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been playing TCoS for 2 weeks now and really loving it... such an underappreciated game, and i'm full of hopes and anticipation to see the changes done during the redevelopment. anyways... i, too, have had problems loading the game on my WinXP machine. here are 3 methods that fixed those problems.
1. Checking Files before starting game - for some reason if i run the "check files" option before i "start game" it rarely hangs. this works about 75% of the time for me and it only takes about 2min to complete the check.
2. Adding Exception to Antivirus - i use AVG and since following this sticky from the official site i have had no problems loading - http://phpbb.acclaim.com/spellborn/viewtopic.php?t=4714
3. Starting the game with a different EXE - if you are encountering the patch bug where the game loader is stuck trying to download a new patch - you can try loading the game with the sb_client.exe file located in your "c:/program files/chronicles of spellborn/bin/client" folder. for vista users i'm assuming it would be "c:/program files (x86)/the chronicles of spellborn/bin/client". just make a shortcut to that exe and place it on desktop.. worked for me and many others.
Lastly... head over to http://spellborn.acclaim.com/ and join the official community!!
best... MMO... ever!! i'm given to hyperbole but hey i love the game hehe.