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.