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The Chronicles of Spellborn Developer Blog

In The Chronicles of Spellborn players enter an impressive online game world containing scenic landscapes, majestic cities and the remnants of a shattered world.

Author: tcos

Contributor: TheHistorian

Original Spellborn goes Free to Play

Posted by TheHistorian Friday August 14 2009 at 1:46PM
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It happens sometimes; a really good game will slip through the cracks. There are a lot of reasons why this happens and I know you will have opinions, but I’m not here to talk about that.

 I feel like Spellborn was one of those games. A solid MMORPG with a twitch combat interface that meant that player skill actually mattered in PvP. Most of those who played it enjoyed it. And it did pretty well in the reviews online. It was originally a subscription based game with servers in EU and North America, and is now in redevelopment to be converted to a F2P. Acclaim still has servers running the original version and that is why I’m writing this.

 We felt like people missed out. They didn’t get to see what Spellborn was really like. And we are going to fix that.

 Today, as you read this, Spellborn as it currently exists is now free to play. Keep in mind that there will be no upgrades and no patches. It has become in effect, an Action RPG with superior Multiplayer. The only thing it will cost you to play is the time it takes to download.

 So play it.

 Now because it is frozen in time, we will be creating events for the players and we will help support any players that want to make their own events. And if you have thoughts on how we might make this version more enjoyable as we wait for the New free to play version, we are glad to listen.

David Historian DeWald
Community Manager
Acclaim Games Inc.

sfraden writes:

SOrry to bring this up, but Spellborn is not a great game that slipped thru the cracks; rather it is a really poor game that was pushed through the cracks.  Making it F2P did not solve its problems.  The twirly hotbar just blows; the lack of meaning to armor or weapons has not changed.  Your character is just as effective naked with a butter knife.

But if you want to keep it running, go for it.  The game blows, but at least I applaud your last ditch efforts to keep it running.

Fri Aug 14 2009 2:50PM Report
Vagrant_Zero writes:

 Game is being offered for free and yet whino bitchy morons will still come out of the woodwork to complain.

Fri Aug 14 2009 4:10PM Report
beauturkey writes:


 Sent ya an email concerning Spellborn. Good day, man! And thanks for the announcement!




Fri Aug 14 2009 4:46PM Report
paulrgod writes:


Fri Aug 14 2009 7:38PM Report
Frostbite05 writes:

sfraden it's sad to hear you weren't able to use the skill deck properly otherwise you would have really enjoyed it. The idea that armor and weapons are purely cosmetic is awesome and rids one meaningless grind outta the game

Fri Aug 14 2009 7:45PM Report
neoterrar writes:

Great game, pity about it's fate.

Fri Aug 14 2009 8:00PM Report
Ajiatus writes:

The reason I couldn't play Spellborn, no matter how much I wanted to, was because of Gameguard -- any plans on removing Gameguard in future versions?  (Gameguard + Comodo Defense+ = BSOD)

Fri Aug 14 2009 8:49PM Report
Tekaelon writes:

I wish you well wiht F2P. It's funny how people B&M about never seeing anything new and then B&M when they do.

Fri Aug 14 2009 11:07PM Report
Excalaber2 writes:

bummer...if I knew it'd be supported I might give it a try.

Fri Aug 14 2009 11:43PM Report
firesnake77 writes:

I liked the Skill Deck and the whole combat system a LOT.  It was the most fun combat I've experienced in an MMORPG.  I also really loved the fact that gear was interchangeable, and you could wear what you wanted without having to grind for loot.  Feature, not a flaw, in my opinion.

Sat Aug 15 2009 12:25AM Report
craynlon writes:

 im with firesnake on that

i played around 4month in europe till my char was maxlevel and i never even regrett paying for it. the games system of active dodging, small party play, dress 2 impress was a really refreshing break from the mmo clone wars.

i will probably go back and play f2p with some friends and keeping my fingers crossed for the relaunch.

Sat Aug 15 2009 2:34AM Report
43%burnt writes:

Might be a decent game, too bad gameguard keeps one from playing.

Sat Aug 15 2009 7:01AM Report
Vesavius writes:

Spellborn had every potentiol to be a great game, the core gameplay, visuals, lore, and playerbase was awesome. The skillbar was great, the core idea behind character customisation/ development was amazing. The rest however was a real let down.... A lack of content (poor PvP/ no banks/ no AH/ whatever at launch, single linear quest path to top lvl, more...) and just too many bugs in too many imprtant places made it unsupportable in the long term.

So, yeah, in one sense SB was a great game that slipped through (loved the time I played it), but on the other it was a under realised mess that was buried in being pushed out a year too early.

