Okay, so Outremer isn't even open yet (it opens in about two weeks) ... why am I submitting a review? Three reasons:
1) The theme. It manages to be both entirely original, and totally accessible. You saw the movie "Musketeer" or "Brotherhood of the Wolf" and read the Three Musketeers? You like dashing swashbuckling, subtle manipulations, and crafty scheming? Add a little magic, a couple of races, and a brand new world designed for conflictual factional role-play, and you've got Outremer!
There are currently three factions. The King's Immortals, the Queen's Escort, and the Cardinal's Guard. Play is limited to one city and its environs, to keep the RP rolling. And the history is full of possibilities for great RP--the old king was assassinated, the new king is young and hot-headed, the Queen was banned from the castle but has her own power-base, and the Cardinal has his own cunnning plans!
2) The imms. The head Outremer imms were imms on one of my first games. They're excellent. They don't play favorites, they don't make half-baked decisions based on whim and froth, and they complement each other perfectly. One of them, Duke, will probably be running the global plots--as players investigate the old King's assassination, say, or deal with border skirmishes breaking out with a neighboring kingdom, and so on. He'll also be keeping the game world entirely consistent; he's the resident whip-cracker. Another, Minion will(again, probably) be dealing mostly with 'tiny plots'--so if your character's background includes some great hooks for RP, she'll follow up on them ... possibly to your great surprise, but definitely
to your great entertainment. And a third, Vin, is as dedicated and devious an RPer as you'll find!
There's only two problems with them. First, they're quite dedicated to maintaining the consistency and realism of the game-world, and they have high standards. They're friendly, and they'll help out if you're a newbie, but they have high expectations of their players and not a lot of patience with twinks (not that that's ever been a problem for *me*, of course!). Second, they don't play favorites. : )
3) The level of (anticipated) play. I am, sorry to say, no longer a teenager. My days of H&S play are over, and I prefer a more mature, nuanced, and intelligent game. I like plots and schemes, I like wheels within wheels ... and I -still-, despite my advanced age, demand a game on which stuff still happens! I don't want a chat-fest, where everyone sits around posing and nothing ever happens. Outremer looks like it's gonna be my perfect game. (Depending on that most important of ingredients: players.)
But will it be yours? I'd say you ought to check it out if you're a bit older than many gamers (or young, but a stand-out RPer), if you want to really immerse yourself in a gameworld and aren't afraid of reading a few newsfiles, and if you don't mind joining a new game that's still being developed.
Right now, for example, the combat system is very much like table-top gaming. This is not a consent-based game (though death will happen quite infrequently, many duels and such will probably occur), and you -can- be injured or killed against your wishes. But the combat system isn't entirely automated yet. Instead, you 'roll' a die in-game, and either go through combat blow-by-blow or just decidewho would win and then describe the fight in whatever detail you wish, as long as that outcome occurs. (Or, of course, if your brawny King's Immortal is fighting my waifish clerk, we could just assume you'd win, without rolling, and go from there.)
You probably should -not- check out Outremer if you want to play a typical thief/assassin/evildoer (the shades of good and evil are much more subtle on Outremer; instead of good vs. evil it's often 'my good' vs. 'your good.'). You shouldn't play if you want to kill a bunch of stuff and go up levels. You shouldn't play if you want magic items and loads of gold and all that typical stuff. But if, instead, you want to create a unique character in a fantastic, but
developing, world, for conflict-ridden social RP, I'll see you there!