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Iconoclast: a Gothic/Cyberpunk MUD RPG, Online Since 1996 (iconoclast.org)
109 points by slim 2 months ago | hide | past | web | 45 comments | favorite





I've been playing MUME, MultiUsers in Middle Earth https://mume.org:4143/ off and on since it came up in late 1991.

It's like playing PvE and PvP inside of Tolkien's books.

The quality of the text in the rooms and zones is extremely and consistently high, and the world is enormous.

As of right now, here's the world map:

https://pastebin.com/L8Yn8EhD

The two G's on the left are the Grey Havens. The R is Rivendell, the double M in the center is Moria, and the E on the bottom is Edoras. The ? zones are under construction.

Each of these zones are large and complex on their own.

I usually play a Hobbit thief, and can fondly recall some of the times, many years ago, when I was out in the wild, doing my own thing, when a band of Orc players came by. This was usually a death sentence, but at times, if I was high enough level, I could hide and sneak my way out of there.

Or...when I was higher level, I'd find some Black Númenórean tracks. After a long and careful hunt, there he was, resting by himself in the woods, unaware of my presence. Moments later, I was going through his stuff, after a quick knife to the back.

Very heart-pounding times!


MUME was the MUD I played the most. On the plus side, I absolutely loved the world size, complexity and quality. On the negative side, the gameplay balance was horrible. And, since I was playing from South America, my ping didn't help either.

I tried some other MUDs later, but most of them have smaller worlds, not so intricate or well-described. I just couldn't get that same magic of exploring that I did from MUME.

I still visit ElvenRunes once or twice a year, to see how you guys are doing ;)


Good to see a fellow MUME player! (current or ex :)

> the gameplay balance was horrible.

I think I know what you're getting at, but it would depend on when you played the game.

What balance did you find horrible, and roughly what year was that finding?

Thanks!


I played roughly from 1999 until 2001. The biggest pain points for me were:

* The game wanted to motivate PVP, but it did so by punishing PVE players horribly: at higher levels, dying to a mob meant losing more than one whole level, which was hard to get back.

* If you played anything but a tank, ping mattered too damn much. I like scouts/thieves. My ping stank. My experience wasn't very happy ;)

* Mandos sleep. Need I say more? Whose idea was that? I'm lucky I never got it, but it's inexcusably bad game design.

* I understand that playing evil races is supposed to be inherently harder, but it was too damn hard. My favorite moments were when the "darkies" (I apologize, but that was the slang for evil races back then) would come raid Bree and Fornost. Yes, it was terrifying for us pukes, but I loved it.

I have contemplated going back many, many times, but the first pain point I mentioned always keeps me back. I just can't dedicate that much time to a game that rewards so little and punishes so much. But I miss it a lot, too :)


Well, Mandos sleep should have only come into play if you were killing other members of your 'side'. I spent a lot of time playing characters on both sides, killing and being killed in PvP, but always cross 'side', and Mandos sleep was never a thing.

Ping time is definitely important, but I had a lot of success playing on a 1200 and then a 2400 baud modem. Running PPP over that gave me some nasty latency spikes. You could not always play in the normal way, but the game was definitely fun and playable, in different ways. (:

Re: losing more than a whole level after dying: that and the other 'hard' things about the game really drew me in.

I crave games where there are real risks, something substantial to lose. For most free games, that is going to be mean time.

It's like the difference between playing laser tag and paintball wars. It usually hurts to get lit up with paintballs. Thus, all of the players are far more focused and invested in doing well.

Definitely consider going back. There aren't that many players on these days. When I checked the other day, there were only 30 or so.

So you can play with relative safety in vast chunks of the world, as either side.


> Well, Mandos sleep should have only come into play if you were killing other members of your 'side'. I spent a lot of time playing characters on both sides, killing and being killed in PvP, but always cross 'side', and Mandos sleep was never a thing.

I thought that was Valley of Morgul, not Mandos sleep? I could have sword Mandos sleep was something that could strike a high-level char not-quite-but-sort-of randomly, ostensibly to prevent spamdying. Sort of a "take some time to cool off, buddy" thing.

> Re: losing more than a whole level after dying: that and the other 'hard' things about the game really drew me in.

> I crave games where there are real risks, something substantial to lose. For most free games, that is going to be mean time.

I guess that's the key difference right there. I found the punishments excessive and, to make things worse, the ping was leading me straight into those punishment situations. I like having real risks, too -- that's why I think the latest changes in Conan Exiles are actually pretty good -- but I guess I disagree about how hard the punishment should be.

Ironically, I felt that way back when I had oodles and oodles of free time. Now that I'm married and have a kid, I have even less of that, so you can imagine that I'm quite leery of going back to a game that threatens to punish me by taking away huge amounts of something I have so little of ;)

At any rate, I might try it again. Few games have ever scratched that itch for me.

