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Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted: Dralnok’s Doom: New High Level Content

StraddenStradden Managing EditorHalifax, NSPosts: 6,696Member

MMORPG.com Istaria expert Erin McManaway writes this look at Dralnok's Doom after receiving a tour of the upcoming high level content update from the folks at Virtrium.

A new darkness has taken root deep beneath the settlement of Delgarath and has brought the Dwarven King, Dralnok, to his untimely end...

Earlier this year, Virtrium (VI) launched a free, high-level content release for Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted entitled Dralnok's Doom. I was given the opportunity to take an exclusive, in-depth look at this massive update -- so please join me for a journey into the deep!

Read Dralnok’s Doom: New High Level Content Tour.

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

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Comments

  • brostynbrostyn Louisville, KYPosts: 3,092Member

    Let me see if I understand this. One of the most underpopulated games in existence has made new group only content. Interesting.

  • grimfallgrimfall Missouri City, TXPosts: 1,155Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by brostyn


    Let me see if I understand this. One of the most underpopulated games in existence has made new group only content. Interesting.



     

    Maybe the reason it is underpopulated is because there is not enough group content?

  • JinxysJinxys TinkerTownPosts: 393Member Uncommon

    wow I remember playing this years ago ! I had no idea it was still kicking

  • OridiOridi Portland, ORPosts: 26Member

    Hey- Hi all - just started playing Istaria and I can't figure out why it didn't become crazy popular when it launched, what, 6 years ago or something like that?  What happened?  Was it so different then?

    I am a bit confused about the article promo though which seems to say that D's Doom is coming ("MMORPg.com Istaria expert Erin McManaway writes this look at Dralnok's Doom after receiving a tour of the upcoming high level content update from the folks at Virtrium.") when it's actually already out.  That bit of time travel notwithstanding, there's little in this article to actually lure me into Istaria had I not already been playing.

    In my opinion, the game is older and wiser than most of the MMO's out there, including Aion.  What it has is incredibly developed classes, intricate crafting and a rock solid community.  What it does not have is heavy PVP and so far not even one clueless player in the server chat fouling their own nest with Barrens' chat. 

    Unlike SWG the community has held solid and the game itself is still interesting and challenging to play.  Unlike LOTRO the content has not descended into repetitive timesinks and gear gates on instances. Unlike AoC the game mechanics are solid and so far I'm able to play without upgrading my computer to a mini space shuttle.  Unlike Aion, you can log in without seeing a bot (have not seen one yet, been playing for a month) or a WoWKid and like Aion there are fully independent flying characters to play.

    The game is low on population and high on territory.  A look at the game map of all of Istaria makes me reel a bit, as there are simply too many lands and too much to explore quickly, and add to that 100 levels in any one of what, 20, 25? different classes and I'm simply overwhelmed.  I could play this game for 5 years and still not run out of content. As for the low population, it feels higher than Anarchy Online and SWG - probably because of the community feel.

    Go play Istaria.  You can play for free if you're willing to be a human (ewwwww! Awww just kidding, some of my best friends are human...) or you can pop for a sub and go for the whole hatchling to ancient experience.  Regardless, check it out.  Not too many of you though - cause I love this game and would hate to see it get laggy from crowds :-P

     

  • Ramones274Ramones274 Spanaway, WAPosts: 366Member

    I had no idea this game was still around, but I may just have to check it out again.

    There are two kinds of people in this world. People who pick their nose.. and liars.

  • miconamicona montreal, QCPosts: 661Member Uncommon

    Just activated my old account with a 14 day trial , nothing to loose dragons here i come .

  • Predator160Predator160 Atlanta, GAPosts: 128Member

    I guess i'm not the only one who looked forward to this game's launch and then cried at it's complete failure. I'm surprised this game even still exists...but whilst reading the new content I got a little feeling in my stomach...an urge to reinstall the game?...oh wait nevevermind, that was a burp.

  • sakersaker harrisburg, PAPosts: 993Member Uncommon

    I could have sworn I'd read that this game had been basically abandoned by it's owners, that you couldn't even create a account because there wasn't anyone left to process it. Huh, well best of luck. Really! :)

  • OridiOridi Portland, ORPosts: 26Member
    Originally posted by Predator160


    I guess i'm not the only one who looked forward to this game's launch and then cried at it's complete failure. I'm surprised this game even still exists...but whilst reading the new content I got a little feeling in my stomach...an urge to reinstall the game?...oh wait nevevermind, that was a burp.



