Role Playing Games: Choosing an Iron Realms Game

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Iron Realms has, to date, five games eligible for play, and another in the making. Although each of these addicting games have a fantasy theme to them, there are some significant differences between the games that may affect your rpg play style completely. Having been someone who has a permanent character on each game, save one, I have had a lot of time to think about good advice for anyone who is interested in trying out a new Iron Realms text game.


Know the "theme."

Each of the games tends to have at least one major "theme" behind it. For instance, Imperian is the battle between the forces of magick, anti-magick and demonic, whereas Achaea seems to go the route of the more traditional good versus evil. Learning the theme, or the ultimate idea behind an online game will help with transitioning to a new game, as well as help in character building. If you go into a game where the debate of good vs. evil is unrelated raving about how you are evil incarnate, you'll probably get some weird looks from any organization you attempt to go to. The "themes" behind each rpg game also have a huge affect on organizations, how players act, and my next point, the history behind the games themselves.


Get to know the history.

Each of the Iron Realms games has a rich history that has had an effect on how the current world works. From the creation of the Gods to the creation of the mortal races, how a City was founded or how certain powers came to be, there are many different things that player's can use to help them build a background. Not only can it help you develop a background for your character, but it might be able to help you narrow down your choices on what Organizations you want to be involved in, which leads me to my next point of advice.


Learn about the organizations.

Cities, Guilds (or Houses), Councils, Orders, Families, Clans... there are a lot of rpg organizations out there! Look on the website of the text game of your choice and see what sorts of information can be found. Start with Cities or Councils, depending on your game, and see what they have to offer, this will help you narrow down your search. From there, see what Guilds or Houses they support, and what Classes (or Professions) each of those allow. Once you have an idea of what you want to work towards, you can look into learning more or start setting up your character. Choosing a City/Council first in some rpg games can help narrow down most of your choices for all other organizations. For instance, if you decide you want to belong to the city of Stavenn in Imperian, that limits your choices of Guilds down to about five, your choice of Divine also to five, and there is a good chance you will or will not be able to belong to certain Clans, Families, etc.


Learn about the players.

This one is a little tricky. The best way to go about learning about the other players is to just jump into the rpg game and see how they react to each other. An example of this would be that Aetolia is the only IRE game that I do not have a permanent character on. So, at the request of a friend, I rolled one up and checked the rpg game out, wanting to get to know the play-style typical to most players before I decided if I wanted to actually stick around. I was amazed at the detail that goes into the emotes and the role play some people participate in! It is impressive, but wasn't what I was looking for at 2 A.M. on a weeknight, so I lurked, learned and came back to build a character to keep later.


Another way to possibly go about learning about the players behind the game would be to check the rpg game's forums. Do this with caution, and take everything you read with a grain of salt! Often times players go to forums because it gives them an avenue to express when they are frustrated, so it can appear that the role playing game, or the players, aren't worth getting into. There can be good things on the forums, however. If you're interested in role play, see if there is a section for that you can look through to see other people's experiences. Likewise with combat and general information. These are just two ideas that can help you get to know the players and their play-style in the role playing game you're interested in trying.


These are probably not the only things that you can do to start to ease the transition into a new online text based rpg. What other advice can you give to players who want to attempt the migration from one Iron Realms game to another? 


Megan Elizabeth is a text game enthusiast who enjoys the best rpg games from Iron Realms!


Adapting to the different games' conventions and enviornments is one of the most common roadblocks I see before new players. They come in with pre-conceived notions about how the world works, and it really hurts them in the long run, rather than learning about the game's world and fitting in how they can.

I think it's really important to be flexible. As a newbie, you can't just waltz in and say "this is who I am and this is what I do!" You have to soak in the way of things and learn the ropes. If you have a pre-set idea of the character you want to play, there are subtle and appropriate ways to manifest those character traits.

I read through most of the history and the race/class/city/commune information on the website before creating my character in Lusternia. I got a sense that it would be a very rich world that I could be a part of, then I went ahead and tried it out.


I concur.

I do the same, before even starting a game I spend atleast a couple hours reading up about, especially if it has races/classes/history that should all be roleplayed well with your personality.

The idea that the portal of fate suppresses memory helps here. An all purpose excuse, but not to be a jerk.

A million times, this.


Aerek, you always say the right things.


