Threshold RPG: Text-Based MMORPG Review
In this day of graphics-intensive MMOs, text-based games are a dying breed. Still, some manage not only to survive, but to thrive. This review will take a look at Threshold RPG, a text-based MMORPG that’s been up and running for almost 13 years.
Overview of Threshold
While games like WoW and LOTRO seem to be dominating most of the MMO world, there is still a decent-sized group of people who prefer text-based games like Threshold RPG. Often, these text-based games offer a little more in terms of flexibility and creativity. That is, you’re not restricted to the pre-designed graphics already incorporated into the game – you’re free to use your imagination and experiment a bit with well thought out text descriptions and actions.
Threshold RPG is a text-based MMORPG that has been in operation since June of 1996. During the last 13 years, the game has seen a lot of evolution while still remaining true to its core principals. The one thing that hasn’t changed over the years is Threshold’s dedication to the roleplaying environment. In this game, roleplaying is not an option – it’s a requirement. This makes the MMORPG very attractive to those who don’t want an intensive roleplaying situation disrupted by players uninterested in this aspect of the game.
Like most games, the first step in Threshold character creation is selecting a name. In addition, you’ll be asked to fill out a very brief application containing a little information about that character’s history and goals. You won’t be able to go any further in the creation process until this information has been approved by Threshold staff, but the approval process is very fast. Assuming you’ve picked an original name within the scope of the fantasy/medieval theme and your application is not complete gibberish, the approval process should only take a minute or two. It seems that this process is in place mostly to prevent new players from trying to create with names like GandalftheGreat, Dragonzkilla, or just plain Bob.
After name approval, you’ll be taken through a series of steps where you customize your character by picking a race, gender, and heritage. You’ll also be led through the stat allocation process. In Threshold, the main purpose of stats is to determine which guild you are able to join. During the creation process, you can review the stat requirements for each guild and base your allocation on this information. If you make a mistake or if you change your mind about which guild you want to join after completing the creation process, you will get one chance later on to alter your stat allocation.
The character creation process is very detailed, yet it’s also very well explained in game. My only thought here is that I wish this entire process was also laid out on the Threshold web site. Some players like to research and put a little more thought into their characters before creation, so it would be nice if there was a walkthrough of the process where players could plan this offline if they wished.
After character creation, you’ll immediately enter the world of Threshold where roleplay is strictly enforced. However, if you’re new to this type of game, don’t let this daunt you. You’ll also have access to Out of Character (OOC) help channel where you can ask any question you have without disrupting the roleplay environment.
There are several common areas in the game, so if you’re looking to start roleplaying right away, you can direct your character to one of those environments. Then, you can either participate yourself or sit back and watch others to get a feel for the game.
Almost all roleplay in Threshold is player created and driven. So, at any given time, there may be dozens of various RP plotlines. From time to time, there will be global plots with staff involvement. Even though these plots may seem “bigger" in a sense due to staff having more tools at their exposure, the outcome of these plotlines is still very much determined by character reactions and involvement. In the end, the story of the game is developed by the players and their characters, not by some outside script.
General Game Play
For those who are more interested in the adventuring and questing side of the game, that aspect has definitely not been overlooked. The Threshold world is vast with two major continents and several other offshoot areas. If you want to get a feel for the layout of the world, you can view artistic maps of Threshold at the game’s web site. These maps don’t replace the “feel" you get from actually exploring the world, but they’re great for those who would like a mental image of the lay of the land.
Quests on Threshold are completely optional and, as such, they’re typically more complex than those found in other games. Also, most of the quests have been designed to further the story of the game, so solving (or even just starting) some quests may lead you to additional lines of RP.
There are numerous hunting areas in Threshold for people of all combat levels. One of the very nice features about the game is that new areas and items are added often enough to prevent staleness.
Even though Threshold is free to play, there is a type of “pay for perks" system in the game. However, every player, free or otherwise, still has access to all areas and guilds in the game. While most who play the game do decide to contribute, this decision is completely up to the player – you won’t see any nagging screens or have access time cut like in some other supposedly free MMOs.
Threshold is definitely worth checking out, whether you’re a veteran roleplayer or someone who is just interested in giving the genre a try. For more information on how to get started, visit the Threshold web site.