What were you looking for?
A game with presentable graphics, free and not the same old generic hack and slash, skill gain grind, fetch me this quest for 50 coins and a 5% skill bonus. (This was over 10 years ago mind).
Why did you start playing?
I found what I was looking for in Illarion and so much more. A true sandbox ORPG that the community nurtured like a rose garden. The lack of mechanics and graphics only added to the imagination, creativity and sense of commune.
If you quit, why did you quit playing and how long did you play before quitting?
I’ve never quit playing, just had times when I have been too busy to play or commit to any great length of time.
What made you come back to try to play again and did you stay or leave again, if so why?
I’ve never truly left the game to come back. But, “They always come back.” (Those that get it and become part of the gestalt). Even those who abuse the game and are quite rightly pushed out (or try to). Simply because there is nothing else like, nothing else.
What is/are your best time in the game, your best memory?
Too many to say, 10 years worth of an ever changing game and dynamic community. But I’ve had some great, great times, fun and e-friends.
Positive aspects of the game:
It's true sandbox nature, small scale, steadfast roleplay standards and simple but detailed enough story/lore to give players the ability to create a detail and depth of their own choosing, but at the same time, has a believable grounding to it. You don’t have to read a biblical amount of lore to jump in play and be accepted.
(Yes I say accepted, because those who play, put time, effort and heart into the characters, roleplay and atmosphere make the world ‘those’ new players come into and want to stay for. (Or not as it seems, although I think that's more to do with game mechanics). They should mould to us, we should not snap to fit them. That is not to say we are not tolerant, sometimes overly to our detriment as a community and game. There are hundreds of same old shit rpgs for people to play, there is one ONE Illarion.)
Graphic! In the ever growing world of the generic 3d MMORPG, good isometric is becoming something of a nostalgic novelty. But for the nature of Illarion it is PERFECT, it’s what gives the game its charm, a huge percentage of its identity and its functionality.
Text, the way it’s handled i.e. Character speech and actions is also something I love. It is clear, concise and very effective for the nature of the game. Ultima Online and its many shards, you eyes will bleed trying to read that shit font and colours player choose for their speech will look familiar in your peripheral vision as you fight off a migraine. It also gives you as a player so much scope to give life to your character with the #me action. So good. No world/globe chat spammed with shit *thumbs up.* There is the IRC page for that.
Negative aspects of the game:
Towns and dungeons always seem to look like ‘game maps.’ There seems to be very little in the way of grounding, functionality or natural inhabitant development for many of the layouts. Maybe I like a little too much air of realism to give the fantasy a more lived in feel?
The same old crafting, druid and mage comments that have been thrashed to death. I like the idea and HOW it works, I don’t like the magnitude of items/players needed to MAKE it work.
A lack of GM activity. For me it’s not really about massive quests, but the little player requests and ad-hock things that give a little smile when a player sees it, or is given a little help in an idea or action they are playing. It’s these things that add to the atmosphere, drive and enjoyment of many players day in day out. Big quests are good, great even, some players like them. But I think ALL players like a little friendly, creative GM recognition ~just~ for them. And PLEASE, no more old demon/dragon quests for Bane. If another demon prince or dragon burns the tavern down having attacked Bane I just, well I don’t know. Trollsbane is a tiny little backwater poop of a town no one has a house to live in, there is nothing of value or power there, why? Just why?
What would you like to see as far as general game direction and would this encourage you to play more?
I have been very fortunate (I think) to have seen the game grow and grow with it. There were no golden days for all were and are golden days. (You will find ‘golden’ times differ greatly dependant on what era of player you ask.
But in all the change and direction Illarion as a game has stayed fundamentally a small scale sandbox RPG
This is what makes the game, what so many of those who take the time to say, LOVE. It does not and never will bring in a huge player base and because of the energy needed to put into characters and the time (which puts the energy into the game and atmosphere), those that do play will come and go to recharge because of it.
The VBU concerns me as a whole heartedly selfish player because from what I see (I could be making a flawed opinion here). I think it takes the games scale, ambition and footings too big. The Sandbox ideology where anyone can scoop at the sand and create something for themselves or for all, is becoming, or will become very similar to the same old MMORPG playground with the same old swings and slides they all have. I believe (and I hope I am wrong) that it will not give boon to many more new players staying and adding to the game because there are playgrounds 2 a penny that are better equipped and far more brightly coloured (to hide the generic dullness). That and I dare say most of them will be too busy running from NPC to NPC completing quests, rather than enjoying the fundamental idea of what Illarion is or possibly was by then.
I think time and energy would have been better spent making this the best damn sandbox with the most malleable sand that ever was. NPCs for mundane tasks, i.e shop keepers an d few static quests no more. Make better what we have, tweak, polish, buff and fix and maybe just a little, a little, more map scale. The lore, races all the foundations are fine, good, just need a few of the cracks filled and sanded. I hope I made sense when I talk about the game as a sandbox. I’m sure the Dev’s know what they are doing I can only speak from what (and probably flawed) knowledge I have. But I like the game small, I like games quality and I like that there is nothing else like it. This game as they go is home.
Other: Anything to add?
Long Live Illarion.