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Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted: When Community Really Counts

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

MMORPG.com Istaria Correspondent Erin McManaway writes this look at the tight knit community that exists in Istaria, the MMORPG formerly known as Horizons.

What is it about MMORPGs that keep us logging in? Why do we choose to pay a monthly fee for a game when there’s the option of picking up a single player game with no fee at all? There has to be some draw, some magical force that pulls millions of players across the world to join in this genre of online gaming. That one thing is the feeling of connectedness with other people - the feeling of community.

There’s something about logging into a vast online virtual world, one that lives and moves around you, that you just can’t get from single player games. It’s a world that imitates our own in diversity, economics and dynamics. But exactly how important is the factor of community to an MMORPG? Can our connections to other players, guilds and factions be the glue that holds the online world together? The players of Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted would tell you the answer is without question, “yes.”

Read When Community Really Counts.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • AmarieAAmarieA Phoenix, AZPosts: 9Member

    As the community manager for Istaria, I just have to say that I greatly appreciate Aywren and everyone in the Istaria community who so understands what it is that makes Istaria special.  This world is, and has always been to me and so many others, about the special people who inhabit it.  Istarians are more than just a group of gamers, more than just friends who share a common interest in a game.  Istarians are Gifted and we're family.  It is an honor and privledge to be a part of this community and of the team that's helping to develop that world.

  • peladonpeladon Toronto, ONPosts: 7Member

    Elders and wise...

     

    My words are but the whisper of a forgotten wind. Let them be lost or found, as suits the seeker.

    Gods there have been, and many. Some have come, and passed to such places as gods pass. Some have come, and passed... and come again.

    The Woken are much the same. Some come, and pass. Some come, and pass, and come again. Some... some there are that come, and never pass... and there may be those that might wish it else. Or at least that the Fool would cease to blether and gibber... :-).

    But the land... the land remains. The spirit of the land holds true to its nature. And woken or sleeping, if ye be known to the land, then the land remembers. Tales are told each day, those new and those old, those remembered and those not yet crafted. One will mention a name, and the market will echo and chatter... ' Do you remember when...?'.... ' Shall we go and seek...?' ' Ah, when Bori was here...'... Of recent waking I saw one wake that I had not seen in long and long, and it was as though the long candles that had burned since last they woke were not melted wax, but whole and no flame set to them, for no time had passed.

    A land where each name is known? Aye. A land where those passed are not forgotten? Aye. A land where memory is long, both of joy and pain? Aye. There is a place where one that watches still and yet watches the Edge of Forever.... and any that ask will be told the story of Roxi... and other tales. Of Alexzandria, of.... of those that walk no more in Istaria, or yet the land called Real. Lost to the lands they may be, but... but we remember.

    And, no doubt, there are already those reading this that take trial of my words. I confess... I lack skill in that tongue called Common. Old I am, and older. And that which I am, I am, and that voice I bear, I bear. But I am not Istaria. I am _of_ Istaria. for Istaria is a land with room and comfort for many. For those that would be in all their being of the land and their and its history... Istaria is home, and none or few take issue with their nature, and rather take joy of it. And for those more set in the land called Real... I may not know what this footing of the ball may be, or why those of Oakland Raid others in some  manner... but if there be those that would speak and chatter in the place of market of such things... there is room in istaria for that also. For we are dragon, and we are Sslik... we are gnome and dwarf and those Sisters to the Mother called Dryad... but we are us and we are Istari, and.... WE ARE HERE.

    Here we are, and here we have been, and here we remain. We await ye, ye not-yet-woken. We dream our dreams and dance our dances... we craft those caverns two legs call buildings, and we dig the dragon caves... The makers among us can set whole their places of making, and those who seek blood's falling tears and the clash of battle's song can aid them. And if in Istaria ye can be all things, then that also is a mater of choice and nature. Save ye be dragon, then no path of making or war is denied ye, if ye have the skil and the time, the patience and the will to seek it. And if ye be dragon? To ride the winds... to know the Rites of passage to Adult, to Ancient... to seek hoard and use it well... Well and all. The least of draku I may be, but I would be no else and find no greater joy than that which I am.

