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New Player Guide

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First part


So here you are, freshly minted Egyptian. You learned how to move about, you learned gathering wood and grow flax. Now the whole of Egypt awaits you. What will you do?

This starter guide is meant to answer some of your questions and give you some general pointers. It is by no means exhaustive, not even for the first phase of the game, since that would be impossible. Feel free to suggest any new topics you think should be included.

The first lesson you must learn is this one: Take one step at a time. A Tale in the Desert has many, many possibilities. It is easy to get overwhelmed by them, and you can never try them all. So instead, take your time exploring what you can do and what you want to do.

The second lesson is this one: Try to click on Self -> Option -> Camera to try other camera options.

General Purpose Cam [F5]
Explore's Cam [F6]
Catographer's Cam [No Hotkey]
Dueling Cam [F8]
Newbie Cam [No Hotkey]
Builder's Cam [F7]

The Tutorial

Follow the initial tutorial - it will help you orient yourself and perform the first few basic tasks.

As with any program or game most people need to get to grips with the game Interface and the map. The left hand frame of the wiki has a number of short-cuts. Perhaps familiarise yourself with Atlas which will show you how extensive Egypt is. To find your location in game press [F3] which will bring up a map or go to Commands for the full list.


Becoming a Citizen is your first goal on entering Egypt. You can find a list of the required tasks on the Citizenship page.

Settling - Your First Buildings

Some people feel the need to have a place called home. Some are content with roving around the land for a while. Either way, sooner or later you will have to pick a spot for your first real building: a compound. A compound (or cp, as it’s usually called) is the place where you will keep your buildings, your tools and your stuff. (So don’t think of it as a cozy place with a bed and a shower. It’s actually more like a factory.) Building a compound is also required for one of your Initiation tests, which will give you a level and unlock an entire Discipline of real Tests. For the construction itself, including what you need to know and do, go here.

There are several things to keep in mind when picking a spot to build your compound. Egypt is divided into fourteen regions. This page gives a handy map. In general, the farther a region is from the center of Egypt, the quieter it will be. A busy area means more people to ask questions and to interact with, but also more lag and fewer good spots still available for compound-building. It’s up to you what you prefer.

There are resources you can’t have enough of, so you want those close to your home. Wood is a prime example. Silt is another. Clay, slate, grass, even sand should be about in abundance. In short, pick a spot near water and trees and you’re halfway there.

You will probably travel a lot, so keep an eye on the Chariot Stop in your region of choice. More on travel later. At this point you can travel freely, and you should do so. Pick some random spots to teleport to, run around for a while, and get a feel of the place. When you enter a region a chat window of that region will open. Scroll up and read it through. Maybe ask some questions to the people there (but don't bother asking, "Should I settle here?" since all of them will answer, "Yes!").

Remember: You can always move if your original picked spot isn’t what you’d hoped it would be. You can even have several compounds. Don’t be too shy to make that first choice, but give it the time it deserves. And wherever you choose to settle, there will be helpful people around.

Skills and Techs

Skills and Technologies generally allow you to use or build more advanced buildings, or sometimes make you better at things you can already do.

You learn techs from Universities. They're always free, but you have to go to a University where other players have paid the right research costs to unlock the techs you want. Everytime you have raised a few levels, make a pass along all universities and learn all you can. In fact, that is about the first thing you should do.

Skills are learned from Schools and every school of the same type has the same skills available. This means you can learn them at schools in any region. Skills cost tuition, meaning materials. Make a round of schools every now and then in your chosen region, and see what they can teach you, taking into account the resources you have at your disposal.

A complete list of techs can be found at: Technologies
A complete list of skills can be found at: Skills
New player Basic Skills Run

Other People

People are your single most important resource. They will give you knowledge, aid and courage. The one difference between ATITD and other MMORPG’s is not so much the lack of killing, but the maturity of its public. Be civil. It will be rewarded.

There are two kinds of people: those who ask for things and those who refuse gifts. Be the second kind. Asking for resources is of no use, since other people have to collect them as you do. But you can use easily-collected resources for trade, so don’t think you are useless!

