I don’t know why I tried TI:L. It seemed unappealing on the surface. It had a laundry list of things that I think flat out ruin most other games. PvP, Permanent Death, and a heavy emphasis on religious RP. But I've been having the time of my life with this game! And these don't describe the game very well. It's accurate, but less intimidating than it sounds. And really, I’ve never seen a game handle said issues with such maturity. Let me give you an overview before diving into my likes and dislikes.
The game’s backdrop is an Inquisition not unlike the real life one. However, Magic does exist in this game -- you can choose to play as a mage. But Magery is considered the ultimate sin. And the only cure is incineration. There are lots of ways to play the game. I approach it like a fictional MUD. You don’t need to play as an Inquisitor, Mage, or devout. It's just the theme. You can take on any role you want. I've seen butchers, merchants, and lawmen. I'm a dancer in all this chaos! You can be what you want to be.
The community is one of the greatest I’ve ever seen, and I've seen many. There's pvp, but there is no roaming kill-squads of players out to kill you. There’s rules in place that limit PvP, so you just don't killed for whatever. Most deaths are from executions (Being a Mage or a repeat criminal offender). This is a game that encourages people to be proactive. You need to go for it. But the reward is worth it. As long as it's thematic, it's probably approved. Sorry, but you can't play as a dude with a mini-gun or giant mech.
Let’s get into the specifics. I’ll start with what I love about the game.
Positive #1 A focus on roleplaying
This is an RP MUD. You get experience through RP with other characters. You do not wander around genociding the local wildlife to level up. You pool XP by playing with other characters. It's an idea I love. This system forcest RP. You then convert that XP into skills through use. Want to be a better cook? Get cooking. Want to stab really hard? Start stabbing people (preferably with safe weapons in the training arena). There’s guilds that you can join to get more RP. And each has its own flavor. There’s lots of commands to make it easier to find others to play with. One command shows you which rooms in the game have players who RPing. And with another zips you over without needing an online map. This of course is optional. You can be as covert as you wish.
Positive #2 The Skill System
If you’ve ever played Ultima Online, this game will be familiar to you. There are no levels in the game. There’s skills, stats, and equipment. It’s a free system that lets you develop your character however you want. But, there’s rules in place that ensure you can’t be the best at everything. If you want to be a weaponsmith who also uses stealth to break into your competition’s homes and try to put them out of business. You can do it.
Positive #3 The Community
This is by far the best part of the game. The players make the game. Everyone is willing to help you out with questions. I haven’t come across many players who ‘play to win,’ and I swear everyone here is a master at roleplaying. The characters are played maturely. And even characters who are jerks don’t go out of their way to prove that they’re stronger than you. I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find a friendlier group of people.
But the good comes with the bad. Here’s a list of what I dislike about TI:L.
Negative #1 Not All Skills Are Created Equal
There are skills that are just flat out better than others. Combat skills are incredible. You do more damage. You miss less. These are objective benefits that you get for investing XP into weapon skills. The same goes for defensive skills like dodging. You get hit less. With permanent death, I feel their value only goes up even more. Crafting is similar. You can create items. Your skill does something.
There’s skills in the game where you are more at the mercy of other players. My character is a perfect example of this. Keep in mind I've spent a lot of XP. His specialties are stealth, dancing, and acting. Stealth is useful. It lets me eavesdrop on conversations and renders me invisible. Dancing and Acting, however, don’t ‘do’ much.
I don’t expect dancing of all things to be equal in value to how well you fight. And I’m not even necessarily complaining. I love my character. I want you, the reader, to understand that some skills in this game you take because you love them. Not because they will make your character better. When you do specialize in such skills, you're at the mercy of other players. Thankfully the other players are really cool. So I can keep being a dancer.
Negative #2 Alternate Characters
I feel this game is geared to have multiple characters than to focus on one. Simply put, it’s discouraging to make connections with other characters only to have them disappear because they are an alt. I’ve met multiple players who proudly admit to having alts as ‘Xp sponges.’ And if you can have multiple characters on at once, that's really unfair.
There’s lots of benefits to people playing alts, however. It ensures that every aspect of the game sees play. And it makes it easier for newer characters to find a group of players. I would rather have one character wholly devoted to a single playstyle. It’s a battle of focus vs. variety. If you value focus more, you may be upset
Really, I just wish people were more upfront about it. I don’t want to know who someone’s alt is. I just want transparency. Just say, “I’m an alt. Don’t count on me for RP or contributing a lot to the guild.” I would be so much happier. It’s especially bad if you lead guilds. Most guilds deal with a lot of secret information. Knowing this info can spoil the fun at best and cause problems at worst.
Overall, the good far outweighs the bad. And the flaws aren’t easily remedied. They are more of an unwanted byproduct of what makes the game great. I encourage you to come try the game for yourself. Just come have fun. It my sound bad on the outside, but it could surprise you. There’s plenty of opportunity for new players if you go for it. I started as a newbie and now I lead a guild. I’ll see you in game!
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