meaning and definition

Jump to section

    What is a social?

    A social is a type of default action or behavior that players can take in multi-user dungeons (MUDs) to express themselves.

    Common examples include actions like laughing, chuckling, crying, waving, hugging, or nodding.

    Socials are typically used for social interaction and roleplaying purposes rather than gaining any specific gameplay advantage. They serve as a simple but effective way for players to communicate with others in a shared virtual environment.

    The concept of socials originated in the early days of MUDs, where players wanted ways to express themselves beyond simple chat/speech.

    Initially, socials were limited to basic actions like “nod” or “wave,” but they evolved over time into a broader set of pre-defined actions that could be targeted at other players or even customized.

    Social examples

    • Laugh: The command “laugh” makes your character burst into laughter. Example output: “You laugh out loud.” Others see: “Andruid laughs out loud.”
    • Nod: The command “nod” causes your character to nod their head in agreement. Example output: “You nod in agreement.” Others see: “Andruid nods in agreement.”
    • Cry: The command “cry” causes your character to shed tears. Example output: “You start crying.” Others see: “Andruid starts crying.”
    • Wave: The command “wave” makes your character wave, which is great for saying hello or goodbye. Example output: “You wave at everyone.” Others see: “Andruid waves at everyone.”
    • Hug: The command “hug” allows your character to give someone else a friendly hug. Example output: “You give Alice a warm hug.” Others see: “Andruid gives Alice a warm hug.”

    Myths about socials

    Myth: Socials can’t be customized. While default socials are pre-programmed, many MUDs allow players to customize their actions using an emote or pose system. By adding an emote as an alias (either via the game itself or through a MUD client), players can essentially create their own custom socials. Some games may even offer a system to create custom socials or to suggest new socials to the game’s admins.

    Myth: Socials are the same as emotes. Although similar in purpose, socials are pre-defined commands, whereas emotes typically allow for freeform text input.

    Myth: Socials have gameplay advantages. Some players believe using socials like “laugh” or “cry” can unlock secret gameplay perks, but socials typically don’t offer any inherent advantages. If anything, using socials might be tied to an achievement.

    Social FAQs

    Are socials just for socializing?

    Yes, socials are primarily used for roleplaying and socializing with other players in a fun and immersive way. They typically don’t offer any gameplay benefits. They can be used in games that enforce or require RP, as well as in games that consider RP optional.

    Can I create my own social commands?

    In many MUDs, players can suggest new social commands or create their own through in-game customization features or MUD client aliases. Check your game’s documentation or ask the game’s community for details.

    Do socials appear differently for other players?

    They can. It depends on the game and how it defines specific socials. Usually, socials display similar messages to both the user and anyone present to see the action, but some games can “hide” embarrassing or comedic messages by only displaying them to others in the room or to the target of the social.

    Can socials create conflict?

    Yes, some games have socials that can be used to create or engage in conflict. For example, “slap” or “grope” are coded in by some older MUDs. It’s important to note that socials targeted at other players typically do not require their consent. This can make socials problematic.

    My advice is to avoid any game that makes you uncomfortable or has socials that you disagree with, as you never know when another player might use them on you.

    How many socials are available in most MUDs?

    The number varies depending on the MUD. Some games have a small set of 20-30 socials, while others can have hundreds of unique socials.

    Related terms

    Related content

    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."