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Artifact Entertainment | Official Site
MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 12/08/03)  | Pub:Virtrium
Distribution:Download | Retail Price:Free | Pay Type:Subscription
System Req: PC | ESRB:TOut of date info? Let us know!

Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted General Article: "Scourge of the Skulks" Free Update

By Erin McManaway on March 03, 2010

A new menace is rearing its head on the Dalimond Peninsula, endangering travelers and putting the pressure on the already thin-stretched militia. In response, the Gifted of Istaria are called upon to defend Dalimond and the surrounding lands from the growing scourge of the Skulks!

"Scourge of the Skulks," the newest free content release for Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted, has just been patched live to all servers. The focus of this release is a complete revamp of the Tier 2 player experience, which encompasses all schools level 20-40. Though the release concentrates on mostly adventuring and exploring, there is new content for Tier 2 crafters and builders to get involved with, as well.

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Dalimond Peninsula, Renewed…

It seems a number of MMOs have been working on revamps of lower level areas lately. To me, anything that helps to streamline the newer player experience in a game is a positive step in the right direction, even if that means revisiting some of the old content and making it fresh again. Istaria has already begun this with the Tier 1 area, having completely restructured the brand new character experience and tutorials. However, once a player stepped foot outside of Lesser Aradoth, the immensity of the Istarian world quickly made itself known… which could be quite overwhelming for someone new to the game!


Unwelcome natives are restless in the Skulk encampment

This revamp has rebuilt the entire Dalimond Peninsula landmass to help ease level 20-40 players into this wide world experience. Over 100 new quests have been added to the game to guide these players across the land, expanding upon the fantasy lore that Istarians have come to know over the years. Some of these quests lines are specific to certain adventure schools, offering a variety to replay as you explore different classes throughout the game. Other quests offer players a chance to earn new emblems, which allow you to display new titles for accomplishments completed.

Along with these quests come many new NPCs, monsters and locations. As I traveled across the Peninsula, I noticed a number of changes in the landscape itself. Some of the changes appear smaller on first glance, such as the Skulk camp along the Sable Shores. While other changes are much more obvious -- such as the larger blighted areas full of undead Withered Aegis and the revamp of the city of Dalimond itself.


A new blighted location on the Dalimond Peninsula

World Crafting Projects, Renewed…

Along with all of the new adventure content, the Tier 2 crafters were not forgotten. At least one new crafting station has been discovered on the Peninsula, and some of the old stations that used to stand have fallen again into ruin. While for some players this may be a minor inconvenience, for lower level crafters and new players who didn’t get to take part in the original building of these machines, it’s a great opportunity to revisit Istaria’s younger days.


A ruined ore refinery that crafters need to rebuild

These crafting machines and buildings are scattered across the land, usually at points where raw materials spawn and give Tier 2 crafters easy access to processing them. While there are alternatives for Tier 2 materials and machines (so crafters aren’t completely out of luck), I find some spots on the Peninsula to be the best option for crafting… which lends a sense of immediacy in the community for those who want to see these machines active again!

…And Much More

The new content release didn’t just offer content for the Tier 2 player, but also a number of eagerly awaited changes and bug fixes throughout all the levels of the game. For example -- racial abilities now have a bigger effect on character skills, some dragon abilities were tweaked to perform better, Town Marshall quests for Tier 1 and 2 have been revamped, dragon hoard items now have coin value… the patch list is quite long! Virtrium continues to be responsive to player-submitted bugs, suggestions and concerns through the test server, on the bug forum and the support site. Together with the help of the community, they have done a great job in fixing, tweaking and making the game better where ever possible.

The patch notes also state that there are still a few areas yet to be released for future free updates to the Dalimond Peninsula including the Dark Forest, the Warrens, Helian's Tomb and Ashlander's Tomb (two mini-dungeons). So, the Tier 2 revamp of Istaria isn’t over with yet -- there will be more content and changes to look forward to in the following patches!

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