October '95 Mud of the Month

Legend had an ambitious agenda when it began, and the ambitions have only grown bigger as it has grown. Early on many of the difficulties were involved with the innovations we had made: the multiple-era time travel system, for example, or the complex acts system which took time to learn to use (and which is always under development)… or balancing the classless system, at a time when virtually no muds were attempting such a system. What got us through? Immortals who really cared (and had a LOT of time to give), one supremely talented programmer in Sadist, and a commitment to doing something new and different from the run of the mill mud. So many muds start up because it is easy to set up a stock mud–and so many fail because they do not set fire to anyone’s imagination.

In your opinion what makes LegendMUD popular, what features do you offer that you feel keep your players happy?

The list is too long! ๐Ÿ™‚ The foremost thing is not really a mud feature, but perhaps mud features are the root cause. Players are happy here because of the players–a great bunch of people who are mature and friendly. The mud attracts this sort of player, perhaps because of its careful and literary descriptions, its complex puzzle-solving, its realistic atmosphere, and its balance of gaming and roleplay. The Out of Character Lounge, the recall tag and trivia contests, the voluntary playerkilling system, the state-of-the-art moods and speech system, and the ability to register short descriptions. And of course, the constant give and take between immortals and players that leads to so much improvement in the mud. And our acts system generally spoils our players for any other mud. We’re the sort of place where you get biogeneticists and literary critics, programmers and college freshmen, high school students and military men, all playing together. A surprising number of them are immortals on other muds (I won’t name names!) who play on Legend because they prefer it to their own muds!

The Internet is really starting to take off, do you think the general interest in mudding will increase as dramatically as the interest in the net in general, why or why not?

Most of the new audience is not going to be willing to cope with the intricacies of telnet or, even worse, setting up a mud client. No doubt the number of mudders will increase as the number of Internetters does, but the big explosion in mudding will probably not happen until access can be made as simple as operating a toaster–preferably with a graphical interface.

Technologies being developed at this moment can offer alot to improve the state of muds (I.E. net voice communications, vrml, etc). Do you see LegendMUD incorporating any of these in the future and if so what are your plans?

Sad to say, the answer is probably never. Legend was designed specifically for text, not for visuals, and it would take a complete overhaul of the design to move to a graphical interface. Aside from that, the sheer literary style of the place is one of the things players love that would be sacrificed, and everyone, players and immortals, is reluctant to do that. We care too much about what we have collectively made to distort it into something it is not–we’d rather continue trying to make it the best we can given the medium. A graphical system is simply a different medium. It’s sort of like the book or the movie: Legend is a book, and a movie translation would have to leave out all the best bits.

Where to from here?

Legend has always moved in several directions at once. Lately the players have become very aware of themselves as part of a society, and this has led to a great many debates and discussions. Undoubtedly this will stay an issue, with more and more things like talks and lectures scheduled. Roleplaying will also continue to develop. There has been talk about adding in player-rentable housing.

Also in the works is an overhaul of the classless system to include a greater variety of skills (we’re at 75 now, and plan to double that number). This should create a great deal more variety in the mud, as professions like doctor and gunman and stage magician become possible. There are plans for a complete martial arts simulation to be integrated into the combat system. And of course, new areas from our new immortals. We plan to start building more in Asia and North America. Even if some of the founders are now becoming interested in other projects, it’s not very likely that Legend will ever stay stagnant.

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The core admin team of LegendMUD were all players on the groundbreaking mud Worlds of Carnage, one of the first Diku muds to have a script system (terms an acts system by its creator, Dimwit). When Carnage went down for a period of time in the spring and summer of 1993, Sadist decided to try his hand at a mud with his own version of an acts system. Charity supplied the theme: history and legend. The mud was to be a classless one, with researched areas and extensive automated quests using the acts system.

Ptah and Kaige, who had worked briefly on another mud that never opened after Carnage went down, began working on Legend in late summer, and did most of the building that comprised the core of the mud by Christmas, including the Arabian Nights area (the first area to open), Roman Britain, and Victorian London. There were to be no stock areas in Legend at all.

Legend ran on a Macintosh SE/30 under A/UX when it opened, officially sponsored by Washington College in Maryland, the alma mater of Charity, Ptah, and Kaige. Players from Washington College were the first beta testers starting in November of ’93, and the opening to the full Internet came on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th of 1994.

Since that day we’ve only lost one of the original immortals. However, several have gone on leaves of absence or moved on to other projects while still maintaining a presence on Legend. Sadist was the sole coder at first, eventually joined by Ptah and Kaige who wrote most of the spells and many new skills. Many of those players who showed up on that first day are immortals now. Sadist, Ptah, and Kaige were eventually hired by Origin Systems to develop a graphical mud based on the Ultima series of computer roleplaying games, and have lately spent most of their time working on that project.

Legend began publishing a regular newsletter in August of ’94. It was edited by Ptah for almost a year, and now Rusalka has taken it over. It’s up to issue 24 of volume II at this point, filled with poems and stories, code updates and articles on gameplay and roleplaying. Every issue is eagely awaited, particularly the social column (edited at first by K’Mala, then Ptah, and finally now by Rusalka), which narrates the recent major events in roleplaying, including player weddings and major playerkilling battles.

