Threshold (video game)

Last updated
Threshold RPG
Threshold RPG logo.png
Developer(s) Frogdice
Engine LDMud
ReleaseJune 17, 1996 (1996-06-17)
Genre(s) Fantasy RP MUD
Mode(s) Multiplayer

Threshold is a roleplaying enforced MUD (text-based online role-playing game) that has been in operation since June 1996. [1] Its focus is on providing a place for roleplaying in addition to traditional MMO/MUD style gameplay. It has as many as 70-100 players online at any given time.[ citation needed ]


Owned and operated by Frogdice, Inc. in Lexington, Kentucky, Threshold was originally created by Michael A. "Aristotle" Hartman.


A screenshot of one of several login screens displayed by Threshold Threshold login screenshot.png
A screenshot of one of several login screens displayed by Threshold

Threshold is a text-based MUD [2] running on a custom server. The focus is heavily on role-playing, and the enforcement and stimulation of roleplaying motivate the bulk of its rules and cases of administrator intervention. It has a long-standing policy disallowing minors and one must be over 18 to play. [3]

The game itself may be accessed via a telnet client or a MUD client. The player goes through a brief character creation, and may then begin interacting with the game world.


Threshold is a fantasy based MUD set in a world with three main continents and a chain of islands. Religion based on a pantheon of Greek-like deities plays a dominant role in the story of the mud, with the ability for players to rise through the ranks of religious organizations to gain divine powers. The concepts of good and evil serve as a core driving force of the roleplay within the game. [4] [ dead link ] Threshold provides a framework for a player-driven legal system where players can take the role of judges, lawyers, and the jury in order to prosecute players who are accused of breaking the law. There are fourteen guilds in Threshold which are equivalent to character classes in Dungeons & Dragons , one being a secret, unlisted guild. Players can diversify their characters further with skills acquired by joining a clan.

Business model

Since 1996, Threshold has always used some version of what is now known as the "free to play" business model. It started out with a donation system where players donated towards server upgrades and hosting costs. [ citation needed ] Then Threshold evolved to a registration system which encouraged players to spend at least $50 per year. In 2007, Threshold transitioned to a pay for perks system where players can purchase virtual items. [5]

Technical infrastructure

Threshold is written in LPC, running on the LDMud server with a highly customized mudlib based on TMI-2 [ citation needed ].


In 2001, the game was mentioned by Computer Gaming World in an article about online games. [6]

Threshold was the primary MUD example quoted and discussed in Edge magazine's article, "Lost in Transition" which discussed the preservation of gaming history. [7]

For three consecutive years, Threshold was The MUD Journal's highest-rated role-playing game. [8] Computer Games Magazine listed it as a highlight of less popular MMOGs, describing it as being particularly focused on role-playing, and noting the distinct passion of its players. [2] [ dead link ]

Richard Bartle described it as possessing an "individuality" lacking in other, contemporary graphical MMOGs, citing its in-game legal system as an example. [8]

Related Research Articles

A MUD is a multiplayer real-time virtual world, usually text-based. MUDs combine elements of role-playing games, hack and slash, player versus player, interactive fiction, and online chat. Players can read or view descriptions of rooms, objects, other players, non-player characters, and actions performed in the virtual world. Players typically interact with each other and the world by typing commands that resemble a natural language.

In multiplayer online games, a MUSH is a text-based online social medium to which multiple users are connected at the same time. MUSHes are often used for online social intercourse and role-playing games, although the first forms of MUSH do not appear to be coded specifically to implement gaming activity. MUSH software was originally derived from MUDs; today's two major MUSH variants are descended from TinyMUD, which was fundamentally a social game. MUSH has forked over the years and there are now different varieties with different features, although most have strong similarities and one who is fluent in coding one variety can switch to coding for the other with only a little effort. The source code for most widely used MUSH servers is open source and available from its current maintainers.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) are a combination of role-playing video games and massively multiplayer online games in which a very large number of players interact with one another within a virtual world.

Role-playing game Game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting

A role-playing game is a game in which players assume the roles of characters in a fictional setting. Players take responsibility for acting out these roles within a narrative, either through literal acting, or through a process of structured decision-making regarding character development. Actions taken within many games succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines.

<i>Neverwinter Nights</i> 2002 role-playing video game

Neverwinter Nights is a third-person role-playing video game developed by BioWare. Interplay Entertainment was originally set to publish the game, but financial difficulties led to it being taken over by Infogrames, who released the game under their Atari range of titles. It was released for Microsoft Windows on June 18, 2002. BioWare later released a Linux client in June 2003, requiring a purchased copy of the game to play. MacSoft released a Mac OS X port in August 2003.

A multiplayer video game is a video game in which more than one person can play in the same game environment at the same time, either locally or online over the internet. Multiplayer games usually require players to share the resources of a single game system or use networking technology to play together over a greater distance; players may compete against one or more human contestants, work cooperatively with a human partner to achieve a common goal, supervise other players' activity, co-op. Multiplayer games allow players interaction with other individuals in partnership, competition or rivalry, providing them with social communication absent from single-player games.

