A Tale in the Desert is a highly unique game, both in and out of the MMORPG genre. The primary focus of this MMO is on ancient Egyptian society, and dwells heavily on crafting, trading, and the day-to-day social challenges of the era. There is no combat here. Instead, players are called upon to engage in personal, group, building, research, and community 'tests', replacing traditional confrontational MMO gameplay with teamwork.
- Tellings | Lasting an average of 18 months, a Telling is akin to a chapter of a story, or tale, to be more applicable. Normal gameplay takes place during a Telling, with global foregame, midgame, and endgame events and goals created by the players and the game's developers, eGenesis. ATITD is currently on its sixth Telling.
- Economy | A variety of skills available for players to learn and market give the game a strong economy, dealing mainly with regional and global trade.
- "Newbie Island" | A welcoming place for new players to start, where veteran players come to assist new players in learning the game's basics before joining in the current Telling.
- In game Legal system | Players may create petitions to introduce a variety of laws that may directly affect the game world.
- Tests | There are currently 56 Tests grouped under 7 Disciplines: Architecture, Art, Body, Harmony, Leadership, Thought, and Worship.