Set during the second novel
of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy, 'The Two Towers MUD' is a type of old school online adventure game that has been around since the 1970s
. Aside from a PayPal button on its official site
, the game is a non-commercial effort made and maintained entirely by fans, for fans. Moreover, it's been freely available online since 1994, but now you can also access the game from Facebook. By doing this, the creators hope
that this will be "a new inventive way for text based roleplaying games to get their foot back in the door since the takeover of point and click graphical Facebook games."
When you begin, you're asked to choose a name, gender, allegiance ('freedom' versus 'service'), and race. There's eight races to choose from (dunlending, eorling, dunedain, edain, hobbit, sindar, silvan, and dwarf), and all have richly detailed histories to read up on. This all sounds simple enough, but if you've never played a MUD, it can be overwhelming because there's lots of required reading. MUDs are basically interactive walls of text.
After you've read all the historical biographies of each race and have made your choice, the game will give you a summary of what's currently going on in Middle-Earth: The Date is March 15, 3019, Third Age. Frodo and Sam are presumed dead. Gollum is believed to be the culprit, but no one can find him. Minas Tirith is besieged. Faramir was wounded in battle, and his father Denethor sits depressed in his tower. The Rohirrim have joined the Battle of the Pelennor. Aragorn is said to be on his way.
And so on.
If you're a diehard Lord of the Rings fan, this stuff should make you drool. But for the average Facebook gamer, such details are going to fly over heads. Another problem, are the controls -- it's all done by typing. So for those of you who remember a time before point-and-click, when the only way you interacted with your computer was through a keyboard, then you should feel right at home. On top of that, there's no graphics (unless you count ASCII art
), music or any sound effects (this means bring your own soundtrack). Oh, and forget about casual play, because if you're idle for too long (roughly 15 minutes), the game disconnects you from the server and
unequips all your belongings.
I chose to play a silvan (a species of elf) named "Kelsiera" and after I first got booted, I discovered a nice bloke named Aradir who helped me put all my stuff back on. In fact, Aradir and plenty of the other characters will be holding your hand the entire time you're setting up to play. There's also other players and admins floating around who can help. Whether you're in it for the classic gaming nostalgia, Tolkien geekery, or just out to try something new, once you've completed the tutorial (which involves learning tons of keywords) the rich-text world of Middle-Earth definitely opens up.
[Top Image Credit goes to Face-Gamers
>> Click here to play 'The Two Towers MUD' on Facebook