MMO veterans must like Dave from Roof Repair Long Island, have been excited to hear that The Realm which was also called The Realm Online was making a comeback. The Realm was about the first of the three MMORPGs back when the gaming world was still discovering and perfecting the phenomenon of MMORPGs. It came out in 1996. The creator Stephen Nichols was urging the gaming community help The Realm make a comeback to mark its 20th anniversary. Back then it attracted over 25,000 players.
The Realm has a 2D environment. The player uses a point and click system to move around. The environment is divided into screens. You move from screen to another by going walking to the edge of the current one which then disappears. You start in a main town and progress to the outlands where there are zombies and giant rats to battle.
You initiate combat by pointing to a mob. A combat screen will come up. You will use attack and action lists for combat in a turn based system. The ultimate goal is to battle the minions of the Evil Shrouded One. You are returned to the previous screen after combat.
Unlike recent MMOs, there are no numbered levels. Player levels are shown by a series of colored badrics. Players who had advanced could purchase their baldrics to get to some levels but other baldrics did not require any climbing the levels.
You create your own house in your preferred city and character. You simply type the city you want to live in and bingo! You have a house with three areas; living area, sleeping area and a yard. Your house has a password. The house functions simply as a place for storing your treasure. It is accessible with a password. You can invite other players for parties.
The Realm’s trading system did not achieve the sophistication of recent MMOs. There is no currency trading. You have to physically exchange goods. This can be done by dropping the goods on the ground for the other party to pick up, or using a middleman who will take a tip for the trade.
Graphics and sound
The Realm is a 2D environment meaning the graphics are not as attractive as those of recent MMOs, but this was what could be supported by machines in those days with their 64 MBs of RAM. The soundtrack was original and excellent.
Overall playing The Realm on a PC today is not as challenging as today’s MMOs but you get the old world charm of a pioneer.