Very true. Our guild undersecretaries (novice guides) sometimes run into newbies that spurn all aid offered just because they're veterans in another IRE games, not thinking that the dynamic in other games would be different

Yes, I encountered this a lot as GA. A newbie would have a bit of a chip on his shoulder because he's played other games - sometimes other IRE games but often not even that - and thinks playing the part of a newbie is beneath him. Then he'll realize how different this game is, and start asking questions on the Newbie channel, which the guild orientation would've answered for him pre-emptively.

A static world inevitably is a boring world. Perhaps the holy grail of a good MUD is one that a player can actually influence, empowering them and creating a consistently new experience.

Yes I agree with this, learning the world is half the fun of learning to play.

Aye, seen it far too often.

It can be difficult to fit a character into a world without first playing in it a little bit. Even though I've been hooked onto Achaea since I started years ago, it took several characters for me to actually find a place to stick around.

Interesting read.

or you could've started playing ten years ago when the decision was much easier

You might move on to something else much later when you're sick of the same old character!

Or just play Achaea. Really!

What she said!



No way!

Achaea is certainly my drug of choice. Heh.


Achaea is amazing and complicated and fun!

Be very sure what is the difference and don't bring the characteristics of one game to another.

Nah, play Aetolia.

It was interesting, but ultimately it wasn't my kind of game. Deciding on the theme you want to play is pretty important I would say, especially as you grow older in the game and want to roleplay and participate with everyone.


I basically end up playing the same character on every game.


I've noticed I do this also, or at least teh same *tpye* of chatacter.

I find this intresting, because if I cannot differentiate my character's mindsets and beliefes, I inevitably get bored of them.


I am getting more and more annoyed that some of my characters are beginning to sound like one another

So do I. I had three characters before I stuck with this one, and all of them ended up as a silent forestal type. My first was a dawnstrider in shallam back in the days of guilds, and i tried the shaman, runewarden, and priest classes before I found my additction to being a forestal.

Two of my favorite things to do in Achaea were fishing and exploring. In Midkemia it turns out I actually get experience for doing both of those things. It's become rather enjoyable for me as a reward for finding new places and catching different fishies.

:D I started in MKO and tried other games. Was sad that exploring didn't give you exp.


:) Yes I just chose Aetolia right now from news..

because of the undead vs mortal theme


I like midkemia.


SUPER stoked for Tears of Polaris

Aye, I didn't play during it's preview/open beta but I'll definitely have a look on release.

Agreed, as awsome as fantasy is it will be nice to go sci-fi for awhile!

I look forward to at least trying it too!


The crappy thing about choosing is the time investment (and usually money investment) is then stuck in that game. I have played Achaea and Imperian. I haven't even bothered doing more than logging in Lusty or Aeto since I don't want to recreate omnitrans characters again.

Don't choose the same name in different games if you don't want to be have the history of the other game sticking to you.

Hey I never use Koe in other games! I use names from the Ginga series like Gin and Akame. lP

I've tried all the other IRE games and Midkemia is the tops for me. :D


Where is the Midkemia hotlink in this article? For shame :(

Lusternia is the way to go!@

Hear hear!

Totally true. We're the best.


Try out some of the other IRE games some time :3

Great read though

It's quite fun seeing the different styles.

It's quite fun seeing the different styles.


maybe i need to look at something other than Achaea


Well written article.  I think the information provided is a fairly good skeleton outline to use of you wanted to weigh each IRE game and consider which one would be best suited for not only the person playing but the character youa re choosing to play.

Achaea is the only one I play.  I've tried the others, they're too familiarly unfamiliar.


I noticed this too. In fact, I think I tried one 8 years ago and it had the same city names as Achaea, but I can't be certain. It was as if I was in Shallam but there was no Basilica. I remember asking a priest there who they followed if there was no Chrch.


It's moot now...


I think it was Imperium, but it was years ago.

I think it was probably Aetolia, the other games have no similiar areas though....I think..

Just play MKO, we needz moar people!


Not sure, I enjoy the small player base as we can know everyone who actively plays

Part of the reason I stick with Achaea and not other IRE games is b/c of the lower amounts of people there, but maybe I'll try it!

