Today, it is mostly remembered as a waypoint for players awaiting Ultima Online and EverQuest, as it had cornered a market that was a powder keg, just waiting for the killer MMORPG. Today, it prides itself on its low requirements and friendliness to those with dial-up or otherwise poor connections, though boasting a player base of a humble 200 or fewer simultaneous users most of the time.
Also of historical significance is its use of a separate map for battles — it's generally credited as the first MMORPG to use instances for this reason.
The official website is here.
- Absurdly High Level Cap: Even in The '90s, the level cap soared well into the thousands. EXP tables have a fairly low curve, and higher levels have increasingly diminishing returns.
- A Homeowner Is You: Following in the mold of its younger rival Ultima Online, later versions of The Realm added player housing, which is entirely instanced.
- Anti-Grinding: Experience received from monsters decreases as you level up, forcing you to stick with monsters around your level.
- Continuing is Painful: For the first few years, the death penalty was very steep. You would lose 10% of your overall exp (likely deleveling multiple times) and any items without an enchantment that let you take them with you. As competition became increasingly steep, the penalties steadily dropped.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Around the turn of the millennium, this became the norm — with a small EXP penalty and recoverable item loss becoming the penalty, which is the current MMORPG standard.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: A cave near the starter town is literally named Newbie Cave.
- Item Crafting: Present to an extent, and one of the earliest graphical MMORPGs to have this feature. Wearables couldn't be outright created, but could be enchanted — a necessity for higher level players.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: High level players can be this, as classes has relatively small importance. Any player can learn to do anything, with skills being stat-locked, so player class is more of a springboard.
- Karma Meter: An originally unseen scale of good and evil, which would change depending on what types of monsters you fought. Affected certain abilities and interactions, such as interactions with fairies.
- Long-Runners: Online for 20 years and counting, as of June 2017, and has held the title of longest running graphical MMORPG since around 2004.
- Palette Swap: Given how high the level cap is, it's only natural that monsters are palette swapped a lot.
- Turn-Based Combat: It use a weighted turn based system, with certain actions requiring more time than others.
- Twinking: Very possible, as there are no level limits on items. Furthermore, more experienced players can enchant items of newer players.
- Unknown Item Identification: A feature of the game, potions and other consumables often are not identified when dropped by monsters. These items can have adverse effects.