1. What kind of game is Aetolia?

Iron Realms Entertainment, our parent company, makes MUDs. Like all the mainstream graphical MMOs, we're an open realm where players from all over the world can come together and interact on the same server. Unlike those guys, we're text-based. That means that anyone who can read and write in English (or wishes to learn to do so!) can play our game, even the visually impaired.

Aetolia is essentially a virtual world where thousands of people live alternate lives and interact in real-time. When you begin, you'll create a character, pick a name and gender, pick a race (like human, imp, troll, etc.), and then you'll be given the option to be led through a short introduction to the game. This introduction only scratches the surface for you. As you learn more about the world you're in and progress, options will open up like traveling to other continents, running for political office, becoming a merchant, joining a religion, going to war, and far more.

Now here's what will really blow your mind: There are almost no graphics. Almost everything is done using text. Hard to imagine, isn't it? The only way to really 'get' it is to start playing. It'll seem unfamiliar at first, but soon you'll find that your mind creates images a whole lot better than a 3D game developer can, and you may start looking at 3D worlds as a bit cartoony and awkward.

2. How much does it cost to play?

Nothing! Aetolia is completely free to play, and we do not run third-party ads on any of our sites. You do, however, have the opportunity to purchase credits which will allow you to speed your progress towards certain goals in-game. They are entirely optional, and anything you can attain with them you can attain without them by just playing the game longer. If you would like to learn more about credits, please read the Payment FAQ on the main Iron Realms website.

We're confident that you're going to like our games enough to want to support us - that's how we have not just survived, but thrived since 1997. Our players are fanatically loyal, and we do our best to ensure we give them a playing experience that warrants that kind of loyalty.

3. Why should I play your game instead of World of Warcraft or Star Wars: the Old Republic?

If you've played any of the big MMOs, you know that they are comprised of a few fundamental things: killing monsters, quests, and PvP. Yes, many of them add on things like crafting, special events, and player-run organizations, but there is a limit to the amount of realism, depth, and options they can provide.

Aetolia is different. Of course we have monster bashing, quests, and PvP, but that's just a fraction of what is possible. We have player-run organizations that can permanently expand their territory, declare war on each other, and run elections; an extensive mercantile system for trading, bartering, or opening your own shop; and active and meaningful religions where you can interact with the Gods. You'll find all sorts of systems that allow more customization than just your character's face and body type: libraries of books written by players, fully customisable tailoring and cooking skills, marriage and extended family relationships with other players. One of our best features is the opportunity to participate in realtime roleplaying events run by the administrators, where endings are often open-ended and directly affected by the choices our players make.

In short, what you'll find is that you're trading eye-candy for depth and breadth of content when you switch from a graphical MMORPG to the world of Aetolia. And hey - we are not completely without eye-candy either. Check out our gallery!

4. I've played text MUDs/MMOs before. What is so special about Aetolia?

A number of things. First, at least 98% of text MUDs are run by people as hobbies. Some of them do a remarkably good job at it, but they're in the distinct minority. Iron Realms, on the other hand, has over ten professional, full-time developers and a whole cadre of administrators working on our games. We are very dedicated to giving players an unparalleled game experience.

Second, our designs are more sophisticated and in-depth than virtually any other MMO. Not only is the combat the best that can be found, but it's just one feature of an incredible range of game systems. New content is constantly in development and is released throughout the year. Don't believe us? Check out our recent events or in-game announcements to see all that is happening.

Finally, customer service. We pride ourselves on offering a high standard of service to all of our players, whether they have been playing for 10 years or 10 days. Timely response to your questions and requests is a top priority for us.

Remember: There's a reason that the worlds of Iron Realms are all consistently rated in the top 10 MUDs in the world, often reaching #1. We are supremely dedicated to our players in a way that few other MUD operators are.