I've so far made a character in both Aetolia and Imperian, and neither game really got to me like Lusternia did. But a lot of it comes down to not knowing the history, which really drew me in to Lusternia and allowed me to do everything else on the list. For Aetolia and Imperian, I've never got a good sense of the history, so the 'themes' don't work for me, and it became hard to just reroll new characters to learn about the various orgs. In Lusternia, I've now had a char, never a permanent one, in every city/commune and most non-warrior guilds, which has really helped to understand the tone of game and at this point, I will never leave.


 Midkemia Online and Achaea have just never piqued my interest, for some reason.

for me, ease of learning a game is what draws me.  so far after trying out all the other IRE games, Midkemia was the easiest to get into as well as learn how to actually play a MUD.  

I have to say Lusternia was the easier game of them all so far to get into. The players seemed more helpful then other games but could just be my bad timing.


Even the basic world map seems easier to understand with the landmarks and the skills then the other games.


As for the history well I have to say I am still learning it as I go but with a lot of player made books it is easy to understand and get into.

Interesting read.

I'm just getting used to how Imperian works, I don't think I'd want to start another just to split my time between the two

Jump in and enjoy. First thing that is good to do is find a newbie friend to hang out with and figure things out with, it'll help both of you enjoy it more and stay in the game. More experienced friends are good too, but a lot of the time I find they are really busy with other stuff, so a newbie friend is nice to have.

Then find us! We do love helping the newbies best! What's more fun then seeing things through the eyes of new ones, rediscovering what it was that first drew me to Lusternia in the first place!

Choose Achaea.

Played Achaea a year or two, didn't fit in very well. Played Aetolia 6 years now on and off. Good game.

very good

How about that Aetolia eh?

Achaea FTW!


Doesn't that mean "Fail To Win"?


For the win!

Ya achaea is where it's at haha and aetolia is decent

I enjoyed this one, and the comments too.



People prefer the games they've gotten good at, and some play them all

I couldn't choose between a few IRE games, so I ended up playing them all!

I have played every single one of IRE and have loved achea,aetolia, and now im loving midkemia. I am really enjoying it bause of the authors rift wars series and his history as a tolkien fan and D&D player.

The Variety is a good thing. Its nice to be able to switch games and do something differnt, instead of knowing im stuck in one world. If I get bored I can become a Vampire or if I want too I can become a Thief or whatever. I then can play to my hearts desire.

I'm too lazy to learn a lot of new things, and make a new system for something besides Achaea.

Maybe I'll read up on another IRE game though, and give it a try!

I can't choose. I guess I'll just play em all

I can't help it!

IRE is just way too good at what they do!



Thank you for this. I have tried other MUDs, but the theme of Achaea fits what I like to be around, the complexity is just enough to be challenging and not overwhelming. 

I tried all cities in Achaea and was best served with Mhaldor because I hated the chatting over ct and ht in the other cities and houses. It took me a while, but I am happy now and would probably create an alt also in Mhaldor.

The games themselves aren't differnent enough to warrant having different games in my opinion, they just detract from each other.

The only two games that are really alike are Achaea and Aetolia. I've played Achaea for 8 years and Lusternia for 4, they are basically polar-opposites gamewise and even mechanics-wise.. so I don't know what you're talking about.

I've tried a few of the other IRE games, but they didn't stick.


The other cool thing about each game is that the Players make it that much more entertaining and different from one another. How you have the game set up is one thing (Which IRE is pretty pro in this factor) but allowing it to be open for the players to pick where things are going and how to get there makes it quite easy to get addicted.

Can't agree with this article more. After playing Achaea for little less than nine years, I finally decided to try something else and found that I couldn't just switch over and play the same sort of character. Tried something completely different from what I was used to in Aetolia and I have not been happier.

I think population also has a huge impact on a game. For instance, Achaea has such a large player base that sometimes it feels like you're just a face in the crowd where as it seems that you can quickly become a SOMEBODY in a smaller game because you're almost immediately noticed if you play a decent sort of character.

is one of the things I prefer in the game.

Every game style is quite unique. I've tried Aetolia, which I figured would be easier to get into because of its similarities to Achaea, but the entire feel of it was way different.

aetolia =D

There will be idiots in all games so just avoid them and the chances are you enjoy any of the 5 you play.

the games started about the same and have split off to their own thing

I fully agree with the forum thing. It is not to far stretched for me to conclude that 99% of the people on the forum are lonely narcissistic nobodies seeking to fore fill their otherwise meaningless existences, by trolling people. I swear I am not bitter either >_>  ..honestly!