     

    Predator... why was it a failure?  As a relatively new player in the world of Istaria I'm trying to find where the fail is that everyone brings up when they talk about the launch.

    Dish the dirt lol!

  • WirevixWirevix Tyrone, PAPosts: 1Member Uncommon

    I've played Istaria for a number of years, and know something about its history.  So for those who are curious:

    It was touted as an amazing PvP game when its development started, with a lot of very innovative features.  However, the creator was too ambitious for his own good and the vast majority of those features were taking years of development time.

    Finally, the company funding the game (Atari I believe) got tired of pushbacks and said "Release it now."  What they released was basically an alpha/beta level game, put onto shelves.  It went over like a lead balloon, as one could expect, as the game was full of bugs, incomplete, and utterly unstable.

    However, it managed to hang onto a small but devoted community of players, and after a while it seemed like the company (first Artifact Entertainment, then named Tulga with a portion of the same developers) might be able to pull it out of its pit.  There was even talk of an expansion that would add things like flying combat.

    Then something happened, an investor pulled the plug somewhere and there was some sort of internal sell-out, and the game was taken over by a company that kept changing its name (Entertainment Interactive was one name that I recall them using).  This company was about as corrupt as you can get, consisting of a small handful of business managers and only one actual coder, who was at work on another game and didn't know anything of Istaria's (then still called Horizons) inner workings.  They didn't take care of the game at all, and started banning players from the forums if they complained, leading to a "dark ages" which many people were sure the game would not last through.  Servers went down and were never brought back up, payments were fouled up to the point of charging twice or never charging at all, and new accounts were all but banned from being created.

    At last EI went bankrupt (I believe; otherwise they just got bored and left) and the game was purchased by Virtrium, a company that consists of a few long-lasting community members and possibly a few of the original developers.  VI changed the name to Istaria, and has been at work for the past few years trying to restore the game to at least where it was when it was owned by Tulga, and hopefully improve it past that point as well.  They've done some good work so far, reclaiming unused plots so new people can have housing in good locations, allowing players from the European server (which they couldn't reclaim) to move their old characters onto the US servers so they can play again, and now releasing a new content patch to help with the previously near-nonexistent "elder game" portion.

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


    I could have sworn I'd read that this game had been basically abandoned by it's owners, that you couldn't even create a account because there wasn't anyone left to process it. Huh, well best of luck. Really! :)



     

    The previous owners of the game had soem major issues and wouldn't let people make new forum accounts and were double charging subscribers while other players could make a free trial account and play free forever...The game survived through that mess and is now back in the hands of a new team including some of the original devs. 

    Make games you want to play.

  • OridiOridi Portland, ORPosts: 26Member

    I have to say. If any game deserves to be kept alive by virtue of the blood sweat and tears of the players and dev's it's Istaria.

    And if any community deserves to have their game live and thrive it's the folks that have been playing Istaria and keeping it going.

    Thanks for the info about the launch everyone.  I just had a pretty amazing encounter ingame with a player that reminded me that the best games make us somehow more than what we are.   I'll blog about it when I get a handle on why I'm so moved but in the meanwhile I hope Istaria grows and thrives and I'm happy to put my shoulder to the wheel to make sure that happens.

     

  • BrixonBrixon Myrtle Beach, SCPosts: 259Member

    I too was in the beta, and there was no way in hell it was anywhere ready for release. Unfortunetly in this era of MMO's pushing them out the door prematurely is par for the course, which is why so many of them fail. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so no matter how good the game may become, it's doomed if it stumbles from the start.

    Look at Anarchy Online, it eventually became a good game, but it was marred by a terrible launch and never recovered.

    Heck Horizon's was such a dirty word they had to change the name. Istaria is in the state it deserves to be. You would think that all these poorly lauched MMO's would be a warning to game companies like heads on a spike.

  • MyskMysk Pittsburg, KSPosts: 982Member

    image
    I probably don't follow the threads that I post in. If you want me to see a response then feel free to PM me.

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


     
    I am a bit confused about the article promo though which seems to say that D's Doom is coming ("MMORPg.com Istaria expert Erin McManaway writes this look at Dralnok's Doom after receiving a tour of the upcoming high level content update from the folks at Virtrium.") when it's actually already out.  That bit of time travel notwithstanding, there's little in this article to actually lure me into Istaria had I not already been playing.