    Istaria waits. It waits... and it lives. Do ye dare to dream?

    My words are but the whisper of a forgotten wind. Let them be lost or found, as suits the seeker.

     

    Sephiranoth, called by some ShadowSeeker

    Nobody and Nothing ever save The Five do Feast

    A Fool that walks among the Wise

  • battleaxebattleaxe Baton Rouge, LAPosts: 158Member

    The promises of this game during its original development would have made it a WoW killer.  The released product was the biggest letdown in MMO history.

  • LovwyrmLovwyrm WiesbadenPosts: 1Member

    It`s always not easy to post after Sephiranoth^^

    Especially if  your mother tongue is not English.

    But here is another advantage of Istaria: It`s a game without frontiers.

    When we came from the European server, some of us expected a communication breakdown.

    Players from so many different countries, so many different languages. But quite the opposite happened-

    In our guilds are players from  many different countries, and there will always be someone to assist, even if  your English is not perfect.  And there are chat channels where other languages than English are spoken.

     

    Being a veteran myself, I surely sign what is  said here already.

    "welcome  home"  is how we greet new or returning players.

     

    Woulden`t that sound nice in your ears?

     

    Dragons- what else?

  • tetofrumtetofrum Simcoe, ONPosts: 7Member

    Well I've followed the site for as long as I've been gaming, which is sometime now. Never took the time to register until I read this article.

     

    For I am one of the gifted that awakes and sleeps often in this realm.  How many times have my  feet roamed lands of realms other than Istaria, same name and race, different name and race...AH too many to count my friends.  Though the scenery I've seen has been beautiful, strange monsters I've battled in these realms was exciting, something has always been missing.  What was missing was the sense of community I had grown used to in the realm of Istaria, a place where a level one is the equal to an elder who has roamed the land  since its birth, a place where every accomplishment you choose to share is celebrated by the entire community, a place where if you need help and request aid it is surely to come.  I've often wondered what continually draws me back to the land of Istaria, but deep down I know what it is it's the one thing I've yet to find in any other realm I've wandered, ITS  THE SENSE OF BELONGING. Istaria was not my first realm and doubtful it'll be my last BUT it will always be my favorite. Come join Istaria and watch a group of Dragons take flight( truly an amazing scene against any other game) knowing one day your hatchling wings will support you, come join the builders and create your own unigue plot or enhance the world on numerous community projects within the very world we inhabit, if hunting is your thing join us in our battle against the Withered Aegis a enemy that boasts combat both easy and extremely challanging across all teirs. 

     

    Lastly the roleplay on the Order shard is second to none in the MMO world, come share in our stories or create your own and invite us to join along we look forward to seeing what adventures you've got for us. I've known plenty who have gone to sleep, both permanmtly and ones that always awake again, and ones that have never left, but I've never met anyone who didn't enjoy their time in Istaria. I'm currently awake look me up Teto Frum on Order shard if you decide to give the wonderful realm a try.

  • AshglonteriAshglonteri little rock, ARPosts: 11Member

    As a long time player of this game, I feel that this newest article has hit the nail on the head.

    Community and earnest effort in continuing development is what brought me back, after a 2 year break. I played many other games during that time. Some of them held my interest, some not. What I found most noticeable about these other games, was the lack of a mature community.

    Barrens chat syndrome seems rampant in most games these days. It became almost impossible to not be abused by someone. KS'ing, resource hogging, general epeen foolishness or the simple lack of respect for others caused me to tire quickly of most of these games.

    The ones that could keep me interested had enough of what I was looking for, namely challenging mobs I didn't always have to have a group for, or things I could craft for myself that were truly useful. None however, had crafter built housing that was a part of the world. None had the richness in crafting I was looking for, or they made crafting so tedious or prone to failure that it was just not any fun.

    So, after looking around at the current crop of games, and playing them it hit me. What I really missed what what I always had in the world of Istaria. I had left off playing about 2 years ago, but decided to hop back in and see what things looked like today.

