A Tale in the Desert
Basic Information

A Tale in the Desert is a Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMO) set in ancient Egypt. The game is focused entirely on completing non-combat based challenges, such as crafting, trading, and achieving social status. Player interaction is all-important, even including participation in a player-controlled legal system that manages in-game affairs and legislates rule changes for the game's developers.

February 15, 2003

  • A non-combat MMORPG that supports various playstyles
  • Level characters across disciplines like Architecture, Art, Body, Harmony, Leadership, Thought, and Worship
  • Work together with other players to complete challenges and develop Egyptian society
  • Use an in-game legal system to leave your mark on the entire game world
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About the Game

A Tale in the Desert is not your typical RPG. While its graphics have aged noticeably and there is no combat to speak of, the game's unique premise continues to draw players a decade after its release. The player's goal is not simply to complete a pre-determined quest, but engage with an online society in ways that permanently alter the game world for other players.

According to A Tale in the Desert's backstory, the Pharaoh has accepted a stranger's challenge that Egyptian society is perfect. The challenge dictates that Egypt's citizenry will pass seven tests of perfection within seven disciplines: Architecture, Art, Body, Harmony, Leadership, Thought, and Worship. The path towards completing these tests is such that no one person can complete them alone; it will instead require multiple players to prove their worth on both individual and societal levels.

All players begin the game as a Peasant, seeking to become an active citizen in Egyptian society. Instead of conducting the usual killing X monsters to proceed task, characters complete tests of principle to become more proficient in a given discipline. Many tests will require the player to work with others, such as constructing large buildings, becoming a mentor for a lower-ranked player, or even crafting puzzles for others to solve. Eventually, players rise from Initiate to Oracle in a given discipline, at which point they can begin constructing a monument to prove the discipline has been mastered within Egypt.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of A Tale in the Desert is that it contains a functioning legal system. Any citizen can create a petition that, upon receiving the requisite number of signatures, can be voted upon by players across the game world. If a law is successfully passed, the developers will reprogram it into the game world as a functional rule that players must follow. This simple process allows players to make a permanent impact on the entire game world, impacting everything from tax collecting to the gathering of resources.

The gameplay and clunky interface take some getting used to, so a little frustration from first-time players is understandable. That said, A Tale in the Desert's unique premise has helped it stand the test of time, proving there's a place among gamers for the non-combat RPG.

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System Requirements
  • OS: Windows XP or Vista
  • CPU: Pentium III 1 GHz
  • RAM: 768 MB RAM
  • GPU: 64MB 3D Accelerated Graphics Card
  • OS: Windows XP or Vista
  • CPU: Pentium 4 2 GHz
  • RAM: 1 GB RAM
  • GPU: GeForce FX 5600+ / Radeon 9600+
A Tale in the Desert
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categories: 3d, fantasy
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