A Tale in the Desert and now A Tale in the Desert II have been on the MMORPG landscape for quite some time. A few weeks ago, I had a chance to have a lengthy discussion with the Pharaoh himself, Andrew Tepper and play the game for the first time since beta. In so doing, I discovered a much deeper game than I thought I would. Here are my impressions:
| Periodically, there is a test of the demi-pharaoh. This test takes all applicants and puts them into juries of seven. The seven people in each jury are given a set amount of time to converse, argue, discuss and pick the most worthy among themselves to advance to the next stage. If all seven cannot agree on one of their own to advance, no one advances. This whittling process continues until only one jury remains, and then if those people can agree on one of their own to advance – that person becomes the demi-pharaoh. The entire process does not make use of “character skill” or any other game play mechanics. It is totally up to the people at the keyboards. If even one player dissents on the eventual decision, no demi-pharaoh is proclaimed. Only one player has ever been exiled by a demi-pharaoh and that was an important player who had gotten very angry with others and set out to destroy much of the communal work they had spent so much time on. The selection process ensures that demi-pharaohs use their power for the good of society, rather than ill.
Still, I was curious what would happen if the previously reputable demi-pharaoh decided he wanted to exile the seven most important players in the game. Andrew Tepper acknowledged this would be a tragedy to the game’s society, but there would be no intervention. These are the perils players face to build their perfect society.
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