Now the other 1% are nice and very helpful, so the grain of salt thing is a perfect analogy here.


In regard to picking a game I think it is a matter of choice and the people you meet in said game.

Thanks for the article

Each one is so different.

I want to see what the new game looks like.

People who are planning to start playing one of IRE games should read this... its very helpful for others, too, especially if one hasn't tried all the games yet.

I have to say, when I choose a guild/house in an IRE game that I have not played before, I dont really know anything about the one I pick. Luckily I like the one im in.

Maybe the best way is to just try them all and see which fits you the best.

Be fun to try them all

My experience is that Lusternia is the best, though all the games have certain things about them that they could share with other games to make them better, such as giving kegs to achaea, waterwalk to aetolia and removing affinity from Lusternia.

I've only ever played Achaea for a longer time. But I somehow feel like trying Midkemia, just because I love R.E.Feist.

Reputation can lead to prejudging, which is what I've always done after only briefly trying Achaea, then the house change really cemented by disinterest. Lusternia seemed unattractive to me originally due to what seemed like an autolandish premise, but I've found it the most enjoyable out of all the ones I've tried (excluding Imperian as I've never tried it). MKO is my current one, but it has a long way to go.

I think I've created almost a character on each game but everytime i think of the hours and hours of bashing and quests I have done to get some gold with Gamden,so everytime i go back and continue his Achaea is the best

Good read!

Is there an article with more information about the themes of each?

I tried other IRE games, but only Achaea gets me every time logging in for hours.

... for quality over quantity. No offense, Achaea. Aetolia seemed to emo for me, and MKO seems a bit too barren for me at the moment. Though it's fun, too, they have this strange and awesome new combat system.

I've played several of the realms :O Each is great in their own fashion after lets you branch out with near 0 risk to violate HELP SECONDS rules for alternative characters.

I have tried all of the IRE games for at least for a couple of hours but none have hold my attention as long as Achaea has.

I started my ir gaming with aetolia.  That stuck for a while but, I got tired of the atleast to my eyes nothing matters but who you can pk. then I went to lusternia and so far that's been my fav.  Unlike the writer of this artical I can't say I've tried the others though so far lusternia is the best one I've played.

To date, I've tried making a character in every IRE game but Imperian, but I have never been able to get any of them to stick save for Lusternia, where I started. I didn't really expect to be so drawn into it- it was just a game I'd started playing as an excuse to not go to sleep the night before the upcoming semester started- but here I am, still playing nearly two years later, unable to quit. Not that I'd want to! It was really the design system and the incredibly deep history that hooked me. History of the Elder Wars anyone?? So sad that it's over, but it was so great to be playing when new Books were released, especially the Book of Bollikin (which nearly brought me to tears!)

I've tried all of them and at first thought they were mere carbon copies of Achaea with different themes implanted. Midkemia is actually a bit different mechanically which was nice to see and Lusternia at least redesigned skillsets. I personally kind of like being a lost soul in a big world so I usually stick to Achaea. I would advise against looking at the forums though. Nearly scared me away on more than one occasion.

I started out on Achaea when it was the first IRE game, then jumped to Aetolia when it first opened. Achaea was fun then, but I was immediately hooked with my first set of characters on Aetolia. Ended up leaving Achaea and my character was later removed. Never really looked back. I also have permanent characters on Imperian and Lusternia, both of which I enjoyed the first year or so they were open, but I always bring my focus back to Aetolia.

Sometimes when you find that niche, it's almost impossible to give other games the attention they require. Good thing there's a good variety of IRE players with different tastes. :)

I bounce back and forth between Achaea and Lusternia every year or so. Between the Basin and Sapience, I typically meet my quota of fun and variety, since the two seem to be more or less the most opposite realms within the IRE games.

I've tried the other IRE games but I'm hooked on Achaea, it's where I've spent all my money

In no other of the IRE games have I been able to find the quality of people and gameplay as in Achaea. Of course, I've never seen as much blatant ass-hatery either, but it's so much minor to the potential for epicness in Achaea.

Free credit.


The main difference between all of the IRE games is more on story and less on dynamics. Pick it on what suits your preference. If you like supernatural stuff go with Aetolia. If you like planar adventures, Lusternia. And so, on. Definitetly take the time to read the lore on each of the games.


