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Tuesday, May 22, 2001

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Shadowbane Interview at SBVault
9:03 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

The team at IGN's Shadowbane Vault received the opportunity, while attending E3, to interview some of the team members of Wolfpack, developers of the upcoming MMORPG Shadowbane (thanks to Stomped for the tip-off). Part one of this interview consists of a general overview of the game as well as the basic RPG aspects of Shadowbane.

The Wolfpack team notes that their current marketing tag-line, "Change the World," is representative of the fact that Shadowbane's world is a real ever-changing, interactive world where players can literally affect and change the world with their actions. They cite that other titles of similar design are more like amusement parks, where the player can be affected by the world, but can't really affect the world around them.

In terms of play, they are trying to make setbacks less harsh for competitive players. They note that their RPG does contain the usual ingredients, including combat, politics, betrayal, exile and the like. However, unlike other RPGs where a series of negative events could cripple the player, Wolfpack is trying to cushion this so that it doesn't do anything more than hurt the player's pride, rather than completely ruining the playing experience.

Also remarked upon is the way environments will change as a player explores:

So deserts, timberlands, woodlands, forests, mountains, northlands, beaches, lakes, you have a ton of what we call 'macro' zones, or overall terrain subsets. It's not a zone in terms of … I have to lag out and I have to then reload something when I cross a boundary. It's a zone meaning that the edges of it are very clear, precise, and visible and when you step over it… a fog might roll in, the sky may change to become more dark and gloomy, the desert may become more golden and halo like, different terrain objects may appear like the style of trees, rocks, and plants may change and other terrain aspects may change like an area may become less rocky or more rocky and so forth.
The newbie factor is also discussed. In typical MMORPGs, newbies often become easy prey for more experienced players. To counter this, Shadowbane is establishing a series of newbie zones, where player vs. player combat is not allowed and newbies can safely level-up by defeating NPCs and wandering monsters. Warden of the Wolfpack team notes that players should work their way up to levels 20-30 before really venturing off into the world. The newbie zones themselves will not be small areas - they will encompass entire cities spread across several worlds.

Part two of the interview, which has yet to be posted, will cover the economic model of Shadowbane. Additionally, there are a number of pictures snapped of the Shadowbane setup at E3 for those that are interested. This title is currently scheduled to be released sometime this year.

Official Shadowbane Site
Shadowbane Vault at IGN
Wolfpack Studios

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