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Reader Comments (12)

Posted: Feb 10th 2008 12:16PM Sera Brennan said

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Ok, logging on this morning and finding an article about DragonRealms is seriously a blast from the past. :D I didn't think anyone still even PLAYED that.

Moon Mage for the win, my dears. :D Getting that job was hard, but oh so much fun. :D But glad to see that this game still gets a little attention. It is one of the best MUDs I've spent time on, and it was my true first MMORPG.

Plus, the best part about that whole game? Clerics can see and hear the dead, even dead players. I had an awesome conversation with a dead guy once, and no one else in the room could see the poor man because I was the only cleric. That's just good design right there. :)

Posted: Feb 10th 2008 1:10PM Alarie said

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What is the difference between Dragonrealms and Gemstone? Both are offered by play.net. Was just curious to try one but I can't by looking at the two tell what is different.

Which one do you suggest that follows a more D&D type style? I'll give that one a try see what I think of it.

Posted: Feb 10th 2008 2:37PM (Unverified) said

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To be honest I've not tried Gemstone. From what I read it appears that Gemstone is more like a modern-ear RPG where we all play Indiana Jones, but with levels. (No character classes though). Dragonrealms has character classes, but is more like Runequest than D&D in the use of skills, gaining skills experience and the like.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2008 2:14PM Durinthal said

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The modern-era game is Modus Operandi, which is still relatively close to Gemstone and DragonRealms except for the setting. I'd say Gemstone is the most like D&D, but I haven't played it very much and it's been years since that time.
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Posted: Feb 10th 2008 3:50PM (Unverified) said

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Actually, Gemstone was created before Dragonrealms. Both offer the same world, slightly different races and classes, but in a 100% fantasy realm.

The difference basically consists of the system they implement. For example, Gemstone is more level-based while Dragonrealms is skill-based.

Personally, Dragonrealms was my favorite due to the skill-based learning and advancement (remember a time I spent hours swimming in ponds around the worlds in order to increase my swimming skills, a lot of fun if you're with a lot of people and roleplaying at the same time).

I find it amuzing that Massively posted something about Dragonrealms, another reason why I LOVE this site.

Posted: Feb 11th 2008 10:23AM Girricane said

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Sweet! My post actually led to an article!

Sorry for the misleading about the class thing. While it IS class based, I was pretty sure you could beef up weapons even if you were a mage etc.

Dragonrealms got me into MMOs/MUDs way back when, and while it's definitely more complex than most current MMOs as you described, I think it offers a much better sense of community and accomplishment.

Posted: Feb 11th 2008 2:12PM Durinthal said

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Yes, it's class based, but most of the skills are unrestricted. Most classes need a few ranks of a weapon or two to gain levels, but that can be any weapon you want, from pikes and slings to two-handed blunt and light edged weapons. You could even choose to fight without weapons if you want, in a martial-artist monk style (and the brawling system is much better than it used to be, as you can now integrate unarmed attacks with your normal combat style).

The skill system allows for a larger variety of roleplaying opportunities as well, and players actually take them instead of just going for the min-max style. Sure, there are still some gimped skills (the polearms and slings are perfect examples), but those are relatively few.
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Posted: Feb 11th 2008 11:40AM JTShadow said

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I remember playing Dragonrealms a long time ago, back when it was free to play on AOL. I always liked Gemstone III/Gemstone IV better. I loved how combat worked, I still remember getting my first drake falchion! Not just that, but the empath class had always intriguied me. When you fought, you could get pierced and start bleeding, or you could break your limbs. You would have to go to an Empath who would transfer the wound from you to them, then they could heal the wound off themselves. The wounds could even leave scars!

Posted: Feb 11th 2008 2:36PM (Unverified) said

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More news like this if you have people to post it. I loved the Simutronics MUDs back in the day.

Posted: Feb 11th 2008 2:52PM Durinthal said

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I could write several essays about DragonRealms, having played it for more years than WoW's been in existence. DR's players might not necessarily be older than the MMO average (though its own average is certainly higher), but they're much more mature and, just as importantly, usually stay in the context of the game even when not roleplaying (which also happens more often). You probably aren't going to hear about the upcoming Packers-Cowboys game or the episode of House from last night, but instead about the best hunting ground for a ranger with 230 ranks in short bows.

That said, the mechanics of the game are still (to me) above and beyond any mainstream MMOG.

What made the game so great for me was the skill-based experience system, one I am still willing to pay copious amounts of money to see in any other game. Its flexibility allows nearly anyone to have a unique character. A thief can wield a halberd in combat, and a moon mage can wear plate mail while casting spells.

Secondarily on the skill system, it adds an in-game way of having down time. Each skill has a "bucket" of experience that you fill when training it, which then drains over time. You can fill all of your combat skills in the field and then return to town to train other things or just sit and chat while not really missing out on gaining experience.

PvP is an integrated part of the game, and is largely unrestricted (mechanics-wise, at least; you can be reported and banned if you just decide to go on a killing spree one day). You can attack someone in the middle of a city, but the town guards will immediately charge in to arrest you. A thief is allowed and even encouraged to steal from other players, but they have to face the consequences (getting jailed or a sword to the face) if they get caught.

This is due partially to the skill system and partially to the text-based medium, but there are multiple places to go and train at any one time. A relatively young player can go fight field goblins and musk hogs in one grassy area, wood trolls and wild boars in forest, or faenrae reavers and wind hounds in an abandoned mine. This is just in one of the five areas, and the other four have nearly as many.

There are so many other unique things about DragonRealms that I could go on about (the wound/death system and how clerics and empaths work together, the many creation systems, and so on) but I'll stop here.

Posted: Apr 4th 2008 2:37PM (Unverified) said

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Just want to chime in, as I play both gemstone and dragonrealms:

They are very similar, but gemstone is more a D&D styled, pen and paper, roll-the-dice and see the die rolls, deal x damage, have x hp... Dragonrealms of course has these numbers, but they are hidden under well written text.

Additionally, gemstone is level based, so, earn 50k xp, reach level 2, and you are now better at fighting, casting spells, picking locks, etc, whereas dragonrealms is skill based, so you train combat by being in combat, train magic by casting spells, train foraging by foraging, etc... It adds a sense of personalization to your characters, so not every 10th circle (level) warrior mage is the same in dragonrealms, whereas almost every 10th level warrior in gemstone will be about the same.

Furthermore, in each of these games, everything is determined by your class. There is no dual classing, and while you have some flexibility in your training options, a Ranger will always be a survival expert over a Trader.

Neither game offers much pvp.

Both offer a small amount of crafting, but the economy is mostly broken in both due to inflation.

I find them both to be heaps of fun and a nice break from the MMO I play (EvE). Also, the interface is very easy to conceal, and I often play while on downtime at work. Give them a go, you'll be surprised and the player base is small, but loyal and typically very kind.

Posted: May 5th 2008 12:49PM (Unverified) said

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Hi, Eloise! I can't really see how to get in touch with you other than posting here, so I hope you get the message.

I wanted to thank you for giving us a little "air-time"! I noticed you said you hadn't given GemStone a shot yet. If you'd like to, drop me a note and I'll make sure we get you set up properly.

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