    I must say, that I was very pleased with what I saw. New content galore had been put in. There were new things to make, new skills to gain, and whole new areas to explore and have fun in. Not only had they put in content for high level players, but also for new and mid range ones as well.  ( I am trying hard not to give away too many things, so you good reader can discover them on your own ) 

    On last  very unique thing about Istaria that I was never able to find in ANY other game out there. In Istaria, YOU can make a name for yourself by your actions and interactions with others. You can be a part of shaping the world, literally by construction crafting, and figuratively because the developers actually listen to the players. The community is such that you will develop a reputation pretty quickly as to whether you are a "good" character or "bad" one. Many games Promise this, but Istaria delivers.

    If you decide to try out the world of Istaria, please be sure to join the New Player Assistance channel for tips and answers to all your questions.

    Oh, and be warned... as you go out looking around, don't be surprised when one of the Withered Aegis saunters over to deprive you of your head... 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • StalePopcornStalePopcorn asdfPosts: 4Member

    I wholeheartedly agree with this review. I too am a long-time player who took a break for about 12 months, but found myself back again. The story, quest-lines, and things to do in Istaria are endless! After many years I have built and rebuilt my house, storage silos, and personal jewellers shop countless times. I've travelled the length and breadth of Istaria and still find places I haven't explored. And I haven't even made it to level 100 (the current maximum) in any of my many multi-classed schools!

    But it is undoubtedly the community that brings me back in every time. I've never met a friendlier group of people in any game I've played, and would highly recommend this to all.

    See you in Istaria!

  • StalePopcornStalePopcorn asdfPosts: 4Member

    Battleaxe - I agree that the game is nothing like what it started out with during initial design. It is such a different game to how "Horizons" was designed, that it isn't even worth mentioning, it is that different. Hence the namechange to "Istaria" is warranted, because it is a completely different game.

    For those that don't know - "Horizons" was scheduled to be a gigantic PvP with factions, race-wars, etc. But as with many games, the dream was too big and the investors jumped ship. The game we now have, Istaria, is a different beast. PvE instead of PvP, and largely because of that, the intense crafting system, and of course Dragons as a playable race, it has attracted a completely different type of player. It is extremely rare to see griefers, there are no "HAHA I PWNED YOU NOOB" comments anywhere, and the game encourages cooperation without forcing it on you.

    If you haven't played, then jump over - you can even play for free, without time restrictions, as a Human character. Try it out, then see what you think after that!

  • RavikRavik Canton, CTPosts: 611Member

    I'm always glad when I see something about Horizons/Istaria on these forums.  Most of the time the few things about said about the game was how it failed to live up to expectaions and that was it. (just like they say about most games today)

    The game had the best community by far out of any games I've played, not to mention this game is all about the community and server cooperation.  Shame it doesn't have the same type of server events it used to have like unlocking races and witht he server merge.

    Make games you want to play.

  • PhelimReaghPhelimReagh New York, NYPosts: 647Member Uncommon

    OK, I'll be the bad guy in the love-fest here....

     

    While I understand that this is basically an Istaria promotional effort (which I have no problem with), are you going to offer any sort of criticism of the community? Or is it just perfect?

     

    I for one will at least offer this, from the time I gave the trial a whirl on the RP server, Order: there's no one there. I don't think there were ever 100 people on whenever I tried playing.

     

    And with a small community comes other types of problems. If you dont' get along with a couple of the established people, word spreads to, well, everyone on the server and there's really not much room for you if somehow you don't quite fit in with the long-established clique(s).

     

    Now, granted, this did not happen to me but reading the forums there seemed to be a tremendous amount of inter-personal drama that seemed to impact everyone.

     

    I love the idea of Istaria, and I hope somehow it figures out a way to let all the PvE loving folks out there know it exists and they crash a server or two from population overload. But I just wanted to add a little, well, balance here.

     

    A game all about community does present certain problems. It is not quite heaven on earth as we'd be led to believe.

  • AshglonteriAshglonteri little rock, ARPosts: 11Member

    Are there issues still?

    Of course. What game has no issues? And the one you mention is certainly a real one.

    Horizons has been flying under the radar for some time now. With the bad press it got during all it's buy outs and ownership changes, it left a bad taste in many players mouths. And like any game that has scaled back, the development team is small and the player base is too. That is probably the major issue atm. 

