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If we havent played since the first month of release have they saved our characters or are they gone, just curious. Thanks
Aside from plot reposessions, all character data is fully intact. This includes schools at the levels you had achieved, equipment, backpack and vault contents, well, instead of listing it let's keep it simple. Everything except your plot will still be exactly as you left it.
Plots are reposessed from inactive accounts every few months. There are many more plots than there ever used to be, with entire landmasses being devoted to both guild and personal plots, so there isn't really a shortage. In fact I think the current plot reposession is the first to occur in almost a year. Prior to then, there were much fewer plots so reposession was occuring monthly.
Yes you'll find everything there -- even that last sandstone slab you harvested! But like doomreaper said your plot would have been repossessed.
It's worth coming back just to see how Istaria has changed and developed over time -- largely in response to player feedback. If you've followed the game at all, you will see player feedback expressed in the game big time.
Horizons is not like any other game out there, and if you expect it to be like others then you may be in for a shock. Istaria evolves out of constant interaction between the developers and the playerbase. Players create the world of istaria, not only by building noninstanced world content on their plots, but also by influencing the direction of game design. More than any other company, the Horizons developers are not afraid to experiment with stuff in a big way. Some people interpret this as the game being in a constant beta state, which is kind of the "glass is half empty" way of looking at it. People who like all their i's dotted and t's crossed may not enjoy this constant evolution of the game world.
I remember when I first started playing Horizons the thing that I thought was cool about it was the idea that players would in essence create the game world. It would not be a static thing that the developers made and we were allowed to play in. It would be something that players themselves would shape. And this is happening, and has happened since launch. However, the "unfinished" and "beta" feel that goes along with it (and really kind of is part and parcel of this approach) seems to be an acquired taste.
Anyhow, anyone who decides to give the game a first or second or third try may find themselves captured by this fascinating project and great experiment, and have fun playing it too.
Guildleader, Mithril Council, Chaos