Sept 13/14/15 marked The Syndicate's
2002 World Conference in Washington, D.C. As one might expect from a
guild of 550+ members, whose average age is 28+ years, turnout was huge
with close to 100 people attending.
On Saturday we held a large guild meeting.
Invited to that meeting was our special guest speaker: Chris "Vosx"
Mancil. To us, his pledge of attendance at the meeting spoke volumes
for Ubi Soft's commitment to Shadowbane and their recognition of groups
that have existed for years and have had a large affect on the gaming
world. One question im sure all well organized guilds are asking is:
How much commitment is there from Ubi Soft and will we have too many
broken promises when the game goes live? The fact that they do show up
for major events such as these, showed they do have a firm commitment.
As the meeting got under
way, Vosx wasn't there yet. The guildmaster, Dragons, concluded his
talk to the assembled group plus another 50 or so people on a
conference call listening in. Still no Vosx. Migrations Coordinator and
guild Advisor Faust was introduced and he discussed various major games
in development, our relationship with those companies and our thoughts
on those games. Still no Vosx. Just as Faust was about to conclude and
we'd begin "winging it" with a talk on Shadowbane, Vosx strode through
the door. His grand entrance was perfectly timed and soon the podium
began by explaining his reason for being late. The latest build is
nearly ready and he had lots to do in preparation for that. Then he
went on to explain his career in gaming. Perhaps the most entertaining
part was when he explained his first major game (besides MUDs) was
Ultima Online. He made a character and headed outside Minoc to see what
the world was like. He was stopped by a pk who demanded all his money
or he would be killed. Vosx laughed so hard he forgot to reply to the
pk and was attacked. He took off running and got away safely after
which he dubbed the "early" incarnation of Vosx as "Vosx the Coward".
Any who know him in the Shadowbane world know that clearly isn't the
case anymore, but it is entertaining to think of his running through
the woods of UO with a pk on his heels dodging arrows.
on, Vosx explained how Shadowbane works, the lore behind it and how the
world came to be what it is (i.e. the lore surrounding why no one can
permanently die, what the sword of Shadowbane is etc..). It was clear
he is a charismatic speaker and understand Shadowbane inside and out.
He tried to touch on the topics from the premeeting questions we
submitted to him and then opened the floor to more questions. Many of
the things asked and answered were things most followers of SB or those
in the beta already knew. Several things he said are less commonly
known or perhaps new information. Those topics included:
Its been no secret that SB is designed such that items dont matter a
huge amount. He went on to point out that nearly every item will be
craftable by NPCs so players can buy replacement gear if they lose
anything. He did mention there will be some epic fights with nice items
but none that should offset the balance of the game such that an item
makes all the difference.
Vosx made it clear that there is little different between a lvl 50 and
a lvl 98 (highest level yet achieved in the beta) [J.'s note: Only done
once, through exploits, over three months ago,] other than a few HP and
some mana. No new skill or stat points are earned after 50 and levels
51+ are mostly for show. He also made it clear that 2 lvl 30s can
"easily" beat a level 50 to give you some idea of the way levels play
Vosx stressed that while Shadowbane is a pvp game there is a strong
environment for PvM/PvE and it plays a big role. The only way to get
new gold into the game is PvM/PvE. Things cost alot. There are
maintenance and upgrade costs. Gold is important so players who
specialize in that aspect of the game definitely have a home in
Shadowbane. He also mentioned there will be a merchant level role for
players interested in that. When pressed on that issue he explained how
NPCs do all the crafting but then he paused and mentioned there are 2
hidden disciplines that are crafting related but he said no more than
The key point made here was that sieges will be at least 24hours long
since it will take that long for a Bane Circle to stop the ToL's
healing capability. Balancing is all that needs to take place to ensure
that you cant show up with an army of Trebs and knock down the city
without a bane circle. Wolfpacks philosophy has always been the burden
is on the attacker and that sieges are expensive both in cost (for
trebs and tents and circles) and time. So the attacker will need to
defend the bane circle and wartents for 24hrs and invest alot of gold
to attack. Therefore you wont likely be seiging towns repeatedly day in
and day out since you will have to earn back substantial gold to go
again. The defender can chose when and where to counter attack to crush
the circle giving them the advantage.
Vosx also mentioned that at your inn NPCs will show up to be hired as
craftsman, which we all knew. He also mentioned that from time to time
"special" NPCs will show up. Its feasible you could hire the only
dwarven weaponsmith who can make uber mithril weapons on the entire
server if you catch him at the right time. That gives you and your city
and advantage but also makes you a target for everyone else who wants
The word was mentioned as items you can get/use but no details were
given. There were so many questions that the issue wasnt pressed but it
was used outside of the context of a post by testers asking for them
which is possibly significant. Players have been asking for consumable
items like that and it was used in the context of items players can
get/use in the final but no details given.
The question was asked to describe the new dynamic dungeons but no
details were given since they wish to wait until they are released. It
was said that 40-50 dungeons could be expected per worldn which is a
substantial amount for players to hunt in.
Date: Of course we all know the date was moved to February 2003. Vosx
reiterated the position that this was done to ensure the game was fully
ready and that Ubi Soft is commited to as smooth a game release as
possible. He mentioned that he feels, at the rate things are going, the
game will likely be "done" or nearly done by December. All that is
left, in their mind, is balancing which will likely going on for years
to come as new features are added, exploits found, etc.
Their policy is to find and fix them as fast as possible once the game
goes live. Not all gaming companies have as aggressive of a stance on
them as Ubi Soft and Wolfpack due but they recognize alot is at stake
should a bug allow someone to kill towns in a short amount of time or
allow massive duping of gold, for example.
Beta: Vosx mentioned they anticipate starting the open beta in late
October. If not then, then definitely by early November. So for all you
wanting to get into the beta, be watching closely about that time.
are some of the more exotic things mentioned during his Q&A at the
meeting. Vosx talked for close to two hours. When he was through there
we ajourned the meeting and moved things over to the suites where
several dozen people gathered around Vosx on the back porch to ask many
is a very animated speaker and very passionate about Shadowbane. He
made believers out of several nonbelievers and cemented the lust for
Shadowbane in many more. While he was speaking outside, there were
machines set up in several suites to allow conference attendees to play
the beta. Several high-level chars were used to give people a sense of
what you an achieve in the game. Of course appearing at a ruins,
getting pkilled and watching the person go "haha joo suxor" wasnt
really the best way to start them off but the experience of getting to
feel and touch it was one many Syndicate members were pleased to have.
like to extend our thanks to Vosx and Ubi Soft for attending the
conference. It was clear from listening to Vosx talk about their
relationship with Wolfpack, why the release date was moved and their
plans for the future (they already are talking about the first
expansion pack) that there is a high level of commitment to Shadowbane.
did film the Q&A session and when that video is digitized into the
PC and the Q&A part extracted, it will be made publically available
so you can hear his exact words. This will either be done through Ubi
Soft's site or The Syndicate's site. Stay tuned to Warcry for where to find that video when its available (hopefully later this week).