The Realm Online, originally known simply as The Realm, was the first internet MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing games) for playable public release[ and the second to release a full retail game edition. ]'The Realm Online', often referred to as 'The Realm', is still being played by a small number of players, and is known as one of the few MMORPGs that is still dial-up friendly and easy to play.
The Realm was launched in January 1997 for Windows personal computers.[ It was designed in the tradition of ]graphical MUDs, before the popular usage of the terms "massively multiplayer" and "MMORPG".
Originally published by Sierra On-Line, it was abandoned by that company because of its unfavorable comparison to Ultima Online and EverQuest. It was next taken up for a short time by a company called World Opponent Network which was also owned by Sierra On-line, then Codemasters, and presently is a Norseman Games production.
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The Realm's combat system is turn-based making for thought-out, strategic battles. The battle system also allows player to engage in player-versus-player combat.
All of the characters in The Realm play on a single server, though a test server exists where new features are sporadically added to the game before, in rare cases, going live on the main server. Most said changes are now tested first on a separate Beta Server that players have access to before being migrated to the Test Server.
The game has several zones that the player may opt to visit, but there are no quests that many may associate with this style of game in The Realm. Players must subsequently 'grind' kills for experience and material rewards, and often must make inquiries into which zone is level-appropriate for them. Character death in The Realm will result in lost experience and the potential of having multiple items "dropped" from the player inventory, including currently equipped items; enemy monsters in The Realm will often pick such items up, but will not necessarily return them to the player when killed.
The Realm has a volunteer staff of in-game Event Hosts who are tasked with entertaining the game's players. Such events include games that reward participants with Coppers, a form of currency that is semi-bound to the character. Coppers are used to purchase vanity items and upgrades for player housing, such as new chairs or fountains.
Originally, Coppers were to be bound to a player's account. Upon release of the system, however, it was found that the concept had been removed. Coppers are now able to be traded, creating a pseudo-underground economy in the game for those who desire housing upgrades.
Races, Classes, and Attributes
Each race and class combination begins with a predetermined arrangement of attributes, with eight points free for the player to distribute. Initial skills are determined by the class.
While characters pick a starting alignment (good, neutral or evil), each character is ranked in alignment automatically as a result of in-game actions, from Beatific (ultimately good) to Demonic (ultimately evil). NPCs are rated in a similar way, with good creatures tending to attack evil players, and vice versa. A player changes his or her alignment by killing monsters of the opposite alignment or in the case of a neutrally aligned player killing monsters from one of the other two ends of the alignment spectrum will push them towards the opposite end.
The level cap in the game originally was 100, then upped to 500, then 1000.
The Realm Online has three profession paths, each of which may be learned by any class at any level, making it feasible to be fully proficient in all three. Armorsmithing, Weaponsmithing, and Alchemy may each be learned. Supplies must be looted from certain monsters, and most craft-able items are sub-par (with the exception of Alchemy).
Originally, The Realm's storyline remained in ongoing development. It was several years before this became evident to the majority of players (which at one time numbered in the thousands). Multiple characters operated by in-game staff members furthered ongoing plots and story arcs, explained updates, or simply entertained the game's players. The Realm strongly encouraged players to role-play, making it an alternative to non-graphical online RPG's. Unlike many MMORPGS, which develop large parts of the storyline in annual expansions, The Realm's storyline was constantly being developed.
The plotlines that evolved over time (version 3.x and beyond) revolved around six gods and numerous other background characters. Players may still locate empty temples to these gods. The gods, which were divided into three alliances—The Light (Enid and Mabon), The Dark (Duach and Elphame), and The Balance(Despothes and Finvarra).
The primary antagonist, known as The Shrouded One, had sent multiple invasions from beyond the Mists (the edge of the game world) that surrounds The Realm. These invasions took the form of staff interaction or, more likely, the addition of new creatures to the game environment.