Celebrating International MUD Day: 8 Ideas

ko-fi Written by Andruid
A populated globe with text in the foreground that says, "Celebrating International MUD Day"

Learn what International MUD Day is and what it's all about. Plus, get ideas for celebrating the holiday with your friends.

Table of Contents

    Happy November 15th! If you’re a fan of text-based games, you probably already know that MUDs offer a ton of content built over many years.

    But there’s an important aspect of MUDs that goes beyond quests and crafts: the often global communities that help support these games and bring them to life.

    International MUD Day is a day to step back from the usual in-game pursuits and reflect on the diverse communities that make MUDs possible.

    In today’s post, we’ll explore what International MUD Day means for the niche. We’ll also look at different ways to make the most of the holiday.

    But first, a quick introduction to international MUDs…

    What is an international MUD?

    An international MUD is a multi-user dungeon (MUD) played by people all over the world.

    It’s a virtual meeting space where players from various countries and cultures converge and make friends around a shared love of text-based gaming.

    Examples of international MUDs

    An example of a well-known international MUD played in English is Discworld.

    Over the years, Discworld has been hosted in multiple countries and now boasts a community of fans from all over the globe.

    Another example is Iberia, a MUD played in English but hosted in Portugal.

    Indeed, you can find MUDs played in English hosted all over – both within and outside of traditionally English-speaking countries.

    But there are also long-running games played in languages other than English, such as MorgenGrauen (German) and Medina (Spanish).

    All of these games, and their dedicated players, contribute to the diversity of the MUD genre today.

    What is International MUD Day?

    International MUD Day is a holiday meant to recognize and celebrate the global nature of many MUDs.

    Observed during International Game Month, it’s a day dedicated to acknowledging the benefits – and challenges – of maintaining an international playerbase.

    International MUD Day also emphasizes the importance of inclusivity, cultural diversity, and community in MUDs.

    How did International MUD Day get started?

    The holiday was started by members of the MUD community who wanted to acknowledge the importance and contributions of international games – as well as the players that make those games possible.

    It’s a holiday created by the community, for the community.

    Celebrating International MUD Day

    International MUD Day is a chance to engage in activities that foster understanding and appreciation of the global nature of multiplayer text games.

    This could include things like…

    • special in-game events that celebrate cultural diversity,
    • discussions on international gaming experiences, or
    • fun contests or collaborative projects that bring different perspectives together.

    The point is to highlight the international aspect of MUDs and to underscore the idea that, no matter where we are in the world, we’re all part of the community that makes MUDs possible.

    Celebrating International MUD Day is about embracing the diversity that each player brings to the table and using this occasion to make our virtual worlds more welcoming and inclusive for all adventurers, regardless of where they’re located.

    8 Ideas for making the most of International MUD Day

    So, you’re on board with the holiday, but what should you do? Below are several ideas for making the most of International MUD Day.

    I start with two quick tips you can do last minute, today. These are super easy ways to get involved and require little to no planning.

    As for the rest – I hope you find at least a couple of ideas that inspire you for next year!

    Two quick and easy ways to celebrate

    Are you a MUD staffer short on time? No problem.

    If you want to celebrate International MUD Day but don’t have the bandwidth to do a lot of planning or content creation, two low-lift things you can do include:

    1. Sending out a short announcement to players thanking them for creating a warm and welcoming international community.
    2. Asking the playerbase to help you brainstorm ways to make the game more inclusive of players from different cultures or time zones.

    Each of these options is a great way to acknowledge and engage your playerbase, and they can both be done in-game or over Discord.

    If you have a little more time on your hands, keep reading for a more complete list of ideas.

    1. Engage in cultural exchange

    International MUD Day offers a unique opportunity for players to engage in cultural exchange.

    For example, you could encourage the community to share myths, stories, and traditions from their cultures through appropriate in-game or Discord channels.

    This could be facilitated through special events or contests where players do things like…

    • narrate tales from their homelands,
    • share traditional riddles, or
    • host trivia on folklore.