People might offer you tools. It might be hard to accept things without giving anything in return, but tools make you a more worthwhile member of the community, so accept them. Do not accept resources you might well gather yourself, such as wood and bricks. Show the community you can earn your own living. It will pay off.

One thing I am sure you have noticed already is the dearth of documentation or in-game hints and tutorials. Some say this is the developers being lazy, but there is another reason. A Tale in the Desert is a highly social game. You are meant to interact with other people. One of those interactions is the passing of knowledge to new players, teaching them how things work, bringing them into the fold of the community. And although most people will be willing to help you, it is the role of Mentors to bring you, the new player, up to speed. Mentors come in all manner of qualities, some good, some bad, and just because someone says they are a Mentor doesn’t mean they are a good one. Most people are good, but if you feel you aren’t getting as much out of a Mentor-Mentee relationship as you are giving, perhaps it is time to find a new Mentor.

Lastly, there are two special classes of people, the Game Masters and the Developers. Game Masters (or GM ) are players just like you that have volunteered their time to help out the other players, deal with minor issues, and so on. Be nice. They are players too. They have goals they wish to achieve just like you, and they will respond as soon as they are able. There is not always a Game Master around, so it might take some time for them to get to you. The Developers are exactly that, the people who write the computer code for you game. While they are no longer active players, most are also volunteers, and just as importantly there are very few of them. Unlike many MMORPGs you can get to know the people who write the game, and the level of feedback from the player base as to what direction the game takes is incredible.


Everyone needs to trade sooner or later. You’re going to need things you can’t acquire yet, especially tools. You might, for instance, want to acquire a hatchet for collecting wood. At this point you don’t have valuable goods at your disposal so you’ll need to trade with bulk goods -- stuff that is easy but boring to collect, such as slate. There are some bulk goods that become easier to produce as you become more advanced, like wood or flax. There are others that still take the exact same amount of effort to collect as they did the first day no matter how much you have done, like slate or silt. These are often good choices for trading when you are new, since the players with the stuff you want still need them and cannot get them any easier than you can.

You will also notice there is no official currency in the game, no “gold piece” or anything similar. While we have the ability to create our own currency (and some have), the value of a given resources rises and falls over time, and prices can vary wildly form one person to the next. Most people are willing to negotiate. As you are new, you might want to ask someone you trust, like your Mentor, if something is a good deal or not.

Chat channels

Communication in Egypt is mainly done through the chat channels. You always have the channel Main, which is for in-game messages and people talking near you, and the channel System, which is for messages from the game staff. There is also the region channel (unless you turn it off, which we recommend you don't do). We strongly advise you to add another channel: the Egypt-wide chat channel L2PBS. You do this by typing /join L2PBS. This channel is moderated, meaning that your messages may not show up immediately, and if containing profanity, may be deleted completely. Read it through to get a feel of what’s going on in Egypt this day and age.

Other useful channels:

  • L2PBS - ("/join Egypt") this Egypt-wide channel is moderated by a friendly group of volunteers. Every once in a while you will see a moderator announce that they are leaving and the channel will resume when another moderator logs in. Generally, though, this channel is running and is very useful for communicating with the whole community.
  • Events - updates on Egypt-wide events (/join Events)
  • Bazaar- ("/join Bazaar") trade channel. Don't like making charcoal? Then asking WTB (would like to buy) x may help.

You can minimize the chat channels by double clicking on a chat channel tab name. Via right click on the tab name you can organize the channels, like assigning to different folders and switching the order.

If you want to use hotkeys for actions (e.g. [T] for Take everything) your chat channels have to be minimized (by pressing [Enter]). Via Self -> Options -> Chat-related you can toggle that minimized chat channels are still visible while using hotkeys.


Traveling in Egypt is time consuming. There is nothing like the easy warping around you might have experienced in other games. You walk (well, run actually). You’d better get used to that as soon as possible and plan for it.

You can use the chariot service from the outset to travel quickly between regions (see Chariot Routes). Later on you can learn the Navigation and Exploration Travel skills, which allow you set waypoints and other markers that you travel to instantly for the cost of "travel time". For now, you will need to understand how the chariot service works.

