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Friday, April 12, 2002

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Yet Another Shadowbane Preview
9:46 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

As Shadowbane, an upcoming massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) known mainly for its long development cycle, inches ever closer to completion, more and more reports on the current beta test are beginning to surface. Gaming web site Games Domain have added their own two cents and deliver a more critical preview than others posted before it.

Interestingly enough, a little tidbit that gamers may be unaware of is that the European and American versions of Shadowbane will be completely separate from each other. Though the content will be identical, the European servers, run by Swing! Entertainment, and the American servers, run by Ubi Soft, won't be mingling anytime in the foreseeable future.

The preview focuses mainly on character leveling and development. Though characters can start off only as fighters, healers, mages, or rogues, they'll be able to choose various professions once they hit level ten. For example, rogues may choose from such professions as barbarian, bard, huntress, or ranger. These professions further split up into disciplines, which allows for great customization regarding character development:

Take our feeble Irekei Mage. At level 10, we select to become a Mage Assassin for our profession — a lethal combination, but from there we can also select to become a Sun Dancer, a specialist in unarmed combat for the Irekei race. As we level up, we can also select to train in the discipline of summoner, and raise animals to fight alongside us. The possibilities are impressive, and the character permutations near endless. That's not even mentioning the restricted character classes — centaurs, flight-enabled classes and so on.
Also worth mentioning is the in-game camera, which reportedly allows players to pan around and zoom in and out. Zooming in close enough will allow players to view things from a first-person perspective. For those who wish to travel quickly, a mini-map will allow players to click and move directly to chosen locations.

Unlike most other MMORPGs, Shadowbane was designed specifically with player vs player (PvP) combat in mind. Games Domain questions the philosophy of such a feature:

What's to control widespread griefer killing? Wolfpack hopes that social control will prove to be the name of the game. The last ten players' names that killed you are stored on your character, and as in life, your friends define your influence. The idea is that a player spreads the word among their friends and allies to sort out the bad from the good, but this reflects a spot of worry in the upcoming title. It claims to be a game for both hardcore and casual gamers — it's very clear that hardcore gamers, willing to put hours of effort into the title are going to be handsomely rewarded, but for the casual gamer, what is there to reap?
The rest of the preview covers the guild organization of Shadowbane as well as city creation and alliance building. Those interested in the full read can find it at Games Domain.

Games Domain: Shadowbane Preview
Wolfpack Studios

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