Wizard is commonly used in MUDs, particularly LPMuds, AberMUDs and MU*, as a term for the MUD's developers and administrators. The usage originates with Richard Bartle's original MUD1 and MUD2. It is frequently abbreviated "wiz", which is sometimes used as a verb; to wiz is to become a wizard. The plural of "wiz" is "wizzes".
A wizard's duties may involve various combinations of software development, content generation, gamemastering, community management, and other administrative tasks. Modifications such as apprentice wizard, elder wizard ("elder") and archwizard ("arch") indicate junior or senior staff members. Other commonly used terms with the same or related meanings are coder, developer ("dev"), administrator ("admin"), immortal ("imm", "immort"), God, and implementer ("imp"); the last two most often refer to the system's owner. The term "builder" may be used to indicate a wizard, usually junior in standing, dedicated to content development.
A common convention, especially on early MUDs, has been that players have the opportunity to become wizards after advancing to a certain level within the game. This practice sometimes presents "wizhood" as another level of game, with wizards competing to develop popular content. As this is, at best, a questionable approach to staffing and development, its popularity has faded with the MUDs of later years.
A "wizard" in a MUD is not necessarily a staff member; it may be used simply in its ordinary fantasy-genre meaning, referring to in-world magicians. (Being able to employ this usage is sometimes one of the reasons a MUD chooses to use setting-neutral terms like "administrator" and "developer" for staff.)
- Cheong, Fah-Chun (1996). Internet Agents: Spiders, Wanderers, Brokers, and Bots. New Riders. p. 256. ISBN 1-56205-463-5. "In TinyMUD, all players have the ability to create their own rooms within the virtual world (and thus have the same power as Immortals on DikuMUDs, or Wizards on LPMUDs)."
- Bartle, Richard (2003). Designing Virtual Worlds. New Riders. pp. 165–166. ISBN 0-13-101816-7. "[...] wizzes (that is, players trusted with administration powers—this is MUD2's elder game). Wizzes57 had already played the game in its entirety, as that was the qualification to be a wiz; therefore, they were on the whole no longer concerned with the virtual world per se, just in its inhabitants. [...] 57 The term is gender non-specific, meaning "wizards and witches.""
- Maloni, Kelly; Baker, Derek; Wice, Nathaniel (1994). Net Games. Random House / Michael Wolff & Company, Inc. p. 213. ISBN 0-679-75592-6. "wiz [...] to "win" the game and be appointed wizard wizards [...] players who have either "won" the game or been appointed by gods to help run it"
- Shah, Rawn; Romine, James (1995). Playing MUDs on the Internet. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 13. ISBN 0-471-11633-5. "A Wizard or a Mud programmer also spends a great deal of time creating new objects for the game itself. [...] Sometimes, Wizards also set around in their spare time to watch over other players in the Mud. Their job is to see that the Mud is well maintained, and to resolve any problems or player disputes if needed. They spend some of their time talking to players and other Wizards, and the rest writing code."
- Ito, Mizuko (1997). "Virtually Embodied: The Reality of Fantasy in a Multi-User Dungeon". In Porter, David. Internet Culture (pbk. ed.). Routledge. p. 90. ISBN 0-415-91684-4. "Above players in the MUD hierarchy are wizards, who have gained the highest levels and accomplished all the quests, and are responsible for actually building the MUD environment and administering the MUD. [...] Highest-level wizards are often called Gods and, as the name implies, have near absolute power to implement decisions on their MUDs."
- Cheong, Fah-Chun (1996). Internet Agents: Spiders, Wanderers, Brokers, and Bots. New Riders. p. 256. ISBN 1-56205-463-5. "Wizards are the system administrators who actually run the computer programs that maintain the MUDs."
- Levine, John R. (1997). More Internet for Dummies. IDG Books. p. 196. ISBN 0-7645-0135-6. "Each MUD has folks who are in charge of running it and enforcing its rules. These people are called wizards or gods, and you had better be nice to them."
- Crystal, David (2001-09-24). Language and the Internet. Cambridge University Press. p. 175. ISBN 0521802121.
- Hahn, Harley (1996). The Internet Complete Reference (2nd ed.). Osborne McGraw-Hill. p. 559. ISBN 0-07-882138-X. "Common names for an admin are a GOD, an ARCH, a WIZARD or an IMP (short for implementer)."
- Busey, Andrew (1995). Secrets of the MUD Wizards. SAMS Publishing. pp. 207, 219, 224. ISBN 0-672-30723-5. "[pp. 207] The lowest level is the basic wizard or builder. This wizard's responsibility is to create new regions on the MUD. [pp. 219] Apprentice, wizard, and elder wizard—all are classic LPMUD titles for individuals who belong to a select group within a particular MUD. [pp. 224] Originally, being a wizard was a game in itself. Wizards earned points for use of their area and were supposed to be awarded rank based on these points. However, this mode of thinking in LPMUDs is long outdated."
- Towers, J. Tarin; Badertscher, Ken; Cunningham, Wayne; Buskirk, Laura (1996). Yahoo! Wild Web Rides. IDG Books Worldwide Inc. p. 166. ISBN 0-7645-7003-X. "[...] someone has to write and watch over MUDs. Sometimes these [...] are the coders/immortals/wizards [...]"