    And sure, this is an effort to get more players aware of this game. That is one way to solve the very problem you mention.  I personally  have been watching very closely for new or returning players. our guild has grown by 10 players in the last 2 weeks alone, and to me this says that many more are becoming aware, and trying it out.

    I would also like to say that one of the reasons those posting here have such fondness for this game, is not due to being shills or because we get something in return. It is simply because there is a quality to this game that is sorely lacking in many of the others out there. That's is why many have played it for almost 7 years.

    I hope anyone that sees this article and comments, will download the trial and check it out for themselves, and not take my word for any of it.

    It won't be everyone's cup of tea. However if you want a game that is more sandbox and less easy button... check it out.

     

     

  • velveetavelveeta wayne, MIPosts: 4Member
    Originally posted by PhelimReagh


    OK, I'll be the bad guy in the love-fest here....
     
    While I understand that this is basically an Istaria promotional effort (which I have no problem with), are you going to offer any sort of criticism of the community? Or is it just perfect?
     
    I for one will at least offer this, from the time I gave the trial a whirl on the RP server, Order: there's no one there. I don't think there were ever 100 people on whenever I tried playing.
     
    And with a small community comes other types of problems. If you dont' get along with a couple of the established people, word spreads to, well, everyone on the server and there's really not much room for you if somehow you don't quite fit in with the long-established clique(s).
     
    Now, granted, this did not happen to me but reading the forums there seemed to be a tremendous amount of inter-personal drama that seemed to impact everyone.
     
    I love the idea of Istaria, and I hope somehow it figures out a way to let all the PvE loving folks out there know it exists and they crash a server or two from population overload. But I just wanted to add a little, well, balance here.
     
    A game all about community does present certain problems. It is not quite heaven on earth as we'd be led to believe.



     

    i believe i would qualify as one of those 'established' players.  here is my 2 cp.....

    yes, a small population has all of the probs above.  i myself am very guilty of jumping on newbies that strike me a being a boor.  yeap, i am considered a horizons 'fanboi' - i proudly admit that.

    i have flamed, i have knowingly (and unknowingly, rarely) trolled hoping to start a flame war.  i have been rude and crude and a pain in the azz.

    because i love istaria.  its my home.  i get very passionate about it.

    and because i am part of a family, my siblings have admonished me, and punished me, and kept me in my place (as much as they can, of course).

    the very very best thing about horizons is that as soon as you join us, you are part of a family.  good and bad, better or worse - you are stuck with us and we are stuck with you.  to paraphrase chief o'brien, you can pick your friends and you can pick your enemies, but your family - that's in the stars of istaria.

    there are no leetists in istaria.  you will never be pwned (you might be owned in the arena, but that is by choice!!!  i will never forget the beatdowns abbie gave me!!), you will be given the respect and interest you give back. 

    and like any family, there is decension, and conflict, and hard words between us.   we talk things out, we apologise and explain our position, we come to some sort of middle ground, and for the most part, we move on,

    we are not perfect - reading the forums on any given day will show that too well to try to put a 'happy' face on - but we are together.

    come try us out and judge for yourself.  most welcome home!

    promiscuous advocate of mischief - OMG, wotsda BFD??
    i take great comfort in the general hostility and unfairness of the universe
    ogle the menagerie: http://www.freewebs.com/velveeta/

  • tetofrumtetofrum Simcoe, ONPosts: 7Member

    Phelim Reagh, I don't think anyones pretending Istaria is perfect.....just good,  and I couldn't tell you why this arcticle was written or even by who of the player base, I was just adding my input about a game I consider the best and most challenging MMO I've ever played, that due to past troubles is a second thought of most gamers these days if they've even heard of it.

    You decided to mention the drawback of a small population, well thats a problem thats been mentioned in several of the responses, but the size of the population does not in any way  reflect the quality of it.  But it sures does need more players.

    Have there been fights and disagreements in game...a few in my many years there, have there been fights on the forums, plenty, but thats not isolated to Istaria, I think we can all agree fights on forums aren't overly rare, but they generally involve long term players arguing, newbies are met with more help here than anywhere else , and seldom flamed for anything in game or on the forum. You even admit your bringing up a problem you never faced so theres no real basis for your argument on this other the fact that its a forum problem not a game on and certainly not isolated to Istaria.

