Myst Online: Uru Live

"Scars" and "A New Light" Episodes




Genre:   Online Adventure

Developer:   Cyan

Publisher:    GameTap

Released:  February 2007

System Requirements:  Windows XP/MCE in XP, 800MHz PentiumIII or AMD Athlon or better Processor, 512 MB or more Video Card: 32 MB RAM, DirectX9.0 -compliant video card and compliant audio card, Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ recommended, DirectX 9.0c, 3+ GB free Hard Drive Space, Broadband Internet Connection, 800 by 600 16 bit displays





by Looney4Labs


About ten years ago, the developers at Cyan began dreaming of a virtual, living world where folks could interact with one another while experiencing the Myst universe. This magical place was to be alive, growing and changing. Briefly, it flared into being in 2003 (The Prologue/beta version), but the time was not right and the lights of its cosmos dimmed. The fans never gave up hope, and neither did Cyan.

Fast forward to 2007. Cyan, in partnership with GameTap, has given the dream new life. Myst Online: Uru Live (MOUL) launched in February 2007.

So, what is it?

MOUL is a multiplayer online game set in the lands of the D’ni. With a few exceptions you can choose to either play a solitary game, or to uncover its secrets with a group. You can opt to chat and hang out, or proceed directly to the ages.

MOUL promised from the outset that it would evolve, and it has. New content appears on a regular basis. It may be a whole new age, a new collectible, or even a new development in one of the original ages. For instance, I’ve been able to access the city in a new way and Kadish now holds a little something extra. My avatar sports a backpack, and butterflies flit around my Relto (home).

New story? Yes, indeed!

There is an ongoing story line woven through all of these additions. Most recently, two new episodes have been released: "Scars" and "A New Light."

The story emerges episodically in bits and pieces as D’ni Restoration Council (DRC) members chat with explorers. Players may be aware that new developments are expected in a certain week, but not know who will give out the information, or where this will take place.

Those wanting to hear the narrative first can socialize in the city or the neighborhood (bevin) while awaiting the news. However, if time precludes, you can keep up to date on the story by visiting this Myst Online forum to read the chat logs or this GameTap page for a summary.

What has happened so far?

Thousands of years ago, a people known as the D’ni established a fabulous underground city, D’ni Ae’gura, and perfected the art of writing linking books to other worlds (ages).  Then they disappeared; their fate a mystery.

Several years ago, this lost domain was rediscovered and the D'ni Restoration Council formed to restore it. The cavern and a few ages are now open to explorers. Though the restoration is proceeding apace some folks on the DRC would like it to progress faster. However, complications have arisen in recent weeks. Two explorers died in a cave-in under unusual circumstances. Worse, whispers of a Bahro civil war abound. If true, its effect on the restoration could be devastating.

New ages:

In addition to the Cleft, the city, and the original ages from Uru: Ages Beyond Myst (Gahreesen, Teledahn, Kadish Tolesa, Eder Kemo/Eder Gira), MOUL brings back the Watcher’s Pub and Er’cana from the Path of the Shell expansion and provides several new locales. Players can revisit the classics or tackle the new ages: Minkata, Eder Delin, and Eder Tsogal. In addition, there are four mini locations usually referred to as the Pod ages — Negilahn, Payiferen, Dereno, and Tetsonot. Another age release is looming.

The Watcher’s Pub and Er’cana:

The Watcher’s Pub is an intriguing area, the more so as its location is listed as null in my KI (navigation, communication, and recording device).

This circular room is bathed in blue light. Ornate carvings decorate its smooth walls. Mysteries abound. A central platform on the ground floor serves an unknown function, and an alcove on the upper floor contains five books of verse. Riddles, maybe? Prophecies, perhaps?

Certain vantage points reveal lighted windows. Another exposes a great tree. Both are tantalizingly unreachable. A humming noise fills the room, and the only egress is my linking book.

Er’cana provides entertaining puzzles along with a unique environment. A shallow cave and overarching stone walls give way to limited open areas, and finally, to a factory setting. Conquering its conundrums was a pleasant task.

Texturing on the stone walls is well done, though less attention is lavished on organic components. Tall mushroom-like plants dot the canyon landscape, while the factory areas are gray, drab, and utilitarian.

Exploration is accompanied only by faint wind noise and, every now and again, a few haunting strains of music. Environmental sounds, mostly footsteps and mechanical clanks, are well done.


Minkata’s challenges are difficult, requiring determination and precision to unravel. Overwhelming brightness was my first impression, followed by blue skies, three suns, and blowing sand. Lots and lots of blowing sand. Sand so dense you lose yourself in it.

This is a brown/grey realm, largely featureless except for the plethora of low protuberances sprouting haphazardly from the desert floor. An odd bone hut with an inexplicable stela, and a few faded and tattered flags complete the environment.

Shadows move with you, and footprints are clearly visible for a fleeting moment. Then they are erased by the incessantly howling winds. This site feels desolate; its purpose inscrutable.

The Multiplayer Ages:

MOUL deviates from solitary game play with the introduction of Eder Delin and Eder Tsogal. Though the solution to these ages is fairly straightforward, you can’t complete them or even discern the solution alone. You’ll need at least one other adventurer (probably a few more) to triumph. Luckily, help is eagerly offered.

Eder Delin is the most beautiful of MOUL’s ages. This location is awash with greens and blues. Colorful leaves drift quietly to the ground from tall, stately trees, and the whole age glows with softly diffused Iight. While there is no music, lilting birdsong trills throughout. Delin reminds me of a serene garden designed for contemplation.

