Mud of the Month Interview
This was taken from the page Mud Connector did in October, 1995, when LegendMUD won the Mud of the Month contest sponsored by Mud Connector.
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.
The list is too long! :) 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!
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.
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.
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.