The website www.ikariam.com provides a simple and easy-to-use romanesque empire building game. It has all the features familiar with most RTS games such as gathering different building resources in order to upgrade your town and armies. It only take a few minutes a day to manage your Island nation so theres not alot of commitment needed. However, Ikariam may be a bit misleading in potraying itself as an MMO. While you do play with others it isn't encouraged and, often times, results in a banning.
Rules prohibit you from forming an Alliance (what Ikariam calls guilds) with players you might actually know. Doing so will result in a banning and while there are trade ships you are not allowed to trade to people you might actually know. If they even suspect that you are doing so then get ready for a banning. Additionally, if you get a shipment of materials from someone else then you are required to return those materials, or send a like amount of another material, or the bans will ensue. So you need to log on often to make sure another player isn't sending you supplies that can get you banned. This leads one to wonder why trade ships are even in the game to begin with.
Additionally, if you play games with a roomate, spouse, or sibling then you can completely forget about even trying Ikariam. Even if you use seperate computers with a router if their data suggests that you are playing from the same basic connection then you will be the proud recipient of a permanent ban.
It strikes me as odd that a game reaching out to the MMO player demographic has so many rules in place that actually prevent players from playing together. While you might play alongside other players, you will rarely interact with them and attempting to in many cases results in bannings.
One might be lead to the conclusion that Ikariam places such strict rules simply so that they may ban older users to prevent them from realizing that there is no ultimate reward for building up your empire. After being banned you are even notified by the support team that you may feel free to start over. The support team is not the nicest group nor are they the most well-versed people in the use of the English language so dealing with them is somewhat of a hassle. And Ikariam makes you interact with this support far too often. One of the few things that a large empire might afford you is a large army. However, any member of any alliance may only attack a single other user three times within a 24 hour period. These attacks are more like minor battles. To be allowed to partake in larger scale warfare you must contact the support team and request permision to declare war. Again, the support team is less than adequate so good luck when dealing with them.
Ultimately, Ikariam might be a fun distraction but they need to find another way to market themselves and move away from attempting to get the MMO community as they are geared towards more social aspects and interaction that is not even allowed in Ikariam. Perhaps, instead of refering to their game as a browser-based MMO, they should call it a SSO for Sparsely-Populated Single-Player Online Game.