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Shadowbane NDA Lifted
February 20th 2003, 17:13 CET by Foodbunny

I got into the beta not too long ago.  If you've been in IRC you've probably heard me bitch about it, NDA be damned.  But as time goes by and I adapt more to the system the more I like it.

First off, yes, it does have the standard "Whee, it's our first MMORPG!" problems.  Every time they let new players in the next few days are so laggy that it's almost impossible to play.  The login server crashes frequently and there's apparently a bug that allows people without beta accounts to play the game right after the login server comes back up.  There's a client-side memory leak that can be a serious pain.  The classes are very unbalanced with one completely outclassing the rest and some being completely unplayable.

There's some good, though.  The level treadmill is very short, the current build has been up for a few days and I'm already 1/3rd of the way to the end game.  Leveling doesn't get any harder as you go on either.  They recently added Bring a Friend to the monsters to try to make PvE more interesting but it's pretty buggy at this point and you can end up with 60 monsters swarming your group at once.

Speaking of which, you will be grouping.  If you want to solo then you can forget it.  Grouping is heavily rewarded in Shadowbane... every party member gets the maximum experience they can get from each creature the group kills.  Gold is either split between each member evenly or is first come, first serve.  Soloing can be very dangerous.  

When you die you take a small experience hit and everything in your pack is left in your grave.  You will spawn back at your Tree of Life with your armor and weapon, which will be damaged, and you have to make a run for your grave.  Because anyone can grab anything in it.  This is being chalked up as "REALISM" because hey, if you dropped your wallet then anyone can take anything in it and you'll never know who it was.  Thankfully money is easy to come by so this never hurts too much.

But the meat of this game is supposed to be PvP.  Guilds sieging each other's cities, stealing their money, and burning their Trees of Life to the ground.  Most people will steal from an unprotected grave.  Theives can actually steal from you.  They'll ambush you on the road to your trainer to take all your money.  It's Play to Crush and the only justice is player justice, which ain't no justice at all.

The more I play the game the more I find myself actually enjoying it, but that enjoyment depends entirely on the quality of group I'm in.  I don't like it enough to pay to play, not with the state it's in.  But they are promising the inclusion of guild-controlled resources and more RTS elements that make it more tempting.  The entire end game is guild vs guild war and I am glad to see them already working to add more to it.

This is definately a try before you buy game. If you don't enjoy politics, group-based activity, and killing other players than this is not the game for you.
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#1 by LPMiller
2003-02-20 17:13:35
lpmiller@gotapex.com http://www.gotapex.com
I'm staying away from this one - DAoC is okay enough for me, and i'm still smarting over Anarchy Online.

I believe I can fly......urk.
#2 by bishop
2003-02-20 17:15:20
http://www.darkintel.org/00FF00/
I'm interested in the thief class. It seems like UO's style of theft - without the suck.

but I doubt I'll ever bother to buy the game without trying a demo.
#3 by Charles
2003-02-20 17:18:12
www.bluh.org
PVP near anywhere intrigues me.  Same with a thief class.  Will be interesting to see how long before they remove or nerf both those items.

FIGHTING FOR PEACE IS LIKE POSTING ON PLANETCRAP FOR INTELLIGENCE!  --morn
#4 by Greg
2003-02-20 17:19:03
The first thing I look for in a MMORPG is whether there is farming and harvesting involved.

I need to make my moeny!

blah blah bleh
#5 by Chunkstyle
2003-02-20 17:19:59
I don't think I could buy it, because all of my experiences with PvP in these games has been awful.  I like to be a good guy, and the evil bandit gangs just seem to dominate the games.

Yo Zamfir, Get your butt over here.
#6 by bishop
2003-02-20 17:20:35
http://www.darkintel.org/00FF00/
From my UO experience, theft should be outlawed near banks. That should fix most of the problems with it.

It depends on the game style. If you've got large groups of people standing around a specific objective, you're going to have thieves walking around picking pockets.
#7 by Warren Marshall
2003-02-20 17:20:47
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
Thanks for the write up FB.  I'll keep an eye on this one, although it doesn't sound like something I want to get involved in ...

It isn't pretty to think so, but I can't feign interest now.
#8 by Ergo
2003-02-20 17:23:14
This sounds like one big grief-fest to me. Soloing not viable? Count me out.

