A Tale in the Desert has launched its eighth Telling since 2003


Last summer, we included classic sandbox A Tale in the Desert in our Whatever Happened To column as one of those games that had just slipped off our radar. That was because of how relatively quiet the game had become since its ownership changeover in 2014 and seventh Telling in 2015. Back then, there were whispers of an eighth Telling – that’s the world reboot the game periodically goes through – but there’d been nothing major since.

Until now. ATITD sent out a news blast to players this week alerting them to the fact that the beta test for the Tale 8 is complete and the real deal has launched as of yesterday..

“Tale 8 introduces factions to the game, upon leaving Welcoming Island you must decide on a faction you wish to be apart of,” says Pluribus Games. “Your interactions with your faction will be rewarded, giving you new powers to build community buildings and participate in community events.”

It’s a bit out of date now, but we did a detailed piece on how the game works back on Old Massively – it’s worth a look if you’re just angling for the history of the first MMO that tried world reboots and fully non-combat gameplay.

Source: Official site, newsletter. Thanks so much, Eboni!

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Cyclone Jack
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Cyclone Jack

Grats to them! I remember playing in Tale 3 or 4. I keep meaning to look into this again, so now may be a good time.


I’ve played it several times for a few weeks. My main problem is that the game is incredibly complex and you need to invest a tremendous amount of time if you want to get anything done. But everything is linear and hierarchical and that means if you start too late and others already did the group tests then you can’t do them. The population is small, there are plenty of those tests and no incentive really to redo them simply because it is a relatively competitive game (the game does not simply reboot randomly but there are monuments to be build as trigger). With the tremendous effort it takes to get there (years of dedicated WORK, I call it that deliberately and don’t use the term “play”) people aren’t interested to give others freebies and move them through the tests.
On top the game is so tedious and complex that nobody alone can get anywhere but there is no ingame currency or auction house. The teller system players developed finally is based on a virtual out-of-game currency and exchange of items and receiving the virtual currency on the website has to happen in realtime in the game. When I played it was insanely difficult to get a teller on at the times I could be online and the prices were very high for someone who has not a lot of playtime and is new to the game. Dragging myself through the gameplay with that lot of effort and then just loosing it all while I constantly hit the “Nobody anymore around to do this test or join that event” wall drove me away every time.


This is one of those games that I don’t understand who plays them.

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I did, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

It was many tales ago and driven by curiosity for something different. And it was.

Maybe it starts out pretty basic, but the lack of combat and focus on community plus story really is something. There are also plenty of intricate crafting systems and ad hoc in-game services put together by the players.

I remember an event that ran long ago where Pharaoh himself (main dev, who even gave out his cell phone number freely at the time) sent out an in-character call for help as a lead scientist was ill. He was working on two projects, both desirable new features for the game. Players could contribute resources to help complete either project before it was too late.

As the event concluded in full RP style Pharaoh promptly chided the player base for having focused so much on the obvious goals and completely ignored any possibilities for actually helping cure the scientist, thus achieving *both* goals and saving a life.

Stunned silence followed. I still remember that as one of the most profound moments in a game I’ve ever played.

Be Ro

Mainly those folk who don’t want to go dungeon bashing, play with magic, or combat but instead want to make friends, and solve a myriad of puzzles.