Winter!: Prepare for holiday gaming!
Role-playing/Persistent World Online RPG
Adventures Unlimited Software, Inc.
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Debuting in 1988 on GEnie, General Electric's online subscription service, Dragon's Gate was an early text-based pay-to-play fantasy role-playing game. Customers had to pay both a monthly fee to General Electric and an hourly fee for Dragon's Gate. Because General Electric wanted customers to use the service at off hours when their core business needs were less, the fees to play ran as high as $12.00/hour, although $6.00/hour was the more usual cost.
Players could choose from a variety of races and professions, with dragons, understandably, being a popular choice. The game had, for its era, a well-thought out system of religions. Skill and level advancement was nicely designed, however, as with many online games power-leveling through macro-scripting was common, particularly for spell-casters. Through the use of GEnie's proprietary (and spam-free) message board system, the game included a lively public discussion area, as well as private areas for guilds and other special interest groups.
One constant problem was the disruptive effects of player-vs.-player (PvP) combat. Even the most peaceful, non-violent player-character could be repeatedly ambushed, killed and robbed by what came to be known as "feral" players. This lead to the discontinuation of the vampiric Muatana-al as an available race for new characters. Over time and considerable trial and error, various rule-changes were devised to abate these problems, including the option for a player to become non-PvP.
In the mid-1990s Dragon's Gate, along with all of GEnie, suffered from the poor management of the service by General Electric. As GEnie collapsed, Dragon's Gate moved to AOL. Although it has long been overshadowed by such massive-multiplayer games as Ultima and Everquest, there continues to be an active online Dragon's Gate community. ~ Richard Gilliam, All Game Guide