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Cantr II - An Unbiased Review
Type Review
Game Cantr II
Submitted by haggismcbean
Created 2007-05-17 13:51:14
Cantr II is possibly one the most unique games on the internet, with almost endless possibilities. Having played it for just under two months, i've still not mastered everything there is to learn in the game but with each day the gameplay gets more gripping.

The game has an extremely high drop out rate amongst new players, and one of the main reasons for this is probably the almost archaic text-based interface. The website has a bright green background and only a small 2-D map of where you are is provided. The map is on a scale showing countryside, rather than being a plan of the town you spawned in, and it is left to your imagination as to the whereabouts of machines, objects and buildings in the game. Although this filters out a large player base, the people left playing the game are a somewhat unique bunch of hardcore players.

The roleplaying is intense and often challanging, with simple text alerts such as 'You feel faint' being roleplayed as anything from an intense and disabling illness to a character's lust for another character. To play Cantr, you have to accept other people's scenarios, and imagination is a premium. Along with imagination, you need eloquence and creativity to make your own characters believeable and interesting. If you fail, people will often simply blank you, or discriminate against your characters, going as far as chasing you out of town, or even murdering you in cold blood. However, if you make exciting characters you will often find yourself in interesting situations.

Part of the beauty of Cantr is that you will find yourself in a number of different situations. One character may be a merchant, who trades resources such as limestone between two towns, enabling them to create iron and enabling you to make a tidy profit in weapons, clothing or tools. Another character could fall madly in love with someone, and dedicate their life to their idol. Whether this character's affections are reciprocated is down to the other person roleplaying, but either rejection or love can create some interesting situations in that town. Your character could be an evil tyrant, controlling a town and manipulating other towns in the area to your will, or they could be a simple farmer who does little but subsist and help out their town. If you are unlucky enough to spawn in a hostile area, just surviving viscious animals or humans can be a challange. Unfortunately, because of the slow paced nature of the game, many of the above scenarios will take weeks, even months of roleplaying before they come about. It takes dedication to become powerful in Cantr, perhaps more so than in any other game. This can frustrate many players into leaving, but the rewards of roleplaying an interesting character can outweigh the countless fruitless attempts of boring, mundane characters who you inevitably will let die.

Currently (May 2007) the server in Cantr may be down for lengthy stints each day, which further slows down the game and can be very annoying if you only have a limited time frame in which to log into Cantr each day. Although the games team are trying to rectify this, the entire game is run voluntarily, which means things can often take a long time to be changed, and the programming may not always be of the highest quality. This can make it even harder to get into the game, and i found it a real challange some days to log into Cantr and check on my characters.

However, if you can overlook this (or if it is fixed by the time you read this) you will find yourself in a unique and gripping game. You will make genuine bonds with some of your characters, and the characters of other players, and you will thoroughly enjoy some of the conflicts, problems and triumphs you will experience in game. I strongly recommend you try Cantr out, and persevere until you get at least one interesting character.

.:COMMENTS:.
Joshuamonkey 2009-09-19 06:56:34
Cantr's slow pace is something I particularly like about the game. It allows you to continue to have a life outside of the game, and means that your success isn't based on how many hours you play, but on how many days you play. However, what really matters is how good you are with words, and your ability to roleplay. There is an advantage for checking more often though.
seko 2009-01-11 17:57:36
In fact I think all games have a high drop-rate, so Cantr is not an exception in this aspect, but the situation may look more drastic because everyone is allowed to start with two characters instead of just one and may create one more for each day they have stayed in the game, up to 15. Also all characters are visible in some town, on the people list, and they appear there whether or not the player is off-line or on-line.

The interface could use some improvements but some have already been made during the time I've been playing (3-4 years, I think). When I joined the game, I was greeted by all the staff announcements from the previous months (apparently) and it took me a while to scroll down and actually find my characters, and then another moment to realize that I had to click on the icon next to the name to access them, since the names themselves aren't links. Also there was no newbie guide at the time, so I had no knowledge of that projects and traveling advance only once every three hours, that there are characters by players who never log in, or might not login for over a day, or that you might get in trouble for picking things up from the ground.

The system was built with the intention of giving people an equal footing no matter if they have time to log in once a day or hang around for 8 to 12 hours and check in every five minutes. Unfortunately it doesn't always quite work. Since traveling, sailing and project ticks always happen at certain times of the day, players may take advantage of this knowledge and time their actions in a way that puts unprepared people in a disadvantage. A pirate's player would make sure that he logs in right before the sailing tick happens, so that when his boat docks ashore, he may strike at people, grab resources from the ground and be off before anyone has time to react, while in the other hand, defenders might also be expecting the attack and have several people on-line to hit the pirate before he has time to realize what's happening.

Characters are only allowed to hit another character once a day, so killing people tends to require cooperating with other characters, or dragging the target into a locked building.

Cantrians heal themselves by consuming healing foods such as fruits, nuts or mushrooms, and may recover from a 99% injury in a matter of seconds, only limited by how fast the player can click and write numbers in a box, and how much healing food they have available. Carrying capacity is limited to 15 kilos and the average person might be carrying at least two kilos of food, a shield, some tools and a weapon, so they have even less room for healing foods.

Due to the limited carrying capacity, people tend to have a need for storage facilities. And since there are so many (newbie) characters willing to risk one's life in an attempt to steal anything not nailed to the floor, these storage facilities tend to be locked. Locks require iron or bronze so on primitive regions people tend to construct small wooden carts to be used as storage "rooms", since all vehicles come with a built-in lock. (This is because otherwise someone might jump in and steal the vehicle while the person who finished it was still snoozing. There is no built-in ownership in the game, beyond to items and resources ending up in the inventory of who ever started the project to gather or manufacture it.)
thecommie 2007-06-01 20:07:16
Very true. You may even find that you'll grow attached to your characters... so attached that if any thing happens to them you'll spend many hours in your room crying over them. You will develop Cantr syndrome. A disease than strikes hardcore Cantr players. Symptoms include: eating at the same time everyday, walking around naked.. usually carrying hundreds of kilograms of food, whispering... a lot. Many other things may be associated with this Syndrome... but I am too busy thinking about Cantr and playing Cantr to think about these symptoms and writing more to this comment.
-theCommie

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