"Folks, you can't walk into a bar holding a porcupine, set it on fire and expect to make liquorice!" --Dana Carvey as Ross Perot

DVDs
#9 by Trolly McTroll
2003-02-20 17:24:13
The first thing I look for in a MMORPG is whether it's gay or not and so far no MMORPG has let me down.

"You are all a bunch of sorry mofos. Please die. Kthx. - The_Joker
#10 by Ergo
2003-02-20 17:25:45
ROOFLES!!11!!1!

"Folks, you can't walk into a bar holding a porcupine, set it on fire and expect to make liquorice!" --Dana Carvey as Ross Perot

DVDs
#11 by UncleJeet
2003-02-20 17:35:09
Progress Quest.  That is all.

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#12 by bishop
2003-02-20 17:35:32
http://www.darkintel.org/00FF00/
You can't steal in progress quest.
#13 by Matthew Gallant
2003-02-20 17:39:35
http://www.truemeaningoflife.com
Having done time in both the beta for Anarchy Online and Shadowbane, I'd hazard a guess that Shadowbane's first week live could be even worse than AO's. Lag effects in Shadowbane are more pronounced and don't just have effects on the client, but the server as well, i.e. monsters rubberbanding in addition to players. That's what it seemed like anyway, hard to tell what's actually happening when you're hit by lag. One fight, I kept clicking far away on the map to run away, but my character would only start to run, then go back and keep fighting. Can't imagine PVP being too fun under these kinds of conditions.

"Is the internet making people less intelligent?"
"You mean like how video cameras cause thrown objects to hit men in the crotch?"
#14 by UncleJeet
2003-02-20 17:41:03
Matthew -

MMORPG's are supposed to be fun?

I'm fighting terrorism by playing violent video games!
#15 by Marsh Davies
2003-02-20 17:58:47
www.verbalchilli.com
Interesting... Nice topic, too.

Do the incentives not to solo reduce griefing by forcing cooperation?

#16 by bishop
2003-02-20 18:00:49
http://www.darkintel.org/00FF00/
I doubt it. When griefers are forced to work together they form gank squads and pick on anything less numerous than they are.
#17 by Foodbunny
2003-02-20 18:05:55
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
It doesn't reduce griefing but it makes rounding up a justice squad really, really easy.   Everyone has to PvP, and going after some guy who's been an asshole makes some people happier than just randomly picking targets.

"It's great to be known, but it's even better to be known as strange." - Takeshi Kaga
#18 by Greg
2003-02-20 18:16:49
That reminds me of the griefing I did in the UO beta where I got a mob to attack someone by claiming the guy tried to rob me. I snuck away, of course.

blah blah bleh
#19 by Shadarr
2003-02-20 18:41:55
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Do you have to be accepted into a group to get experience points?  Otherwise, you could just hang out near the back while a bunch of strangers level your character for you.
#20 by Foodbunny
2003-02-20 18:46:23
foodbunny@attbi.com http://www.foodbunny.com
Yes, you do have to be accepted into the group to get the experience points.  Unless you get the killing blow on the monster, in which case you steal the kill and everyone hates you.  You can get away with that on the newbie island but it won't fly anywhere else unless you're a master of stealth and no one in the party has a level of tracking higher than your hide.

"It's great to be known, but it's even better to be known as strange." - Takeshi Kaga
#21 by Your Friend
2003-02-20 19:05:57
Shadowbane is a case study in how to spend a lot of money and time creating a game that a vocal but extreme minority of potential players want to play.

It will go offline within a year.

2000/XP is better than Win9x in every way.
#22 by Matt Perkins
2003-02-20 19:17:19
wizardque@yahoo.com http://whatwouldmattdo.com/
Your Friend #21
Shadowbane is a case study in how to spend a lot of money and time creating a game that a vocal but extreme minority of potential players want to play.

It will go offline within a year.

You could be write...you could be wrong.

"Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons"
"Whoever controls the worlds oil, controls the markets"
- Arundhati Roy (and many others)
#23 by jjohnsen
2003-02-20 19:17:27
http://www.johnsenclan.com
Maybe its because I'm so anti-social, but this doesn't sound fun at all.  Having to rely on other people in games is like doing group projects in college.  There's always a member of the group that can't seem to do anything right.  Being forced to group makes this sound even worse.
#24 by Ashiran
2003-02-20 19:26:15
Well I don't see any problems with kicking somebody out of the group. Which can be quite a hassle in group projects in college.

