A Third Tale

[A Tale in the Desert] Beta 2 for the Third Telling of A Tale in the Desert (or “ATitD 3,” if you are so inclined) starts Friday, May 5, at noon EST. The announcement after the first beta is below the break. You can download the client for Windows, Linux, or Mac through link right there. I might also recommend ATitD.net as the site of the long-running forums, a great place to learn more. There should be a link there to the ATitD wiki and other fun. It is a rather complex game, so read up before you ask newb questions out-of-game. In-game, people will line up to help you; on the forums, they will give you a link and ask you to read a few pages.

No, I have no idea how ATitD is these days. I stopped keeping track after the Events team mostly dissolved early in the Second Telling.

Citizens of Egypt,

Thanks to all those that participated in the first Beta of A Tale in the Desert III. I’d like to give my thoughts and observations on the beta, and then announce our final, 3-week Beta. BTW, I want to get into some detailed ATITD 3 game design stuff with this newsletter, so if you just want to find out when Beta 2 starts, skip down to the bottom.

Technically this first Beta went very well. There were no server crashes. Some of the new content had bugs, but I was able to fix all the significant ones within minutes-to-hours of their being reported.

Progress in the beta was not as fast as I had estimated. The server was open for almost 6 days exactly, and in that time, the highest level attained was level 6. If I had been asked beforehand how far I thought we would progress in 6 days, I’d have figured the top players would have hit level 10. Here are the first 15 ways to gain levels, as configured for Beta 1:

Level 0: Citizenship
Level 1: Principles of Architecture, Principles of the Human Body, Principles of Leadership
Level 2: Principles of Worship, Principles of Art and Music, Principles of Thought
Level 3: Principles of the Obelisk, Principles of the Demi-Pharaoh
Level 4: Principles of Harmony, Principles of the Acrobat,
Level 5: Principles of the Vigil, Principles of the Prophet
Level 6: Principles of Khefrey’s Children, Principles of the Pathmaker

The column at the left is the level required to attempt each Principle. Passing any Principle increases your level by one. Principles are always fixed-goals, and are intended to be something that a veteran ATITD player would find pretty easy.

So if my math is right, the players that did reach Level 6 had 9 choices on how to reach Level 7. That seems like about the right “bushiness”, so why the (from my perspective at least) slow progress? I think the answer lies in the Level 2 Principles: Worship requires several kinds of items that Egypt can not create right away, including Camel Milk and Grilled Fish, and Thought does also. So even though you’ve gained a post-Citizen level, you don’t *really* have a lot more choices of what to do next at Level 2. Perhaps compacting the above schedule just slightly around Level 2 would relieve this bottleneck, which would have the side effect of making an umber of early skills much faster to get. I’m going to try this for Beta 2.

The final item from the Beta that I want to discuss is the Events system. We ran two events, both of which I was able to code during the beta. The first was a “dig” event with some interesting scoring features. The second was a Tug tournament in the Wepwawet Spirit Arena. Technically both worked well, but I thought that each needed to provide more information after the event on how Egypt did, as a whole. For instance, as a player I would have liked to know who won the Tug tournament, what rank they reached, how many participated in total, that sort of thing. As developer I could retrieve that information, but really it needs to be accessible to the Events team that will run many such things during live. So, that’s something I’ll work on in Beta 2. Which brings me to the announcement. A Tale in the Desert III, Beta 2 will begin:

Friday, May 5, at 12:00 Noon EST (GMT-0500)

I expect the Beta to last for about 3 weeks, and I’m going to set a goal. Let’s see how many of us can reach Level 7. It’s an individual goal, but it’s also an Egypt-wide goal because the Principles and Technologies needed to *easily* let others reach Level 7 must be unlocked as a community. Keep in mind that nobody in Beta 1 would have attained this. Does anyone have a prediction for Beta 2 on how many will?

On the Nile,
Pharaoh (Teppy)

5 thoughts on “A Third Tale”

  1. Tale 1 of of ATitD was amazing and a lot of fun. Skipped Tale 2 just to take a break. What with Issue 7 of CoX and, you know, life, I should probably skip Tale 3 as well. That beta, though, sounds awfully tempting.

  2. That game seems kinda …well un interesting to me. Can anyone explain the draw besides ataining “Mummy Death Kill of the Beyondness Lvl 10+”?

  3. FOXTROTNIN3R:
    The draw I see in ATITD is that the game is essentially a world building simulator rather than a traditional hack&slash fest. In the beginning it is exciting just to experiment and learn new skills. As the game progresses and you start using each others’ resources, you tend to become equally excited when your friend learns a new skill as you would if you had learned it yourself, because it benefits your virtual community as a whole.
    I also like to just sit back and watch as settlements gets built, laws are passed and relationships are formed, only occasionally participating in the game as an active player.
    I’m sure ATITD is not for everyone. Someone who loves WoW or Lineage will probably not be too thrilled (but should check out the demo anyway, it’s free). I’m personally looking forward to the day someone (hopefully eGenesis) decides to take ATITD’s idea of a crafting and world building system and integrate it into a more mainstream MMO, giving me the ability to truly affect the world with my actions.

  4. Fox, part of ATITD’s draw (and I realize most people who try it don’t care for it) is the permanence of your actions. There are no shards, no zones, no instances. You put a building somewhere, everyone sees it. You log off and back on, it’s still there.

    The issues permanence brings (‘someone just put a building in my camp!’), in turn, leads to some interesting struggles, since players can submit new laws (actually rule changes), and if they win a majority vote, change the game. Griefers and 1337doodz, while not unknown, are incredibly rare.

    ATITD also lends itself to things I’ve never seen in any other game. There’s no game-mandated currency, for example, so trade is in the form of barter. However, you can build a printing press and print money. In Tale 1 this led to numerous different approaches to backed currencies, with players choosing different items to base it on. The most successful one was put together by a group of players using real-world economic tools. You’ll either think that’s cool or you won’t.

    Finally, it lends itself to more casual play than many MMORPGs. You can play it all the time if you want, but you can also log on for half an hour a few times a week, and still be able to play with your hardcore friends – people who have ‘levelled’ past others aren’t precluded from interacting with them like in many online games.

  5. After playing a year of Tale 1, a year of Tale 2, discovering and researching many things, figuring out many mysteries of the game, and being elected Demi-Pharaoh during the second tale, I find myself not the least bit tempted by Tale 3. I suppose the slow pace of the first two tales has burnt me out for good and I wish it hadn’t. It’s a great game with a greater community and fantastically enjoyable drama, after being around the block a few dozen times it just doesn’t hold the magic it once did.

    I WANT to like it, I want to play it. I want to be at the very edge of technology, I want to be one of the people figuring out the mechanics of the game, I want to be one of the leaders of society. But I don’t think I can trudge through it all again, with as many boring aspects as there are.

    I still miss my Wall of Color (http://www.neologic.net/atitd/greatwallofvok.jpg)

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