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Welcome! I am teaching law at St. Petersburg State University and engaged in legal practice with the international law firm Dentons. Major part of my research is connected to virtual worlds and massive multiplayer online games (a broad field which includes Internet law, video game law, virtual law and game studies). My legal practice is focused on providing support to computer game companies. This interest derives from my passion for computer games which I consider as one of the most important cultural artifacts ever created. Please note that this blog conveys my private opinion which is not necessarily shared by any organisations I am associated with. For more formal and detailed introduction please visit my website arkhipov.info which serves more as a 'business card'.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Aardwolf MUD Anniversary

An important anniversary which took place on December 7th was the milestone reached by the Aardwolf MUD - on December 7th, 2013 it has been open to the public for the whole 17 years!

The abbreviation 'MUD' stands for 'Multi-User Dungeon' (or 'Dimension'). The first one to use this wording was Dr. Richard Bartle who actually is conventionally and deservedly known as the developer of the first ever MMORPG known as 'MUD1' (1983) which is still operating technically.  

Today it may sound like a surprise, but not always were online multiplayer role-playing games graphical. The first ones and many modern ones (!) are text-based, and this is the case of Aardwolf, which is still popular and successful.

A random Aardwolf screenshot with zMUD 7.21 client used. Some strings about the score of Riathen, my character, and what he sees around him.
The abbreviation 'MUD' is usually associated with text-based virtual worlds, albeit the term may formally be used to depict any kind of online game. The fact is that MUDs are based on telnet protocol which involves exchange of text and virtual terminal.

Most of the MUDs use the system where the server provides the client with the reactions to what the user inputs, while the user types (or uses some form of automated actions) commands to a kind of command prompt on behalf of his/her character. E.g. the user inputs 'look' and the server responds with the description of what the character sees. MUDs can be played via standard telnet client or special MUD clients, either general like Zuggsoft ones, or directly tailored for specific games. 

Generally speaking, all MUDs can be divided into roleplaying and non-roleplaying ones. Roleplaying MUDs do not involve just the technical division of roles in a party, like healer, damage dealer and tank, as it is often conveived now, but require the user to play a role of his/her character as a person - to show the character's feelings, to use appropriate language and so on. Best examples of popular modern roleplaying MUDs are, in my opinion, Achaea, Lusternia and other Iron Realms games. By the way, the first online game I ever played was Achaea. 

Aardwolf, unlike roleplaying MUDs, does not involve the necessity of playing like an actor in a theater where all spectators are actors at the same time as well. It provides decent experience of virtual world as we usually understand it in the sense of modern graphical games, but through a text-based interface which engages your imagination. 

The playing experience is well structured and aimed towards fun. This MUD is non-commercial, so the game design does not involve any artificial fiddling with players' time to put any kind of psychological pressure on them. As they put it in a brief ad on 'Topmudsites' website, it is 'pure and simple fun', and they are right. According to my personal experience, to be 'alive' modern MUD has to have more than just 10 players (not ten thousands, just ten). Aardwolf has about 500 simultaneous logins at its peak times, and this fact speaks for itself.

Aardwolf offers a lot of classes, races and locations. The levelling curve is unique because it offers to try all classes and races through a system of multi-classes and tiers which does not require to start other character to try something different. Levelling is quick, and fun is great. You may read more on Aardwolf features here.  

It may be a thrilling experience to try a MMORPG which challenges your imagination rather than patience, so I believe that it would be a good idea to try Aardwolf - a MUD inspired and directed by a repuatable enthusiast known under the nickname of Lasher. 

Download a MUD client and join Aardwolf community!