    For example, have you ever heard of Krampus? Or thought about how creatures like goblins came to be portrayed in different cultures?

    The point is that these kinds of activities can be a fun way to foster a deeper understanding and appreciation among players from different parts of the world.

    Depending on the style of MU*, they could also be a source of new ideas for in-game areas, quests, and NPCs (see idea #3 below).

    A scary-looking horned figure holding a cluster of birch rods for punishing naughty children.
    Sharing different holiday traditions and folklore can be a fun and interesting way to engage in cultural exchange. Krampus (pictured here) is a great example.

    2. Host inclusive events and be mindful of timezone differences

    When planning events for International MUD Day (and other holidays), try to accommodate players from different time zones.

    Work with players to schedule events at various times throughout the day, not just during peak hours.

    If that’s just not possible, you can also set up mini-games and activities that can be completed at players’ own pace, such as:

    • self-guided treasure hunts,
    • NPC quests, or
    • feedback surveys.

    As for event ideas, there are a ton of possibilities! Consider hosting events that celebrate the cultural diversity of the playerbase or that focus on a part of the playerbase that is usually overlooked.

    For example, you might consider themed quests or storylines that explore different world cultures or in-game festivals that pay homage to real-world cultural celebrations.

    You could even highlight other celebrations that happen in November.

    Open treasure chest, glowing.
    Everyone loves a good treasure hunt.

    3. Create special content

    If you have the bandwidth, one way to celebrate International MUD Day is by introducing unique in-game content.

    This could range from special items or quests that are only available during November to new areas that reflect the diverse cultures of your playerbase.

    Special content can help make the holiday memorable while also adding an element of excitement and novelty to the game.

    Plus, international players love it when they feel noticed and included – it’s a great way to improve player engagement and retention.

    To support players’ health and well-being, I recommend making special content available for at least one RL week so as to keep things low-stress and include as many players in the fun as possible.

    If you limit the event content to just one day, players who can’t make it due to real-life responsibilities and commitments are bound to feel excluded, which could have the opposite effect as what you want.

    4. Showcase player contributions

    Another way to celebrate is to highlight the contributions of players from around the world.

    You could do this by featuring player-created art, stories, custom game scripts, music, or playlists that enhance the MUD experience.

    A special Discord channel could work well for this, or you could use your game’s forums or website.

    Recognizing player contributions not only celebrates the talents within your community but also inspires others to get more involved.

    It can also be a way to crowdsource some of that special content from idea #3 so that you don’t have to shoulder the burden of coming up with it all yourself!

    5. Collect feedback and learn from players

    International MUD Day is about more than just throwing a big party. It’s also a chance to gather valuable feedback from your playerbase.

    You can do this by organizing Q&A sessions, posting surveys, or using forums to ask players to discuss the challenges of playing the game from different parts of the globe.

    For example, you may find during this process that you have a subset of off-peak players who regularly feel left out because game events always happen at peak times.

    It happens. After all, MUD staffers are volunteers. They put in time when they can and tend to go through cycles of more/less activity depending on RL and their level of burnout.

    So if your current staff team doesn’t have the bandwidth to host additional events just for an off-peak group, most players are going to understand, even if it sucks for them.

    However, you might be able to appoint an off-peak helper to assist you.

    This would ensure that the off-peak players feel included while also taking some of the staffing burden off of your shoulders.

    Ultimately, you can’t address issues you don’t know about, which is why feedback is invaluable for making your game more accessible and enjoyable for a global audience.

    Don’t forget to thank players for their contributions, participation, and input!

    6. Connect through social media

    If your game has one or more social media accounts, you can leverage those platforms to highlight and celebrate the multi-cultural aspects of your game.

    For example, you could create #hashtags for International MUD Day where players can contribute stories, screenshots, fun quotes, or other content. Dedicated players are often happy to support the games they love, and this gives them an easy way to do so.

    You could even combine this activity with previous ideas and host a social media contest that showcases player contributions.

    If you don’t have many players following your game accounts, though, no worries.

