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PC Game Review: Shadowbane: Throne of Oblivion

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Considering the limp reaction to the recent “Shadowbane” expansion, Throne of Oblivion, and the massive flight of players to “World of Warcraft,” one has to wonder if “Shadowbane” does indeed have much of a future left. Player numbers are way down on most servers, and even the launch of the new server, Wrath, does not seem to have stopped the rot. ToO, which introduced Vampires, Nightstalkers (think Buffy in garish outfits), and Necromancers, has not been a great success.

Take up on the new types of characters has been fairly slow after the initial excitement because none of them see to have added anything special to the game. While vampires and necromancers could have been great additions to the game, they seem half finished and not really worth the time it takes to put into them. Necromancer is merely “an evil” mage while vampires are halfway decent when playing a scout or a warrior. Nightstalkers are fairly hopeless unless you get them very high levels, and then they are nothing special.

There are other tweaks that were said to improve gameplay, including siege specialist runes and a change in the nation system (there is now a limit of 8 subs to any nation). This has merely caused a great deal of confusion, the loss of guilds for individuals, and a great deal of annoying (rather than fun) chaos. The new weaponry, spells, and resources have not made up for this ill-thought-out bug-fest that is ToO. In addition to the bugs, ToO has caused massive amounts of lag that prevent game-play, especially under sieges, which are supposed to the raison d’être of the game.

Rather than save the game, WP/Ubi have done a wonderful job at driving people away from the game. I am not the only one wondering if it’s not deliberate. I will be very surprised if “Shadowbane” lasts another year. It’s very sad, “Shadowbane” had great potential, but never came close to living up to it.

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About Marty Dodge

  • http://ayulittleone.blogspot.com/ Ayu

    Phew…it took a while until I could post comment here. I kept getting error messages (I see some people have also got it). What I wanted to say was that I haven’t played Shadowbane and your review even convinced me not to try. But World of Warcraft is totally great..can’t wait until it’s released in Europe!!!

    PS. I heard that we could play Shadowbane for free for 10 days or so?

  • Adam Bloom

    There’s a 15-day free trial for Shadowbane, but you don’t get the ToO expansion.

    I am a full-time player of Shadowbane (ie, no other MMORPGs) for one reason: if you want anything other then mindlessly hacking at computer-controlled monsters, it’s the only option. The PvP in Shadowbane is far superior to that of any other MMORPG, primarily because of it’s frickin’ amazing character development system. Everytime I think about it I am in awe, literally.

    Although most of your information is correct, and I have to live with that, the info on Vampires is dead wrong. Vampire rogue-type characters are considered overpowered by most players, mages not so much, but close. Only warriors are currently underpowered.

  • http://www.templeofdagon.net Marty Dodge

    Adam I am actually still playing the game…quite why at times I do wonder.

  • Beau

    I played Shadowbane from open until mid-2005 until my graphics card sizzled. I fixed it recently, and am about to go back to playing Shadowbane again. It’s funny… WoW is a cool game and all, but it SUCKS for PVP. Maybe the worst game for PVP, ever. Kind of like in the old UO days when they introduced the Trammel facet so the noobs and carebears could do their “Carebear stare.”

    Shadowbane’s PVP is far, far superior to that of any game released to date, and will remain so for a long, long time – even if it does go down sometime because people are leaving for Carebear land (WoW).

    Ubi is, though, killing the game from the moronic updates and releases they are putting into the game; and the CONSTANT tweaking of race / classes / powers. They should have left a lot of things alone from the beginning. What they did was tweak one thing, caused others to become overpowered from a “not so thought out tweak,” so they tweaked them, and caused even more to become unbalanced. Bottom line? Revert back to normal, and tweak only a few things. For the most part, the unlimited combinations of race / class / disceplines made it possible for people to create classes to kill other classes.

