Gemstone IV by Simutronics is an ancient MMO. I've tried to review it a couple of times, but each time out, I failed to capture the essence or appeal of the game. At age 23, the game has changed both a lot and very little in its life.
This time, I'm taking a different tact. I will be reviewing this from the perspective of a new player in 2021 as a Free to Play player. It it a value investment in time? We'll see shortly.
I have also decided to break this review up into many pieces, between 3-5. This is part one for character creation and first experiences.
Title: Gemstone IV (GSIV)
Platform: Windows, Mac, Others
Gemstone IV is a text based open sandbox high fantasy gamed based in the world of Elanthia. It is heavy on the role play as much as the rolling of dice. In fact, there is a criterial that you not break character in game. In recent years, this standard has slacked off a bit but it is there.
At first glance, it appears to be a clone of D&D, but that's not a fair assessment. It was based off of Rolemaster by Iron Crown Enterprises, the Shadow World campaign setting in particular. Although the contract lapsed decades ago, if you've played Rolemaster, you'll feel it's impact in the current game.
|Step one of the Mangler|
Characters are generated in a system called "the Character Manager" or "The Mangler" by players. It's a points buy system. First you select a gender and move on to a class. There are 10 classes.
Ten is a lot, so let's break them down to function. Melee based characters are the Monk, the Rogue and the Warrior. Spellslingers are Clerics, Empaths, Sorcerers and Wizards. Then there is a hybrid of the two in the form of Bards, Paladins and Rangers. Whole books have probably been written on these 10 types, so I am going to skip it until the next post.
Virtually all characters races have a selection of cultures to choose from. Unfortunately, a new player does not know any of this background, therefore can't sanely pick a culture.
Mechanically speaking, culture doesn't really matter at all. But it does matter when you interact with others.
Up until recently, there was an imposed system of racial tolerances build right in. That, for the most part has been kick to the dust bin post 2020.