Back in September, we celebrated Player Appreciation Week: a time of the year dedicated to saying thanks to the loyal fans who populate our virtual worlds.
But what about the often behind-the-scenes heroes who keep the game running for the players?
Well, that’s what MUD Staff Appreciation Day is for!
Today, we’re going to talk about the importance of MUD staff and different ways to say thank you to these vital volunteers.
Who or what are MUD staff?
MUD staff are the individuals responsible for creating, managing, and/or maintaining a multi-user dungeon (MUD).
This team of volunteers can include game developers, who write and update the game’s code and mechanics; content creators or “builders”, who build the objects, NPCs, areas, and other aspects of the world; and admins or moderators, who oversee game operations, manage player interactions, and enforce community guidelines.
It’s important to keep in mind that a MUD staffer’s work is often a labor of love, driven by a passion for text-based gaming. They rarely, if ever, are paid money for what they do.
For various reasons, MUD staff are often referred to as “immortals,” “imms,” “gods,” or “wizards.”
I’ll save the history lesson for another time, but needless to say, they tend to have the tools and privileges to create and destroy parts of the game world.
In some cases, they may even represent actual deities codified as part of the game’s lore.
What is MUD Staff Appreciation Day?
MUD Staff Appreciation Day, observed on December 1st, is a day specially dedicated to acknowledging the contributions of – you guessed it – MUD staff.
This includes staffers on MUSHes and other kinds of MU* games, too; it’s not limited to staffers on traditional hack-and-slash MUDs.
MUD Staff Appreciation Day is an opportunity for players and fellow staff members to show gratitude for the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.
For the community as a whole, it’s an opportunity to give back to those who contribute their limited time and energy to sustaining and enriching the world of MUDs.
The importance of recognizing MUD staff
Whether you’re a player or a fellow staffer, there are many reasons to celebrate and say thank you.
Here are just a few:
- Recognize their volunteer effort: Remember, the staffers working behind the scenes often do so on a volunteer basis. They put countless hours into coding, storytelling, moderating, and solving technical issues to keep our favorite games running smoothly—and for free. When you show appreciation, you’re not just saying thanks; you’re recognizing the challenges they face and the hard work they put in.
- Boost morale and keep them motivated: When it comes to motivation, a little thank you goes a long way. Most MUD staff put in the time because they love the game or its community. Knowing that their efforts are seen and appreciated by you—the players and fellow staffers—can really lift their spirits. It’s about making them feel that their hard work and dedication truly matter and are making a difference.
- Strengthen the community: When you show gratitude to your MUD staff, you’re also helping to build a stronger, more connected community. Your appreciation can foster a sense of mutual respect and camaraderie, essential for a healthy gaming environment. Recognizing other people’s efforts makes for a more collaborative and friendly space for everyone.
- Encourage quality and inspire new ideas: Your support can inspire the MUD staff to keep pushing the boundaries and making things better. When they feel valued, they’re more likely to come up with fresh, innovative ideas to enhance your gaming experience. This means better storylines, improved game mechanics, and a more engaging game for everyone to enjoy.
- Help prevent burnout: It’s easy to forget that there are real people, with real-life responsibilities, behind all that text. Showing your appreciation reminds us all to be more empathetic and compassionate toward each other – and to avoid taking each other’s contributions for granted.
At this point, you might be wondering: are there times when you shouldn’t say thank you?
After all, there’s a chance you’ve come across a MUD staff member who wasn’t very nice or didn’t see things your way.
Let’s talk about that for a sec.
When to abstain from expressing gratitude
In my opinion, you should be true to yourself when you show appreciation.
Thanks should be genuine and meaningful – not just some motions you go through because you feel like you have to (you don’t).
You’re not obligated to go out of your way to thank a staffer you feel doesn’t have the best interests of the players at heart, for example.
However, today is also a good day to show a little compassion and to remember that we’re all just human beings behind the screen – flawed, grumpy, and maybe not so great at customer service.
Even if a staffer isn’t great in one area, there may be something else important that they bring to the table that also counts, like mad coding skills or a penchant for building amazing puzzles.
So my advice is to give it some thought and come to your own decision. Do whatever feels right to you.
9 Ways to celebrate MUD Staff Appreciation Day
Now that you know what MUD Staff Appreciation Day is and why it’s worth celebrating, here are a few ideas. For convenience, I’ve divided them up by role (player or staffer).
Ideas for players
Here are a few ways to celebrate as a player, with the quickest and easiest ideas listed first:
1. Send a personal thank you message to staff
If you’re short on time, just take a moment to write a nice message to the MUD staff, thanking them for their hard work. It can be as simple as an email, direct message, or an in-game post expressing your gratitude.