I'M NOT A CHICKEN...
YOU'RE A TURKEY!!!
#25 by Your Friend
2003-02-20 19:30:26

Well I don't see any problems with kicking somebody out of the group. Which can be quite a hassle in group projects in college.


Just don't do it if you're playing from a cybercafe in Korea and the guy you kick out knows where you are.

2000/XP is better than Win9x in every way.
#26 by Shadarr
2003-02-20 19:39:40
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
The thing about MMORPGs is that they're basically trying to create a society from scratch.  If you look back at history, it takes a lot of centuries of near anarchy and rule-by-force, where the leader is whoever is most able and most willing to inflict his will on others.  So, you either have to make it impossible to fuck over your fellow players in the game, or else you have a situation where it might be interesting to observe the game from a sociological standpoint, but it's not much more fun to play than it was to live in feudal Europe.
#27 by Bailey
2003-02-20 19:52:29
Delightful article FB. Now write one about Atriarch.

To me, Shadowbane was always a fascinating idea of an entirely player-controlled world implemented by huge egos, horrible marketing, and multiple publishers. Dead in the long run, in other words, but I still find it endearing that Wolfpack felt they could pull this off.

The young are simply too dumb to live/The old are weak and unclean,
The ones in the middle, they also must die/Their ways are obtuse and obscene.
#28 by Dethstryk
2003-02-20 19:59:14
jemartin@tcainternet.com
I just wish someone would make an MMORPG that I can enjoy. Neocron looked like it was going to be the one, but I ended up not buying it after seeing such negative feedback on it.

"And I'm saying without a relationship with God and those strong convictions HE put in me I wouldn't be a 42 year old who hasn't had sex with anyone today."
#29 by Bailey
2003-02-20 20:07:14
There will never be a good MMOG ever until the whole "it's a goldmine!" mentality dies down in the wasteland of 1000 dead projects. Then, possibly, we'll see one or two games that actually present an original concept, are well-funded, competently implemented, and kept under wraps until the final milestone is in sight.

The young are simply too dumb to live/The old are weak and unclean,
The ones in the middle, they also must die/Their ways are obtuse and obscene.
#30 by Dethstryk
2003-02-20 20:15:26
jemartin@tcainternet.com
Yeah, well.. I guess I'll just go and see if anywhere around here has the PC version of Splinter Cell in. I want to play that one pretty bad.

"And I'm saying without a relationship with God and those strong convictions HE put in me I wouldn't be a 42 year old who hasn't had sex with anyone today."
#31 by Squeaky
2003-02-20 20:16:30
There will never be a good MMOG ever until the whole "it's a goldmine!" mentality dies down in the wasteland of 1000 dead projects. Then, possibly, we'll see one or two games that actually present an original concept, are well-funded, competently implemented, and kept under wraps until the final milestone is in sight.

How likely is that exactly?

When your girlfriend talks dirty to you, do you make her say "Zug-Zug"?
DVDs
#32 by Shadarr
2003-02-20 20:20:43
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
It would also be kinda cool if more companies were making games that aren't just ripoffs of Everquest and UO.  Something like Nation States without the lameness, where each player controls a country like in Civ, or more MMRTSs like Shattered Galaxy.
#33 by Your Friend
2003-02-20 20:30:54

MMRTSs like Shattered Galaxy.


Well Sony/Verant spent 4 years working on Sovereign.. and then shelved it.

Heheh..

Heh.

2000/XP is better than Win9x in every way.
#34 by yotsuya
2003-02-20 20:44:17
10 hours ago: The Free Land of Ballio ceased to exist.

Allowing the LCD to unduly influence design decisions is what leads to Gladiator winning best picture. -Shadarr
#35 by Ashiran
2003-02-20 20:44:20
An MMRTS should be more like the system they implented in Total Annihilation Boneyards. And then specifically the Darien Crusades.

I'M NOT A CHICKEN...
YOU'RE A TURKEY!!!
#36 by None-1a
2003-02-20 20:51:13
The representatives of the former free land of ballio would like to say that we unleashed our substantial nuclear arsenal on our population only because they where a bunch of whinny little bitches asking for the same things daily. While it may be sad to see one of the oldest and largest nations in What to go out like this we assure you that you'd not want to be living with these people anyway.
#37 by Shadarr
2003-02-20 20:59:30
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
Do nations just die on their own, or would I actually have to go back there and do something for The Empire of Sneedvale to cease to exist?
#38 by Marsh Davies
2003-02-20 21:02:24
www.verbalchilli.com
Foody:
It doesn't reduce griefing but it makes rounding up a justice squad really, really easy.


