Doing something a bit different today. Usually for this series I post about old PC games, specifically DOS games, but this time I’m gonna talk about an old MMO, one that was text-only.
Shimlar is an MMO that I discovered back in high school. A neighbor told me about it, and we both started playing. I played it a lot for a couple years, getting a couple high-level characters before moving on with my life at University.
Shimlar is presented as a text-only game. You roll a character, choose a race and class (basic stuff like elves or dwarves and mages or soldiers, etc). Each race has a home area, where you have the same basic locations (healing locations, banks, stores, and so on).
For combat, you choose an enemy name from a drop down list. The list is in ascending order in terms of difficulty; grind against the earlier enemies on the list before tackling those at the bottom or you’ll be wiped out. Occasionally you’ll fight against special versions of enemies, who have different stats and may drop rare items. You’ll level up quickly in your starting zone, and can choose which stats get more of a boost. I typically played elven mages, so I would use spells instead of weapons. Basic stuff.
Once you felt you’d leveled up enough, you could venture outside your starting area. The main overworld was much larger, and was also a PvP area (you were safe from other players as long as you stayed in your starting area).
You could visit other starting areas, but they were all mostly the same.
Each character had an alignment stat. Depending on if you fought other players in the overworld, you could alter your characters alignment, from good to neutral to evil. There were certain late-game areas that were only accessible if you had the corresponding alignment.
There was a constant chat window on the bottom of the screen. This was divided into the main chat and role-play chat. This was in the days before Twitter or even Facebook, back in the “web 1.0” days I guess they might be retroactively called.
Occasionally, enemies would drop gems of different types. These could be fitted to weapons or spells to grant stat boosts. You’d constantly see people offering to buy, trade, or sell these in the main chat.
One unique area in the overworld offered quests. Earlier I mentioned the special types of enemies you’d occasionally run into. These quests would have you track down and defeat specific ones.
The game offered clans you could join. I guess most of what I’ve been typing is run-of-the-mill for MMOs, with the only thing to set Shimlar apart is the text-only approach. You had lists of links to click, directional arrows to click, drop-down menus, nothing visual. It was all played in a browser. This was back before my family had Internet access at home, so I’d play it a lot whenever I went online at the local public library. I’d also play it a lot on library computers at my University my first year there.
In the end, Shimlar didn’t really do much unique. You had traditional level-up systems, characters mastering different weapons/spells, some PvP, quests to complete, an active chat community back in the day. It was a fun way to kill time.
I briefly revisited this game a year ago, surprised to see that it still existed. Of course, my old characters had long since disappeared (they have server wipes at least twice a year, with inactive characters being removed).
I might update this if I remember more about Shimlar, but until then, does anyone else remember this game?