EDIT: To clarify, it's not the safety that I need in a game. One of the best moments I still remember was when I had to run away from a BN who surprised me while I was trying to do Malardil. Safety is overrated. Losing more than a full level because I'm running from a big bad PK player and I mobrip? That's depressing ;)


Just a general note to all the former MUDers here, you folks are awesome. MUDs remain a wonderful community to join on the internet with a much higher proportion of friendly creative folk to interact with. This is a bit sappy but whether I played with you or not the time I've spent MUDing is time I'll always treasure.

Check out http://mudstats.com - there are some that have been available since 1989!

Interesting site. I sorted by "Online Now" and the #1 is an Adult Furry MUCK and the next 2 most populated are also labeled "Adult."

The MUD I used to play (http://realmsofchaos.com/) is still going thanks to an intrepid admin who has kept it online since 1994. It is unfortunately desolate now but it is nice to see a piece of gaming history alive and well. I occasionally log on to wander through some of my favorite areas.

I have very fond memories of RoC as it's where I learned to program and had my first taste of algorithm development.


In the rules

> 3) Personal grudges

> This is not real-life, and most people do not want it to be. Meaning: Do not carry RL personal grudges into the game.

Loved that. Should be put at the entrance of all social media platforms.


> Should be put at the entrance of all social media platforms.

This might be not necessarily true - when one uses social media account with his personal, official name, contains content that prove it's identity then it is quite safe to assume that this social media account is just digital representation of this particular real life person. So in this case if someone has personal grudge against this person then why it shouldn't be propagated to online presence?


Plug for my favorite MUD, even if I haven't played in years: https://www.aardwolf.com/

This was one of the most popular MUDs if I recall? The one I used to play definitely stole their website design.

MUDs are amazing, I have quite fond memories of http://www.middle-earth.us/ (Shadows of Isildur) which is a wonderful thing to get into if you have the time to do so.

Also, from a tech angle almost all of these are incredible horror shows of legacy code, if you've ever wanted to see 40+ year old code that was written in danish originally then take a look at one of the DikuMUD descendants.


Once I am done with the project I am currently working on for pay I am going to work a bit on a personal project, writing a small MUD. However I was planning on writing the client myself to offer, among other things, sound etc. as well as giving me endless future possibilities over having people connect over telnet. However, http://www.middle-earth.us/?page_id=55 says about that MUD:

> Connect to Middle-earth.us: 4500 with your favorite MUD client.

And this made me wonder. I thought classic MUDs were played over telnet with a regular telnet client, but apparently not. So, market research time. What sorts of MUD clients are people using?


Oh-ho-ho... and here you will enter into a holy war on the scale of VI vs. Emacs but with about 1k people in total that care about it. In my time I've used MushClient, SimpleMU and zMUD, all of which I can endorse (but MushClient was probably my favorite). I've also heard people rave about TinTin.

Most MUDs (including SoI) do fully support telnet, but get richer if you use a client that allows intelligent logging, macros, multi-channel support and better text highlighting. If you're curious there's a nice wiki page about the different clients available.


> Oh-ho-ho... and here you will enter into a holy war on the scale of VI vs. Emacs but with about 1k people in total that care about it.

Ha ha, I see :)

> In my time I've used MushClient, SimpleMU and zMUD, all of which I can endorse (but MushClient was probably my favorite). I've also heard people rave about TinTin.

I will look into these ones then.

> If you're curious there's a nice wiki page about the different clients available.

Is the wiki page you are referring to on Wikipedia or elsewhere?

/me googles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MUD_client this one it?


That is it, yes!

FYI the settings differences between these are pretty simple so maybe play with a few (possibly starting with free ones) before settling in.


Will do. Thanks.

I was too young for the MUD heyday, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the community-led rebirth of EverQuest, an early 3D MMO that was heavily MUD-inspired. There’s a free server run by an independent team which seeks to replicate the experience of the game as it existed in 1999. It’s become quite popular, with a regular player count of 1000+:

https://www.project1999.com


Brad McQuaid who was the lead designer of EverQuest is at it again with a new MMO called Pantheon. Is development a strictly crowdfunded because he refuses to take on an investor probably based on his experience dealing with Sony.

Personally I don't have the time, energy or interest to play an MMO with the kind of time sinks that Everquest had and that Pantheon plans to repeat. But if it's an itch you want to scratch then look for that game.


The webpage says it has the Velious expansion and a level cap of 60, so more like 2001.

In 1999, there were no expansions and the level cap was 50.


Odd coincidence, I read this HN thread and when I checked my email I had an update from Starmourn. A new scifi mud from Iron Realms that launched the end of 2018. I can't say much more about it though. When I signed up to the mailing list ~3 years ago I was maybe too optimistic about the amount of future free time I would have.

