Folks who play MUDs (Multi User Domains) are interesting folks. I've played MUDs since 1990, and ran MUDs since 1994. Well, I must confess I've not been hands on with MUDs since about 1999, so there is a five year gap there. As can be seen in my previous blog entry, I owned and kept up the Turning Point MUD for many years. I was involved with TP MUD for 9 out of its 9 1/2 year life. Actually, I just realized in a couple more days (10/15) it will have been my 9 year anniversary since first logging into TP MUD. So, I feel I have a little experience with MUDs. I'm actually kind of sorry to see that part of my life go away now that I've shutdown TP MUD. But no problem, I'll get over it quickly. :)
So, The Way of the MUD. While answering one of the former player/immortal's good-bye emails I came to realize my view on MUD administrators and the players. I can't count how many times a player has posted on forums or in an email that, "it is the PLAYERS that make the MUD". I've always understood their point, and even agree with it to an extent. Yes, it is the players that are currently on a MUD roleplaying and interacting with one another that make a MUD fun. However, they do not CREATE the MUD. It is not the will of the players that should ever drive what a MUD is or will become. It is the will of the administrators that move a MUD in a direction of their DESIRES. There is a simple reason there are 1765 MUD listings at The MUD Connector; that reason is that there are at least that many different views on what makes a good MUD.
Each of the 1765 MUDs will have varying amounts of players. Some will have 0, others will have 500 players online players at any given time. The reason is simply that players will find the MUD that meets their desires. In some cases if the administrators are trying to make money off of the players, then they will cater to the player population. In most cases with a Hobby MUD though, the administrators have an idea as well as ideals that THEY will put forth on the MUD. Some, who are just interested in seeing what the largest number of players they can attract will cater to the player wants and desires, and that is fine too if that is what the admins want out of the MUD.
If the admins have a vision though, then they should build that vision. If you can get even two administrators together who share a common vision, chances are that there are also a group of players out there looking for a MUD that has that vision. THAT is the player base you want. In many cases though, it won't be the player base you currently have. Getting rid of your current player base is HARD WORK (to quote our president). You'll ask nicely, telling them that you just don't believe they fit with the current goals of the MUD; they'll pretend to accept it and go away for a little while. Then they'll show back up, yearning for the way things "used to be" and trying to make the MUD into something it isn't. Tension and crazyness is all that will come out of those players not moving on as you asked them to, but they'll never understand that it is the admin's MUD, not theirs.
Oh well, I just wanted to get that off my chest as I depart from the MUD community. If I can teach any MUDders anything it is that if you are an admin, don't cave into the players, make the MUD YOU want. If you're a player, just simply realize that MUDs change; if you're not having fun on one, then for EVERYONE'S SAKE go find another MUD where you will have fun.
To the MUD community I have to say as always: take care, and have fun!