What drew you to MU*?


  • Admin

    As the title says I'm looking to see if we can get a better insight on what makes someone a roleplayer, and perhaps a MUSHer. It's not so much anecdotes about how we started in this hobby that I'm curious about (although feel free, by all means) but rather what about us other than the mere circumstance of someone in our lives going "hey, there's this kinda game you might like..." conspired to turn us into the hobby.

    For example many people are gamers, but they don't play MUSHes. Many enjoy books and games, but... same thing. I'd bet there are lots of folks who like books, games and like to write but they aren't interested in roleplaying per se. Lots of friends I know who enjoy table-top games have been completely uninterested in MUSHes even though they already knew a lot about RPG systems, mechanics, etc.

    So why are we here and others are not? What's the recipe that creates a MUSHer? What are the - shall we say rare? - ingredients that got us into this messbeautiful hobby?


  • Pitcrew

    The persistent environment, and the opportunity (however rarely realized) to see character actions and choices create lasting and thoughtful changes in the environment over time. The potential for that is really what keeps me coming back.



  • It's free.



  • @tinuviel said in What drew you to MU*?:

    It's free.

    I don't know if this is what keeps me on MUs but it's definitely the reason I never got sucked into MMOs.

    As for MUs, I enjoy the dynamism you get in real-time rp and the persistent, shared environment. For text I still don't think anything does what this style of game does as well.



  • @three-eyed-crow said in What drew you to MU*?:

    I don't know if this is what keeps me on MUs

    Oh it's definitely not as big a point as it used to be, with every man and his dog making a free to play game of some nature now. But back in the before times, having a thing I could do for free to unwind that I could also shove into the background as needed? Ideal.



  • I have to agree with @Pyrephox about the ability to see character actions affect a persistent world. I also found it to be an easier fix than waiting once a week for my gaming group - and spending the majority of the time being distracted on catching up on the week (not that it's a bad thing!).

    Then there's the web development side. MUX gave me one of my first real tastes in network programming. If not for MU* I may have never taken Computer Science in high-school and kick-started my programming career.

    Participating in persistent settings is fun, creating persistent settings, to me, is even more drawing.


  • Pitcrew

    My all women gaming group at college was dispersing when everyone was graduating but me, and someone told me about it. I tried it and fell in love, I love to write, it was more immersive, it beat the meat market effect of going to the RPG guild on campus or gaming store groups (keep in mind late teens/early 20s youngMietze was a curvaceous size 4, petite, waist length Auburn hair and part asian) where misogynistic randos liked to try their lacking social skills/boundaries on me.

    Not that there are not creepers and asshats in mushing but I have personally found the vast majority of men in this hobby to be far more respectful, kind, socially intelligent, and sane than the "gamer culture" as a whole in the 90s/early 00s.


  • Pitcrew

    What keeps me in: still the people. I have met tons of people IRL over the years. Many people have become dear friends regardless of where they live. 4 out of the 5 people on the planet that I would intrinsically trust with my children in an emergency or that I would allow to see me in a very vulnerable state are people I have met via gaming who have become chosen family (5 out of 6 if you count hubby, who I met on SR Seattle back in the day).

    I also have grown to appreciate and adore collective storytelling, which is a very different beast than writing yourself. It is challenging and surprising and fun. :)


  • Pitcrew

    I like the RP, and getting my RL friends together to do an actual tabletop game is nigh impossible. But I wanted something more than play-by-post, because I kept getting really into these stories and then it wouldn't go anywhere and I'd be sad.


  • Admin

    @mietze said in What drew you to MU*?:

    What keeps me in: still the people.

    Let's test this. Let's say all of General Your's friends retired tonight; there are still MUSHes around but they're all ran and played by strangers.

    Do you start over? Go and make new friends? Or would it be likely you'd float away from the hobby?

    What I'm trying to somehow determine - which is a fool's errand of course - is how much of MU*ing is a habit we've built, a social engagement we're in for the community, or if it's the unique combination of factors many have already pointed out (the persistent world, opportunity to write in collaboration with others, etc) that's primarily responsible for keeping us going.

    It's almost certainly all of those but would it be a few considerably more than others?

    Also... coincidence. So many of our stories that I've read over the years boiled down to that one guy who showed us that one MU* back in the day, and we got stuck... but who knows what would have happened if that guy had been sick that day and we hadn't had that conversation.



  • This is probably a sign of the times but MUDs seemed pretty...not exactly mainstream, but widely known in computing circles in the late 90s/early 00s when I started playing. They were one of the first things I stumbled on when searching very generally for online games as a teenager and were actually covered (very briefly) in a 100-level computer science course I took as a freshman in college. I was drawn to RPGs and the writing part more than the hack and slash part, so me finding MUs at that time seems kind of inevitable.

    ETA: I stay because nothing else scratches the same RP fix and, for all my old friends who've cycled out, I meet new fun folks with decent regularity.


  • Pitcrew

    Yes. My experience in mushing is that of constant meeting/weaving new people in. That is part of the appeal. I don't rp regularly with any of the mushers who are now RL family to me.

    And I have had many instances of starting over/making new contacts.



  • @arkandel said in What drew you to MU*?:

    Let's test this. Let's say all of General Your's friends retired tonight; there are still MUSHes around but they're all ran and played by strangers.

    This has literally been my play experience for years. I've lone wolf'd my way through it since my teens, but what keeps me coming back is how immediately friendly and warm a lot of people in the hobby tend to be given even half the chance. It's awesome.

    alt text

    As for what drew me, I read LoTR when I was very very young and it impressed on me just a crazy-silly love of storytelling. I was a huge comics nerd when I was a kid and young teen, and while I honestly don't remember how I found MU*s, the chance to not only play but play with my favorite super heroes was just like...a dream come true. I've come and gone from it ever since but yeah, I think I'll keep coming back as long as the medium exists!



