Tales of Maj'Eyal last edited by infek on 06/23/18 11:20PM View full history

Overview

Tales of Maj'Eyal is an indie roguelike for PC and Mac that has been through many iterations under different names.

Gameplay

ToME includes many accessibility features, intended to address the genre's tendencies for obtuse interfaces and low-fidelity presentation. The game can be controlled entirely with a mouse, with a keyboard, or a combination of the two. By default, ToME uses 2D tile graphics, although there are also options to use traditional ASCII-based visuals.

Players unlock races and classes by discovering archetypal examples in the game world. For example, fighting a powerful necromancer will unlock the ability to play as a skeleton or ghoul. Identification of items is made easy (too easy, some would argue,) by the inclusion of an item that identifies most items when you stand over them, and unique items when you invoke its powers, allowing for the sense of discovery without too much time investment. The primary game mode is a lengthy single player campaign, although there are also unlockable infinite dungeon and arena modes.

The overworld and towns are standardized, but the set dungeon locations are randomized, as are their loot, layout, and some of their monsters, although monsters tend to be themed within each location. There are also random locations that can lead to extra adventures. The game's difficulty varies depending upon the area being explored, but there is moderate scaling for unexplored areas.

Release

The game is free and open source and can be downloaded on the official website. In 2013, a commercial version was made available for purchase from online stores such as Steam and Desura. This version unlocks a few extra features such as custom player tile graphics and an online vault for transferring items between characters. These features are also granted to players who donate to the developer directly.

Development

ToME began in the late 1990s as a rewrite of PernAngband 5.x, which itself was a variant of the open source roguelike Angband. Throughout its history, ToME has been developed primarily by a single designer: Nicolas "DarkGod" Casalini. Around 2002, PernAngband was retitled to Tales of Middle Earth or Troubles of Middle Earth, and its references to Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern fiction were excised and replaced with Tolkien-themed elements. Versions of ToME 1 and ToME 2 were released throughout the middle part of the decade, up to at least 2008. ToME 2 was notable for introducing several experimental and over-the-top concepts. For example, one of the player races was Death Mold, a sentient fungus that lacked the ability to walk. The player would have to rely on on blink and teleport spells to move. Another unusual option was the ability to create a character as a Lost Soul, meaning that a new level 1 character would start in the Halls of Mandos, a level 98 dungeon. Obviously, most Lost Souls would be killed nearly instantly, but sometimes through use of luck, clever tactics, and/or abuse of stair-scumming, a Lost Soul could survive and escape the dungeon, having gained a great head start from the high-level treasure found within.

The next major revision was ToME 4, which was built in and released alongside T-Engine 4, a new game engine. At this point, the Middle Earth references were also toned down or removed, and the game was renamed to Tales of Maj'Eyal. ToME 4 first introduced the more graphical user interface, including the MMO-like action bar.

Expansions

The first DLC expansion Ashes of Urh'Rok (2014) adds demon-themed content to the base game, including new zones, a new playable race, and new classes: the Doombringer and Demonologist.

Embers of Rage (2016) is a larger expansion that adds an alternate single-player campaign set on the eastern continent of Var'Eyal. Players take on the role of an orc, yeti, or minotaur who must rebuild their civilization after it was crushed by the protagonist of the original Tales of Maj'Eyal campaign. This expansion also adds new classes and a system of steam-powered technology.

Released in 2018, the third major DLC Forbidden Cults is themed around Lovecraftian horror and adds new playable classes: the Writhing One and the Cultist of Entropy, and two new races: the Drem and Krog. Also added are several new zones, monsters, items and other content.

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