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Shadowbane Now Free As In Beer

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the you-want-some-ale dept.


Gamaustra reports on the decision by Shadowbane developer Wolfpack to make their PvP MMOG title free for the taking. From the article: "Despite the growing acceptance of [the no monthly fee] revenue model, it's not yet certain that it's the one Ubisoft has chosen for Shadowbane; the announcement makes no reference to any alternate form of revenue for the title. In-game advertising has also been an option for allowing free play in titles including Funcom's Anarchy Online, but Shadowbane's fantasy setting may preclude contemporary ads. The company indicated that a more detailed explanation of the free-to-play scheme will follow shortly."

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PC and Mac Supported (4, Informative)

Zibara (910310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14937914)

According to http://www.shadowbane.com/ [shadowbane.com] , Shadowbane supports both Mac and PC. I'm going to have to check this out. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a Linux version.

Re:PC and Mac Supported (1)

Samurai Cat! (15315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942575)

Yep, one of the few. I used to run an SB-related site back in the day, and finagled my way into the beta as well. I seem to recall that the lead designer was a big Mac guy, and basically made developing a Mac version concurrent with the PC version a condition for him to take the job.

Re:PC and Mac Supported (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942770)

Which site did you run? I used to run Shadowbane Stratics as Kenickie. Was good fun back in the day... too bad the game sucked. :P

ShadowBug (2, Interesting)

Thedeviluno (903528) | more than 8 years ago | (#14937990)

Best PvP game evar as long as you dont mind LAg from hell and GM sanctioned cheats ,hacks, exploits galore. I always said I would go back to this game when they made it free to play. But the last trial I took was so buggy it was near unplayable and then Guild Wars came out.

Source Code? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14938018)

They need to release the source code for the client so that we can clean up the UI and fix that damn click to move. Not to mention the stability issues.

Re:Source Code? (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14938057)

THe UI and click to move were fine. THe problem was stability, balance, and sieges/land control burning out guilds.

Re:Source Code? - Solution to burn-out? (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14938249)

The solution to burn out (esp of guild leaders): Reduce the number of players allowed per realm?

Less people = less sieges.

True, defenders would have fewer players on their side as well.
But you need a certain number of attackers to really mount a significant attack, whereas defending is easier.

Less people would probably mean reduced siege frequency.

It would also put increased importance on forming alliances with other clans, and recruiting.

I think a release of the source code would be awesome.
Could they (in theory) release the source code and continue to charge a small monthly fee to play on their servers?
(Obviously a source release will mean competition in the server market).

Re:Source Code? - Solution to burn-out? (2, Insightful)

Meagermanx (768421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14939893)

Every script kiddie with a compiler would be hacking the game. You've seen how messy online games can get when they're closed-source, and you're suggesting they open up an MMO?
Crazy talk.

Re:Source Code? - Solution to burn-out? (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940149)

Every script kiddie with a compiler would be hacking the game.

Duh? Let them hack the client if they want, if you know anything about coding you'll secure the server as well, and the "script kiddies" will have some trouble "hacking" the server since you are running it, not them.

Re:Source Code? - Solution to burn-out? (2, Insightful)

jackbarnett (940094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14942781)

Yea, they couldn't do anything like make walls transparent or display mini-Map data (like loot, monsters, hostile players, etc) or make an auto-aim bot or macro up a farming bot.. Since you know, your "super secure magical" server renders all the graphics and then pipes it to the client and since you got massive fat network pipes (and all player also!) you don't have to send all the map data, but just keep refreshing only the players line of view. You can detect macros by sending a .jpg image (of text) for every action required and have players type that data in and you could ban anyone that gets "really good" at combat since no skilled human could have a 80% kill rate on other players. Your right. Release the source to the client because Open Source is magically secure.

