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Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands
AchaeaLogo
Developer(s) Iron Realms Entertainment
Publisher(s) Iron Realms Entertainment
Engine Rapture Runtime Environment
Platform(s) Platform independent
Release date(s) 1997
Genre(s) Fantasy MUD
Mode(s) Multiplayer
System requirements

Telnet client or MUD client, Internet access


Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands is a roleplay-intensive, text-based multi-user dungeon (MUD) released in 1997.  It was published by Achaea LLC, now known as Iron Realms Entertainment.  Achaea is operated by collecting the revenue through a microtransactions-system, which allows payment for the acquisition of in-game benefits.

Logging onEdit

Creating an account loads a full screen web-based MUD client, which actually works on OSX and presumably any operating system, which sends you to MUD school. A new, or, presumably, a reincarnated character goes though a ceremony of destruction and recreation very similar to reincarnation on BatMUD. It is called a "Trial." Then to school:

  • "Ah, what have we here?" the crone cackles, hopping from foot to foot. "Is this what you were looking for, dearie? Look, Durkst!"
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *If you need any help, enter HELP REBIRTH, or HINT for a quick hint.
    *You can type SPEEDUP or SLOWDOWN to adjust the speed of the Trial.
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    *[HINT: Type LOOK, or simply L for short.]
    A user can quit at any time and upon reconnecting take up with they left off.[1]

If a new player fails to return they will receive an email from the Achaea Support after a few days with links to info and help pages with the message that they miss you.[2] Shortly thereafter if the character does not log onto the MUD an email warning that the character will be deleted within three days for inactivity is sent.[3]

Gameplay Edit

In the game, players explore a fantasy sword and sorcery world revolving around six city-states and their respective Houses.  As in most role-playing games, players can fight monsters for experience points and treasure, perform quests for non-player characters and interact with other players.  One of the major forms of interaction is player vs. player combat, where the dynamic conflict, especially the conflict between Good and Evil plays a dominant role in Achaea. The other play mechanics include the free market economics, which allows the players to design and craft goods, and the player-run social structure, including Houses (formerly guilds) and politics.

The world consists of over 20 thousand rooms, ranging from common countryside to more exotic and surreal environments.  Players may choose among 15 classes, ranging from familiar fantasy elements such as paladins to more unusual options such as Tarot-using Jesters.

Recent structural changes have enriched the environment of Achaea further, by opening up the seas to player controlled ships. This has made available many minigames including diving for treasure, deep-sea fishing and even a form of piracy.

5 Minute Adventures - Achaea 105:14

5 Minute Adventures - Achaea 1

A user goes through Achaea gameplay in 5 parts that are 5 minutes each.

Revenue Edit

Achaea's controversial revenue structure has received attention from the game development industry.  Although Iron Realms Entertainment provides a custom MUD interface for the game, there are neither up-front costs, nor monthly fees typical for the MMORPG-genre.  Instead, players may spend money for credits that are then used in-game to acquire skills and superior equipment.

The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) has noted that Achaea has been successful in this revenue from object sales model, "report[ing] substantially higher average revenue per customer ... than the usual subscription prices."[4].  Achaea's use of this model was compared to higher-profile releases such as Magic: The Gathering Online and Project Entropia[5] and has been highlighted by game developer Daniel James[4] and researcher Richard Bartle[6] as a possible solution for the problems other online games face involving commodification and interaction with real economy.

Reviews and reactions Edit

Achaeacom23

Title menu from Achaea.com retrieved by [1]

Achaea has received generally positive reviews for both its mechanics and social complexities, including a review from Leo Laporte on the June 10 2004 episode of The Screen Savers on TechTV]that was reported as favourable.[7]

The combat system includes "hundreds of different ways to attack an opponent", leading to a "complex array of strategies"[8] that is a "true test of skill"[9].  The game's engine was adapted for use as the medium of an "e-summit" staged at the 7th Annual World Summit of Young Entrepreneurs with the United Nations.[10]

The role-playing and social aspects of the game have also led to Achaea being cited as an example of "political game design".[4]  That political system, along with the game's dynamic events and "player narrative" are remarked on in Designing Virtual Worlds, Bartle's examination of the history of multiplayer online games.[11]  Iron Realms Entertainment quotes id Software founder John Romero as saying he "doesn't believe there is a deeper game in existence".

It earned 9 points out of 10 in an RPG Planet review and was described as "the only text MUD that still matters".[12]

Nevertheless, some aspects of the game have met with criticism.  The game's revenue system, in particular, has faced mixed opinions.  Players playing for free "won't be able to advance as much as the person who has the funds" without a considerable time investment, which often sparks controversy between free players and those who paid for in-game bonuses[8] that can cost as much as 2500 credits[13], the equivalent of $725 per item.[14]  The IGDA acknowledges that the system requires "delicate issues of design balance".[5]

The 2004 introduction of gleam, an in-game addictive drug, created controversy, angering some players[15] and reviewers who felt it sent an inappropriate message about the consequences of real-world drug use.[16] Finally, results of a public referendum held in-game in early 2007 [17] indicated that 21% of the player base felt that the state and progress of Achaea was bad or terrible, 50% thought it was pretty good or fantastic and 29% said it was not bad or so-so.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Login September 6, 2012
  2. email received September 13, 2012
  3. email received September 14, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 James, Daniel et al. (2004). "2004 Persistent Worlds Whitepaper" (pdf). International Game Developers Association. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Jarett, Alex, et al. (March 2003). "IGDA Online Games White Paper, 2nd edition" (pdf). International Game Developers Association. Retrieved on 2007-01-15.
  6. Bartle, Richard A. (April 2004). "Pitfalls of Virtual Property" (pdf). Themis Group. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
  7. Feris, Buck. "In Defense of Retro Gaming: A Discussion of Abstraction". Armchair Arcade. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hardeman, Kurt (1999-08-30). "Achaea". MPOG. Archived from the original on 2000-08-18. Retrieved on 2007-01-17.
  9. N., Stephen (2000-04-01). "Achaea, Dreams of Divine Lands". MPOG. Archived from the original on 2000-08-16. Retrieved on 2007-01-07.
  10. Yap, Diana Michele (2000-09-28). "A Summit of Young Entrepreneurs". Wired. Retrieved on 2007-01-15.
  11. Bartle, Richard A. (2003-07-15). Link. New Riders Games. ISBN 978-0131018167. 
  12. Reyes, Scott (2001-03-22). "Achaea MUD Review". RPG Planet. Retrieved on 2007-01-15.
  13. "Stat Altering Artefacts". Iron Realms Entertainment (2007). Retrieved on 2007-09-28.
  14. "Achaea credits". Iron Realms Entertainment (2005). Retrieved on 2007-09-28.
  15. Terdiman, Daneil (2004-05-25). "Virtual Dopers Crave High Scores". Wired. Retrieved on 2007-01-15.
  16. Gibson, Jon M. (September 2004). "Link" (Archived copy on Achaea Forums). Computer Gaming World. http://www.achaea.com/forum/old-article-about-achaea-and-gleam. Retrieved on Template:Date. 
  17. "In-game survey by IRE in early 2007" (March 2007).

External linksEdit

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