Two and a half years and going
Artilce by Timothy Till
Shadowbane was released in the spring of 2003 amidst a great deal of excitement and anticipation. It promised to be a unique, innovative, and daring take on the MMORPG gaming experience. Open PvP, player built cities, siege combat, a dynamic character advancement process, and an astounding amount of game lore, combined to make Shadowbane one of, if not the, most anticipated MMORPG of all time. Over two years have passed since Shadowbane went gold. How does it measure up to the hype it generated? Play to Crush. That’s the official Shadowbane motto, and by all accounts, whether for the betterment or detriment of the game, that’s what Shadowbane lives by.
Shadowbane touts an impressive twelve player character races. Each of these races is amazingly unique in the abilities they bring to the game both in play-style and PvP, as well as in the lore and story concepts behind each of them. At release they offered you Humans, Aelfborn, Dwarves, Elves, Half-Giants, Shades, and Irekei. Then with extended game time or advanced accounts you could also play Centaurs, Aracoix, or Minotaurs. The Rise of Chaos expansion pack opened up Nephilim, and the Throne of Oblivion expansion pack opened up Vampires.
Apart from the myriad of options available to you, there are still even more ways to customize your character. Most games give you have a linear level of progression, with most of your character’s strengths and weaknesses decided for you. Shadowbane allows you to completely customize what aspects of your base class, profession, and discipline you focus on as you advance. This process ensures a near limitless amount of specialized character builds and templates. Each character can be unique to the point that PvP has the potential to always be fresh and exciting.
Player Versus Player
Shadowbane really shines in guild versus guild combat. While it’s easy for lone characters to go out and make a dent in large amounts of enemies, it’s the group dynamic of PvP that truly brings home the excitement. With all the character types available many players are able to form specialized groups out for PvP, each group specced with its own strengths and weaknesses and tailored to their play-style.
Graphics and Gameplay
Some players build cities for looks or market purposes, but most guilds are constantly striving to make their cities impregnable fortresses with multiple walls, guards, and siege engines. The customization of cities and the building aspect is something many players enjoy immensely, but some prefer to just tear down other people’s homes.