An excellent online RPG. It can best be described as a very complicated MUD. The game is text based, and has a very large following. Unlike some other online RPGs its very balanced, and to become a powerful godlike player you need to put in a lot of time. The combat, experience, knowledge, skills and personal interaction systems are more complicated than any game I've ever played. I'd highly recommend giving this game a try if you liked something like EveryQuest or MUDs. You can find it at www.dragonrealms.org.

An online text based game run by Simutronics Corporation. The game itself is an evolution of Gemstone III, another Simutronics online game which is still available.

The Game System
The game system has its origins in MUDs with characteristics from role playing game systems such as AD&D, D&D and Runequest. Given those origins, its game system is unique. Each player creates a character with attributes which can be increased gradually in steps, and skills which can be continually increased through training and experience. Characters can interact with their environment through combat, travel throughout the environment, by overcoming physical obstacles and through their manipulation of objects. Characters typically join guilds which enable unique skills and privileges. Guilds also each offer a unique type of magic which operates through spells powered by mana points. Character race offers some effects on gameplay as well as opportunities for roleplaying.

The Online Community
An online community with usually over a thousand participants active at any one time. The guilds operate as a kind of home base for each player. Players can gain support from their guild members. Players from other guilds offer specific advantages to players from other guilds, encouraging interaction. Players are enabled to interact with each other in a substantially non-competitive way. Levels of advancement are shown as titles which may be displayed to give others a general idea of your character's advancement. In order to maintain contact with other players from day to day, instant messaging such as AIM or ICQ is often used. Otherwise, players may turn up at the same location in the game regularly in order to maintain contact. A substantial off-game environment exists through player web sites (for example the "Wren's Nest Tavern") and a game-run noticeboard.

The Game Experience
With a "middle ages" backdrop, this game introduces its own fantasy world with borrowings of course from familiar fantasy authors and games. The complexity of the game environment makes for a very rich experience, with the interaction placed carefully in the game world history and setting. Attention is paid to the detail and the context of each item. The evolution of the player experience is in discovering the complexity of the game system, the different areas and secrets of the game world, the development of character skills and abilities, and the ongoing experience of interacting with the other players and environment. The players themselves lend to the richness of the environment. Other players are rarely engaged in the same game activity as you. Newer players appreciate your assistance. Other characters have skills and activities that will be outside your game experience, and therefore offer an awe factor. Game events managed by Simutronics staff offer an additional level of complexity though these are often dangerous to your character! There are a range of other ways to pursue your experience too such as research into the world history, organising activities amongst other players or undoubtedly romance.

Roleplaying
The game environment offers a significant opportunity for players to immerse themselves both in the depths of the milieu and in the persona of their character.

Negative Aspects of Dragonrealms.
You have to pay a monthly fee to continue in the game.
Additional status and characteristics in the game may be purchased from the company.
Some participants resort to violence against other participants.
Players who emphasize gameplay elements over roleplay.
The sometimes mindless aspect of hunting innocent wildlife in order to gain experience and wealth.
The lack of a communication system between players within the game perhaps equivalent to letter writing.

See also: Role Playing Games, The Roleplaying Metanode, Role Playing MUD, Role Playing.
January 19, 2001.


Dateline : January 8, 2002. Simutronics have announced that they will not permit any criticism on their game forum. The volunteers who serve as GMs can now do whatever they like and no one can complain.

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