Re:Source Code? - Solution to burn-out? (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944288)

make walls transparent

We're talking about an RPG here, not a FPS, this is not much of an issue. Much less than in, say, CS.

display mini-Map data (like loot, monsters, hostile players, etc)

How about not sending the data in the first place? You look like you want to code an EQ-like client: trusted, send everything to it and it'll hide what should be hidden... Flash news, we've known for like 5 years now that THIS DOESN'T WORK. It's security through obscurity, and it's stupid. If you don't want the client/player to see it then don't send it period. Yes, it's much tougher on the servers, but then again you don't run MMORPG servers on a Pentium 100 box.


I don't know any MMORPG that requires aiming per se, and most have autofollow feature to stick to the mobs whatever the lag is.

macro up a farming bot

As if you'd need any access to the client code to setup a farming bot...

Your right. Release the source to the client because Open Source is magically secure.

It's not indeed, but if your idea of security is "Let the client do everything, it's closed source so they won't be able to hack anything hahahaha" then you're set to fail, that just doesn't work.

Re:Source Code? - Solution to burn-out? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14946420)

No, I'm saying your right... the server should DO EVERYTHING THAT IT CAN. But it can't.

How are you going to RENDER GRAPHICS on the server and get them to the client unmodified? Please tell.

How are you going to get the player map and monster information with LIMITED bandwidth and resource?

Secondly bots will be huge. Give me access to a closed source client and I can either create a macro to play with the GUI or I can create a "proxy" that modifies incoming/outgoing packets.... or given the source code I could strip out the GUI, create a light weight console application, borg it out on every library, college, cyber cafe, work computer and freinds computers that I can and have 50+ gold bots raping your "secure server" and have them all interlinked and drop off gold into any account I choice. Accounts are free, so I could flood all your servers to max capticy with my bots.

I agree, for a game like this you need to do it on the server. But some things you can. Secondly, it would make programming a bot 100% simplier if I could work directly with the source instead of hacking the client, writing a clumsy macro or modify the packets (assuming the packets aren't encrpted).

With Open Source, ANY application is easier to work with. Both for the good guys AND the bad guys. I would hack Microsoft Word to read in my own custom document format (saves everything in ROT14), but it would be a ton easier for me if I had direct access to it's source.

Re:Source Code? (2, Insightful)

Ravatar (891374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14938409)

Are you kidding me? Do you know what kinda problems that would cause in a MMO environment? Cheating is bad enough as it is, don't make it any easier.

Re:Source Code? (1)

slux (632202) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940498)

Much less than it would cause in an FPS environment. As MMORPGs are seldom as latency-critical as FPSs, I don't see anything except heavy macroing representing a problem, but then that's really a problem with the whole game genre even macros aside, gameplay ought not to be unchallenging enough to be possible to perform automate. Anyway, MUDs have been dealing with an open environment.

Re:Source Code? (1)

Ravatar (891374) | more than 8 years ago | (#14944260)

MUDs are also usually less trusting of the clients that connect to them. Sadly, many modern MMOs still rely on information that the client sends them, in good faith. Until that practics stops, clients must always be counted as high-risk, and given as little access as possible to the inner workings of the protocol and interface.

Place to download (5, Informative)

DiscoNick (743960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14938112)

Yea its a semi-shameless post, but you can download it here free, no subscription, no lines, no bullshit: http://www.filenuts.com/1055.html [filenuts.com]

Re:Place to download (0, Offtopic)

JoshRosenbaum (841551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14938372)

Some reason when I see that picture of the squirrel and the name of the site it reminds of this picture that's made its rounds on the net. I'm sure you haven't ever been told that before. ;)
http://www.utterwonder.com/archives/images/squirre ls%20nuts.jpg [utterwonder.com]

http://images.google.com/images?q=squirrel%20nuts& btnG=Google+Search&sa=N&tab=wi [google.com]

Re:Place to download (1)

DiscoNick (743960) | more than 8 years ago | (#14941029)

Yea I think a creative T-shirt is gonna come out of a combination of the two crazy squirrels.

