As regular readers know, I have been playing the online RPG Renaissance Kingdoms for the past couple of months. A text/menu/forum driven RPG, it takes only as much of your time beyond a minimal five or so minutes per day and is deeply immersive over time. I haven't seen another game quite like it in my travels through cyberspace's MMORPG lands.
My character has worked his way up in the world, and is now a proud peasant (level 1) in possession of a field with pigs. Although still clad only in loincloth, I make regular trips to the market for food and other necessities of life (and occasionally to sell the fruits of my labour), the council halls to check the job boards (occasionally to apply for a vacancy) and see what the council is up to, the mines to do my daily labour (unless I'm working elsewhere), and, my home to feed (and occasionally slaughter) my pigs, eat my meals and generally hang out.
Every several days I wonder through several of the local taverns, giving advice to vagrants (newbies) if they need help to understand our vitual world, seeking advice from any personages that may be present about any problems I might be having, or just generally joining in the widely varied conversations that occur - picking up gossip and feeding in my own as appropriate.
I like to keep an eye on the courts, at the county seat, to see what sort of behaviour is drawing the ire of those who control affairs in the County of Galloway, who is using the law to benefit themselves and against whom they use it. While there, I like to see who (if anyone) is in the lockup. I should say at this point that I have even been known to go to the village church in times of famine for my daily bread!
The Virtual World
Interaction between players is generally mediated by the game engine. For example, I will place my produce on the market at a certain price (through a simple point and click menu system), someone will see it in the market 'menu' and buy it (through a similar menu). We won't 'meet' through the transaction, but will be later informed through our 'events log' of who bought our produce, or whom we bought produce from) that day day (if anyone).
Similar menu driven systems are used to manage your home, inventory, farm, purchases at the pub, etc. To 'chat', you must go into a tavern (chat lobby). One can also check out the profiles of other players resident in your village, and then send them emails via that screen. The exchange of 'trust points' also happens via profile pages. The community is well supported by a large number of active forums.
There are maybe a dozen separate kingdoms in this virtual world, scores of counties, hundreds of villages, tens of thousands of players. And it all interacts.
To date I have only given anecdotal stories on this blog about my online experiences in the village of Withorn. I might keep that going (for example, check the posting above this), but will also formalise some of my record keeping. I will try a weekly summary of what I'm doing (and possibly why) so that I can see what works over time. And if any of you, my readers, are at all interested - why, that's the coolest bonus a blogger can ask for!
7 hours ago