
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The life of a mud player
During the years that I have mudded, I have come to notice
a pattern that some of the mud players go through. I say 'some' because I know
the trend I am about to describe certainly does not apply to everybody.
With the current habit of players hopping from mud to mud and even
playing several muds simultaneously, the pattern is not as apparent as it used
to be, but I still run into it frequently.
Nothing can quite describe the excitement of logging to a mud for
the first time ever. It seems a whole new world opens up where everything
is possible and it's just the kind of thing one has been looking for.
The player explores and stumbles, fascinated by the world around him/her.
Soon, they start to get the idea, experience points and money start
rolling in, levels rise and the player is having a great time talking
with the others about everything.
Life cycle of a frog
This is where they start spending more and more time on-line, because
it is just so much fun and a well needed break from the real life.
They play hours a day, content with their new friends and activities,
starting to neglect the real life and its commitments.
Their reasonings vary, but mostly it has to do with something about
the real life being too hectic for them right now and they simply
must have a means to escape it from time to time.
This is the period of time that they will always come to regard as
the "good old days", the period they will always compare to.
This regardless of the fact that there are several older players around
who claim that the mud now sucks and the real good old days are long gone.
The period of bliss will not last very long however. With
players spending too much time on-line, the real life starts to feel more
like a refuse. They run into other players who they start to dislike
greatly and get into arguments, groups form where gossiping, backstabbing,
and general mud politics (read: soap opera) is a daily phenomenon. The player
perhaps met some nice person on the mud and fell in love, but now that
relationship is turning sour as well. The tables turn and the mud becomes the
oppressive obligation that they cannot get away from. It is too late, the player
feels compelled to login every day even when they do not really feel like
it so much anymore. They start to realize just how much they have
neglected their old duties, be it school, work or friends and blame
this all on the mud. Instead of wondering just what it was that drove
them to this compulsive hobby, they turn all their negative thoughts
to the mud, making it the spawn of all evil.
The problem usually gets solved in one of three ways:
The player quits completely. They usually end up making some long
speech on some player forum about how muds and the Internet are evil
and people who spend time in them are stupid. That this player has finally
seen the truth and encourages the others to do the same. Some of the players
succeed in leaving, others return to phase 2. Some return periodically
just to announce to everybody what a great time they are having in real life
now and how much better they are doing (but still feeling compelled to
login to a mud to tell all this).
The player stays on, because they cannot do anything else. They do
not really want to login that much, but something drives them to it.
Every moment they spend on the mud they feel guilty and bad about themselves
and start to take this out on the mud and its players and wizards.
Nothing is good enough for these people. They find fault with everything.
It's like the whole mud is a conspiracy against them, and they cannot
get enough of how good things were back in the good old days.
Everything that has been done since has only ruined the mud more and more
and the current people playing at the mud are so stupid too that nobody
can stand them. Nothing like the good old days when everybody was so
nice and kind to each other.
After possibly going through phases 1 and 2, the player settles down
and tries to find a happy medium between real life and mudding.
They realize what the mud really is, just a game. It is not some means
to solve their real life problems. It is also not worth it to toss ones
A lot of the things in this article have been exaggerations, but
I have seen even the worst cases in the course of my mudding life.
One might ask what good are muds if they lead to such strife in so many
people, but that is a topic for another article...
August 1999 Imaginary Realities, the magazine of your mind.
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