If you have a little more time, you can go into more detail, highlighting the things they’ve done that have really made an impact on your enjoyment of the game. This doubles as great feedback, which can help guide their future efforts.
2. Give them a shout-out over social media or Discord
If the game has a social media channel, consider @mentioning them with a quick thank you. This is also great marketing and can help attract new players to the game.
If the game doesn’t have a social media channel, a nice shoutout over Discord will do. This can inspire your fellow players to chime in with their thanks, as well.
If you do use social media, @mention me in the comments or send me a link, and I’ll be happy to like and share your post to help it get a little more exposure. My social profiles and contact info are in the footer. 👇
3. Share your positive experiences
Consider leaving a positive review of the game and its staff on one of the active listing sites, in the MUD subreddit, or on the gaming forum of your choice.
Happy players in the text-based gaming community don’t often think to do this, but it’s great for attracting new players to older games – or even inspiring old players to return and see what’s new.
In your post, be sure to cite an example or two about how the MUD staff went above and beyond when you were in a bind, or how their hard work created hours of enjoyment for you!
Readers tend to find specific examples much more compelling than generalities.
4. Host a fun/silly event that acknowledges staffer contributions
If you’re a creative type with a little more time on your hands, you might consider hosting a fun or silly event.
This could be as simple as a virtual party over Discord where players take turns sharing their favorite in-game memories, for example.
You could also do something zany, like ask other players to submit silly nicknames or titles for staffers, then vote on your favorites. For the month of January, everyone calls the staffer by their new nickname or title, etc.
Ideas for other staff members
Here are a few ways to celebrate as a fellow staffer:
5. Acknowledge your fellow staffers’ hard work
Staff Appreciation Day is a great time to send your fellow staffers a note of thanks.
Chances are, they take care of an area of the game you’re less interested in managing, which means the game wouldn’t be where it is today without their hard work.
A simple thank you can go a long way toward making them feel like their efforts are worthwhile.
6. Throw a virtual party
Consider organizing a small event or virtual party where people can hang out, relax, and reminisce. This could be a staff-only event or could include newbie guides, storyrunners, or the general playerbase.
If you have a little more time, you could throw together unique or silly party favors, such as a cupcake that turns your character’s tongue blue when they eat it or a chibi doll that looks suspiciously like a staffer.
Generally speaking, if these items confer any mechanical benefit (such as an XP boost), it should be short-lived. This will help you avoid balancing issues or making absent players feel left out.
7. Buy custom gifts for the team
They can come across as a little more meaningful because they do take a bit more effort and resources than simply writing an in-game note.
I used to buy custom t-shirts for my team every year and hand them out at our annual meet-ups. We’d take a group photo together, and it was honestly great fun.
However, this approach can be a bit tricky (and more expensive) if you’ve got staffers spread out all over the globe.
Still, if you can swing it, it’s a great way to let the team know you appreciate all their hard work.
BTW, if you have staff and players from around the world, you might also be interested in celebrating International MUD Day in November.
8. Bestow cosmetic perks, badges, or titles
Don’t have the time or resources for real-life thank-you gifts? No problem! Quick cosmetic perks are another great option.
In some games, filling a staffer role already comes with some cosmetic perks; in other games, it doesn’t. Either way, MUD Staff Appreciation Day is a good opportunity to review what those perks are/aren’t and come up with something fun or new.
If your game’s code doesn’t support anything extra, you could also hand out unique Discord roles or upload a goofy emoji in each staffer’s honor, for example.
9. Host a digital awards ceremony
Finally, if you want to go all-out, you could host a digital awards ceremony, either in-game or over Discord, where you acknowledge each staffer individually with a unique award highlighting the work they’ve done this year.
This doesn’t have to be too serious. You could even hand out a “Best Builder” award to your one and only builder, if you wanted. 😉
Just remember to be genuine in your thanks so they know the awards are all in good fun.
Final thoughts on MUD Staff Appreciation Day
I hope you found some good ideas in today’s post. Before I wrap things up, I just want to say: don’t limit yourself to the ideas here!
Each game and staffing team is different, so there are bound to be ways to celebrate that make more sense for you and your situation.
Oh! And if you found this post after December 1st, don’t worry about it. You don’t need a special date on the calendar to say thank you to the people who built the game that got you through COVID, for example.
Of course, you can always add the event to your calendar for next year! Head on over to the MUD Anniversaries and Events page to add the full events calendar, add individual holidays, or to check out similar events.
Thanks for reading, and until next time!