Re:Place to download (1)

JoshRosenbaum (841551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14943034)

LOL, that'd be funny! ;)

Anyhow thanks for the bandwidth. I downloaded the game to give it a try. Also, the site looks like it doesn't suck, so I'm going to bookmark it to come back to later this weekend and check out some of the games. I like the layout you are using on the front page which makes it easy to quickly discern whether I want to check out a game/movie/patch or not.

Elite.. (1)

jonbusby (880488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14938127)

Are there any other MMOPG (i know this is off topic a little) that are like elite (other than eve online), and that are preferably free? I was told once that there was one, open source too, yet never found it! nevermind

Re:Elite.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14938333)

Are you thinking of Vendetta Online?

Re:Elite.. (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940502)

I believe it's PlaneShift you're looking for. http://www.planeshift.it/ [planeshift.it] . The domain is .it but the site is in English and most players in game have standardized on English too.

Re:Elite.. (1)

robnauta (716284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940648)

When he said 'like Elite' I think he meant a space trading/fighting game, where you fly around in spaceships.

Planeshift is a joke, it's been around for years and years and is nothing more than a tech demo. There is no game in it. The designers only care that it works like it was specified in technical terms. The complaint that it's no fun to play is usually greeted with comments like 'stfu loser' and 'it's free so you have no right to complain'. Every detail of the game just feels wrong, starting with the controls and the slow turning speed.

To make a game is more than being able to program one. Factors like gameplay, whether the user enjoys playing it, balance, etc. are not a concern to the programmers. Another thing they forget is that once you allow outsiders to play your game, you cannot claim anymore that it will become a game when it is finally finished, and that before that date you cannot expect anything. When others can play it, it IS the game. What use is it to work on a game for 10 years and then finally finish it and have it look like 2002's Morrowind ? That game is for sale in the shops here in Holland for 1 euro now ! And it shares many of PlaneShift's features, promising but eventually shallow visuals, a boring barren depressing looking terrain, the slow walking speed, boring fights, a feeling that you're just wandering alone in a world where nothing happens.

Some things are not planeshift's fault. Diablo I/II show for RPG's like WoW did for MMORPG's that they can be fun action-packed games that are fun right from the start. At the same time they strengthened the belief of hard-core rpg nuts that they were not 'real games'. The true hardcore player still believes that RPG's should be slow and boring, and that there can be games that are no fun in the beginning because they promise the player that they will be fun later on and that before that moment you will just have to work to get there.

Re:Elite.. (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940691)

Talk about a rant!
Well, my bad for suggesting PlaneShift, especially since I misunderstood what the genre had to be. But really, don't you think you're exaggerating the thing a bit? Yeah PS sucks, I've tried it at least 3 times in the last year or so and I did not find it of an adequate quality: but it's a bloody BETA! You say "When others can play it, it IS the game", well no, MMORPGs tend to have long beta periods where the game is not finalized. "What use is it to work on a game for 10 years and then finally finish it and have it look like 2002's Morrowind ?" Uh... well here I concur 100% with you. They probably do it Because They Can(tm) and because it's kinda leet to publish an OS MMORPG which is supposed to be free forever. But then, what use is it to publish Tux Racer & friends...
Anyway I suggest we wait and see what happens. It's not like they owe us anything and, besides, 'it's free so you have no right to complain'. I do believe in this last principle: or, to explain myself better, you have no right to spam the forums with "OMG LEET how do i download this?", followed by "LOL no i don't know where i saved it", and then (when you finally get around to install & update & create char & actually enter the bloody city) "SOMEONE GIMME A WEAPON PLS KTHX BTW THIS GAME SUCKS BIG TIME". Sorry for the caps... they were intended to mirror what happens in there all the time.

Re:Elite.. (1)

jonbusby (880488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940716)

I dont think planeshift will ever make it out of beta. I remember seeing an elite based game, with space trading, etc, but also the ability to walk around the space stations, but I really cant remember what it was called. Certainly if none of us can remember it, it probably doesnt exist anymore. Real shame.

