With the promise of more direct and open discourse, MUDs can begin to sound utopian, but the limitations imposed by the text-only environment can present a serious obstacle to 'entering' this brave new world. Consider the following dialog involving a skeptical MUD 'newbie':

Purple_Guest says, "I've been on here for 3 hours and haven't had an experience yet!"

skyguy tickles SuzieB for several minutes.

Veal_Guest points its meister at Purple_Guest.

Brown_Guest says, "i know what you mean purple...."

Sasquatch teleports in.

SuzieB [to Purple_Guest]: What sort of experience were you expecting?

jeco [to Purple_Guest]: you're not trying hard enough.

skyguy smiles at SuzieB.

Veal_Guest pulls the trigger on its meister.

The meister glows in happy rainbow colors, then Purple_Guest is showered with little daisies. Warm feelings of love and peace fill the air (LambdaMOO).

To enjoy this textual world requires an active imagination. Many new MUDers enter with high expectations and are sometimes disappointed. Because MUDs are interactive, they require users to put something in, in order to get something back. In this case, players must use their words to attract others to 'converse' with them:

Cyan_Guest [to Jorry]: Well, some of my best experiences here have happened by accident. Generally, it helps to seek out characters who you find interesting, characters who have an active imagination and make an honest attempt to say things that are fun to read (LambdaMOO).

Once players become comfortable with the commands and basic mood of a specific MUD they usually begin to encounter and converse with the same characters time after time, and gradually develop online relationships. In fact, due to the DIRECT NATURE OF LANGUAGE in MUDs, relationships generally develop more quickly here than in real life. Characters are often 'very affectionate' with each other verbally, and greetings like this one on Furry are not unusual:

Lenore hugs Tiggster! He slowly wraps his arms around his true love, staring for a moment into her eyes, and you see that she seems to melt in his arms....They embrace for what seems like hours, hardly moving, like statues in love! (FurryMUCK).

At the far end of this emotional spectrum is NETSEX, which is one of the few aspects of MUDs that have been picked up by major media. (Unfortunately, since the only press MUDs get concerns NetSex and presents these worlds as 'dens of iniquity,' some players clearly come looking for cheap thrills, usually to be disappointed that players want to have a relationship instead!)

In addition to participating in dialog, players can build onto the world of MUDs, creating rooms, objects and embellishing their character's description using the OBJECT ORIENTED LANGUAGE of these worlds.

Leticia murmurs, "people do more than jusst talk here.. they alsso build thingss and program.."

People spend hours building public spaces for others to enjoy, such as amusement parks, short games and riddles, or teleportation and travel devices. The reward is the ability to watch others enjoy your creation, and the feeling of belonging as an active participant in the online community. Just as in real life, other players appreciate and reward the hard-work and support of others.

MUDers are using the medium of cyberspace to create new communities to SUPPLEMENT THEIR REAL LIFE EXPERIENCE. Some online relationships develop into real life meetings, and ideas are exchanged and developed in the unrestrained imaginative environment.