     

     

    That IS odd since I know I never wrote the content was upcoming... since, yes, it's already out. I guess it got a bit of after submission editing. :p

  • DyraeleDyraele Tucson, AZPosts: 200Member

    I was also in the beta WAY back when. I never transferred into retail. One of the biggest problems was the combat system at release time. It was slow, unresponsive, missed moves, etc. Also, warping existed a lot and you couldn't get many players in the same area or you were doomed, which would have been around 10-12.

    It was not in very good shape at the time of release. Add to that the bad community liasons, the internal feuds at the company, and the basic attitude that they knew better about what to give the customers and things fell apart.

    Horizons is a far cry from what I used to follow during development when no coding was even started. It had a great vision and a wonderful magic system which got dumped. It does have a great crafting system, or at least did, at beta time. I really liked that aspect. It sounds like they freed up some of the housing plots so people can now get decent housing so that is a plus too.

    Now that David Bowman is out of the picture, I wish all the best for this game. At least I hope he is.

    AKA - Bruxail

  • ReidenReiden Sierra Vista, AZPosts: 12Member
    Originally posted by Wirevix


    I've played Istaria for a number of years, and know something about its history.  So for those who are curious:
    It was touted as an amazing PvP game when its development started, with a lot of very innovative features.  However, the creator was too ambitious for his own good and the vast majority of those features were taking years of development time.
    Finally, the company funding the game (Atari I believe) got tired of pushbacks and said "Release it now."  What they released was basically an alpha/beta level game, put onto shelves.  It went over like a lead balloon, as one could expect, as the game was full of bugs, incomplete, and utterly unstable.
    However, it managed to hang onto a small but devoted community of players, and after a while it seemed like the company (first Artifact Entertainment, then named Tulga with a portion of the same developers) might be able to pull it out of its pit.  There was even talk of an expansion that would add things like flying combat.
    Then something happened, an investor pulled the plug somewhere and there was some sort of internal sell-out, and the game was taken over by a company that kept changing its name (Entertainment Interactive was one name that I recall them using).  This company was about as corrupt as you can get, consisting of a small handful of business managers and only one actual coder, who was at work on another game and didn't know anything of Istaria's (then still called Horizons) inner workings.  They didn't take care of the game at all, and started banning players from the forums if they complained, leading to a "dark ages" which many people were sure the game would not last through.  Servers went down and were never brought back up, payments were fouled up to the point of charging twice or never charging at all, and new accounts were all but banned from being created.
    At last EI went bankrupt (I believe; otherwise they just got bored and left) and the game was purchased by Virtrium, a company that consists of a few long-lasting community members and possibly a few of the original developers.  VI changed the name to Istaria, and has been at work for the past few years trying to restore the game to at least where it was when it was owned by Tulga, and hopefully improve it past that point as well.  They've done some good work so far, reclaiming unused plots so new people can have housing in good locations, allowing players from the European server (which they couldn't reclaim) to move their old characters onto the US servers so they can play again, and now releasing a new content patch to help with the previously near-nonexistent "elder game" portion.

     

    99%  I log back in maybe once a month since bipeds became free to play.  I love the game and hope it can grow and flourish to a level where the world begins to feel alive again.

    However, I found your original statement to be innacurate.  The original trailers for the game before it launched were all about the tension between the races, coming together to fight against the blight.  PvP has never been a factor, and the tiny pvp arena which they implemented after the initial release, is so hidden that even many people that have played for several years don't even know it exists.

    Istaria is about the story, and about being able to play as a dragon, which no other game to date has done successfully, and very few have even attempted.

    Considering it's history, this game puts all others to shame. Bipeds may not be as exciting as dragons, but they are free to play and they all share the same world.  Try it out.

  • elockeelocke Manassas, VAPosts: 4,205Member Uncommon

    After trying the trial on this 2 weeks ago, I came to this conclusion. In order for this game to get any type of player base it needs to change 2 things. First a graphics overhaul. They are just horrible, secondly, controls need to be brought up to mmorpg standard. I shouldn't have to fight with the UI and keyboard to walk 5 steps, which I was doing.

    Fix these and I would gladly play the game possibly even pay.

    image
  • PalebanePalebane Tucson, AZPosts: 3,225Member

    /sigh. Every time I see mention of this game it reminds me of my biggest gaming disappointment: Horizons. After I heard they cut out half the races before launch, I just couldn't bring myslef to even try the game. Dreams of playing Giants, Angels, Demons, and Vampires; shattered. The epitome of an unrealized vision and lazy development.

    Vault-Tec analysts have concluded that the odds of worldwide nuclear armaggeddon this decade are 17,143,762... to 1.

