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Wednesday, October 11, 2000

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Shadowbane Interview
8:25 AM | Andy Largent | Comment on this story

3D Game Force has spoken with Josef “Arcane” Hall and Patrick “Varios” Blanton of Wolfpack Studios about their upcoming MMORPG Shadowbane. In case you're wondering, the title is a huge project in the vein of Everquest or Ultima Online, though it has many features not found in any game of that genre today. One of the most important features of this title from our point of view is it's Mac compatibility; Shadowbane will be available for Mac and PC sometime next Summer.

In the interview, Hall and Blanton discuss starting Wolfpack Studios, their goals in developing Shadowbane, and what makes the game different from other MMORPGs. Here's an excerpt:

3DGFN: Wolfpack Studios is doing something a bit different from other online RPGs, specifically the way game will be played. Not as a single warrior trying to be the strongest, but working for common goals with guilds and nations. What can you tell us about this, the way it will operate, and why the team believes that it will be successful?

Josef: Well, this is a realization that I think comes directly out of our experience with the other online games we’ve run: players enjoy a game like this because of one thing -  Interaction with other people.  Period.  Since you have a limited amount of development resources, spend as much as you possibly can building up the infrastructure to facilitate player-to-player interactions.

Patrick: To this end, we’ve engineer Shadowbane to be a lot more “group” centric than the other games in this genre.  First of all, we’ve concentrated on the dynamics of adventuring in a party.  Second, we’ve put a large amount of thought into building a game that is balanced for conflict between players – and, as a corollary to this, we’ve decreased the “penalties of death” so that dying in our game can be viewed more as “it’s all part of the game” rather than “damn, I just lost a weeks worth of work.”

Josef: I think the biggest single change we’ve planned, though, has to do with the dynamic nature of our World.  In Shadowbane, it’s almost shocking how much influence a group of players can have.  Most of these games are static – cities, dungeons, terrain – these things never change.  In our game, on the other hand, players have complete control.  Groups form into guilds, guilds form into Nations, and Nations can lay claim to vast sections of the virtual terrain by building Castles, Towers and other strategic fortifications.  We fully expect that the largest and more prosperous City/States in our World will be entirely owned and run by Players.  This gives players an unbelievable amount of freedom to “make their mark” in the World, and so far the public response has been overwhelming.

This is an impressive attempt to make an online world very customizable and interactive. It's just an added bonus that Mac users will get a piece of the action. Recently, our editor-in-chief Tuncer Deniz visited Wolfpack and saw just how big of Mac fanatics they were; check out his write-up for more info.

Shadowbane Web Site
IMG News: IMG Visits Shadowbane Creators
3D Game Force Shadowbane Interview
Wolfpack Studios

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