MUD creator Richard Bartle’s seminal book on designing MMOs is now free

    
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When MMORPG players encounter the name “Bartle,” they think less malt liquor and more a man who helped to pioneer the massively multiplayer online space with his work on MUD1 that eventually spawned the gamer type test that bears his name.

But Dr. Richard Bartle knows MMORPGs from the inside-out, which is why he wrote his 2003 book Designing Virtual Worlds. This massive 947-page tome has been called “the bible of MMORPG design” and has been used as a textbook for college courses. And now this book can be yours for free. As in, it’s a free PDF that you can download. Right there. Go get it. Get off social media and read a book, literally.

Fellow long-time MMO designer Raph Koster commended this work to his followers, saying, “There is only one indispensable book on online world design, and it is Dr. Richard Bartle’s Designing Virtual Worlds. It predates World of Warcraft and yet is not obsolete. As of today, Richard is giving it away for free.”

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zoward

Thank you, Dr. Bartle! Looking forward to reading this.

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Richard Bartle

You’re welcome! Remember it’s 18 years old, though – it came out before WoW – so expect large chunks of it to be somewhat dated.

PlasmaJohn
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PlasmaJohn

Yes tyvm! My dead-tree copy and a bunch of other books got destroyed by mold due to improper storage.

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Minimalistway

I used to have this book, time to buy it again i guess, i’m not going to read 900 pages on screen :-)

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IronSalamander8 .

I’ve taken that test. I always end up with very little killer and explorer being my largest %, with socializer and achiever in the middle.

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Schmidt.Capela

Just to complement, it’s not just free; the license allows you to freely redistribute it yourself as long as you don’t try to profit from distributing it and don’t alter it in any way (and as long as you tell whoever you send it to who the original author was, but I guess having the author’s name in the cover already takes care of this).

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Utakata

Creative Commons?

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Schmidt.Capela

Yep. One of the most restrictive variants but nevertheless it allows you to give copies freely to anyone you want.