Re:Elite.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14944344)

I think you are talking about Earth & Beyond which is now dead. There is another online game called Jumpgate that is Elite-like.

SB.EXE!! (0, Flamebait)

RobXiii (685386) | more than 8 years ago | (#14938422)

Does it still come with free SB.EXE crash errors? :P Nothing like playing for a few more minutes with an sb.exe error window up. Once you click it *then* it crashes for ya.

Ah the memories.... of my city burning (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14938619)

On my server one guild destroyed every major guild on the server and most of the small ones. They seiged and burnt most guild towns to the ground. A lot of people quit after seeing months of work go up in smoke. I was in a 500 man pvp guild and we couldn't stop them. When I left the server was dead... only 3 to 4 months after the release date.

Re:Ah the memories.... of my city burning (1)

Dark_MadMax666 (907288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14938896)

Fun fun times :) I was quitting and coming back ,each time though come back was shorter and shorter. I think most of the fun times were in the beta and first few months . Broken client ,broken servers and fubared game mechanics .

Re:Ah the memories.... of my city burning (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14939171)

You missed the best part: when someone finally won the world war on one giant server, all the losers from that conflict made new characters on another server and used their keenly-developed PVP skills to break the balance of power on that server. Chain reaction, hurray!

Re:Ah the memories.... of my city burning (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14974079)

Which proves once again that when given the opportunity of free thought, free will and free action, people will immediately start acting like sheep.

Sounds like it was a big bandwagon effect. They started rolling and all the excluded anti-socials joined in to be part of the "winning" team.

I can't remember if I beta tested Shadowbane or not. I'm fairly sure the PvP-only aspect would have kept me away. I've yet to ever see a positive aspect of PvP. Someone always goes away mad.

omg pkzorz! (1)

Jurrasic (940901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14938937)

Wow, i had a buttload of +40 runes laying in the bank of my farmerdruid when I quit playing that game, I too said i would consider going back when it was free, maybe I should do just that and see if my stash is intact. :)

let me know when..... (3, Informative)

Churla (936633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14939139)

They start paying you to play it. As it is , being free still costs too much for that game as I remember it.

Is it worth it? (1)

cgenman (325138) | more than 8 years ago | (#14939826)

I've been bouncing around MMORPG's recently to build up experience with them, and I still haven't found one (Besides Puzzle Pirates) that seems worth sticking with.

Is Shadowbane worth playing? Is the start-up investment of time in the character low enough that it is worth trying, or is it one that you need to invest a million hours in the game before the actual game starts?

What about Legend of Mir II? Any free or pay MMORPG's that people would recommend as must-trys?

Re:Is it worth it? (1)

Liath (950770) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940270)

The thing most carebears... WoW players hate about this game is that everything you own can be taken away from you by assholes. But after realizing that you can also take everything away from the assholes, too, it becomes fun. There is really nothing else out there like it, and even better, if you become familiar with your character, and have even decent weapons, you can kill higher level players -- and we're talking about 30's taking on 55-60's, not 47's killing 52's. There was a lot of lag. But if you have a modern amount of ram (512 + ) you should be ok for the most part. and if you have a Gig, I doubt you'll lag very often when the server is stable. In short the game is totally worth checking out. Did i mention it takes about a week to get to end-game levels? Most of the RP content is player-made, so if you do check it out, try not to tell Arkhubar to "LOl stop Peekaying me in the desert!" or stuff like that.

