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The Mac Side of Massive

Whoever has chosen to embrace the Mac as his desktop platform of choice but uses to rely on other platforms for his gaming needs, may feel the lack of some native massive online gaming titles sooner or later. This is my decayed observation post.

Author: macpete

Shadowbane - Chronicle of Strife: this could be a great time to start playing

Posted by macpete Thursday January 31 2008 at 2:31PM
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(English is not my native Language so, please, be patient and point out any gross mistake in your comments ... thank you).


Stray Bullet Games (the company formed last year from the ashes of Wolfpack Studios), the current maintainer of the five years-old strategic MMO Shadowbane, has decided to hit the reset switch a few days ago ... yes, they will completely reset all their 5 live servers.  Patch 22 - the update responsible for the "Shadowbane Reboot" - has already been applied to the Test Server and, well, players seem pretty happy with this decision.

"It would be best for the longetivity of the game" - said the developers recently -  because "there are certain items in game that make it unbalanceable".

These may be good news for the community of the game, in my opinion, because all the players will soon have the opportunity to start from scratch in a virgin, persistent universe and - for a game this old and rusty - this could have a beneficial effect.

Why should this interest us MacHeads?

Well, the client for Shadowbane is completely free and runs on the Mac. To be honest, it's a bit buggy and PPC-only but runs pretty well on all Macs that use Intel processors. Oh, and there is no monthly fee (from March 17th, 2006 to be precise).

In case some of you are thinking to give Shadowbane another try, here's some valuable advice:

  • do not use the old retail DVDs ... download the Mac client from here, instead
  • start using this "safe" arcanepref.cfg configuration file and check if the game performs well (you will have to put this in the Shadowbane/Config folder)
  • do not play in windowed mode and do not change the resolution and the aspect/ratio of the game until you feel acquainted with the array of settings options of Shadowbane ...
  • if you  can't stand the default UI (I can't), try the wonderful Vengeance UI (it comes in three flavours, red, blue and grey)
  • if you are new to the game, the Morloch Wiki is a nice place to start ...
  • and finally, there's a short Getting Started guide in PDF format on the official website.


If you have any other question ... guess what? Post a message in the official BBS. There's also a nice Mac thread in the Techical Support section.




Arawon writes:

Best wait until the wipe and improvements are in.current game is...less than you might want.

Thu Jan 31 2008 4:26PM Report
macpete writes:

I agree with you, Arawon. I don't expect this game to be born again but I'm glad that people still have fun with it. Shadowbane has always been ignored by the Mac gamers ... too hardcore and ungraceful. But this is an observation post so ... I think that those lonely devs that still take care of our platform after all these years and with so few Mac users deserve some visibility.

Thu Jan 31 2008 5:24PM Report
Tenebroso writes:


Thu Jan 31 2008 7:57PM Report
Kordesh writes:

I'm going to go with no. I was actually the biggest Shadowbane fanboy for the longest damn time. Then Ubisoft took over and I didn't like the direction they were taking the game, and they started letting fans moderate the forms. I got banned as a result, and then swore off the game. Fast forward a few months of me laughing as the game tanked, I decided to give it a shot now that I felt I had enough "revenge" watching it go down hill all this time.

I began to understand why people didn't like it. The PvE grinding portion of it was bland as hell. Epically so. It didn't get much better after leaving the newbie area either. Now, that was somewhat forgivable as the whole point was just to level up quick and then PvP, but by the time I joined, the game was essentially dead. You had people, and maybe one or two of the large guilds that encompassed most of the playerbase now would fight each other, but that was it. In addition, levels mattered far too much in the combat which was against the original plan, so you ended up having to grind to max level to be able to do anything.


I tried once more since then, after they had some kind of expansion dealy going on. Thought it might be fun. I played for a few weeks but left for the same reasons. The game world was lifeless because there were no players to populate it, the interface/controls were cumbersome, and it was still mainly one or two large ruling guilds controlling everything, and the only reason you saw other towns around was because people had so much gold as this point single players were holding up cities entirely by themselves which is a joke.

