Check out our other game worlds.

What are MUDs?

The original online multiplayer game worlds.

Multi-User Dungeons

They're the original massively multiplayer real-time online games. Before there was World of Warcraft, there were MUDs.

They aren't single-player text adventures like Zork or choose-your-own-adventure games. They're very much real-time and multiplayer.

Ultimately, you can think of MUDs vs. graphical games as books vs. movies in some respects. Just as many people feel books are more immersive than a movie, many people feel MUDs are more immersive than graphical games.

Are you one of those people? Only one way to find out. Check out any of our games from the menu at the top of the page!

So Why Play a MUD?

1. Our MUDs are Bigger, Deeper, and Better

The future is unknowable

First and foremost, because you can do more in one of our MUDs than in almost any game out there. Seriously. The reason is simple: It’s much easier to create both content and game systems in a MUD. You don’t need to coordinate with artists, animators, and user interface developers in order to release a new game system. A single developer can, in the course of a single weekend, create a cool new system for the game that is released that week.

Now consider that our MUDs have been around for between 12 and 20 years, and under constant development that entire time. We don’t release a new expansion year or when we have time alongside our other jobs – we release new things every week. It’s not an exaggeration to say that there are so many features in our MUDs that our devs forget some of them exist, and that the worlds are so big most players will never see most of them.

And unlike 99% of MUDs, we have paid, professional staff on each of our games, ensuring they only get bigger and better, constantly.

There's nobody on Earth that puts the kind of resources into developing MUDs that we do. Nobody.

ship

2. Our Unique Game Systems

Player-Run City Governments

All of our MUDs feature multiple cities that are run by player governments of various types. If you’ve played WoW, imagine that Thunder Bluff, Stormwind City, and Ogrimmar are player run and can raid each other or go to war with each other (the conflict systems differ by game).

There are multiple positions in each city government, managing various aspects of that city. One person might control the treasury for instance, and another the war department, and another the department in charge of diplomacy with other cities, and so on. Player governments can set laws for their citizens, and have tools to enforce those laws, though unpopular leaders are soon sent packing, or possibly just strung up and killed with fire.

evilcastle

Gods roleplayed by admin

Our fantasy MUDs all have different systems that feature God characters roleplayed by admin. These are personified forces, like Zeus or Thor in Greek and Norse mythology. Starmourn will, however, have a different system, being a sci-fi game.

They interact directly with the game and the players, and are a significant part of many players' lives. You can become a formal follower of one of the Gods, gain various powers (depends on the game) from rising in the ranks of that God’s order, and enjoy the often incredibly-deep stories that lie behind the history of the various Gods.

Gods also serve as Divine Patrons of player-run cities, serving as anywhere between unholy terrors who demand instant obedience to those who inspire and nurture.

aurora

Epic PvP combat with Thousands of Abilities

If you've never played a MUD before, you might wonder how this is possible, but our PvP is deeper and more complex than virtually any MMO's combat is. It's a huge rush, and each game has 12-20 or more classes, with each class having many dozens of abilities (sometimes 90 or more). You'll never run out of new tactics to try with that much variety.

And we're not talking about arena-only combat. We have open-world PvP, though also have rules against griefing. If you're not a combatant and aren't working to hurt someone else, you won't be a target.

rajamala

3. Story-based Events and Dynamic Worlds

Our MUDs are single worlds, not a collection of nearly-identical servers. This means that the devs can actually respond to what’s happening in the game and react to it. In an MMO with lots of servers, devs aren’t able to tailor what they do to any individual server, and so can’t react to what players are doing at all really.

Our games have regular events, ranging from small interactions with a few NPCs to months-long sagas involving invading armies and the death of Gods, all of them involving players. These aren't just passive stories told to you - they evolve, thanks to hard-working admin, based partly on what the players decide to do.

4. Tight, Friendly Communities and Admins

 

We've all played online games with horrible, toxic communities, and often, the bigger they are, the worse they are. One of the benefits of MUDs, which have small populations (a few dozen to a few hundred people online at once), are that the communities are typically much friendlier.

That's certainly true with the Iron Realms MUDs. The communities aren't perfect, but they're pretty darn good and it makes us proud to watch them welcome in new players with open arms.

And because the games are relatively small, it's easy to get in touch with the admins. They sometimes even have 'town hall'-style meetings anyone can come to, and ask questions of the devs.

There's a great YouTube video that documents IronCon 2013, taking place at mansion with pools in Las Vegas. You can really get a sense of how close our communities are from it.

5. We Have the World's Best Cross-Platform MUD Client.

Nexus, our cross-platform client, is by far the best truly cross-platform (meaning Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, Android) MUD client in the world. Features include:

  • Configurable windows and tabs. Move them around, add extras, get rid of the ones you don't want.
  • Programmable, clickable hotkeys.
  • Settings, macros, and scripts saved on our servers, so all are available anywhere on any device you use Nexus from.
  • Simplified Scripting - script without knowing anything about code!
  • Of course, full javascript-based scripting as well for more advanced users.
  • Thorough documentation at http://nexus.ironrealms.com.

Nexus - the Iron MUD Realms client. Awesome.

An old-school MUD client. Not so awesome.

6. But You Don't Have To Take Our Word For It

"I don't believe there's another game in existence with this much depth."

John Romero

Legendary game designer of Doom and Quake

"Few virtual worlds with immensely complicated combat systems avoid being completely dominated by them - Achaea is the best-known exception."

Richard Bartle

The inventor of MUDs

"Nowhere else have I found the same mix of community and competition, the same balance between ease of play and depth of mechanics, the same line between admin involvement and player control."

Alex Heyden

Player

"IRE's hallmark is consistent excellence in story, gameplay, and overall immersion."

Arthur Kaul

Player

"The playerbase is dedicated and realistic, offering a a near perfect blend of roleplaying and innovative combat."

Chris Golden

Player

"The most adrenalized and cerebral experience on the internet. Your hands will shake as you go into battle."

Alexander Steinberg

Player