Re:Is it worth it? (1)

AequitasVeritas (712728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14968615)

Time to endgame competency really depends on if you can find a good group/guild or not. the guild i was in had many ties to other guilds who would let us PL with them. i could have a character to 65 in 2 nights, 75 on the 3rd . and if you did tell Arkhubar to "lol, stop peekaying me in the desert" he would call you a dirty firk and then track you down and kill you again. he was one of my favorite Virakar members. RR4L

Re:Is it worth it? (1)

robnauta (716284) | more than 8 years ago | (#14970816)

I've been playing it in the weekend, and left the beginner island at level 21. The problem I have is that there seems to be absolutely nothing outside of the new town (aeldreth). I've walked outside it for an hour, and it's just empty. There's nothing to fight there. The beginner island looks small on the map, but it's big, it also takes ages to run from A to B there. As an amateur game programmer I know that heightmaps are cheap and easy to program, but just terrain with no content is just boring. And even though there are now many new players because it's totally free, it could be a problem for a PvP game if 80% of the users are on the newbie island and the others are scattered in an empty but huge world where you never really meet anyone else.

"Fly For Fun" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14940368)

I discovered Fly For Fun [flyff.com] , a free Chinese (Korean?) MMORPG. Nice graphics, music, and gameplay speed. I quit after a few hours because it consisted of slaughtering the same enemies over and over to gain levels, but it was fun for a while.

Who announced what where? (1)

TimboJones (192691) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940367)

Ubisoft, publisher of the Wolfpack Studios-developed MMORPG Shadowbane, has announced, via the site's official news page, that the title is now available to play for free without subscription fees
Wait a minute. What official news page? I don't see this announcement anywhere but gamasutra. There's no link.

http://www.shadowbane.com/ [shadowbane.com] - Flash page, the only link for news leads to:
http://chronicle.ubi.com/ [ubi.com] - looks like they're preparing for new & returning players and there's a community announcement about their billing system. The announcement dances around some kind of big change, but their Community Manager isn't authorized to give any details. There's some offhand conjecture in the forum. Nothing else.
http://www.ubisoft.com/ [ubisoft.com] - Press? Nothing there.

Did it get retracted? Maybe I'm missing something.

Re:Who announced what where? (1)

Leibherk (112156) | more than 8 years ago | (#14940848)

On one of the pages is an Ad saying you can play for free if you click that it goes to the correct news post.

The article clearly states ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14942190)

Correction: the Gamasutra article clearly states that the decision was made by the publisher, Ubisoft. Remember, in the world of game development, publishers and developers are different entities!

I hope at least other Developers will play (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14943037)

Shadowbane definitely had stability issues when it first came out, but it had other MMORPGs beat when it game to gameplay concepts.

There were so many times playing WoW I wished there were player-built cities that leveled and grew. That there were Feature Characters (Hired Actors) acting out in-game events that regularly involved different server factions. That gear was not the deciding factor in PvP, but a balanced and organized group. If the WoW engine could have been applied to the Shadowbane world, that would be MMORPG Nirvana. After all, Blizzard should know something about the RTS aspect of city building.

Developers of the Next Big Thing could learn a lot from Shadowbane. The stability drove people away, not the game play concepts. Sure, I faced having a city almost burnt to the ground and it sucked, but my guild was strong and we bided our time. Many 'homeless' guilds had an even more interesting experience, changing sides in the middle of battle for gold or just treason. Even the server boards offered political 'gameplay' as interesting as the game at times.

My Best Gaming Moment Ever was not beating some single player game, or hitting level 60, or anything else. It was the night my guild, Verikai, laid siege to Clan Havion's main city and drove them from the desert, beginning the process of uniting the desert under our Irekei banner. Not a game yet has matched that feeling of accomplishment.

Stability == AWESOME (1)

TimboJones (192691) | more than 8 years ago | (#14945094)

This is too much fun:

From a discussion of free Shadowbane on BluesNews [bluesnews.com] :

Some dude: "My question still stands, have you guys eradicated the sb.exe crash bug?"
Wolfpack community manager: "No, we have not... [but] we have drastically reduced the number of client crashes. I play Shadowbane nightly and haven't had one for well over a week."

A whole week? AMAZING! Imagining their code... I giggle.
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