Every region has one chariot stop (commonly called cs) that serves as the center of the region. From a chariot stop you can take the chariot to other regions. (You don’t actually see a chariot; you just press "Travel now" and you find yourself in another place. It’s magic.) A free chariot will leave every twenty minutes; for a timespan of two minutes you can travel for free to another region. Outside that window you can also travel, but it costs you "Travel Time", which is five times the amount of time it would cost to walk there. You acquire travel time while offline. (We talk about Offline Chores a little more at the end of this guide.)

I need HELP!

Eventually you are going to reach a point where you need help with something, something you just don’t understand how it works, or why it doesn’t work. You have a few paths open to you. First, if you belong to a guild, ask there. Or you could ask a Mentor. If you are still having trouble, you could ask in the regional chat channel, or for a wider audience in one of the general microphone chat channels like E!. The people of Egypt are generally very helpful, and will answer most questions for you.

If you still have trouble, you can place a call for a Game Master. But be warned, the GMs won’t answer questions about how to do something. They will only help you if there is something amiss with the game itself. As a new player, it would be advised that you do not place a developer call directly unless a GM tells you to. The developers are very busy most of the time, and the GMs will be able to tell you if it warrants the attention of the developers.


As a player you may get bored wearing the same drab clothes all the time. Well, there is a way to change your Avatar type, clothing and height. Click on Self -> Appearance and experiment away! The options are limited but you can adjust them whenever you want, including your own length.

Second Part


With the start of Tale three, a leveling system was implemented. This was meant to give new players a feeling of structure and also to make them feel more at home. You probably played other MMORPGs. Well, this is different.

First, keep in mind that leveling in ATITD isn’t half as important as it is in other games. Levels will unlock the ability to learn new skills and techs, but you will rarely, if ever, need one you can’t have yet. There are 70 levels, very few will actually reach that many, since some of them can only be acquired by a few people at a time. Also, unlike many games, there is a diminishing return in what you get as you go up in levels, so while there is value in attaining higher levels, there is not as much disparity between a 20th level person compared to a 40th level person as from a 20th to a first-level person. In fact, there is no new skills/techs/tests or any other benefit past Level 42

Levels gives a clear overview.

Levels are achieved by:

  • One Level (always your first) for completing Citizenship
  • One Level for each Initiation to a discipline
  • One Level for each principle to a Test you complete. If you pass the test before otherwise completing the principle you will be credited for completing the principle too and get that level. There are, or will be, (not all of them are known yet) seven tests in seven disciplines for a total of forty-nine tests.
  • One Level for each new, higher rank you achieve.
  • One Level for each Oracleship you get beyond the first


In Egypt, we recognize the Seven Disciplines of Man. All tests, as well as skills and technologies, are divided into these. They are:

  • Architecture (Building Stuff bigger and better)
  • Art and Music (The finer things in life)
  • Harmony (Get to know your fellow Egyptians... and gamble on their progress!)
  • Human Body (Self-improvement, exploration and indulgence)
  • Leadership (Getting others to recognize or follow your direction)
  • Thought (Designing puzzles)
  • Worship (Honoring the gods, often by ritual, sometimes including sacrificing large quantities of stuff)

Within each Discipline there are seven ranks past Initiate. You advance in rank within each Discipline each time you pass one of its tests. You can pass the tests in any order. Only the total number counts. The ranks are:

  • Initiate
  • Student - Pass one Test in a Discipline
  • Prentice - Pass two Tests in a Discipline
  • Journeyman - Pass three Tests in a Discipline
  • Scribe - Pass four Tests in a Discipline
  • Master - Pass five Tests in a Discipline
  • Sage - Pass six Tests in a Discipline
  • Pharaoh’s Oracle - Pass all seven Tests, you have achieved "perfection" in that Discipline

You can have ranks in more then one Discipline at a time. You will be known by default as the highest rank you have achieved. If you have achieved the same rank in two or more Disciplines, you will be know as Rank of Number. Some examples: Someplayer, Student of Architecture has passed one test in Architecture and no other tests; Someplayer, Student of Two has passed one test in two different disciplines and none in the other five; Someplayer, Prentice of Architecture has passed two tests in Architecture and either zero or one test in each of the other Disciplines.