    That was the whole point of it, since it was a game MADE for GvG PvP; It was designed for having integrated PvP using several different combinations of races and classes in one; so really… It SHOULD be unbalance to help make the playing field even. That way, you can’t take an army of Centaur Prelates and steam roll everyone (which still works even today, sometimes). It made groups balanced… A few nukers, a priest or two, some dex monkeys, and a few tanks. Voila. Why tweak everything? Why tweak anything? Every class SHOULD ALWAYS have strengths against some classes and be weak against others. For instance… A Channeler could roll a Tank or Druid / Channeler, but have a hard time against a Dex Monkey Rogue or Mage Assassin.

    Anyway… They need to revert back to normal, then they’d gain more people back.

    Shadowbane was doomed from day one when they had so money bug issues. Because of those repeated bug issues, it got horrible reviews. Now, no one wants to play it because everyone and their brother read those reviews and told their friends about it. Word of can make or break ya… In this case, it broke a game that revolutionized MMORPG’s… Now, it’s being copied by other games in some sort of way.

    I’m in the process of building a Shadowbane-like spin off. It’ll be much the same, although very different – keeping the games aspects and PVP alive.

  • Quid the Blade

    I beta tested SB for what, two years? Played it up to the point where UBI took over development. Wolfpak had the right idea but was unable to financially back their vision, so they began ‘bending’ until the current SB. It is some of the best PVP I’ve played. I just recently went back to SB because it is now FREE. You get all expansions when you update your account and you play FREE. They actually had to add a server last week. I don’t like the fact they somehow limit the number of TOL’s per zone because one of the other unique features of the game is building your own city literally. That task will now be left to the best farmers. The exp gain is very nice now if you pick the ‘FAST’ servers and you can actually enjoy the game. For now I’m having fun again in SB.

  • assa

    started playing SB 3 days ago.its my first PvP game and i am enjoy it to the bone.its free,it is funny and doesnt need ultragood pc (celeron1200 256sdram and mx100/200 nvidia at32megs works pretty well on my 56k)

  • InFra

    shadowbane by far had the most potential of any mmo ever made, if blizzard was smart they would buy all the rights to shadowbane revamp there own wow software with its ideas in mind, and make a special server for an immersing, competitive mmo experience!

  • C R

    Shadowbane suffered from terrible bugs and has turned into a pure gank server. People gank lower levels anytime and anywhere even in thier own cities when you try to shop. Most PVP is all about then getting you when your shopping and in superior numbers. the times of questing and controlling areas are over and so is any of the fun it used to be when there were large clans patrolling areas and they had some honor.

  • Troy

    Shadowbane pvp is about pure skill, numbers have little to do with the outcome of a battle (unless hugely skewed in one direction 5vs 15 or 20)

    the main factors are character creation and skill.

    when the chinese played started playing shadowbane in large numbers I would kill 5 or 10 of them at a runespawn on a scout… because I had superior skill and my character had superior creation. I simply took out the targets that were a threat to my high defense… then the rest were like fish in a bucket.

    Shadowbane will always have a special place in my heart. As someone said before, it had more potential than any game has ever had (or will for years) it just fell short of realizing the dream because of the lack of resources to properly develope the game.

  • Jason

    I beta Tested SB, and played it most of the time it was alive. I remember at first how I was not crazy about the graphics. After a while I totally forgot about that and just had a blast playing it. I loved always being on edge, especially when I was alone. Always looking over your shoulder and planning any possible exit strategies.

    If I was on the defense, I was hunting all types with my rogue regen spear huntress. after 7 builds I was chasing down just about any class.

    I truly miss the game and have not played another mmo since because none have the pvp, character dev, or world building systems that SB had. Anything less that that would be and is just linear and boring.

    I hope that someone buys the rights to Shadowbane, revamps it and puts it back out onto the market as a Pay to play. There are some key elements that could be added, but I refuse to think that it is gone for good.

  • Damein

    Just wanna say C R you are gay and should stay out of this shadowbane was not a fag questing game it never was. It was always about the PvP. I started on the first beta test and played all the way to the end and it would be sweet if someone took up the torch and revamped it and put out a shadowbane 2 it would be a instant hit.