Here’s the thing about Torn…

So, I’ve been playing this text-based RPG called Torn for about a couple weeks now. Or at least I think it’s been that long; they’ve taken away those handy dandy checkmarks next to the crimes that I can pull off successfully a long time ago, which is the equivalent of removing training wheels off of a bike I suppose. How did I find myself playing this game anyway? The answer: my brother-in-law needed an employee for his budding business venture and I figured “Why not? It’s not like I have anything else to do during the summer.”

But this game…I’ve got to admit, it’s rather amusing even when you find yourself in jail for a botched robbery and you run out of Nerve so you can’t escape. I didn’t expect to find myself playing it so avidly, waiting for my resources to replenish so that I could go back to the City Dump and pick at it. Seriously, I’ve found some pretty valuable things in that place, which I’ve then sold at a ridiculously high price in the Item Market. You’d be surprised at how high a Box of Tissues or a Soap on a Rope can go for when the city shops sell them for way cheaper. Then again, at least from what I’ve observed, players tend to accumulate funds rather quickly, a billion being seen as chump change to veterans. So maybe someone is buying all of that trash, going to the Dump, and trashing it again because they’re bored? I don’t know, but I wouldn’t put it past them.

I got married in-game to someone that I’ve never met a few days ago, if only because of the merits. Yes, there is a merit for staying “married” to someone without divorcing them. I think the highest is the Triple Platinum Anniversary, given to couples who have managed to remain together for 2,000 days. Not accounting for leap years, that’s just a little shy of five and a half years. I would’ve said “No”, as I don’t like using people as a means to an end, but they did propose with a diamond ring. Also, they’re pretty low-level too, I liked their profile picture, and I figured “Why not? It’s not like we’re really married.” Perhaps I should’ve sent them a message asking what their ultimate goal was for this relationship, but it’s a game. Given that I’ve invested 100K in the bank for three months, I guess you can say that I’m already in it for the long run. May as well get some benefits here and there.

I did­ mention that this game runs in real time, right? So if stuff takes a week to get done, like the education courses to improve working stats and confer benefits, it really does take a whole week.
Not surprisingly, being “female” in a city that seems to attact “male” players has its perks. I’ve never found myself in jail for too long, even when I was trying to get there on purpose in order to take advantage of the gym in order to raise my defense. People tend to offer me gifts such as flowers and teddy bears. Nevermind that they tend to end up in my stall a few minutes later, as the gesture is really sweet. Naturally, every single one of these perks tends to go away once they look at your profile and see that you’re “married”, but whatever. My spouse just bought and upgraded a mansion, so it’s a nice trade-off in the long run.

And then there’s the people who populate Torn City, your fellow players. It’s not uncommon to receive messages from people you’ve never chatted with at all asking whether or not you want to trade a certain item with them exclusively or join with them on their business ventures. While I normally play my games solo, I find myself interacting if only to not get mugged for ignoring their message or for coming across as a jerk or an ice queen. And, again, the only pictures you see are those that they’ve uploaded, which tend to be anime-style avatars that they could only wish they were. For example, my husband (damn, that sounds weird coming from me), while his gender is “male”, has an angel girl as his profile picture. That’s probably why I married him, to be honest; our profiles were similar.

I still haven’t gotten into the Stock Market, as buying a ticker is beyond my means at the moment, but that seems to be more mid-game anyway. As for the end-game, it’s basically get to Level 100. That doesn’t sound like much of a goal, except that the experience bar is invisible and you never know when you’re gonna level up. I’m pretty sure there is at least one player at level 100, but they’re probably like unicorns or something. So, that’s pretty much my goal: become a unicorn, live in a private island (with my spouse, I guess?), and try to not get mugged. All in all, it’s a pretty cool game, though the waiting can be a bit annoying. If you’re looking for something to keep you entertained in the background, try out Torn.



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Filed under Summer 2012

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