Twinking is a type of behavior in role-playing games which involves deceiving other players about one's playing abilities or achievements in the game. A player who engages in such behavior is known as a twink. The precise definition of twinking varies depending on the variety of role-playing game:

<i>Ancient Anguish</i> 1992 video game

Ancient Anguish, abbreviated AA, is a fantasy-themed MUD, a text-based online role-playing game. Founded in 1991 by Balz "Zor" Meierhans and Olivier "Drake" Maquelin, it opened to the public on February 2, 1992. It is free-to-play, but has been supported by player donations since 1994.

A massively multiplayer online game is an online game with large numbers of players, typically from hundreds to thousands, on the same server. MMOs usually feature a huge, persistent open world, although some games differ. These games can be found for most network-capable platforms, including the personal computer, video game console, or smartphones and other mobile devices.

Player(s) versus player(s), better known as PvP, is a type of multiplayer interactive conflict within a game between two or more live participants. This is in contrast to games where players compete against computer-controlled opponents and/or players, which is referred to as player versus environment (PvE). The terms are most often used in games where both activities exist, particularly MMORPGs, MUDs, and other role-playing video games. PvP can be broadly used to describe any game, or aspect of a game, where players compete against each other. PvP is often controversial when used in role-playing games. In most cases, there are vast differences in abilities between experienced and novice players. PvP can even encourage experienced players to immediately attack and kill inexperienced players. PvP is sometimes called player killing.

<i>Furcadia</i> 1996 video game

Furcadia is a free-to-play MMOSG/MMORPG or graphical MUD, set in a fantasy world inhabited by magical creatures. The game is based on user-created content with emphasis on world building tools, exploring, socializing, and free-form roleplaying. Furcadia hosts a large volunteer program called the Beekin Helpers, allowing players to help with community moderation, welcoming new players, handling in-game technical support, running in game events, creating art for the game itself, accessing and updating the game's website, and bug hunting. Furcadia holds the Guinness World Records title for the longest continuously running social MMORPG and in addition to being one of the first games to heavily encourage modding and let users build virtual worlds for themselves, it was also one of the first freemium online games. In 2008, Furcadia was reported as having over 60,000 players.

The Shadow of Yserbius, originally published by Sierra On-Line and developed by Joe Ybarra of Ybarra Productions, was the first of three graphical MUDs for the online community. Opening to rave reviews, The Shadow of Yserbius, according to industry critics, set the standard by which all future MUDs would be judged. The game was followed by two sequels entitled The Fates of Twinion (1993) and The Ruins of Cawdor (1995). Until recently, only The Shadow of Yserbius and The Fates of Twinion were playable in offline mode.

An online text-based role playing game is a role-playing game played online using a solely text-based interface. Online text-based role playing games date to 1978, with the creation of MUD1, which began the MUD heritage that culminates in today's MMORPGs. Some online-text based role playing games are video games, but some are organized and played entirely by humans through text-based communication. Over the years, games have used TELNET, internet forums, IRC, email and social networking websites as their media.

PvE, player vs enemy, is a term used in online games, particularly MMORPGs, CORPGs, MUDs, and other online role-playing video games, to refer to fighting computer-controlled enemies—in contrast to PvP.

Skotos, sometimes known as Skotos Tech, is an online game company that was founded in 1999 and released its first game, Castle Marrach, in September 2000. Its primary focus is prose online RPGs, though it currently offers a total of 15 different games. These include a number of graphical RPGs and online strategy games, which are also available at other sites.

Permadeath or permanent death is a game mechanic in both tabletop games and video games in which player characters who lose all of their health are considered dead and cannot be used anymore. Depending on the situation, this could require the player to create a new character to continue, or completely restart the game potentially losing nearly all progress made. Other terms include persona death and player death. Some video games offer a hardcore mode that features this mechanic, rather than making it part of the core game.

A text game or text-based game is an electronic game that uses a text-based user interface, that is, the user interface employs a set of encodable characters such as ASCII instead of bitmap or vector graphics.

The history of massively multiplayer online games spans over thirty years and hundreds of massively multiplayer online games (MMOG) titles. The origin and influence on MMO games stems from MUDs, Dungeons & Dragons and earlier social games.

TinyMUCK or, more broadly, a MUCK, is a type of user-extendable online text-based role-playing game, designed for role playing and social interaction. Backronyms like "Multi-User Chat/Created/Computer/Character/Carnal Kingdom" and "Multi-User Construction Kit" are sometimes cited, but are not the actual origin of the term; "muck" is simply a play on the term MUD.


  1. "Journey Beyond the Threshold!". Retrieved 2010-10-15.
  2. 1 2 Todd, Brett. "The List - Some highlights from the roads less traveled in the MMOG scene". Computer Games Online (156). Retrieved 2010-10-15.
  3. Hartman, Michael A. (1997-06-21). "Threshold Role Playing Game!". Retrieved 2009-01-11.
  4. DJ Kyle. "Interview w/ an Online RPG Game Creator". NiceMinecraft.Net. Retrieved 2016-06-29.
  5. "Threshold RPG is No Longer Pay-to-Play". 2007-05-20. Retrieved 2010-10-15.
  6. Baker, Tracy (2001-08-01). "Top 10 Free Online Games". Computer Gaming World : 11.
  7. "Lost in Transition". Edge : 76–77. 2009-03-01.
  8. 1 2 Bartle, Richard (2009-01-05). "Threshold" . Retrieved 2009-01-10.