Guardians at the Gates 1

When I posted about barbarians at the gates last month, I did not expect the most famous one in English literature to appear in response. As it turns out, the upcoming Age of Conan has exactly what I was looking for, including PvE and PvP city-building and -defense that integrates crafting and has various sizes for big and small guilds. Ask, and the internet delivers.

My thanks to our commenters who pointed out my ignorance and cited other games doing something along these lines. Please consider this your report-out on games that have aspects of player-run, -built, or -defended cities. Add more to the comments if you think of any.

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You Aren’t Hardcore Enough to Grow Flax

[A Tale in the Desert] Interestingly, a discussion about yet another thieving brigand in EVE has garnered more comments than anything else I can recall on Kill Ten Rats. Let me just say that you are all a bunch of wusses for not playing a real PvP game like A Tale in the Desert.

If you see it as a fancy trade skills game with a lot of cooperation, you are missing the point. Egypt exists to cause strife and conduct evil sociological experiments, and if the players are not generating enough drama the developers will cheerfully provide new ways to strike at your neighbor. What Pharaoh considers the most perfect part of the game is a test that encourages bribery, pandering, manipulation, backstabbing, and wasteful ostentation, and it requires that many lose for anyone to win.

You see a lack of violence and think there is no PvP. I see a game with every other way to hurt someone and make his life miserable, but you can never kill your tormentor. Oh wait, you can take your case to the ballot box or the right test-winner and have your enemy exiled or executed. You blew up someone’s spaceship and little egg? Big deal. Egypt has permadeath. There is no respawning.

When your players have a chance to destroy all life and end the game, come back and tell me how hardcore you are.

: Zubon

Some Things A Tale in the Desert Did/Does Right

Today, we head far far outside the mainstream to a game that many of you know little about. A Tale in the Desert is often cited as a niche game, usually serving a population of 1000-2000. eGenesis’s Egypt is certainly an unusual place, where the head developer might respond to your bonfire problems and Pharaoh himself could pop in to for a glass of wine or a puff on your hookah. It is an Egypt knowingly in continual beta, where citizens work out the bugs in new technology as it is implemented on a daily or weekly basis.

It may or may not make sense to speak of A Tale in the Desert, as the third telling of the tale approaches. ATitD is designed to work in cycles: the tale starts, it winds to its conclusion, and it ends. After the end of the world, the world is reborn again. You bring into the new Egypt your experiences and your connections but not your previous wealth. It is a land where knowledge and networks are worth more than gold or blood.

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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 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.

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