I do think that it's interesting that new commercial MUDs are launching. (Well one anyway.)

https://www.starmourn.com/


Hoo boy, Iron Realms. Achaea was my very first experience with pay-to-win multiplayer games. I don't know if the rest of them are any better, but I know that Iron Realms was the first game company that made me feel disgust as a player. In that sense, they were the precursor of EA.

www.sindome.org / moo.sindome.org 5555

Cyberpunk MUD. Been online since 1997. It has a web client which is great, but continue to support mud clients and simple telnet. No color, ansi, xterm256 all supported.

Has good accessibility options as well. Very friendly to visually imparied with special code for stripping out stuff like ascii art.

Roleplay enforced. Has a detailed timeline and wiki. 50-60 people online at anytime. Good and well trained staff.


Since we're all linking the MUDs we're nostalgic about, I've always had a soft sport in my heart for the Unofficial Squaresoft MUD (http://uossmud.sandwich.net/). It's a love letter to the worlds in classic square games with a class system inspired by FFT.

If you like that, you'll love CyberSphere: http://mudstats.com/World/Cybersphere

I basically learned to program for Wheel of Time-based MUDs... first on The True Source, then on The Weave, and then on As the Wheel Weaves.

It was amazing how much drama existed behind the scenes and how there would be a family tree of staff/codebases stemming from that drama and stolen code/areas. As the Wheel Weaves is apparently not running anymore, but a few years ago I found a split of a split that still has an in-game game that I wrote that people still apparently play and enjoy. It's really gratifying.


> It was amazing how much drama existed behind the scenes and how there would be a family tree of staff/codebases stemming from that drama and stolen code/areas.

It sounds like this stuff lives on in the likes of Space Station 13. IIRC at one point one team stole the compiled server code of of one of the other team's versions, decompiled it, and worked on it from there. One of the most popular versions has a client that forces users to watch an ad before playing and people are constantly trying to reverse engineer the API and build a replacement client. Some people have even made decently impressive attempts at making a 3d version of the game.


Oh hey, a fellow Weaver. Sorta.

Back then, I was Artanin and the drama is why I gave up the mud. I did put the Weave files I have on github, tho.


How would one get into one of these MUDs? I realize these are quite old, but I can't even find out how to load this up. Maybe I am missing the point here. That, or I need to install Java.

There are some projects like https://writtenrealms.com that are trying to modernize the MUD and lower the barrier to entry, but they are still coming together and most of the ones with an established player base / full feature set are still the traditional telnet setup.

Using telnet :) The link is on the front page: telnet://iconoclast.org:7777

Unfortunately, it looks hugged to death (?), cause I'm getting a connection refused.


Doesn't seem to be online to me:

  $ telnet iconoclast.org 7777
  Trying 64.62.194.134...
  telnet: connect to address 64.62.194.134: Connection refused

I used to play sdfMUD and was introduced to the rolling stones by reading the book in the chapel of Swanbrook left by an author who identified herself as Snowbird. I'll always remember it and always be grateful. The line was "Lose your dreams and you will lose your mind" and was apparently committed to that environment when I was single digits in age.

Oh the MUDs! Props to Forest’s edge and TempusMUD.

Text is the ultimate medium because it directly connects with our imagination. I remember jumping out of my chair after reading a line of text on my screen.

Recommend watching “Get lamp” documentary to fans of MUDs, text adventures and those born after:

https://youtu.be/LRhbcDzbGSU


To this day, I still log on to Kingdoms of the Lost(http://kingdomsofthelost.blogspot.com/). Not one of the oldies like some of the ones on the http://mudstats.com list, but definitely a goldie.

http://www.medievia.com/ was mine, and it's still chugging along since '92, I played all through high-school, but then WOW came along. Before I learned about the tintin mud client, I had actually memorized key strokes to get around the map, good times.

Hmm. Based in the 22nd century. With this sort of viability I wonder if it'll survive until that point.

Pouring one out for Grimne, my favourite MUD, which is unfortunately no longer up. It was an eerie feeling to log on there after a 15+ years pause, the server empty, all the good old NPCs waiting to be slayed. Like a strange fully functional yet abandoned interactive museum.

I thought the name was an anargram to localhost, but it is easily contradicted with the absence of 'h'. Anyway, still a cool name though

I wondered how long the old MUD was that i used to play in high school. Apparently, DartMUD has been online since 1991.

lotgd.net - I don't play any more but if you haven't it's great fun. Lots of 90s nostalgia from LORD/Usurper/Exitilus in dial up BBSes

I used to occasionally hop on and try LOTGD until dying in the same session.

There was a similar non-terminal MUD-like game called Phantasia as well. Heavy LOTR themes, Java client, permadeath, players could ascend to become Steward, King, or even Valar with special abilities that affected other players. It was available way back on Netscape and is still scraping by.

https://www.phantasia5.com/

Dragon Court was another MUD-like. Java with painted art graphics in the browser.




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