A Tale in the Desert Review: Thriving Community



By Vincent Haoson, Onrpg Writer

When we talk about MMOs, the first thing that comes to our minds are games where there are monsters to eliminate, quests that needs to be accomplished and characters that are battling against the forces of evil. A Tale in the Desert is a game that tackles the less RPG-ish feel of most MMOs in the market today by going into a more developmental approach of gaming.



Set in Ancient Egypt

A Tale in the Desert is a game where you are a character that is living in Ancient Egypt. Your main goal is to improve yourself as a citizen of Egypt through various quests that require you to learn and apply your knowledge from the different schools found in-game. Think of A Tale in the Desert as an MMO version of Sims minus the social complexities that Sims is famous for.

Simulation is the main theme of A Tale in the Desert. The game in fact is chock full of quests you need to accomplish to be successful in the game. The leveling system here is based not on the usual ‘how-may-exp-I-earned-by-killing-monsters’ but rather on the amount of skills and abilities you learn as you progress through the world of A Tale in the Desert.

Upon entering the game, you are already given your first quest, which is the ‘Principles of Citizenship’. This basically would be your introduction into the game. While doing your quest you would get acquainted with the controls and the game system that’s unique for A Tale in the Desert.

The first unique feature in A Tale in the Desert is the way you finish your quests. You would need to collect various minerals that are found along the environment. You would need to ‘gather’ said materials to progress through the game. Gathering and building are the only routes you have to take here in A Tale in the Desert if you want to improve your character unlike in most games where crafting only comes secondary and the only use you have for them is for better equipments.



Skills instead of Levels

The other unique system in A Tale in the Desert is the way you level up. Unlike in games where you need to gain experience to level up, in A Tale in the Desert, the only way you can level is through learning. School is cool in A Tale in the Desert and if you really want to progress through the game you would need to study a lot. You need to gather the necessary materials the school asks of you and viola! With just one click you immediately learn the skill! Now if real schools are like that, wouldn’t life be easier?

Besides the uniqueness of the leveling system in A Tale in the Desert, the game has the law making system. This game system sets A Tale in the Desert apart from other MMOs because players can take direct actions in helping or controlling the laws in-game. Of course the laws you can create in-game are limited to what the game has, still it adds flavor and fun that you can actually affect the game by the laws that you try to pass.



Weighing it Over

Right of the bat, A Tale in the Desert is not a game that is for everyone. The first reason is that A Tale in the Desert is totally unlike most MMOs found in the web. The game play itself is superbly unique but the uniqueness also comes with the price that not a lot of players are willing to try this one out.

The game pace is slow and a laborious process. This wouldn’t fare well for those who are used to wham bam type of actions especially on MMOs who are already established in the online gaming scene. The graphics is not that great too, especially for a game that requires a subscription after one day of free play.

Another quite disappointing factor for the game is that the game isn’t newbie user friendly. In my earlier experiences on the game I would need to ask people around to realize that I already passed a lot of mining areas where I need to gather for a quest. True the game doesn’t lack in icons where it’s user friendly, but the user friendliness of the icons are only useful when you know what it means.

A Tale in the Desert has a big learning curve plus the default controls need time to get used to. Another thing is that most of the in-game controls are point-and-click, this is kind of unnerving especially if you are used to games where there are icons that you can use to navigate through the game.

Still with the graphical limitations the game has, I’ve never seen a community as active in A Tale in the Desert. What practically helped me stop pressing the alt+f4 key from the frustration of trying to figure out what to do were the people who courteously helped me out with the barrage of questions I have about the game.



Amazing Community

The game has a following that you would never see in most games. Majority of the players you see in game are people who you can actually talk to. Unlike in some games where a lot of people doesn’t necessarily mean a “live community”. A Tale in the Desert is in fact a nice game to play if you are into games where basically what you do is collect, talk and be with people.

A Tale in the Desert is basically one of those games where the community is how it should be. It is an developmental kind of MMO where a live community is needed to make it thrive. So I say if you are the type of player who wants to socialize in a friendly environment and also have fun then you could try out A Tale in the Desert. I think a day’s worth of trying out of the game could in fact help you decide to actually spend on it or go to another game out there.



Conclusion

A Tale in the Desert is basically a simulation game where you need to build your character into a citizen that Egypt can be proud of. Even if the game lacks some of the elements that make other MMOs great and that the games play is totally different from what we are used to, A Tale in the Desert has its charms. A game like this wouldn’t last four evolutions and almost a decade of operation if there is nothing special about it.


Pros

- Thriving Community

- The game isn’t level dependent

- It’s like sims without the social complexities



Cons

- The game isn’t that graphically stunning

- The controls needs to get used to

- The game pace is slow and tedious

- The interface isn’t newbie friendly

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