328 Days With Torn

While I don’t have the time to play games I used to, and I’ve mostly stepped away from the mobile game scene, one browser game I’ve found myself playing at least once a day since I checked it out almost a year ago is Torn City MMO. It’s premise is deceptively simple: grow your character and make a name for yourself in a crime-riddled city that seceded from America. Raise your stats, take some courses, join a business or run your own. Race, trade stocks, get involved with wars, do drugs for fun and profit.

A lot of people who have stuck with this game likely find they have higher stats than I do, or perhaps more rewards. They might have more money, depending. But the trick to playing the game is just… playing it every day. The game is very much the epitome of “this race is a marathon, not a sprint.” It’s also free to play, although most will want to pay the $5/month or $50/year for the slightly better energy storage and regeneration. Players that get established enough can find they’re making enough money trading that they can simple purchase a Donator Pack every month and use that for a month’s worth of subscription, which means for them they don’t even have to spend any cash.

When I first started, I had very little idea what I was doing. A faction recruiter brought me into a group called We Are Rising (or W.A.R.), which saw itself as an up-and-coming faction that wanted to make its way on the top 500. It was a busy faction. Full of resources, but also not exactly new player friendly. Whenever the group failed, we’d hear about it. It was exceptional at learning some basics but I personally felt there was less of a focus on why mechanics worked the way that they did and instead more of a focus on making sure people were doing things a certain way, regardless if those actions were understood.

Ultimately, I made the decision to step away from the Faction to join one a little more casual, called Canterlot Cartel. They proved to be very knowledgable, but also felt like they did not have as much to prove, which was nice. With this, I was free to check my account a couple of times a day, spend energy and nerve as needed, and then log off and go about my day. Of course, all good things come to end, and now I am in MediCare, a faction specifically set up to make it easier to revive people both for cash and for the honor awarded.

This game is all about ribbons and honors. Each reward grants a merit, which are used to purchase perks for a character. As example, getting enough honors and ribbons allows a player to purchase 10 ranks in Education; each rank is 3% off the total time spent on a given class. There are also unique honor bars, which are flare around a user’s name that can sometimes spruce up a profile.

Shown: I am not very good at the game

For example, I’ve equipped the honor for getting 500 wins in a row without losing once. This was made easier by the fact that this includes attacks on my character that has failed; younger payers will paid a premium to throw themselves at me so I could get this and a few others. The downside to this is I have the “nudist” title because I was not wearing armor for most of this. It has been a month and I still haven’t shaken this title, which usually has a chance of changing based on a player’s actions once a week.

This profile also shows off various medals. Other players can see I’ve been active doing low to moderate level crimes, but that I’ve spent way too much time on drug trafficing. I have the medal for 4k drug crimes. The last one (and associated merit) is learned after 10,000 successful attempts at drug trafficking. I am going to be on these for a while.

That, and shoplifting, which caps out after 25,000 crimes. Yikes.

Indeed, many other players wouldn’t bother with these crimes, or at least to that extent. The higher tier crimes pay more, but to unlock them they need high enough crime experience. I, on the other hand, am running a marathon and am choosing to value getting the rewards I can now as opposed to at a later day when failure would lead to losing crime experience. (Crime experience loss is based on a percentage and not a flat number, so the more a player has the more they can lose.)

I’ve made a lot of mistakes along the way. I unlocked the General Education degree first and earliest, for example. In theory, this degree is worth more the sooner it is taken; it reality the degree is so useless it is really best to simply not take it. I’m also working on an honor given where while at the medical job my character steals 500 medical items. This is done by spending points that are given in the medical job at a rate of 7 per day. The cheapest item to take costs two items. This means, for this one honor, it takes no less than 143 days, real time, of staying in a job that otherwise offers no real benefit simply to get this one honor bar. It sure looks fitting though. (It’s the one called “I’m a real doctor.”)

I think that what works about Torn is that while there’s people who have been playing literally over a decade that are easily stronger than you the player likely will ever be, they’re unlikely to want to bother you because they’ve got bigger fish to fry. This, coupled with soft stat caps and the fact people drop away from the game all the time, creates a situation where it might not always be easy to catch up but it is always possible to carve a name for yourself and to meet interesting new people from around the world.

If you are interested in playing, please click this link. I’ll get credit for recruiting you, which means at level 10 we both get a couple of bonuses from the game. Don’t worry about playing the right way or the wrong way – just show up and play, that’s the first trick to succeeding.

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