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Old 04-03-2006, 01:25 PM   #1
the_logos
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It's pretty clear to anyone who has worked on both that there's no fundamental difference between a text MUD and a graphical MUD (or MMORPG or whatever you want to call it), but some still insist that there is some sort of glaring chasm between the two.

Raph Koster (LegendMUD, Ultima Online, Star Wars: Galaxies) posted an article on his blog recently breaking down why they are the same thing. World of Warcraft is as much a MUD as Diku Derivative #109.

http://www.raphkoster.com/2006....ore-417


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Old 04-03-2006, 02:06 PM   #2
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After reading the article and its counter-arguments, one user said it best. MMORPGs and MUDs may be on the same team, but they are different creatures. However, this is all semantics - when I write "MUD" here, everyone knows exactly what the connotation is. When you write "MMORPG" here, the connotation, for most, becomes fuzzier, as it is widely accepted in the MUDing community that MMORPGs typically refer to graphical based games - the syntax, semantics, and dictionary definitions of the terms do not change their connotation.

Internet slang is a rampant-running monster - you could almost teach it as a class by itself, that is how indepth it has become. When I took a couple of classes on Sociology of Internet Communities at Penn State, the pure volume of internet slangs, dialects, etc was insane. The point of this is to say that syntax and semantics rarely matter with online communities.

To the very vast majority of people here, MUDs are text-based online, multi-player roleplaying games that require some form of "MUD Client" to run.

To the very vast majority of people here, MMORPGs are graphical massive(far, far more populated than MUDs, in nearly every case), multi-player, online RPGs - this term conjures such images as Everquest, WoW, Guildwars, City of Heroes, and whatever other popular MMORPGs run rampant at the time.

---

In conclusion, it was an interesting article, but semantics will never win out to sociological connotation in an online environment.
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:12 PM   #3
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Well, yes, technically, there's not much difference between an MMO, a MUD, a MOO, a MUSH, etc., but we give them all different assignmens so that players can more readily differentiate between them all.

When I post about MMO*s, most people immediately think the following:

1) Graphical
2) Run by a big company
3) Monthly fee
4) Sold in a box in a store
5) Comes with a custom graphical client created by distributor

When I write about a MUD, most people immediately characterize the game with some of the following thoughts:

1) Text
2) Need/can choose a client to log on with
3) Not hosted by some mega-corp
4) Possibly free or low payment
5) Combat + leveling of some sort

MUSHes and MOOs are usually associated with the following traits:

1) No coded combat system
2) Lots of RP
3) Big/long poses
4) Complicated emote system

----------------------

Now, my lists aren't perfect, especially with the MUSHes and MOOs since I don't spend a lot of time on those. It's pretty clear that the big MMOs are based on the same concepts as muds. They just have graphics. In fact, Mythic Entertainment (the creators of DAoC and the future Warhammer Online) first started out running commerical muds, one of which was Darkness Falls. (For anyone that played DAoC, that's where they got the name of that dungeon we spent so much time in.) I wouldn't be surprised to see more commerical mud developers go the same way as Mythic and possibly end up with their own graphical MMOs.

However, the different designations for different types of games are pretty important, in my opinion. For example, I would be very disappointed if a game that I wanted to play turned out to be an MMO instead of a MUD. I'm burnt out on MMOs whose simplistic gameplay and level grind have broken this camel's back. Give me a deep, roleplay encouraged mud anytime. (But that's a totally different topic.)
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:16 PM   #4
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It's not about general social connotations, as it doesn't matter what your average player wants to call them. It's about the language developers use to talk about their products to one another mainly, and about developing a common language to discuss them in. Distinguishing between the two leads to unclear thinking, since it's a false dichotomy. Most "text MUDs" have graphics. All graphical MUDs have text. Meridian 59 has less players than Achaea, and yet people refer to it as an MMORPG, so clearly number of players has little to do with it (and if it did, then Achaea and Aardwolf, for instance, would need to be different creatures from a 25 player DIKU, since the difference in magnitude between those and large text MUDs is actually less than the magnitude between large text MUDs and games commonly referred to as MMORPGs (such as Asheron's Call, the now-dead ACII, etc, not to mention small graphical games like ATitD).

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Old 04-03-2006, 02:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by
It's not about general social connotations, as it doesn't matter what your average player wants to call them. It's about the language developers use to talk about their products to one another mainly

Being a game developer myself, I have to disagree. The active community of MUDers refer to their games as MUDs. This community includes some of the most well-known developers, coders, writers, builders, and players from a large variety of MUDs. And for many, many years(before the term MMORPG was coined, actually) the community has referred to this pocket world of gaming as MUD. Infact, this website is entitled "Top MUD Sites".