  • OridiOridi Portland, ORPosts: 26Member
    Originally posted by elocke


    After trying the trial on this 2 weeks ago, I came to this conclusion. In order for this game to get any type of player base it needs to change 2 things. First a graphics overhaul. They are just horrible, secondly, controls need to be brought up to mmorpg standard. I shouldn't have to fight with the UI and keyboard to walk 5 steps, which I was doing.
    Fix these and I would gladly play the game possibly even pay.



     

    Hmm... went back in game and tried moving around - I'm not having any trouble moving using either arrow or wasd keys.  However I did cut my MMO teeth in SWG, which had similar limitations in being able to jump on objects or over things so perhaps that is it.  As far as regular movement I've found no issue. 

    I agree that the graphics are dated.  Not on the level of Anarchy Online dated :-) but there is a gap between the level of say LOTRO graphics and the tech being used in Istaria.  The draw of the game is the content and the community so if those two things don't do it for you then you're not likely to be an Istarian.  

     

  • DyraeleDyraele Tucson, AZPosts: 200Member
    Originally posted by Reiden
    ...
    However, I found your original statement to be innacurate.  The original trailers for the game before it launched were all about the tension between the races, coming together to fight against the blight.  PvP has never been a factor, and the tiny pvp arena which they implemented after the initial release, is so hidden that even many people that have played for several years don't even know it exists.
    Istaria is about the story, and about being able to play as a dragon, which no other game to date has done successfully, and very few have even attempted.
    Considering it's history, this game puts all others to shame. Bipeds may not be as exciting as dragons, but they are free to play and they all share the same world.  Try it out.

     

    The original design of Horizons was based on PvP. It was dropped early to get the game out concentrating on PvE. Just like the original magic system was never implemented. Shame really, the original design specs were fantastic. They did follow through on the crafting part though. It was well done IMO.

    AKA - Bruxail

  • RavikRavik Canton, CTPosts: 611Member



     

    I remember a funny story about someone complaining about being charged twice for a month of play and someone from EI called him up and threatened to sue him for libel.  Been so long I can't remember if it actually happened but it was funny to see how rediculous this "company" was. 

    Make games you want to play.

  • PalebanePalebane Tucson, AZPosts: 3,225Member

     The following link lists all the original intended races and some core mechanics that were never introduced. Was interesting to see how much was, and still is, let out of this game.

    http://the-enclave.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/49570508/m/46770508

    Vault-Tec analysts have concluded that the odds of worldwide nuclear armaggeddon this decade are 17,143,762... to 1.

  • DyraeleDyraele Tucson, AZPosts: 200Member

    Nice link, and just the tip of the iceberg. As quoted from another site:

    "Anyone who read the documents on his magic system would know that it was the most innovative system ever. The spatial, elemental, linguistic, and focus spell manipulations were pure art; magic in the old horizons was dynamic and fluid."

    I was really looking forward to that design. It had much more depth than any game I know today, other than RPGs that are not online. Required study and research. I wish I could find more about the original game. All the games I have followed and loved the design have gone by the wayside.

    EDIT: I also liked that you could combine different spells to get other spells.

    AKA - Bruxail

  • OridiOridi Portland, ORPosts: 26Member

     

    I dunno.  Maybe some of that magic and astoundingness stuck around in Istaria.

    I'm a pretty jaded player by now as far as MMO's go.  It took me about a week of Aion to say eh... wings.. right then... and I had BOUGHT the **** game lol.   I've played a wide range of games from paperbased D&D to that fun combat one where everyone hung around in the Serpent and made up spicy stories instead of leveling.  Istaria really has me hooked.

    It might not be what folks were expecting 6 years ago but it is providing something as a game right now that I am not seeing anywhere else.  It's hard, intricate, difficult to research, and confusing at times.  It's older as far as graphics and there are so many choices at any given moment that sometimes my toon just spins around in circles as I decide to go here.. no here.. no whatabout here.. lol.  It has detailed lore that requires reading, and a leveling process that is nothing short of insane as the options for classes are so flexible you can't make up your mind what to level in first.

    It's harder than WoW.  Harder than the current version of SWG but equal to the old pre-NCU version of SWG.  It's as intricate as LOTRO and even as crazy with the options as Anarchy Online.   Nothing happens fast in this game - you don't level fast, you don't craft upper level stuff fast, you don't learn the game fast.

    I guess that's why I'm hooked.   I like to play games that are interesting and pull me into their reality, and while Istaria might not be all that it was supposed to be what it is now is very fun - and challenging- to play.

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