  • @arkandel said in What drew you to MU*?:

    Let's test this. Let's say all of General Your's friends retired tonight; there are still MUSHes around but they're all ran and played by strangers.

    Do you start over? Go and make new friends? Or would it be likely you'd float away from the hobby?

    I know that, before I took my break from the hobby I'd become jaded with some of the people I kept running into. I think my experience would have actually been better had there been a fresh crowd around my preferred 'series' of games. Now that I'm having to start making new friends in the community (most of mine have retired or moved on), I'm learning new things about MU*ing general.

    What I'm trying to somehow determine - which is a fool's errand of course - is how much of MU*ing is a habit we've built, a social engagement we're in for the community, or if it's the unique combination of factors that many have already pointed out (the persistent world, opportunity to write in collaboration with others, etc) that's primarily responsible for keeping us going.

    I, like a bunch of us, suffer from crippling social anxiety. Online is honestly how I really make my friends. So I would say yes, a big part of why I keep coming back is the opportunity to meet people and grow a social network that I couldn't manage, RL. It's always fun meeting new people to potentially build fiction with, especially when your writing styles just click well. :) I think it's a balance of both, community and persistent world, fiction building. Without one, you wouldn't have the other.

    Also... coincidence. So many of our stories that I've read over the years boiled down to that one guy who showed us that one MU* back in the day, and we got stuck... but who knows what would have happened if that guy had been sick that day and we hadn't had that conversation.

    I think that time is changing. I know I was introduced by my best friend in early HS to the world of MU*s myself. With the right server/client/advertising-spin combo and take mobile connections/interface/use cases into account? It's easier to find new ways to write and game with others with app stores. No longer is it purely word of mouth.


  • Pitcrew

    Also I think that answer will be different for everyone. I am an extroverted social people-loving person. That is always going to be something I gravitate towards, making new friends and acquaintances all over the place. I do that in RL, online, where ever. I like having a hobby that allows me to pursue storytelling and make friends.

    That is going to be fundamentally different from someone who doesnt like to connect with people or whose primary social outlet is mushing. None of it is wrong and from the outside it might look like everyone is doing/receiving the same things (building a character, pursuing their story, doing this with others), but what we get out of it and why is going to be individual for every musher.


  • Admin

    Speaking for myself I have a rotating circle of friends, some of whom still play, many of whom are semi- or probably permanently retired. I've occasionally been tagged by some of those to get back in the game but usually it's when I have the itch.

    I've noticed over time the cause and effect circle @Wizz mentioned - reading geeky fantasy books which led to playing similar things out on a MUSH - had even been reversed; I'd read new novels while playing the possibility of turning it into a game at the back of my head. What would The Stormlight Archive or the Lightbringer setting look like, would it be playable? Could it lead to interesting gameplay if the plot was detached from the book characters?

    The reality of it sometimes disappointed me. Perhaps it's because of what I do here and the stories I hear both publicly or - even more frequently - in private, but I've found the less I need to care about the OOC side of MU*ing the more engaged I allow myself to become, and the happier I am on a day to day basis with it.

    But what draws me the most is moments when things click.

    • That feeling days after I start a new character when the other shoe drops and the PC does things on his own I didn't know he would when I started typing his next pose; it's magic I haven't found anywhere else.

    • The time when I meet another PC whose player I don't even know and we harmonize over theme; it just flows, one pose into the other, tossing things over only to see them caught and returned, enriched in each bout.

    • The notion that a character is a living entity in a way who can outgrow my initial plans, changing from what he experiences which are in themselves things no one planned for them; not staff, not other players, no one. They just happened, and he's now a different beast than before.

    I haven't ran into the opportunity to get those feelings from other types of gaming, and although I wouldn't know, it's probably not quite the same for creative "solo" writing either. But if I do get the itch to get back it's because I'm missing them.



  • I got recruited by an RL friend. We'd played D&D for a long time already, and one of us got one of the books and we wanted to play. It was a little harder to do in person for whatever reasons, and we were already kinda MUD-aware when one of them found CrackMUX (of all things) so we hopped on there. My first-ish scene involved my Bone Gnawer running around in Lupus, getting animal control called, and then my friend rolling up in his CODED LIMO AW YEAH SON to spirit me away from the authorities. It was pure insanity but the... flexibility of it, the interactive possibilities of having so many different people, the breadth of the grid (and potential ownership of locations, objects, etc), was all pretty appealing.

    After that it was just the fun of a few particular early characters, some memorable RP that was probably only possible for my melodramatic younger self, etc. Oh right, also the underage TS, lets be real.



  • I got introduced to MU*s by someone I met in college. It seemed like an acceptable substitute for tabletop gaming and for a while, it was. This was back in 1996.


  • Pitcrew

    @arkandel said in What drew you to MU*?:

    @mietze said in What drew you to MU*?:

    What keeps me in: still the people.

    Let's test this. Let's say all of General Your's friends retired tonight; there are still MUSHes around but they're all ran and played by strangers.

    Do you start over? Go and make new friends? Or would it be likely you'd float away from the hobby?

    I started over already once, I CAN DO IT AGAIN.

    Which is to say, a lot of the people I RP with regularly I didn't RP with in other games - and while I staff with my chosen family on Arx I don't get to RP with them often. But I started in Firan, went to TR without knowing anyone, met a bunch of great people there, and then came to Arx.

    Before that I was on a couple PbP sites and that was fine too. For me, this hobby is about collaborative storytelling, and as long as I can find places to do that (and the time to do it as well), that's what I'll do.



  • Boredom. Avoiding schoolwork in a world without video games. Didn't want to become a phreaker because of fear of jail-time.

    (note: I did want to become a phreaker.)


Log in to reply