    Istaria had a terrible launch , and an even rougher life till recently, the game is being developed again(properly I'll add), new content galore at both the high end and the beginner world (done)and teir two (still in testing)have undergone massive overhauls. I'm not sure when you tried the trial so there could be much different than when you tried it. The game is far from perfect , but Ive played enough MMOs to know NONE are and this game is a good as any out there in my humble opinion. The Dev team is working on fixing any bugs and have drastically improved game performance.

    I was mainly piping up because most complaints I hear on here are " I hate gaming with rude kids" , "hate spoon fed games" , and "i hate being told to follow the breadcrumb trail, I like to explore and figure out for my self the boundries of my world". Thought I'd point out a place where that stuff is non existant Istaria other than very very rarely. If you've tried it and didn't like thats fine not everybody does , but I'm more than convinced that more will stay then go if they give it a try. Anyways just one mans opinion, feel free to yours. I can say plenty stay , throughout all the games turmoil our guild has actually shown growth, so for the right people its a good game, just be nice to see more people give it a try.

    The population may be small but I'd rather game with 100 people I like 98 of than be on a shard in game thats got 5000 players on it and I like two. To each their own if your a hack and slash PL guy/girl Istaria is probably not for you, but if your a mature gamer who enjoys a challenge, freedom to roam anywhere(at your risk) , quality RP , and one who thinks you shouldnt lvl 5 times a play session this would be a good game to take a look at.

  • AywrenAywren Istaria Correspondent Florence, SCPosts: 71Member Uncommon

    @PhelimReagh

    The point of the article was to focus on the importance of a quality community within an online game --  there are few games that I have played (out of the many) that I can say are as encompassingly community-driven as Istaria. Yes, where there are people, there will always be drama of some sort -- that's a given. Whenever you bring a group of people together, there will be differences of origins, backgrounds, thought and opinions.

    Is the community small? Yes, but that's fixable. And I can safely say that I know more players by name in this game than I have in any other game I've ever played. You know --  games where you group with someone, finish the objective, ungroup and never see that person again? That doesn't seem to happen in Istaria. Personally, I think that's a wonderful change.

    I wasn't painting Istaria as an online Utopia, but what was posted which doesn't happen? 

    "When a new player has questions, they will be offered assistance to the best of veteran players’ abilities." -- I see this happen every single night on my server. I'm one that tries to offer answers when I can, as well. Players are even making a move to spend their playing time as newcomer mentors on the training island on Chaos... because they really do care. Sadly, you would think helping newcomers should be status quo for online games, but that's getting to be less and less so now days.

    "When weapons and armor need crafting, the Marketplace is happy to oblige." - I see this happening quite often, too. Honestly, I don't believe I've ever seen a request in the Marketplace that didn't get some sort of attention, as long as the proper crafters were around.

    "When a young dragon needs a group to complete their epic Right of Passage quest, the server offers help." - I had a complete stranger, an Ancient dragon, offer me their help last night for when I decided to start my ROP. Never spoken to them before, they initiated the conversation because they noticed I was within level to start the quest line. I'm quite confident that myself and any other dragon on the server that needs a group for this will have no trouble finding it. In many games, I end up skipping the best, epic questlines due to the lack of grouping or willingness of others to help (even sometimes as a member of a guild). I haven't found that here.

    "On the crafting side of the game, massive community-driven projects have brought the server together to build structures that have meaning and can change the actual game world." - This has happened, we hope it happens some more!

    "On a more personal level, the intricate system for building in-game player housing and guild cities encourages the helping hands of friends and guild mates to develop settlements together, also changing the existing face of the world." -Yep, this happens, too.

    "Istaria shines in one major aspect of unique game play -- it actually becomes what the community puts into it. The game relies on the players to shape, build, protect and empower their own world." - I believe this to be true. Istaria becomes what the players shape it to be.

    That is why it's so important that we take the foundation of the community we currently have and open it up to others to discover and learn about our world. I think that's something most players in Istaria want to see happen.

    I urge anyone who has a curiosity in this game to hook up with the free download and give it a risk-free shot. There's even a completely free to play (for ever) account option. There's really nothing to lose in trying.

