I've been playing MUDs off and on now for about ten years. When I first started out, I had no idea what made a good MUD good. After some searching, playing, quitting, searching again, I've discovered the key elements that make a good gaming experience in text: solid playerbase, good game mechanics, responsive staff, and a challenge.
Forsaken Lands has all of these. The other thing they have is a definitive separation between OOC BS and IC actions. Players do a pretty dang good job of keeping their stuff in-game, which is frankly amazing to me as a veteran of serious OOC channel drama. Both the pbase and the staff are adamant about keeping the play entirely IC. Roleplay is thick here and it's easy to submerge into a character.
This MUD has been around a long time, and the veteran pbase is loyal even after a pwipe, shutdown, restaff and restart. Since I've been playing, the fewest number of players I've seen on at one time is eight, at 4am EST on a weekday. The map is familiar, yet not so familiar as to be easy. Items and equipment are the ever-entertaining combination of annoying and enjoyable to hunt for. PK is hardcore, with full looting, bounty, cabals (guilds), light and dark factions, and a thousand different directions to take your character. For those not into PK, there's the adventurer class.
IMMs are attentive, without over-coddling newbies or mixing up in IC play. Staff is extremely behind the scenes, while at the same time keeping things on the straight and narrow; easily contacted through a designated in-game channel or on the MUD forum. They won't hold your hand if you don't know what you're doing, but if there is something decidedly wrong, they're there.
This is exactly the kind of MUD I love. It's hard and fast, it leaves the play to the players, backed up by solid code structure. Check it out if you're looking for something missing in other MUDs, I doubt you'll be disappointed.
Thanks for reading,