As my second anniversary playing TI is coming up, it's time to revisit and write another review.
Much of the 'sparkly new' has faded for me, as it does. As such my view has of course gotten more critical over time. There are a couple things about TI that really stick in my craw, but as a whole it remains the single best place to go for rewarding, well-written roleplay, a stellar Staff and amiable userbase. I remain heavily invested in TI; beyond shadow of a doubt, this is the game I'm very happy to call home.
There will never be a game without aspects which irritate or upset portions of it's userbase, and TI is no different there. Where it is different is that its policies, decisions, and rules are made with reasons that are typically understandable to the majority. You might not agree with the reason, but they very, very rarely seem out of left field or based on Staff preference over user preference. I can count the number of times I've seriously worried over Staff motives on two fingers, and one of the two was pretty swiftly rectified. In two years, that's an amazing track record. Most Staff members are highly approachable and maintain some aspect of interaction over OOC channels with players. Partially because of this Staff are humanized, which is a big leg up over just about any other MUD I've played.
Some of the rules are very unique to TI, such as the multiplay policies; if you're looking to join, read them up, down, backwards and forwards, and even then be sure to ask Staff if you have a whiff of an idea that it could be viewed as multiplay. If you've played a dozen RPI MUDs you're still unlikely to understand the depth of the rules at first or second glance. They're livable, but they're also a confusingly unique concept at first. Check and double check; Staff won't fuss at you at all for asking for a clarification. Alternatively, it's not unrecommended to just play one character.
All in all the rules and their implementation range from livable to excellent. I can't really complain about either.
After two years I still uncover new portions of game history and lore through the course of investigation and RP. It's a rabbit hole you'll probably never get all the way to the bottom of, and it's fantastic. Always expanding as well, as everything contributed by the current players will one day be the lore of the next generation of players.
The theme really is one of the best I've ever had the pleasure of playing in. It has a little bit of everything folks tend to like in a medieval world, takes significantly from real life history (the Reeves are even a guild!), but also has a huge quantity of completely custom theme material. The real and the fictional blend together into something wonderful and engaging.
TI's guild system creates an IC sense of community that's really irreplaceable. I've played other games with guilds; they're different on TI. It's amazing to me that much of their theme and legendary characters/events happened in real time with past players. Excellent, excellent system.
Can't have a review without SOME moaning.
The IC activity requirements are perhaps the least pleasurable mechanic for me. You are measured for your activity, which is a pretty common game mechanic, but you're also measured for your 'IC activity', which is a somewhat nebulous concept mostly intended to ensure people in high profile or powerful roles are actively filling said role. This would be fantastic if it accomplished that, but it often doesn't. There is no tracker for how much time is spent in private, personal RP versus RP relevant to the role. A very (codedly) active guildleader could be sealed inside their home with a friend for several hours a week and be considered successful via automated approval ratings, whereas a not codedly active guildleader who spends their time orchestrating guild events, writing guides, handling the masses of mail accrued as a GL, managing the guild and its members' rankings/progressions (no small task), preparing recruitment articles, etc., would be automatically kicked out of their role over time due to a lack of coded IC activity. You can solve this by fitting an hour of forced RP in somewhere random, spending your Influence Points to raise your approval back up or asking others to do it for you, but the need can drain the fun out of it, especially if you're already giving it your all. Guildleadering and staying IC active, rather than just active period, can occasionally make TI feel more like a job than a pleasure.
Worth noting: In the above example(s), a guildleader who does nothing but private roleplay CAN be removed by players via the gambit system if they're unsatisfied, but it's a check that's pretty simple to thwart, especially when one considers that most long-term guildleaders have developed cults of personality and allies in important places. I approve wholeheartedly of GLs with personality cults and highly ranked allies. I would just prefer that IC activity was removed and activity measured by your actual game activity, instead of how much RP that may or may not be relevant to your role has been banked up.
One other detriment to activity vs. IC activity that niggles at me a bit: You can't use money transfers in the banking system, which makes it so that crafters who have spent their game time crafting are unable to get paid for their commissions without making awkward OOC arrangements.
Myriad personality types, play styles and writing styles. No matter what you're looking for in a playerbase you're probably going to find it in one pocket or another. I have seen everything from rapid pace one-liners to beautiful, paragraph emotes, and everything in-between. I much prefer the paragraph emotes and have had no difficulty finding like-minded players, nor have I noticed any lack of alternative styles.
There is a definite sense of community on TI. It goes through its ups and downs, but that's pretty much par for the course in any group.
TI has a very comfortable population size. Not too large and not too small. I think they've hit the population sweet spot that just works.
tldr: Excellent game. Complaints are minor. Highly recommended to all.
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