Will I go back and play now it's free? Well.. no, the game hasnt changed enough since I left to make it attractive, and the fact that it's going Item Mall has left a sour taste in my mouth.

The way that Acclaim handled SB was disgusting and, to the paranoid, might even have been deliberatly so in order to get it to where it is now. I have no proof of that, but even with the reasonable suspicion (based on what I personally know) in my head I cannot support this company in anything they do.

I wish you good luck though SB, even if only for the memories of the good time I had in the early days and my respect for the spirit of original ambition of what this game could have been.


Sat Aug 15 2009 8:28AM Report
Palebane writes:

I may actually try it now. The fact that gear isn't very meaningful for combat prowess and the lack of any patch updates are actually quite attractive features to me. Free to play is icing on the cake.

Sat Aug 15 2009 8:56AM Report
logangregor writes:

The skilldeck didnt kill the game for me.

And neither did "Not having gear".


When I went to quest and I couldnt read the quest because Im on a 22' widescreen with a very high resolution--- that was a problem.

The vague directions on who  to speak to and where to go-that was a problem.

Actually finding mobs to grind off of- problem.

Time, taking 2 mins to kill one mob- problem.


Vague idea of what endgame consisted of?

If there was going to be bgs or pvp areas or what pvp would be?

All that combined to just bore me away from the game.


People want to have a good experience and a good feeling about the game when they start playing it.

If the developer cant entice the player in that small window of time, then whats to keep them playing? A promise that the game will get better? What if it doesnt? Then they just wasted months to figure out they dont like a game? Yeah people wont do that, if its not fun and if it doesnt catch there attention they will just leave.

That imo is what happened in this game. Well that and not nearly enough advertising.

Sat Aug 15 2009 9:13AM Report
Itoao writes:

I liked the game and even subscribed for a month. The UI really needs work, that annoyed me. I was also frustrated that lots of the skills seemed to be bugged and not apply the correct states or do the correct damage etc. The skill bar was really cool however certain skills broke combos etc. These things are what killed it for me. I was really excited about the possibilities but you have to make sure the core of the game works first and foremost imo. I hope the relaunch will see those things fixed. Then I will try it again.

Sat Aug 15 2009 10:12AM Report
drkl writes:

I'm sorry to burst you bubble but the game is still subscription based until 2010 (after the "RE-DEVELOPMENT"). I do believe that the game was worth a shot, but by going with a F2P model it's only going to make more of the subscribers leave until the new model is done.

Sat Aug 15 2009 6:30PM Report
holdenhamlet writes:

drki if it's still subscription then why did he say:

"Today, as you read this, Spellborn as it currently exists is now free to play."

That seems pretty immediate to me.  I'm downloading it now and will give it a shot.

Sat Aug 15 2009 7:42PM Report
solareus writes:

should of been free to play in the first place, and now acclaim is doing the sob story. Should of stuck to the original concept of what acclaim was doing with the f2p market instead of cashing in  a monthly  fee.

Sat Aug 15 2009 7:55PM Report
ThomasN7 writes:

How many people actually play this game ?

Sat Aug 15 2009 8:27PM Report
nate1980 writes:

It isn't often that I download a game and feel entertained by it. Mainly because most MMORPG's are just a copy+paste of popular MMO's. While TCoS has similar features, it feels fresh. I've only played a day and haven't even played to level 5 yet, but the story so far seems good and being able to look good at the start is nice. It does suck to play through the same quests more than once, so I suggest doing research on the class you want to be first. Otherwise, it's a nice game to play, being free and all.

Sat Aug 15 2009 9:00PM Report
Andraaxx writes:

I enjoyed the game, but could not get enough friends to play it. I can play good console games by myself, but I want to see other people in an MMO. With only two servers, Spellborn's world was just too empty for me.  Now that it is free to play, maybe enough people will play the game to make it worth the time.

Sat Aug 15 2009 10:55PM Report
Stilla119 writes:

The game wasn't completed when it was released, anyone who played more than a week understood that. People played until they had no more content, were boarded with the content, or were tired of the syncing issue. Once the population started to fall, it dropped like a rock.


The game is in redevelopment for a lot of reasons. At the core of TCoS is a really great game, it just never had the chance to build upon it, and it appeared that the development team was only a month or two away from releasing a major expansion. Frogster might be better staffed and they might be capable of completing more work in a shorter time. I am sure the game will have more content when its released again. I know, I want to understand the rest of the story and I want to play shard conquest.

The sync issue seems to have been resolved.

Its a free game, whats to loose.  I am playing again.


