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Artifact Entertainment | Official Site
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 12/08/03)  | Pub:Virtrium
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Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted Previews: Dralnok’s Doom: New High Level Content Tour

By Erin McManaway on November 23, 2009

A new darkness has taken root deep beneath the settlement of Delgarath and has brought the Dwarven King, Dralnok, to his untimely end...

Earlier this year, Virtrium (VI) launched a free, high-level content release for Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted entitled Dralnok's Doom. I was given the opportunity to take an exclusive, in-depth look at this massive update -- so please join me for a journey into the deep!

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What Was Once Familiar...

Dralnok's Doom opens up a series of story-driven quests geared toward players level 90 and above. Those who enjoy Istarian lore will find a new tale to piece together as they make their way deeper into the dungeon.

The story begins in the city of Aughundell. Even before taking a single step into the dungeon itself, it becomes evident that much work has been done to revamp the areas around Aughundell and Delgarath, as well as the city of Rachival. The geography of the existing lands has undergone significant modification. There have been changes to existing monsters in these areas, as well as the addition of a number of completely new creatures that have never been seen in Istaria.


One of the new nasties
around the blight

The further away from civilization you travel, the more obvious the effects of the blight become on the land. The creatures that now lurk in the world above the dungeon were designed to challenge high level players, and they do pack a punch! While it's possible for a well-prepared player to progress through some of this content solo, having friends to watch your back is strongly advised!

Features, Features, Features!

Aside from the dungeon and landscape content, Dralnok's Doom introduces a number of new features to Istaria:

Achievements: These are quests or repeatable tasks that put the completionist player to the test. Upon finishing the task, the player is rewarded with an emblem which they can use as a wearable item. This emblem gives the player a visible achievement title to display next to their name.

Treasure Chests: New treasure chests can be found in Istaria, both inside and outside of the new dungeon. Different chests require different types of player-crafted keys to open -- some chests, of course, may be rarer than others. Depending on the chest's tier, they can give an interesting array of items such as bags, crystals, coins and hoardable items. The higher tier chests in the dungeon can also give special items, such as dragon crafting kit techniques.


New treasure chests can be found across Istaria

Epic Spells and Abilities: What would new high-level content be without epic spells and skills to help players go toe-to-toe with the baddies? Bi-peds and dragons alike both can undertake challenging quests to earn some of the most powerful abilities in the game. Bi-peds can learn the new Volcano spell while the dragons can learn the much-awaited Breath of Acid and the Drulkar's Wrath Spell.

Poison: While the players get new abilities, so do the enemies. This update introduces a brand new poison system with a poison effect that cannot be cleansed by the usual means -- the cleanse technique -- but by a Cure Poison spell. Of course, where there is poison, there are new creatures in game that put it to use it such as spiders, scorpions and other creepy-crawlies.

Community-Wide Crafting Returns!

The reception to the return of community-wide crafting projects appears to be a warm one. While this project has already been completed on all servers, players can only hope that this may be the first of future community crafting projects of this kind!


The community
built these tunnels

Istaria's First Underground Dungeon

The highlight of the new content update is, of course, Istaria's very first underground dungeon area. Everything about the dungeon's design is made to challenge the high-level players and encourage a group effort. The dungeon lacks any sort of internal map, leaving players on their toes to discover their own way through. It has plenty of tricky twists and turns, hidden passages and dead ends that add to the challenge and peril.

The creatures that roam the dark corridors are plentiful, fast spawning and dangerous. Dralnok's Doom is a showcase for these newly designed creatures -- some that make use of the new poison system, all of them very deadly. There are also numerous bosses that can be found inside, often linked to quest lines and item drops that are needed by players to gain the new epic skills and spells. In fact, players may find themselves greeted with one such boss at the very beginning of the dungeon if they're not careful!

The sign of blight can be found everywhere in the underground passages -- from glowing green pools to strange blighted plants and flowers... even within the alien-looking Myloc eggs. All of this gives a sufficiently creepy atmosphere where one never gets too comfortable staying in one place for too long.


The creepy atmosphere inside the dungeon

The Myloc is an enemy race who has appeared in Istaria once before and has now returned again, taking up residence within the deepest parts of the underground dungeon. There are various different kinds of Myloc to encounter, all who are lead by the final, epic boss, Shaloth the Myloc Queen. Touted to be the most difficult enemy to defeat in Istaria, only a handful of players have been successful in doing so since the content has been released. Defeating her offers rare drops, such as items that allow you to create a mural or banner to display in your in-game home or lair.

The Beginning, But Not the End

Dralnok's Doom can be considered a milestone in content for the developers at VI and Istaria. It marks the first update the game has seen of this magnitude and is the culmination of the renewed vision and direction that the team at VI has brought to Istaria over the past two years.

"We really care about Istaria and put a lot of love into it," said Amarie, the Virtrium Community Manager. "We are very happy with Dralnok's Doom. It is a wonderful accomplishment for the game that offers important content for our higher level players. I think our next content update will have players just as happy, too."

Next content update? You read that right. VI isn't stopping with one big release this year. The Istarian Winter Update is slated to bring a complete revamp of the Tier 2 content on the Dalimond Peninsula for players level 21-40.

But that's a completely different journey for different time.

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