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Stray Bullet Games
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 03/25/03)  | Pub:UBISoft
PVP:Yes | Distribution:Retail | Retail Price:Free | Pay Type:Free | Monthly Fee:Free
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Shadowbane Dev Journals: What Is Shadowbane?

By Sean Dahlberg on July 07, 2005

Player-versus-Player Combat

Shadowbane has been built from the ground up to support Player-versus-Player (PvP) combat. Every facet of the game system including the game's backstory, actively encourages it. In addition to one-on-one PvP dueling, Shadowbane's game mechanics also support and encourage Guild-versus-Guild (GvG) and Kingdom-versus-Kingdom (KvK) combat.

This isn't to say, however, that PvP Combat is completely unrestricted - Shadowbane's game world is divided into zones and territories, with conflict levels ranging from completely protected (such as the Newbie Areas and Starting Cities) to extremely dangerous (hostile advanced areas and land held by enemy nations).

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We have worked very hard to ensure that the combat system offers the most balanced PvP experience on line, and that player conflict fits within the context of the game world. Pointless violence is not the purpose of Shadowbane: but we also assert that it's hard to tell a gripping story (especially a gripping fantasy story) without conflict or battles. We remain firm believers that PvP and Roleplaying can go hand in hand, and that, in fact, the pinnacle of each can only be achieved when the two exist in tandem. Without the power to back up your words, what good is a well-acted swagger? And how much more meaningful will your character's victories be when firmly grounded in an epic or mythic context?

The traditional Player-Killers (PKs) of other games are outsiders who wander from region to region in search of prey, vanishing when their victims come looking for revenge. In Shadowbane, however, all players belong to a Guild, run either by GMs or Players. Guilds are highly territorial, and you can easily learn where a character is from by viewing their Guild Crest when you click on them or by viewing your "Recent Attacks" log. Wanton murderers will be held accountable for their actions by the Guilds they serve, and the penalties for being expelled from a player Guild are severe. Furthermore, trying to operate without the fixed home base that a Guild provides is asking for serious trouble. So, you may ask, what's to keep all the PKs from forming Guilds of their own? Nothing, but there's nothing to keep you and anyone ever troubled by them from forming your own Guilds, and battering the PK Guilds to dust. It's hard to hide a player city. Also, Shadowbane's reliance on Guilds means that every victim has a Guild full of supporters to help them get even. In Shadowbane, PvP isn't about PKing. It's about payback.

Emphasis on Player Interaction

We believe an online title can be more than just a "game." By combining the elements of an RPG with a service model geared towards on-going narration we are creating a unique new form of entertainment; a new type of media in which the viewer can make the leap from "silent observer" to "active participant."

We didn't just want to build a game; we wanted to build a living world. Shadowbane is dynamic, breathing model of a feudal society -- with all the cooperative and competitive implications thereof. We believe that this creates the ultimate roleplaying experience, and that the opportunities for human interaction brought about by such a flexible environment far surpass the possibilities offered by a more static, repetitive model. In the past, the mantra of MMOs was level, loot, repeat… Level, loot, repeat… In Shadowbane, players shape the face of the game world: players decide where their cities are, what buildings and services they hold, which regions of the map are ruled by those cities, and ultimately, whether those cities will survive the ambitions of their rivals. You decide.

In short, we don't want to give you "just a game"... We want to give you the opportunity and the power to Change the World.

So What Exactly is Shadowbane?

Is it a RPG? It it an RTS? Is it a political game? Is it a story? Is it all of the above? The best way to answer that question is to try it yourself!

To learn more about Shadowbane, visit the official Community website at http://chronicle.ubi.com/. And if you need help in learning the ropes of Shadowbane, read the Getting Started Guide at http://www.shadowbania.com/!

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Sean Dahlberg / Senior Designer, UTV True Games

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