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Old 02-17-2010, 11:18 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2010
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Enthralled is on a distinguished road
Tears of Polaris initial impressions

I have been following Tears of Polaris from the first week it was announced over two years ago. I was initially highly involved on their forums, eagerly reading the updates and speculating on what the game would be like. As the release date was pushed back however I slowly stopped coming back and it fell off my radar. Then a few weeks ago I revived the email about the preview weekend and I decided to check it out.

The preview was billed as mainly a test of the newbie introduction so I was not expecting much beyond that. It was a pleasant surprise to find that multiple skills were unlocked for us to try out after we finished the intro.

The intro itself was fun, if you have seen an Iron Realm Entertainment (IRE) intro before it is similar in style, though obviously the setting (spaceships!) was far different. Unlike the other IRE intros I have been through though this one contained a branch where the player is asked to make a choice and depending on that choice you get to see two different endings. While simple I felt that it added a nice touch and I hope the trend continues into the later low level areas.

After the intro we were able to stick around and try out a fair selection of skills. ToP introduces a bunch of new concepts to IRE muds and we were able to get a taste of a few of them. From phasers to advanced PvE combat (unlike other IRE games I have played many of your abilities are able to target npcs) to a new affliction/cure system.

I think the biggest change was the way the skill system works. In other IRE games you have to learn each ability in a skill in order. Often the best abilities are placed at the end, forcing you to spend lessons on a bunch of abilities that you have little use for just to get the ones you want. In ToP you can directly buy abilities in almost any order. You could really feel the change in how effeciently you could spend your starting lessons. There is also no concept of a guild, you just pick the archetype you like and then pick any abilities you want from the available skills. I felt like I had much greater control over my character under this system.

You can see the skills and abilities we had access to on the player run wiki. My personal favorite of the ones we were able to play around with was virology. Empathy was also a big hit with the players, running around making people suicidal never got old.

So for only being a small portion of the overall mud it really got me excited again. I still have lots of questions on how space travel will work, hopefully they can do another preview weekend before the game starts that highlights space travel.

As a long time (over ten years) player of various IRE muds I really like the direction ToP seems to be taking and I look forward to seeing the final result (hopefully sooner rather than later!).
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