It's actually kind of a disappointment still, because I really enjoyed the whole concept of the city building, the land ownership, the siege warfare and all that. The races and background to the game were excellent as well. Unfortunately, the whole premise of the game required a great deal of players to accomplish with how large the world is, and the game doesn't have nearly enough of them. In addition, the game was already aged when it had released, and has not stood up well over time, so attracting more players even with a reset is highly unlikely. I can only hope the idea pops up again. I miss games with this atmosphere (and before anyone says DarkfallLOL I watched that game compete with Shadowbane in development its so old. I even walked around a bit in one of the early early testing periods years ago. The game is never coming out, and even if it did, its so far behind as to be laughable. Let it go guys.)


Thu Jan 31 2008 8:05PM Report
krindorf writes:

Mmmm, i've peeped at Shadowbane a few times but never tried the game...may take your advice. Cheers! P.S Mac friendly is definitely FTW. ^^ /strokemacbookpro

Thu Jan 31 2008 9:30PM Report
Drakrtar writes:

Played Shadowbane since beta and i can honestly say this is a big waste of time they need to just break down and hire people that know how to make a game then proceed with SB 2.

Better graphics, Better Game play or at least End Game. Same city system with perhaps less world glitches... or taking care of the known hacker/cheaters? Just some ideas if they were serious about bringing back a dying flame.

SB used to be the best mmo IMO!

Fri Feb 01 2008 12:49AM Report
macpete writes:

>The PvE grinding portion of it was bland as hell

Yes, untill you haven't reach a level high enough to allow your PC to join a guild and combat to raise the sieges, the game is boring and meaningless (and the poor artistic direction doesn't help, to be honest).

But there is nothing like it  on the market if you enjoy pure, large-scale PvP and  damageable scenarios ... at least, not for free (and, I'm sure, not for Mac).

I prefer PvE-oriented games where the PvP part is open but also strictly connected with the game's lore (like Ryzom and - maybe - WAR). Shadowbane seems like a large-scale RTS that takes place in a persistent world to me ... and, in my case, this kind of games makes the suspension of disbelief almost impossible.

I'm a bit surprised, anyway ... Shadowbane has caught your attention whilst EQMac hasn't. I was SO sure that Mac gamers would have been attracted by the Everquest franchise but I was wrong ... or maybe there are not so many MacHeads among the commenters :D


Fri Feb 01 2008 8:44AM Report
Kordesh writes:

Did you read the rest of my post macpete? Because I addressed just about everything you just said.

Fri Feb 01 2008 1:26PM Report
macpete writes:

Yes, Kordesh ... and I substancially agree with you.

But I'm not a Shadowbane player (I've tried the game in the past, of course and I keep the client up-to-date) and my only purpose here is to unveil infos that may be useful for the Mac users. The Mac gaming scene is almost non-existent and the events associated with the few MMOs that support our platform are so infrequent that it may be a bit hard to keep track of them. Damn ... my English is so poor ...

Anyway, don't take my comments about my gaming tastes too seriously. I'm an old, casual and clumsy gamer with almost no spare time and my own opinions on MMOs are often ... well, irrilevant.

But I'm a journalist and I love to gather informations.



Fri Feb 01 2008 3:10PM Report
Baio2k writes:

I've played a little before, but never got into it too much.  I will probably try again after the wipe, but I doubt it will change my opinion.  There were a few things I thought were done very well, especially being able to make buttons and move them anywhere on the UI.

Fri Feb 01 2008 5:55PM Report
kingtommyboy writes:

well, if the game would work on vista i maby could try it :)

Sat Feb 02 2008 12:02PM Report
macpete writes: It will probably run way better than the Mac version, unfortunately :( There's a sticky on the official BBS ... just follow this path: Technical Issues and Feedback >> PC Feedback >>Installing and Running Shadowbane on Vista Sat Feb 02 2008 2:54PM Report writes:
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