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Wednesday, May 23, 2001

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Huge Shadowbane Movie Released
10:02 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

GameSpot has recently posted a huge (in both file size and length) movie that focuses on Shadowbane, the upcoming MMORPG currently in development by Wolfpack Studios. The movie itself contains various gameplay moments alongside continuous narration and interview segments with various developers talking about the main aspects of this title.

The first part of the movie, titled "Become a Hero," outlines basic character creation and motivation. Gameplay shots show a character being created, with changes being made to the hairstyle, skin pigmentation, and the racial type. Character motivation is also discussed, with the developers noting that a character doesn't just exist to fight - there must be established motives and direction. A character could fight to defend, to conquer, or to uphold justice. All of this will depend on how much the player is willing to play out their "role."

In one interesting clip, a polygonal character is shown close-up going through the motions of a paired sword martial arts form of some kind. Whether this will be an aspect of the game itself is unknown at this point, as it could just be a test model.

The next segment of the movie is named "Raise an Army" and discusses the creation of the all-important Guild. Guilds are the central player structures of Shadowbane, where players of similar races, ideas, or whatever can gather, exchange information, and make plans. Guilds are entirely player driven, and new ones can be created by any player with a little money and some friends. Each Guild will be represented by a customizable Crest and can hire as many underlings as the Guild Leader wishes, given the Guild can support them.

The "Rule an Empire" segment of the movie outlines town creation. Towns basically spring up around Guilds and what is called a Tree of Life. Like Guilds, towns are built and run entirely by player decision - one town could be built to exemplify beauty, while another could be designed to be a defensive powerhouse. Towns can also contain a multitude of buildings, including various shops, inns, taverns, barracks, and the like. These buildings will be populated by NPCs who can be hired to effectively take care of "dirty work" for players. In other MMORPGs, players often spend countless hours creating objects. In Shadowbane, players can simply employ NPCs through customizable contracts for object creation. For example, a player could strike up a contract with a blacksmith, customize that contract by stating that only swords should be created, and leave the blacksmith alone. Even if the player is offline, the NPC will fulfill the contractual obligations. The quality of such created items will depend on the ranking of the NPC as well as on chance.

The last section of the movie, "Change the World," is doubtless what many players are anticipating - the ability to lay siege to a town and ultimately take it over. As stated earlier, a Tree of Life is at the center of any town. Under control by an associated Guild Leader, this Tree is literally the heart of its town and has the ability to heal and protect the city when directed. However, when the Tree falls, so does the town. To this end, an enemy Guild can set up a war camp and lay siege to a town with siege machines. Spells and such can also be used to poison the Tree of Life, preventing it from healing town buildings and ultimately rendering the town defenseless. Another tactic aggressors can use is to send in Assassins to eliminate the Guild Leader. With the leader gone, no one can direct the Tree of Life to perform its healing tasks.

To counter assaults, towns can employ various defensive tactics, such as knocking out siege machines and laying waste to any war camps threatening them.

As a Guild expands its influence, whether through warfare or other means, its Crest will pop up on the World Map more and more often. The World Map itself updates in real-time, making it so that players can actually actively watch the progress of a Guild as it expands its influence if they so choose.

The movie itself is quite large, though GameSpot offers streaming versions as well as a zipped Windows Media version. For those curious, however, it does contain a wealth of gameplay moments as well as a voluminous amount of information on Shadowbane's major workings. This title is currently scheduled for a release sometime this year.

Shadowbane Official Site
GameSpot - Shadowbane Movies
Wolfpack Studios

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