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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
I played on:
Win XP Professional SP1
3.2 GHz Intel Pentium 4
1 GB Dual Channel DDR400 SDRAM
Video Card: 128 DDR NVIDIA Geforce FX5200 Ultra
DirectX Version: 9.0b
Professional (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2
Pentium(R) M processor 2.13GHz
Version: DirectX 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
RADEON X700 video card
Audio rear output sound device