For me griefing is the biggest incentive to avoid multiplayer, let alone mmogs.

I mean, the occasional psychopath is plausible and possible to cope with, but when every other chump you come across is out just to make life difficult for everyone else... Gah. An ideal (by which I mean, completely unlikely) massively multiplayer game for me would be one where you more rarely come across other players. A vast expansive world which could not feasibly be entirely explored, with a mere sprinkling of human players in each region, otherwise populated by NPCs filling in the roles of shopkeepers, peasantry and townsfolk. Then every player could be a hero, because there wouldn't be a zillion other players in the same pub as him at any time.

You'd still have griefers though, I guess...

Okay, brainstorm for PC: How can griefing be minimised?

#39 by Ashiran
2003-02-20 21:03:16
Kill them all.

I'M NOT A CHICKEN...
YOU'RE A TURKEY!!!
#40 by bishop
2003-02-20 21:04:54
http://www.darkintel.org/00FF00/
Certainly not by making it illegal to kill people.
#41 by Ashiran
2003-02-20 21:06:41
Okay, seriously. To anwser that question we must first establish why players grief.

If it's for no other reason than being a 13 old little jackass then only a big fat bold 18+ rating will do it.

I'M NOT A CHICKEN...
YOU'RE A TURKEY!!!
#42 by Shadarr
2003-02-20 21:12:11
shadarr@yahoo.com http://digital-luddite.com
The main reason you see more griefing in games than real life is the lack of consequences.  In order to make a game where it's <i>possible</i> to PK someone and take all their stuff, but that doesn't happen very often, you need to make it risky.  There has to be a good chance of being caught, and their have to be harsh consequences for being caught.

The thing is, police work is <i>work</i>.  In a game, at best you'll have a bunch of vigilantes calling themselves police, and at worse the police will just be another gang.  And if you don't have some sort of due process to prove someone's guilt or innosence, then making a false accusation and getting the "good guys" to hunt someone down just becomes a different form of griefing.

The bottom line is that people are broken.  It took a long time and a lot of work to establish the stable society we have today.
#43 by bishop
2003-02-20 21:12:33
http://www.darkintel.org/00FF00/
In UO, one of the reasons I saw the PK chain evolve over and over was because some little runt got smacked down by a PK and went "wow, cool, I want to be just like that!"

Some months later, little runt turned into PK smacks down some little runt, and the cycle repeats.

As to theft griefing in UO, the primary problem with that was there was nothing to stop a master thief from having his way with anyone parked outside the bank. Since it didn't take too much time to master theft, you had hundreds of the fuckers sitting outside the bank stealing and putting the loot into the bank until they got caught and were killed.
#44 by chris
2003-02-20 21:15:11
cwb@shaithis.com http://www.cerebraldebris.com
the worst griefers are RARELY younger than 18.

-chris
#45 by Fugazi(werking)
2003-02-20 21:17:52
I don't even know what a griefer is. I am not hip to this 'net lingo I guess.

!
#46 by MCorleone
2003-02-20 21:18:55
PK?

I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
-HSThompson
#47 by bishop
2003-02-20 21:20:32
http://www.darkintel.org/00FF00/
Griefer is a player who does things that are generally annoying and make the game un-fun for people.

Spawn camping would be the best example I can think of on short terms, but I'm sure someone else can explain it better than I can.

But let's not get into a debate on what and what isn't griefing (I don't even really want to use spawn camping as an example), we've got a decent discussion brewing up here, let's not ruin it.
#48 by bishop
2003-02-20 21:20:54
http://www.darkintel.org/00FF00/
What is and isn't. pah.
#49 by Ashiran
2003-02-20 21:20:55
If griefing is only killing people for no reason then the guild owned shops could be of help.

Griefer can't buy weapons there anymore. Give guilds a hitlist. If a griefer get's jumped time and time again he will probably stop it. Or he will create an army of other griefer goons around them essentially making them a guild.

Problem solved!

I'M NOT A CHICKEN...
YOU'RE A TURKEY!!!
#50 by Warren Marshall
2003-02-20 21:20:58
http://www.wantonhubris.com/
PK = Player Killer

It isn't pretty to think so, but I can't feign interest now.
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