Legends of Kesmai
Legends of Kesmai was one of the earliest online, RPG-style games created by a company named Kesmai and first appeared on the Compuserve service in 1984 named Island of Kesmai(Compuserve was later purchased by America Online). It is in honor of this pioneering game that the Legends shard gets it's name.
Legends of Kesmai included many interesting features emulated by later RPG-style games. Spells, swords, potions, dragons, etc. were present but also some rich gameplay features such as a 2D scrolling graphical interface, character alignment, aging and even the manner of character death affecting options. For example, being eaten by a dragon resulted in perma-death, but death by fire allowed the character to resurrect with stat penalties.
As an interesting note, the game was available on CompuServe for free but CompuServe cost $6 per hour and the game only accepted one command every 10 seconds.
Kesmai was purchased by News Corp. in 1994, but later sold to Electronic Arts in 1999. Electronic Arts shut down Legends of Kesmai on May 29, 2000 and dissolved the Kesmai studio in 2001.