There is a total of forty nine Tests divided into seven each for the seven Disciplines. Not all Tests are equal in the amount of effort it takes to pass them, some are hard, and some are easy. Don’t expect to pass every test, only one person, Orchid, has in all the history of Egypt.

Tests cover a wide range of resources, ranging from thousands of bricks to tens of people. Every test has a principle, meant to give you a flavor of that test. Passing a principle will gain you a level. So if the Test of the Obelisk means building a big tower, the principle of the Obelisk means building a small tower. Of course, you can just build a big tower, passing principle and test in one go. Usually though, you will naturally pass a principle before passing a test.

Tests can be generally divided into two classes, Limited Pass and Unlimited Pass. As you might guess, these relate to how many people can pass a given test. Unlimited Pass tests generally have a fixed goal, such as getting seven strength points, and when you accomplish that you pass. Limited Pass tests are exactly that, there is a limit to how many can pass the test. These tests also are competitive, so that you have to achieve a score that is in the top for that test for that scoring period. The number of passes varies per test, sometimes one, sometimes as many as seven. The time between passing rounds also varies, although one week is common. You can see the current list of all tests here.

Once you have a paid account you will find you have been given mentor decrees. Read up on the Test of Mentorship before you give them away. They are yours to do with as you please, but using them as intended for the test will hopefully be how you decide.


Guilds are a grouping of people who have come together for a reason. Guilds can roughly be divided into three categories: Home Guilds, Dedicated Guilds, and Chat Guilds. These categories aren't official, just descriptive. You don’t need to join a guild. But you can join as many of them as you wish.

Home Guilds are where you live, people with whom you have chosen to share your space, resources, and your time. While you are not restricted to doing so, most people have one guild they consider their Home Guild.

Dedicated Guilds are created for a specific purpose, like are large project or activity like beetle breeding (yes, you can breed beetles!). Usually these guilds have a limited and specific set of resources. Many people belong to many different dedicated Guilds.

Chat Guilds are exactly that, a grouping of people with no other purpose then to talk with one another.

Within a guild there are also ranks. These are used to set permissions to use guild-owned property, such as chests.

IMPORTANT: You can join as many or as few guilds as you wish.

The Wiki

The phrase you will hear most in your first days will be “it’s in the wiki”. The ATITD-wiki is our collective knowledge base and it’s full of things you need or want to know. It is a big place and it may take you some time to get used to it. The links you will use most often are collected under the head "A Tale in the Desert" in the bar at your left hand.

For starters, you might want to look at and, as those are the ones you'll probably use most often.

And don't forget the aforementioned Levels!

Offline Chores

In Egypt, you can do things while not there! This handy function lets your avatar do boring stuff while you sleep. They will unlock if you have proven you can do it yourself. For instance, you can let your avatar collect wood after you have collected 2500 wood by yourself. Offline time is distributed equally among all the tasks you have selected, so if you select only “Gather wood” you will collect more wood then if you select both “Gather Wood” and “Grow Onions”. Accumulating Travel Time also counts in this distribution, so if you want a lot of it, only check that. Trial accounts cannot perform offline chores or accrue travel time.


To keep things properly complicated, Egypt knows three kinds of time. There is the real time, as we all know it, but of course people live in vastly different timezones. There is Egypt-time, about one third of real time. And there is Teppy Time, somewhat slower than real time.

Commands & Hotkeys

You can set certain commands in the chat window. When you log in, /ts (timestamp) is convenient to see how long ago that interesting tidbit of information was mentioned. /af (add friend) adds a friend (press F11 for you friends list). /webpass lets you set a password to enter the wiki. Commands gives an overview.

Hotkeys are also extremely useful for speeding up basic tasks (gathering wood, making bricks, etc). See Hotkeys.

Other options

When people have joined a lot of guilds you get a long list of those guilds first, before you get the usefull actions like Give. To show the guilds in a seperate action line you must tick Self -> Options -> Interface options -> Show guild affiliations in a menu.

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