BatMUD first opened its virtual doors in 1990, and has been a solid online presence for the last 17 years. Initially text-based, and accessible only via telnet, the Finland-based game introduced a new graphical client in February 2007. Unfortunately, their original site was hacked in October, but they've since come back stronger than ever.

Whether you wish to play in standard or hardcore mode, there are plenty of options to satisfy every gamer's wishes. 44 races, 100 levels, character respecification ... it's all here, and it's all free. This begs the question, though: when we consider what makes an MMO an MMO, at what point do the lines blur between MUDs, MOOs, and what we traditionally consider MMOs? With more MUDs introducing graphical interfaces, and with the ability to utilize text-based commands in MMOs, is the divide between the two categories shrinking?

While pondering the answer, take a look at BatMUD and give us your opinion: do you feel that a well-written MUD can provide the same level of personal interaction and character development as can the average MMO? As for BatMUD, specifically, the web-based forums provide a plethora of information on game play, and some of the players have been involved in the virtual community for its social networking capabilities since the game's inception nearly two decades ago. All things considered, regardless of how you classify it, an evening of high fantasy and good friendship is nothing to sneer at: there's nothing batty about that idea at all.

This article was originally published on Massively.