  • RavikRavik Canton, CTPosts: 611Member

    They added a free to play forever account option?  I checked about two weeks ago and couldn't find anyhting like that on the account page...

    Edit: Checked again right now and still wasn't listed on the account page...Must be hidden really well lol

    Make games you want to play.

  • AywrenAywren Istaria Correspondent Florence, SCPosts: 71Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Ravik


    They added a free to play forever account option?  I checked about two weeks ago and couldn't find anyhting like that on the account page...
    Edit: Checked again right now and still wasn't listed on the account page...Must be hidden really well lol

     

    Yep, it's free to play. Check out the download page here.

     

    It's called the "Demo" account, though it's not really a demo. And quote: 

    Demo - Play for Free Forever and offers a single character slot for a Human character. No credit card is required.

    You can only have a single character, it must be a human and you don't get your personal plot. But you can do everything else in the game, the same as a paying customer -- multiclass and craft to your heart's content.

  • RavikRavik Canton, CTPosts: 611Member
    Originally posted by Aywren

    Originally posted by Ravik


    They added a free to play forever account option?  I checked about two weeks ago and couldn't find anyhting like that on the account page...
    Edit: Checked again right now and still wasn't listed on the account page...Must be hidden really well lol

     

    Yep, it's free to play. Check out the download page here.

     

    It's called the "Demo" account, though it's not really a demo. And quote: 

    Demo - Play for Free Forever and offers a single character slot for a Human character. No credit card is required.

    You can only have a single character, it must be a human and you don't get your personal plot. But you can do everything else in the game, the same as a paying customer -- multiclass and craft to your heart's content.



     

    Awesome, I always played a human in Horizons anyway ^^

    Make games you want to play.

  • PhelimReaghPhelimReagh New York, NYPosts: 647Member Uncommon

    For all the responders, let me clarify that the article was not incorrect, just incomplete if they were giving an accurate assessment of the Istaria community and it's impact on the game.

     

    Small, long-established tight-knit communities offer many benefits, but they alternatively pose certain problems. For those that are part of the community like Istaria's, it's no doubt heaven on earth. But perhaps unwittingly, those same strengths may very well also increase the barrier to entry for new folks trying to enter and enjoy it as well.

     

    I have no doubt most folks in Isataria are very good people. Just offering a nugget of observation and balance.

  • tetofrumtetofrum Simcoe, ONPosts: 7Member

    Phelim Reagh  I won't dismiss your point because it does have a ring of truth to it. Though to be accurate in regards to the current climate of life in Istaria you'd also have to accept that close knit implies uninclusive and that is not the current climate within the game. I can tell you only from my personal experiences that new players are welcomed with open arms, though not pigeonholed into a certain shard wide community playstyle, flesh blood means new stories new adventures, new life into our community which we so desire.

    I wont deny that during the games dark days of unfulfilled release, constant balancing nerfs and multiple ownership changes when our beloved realm was under constant threat we closed ranks as a community against the constant barrage of bad press and forum rants every where.

    But that is no longer the current climate in Istaria, gods breath new life into the game, the community small as it maybe is happy once again. It is only to invite others to join us to expand our community, be a part of it , to tell us their tales of adventure , their dreams of their plot, their goal to soar as a dragon like in no other realm. With welcome arms will any be welcome into our midst , close knit community could mean what you say very well but it does not describe what we are here to offer. Istaria is once again a proud land with competent gods and a mature community looking for people to join us and expand our community theres nothing exclusive about the current community within Istaria.

  • disownationdisownation Wadsworth, OHPosts: 243Member

    Shortly after its release, I was cruising BestBuy's $10 PC Game rack. I came across a box labelled "Horizons" and it looked interesting. I knew absolutely nothing about it (so I was not too disappointed like others who knew what the game was originally supposed to be). In fact, I didn't even realize it was an Online Game at the time (hehe)!!





