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    What is Limbo?

    Limbo refers to an out-of-character (OOC) area in multiplayer text-based roleplaying games, particularly in MUDs, MOOs, and other MU* environments, where players are placed during a temporary ban or while waiting for a policy decision about their character or account.

    It’s a virtual space separate from the game’s main narrative and locations, intended to restrict the player’s actions without removing them completely from the game.

    Thus, Limbo serves both as a punishment mechanism for offenders and as a holding area for players involved in unresolved disputes.

    Historically, the concept of Limbo in gaming evolved from the need to manage player behavior and ensure a respectful, fair gaming environment. It comes from the idea of “being in limbo,” which means to be in an undecided or uncertain state.

    Limbo FAQs

    What happens when a player is in Limbo?

    When a player is placed in Limbo, they are typically unable to interact with the main game world or its inhabitants. They can often still communicate with administrators or moderators to discuss the reasons for their placement and how to resolve the issue.

    Can a player leave Limbo on their own?

    No, players cannot usually leave Limbo on their own. Their stay in Limbo is generally dependent on the resolution of their case by the game’s administrators or on the completion of a set period if it’s a temporary ban.

    Is Limbo the same as being banned?

    Limbo is not the same as being outright banned. Being in Limbo is usually temporary and meant for lesser offenses or pending decisions, whereas a ban is more severe and often permanent, completely restricting access to the game.

    How do game administrators decide to send a player to Limbo?

    Game administrators may send a player to Limbo for violations of game rules, disruptive behavior, or while investigating complaints or issues related to the player. The decision is usually based on the game’s specific policies and the nature of the incident.

    Can players interact with others while in Limbo?

    Interaction levels can vary depending on the game’s design. Generally, players in Limbo are restricted from normal game interactions but may still be able to communicate with game staff to resolve the issue that led to their placement there.

    Are there other names for Limbo?

    Yes, not all games use the term Limbo to describe their OOC holding area. In some games, players are sent to “the Void” or “Jail”. What these terms have in common is that they represent a holding area separate from the everyday happenings within the game.

    Myths about Limbo

    There’s a common misconception that being placed in Limbo is equivalent to a permanent ban. However, Limbo is typically used for temporary situations or while decisions are being made.

    Another myth is that Limbo is a punitive measure only. While it does serve as a consequence for actions, it also functions to protect the game community and maintain a fair environment while issues are being resolved.

    Limbo examples

    • A player who has been reported for harassment may be placed in Limbo while administrators investigate the claims and decide on appropriate actions.
    • If a player discovers a game-breaking bug and exploits it instead of reporting it, they may be sent to Limbo while the issue is fixed and the extent of the exploit is assessed.
    • During a heated argument between players, one or more participants may be moved to Limbo to cool down and discuss the matter privately with moderators.

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    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."