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Not all MUDs are games; some are designed for educational purposes, while others are purely chat environments, and the flexible nature of many MUD servers leads to their occasional use in areas ranging from computer science research to geoinformatics to medical informatics to analytical chemistry.
Most MUDs are run as hobbies and are free to players; some may accept donations or allow players to purchase virtual items, while others charge a monthly subscription fee.
1985 saw the origin of a number of projects inspired by the original MUD.
These included Gods by Ben Laurie, a MUD1 clone that included online creation in its endgame, and which became a commercial MUD in 1988; a tolkienesque MUD started by Pip Cordrey who gathered some people on a BBS he ran to create a MUD1 clone that would run on a home computer.
The history of modern massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) like Ever Quest and Ultima Online, and related virtual world genres such as the social virtual worlds exemplified by Second Life, can be traced directly back to the MUD genre.
Colossal Cave Adventure, created in 1975 by Will Crowther on a DEC PDP-10 computer, was the first widely used adventure game.
MUDs can be accessed via standard telnet clients, or specialized MUD clients which are designed to improve the user experience.
PLATO MUDs are often ignored by historians and by the creators of other MUDs whose work came later.Numerous graphical MUDs were created on the PLATO system at the University of Illinois and other American universities that used PLATO, beginning in 1975.Among them were "pedit5", "oubliette", "moria", "avathar", "krozair", "dungeon", "dnd", "crypt", and "drygulch".Simply double-click the downloaded file to install it.Update Star Free and Update Star Premium come with the same installer.