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A Tale in the Desert is a massively multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG) set within the persistent online world of a fictional Egypt. The Pharaoh's bravado has led to the proclamation that his Egypt is perfect. An Evil Stranger, however, begs to differ, and challenges the Pharaoh to prove as much by forcing his people to surmount various tests in seven different disciplines. It is said that "should one man perfect all seven disciplines, he will become immortal, should a civilization do so, the world would become a Utopia." To this end, players attempt to complete a Great Work in each of the disciplines offered. Foregoing the combat-based gameplay of similar online offerings, A Tale in the Desert challenges players to interact with and help their fellow players in order to advance in the seven disciplines: Leadership, Conflict, Art, Worship, Human Body, Thought and Architecture.
Beginning the game as little more than a peasant, players are free to decide their own fate; join a guild and benefit from the shared resources such an endeavor brings or go it alone and devote your time to tasks that will better serve yourself and your own plans and ambitions. Utilizing raw materials such as rocks, wood, sand and grass, players are able to create new items and production facilities (glassmaking, creating molten iron, tending crops) for both personal gain and the betterment of society at large. Players are also free to attend universities where skills and knowledge can be gained.
Citizens who disagree with existing laws, or desire the creation of new ones can create a petition. By doing so and then getting a significant number of people to sign it, a vote is initiated. If the majority of the people vote for the new law, it will be passed accordingly. Although free-from in structure, players will encounter particular events that are triggered as they advance in each of the seven disciplines. These events must be dealt with by the player and will affect the flow of challenges and subsequent events accordingly. ~ Gavin Frankle, All Game Guide