    You can still use social media to tell the rest of the text-based gaming community about the cool stuff you’re doing.

    Highlighting aspects of your game can help you promote your MUD to potential new players looking for a friendly international community.

    7. Implement time zone-friendly features

    Earlier, I brought up the idea of appointing an off-peak staffer to help accommodate an off-peak segment of your playerbase.

    Depending on the style of game you run, some time zone issues could be solved by adjusting game systems or implementing new features.

    For example, let’s say your game relies heavily on player-made objects, such as custom weapons and armor.

    If trades can only be done live and in-person, and the best crafters only play during peak hours, this puts off-peak players at a disadvantage when it comes time to get the equipment they need.

    Sure, these players might have workarounds, but they’d still have to jump through hoops that other players don’t.

    A possible coded solution to this problem might be an ordering and delivery system. Such a system would allow for remote trades between players in different time zones (or players with limited availability in general).

    Other examples of time zone-friendly features include rotating events that don’t always happen at the same time every day and in-game communication tools, such as mail, that allow for asynchronous communication.

    These kinds of features ensure that no player is at a disadvantage due to their geographical location, but remember: you don’t have to guess at where to spend your dev time.

    The best way to find out what players need most is to ask them. Like Khufu of EmpireMUD, you might be pleasantly surprised!

    "At first, I imagined VI support would be really difficult. I envisioned a lot of complex features that would be really daunting to write.
But I sat down with VI players and bounced ideas back and forth, and what I realized was that I was completely wrong about most of what they needed – and it was a lot easier than I imagined." - Khufu
    From “EmpireMUD: A player-driven city-builder” published November 3, 2023.

    8. Encourage community-led initiatives

    Last but not least, International MUD Day is a great chance to support player-led initiatives.

    Ask players what they’d like to do to celebrate, then give them the means and encouragement to bring their ideas to life.

    This could include player-organized contests, storytelling sessions, or cultural exchange forums. Or it might be something else. It might be a real-life meetup or postcard swap – who knows!

    Supporting community-led initiatives not only enhances player engagement but also brings fresh ideas and perspectives into the game.

    Think about it: if players are always waiting for you to come up with the next cool thing, then nothing cool will ever happen without your effort.

    And what happens when you get busy, change jobs, or decide to start a family?

    I’m not saying you need to let players run amok, but rather, sit back and guide them: enable and encourage them to create their own fun so that it’s less work for you in the long run.

    And whatever your players end up doing (with your help), don’t forget to acknowledge and reward their efforts. Positive reinforcement is a fantastic tool for encouraging the kind of behavior you want to see more often.

    Is your game an island?

    As I wrap things up here, I’d like to leave you with some food for thought.

    Have you ever heard the terms “Sister City” or “Twin Town?” I bet you have, but just in case: it’s when two complementary places decide to partner up and promote one another to drive commerce and cultural exchange.

    Earlier in this post, I talked about a global MUD community, but in practice, individual games are more like islands.

    For the most part, game admins tend to be very focused on their own games, and it’s not hard to understand why.

    In an era when MUDs are experiencing limited or shrinking playerbases, who would go out of their way to support someone else’s game? When you barely have the time and energy to promote your own?

    But I think there’s something to this idea of sister cities and helping each other out.

    After all, not every game is going to appeal to every player. Some players prefer fantasy games, some prefer futuristic sci-fi. Some want PvP, others want PvE only. And so on.

    Players are going to hop between islands looking for the right game for them, and they’re going to do this with or without your help… so why not be helpful? Why not act as an ambassador for the hobby and help them on their journey?

    That way, even those players who decide to move on from your game will have positive things to say about it wherever they go and will be more likely to direct other people to it who might be a better fit.

    Like I said, food for thought. Thanks for reading, and until next time! 🙂

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    PS: Staffers deserve some recognition, too! If you’re a game admin, don’t forget to celebrate your own hard work – and that of other staff – from time to time.

    Smiling blonde woman wearing glasses.
    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. “Be excellent to each other.”