If you want to use semantics to call Achaea a MMORPG, or the like - of course that is your decision, as the designer of your own game. You can call it whatever you want. However, the rest of the community will probably still refer to your game as a MUD and not a MMORPG. Whereas the article writer's purpose in comparing the two was to show that they both attempt to accomplish the same(or similar, each game varies) goals, your goal seems less clear.

Calling Achaea MMORPG could possibly rope you a couple new players, I suppose, who are easily impressed with phraseology - however, it will probably also make others in the community take you less seriously, since (within connotation of the gaming community) Achaea will still be the same old MUD that it always was.

Using you, and your MUD, is an example of course - any MUD that wanted to call itself a MMORPG would likely raise the same eyebrows. This is why it is better to understand the connotation than to try to change it. Internet Communities are notoriously hard-headed and pro status quo. This is both a positive and a negative.

In theory, though, I do agree with the article. It simply changes nothing.
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Old 04-03-2006, 02:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (DonathinFrye @ April 03 2006,15:28)
And for many, many years(before the term MMORPG was coined, actually) the community has referred to this pocket world of gaming as MUD. Infact, this website is entitled "Top MUD Sites".
That's the point really. MMORPG is a redundant acronym. WoW is a MUD. Or, Achaea is an MMORPG. They're synonyms to me. We market our games as MUDs to the text MUD community and as MMORPG to the graphical MUD community, because that's what they expect to hear, but when talking to other developers, I just use MUD or MMORPG to refer to everything from a small DIKU to WoW. Certainly when talking to other developers at industry conferences, nobody is confused by using them as synonyms.
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Old 04-03-2006, 03:12 PM   #7
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Yes, you are not incorrect there - however, my point is that here, on the online gaming/MUD community, the terms have specific connotations. We've established both sides of the argument, however, so we don't have to go back and forth.
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Old 04-03-2006, 04:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (Mina @ April 03 2006,21:12)
Well, yes, technically, there's not much difference between an MMO, a MUD, a MOO, a MUSH, etc., but we give them all different assignmens so that players can more readily differentiate between them all.
MOO stands for "MUD Object Oriented" and, like MUSH, is a descendant of TinyMUD. A MUSH is therefore different from a MUD in the same way as a Diku or LP - it's a descendant, but still a type of MUD.

Graphical MUDs have a better claim of being separate (as do other scratch-written codebases), but they're still part of the same genre as MUDs.

The categorisations tend to be introduced more as an attempt to stand out from the competition rather than to serve any real useful purpose - even today you'll occasionally see people claiming things like "our MUD is so advanced that it's no longer even a MUD!"

Personally I see no value in the propagation of such classifications, except perhaps from a marketting perspective (if you don't have the features to stand out, slap a fancy name on the product and pretend it's something else).
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:08 PM   #9
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I like MUD, because you can say it phonetically. You try to say MMORPG, you're bound to get some raised eyebrows.

Acronyms are fun.
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:19 PM   #10
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My favorite MMORPG!
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:27 PM   #11
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Why the term "MUD" is still used instead of a better one sometimes is a bit difficult to explain to other people, especially those who don't play MUDs. Aside from disagreement over what it stands for, it just isn't a flattering term (and the "D" just doesn't sound good in any case).

And if it has to sound similar to MUD, maybe MUG (Multi-User Game) would be better sounding. Of course, one could also come up with dozens of better sounding acronyms. :-/

*shrug*

RPG certainly isn't a very good term since most RPGs don't involve much, if any, RPing.

Take care,

Jason
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Old 04-04-2006, 07:01 PM   #12
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Cool article (uhm, I think...no, I *don't* understand about 2/3rds of it).

I did, however, forward the link on to my MUD's Admin, who is fond of referring to WoW as "that Big Shiny MUD." I hope he gets a kick out of it. Thanks for the linkshare!
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Old 04-07-2006, 02:03 PM   #13
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As I see it:

MMORPGs and MUDs are like the same thing in that they're both 'human'. Just one's the 'black dude' and one's the 'white dude' . They're both the same race, one isn't any better than the other, but they look a little different.
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Old 04-14-2006, 01:45 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (the_logos @ April 03 2006,14:25)
Raph Koster (LegendMUD, Ultima Online, Star Wars: Galaxies) posted an article on his blog recently breaking down why they are the same thing. World of Warcraft is as much a MUD as Diku Derivative #109.

http://www.raphkoster.com/2006....ore-417
I finally got a chance to read this article and it had Raph's typical well analyzed reasoning. In light of the fact that he recently left SOE and will (hopefully) branch out on his own soon, it really makes you wonder what he is planning.
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