Midrasche in the City – Or How I Enjoyed a Game Even Though it’s Older Than My Kids

Torn City bills itself as a “text-based MMO”, although it’s perhaps better described as a “browser game” (that does have its own client) . In it, players assume the role of a Torn citizen, and they can be whatever they want to be. A soldier! A criminal. A businesman! A lawyer!

I’m mostly a wall slut who spends their time racing.

Allow me to explain.

I picked up this game after a Facebook advertisement recommended it to me. Comments under the advertisement seemed enthusiastic, so I dived in. I figured I would keep my head down, lay low, get a hang of things and go from there.

Three days in someone recruits me into a Faction. Welp, so much for laying low.

It’s not a bad game. It was created in 2004, which means it is INCREDIBLY top heavy, and a lot of the older folks don’t like new players at all. So my advice to you, if you are just joining this game, is to simply not post in Help or Trade chat. If you do, you’ll get attacked out of the blue for no reason. That’s another issue – once your 14 days of newbie protection are over, anyone of any level can attack you. If they do it right, you won’t even know who it was that attacked you – just the mysterious “someone.”

There’s a lot of friendly people too though, and a lot of solid guides. It’s not hard to pick things up and get an idea of where you are going. There is a mantra repeated frequently: “Torn is a marathon, not a sprint” – encouraging the playing of the long game.

I spend a lot of my time training stats, talking to Faction mates, and racing. There is a racing side-game that is very involved in which a player starts at E class and works their way up to the mysterious A class, all in hopes of some honor badges which ultimately make the player stronger. The definition of the word ironic, I’ve been forsaking cars suggested by guides and going for cars I would consider driving with consideration for the game’s “handling” stat and I’ve been doing excessively well. As I type this, I’m about 5 more first place wins away from B class. I anticipate having that within the next two days. Multi track drifting agogo.

Of course, being in a Faction means you are expected to participate in Faction wars. In this game, wars take place by having contested piece of property, represented by a “wall.” Players who want the property and players who want to protect it jump on the wall, and the time they stay on the wall generates points. Of course, instead of jumping on the wall on either case you can simply attack and hospitalize individuals who are gaining points. This game calls newer players whose only job is to be on the wall to waste the energy of whomever attacks them “Wall sluts.” It is a shame that is the best I can accomplish at this point in the game but damn it, I’m trying.

You also can work for companies, or create your own. Different businesses have different perks but also different requirements as to what it takes to be good at the job and thus benefit the business. A factionmate encouraged me to get a job at an Adult Novelty store, which are a great way to increase one’s in-game happiness and ultimately slow down one’s opponent via “bondage.” The problem was, it was poorly run. The director was not very communicative, and did a poor job of training his fellow members. After two weeks of that, I jumped ship to work at a Mechanic Shop – a job that offers great perks to those who race, at the cost of only being useful for those who race. It’s been going a lot better, although the owner of the previous business has taken it upon himself to harass me in the most hilariously futile ways. He bountied me. His faction told him to stop, after I bountied him back and his people started asking “what’s this?” Then he bountied me again, but anonymously. When I hired someone who worked at a Cyber Cafe to confirm it was him, he started attacking and hospitalizing me outright. If only he put that much effort and energy into running a business, it might have its second star despite being open for 6 weeks!

There’s a lot of other things going on under the hood, like accepting missions from the town’s notorious loanshark Duke, or flying across the world running rareties like flowers and plushies… or drugs and weapons, if that’s your cup of tea. It is a game that completely frustrates me, yet also encourages me to keep at it. So that’s what I intend to do, for now. Who knows, maybe I’ll get strong enough to leave my own mark!

. . . on the pavement. In blood. Because I will die a lot more times. Just watch.

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