Imagine flying through the air in search of a new Empire to
conquer. Beneath you lay rivers, roads, mountains, hidden paths
amidst the woods, bustling and guarded cities, tunnels leading to
an entire under-world and - impressively - 15 unique races. As you
glide in closer you can hear the buzz of a town, musical voices
and the sound of alarmed birds with the clash of metal against metal
in a nearby raging battle. One of those races, Dragons, being you,
is getting a bird's-eye-view of the entire world.
Sound neat? Wait until you see what else Horizons has in store.
Empires of Istaria promises to be a world where people will
"forget they're humans." Players will utilize and experience every
type of social belief, terrain and weather that exist on earth and
then a few that do not. "Dragons will fly through the sky, dwarves
will mine underground, Lamurians will swim in the sea, and humanoids
will roam the land."
The world of Istaria, spanning at least "hundreds of square miles,"
will be full of faction run empires, cities and towns that revolve
around unique, rich, extensive storylines, battles and quests. Each
player begins in a small town as a "teenager" with a preset family,
history and childhood background. Character creation will include
the players choosing their name, race, sex, alignment, starting
stats, and a belief system about their social/religious/government
Chiefly serving as the birthplace of the races, towns will consist
of a quaint feel and will usually be smaller in size than Cities.
Parents, relatives and guilds, including real playing characters
[PCs], will help make family networks viable when beginning in Horizons.
Parents will behave much like real parents - offering their children
a bed, meal, and at times money.
Likewise, cities will provide established trade routes, roads and
a place to communicate and socialize with other players. Taverns,
Inns, Smithies, Horse traders, and shops of all descriptions will
be functional in Istaria. Cities will have guards that protect the
citizens from "attack and banditry" and shopkeepers will alter prices
per supply and demand. All city utilities will be NPC controlled
yet PCs can easily bide for their own shops and necessities inside
every city and town, at times putting NPCs out of business.
players will have bought, rented or a built-to-order home. Zones
will be set aside for certain building structures and breaking the
rules might result in the "government" tearing down the building
or imposing fines.
Communication and transportation will take diverse shapes in Horizons.
Many languages will make their way through the lands of Istaria.
Naturally, certain languages will be more dominant in certain parts
of the lands. Look for these: Common Elvish, Dwarvish,Gnomish, Lamurian,
La'sai, Ssliktar, Dragon, Morkal.
As well, transportation between lands will be highly dependent
upon your character's abilities, race and age. With the ability
to fly, swim, or trek underground and the added uncertainty of wind/air
currents or lurking evil, Horizons' travel should be more exciting
than anything we have yet to experience. Each player begins with
a map of her/his immediate area, which will expand the further you
venture into new areas. The underground land of Istaria will house
dungeons, caverns, towns and other subterranean areas. A unique
and impressive below-water atmosphere will host its own race and
homelands as far as 12 miles away from land. Naturally, most travel
will occur above ground and on horses. However, with Vampires and
Dragons scouring I would suspect travel throughout Istaria might
prove quite deadly.
In as much, combat and death will have unique features in Horizons.
Real-time combat will execute actions that will not be fully controllable.
So, your character animates visually appealing fight sequences with
varying attacks and parries. As well, you will be able to configure
defensive, offensive and balanced, etc. stances. In the occasion
of death, religion will play an all-important part. Gods with unique
and at times demanding demeanors will certainly cause rift and harmony
for deserving players.
Killing monsters, solving quests, finding treasures, and at times
killing other players will all gain your character experience and
rewards. Horizons is focusing on ensuring a community of craftsmen,
so a full skill tree will be utilized. Higher skilled players as
well as special training centers will assist player in their voyage
to greatness. Noteworthy, while learning, if you improve your Long
Bow skill your Short Bow skill will likewise increase.
Horizons' magic system will be exceptional; "free-form" spells
will allow mages to be dangerous opponents in battle. Mages will
enjoy a diverse selection of schools of magic. Also, many different
items will be enchanted with magical powers. Different spells and
effects will of course expand as players continue to discover novel
ideas and mixtures.
Istaria's entire make-up rests on the contingency that community
will take over and be the crucial power behind the games intricate
government. In order to help this process, "the Ku'tan" have been
chosen to lead the folks in the world of Istaria. Council leaders
and followers will be in charge of keeping peace in the lands. These
Game Masters will occupy the lands and keep track of crude and menacing
activity throughout Istaria.
Moreover, Government and race relations will play a pivotal role
in the world of Istaria. There will be wars between cities with
voting for rules and regulations of cities and lands. Government
will have the ability to create unique laws that will be carried
out by the members of the law enforcement groups in the area. Hence,
enabling players to become meshed within the differing communities
in order to gain titles and power. City governments will ply for
both strength and uniqueness.
In retrospect, extensive background history and diverse races,
makes way for innumerable possibilities of wars and allies alike
in Horizons. Being developed by Artifact-Entertainment and expected
to release mid to late 2002, with current plans of an internal alpha
and public beta test. AE expects to house more online players per
server than any other persistent world simulation [PWS] to date
(10,000). Game interface will contain semi-automatic real time combat,
easy right click access to all useable items, hide-able menus, extensive
tool-tips, detailed polygonal models, and a realistic 3rd person/1st
person view. System requirements as of now: 500 Pentium III/Athlon
processor, 128 mb - 256 mb RAM, TNT2Ultra 32 AGP or higher graphics,
and 3D sound will be supported as well.
The focus on majestic and interesting history, personality, dreams,
Deity, beautiful art-work, massive land size, parents and siblings,
mountable critters, magic, pets, hurricanes, and above ground to
under-water cities all appears quite astounding. The information
and detail Horizons has put into the creation of their MMORPG is
unparalleled. Overwhelming and vast in the beginning, sorting your
way through and learning to appreciate its magnanimous content causes
any role-player to drool in hopes of accomplishment and achievement.
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