Last night, I travelled home angry. I nicked a seat on the tube, I bullied stumblebums out of my way; I was generally a bundle of passive-aggressive geekery. Why? Not because my day had been bad or because I'd messed up in the office. It was because the Chancellor (boss) of my Convergence (guild) had kicked me out, after I'd pressed the "mistrust" button on Dreamlords' rudimentary web interface.
Why had I pushed that button and doomed my place in the Convergence? Because I didn't know what it did (apparently it tells the chancellor you think he's composed entirely of poo and weasels and, as for some reason it's not anonymous, he entirely fairly boots you out). Why didn't I know? Because very little in Dreamlords is explained with communication skills exceeding those of an embarrassed six-year-old mumbler with a mouth full of pebbles. The 60 per cent of the game that is adequately explained comes from a confusing tutorial (the first question most newbies ask is "where's my dreamlord?" to which the answer is "he's the giant glowing thing just off-camera") and some badly organised FAQs, forum posts and half-written online manuals. Not the best way to ease newcomers into the game.
What is Dreamlords anyway? It's both a free MMO-strategy title, that mostly-insipid mongrel, and an update posing as a sequel to last year's Dreamlords. It matches Time of Defiance and Planetarion in that it posits a broken world consisting of floating islands sitting in the mind of a dreaming creator, which you fight across to improve your army and the state of your city (though you never see your city after an initial tutorial). It differs in that the most permanent part of this world you encounter is solely PVE, and the entirely-optional PVP takes place on another world.