Sat Aug 15 2009 11:56PM Report
Samuraisword writes:

I beta tested Spellborn, was really looking forward to it. I was a real fanboi prior to release. Some of you may remember I had a Spellborn signature during that time.

Well the game sucks big time. It's a WoW clone, a completely task driven linear experience modeled design after WoW with stupid unrealistic icons floating over NPCs heads and glows and arrows on the minimaps to hold your hand and show you where to go next.

The PVP had no real risk vs reward so became fairly meaningless except to frustrate other players and the death penalty overall was insignificant, ruining both immersion and gameplay by not offering realistic consequences for ones actions.

Sun Aug 16 2009 10:14AM Report
Samuraisword writes:

In addition, there is no real crafting in the game. Sigils are bonuses which can be added to items by NPCs, but players cannot create items to trade themselves and therefore are unable to build a reputation as a crafter which also contributes to a non existant player economy.

Sun Aug 16 2009 10:16AM Report
sschrupp writes:

A WoW clone? Out of all the MMOs to come out since WoW, Spellborn is the least like WoW in my opinion. Feels nothing like WoW when playing. Setting is different, art is different, combat is very different, crafting is different, advancement is different, skills are different... I don't see it. To each their own I guess. Then again, maybe if it WAS a WoW clone it would have been more popular.

Sun Aug 16 2009 11:07AM Report
nate1980 writes:

He probably meant RPG clone, since every RPG has quests and most RPG's have a linear main story line...even Oblivion. I'm having connectivity issues with the game today and I'm not sure why. My computer is good and Comcast is good, so there is no reason why I crashed, relogged, played for 5 min and then got DCed. Is this normal for the game?

Sun Aug 16 2009 2:15PM Report
fldash writes:

Now if only the game could get some population...

Mon Aug 17 2009 8:36AM Report
Euphoryk writes:

I recall more than a handful of times when you, Historian, were advised about certain issues the game had, or fixes that were required for it to be successful, on the official forums.

You were infamous for flat out ignoring people at times, and very few of the issues players presented to you were ever dealt with at all.

You directly contributed to the downfall of Spellborn, and that is a fact.

Mon Aug 17 2009 9:58AM Report
Wharg0ul writes:

While I really enjoyes Spellborn while I played it....I don't think I will go back. I was really looking forward to bug fixes, more content, and the future of the game as it grew.

Especially since, as much as I enjoyed the game, everyone knows that it was simply not finished.

I wish someone with some cash and a vision could scoop this title up and flesh it out, finish it off, and re-release it the way it should have been.


Mon Aug 17 2009 10:57AM Report
Ugottawantit writes:

I really wanted to like Spellborn, but I didn't. I did like the skill deck and other innovations. I didn't like having to remember to stow my sword before I could run away in near death experiences that ultimately lead to my death way to many times.

Mon Aug 17 2009 1:03PM Report
vherok writes:

 I personally enjoyed my time in the 2 week trial. I did not sub because the game seemed to lack a draw for me beyond some distraction.

I am glad to see its going to be F2P, but  the solution is to add an Item Mall to a game that in its current state does not use player gear? boggles the mind. They must intend to change the game completely or to sell you your skills for cash.

Mon Aug 17 2009 6:46PM Report
shae writes:

As a former, original, beta tester and now in the gaming industry myself, the TCOS team has no one to blame but themselves.

This isn't a good game that fell through the cracks, nice spin attempt there Dave, this is yet another game that had tons of potential that was poorly developed and left it's player base and fans out to dry.

As with many failures, and let's not kid ourselves this is a giant one yet again, it happens on the backs of the "what-if's". What if you had stayed true to your original combat ideas, what if you would have stayed true to the original story arch ideas, what if, what if, what if... The community left your game because they were tired of the BS and now that you've run out crap peddling time you have to fold; for the most part and deservedly.

I'm sorry to see the potential of TCOS go, as I was with other games, but it's survival of the best now days and shoveling crap games to a very self aware public while treating them like idiots will gain you nothing but a trip to the F2P server farm.

Cheers on the TCOS management and production team for completely screwing the pooch on this one. Hope your investors at least got a little back...

Tue Aug 18 2009 6:46PM Report
greed0104 writes:

Actually it happens a lot, Bad games usually go F2P.

Mon Aug 24 2009 1:51PM Report
skynight009 writes:

 i probrally say that 10000-48000 is playing this game.

Wed Aug 26 2009 10:43AM Report
skynight009 writes:

 and they should make staffs for the magic and mounts to go even faster.


Wed Aug 26 2009 10:44AM Report
xsarkaix writes:

I kinda want to try it but at the same time I'm weary.

Thu Apr 08 2010 12:52AM Report writes:
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