MUD Newbiehood: A How-To Guide

MUD Games Newbie

By Seth R. Cooke

Newbiehood is a difficult time, especially for "true newbies," or those who have never played a MUD before. Even to an experienced player, a new text game can often be confusing or disorienting. Everything from choosing a name to developing your character is important, as this guide will assume that the text game of choice is a roleplay-friendly one.

Choosing a name is the first important step to creating a new character in a text game. It is the first impression that anyone will have of your character, and it can make a lasting impact. For this reason, choosing a serious name is preferred. Try to avoid the pitfall of naming your character after a common object, as few will want to interact with someone named Computer.

Baby naming sites are excellent resources, as you can browse names and actually see what they mean. Seth, for instance, means "The Anointed One". In this way, you may give the nature of your character a subtle nod, or the name could be chosen simply because you like it.

Another common mistake is to name your text game character after some pop fiction icon, such as Sonic or Crash. This is annoying on many levels, as it will both break immersion (reminding people of the outside world) and suggest something about your character (Sonic should move quick, Crash should like eating fruit). In a MUD, it is much better to pick a name that actually sounds like a name or to create one of your own.

Once your name is selected, a tutorial of some sort will follow. This is perhaps the most important part of being a newbie. Even though some tutorials may seem dull or boring, they teach the basic aspects of the MUD. If the tutorial is well-written, it will teach you skills that you will need to use repeatedly in order to play the text game well. Paying close attention is important, and keeping a notepad by your computer to write down key commands is helpful, as a lot of information must be absorbed quickly. Having worked with many new text gamers, few things are more frustrating than being asked how to do things that they should have learned in the tutorial (that is not to say that you should not ask questions - it is important to ask questions when you have them, no matter how silly or inane they seem).

Most MUDs also have some sort of organization that you can join upon completing the tutorial that will allow you to meet other players. If you are new, join one! It will provide you with a wealth of knowledge that a rogue player would not have access to, and it can be a huge help in getting used to the MUD. Usually it is helpful to pick out someone who is active when you are and doesn't mind answering questions, then talk to them whenever something comes up.

The final trick to absorbing all that a text game has to offer is to get involved! If you quietly do your own thing and only speak up when you have a question, it's easy for others to forget about you. Try to make friends with both older players and newer players alike. Friends make the game more engaging - someone to adventure or hunt with can make it much less boring, and it helps to have someone to talk to should you need advice.

There are multiple ways to get involved, though the most effective way will depend on the specific group. Be it helping other newbies, offering to adventure or hunt with people around your relative might or skill, participating in contests or games, or just speaking to others in your group, involvement is the best way to be absorbed into the text game community.

Being a new player is the most important part of any text game - it determines your future play style (or if you play again at all!) and provides other players with a first impression of you. Because of this, choosing a proper name is important! Likewise, you should try to pick up as much as possible in the tutorial so you can go straight to interacting with other players. Beyond this, interacting with the text game community is the most important part of newbiehood. Getting out and getting involved is the best way to have fun with a game, and perhaps the most important for a new player. By following these simple tips, you can ensure your newbie experience is significantly less stressful and, hopefully, infinitely more enjoyable.

If you feel inspired to take on the challenge of newbiehood yourself after reading this article, check out these MUDs.

Seth R. Cooke is a text game enthusiast and currently plays games from

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A good introduction to MUDs. More experienced players may not want to get into hand-holding newbies, but they're the most valuable rescource a game has, and they can contribute a lot once they've settled in.


Some of them seem to have fallen in the aconite pot at birth of course, but they don't tend to hang around.

Nice post.

ya nice

Ah newbies... 




MUDs are definitely somewhere that it helps to talk to others and not worry about looking foolish. You'll get some vital tips, and everyone had to start somewhere.


gtfo nawbs

It's not impossible to learn completely on your own, but there is seriously no fun whatsoever in it. I'm greatful for the people who have some amount of fun in genuinely helping others get acclimatized, as frustrating as it might be.

I think players should be more familiar with documentation provided with the HELP commands. It is likely that they will come across information that nobody would provide them with either.

join a house they are quite helpful

It is often good to remember that we were all newbies at one time when interacting with them. You can probably relate to their current situation.

Its been a pleasant going through the newbie pains in Lusternia. Good crowd in there, and so far only one toadcurse attempt on my life.


Has a good newbie system in Imperian.

That being said, nothing teaches like an open mind and experience.



Wish I had a newbie guide when I first started, though help scrolls and other players helped a ton.

I found reading the help scroll and then asking confirming questions is the best approach


Roleplaying is one of the best ways to learn how to fuction in a new world.



Befriend other newbies. It's much less lonely that way, and you've got someone who's figuring everything out alongside you.

just like you would be in real life


I can only agree to that article. Sadly, the newbies I befriended when i was a newbie all stopped playing.


The learning curve is steep in MUDs compared to some other games.  On the other hand, the community is helpful more often than not, because every single person was a newbie at some point.

Nice, very helpful.

don't poke the bear with a stick!

I agree being a newbie to MUDs is difficult. I started playing earlier this year, and if it wasn't for awesome mentors I'd have given up on it.

I think a lot of it involves having a sufficiently large player base to support new characters.  Its a big world out there - bigger if you are the only member of your guild.

Agreed. Even if I look for low populations when I'm considering an alt, not having guildmates would probably put me off a game for a first character.

Keep yourself vibrant by spending a solid ten minutes with a new player. He or she may not be a true newbie (but most likely are), but being able to answer some of the most direct, simple questions can help remind you of how tough the learning curve can be as a newbie. Additionally, you may pick up a new idea or a different perspective on something yourself that you can use in your character's day-to-day experiences as well. All of this said, it's absolutely golden for the newbie to have the interaction with a player that they otherwise see as an unapproachable paragon of awesome (even though you probably aren't!).

Oh, and don't get overwhelmed by the flood of text that comes flying out when you switch from tutorial to out in the big world. First couple of times I ever played I seriously wished for a pause or slowdown option cause of all the people that welcomed me. First time I logged out and didn't go back for about six hours. Its nice that they were so welcoming but whoa, what a shock.

I find it fulfilling helping a newbie out, and it's nice to see them saying hi or hello when you pass them by even on a normal day.

Are a muds life and blood, anyone who ignores em needs to be flayed alive and fed to a dragon... That is all

The worst thing I can remember going through as a newbie was navigating the world. It was really nice when there was someone around who was willing to help me out when I got lost.

nice guide

How useful!