    Much to my delight, I had stumbled upon a beautiful game with a very in-depth crafting system and, by far, the best community that was ever present in an MMO to date. I stayed in Horizons and fully supported it for 3 years - surviving though all the times the game changed company hands. I made a lot of great long lasting friendships in that game. Crafted a beautiful plot that I worked my ass off to complete, hah. And created an awesome character through Horizon's unique way of Character Customization (I was a Druid/Healer/Spiritist hybrid - I could AoE those Blights like no tomorrow...40-50+ at a time without even dropping below 90% health LOL).





    I have since moved on, and its been many years since my days in Horizon, but my memories of that game matched that of Ultima Online. I have not found a game since then that completely captured me like those two games. And I hope someday for another game to come along with such freedom and open-worldness that will once again thrust me into such immersion.





    Like alot of you have stated, I too smile every time I hear someone mention the good ole days of Horizon. =)

  • algenonalgenon CambridgePosts: 4Member

     Nice to see that Phelim Reagh's comment has been debated rather than flamed.

    I thought it was a really good article. My biggest issue was the contention that the one thing that brings people to MMOs generally is the draw of community - if only that were the case! I've blogged about it here: http://istarianhorizons.blogspot.com

    I've been playing MMOs for 10+ years now, and have played most of the bigger ones, but despite the upheaval of having to move shards (servers) twice as Horizons/Istaria has gone through its troubles, it's still the game I keep coming back to. Its nice to have a stable community, plus a purpose to log in - I would echo the point that the community projects have been one of the real highlights of the game and I very much hope the current developers continue to add more of this type of content. 

  • tetofrumtetofrum Simcoe, ONPosts: 7Member

    Disownation, I'm not here to hard sell the game in the least, but if your looking for what you miss from your days in Horizons( now called Istaria Cronicles of the Gifted) , why not give it another shot.

    If you'd like to start over the beginner worlds have been completely overhauled and the T2 revamp  will be going live soon , if awaking your old character there have been plenty of rewarding and challanging high end quests added and a whole new zone for maxed characters.

    If you decide to give it another look I'm sure you"ll find everything you once loved about Istaria still there and plenty more to do that wasn't. Why long for and search for something when something you already played and loved still exists with numerous upgrades and the fine community you so remember still intact.

    Hope you at least give the trial a shot and come at least have a look around, perhaps your search will be over, and you'll find the answer already in a box on your shelf.

  • WSIMikeWSIMike Catskill, NYPosts: 5,564Member

     Istaria is a game with a lot to do and learn - it definitely has a learning curve that keeps the player engaged... lots to "wrap your head around" as I like to put it. And that's the type of game I, personally, enjoy. If I've figured out all there is to do within the first few days of playing and it's reduced to simply doing those things over and over and "skilling up" in them... the game is bound to lose my interest.

    Many of the newer MMOs have lost my interest for that very reason... just not enough to do. Not enough to wrap your head around to keep it interesting to me.

    Istaria definitely presents that... lots to wrap your head around, many combinations and variations on how you can choose to play.... and so on.

    However, at the moment, I'm not playing. Why? Well... it does come back to community for me.

    When I last played, the community in Istaria was, indeed, small and very "tight-knit"... perhaps a bit too tight-knit, in that it felt very clique-ish. It was a group of people who, for the most part, had been there through thick and thin and stuck with it - an admirable thing, to be sure. However - as such "shared experiences" often do - it made them more insular as a group than they, perhaps, intend to be, or perhaps even realized they were.

    In short... being a new player (or in my case, a returning player), you were very much an outsider. You weren't "part of the family", you were a guest in their house, and you were patronized as such. That's honestly how I felt when I played that game. Again, I don't think the others *intended* to be that way or that they did it to be mean or distant... It's just how they were. They had their tight-knit group and didn't seem exactly "welcoming" to outsiders... merely hospitable. 



    To put it another way... Being a new or returning player is kind of a novelty... people take an interest in you as "the new kid on the block". But then once that novelty wears off, it goes back to business as usual, and you can tend to disappear into the woodwork again.

    Now... once you get into a guild, it becomes a different story somewhat. You're still an "outsider", but you're regarded a bit more seriously as part of that "Istaria Family", because you're now part of one of its own "sub-families" (for lack of a better term).  I experienced a bit of that myself and it certainly was a much more "welcoming" feeling. Unfortunately, many of the core people in that guild left the game, or were just taking breaks, perhaps... and so it became very quiet and very inactive, so I left that guild. Then, it was back to feeling like an outsider again. 