Like Delin, Eder Tsogal is small and intimate. Water flows abundantly while small, fragile “cottony” flowers float randomly through the silent skies. A prominent fountain and large standing stones command your attention. It’s a quiet place with only footsteps and gurgling water to break the silence.

The Pod Ages:

The Pod Ages consist of small metallic spheres providing a window onto vastly divergent landscapes. Signs of decay abound.

Background music is absent in these settings, but ambient sounds are well done. Footsteps echo off metallic walls, machinery hums, animals call cacophonously, and wind whistles, providing a sense of realism that increases the immersive quality of these ages.

Negilahn’s mottled green walls are juxtaposed with lush and gently moving trees and bushes glimpsed through glass crazed with age. It tantalizes the journeyer with a peek into a beautiful but unreachable verdant jungle.

Payiferen is a study in shades of brown. Daylight displays plains and mountains, while a nocturnal visitor is treated to a beautiful night sky. Serendipitously, once I witnessed a large, dinosaur-like animal browsing for food just outside the window.

Dereno thrusts the gamer into a cold environment suffused with blue light. The topmost area reveals glacial surroundings. It is saved from sterility only by the graceful movement of the aquatic life outside the windows of the lower floors.

Tetsonot suffered the worst deprivations of nature and long neglect. You arrive in total darkness broken only by an occasional and welcome flicker of red light. Blackness engulfs you.

Cracking the Pod ages is difficult, requiring knowledge of the D’ni culture. Documents containing the needed information are available in-game, but I missed them. But even with them, I detested the puzzles formed by these ages, and gladly used help from a forum to finish them.

Without spoiling it, I’ll just say these brainteasers left me feeling cheated and frustrated. Conversely, my gaming partner considers them very intriguing and thought they contributed greatly to the “realism” of the game.

Beyond the ages:

In addition to frolicking in the ages, MOUL provides other ways to stay involved. Because the Great Zero was recently calibrated, players can now create age-spanning marker quests for their friends to decipher.

The newest “assignment” for players is to feed the algae in the lake, thus bringing more light into the cavern. There is a new machine on the docks at D’ni Ae’gura measuring progress. However, the DRC warns that it will take numerous players working together many months to make a perceptible change.

New Relto items:

Each player begins in their own Relto (home). Bare at first, it can be furnished by collecting Relto pages representing items. These are found in odd places throughout the game. All the old standards are back along with several new ones.

In addition, the first of each month a new “sparklie” is placed in an undisclosed spot. Available for only one month, it is much sought after and yields a new light for your floating platform (a new Relto structure). Is this purely decorative, or will the seeker who completes the set be rewarded?

What kind of puzzles are there?

The new puzzles in MOUL flow naturally from the surroundings. Many are mechanical, some are timed (don’t worry, you’ll have help), most require logic, and a few require waiting.

None are color or sound dependent. Happily, there are no sliders, mazes, or mini-games in the new content. Best of all, you keep your feet firmly on the ground, as no jumping is required.

Difficulty levels vary widely. Several can be solved using logic and a bit of trial and error, while others are extremely difficult. But don’t be put off by that. Help is always available, either from a friendly fellow rambler or in the forums.


Most of my playing time went smoothly, but glitches reared their ugly heads every so often.

The most serious and frustrating occurred after a very long update. I couldn’t complete the sign-in process, and was unsure as to where the fault lay. I now know I could have checked server status at the Myst Online Technical Support forum, but that knowledge came much later.

MOUL support is separate from GameTap support. It’s all online, and mostly through e-mail. Several attempts at using it left me less than satisfied. There is an in-game direct chat option, but as I could not sign into the game, that was no help.

Also, in Er’cana I repeatedly found myself staring at the Blue Screen of Death (a first for me on this computer). The BSoD occurred at exactly the same spot each time. Some forum research revealed it happened regularly to those with certain nVidia video cards. Maybe Cyan fixed the problem. Maybe I just got lucky. Either way, I was finally able to complete the sequence and finish the age.

Too, in Delin, a puzzle repeatedly failed to register inputs, even though they were correct. We had to give up that effort and come back at a later time to mark this one done.

Finally, there are random glitches. A door that should open, won’t.  An item may require several touches to activate. Sometimes, the game runs jerkily and I was sporadically booted to the desktop. Usually I could get back in immediately, but not always.

All in All:

On the whole, the new content enriches the MOUL experience. Anticipating the newest twist to the story makes me eager to visit the city and chat with my in-game friends. Exploring a new addition to the Uru galaxy, or discovering something new in an original age appeals to my sense of adventure. Finding new Relto pages or collectibles is exciting, and the multiplayer ages foster comradeship, team work, and maybe even new friends.

Some of the puzzles are very difficult, even exasperating, and not to my taste. But taken as a whole, the new content offers something for everyone. This idea of a dynamic environment, changing each month in response to players’ actions, has great appeal. I’ll be back again and again to see what’s new.

Grade: B+

I played on:


Win XP Professional SP1

3.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4

1 GB Dual Channel DDR400 SDRAM

Sound Card:

Video Card: 128 DDR NVIDIA Geforce FX5200 Ultra

DirectX Version: 9.0b


Windows XP Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2

Intel(R) Pentium(R) M processor 2.13GHz

1024MB RAM

DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)


Realtek HD Audio rear output sound device


July 2007

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