Shadowbane: One foot in the grave?

Just saw a news item saying Shadowbane–which has been available for preorder–slipped from November until “sometime next year,” whatever that means. If I remember right (and maybe I’m not), this game was originally supposed to come out like this summer, wasn’t it? The graphics don’t look that good, the player-vs-environment stuff sounds like a retread of EQ and all the other treadmill games, and the PVP sounds better than DAOC, but not really revolutionary. And now they’ll be going head-to-head with Star Wars Galaxies and whatever other next generation MMOGs are out by the time they ship.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, Wolfpack…

Yea, although I was very interested when I first herd about this game(like 2 years ago) because of its PvP ideas, I think its window is passing. Its premise makes it a niche game, and by 2003 its going against even more competition. Unless the game design allows them to be profitable with a small user base I think its in trouble.

The “only” great element of Shadowbane is Politics and even Grand Politics as the various factions vie for control of the world. Player-controlled towns and player-run economies goes along with this. That’s what Shadowbane brings to the table. You could say its a big step, but only a single step, advanced from current games, and missing some of the eye candy.

Its been in active beta for a long time, so don’t worry about the release date too much. I have a feeling they are feature-adding rather than bug-removing at this point.

i thought it was originally supposed to ship before or around the time that DAoC shipped, but i could be wrong. that’s what i had always heard, though.

“I have a feeling they are feature-adding rather than bug-removing at this point.”

Which could still end up being a problem because of the delay. For a MM game getting out in a good window of opportunity to grab a user base can be key. I think DAOC was realeased at a good point with no real competition around it, and games like AO that had stumbled before it. One of the things Turbine has talked about with AC2 is how its going to get a good head start over games like EQ2. They obviously feel AC 1 was hurt by EQ’s popularity rise. Don’t know if it can all be attributed to that but I do think it was a cause.

I think that 2003 is going to be a pretty bloody year with respect to MMORPGs. The market is going to quickly reach critical mass.

It seems to me that Wolfpack pulled a fast one here on their customers. Basically, they announce they’ll be ready in November, and then offer the pre-order box that costs almost nothing to ship out (and, in the case of internet preorders, there’s no cost whatsoever). They suck up the money from the preorder, and suddenly they can add 4 more months of development time to their game.


Hasn’t the market already reached critical mass? I feel no urge to play any of these games. Each that I’ve watched feels like one big hunting party. I don’t want to hunt rats, and I don’t want to get killed by one.


I feel no urge to play any of these games. Each that I’ve watched feels like one big hunting party. I don’t want to hunt rats, and I don’t want to get killed by one.


Still trying to decide what to do with my daoc toons :?

It’s not that the market has reached critical mass (whatever that would mean), but that the gameplay is all the same (which was your secondary point). Killing rats IS boring after a while. There is room for lots of MMORPGs, I think. I don’t buy that they are so different from other types of games that only so many can exist. People drift around in them, like they do other games. They just have to change what it means to be successful, since EQ-like sub bases aren’t going to continue. But they can still expect to be profitable, IF they have something new to bring. I’m pretty much in agreement that Shadowbane doesn’t have that. Too bad, it had promise. I like the class system, and may try it just for that.

Well, as I recall, it was first supposed to go into Beta in the spring/summer of 2000. Then it gained and lost GoD/Take 2 as a publisher, then went into ‘Beta’ with 500 people in 2001 after Ubi picked it up and that’s pretty much where things sit right now, though they have added people to the test base.

As Dragon Empires, SWG and other games have also slipped the shipping period, this does take some punch away; anyone that can ship this Xmas season with a reasonably stable game could have a short term advantage for appealing to subscribers. As someone else noted, DAoC’s ship last year during the Xmas Selling Season™, against no high profile competition, certainly gave them a wide open field to appeal to those looking for a new game to play. It didn’t hurt that the game was pretty stable, either.

Hmm. You might remember the tiff between Unknown Player and Ubi/Wolfpack a little while back concerning the Shadowbane Herald program. Much ado about little, mostly. Now this new bit comes along:

Now, imagine our surprise when we saw the latest marketing campaign by Ubi Soft for Shadowbane. Alongside the hip logo of ‘Mercilessly Multiplayer’ was a description for a contest where fans could win prizes from Ubi Soft if they just went onto the forums of their competitors and posted articles saying how ‘Superior’ Shadowbane was to all else. To prove you did it, you would have to cut/paste the text of what you wrote and send it to Ubi Soft’s marketing department to be entered to win.

Found that quote at Shacknews. For some reason, the Unknown Player site itself is down. Double Hmm.

OK. UP is back. But still.