My roleplaying started around 1990, when I began playing pencil and paper RPGs. As I was invariably the game master, I sought out MUDs as an alternative experience; a setting where I could be the character rather than the world.
At the same time I was playing the video games of the day, which, though ostensibly RPGs, centered primarily on the killing of dozens upon dozens of monsters. It is a synthesis of these two 'schools' from which I derive my preference in MUDs; a preference rooted in the somewhat paradoxical concept of roleplayed hack and slash.
Innumerable forays into MUDs created by individuals aside, the two games I played most consistently for many years were Gemstone III and Gemstone: Dragonrealms. It was in the glory days of these games that I enjoyed the best MUD experiences I've had, for they suited my style and, most importantly, were played by people of talent and dedication.
But as is often the case, the Gemstone line of games lost their luster. Ultimately I left the games, the atmosphere I had originally so loved having been gradually but unfalteringly torn asunder by a change in the style of the playerbase. And as with many things, once one leaves a MUD, it is impossible to go back - I twice attempted it, meeting both times with the inevitable lack of satisfaction. "You can never go home again", as they say.
With the lack of a single, central MUD to play, I drifted between MUDs for several years, at the same time - as I had been since the beginning - toying with creating my own MUD. And in doing so, I wrote design documents.
It was from these documents that my writing on gaming began to develop, as I slowly realized that not only were these better received than my work on games themselves, but that their creation was also more enjoyable and fulfilling.