I haven't been a newbie on a MUD for a while, but this is compiled from
things I've seen people do.
If you take nothing else from this page, take the following: The other
players are real-life people who have connected for their own reasons, and it
isn't up to you to impose your requirements on them.
Observe how people play before you join.
Be prepared to sit quietly and watch everyone: Get a feel for how people
interact on your chosen MUD before you launch in. This may mean being on for
an hour or two every day for a week before trying something. Things might go
faster, of course, but it's best to expect just to read for a week: set up
your character, find out the various commands available, find where people
Be prepared to idle.
Be prepared to idle: have a book or website to read for when sitting
quietly and watching people gets boring. You're keeping an eye out for
interesting roleplay, but you're going to be frustrated if you're just hanging
on every word, because you'll be investing too much time and you'll be that
much more frustrated if things don't go your way.
Things take a while
You won't make lots of friends immediately. When I connect a new
character, it can take a few days before anyone interacts with him/her. That's
okay - if someone chooses to come up to play, I know they've looked at the
description and are probably going to last more than a few poses.
Remember that other people haven't logged on to talk to you or to ignore
you. If you walked into a room in real life, you wouldn't stride up to a
stranger (or even someone you'd seen there a few times) and demand to talk to
them, would you? So don't do it online either.
This is a pretty good way to turn people off you:
"Fred turns around and walks back to slump over his table. Obviously
nobody wants to talk to him today, oh woe is he, how dreadful to be ignored,
he's such an interesting (and/or sexy) fellow, and yet none have taken the
time to talk to him, to find out..."
If you're feeling like this, it's fine to go back to your table, it's also
fine to prop your jaw in your hand and watch the room. However, telling
everyone that nobody's found you interesting enough to play with (a) sounds
petulant, and (b) states quite clearly that you're boring in other players'
estimation, and not worth playing with. Both are disincentives. If you're
frustrated, you're probably not going to be much fun for someone else to play
with even if they suddenly take compassion on you, so try disconnecting for a
while, or make yourself a nice slow cup of coffee.
Ask (whisper) to join in.
When trying to join a conversation or roleplay, if you particularly want
to join, it's best to whisper to one or both of the other characters to ask
whether it's OK. This will at the very least alert them to look out for
messages from you, and will at best prevent a possibly embarrassing public
Use other folks' names.
In a crowded room, there's a lot of text - often too much to comfortably
read while composing the occasional response - so people often have their name
printed in a different colour, in order that messages addressed to them stand
out. Therefore, it's best to use someone's name explicitly if you're trying
to join a roleplay or conversation without whispering first.
Folks are not there to entertain *you*.
People log on for their own reasons, to play in their own way, neither of
which are not yours to gainsay, regardless of how stupid these reasons are: If
someone chooses not to talk to any player whose character's name starts with
an 'E', then that's their decision. One of my characters will have nothing to
do with elves.
If that seems to be happening to you, either whisper to ask (and accept
the response without argument), or just forget about it and try with the next
person. (It may be that your character's name just happens to match the name of
a different character they've told their computer to hide messages from, and
they're simply not seeing your messages.)
People may fall idle without warning
People may go off to make coffee and grow distracted.
Write a representative description.
MUDs are a text-based system. Most people will read your description and
make some assumption about your language ability and roleplay based on it. You
don't have to write twelve pages - nobody will read it. You should certainly
write more than 'You see a six-foot tall orange tiger. He looks friendly.'
Putting the URL to a picture is often good, but not if it means there's no
text to read.
Your description should look something like your posing style. If that's
short sentences, use short sentences. If your style changes with time,
re-write your description. Myself, I tend to stick to three paragraphs and
no more than 13 screen lines, but most folks write longer.
Some people are just plain stupid and/or rude. Don't launch into a blazing
row, just say "character-name, please stop talking to or about me in
that way: you're upsetting me in real-life" and then ignore them: most MUD
programs can be told to hide messages from a particular character. If they
continue haranguing you, your clear statement will be much more effective if
the game administrators receive a complaint against that character.
Highlight your own name.
Get a MUD client that can do highlighting. Highlight your name and
race/profession/species. If you're in a crowded room, this'll help you notice
things. You know how sometimes at a busy party, you can hear your name spoken
right across the room? Like that.
Decide why you're connecting
Are you looking for a chat? For some roleplay? To make friends?