K’Mala started up the Legend Discussion List as an open forum for debate and discussion, and it has since become a lively place for the discussion of design and gameplay issues. This player-immort interaction was further strengthened with the eventual addition of an Out Of Character lounge in which meetings, parties, storytelling, trivia contests, and lectures have all taken place. K’Mala is no longer immort at Legend, but still maintains the list.

Legend went through several sites after leaving Washington College, including stays at Carnegie Mellon and the University of Texas. It is now at a long-term home purchased specifically for the mud by the players and hooked in at a local access provider in Austin Texas, where the imps all live. It continues to evolve and grow, and the community of regulars is as tight and caring as ever. Besides Mud of the Month, LegendMUD has attracted attention in other ways, ranging from selection of its web pages as a top ten resource for interactive fiction, to selection as Mud of the Week by the Electronic Newsstand.

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  • From Leila:

    LegendMUD comprises all the elements of the most successful gaming. It is flexible enough to allow any type of player from those who desire a murderous blood-bath, to those who enjoy socializing and playing in a non-competitive manner. Yet these elements are not exclusive. LegendMUD enables those keen on role-playing to the hilt, and those who enjoy playing in a different manner to spend their hours in wonderful escapism.

  • From Adso:

    Legend has great people on it. They are wonderful at supporting other players. The quests are intriguing and challenging. I find the different ares well done and distinctive. And just when you think you can’t go on, other players encourage you!

  • From Julien Graglia (aka Butch):

    I am a french student in computer science, a friend showed me telnet mud.aus.sig.net 9999 a week ago And i became a MUD addict… I like it .. too much: I spent nights at school playing MUD. Before I made WWW, now it is telnet.

    I tell friends to come and play this game.. we make some little groups and even if my English isn’t very good I have a lot af fun playing.

    The “ambiance” is very good, i mean long-time users help Newbies. Personally, many people help me during 30 minutes, 1 or maybe 2 hours : that’s great.

    So i am totaly happy of this MUD, wish it long time, thanks its creator, and see you soon on the MUD

    PS: sorry for my English

  • From John:

    I’ve been playing Legend for sixteen months now, and in that time I’ve logged over a thousand hours of playtime. In that time I’ve watched both the game and the community grow. Despite the necessarily finite nature of the game, it remains interesting, thanks to the cooperative nature of its evolution, and the kindness of the people who populate it. I highly recommend Legend to anyone searching for a virtual home.

  • From Mael:

    Why do I like legend? How could I _not_ like Legendmud? There are quests upon quests upon quests which can reward your cleverness in various ways, ranging from a successful transport to another time period of the historically based world, to an increase in your skill in a certain are, to an increase of your cash supply, to a piece of equipment you didn’t believe existed. These are all quests in which the computer-generated people glare at you, ignore you, answer questions, yell at you, take your money and sometimes even help you. They are amazingly responsive; I am not talking about Fizban puking on your clothes when you have no money. The quests take a lot of exploring and thinking and experimenting to figure out, but the rewards are great. Where else can you establish a trade route taking opium to china and bringing tea back to london for massive profit?

    Why do I like legend? How could I _not_ like Legendmud? It is set in various eras of Earth’s history that are painfully researched and potrayed accurately, down to the accents and even languages spoken by the mobs. You can explore London, Celtic ireland, Viceroyal Peru (in the little story above, where killing merchants really can cause you a lot of unexpected pain ๐Ÿ™‚ Tortuga Island, Germany, Scandinavia… All sorts of places. I have done lots better at Jeapordy since I started playing ๐Ÿ˜‰

    You are what you want to be on Legend. You don’t choose a class, you choose your skills to create your own class… But first you must find the people who teach these skills, if you want to learn them. And those teachers may have an errand or two for you to run for them before they will agree to teach you.

    But really, I think one of the best things about Legend is the people who play here… By and large, we have an older, or at least, more mature crowd then most other places I have played. People are there to have fun, and usually are willing to help others out in a pinch. I have made numerous friendships on the mud that have lead to fun get-togethers in real life with the same folks. I watch people come and usually stay for the duration. And I think that says a lot about Legend.

  • From Prasetya (lev50 who spends too much time mudding):

    I love Legend because it is not like the typical DikuMud. The theme, way classes and skill learning is set up are all very UNIQUE. Most of all, I like playing on Legend because of the people and the immorts. There is great roleplaying and the people who play are extremely cool! The immorts are great because they are friendly and they interact with us mortals! Also, they come up with very interesting games for us to play and win prizes…

  • From Cody:

    Legend was the first mud I tried and after almost a year, it is still the only mud I play. Its writing is excellent. Its skill system is varied and fun, and its fighting and spell system is challenging and complex. Legend is far above the usual hack-n-slash, dungeons and dragons theme that make most muds seem genre-bound and boring in comparison.

  • From various members of a family:

    Our family discovered LegendMUD about eight months ago. Since then we have discovered adventure, comraderie, laughter, heartbreak, excitement, games, friendship … a wealth of riches. Even after hundreds of hours of game time, we still discover new things. We intend to continue returning to LegendMUD. It is more then a game…we’ve found a home here.

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[ Connect to LegendMUD | The LegendMUD Homepage ]

Many thanks to Ptah for the content of the LegendMUD MotM page and Charity, Kaige, Ptah, and Sadist for creating an exciting corner of the virtual world!

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