    It's a very strange kind of dynamic. The people in Istaria, I found, were polite and hospitable - again, as a hostess or floor manager would be at a restaurant; as a guest in their home. But when it came to making players feel truly *welcome* and as truly *part* of a family as it's described here... Honestly... I never felt that at all.

    To be fair, it's not just Istaria... It's any game that has a small and long-established player base... Ryzom felt the same. Many of the persistent servers for Neverwinter Nights I play on feel the same. They have very loyal, but closed communities... and it can be  very difficult for a new player to break through that membrane. 

    Not sure what can be done about that - or if it's even still the same. But if there's one word of advice I'd give to people who play Istaria and read this... If you truly want people to feel "at home" as you welcome them... maybe just be a little more aware of how they're treated over time... not just when they first start playing.

    Istaria *is* a great game. Don't let its profoundly rough history put you off... all those things were mostly external to the game and don't represent the game itself (though the game certainly did suffer from much of it). The community *can* be great.... just, in my experience, a bit "closed" and tough to feel like you're truly part of.

    "If you just step away for a sec you will clearly see all the pot holes in the road,
    and the cash shop selling asphalt..."
    - Mimzel on F2P/Cash Shops

    image

  • AywrenAywren Istaria Correspondent Florence, SCPosts: 71Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by algenon


     
    I thought it was a really good article. My biggest issue was the contention that the one thing that brings people to MMOs generally is the draw of community - if only that were the case! I've blogged about it here: http://istarianhorizons.blogspot.com
     

     

    I don't  think that the ONLY thing that draws people to play online games is the community, but I believe it is a very important reason people would choose to pay a monthly fee over a one time fee for a single player game. Why else do you see console games now including interactive, unlockable goals that are shared across a network? Because (some) people want their accomplishments, even in single player games, to be noticed. You can see this with Wii's online gaming, XBox Live or PS3 Home -- even single player games are turning to ways of creating communities behind their games.

    Community can be defined in a lot of different ways -- Wikipedia defines it as a group of interacting organisms sharing an environment. It didn't define it as a harmonious group of organisms or even how these organisms interacted. Just that there was some sort of connection that everyone shares.

    Yes, there is a turn towards solo gaming in MMORPGs lately. But that doesn't change the fact that just by signing into the game, that person is part of a community -- they are still sharing the environment of others, and that's something they've chosen to do rather than play a completely isolated single player game. Just because a person prefers to play solo doesn't mean they don't like the feeling of being part of a living and changing world -- I lean that way myself. I like solo play. In fact, I can play solo all day as long as I have guild chat and other chat channels that give me the feeling of other people around me. Solo doesn't mean anti-social. Soloist may be the biggest talkers in a chat channel -- you never know.

    And who playing an online game doesn't like taking that newly found leet gear or weapon  (or whatever rare status symbol the game offers) and having another player drop a compliment on them for it? Most people do enjoy showing others their hard work and accomplishments... but that only works if other people are there to see it. :)

    Again, maybe not everyone is playing a game to contribute to a GOOD community, but community (good or bad) is the one major feature that online games offer that single player games cannot. There has to be some reason MMORPGs and other multi-user online applications have only grown in popularity. I believe that finding connections to other people is a big part of that.

  • tetofrumtetofrum Simcoe, ONPosts: 7Member

    WSIMike I'm sorry to hear that your experience within Istaria was not all you had hoped for, especially with how glowingly you talk about the game.

    May I ask what shard you were on, not that that should make much of a difference?

    I won't deny its sometimes hard fitting into a existing tight community, especially one that is basicallly maxed out lvl wise and out of the league to hunt with new players. I hope someday you decide to give it another shot since you clearly enjoyed the game so much. When the T2 revamp goes live maybe give it another shot I know plenty of veteren characters that'll be remaking toons to check out the revamps , more veterens with toons in the lower zones should make fitting in eeasier in the near future.

    I truly hope you decide to give Istaria another shot , if not thank you at least for your kind praise of the gameplay offered by Istaria Cronicles of the Gifted (formerly Horizons)

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