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What is a MUD?
A MUD is a multi-user RPG/fantasy world where users assume an identity such as a warrior or a mage and chat with other users, explore monster infested areas, solve puzzles, take part in quests and many other activities. As your character becomes more experienced and stronger, you can explore tougher areas, solve harder puzzles and gain an extensive list of magical abilities.
Many people are surprised at how hooked they get to a game that is entirely text based - imagination is wonderful thing. The short answer to why muds are popular is that they combine the best aspects of two things that everybody loves to do: communicate with others and play.
A mud is much more than a game, a good mud becomes a vibrant community. Many people on Aardwolf have made real-life friendships lasting long past their involvement in the game and there have been dozens of real life marriages between people that met while adventuring in our world.
Your character is really what you make it, some people play to make friends, others to play a role that may be completely different from their real life personality. You can talk on open channels, create friend lists, exchange personal notes similar to email, form a group to explore a tougher area as a team and read in game bulletin boards on a variety of topics ranging from last weekend's football game to plans for organizing a raid on Oradrin's Chosen.
One FAQ on muds refers to them as "an extension of real life with gamelike qualities" and suggests that if you see it is just a game, you are probably not playing it right. We tend to agree.
Mud gameplay is fun because you see constant progress in your character. Gaining levels, learning new skills and spells, solving a quest in an area for the first time, getting a new piece of in-game armor or a bigger sword all make you more powerful. In game rankings allow you to compare your character against others in a variety of ways, and climbing the rankings can become very addictive.
There is also a near infinite number of things that you can do. Aardwolf has over 35,000 rooms to explore, quests running constantly, trivia games to take part in, the opportunity to test your strength against other players in duelling arenas, gambling (in game gold only of course), a lasertag area, auctions, hundreds of shops, a lottery system, marriage, personal manors and hundreds of in game actions (known as commands). Combine these with an average of 400-500 people online at any given time and the game is never quite the same every time you play it.
Again, the game is what you make it, you can play a competitive game against others, you can play a social game forming teams and making friends, or you can play a cooperative game working with others to explore dangerous areas.
Another advantage that muds have over more traditional games is that they are much more open to change. While a commercial game you pick up in the store may get an update every 6 months, a well maintained MUD is constantly adding new features. Aardwolf reboots every week or two with new additions to the areas and enhancements to the gameplay. The game is never 'done' - Aardwolf has been online since 1996 and continues to be actively developed.
Sounds great, what does it cost?
Aardwolf is completely free to play. There is no trial period, nothing to sign up for and no personal information is requested when you create a character. Aardwolf is financed by donations from players of the game and by the owner.
Free sounds even better, how do I get started?
There are several ways to connect to a MUD, but the most common way and the preferred way is via a 'mud client'. This is a program that is installed on your computer and allows your computer to connect to Aardwolf. The 'resources' section of this web page contains links to a number of clients. In the meantime, you can just click the 'play now' link on the front page to use our Java MUD Client to check out the mud. If the colors are scrambled or you can't see anything you are typing, you should use a mud client. For PC users, we recommend Mushclient or JMC.
I'm connected, now what do I do?
When you first connect to the game, you need to choose a character name for yourself. Most people do not use their real name but instead choose a 'fantasy name' such as 'Laenor' or 'Jero'. If you are having trouble thinking up a name, the Aardwolf web page contains a link to a fantasy name generator that will suggest names for you. Note that the most common names from popular books and movies, such as 'Legolas', are likely to have already been taken.
Once you have chosen a name, you will be guided through the new user creation process. Reading carefully at this stage is important to understand how to generate your character, but if you make a mistake don't worry about it too much - you can always recreate the character later.
When you are through with character creation, you will be in the game at the start of a training area known as "MUD school". This is where you really start to interact with the game for the first time.
Most actions in the game are logical extensions of your thoughts while playing. If you want to look at the room you are in, type 'look'. You see a sign there and probably should read it, so go ahead and type 'look sign'.
To move around, you type 'North', 'South', 'Up', 'Down' etc. You might see people greet you on what is known as the 'newbie channel'. There are people in the game that volunteer their time to help new users get started. These people are known as 'helpers' and you can see if any are online by entering 'who helper'.
You can request help by using 'newbie'. For example, if you type:
newbie Hi I am new, can I get some help please?
Every helper online plus the other new players will see that message. If you want to ask a specific person for help, you can use:
tell [person name] I'm new, can you help me please?
Most helpers will refer you to the game's extensive helpfile system.
When you first play a mud, everything seems so complicated and there are so many commands it can seem overwhelming. But, you'll be surprised at how quickly you pick it up. The best starting point is always to just type 'help' and read what comes back. If you have help on a specific topic, you can type 'help combat' for example.
To see a list of the game commands, you can type 'commands'. If you want to see what a specific command does, type 'help [command name]'.
One important file to read is 'help rules'. While Aardwolf is free, we do have a certain number of rules based around etiquette and fair gameplay that we expect users to follow. Once you get a little familiar with the game, please spend some time reviewing the rules file.
For more details on the features Aardwolf has to offer, see the 'features' section of this web page. There is nothing you can read to prepare you for this type of game though - it is unique and best experienced by just trying it. Have fun.........