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Previews: Shadowbane: Rise of Chaos

Shadowbane: Rise of Chaos
Developer: Wolfpack Studios
Publisher: Ubi Soft
Genre: Fantasy
Release: 12/09/03
Advancement System: Class/Level
Player vs. Player Combat: Yes
Competitors: EverQuest, Asheron's Call, DAoC.

Shadowbane: Rise of Chaos - Zalaster (12-08-03)
Here There Be Demons!

"Chaos Rising!"
The seals on the Chaos Gate have weakened and the forces of Chaos have stepped forward to stake their claim. This is the preface for the Shadowbane: Rise of Chaos expansion. This expansion provides 2 new classes - Sentinel and Doomsayer, 2 new disciplines - Darksworn and Conjurer, a new Race - the Nephilim, and the continent of Maelstrom. More importantly this expansion raises the level ceiling to 75, complete with training points and ability points past 60 as well as giving an extra character slot. The only areas that provide the experience necessary to get to these higher levels are on Maelstrom and you must have the expansion for the portals to this new continent to work.

The continent of Maelstrom is a blasted land wracked by storms. Yes, SB now has weather effects. If you are a minimalist like me you can toggle these off if you wish. Nazgul spawned a tornado on top of me once. It was a pretty impressive sight. The new continent's soil will not support a tree of life, so SB gets its no man's land: all the high level hunting grounds and no one can claim it with cities, buildings, etc. The real meat to this continent is the new mobs. Rank 3's and higher demons or other chaos-spawn sprinkle the non-adventure zone areas and the zones here have camps upward of R6. This concentration of high level mobs in a no-man's land should go a good ways towards fostering more conflict between players/guilds/nations.

Courtesy of Shaden Nighthawk
Holy Warrior!
The All-Father still has cards up his sleeve though. The Sentinels have come forward to combat the slow seep of Chaos into the lands. These fighters (they promote from fighter only) seek to uphold the All-Father and do not seemingly prescribe to either of the All-Father's current sects. It was mentioned that they could be compared to a combination of Crusader and Templar, but I would say they are weighted more on the crusader side of the scale. They have impressive class heavy armor, shields and hammers available to them. Heavy armor, decent melee and holy AE's give this class a secondary tank role and I am sure there will be some very interesting templates and combat groups built around this class.

The Doomsayers on the flip side are more supportive characters. They rely on drains, debuffs and transfers to help their group stay in the fight. I have called them jokingly an assassin-lite/fury hybrid. They lack a strong upfront nuke, but get more than one leeching away at you and you are in trouble. I played a few variations on Doomsayer and enjoyed them all very much. My poor Mino Doomie though has a hard time being competitive but the first time someone walks up on me casting a summon or heal, they aren't sure how to process such a strange sight.

Look at that sky
Doomsayer Under the Night Sky
With the powers of Chaos stronger in the lands, the Nephilim have shed their false forms and are now walking freely. This race can change form to appear human from level 1 and still have their powers work in this form. They are natural fliers as they have demonic, bat-like wings. This means stuns, etc. cannot bring them down and many casters have gravitated towards the race. Remember, these guys have horns, so just like a Minotaur, you will not be able to use the head slot for armor or hoods or whatever. They have strong aptitude in Strength and Intelligence. I don't think you will see many people playing rogue bases on this race.

I did not get to try out the new disciplines yet, but I would have to say that the areas that I have already outlined are nice additions to the SB experience overall. In and of themselves they will not bring back players. However in conjunction with the server/world changes announced recently there may indeed be some lure. Others may see the highly competitive atmosphere that Shadowbane has and believe that not getting the expansion and thereby not gaining access to up to 62 more training points and so on could gimp them or their guild. I think that when you take all of these factors and combine them with some of the other changes coming soon that many may want to take a second look at Shadowbane.

This article written and provided by Zalaster. Some of the screenshots were contributed by Shaden Nighthawk, to whom we are very thankful!

Discuss: Demons and Sentinels and Level Caps, Oh my!

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