I tried getting into the others but it didn't last long... I am too comfortable with Achaea



I chose Achaea because it had the most players.

Free credit.

Om nom nom

achaea on and off for about 7-8 years now on different chars. no matter what I do I just can't give up being an infernal for some reason.


Advice about forums is best, I think. Grain of salt or not, but the only alternative is to waste hours(months?) just to find that you won't like the game anyway.

the green-ish dragon wearing a cape looks like a toned-down Shrek from behind.

I still like Achaea the most, but when I'm in the mood for more in-depth and consistent RP, I'll switch over to Aetolia.

But I never really got hooked by it.

But I never really got hooked by it.



we have mango :)

i love those!

I liked Achaea the most, Midkemia was my least favorite

I never gave much thought to trying any other IRE games, but now I think that I might.

Me too.

And while I've tried Aetolia, Achaea and Midkemia, I have to say that the transition from one to another was anything but smooth. In Aetolia, my problem was that most of the "established" folks seemed to take for granted where everything was and how to make it work, where someone coming in from another game was only all too confused and had a difficult time catching up. Novice requirements took MUCH longer than they ought to have, since even basic tasks were, by that time, so uninstinctual to me that there was a lot of frustration. Plus, the sheer number of AFK folk who likely COULD have helped, but simply could not be bothered to answer a novice for four hours straight left me with little hope and much frustration in the way of possible advancement, or indeed, even being able to get my ass out of the one section of the city I was stuck in.

In Achaea, (Or maybe it was just the organizations) I found that folks were generally more willing to be helpful, only there wasn't a lot of them around. And so, once again, I'm left wandering the wild world with no idea where I'm going, what I'm doing, no direction to help tell me what I'm looking for. The maps were nothing like what I was used to, and I was mostly wandering around blind for several hours. Once again, nothing seemed intuitive to an Imperianite, and finding help was hard to do. Though I did notice in both games a lot of Imperianite names being recycled as far as characters went.

I honestly had very little hope for Midkemia when I tried it out, this being back when it was rather new to the Iron Realms sphere. I'd heard that it was reflective of some kind of book series, and people seemed genuinely excited about it. "Interesting!" I thought, "I could get in on the beginning of a game, and be there when things are built and created, and be a part of the core!" Sadly, this was not to be. People were so fixated on grabbing up what power they could that there was no one left to explain anything about... pretty much anything. And for someone who'd never even HEARD of the books before then (And still can't remember for the life of me what the hell they were called) you find yourself just as lost. I gave it a few months, though, and came back to check it out again, only to find that things in full-swing were even more confusing than they had been when people were scrambling madly.

Perhaps part of the reason that I managed to get into and enjoy Imperian from the beginning was that there was already someone who had established themselves in the game willing to help me out, provide a roleplay background and prop me up while I tried to figure out the system. Without that added benefit in other worlds, though, I'm afraid floundering around without any beacon of help isn't much fun. Especially when those other places seem so daydreamy there's no real hope for connection or roleplay to draw any interest whatsoever.

Also, having to rebuild a system from scratch for people who are hopeless with coding and haven't any idea how to do pretty much anything with the system they HAVE far less designing a new one, is a hopelessly daunting task that will eliminate a HUGE portion of the incomming player-base. It nearly took me out of Imperian more times than not, and that's the game I actually LIKED.

I started playing without a clue how the world of Achaea looks like. I'm glad it was like that. It's been nine ingame years from then, and my character is still evolving. 

Achaea was my first and love it, though I've tried the others.

orginal the best

whatever -- AETOLIA!!!

As someone looking to play an IRE game and unable to figure out which I'd prefer or fit best with, I found this article and the comments mostly unhelpful. From just "jumping in" all the games seem identical. All the lore is just typical/cliche fantasy, which is fine, but it doesn't really help in figuring out which to play. I'm not looking to create a specific character as much as I'm looking to create a character that fits into a fun-to-play-in environment. Are all of these games exactly identical in how they play, just have different lore? That seems to be what this article is saying.


Is one more PvP focused and one more questing focused? Does one have better crafting than the other? Does one have a system that lets you earn experience without fighting? In any of them can I work as a miner, lumberjack, or farmer and still level up and learn new skills?