Realms of Despair was opened to the public in July 1994. It was developed from DikuMUD and allowed modification of operating parameters through the MUD itself rather than having to manually edit configuration files, or even the source code itself. The developed code was released for the MUD community to develop further as SMAUG.
^Erwin Andreasen; Brandon Downey (August 2001). "The Mud Personality Test". The Mud Companion (1): 33–35. ISSN1499-1071. Archived from the original on August 18, 2000. Results from "Famous" MUD personalities ... Derek Snider ... Creator of SMAUG, implementor of Realms of Despair
^Olivetti, Justin (2011-04-19). "The Game Archaeologist plays with MUDs: The games". Massively. One of the most interesting facets of the game was how you fit in to the game world. Depending on your class, race, and focus, you could join one of several organizations that had a specific focus. There were class guilds, thematic orders, and even PvP clans that would battle it out until there was only one left standing.
^John Bellone, Jr. (August 2001). "The Art of Role-Playing". The Mud Companion (1): 38. ISSN1499-1071. On most MUDs, there is some form of role-playing going on at all times, let's take Realms of Despair (RoD) for example. Many say that RoD wasn't made for roleplaying, but I tend to disagree ... RoD has organizations dedicated to role-playing
^Cowan, Andrew (2001-09-17). "MUD FAQ Part 4". Internet FAQ Archives. SMAUG: [...] History: The SMAUG code started out as a Merc2.1 MUD called "Realms of Despair" in 1994. It wasn't until 1996 that it was given its name, and the first public release wasn't until December of 1996. The interest in the code spread like wildfire, and within a few months and a few revisions there had been over 20,000 downloads of the distribution.