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The Chronicles of Spellborn

Jukebox Heroes: Character select music

City of Heroes, EverQuest II, Final Fantasy XI, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Vanguard, Miscellaneous, WildStar, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Jukebox Heroes Character select music
Character select and creation music has always fascinated me. OK, maybe not fascinated; it's interested me. I've always viewed such themes as the overture of the game, the interlude between the title theme and the game proper to come.

These themes don't tend to be rip-roaring in their presentation because that's not their purpose. They have to be pleasant enough without being annoying when looped endlessly. After all, sometimes players spend a loooong time making their characters or sitting there at the select screen, and the last thing you want is for their ears to become fatigued by the experience.

So here are six MMO character select and character creation themes that I've enjoyed over the years. And if you saw the title graphic up there and immediately started hearing this song in your head, then you and I probably grew up in the same era.

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Free for All: The coziest places in free-to-play

Fantasy, Screenshots, Video, Culture, Ryzom, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Wurm Online, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Casual, Roleplaying, Free Realms, Free for All, Family, Miscellaneous

Mabinogi screenshot
Cozy. It's a word that seems more at home in a Martha Stewart magazine than in the column for a website about MMORPGs. Cozy can mean quite a few things, but I love the way that the word can instantly make sense to almost anyone. Think about it -- think about what cozy might mean to you. It means a place that makes you feel warm or safe, a place that begs you to stay for a while. The reason I am so attracted to cozier spots in MMOs is because they can be few and far between these days, or they exist but the content pushes you through so fast that you forget to stop and relax for a while.

That speedy content, in my opinion, has helped bring roleplay to its knees. I remember when it was more common to be roleplaying instead of the opposite. These special, inviting spots slow us down and help us remember that we're playing multiplayer games, games with other real people who are experiencing the same places we are at the same time.

So, here is a small list of five of the most coziest places in free-to-play. In my opinion, of course. Feel free to add your own.

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Chronicles of Spellborn servers have one last hurrah

Fantasy, MMO Industry, The Chronicles of Spellborn, News Items, Free-to-Play

The Chronicles of Spellborn fans have had a confusing week. On August 10th, an announcement was posted on Acclaim's TCoS forums, letting players know that the game would come to an end on August 25th.

The announcement warned players to spend all unused Acclaim coins by that time and offered a customer support email address for players with questions. However, the servers were taken offline almost immediately with no word from Acclaim, and after a week of silence from the developers, fans concluded that the game was gone for good.

Not so, it seems. A post entitled "The game is up!" appeared on the forums, sending a handful of players rushing to reinstall and enjoy a little more playtime. Unfortunately, there is still no announcement or explanation from the TCoS team, so there is no official word on what happened or how long it will last.

For the time being, fans of The Chronicles of Spellborn can enjoy one last chance to play.

[Thanks to CowMooFlage for the tip!]

Chronicles of Spellborn shutting down?

MMO Industry, The Chronicles of Spellborn, News Items, Free-to-Play

While Frogster Interactive is perhaps best known for its main MMO, Runes of Magic, it also carries other games for players to enjoy. One of the titles handled by Frogster Asia is The Chronicles of Spellborn -- a belabored game that has seen its model shift from subscription to free within a few months of launch, had its development team go bankrupt and scatter to the winds, and watched its player-base drop off. Well, according to the most recent press release by Frogster Interactive, it would appear that the Frogster Asia division plans to slough off The Chronicles of Spellborn once and for all.

Meanwhile, in North America, Acclaim still has servers (somewhat) open for The Chronicles of Spellborn, but the game feels as if it has been left chained in a dusty corner with a crust of stale bread and a tin of rusty water by its neglectful parents. There are enormous issues on the official site, such as a broken downloader setup, corrupted patches, and most recently, a bug requiring players to change their passwords each and every time they try to log in to the game. No fixes or responses are forthcoming, and we were unable to get any official comment from Acclaim regarding its intentions for the North American version as of the time we published this.

The full text of the section of Frogster's press release dealing with TCoS can be found behind the break. As to Acclaim's intent, we'll update this post if we get a response.

[Thanks, Cow Moo Flage]

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Free for All: Five favorite game systems

Dungeons and Dragons Online, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Free-to-Play, Casual, Free Realms, Mabinogi, Wizard101, Free for All

This week I decided to talk a bit about some of my favorite game systems. Systems are essentially the building blocks of all quality MMORPG matter, allowing for an experience that is unique and worth returning to. Developers have been very creative in designing these systems that, like good technology, are not often noticed by gamers. Good systems blend into your experience but enhance it, and often make the overall game play seem like something more than it would be without them.

Here are some of my favorites, and I would recommend downloading these games and checking them out. Or, if you are already playing these games, take a moment to notice how much thought went into these systems, and also of how much time you spend using them. Their simplicity can sometimes be deceiving, hiding the complicated processes that help your game play be a detailed and varied experience.

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Free for All: A look into The Chronicles of Spellborn

Video, Interviews, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Free-to-Play, MMOFPS, Free for All

I have always wondered what happened to one of my favorite free-to-play games, The Chronicles of Spellborn. It's still a great game, don't get me wrong, and is completely free to play. A new version is even supposed to come out at some point, essentially the same game but with a cash-shop that features different travel items and armors.

But why didn't The Chronicles of Spellborn do as good as it could have? I enjoyed it from the beginning but did find some flaws, namely in travel time. Of course, I am the world's biggest fan of realistic travel. I think it builds "character," but only having the option to walk while on land is, to say the least, a little tiring. Still, the game continues to captivate me. Perhaps the combat system was too out-of-sync with today's gamer, or maybe the quest text and wonderful lore were not enough to stop some players from getting bored? The stat-less armor and weapons might have had the most to do with it, being that players felt short-changed without being able to be recognized as something powerful just from the look of their avatar?

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Spellborn dropping out of the Japanese market

Fantasy, The Chronicles of Spellborn, News Items

The somewhat European inspired fantasy MMO The Chronicles of Spellborn is shutting down its Japanese service, causing a stir of worry and discussion about the title's future in other territories within the community at large. To make matters worse, the one person who could've cleared up any confusion, TheHistorian, is no longer with publisher Acclaim as community manager for the game. Given that he was the sole link between the community and developers, it's no wonder people are feeling a bit unsettled by the whole affair.

While the closure of The Chronicles of Spellborn Japan isn't a good thing, it doesn't necessarily spell out a dark future for the title. A business deal could've gone sour, or perhaps the audience in Japan just wasn't strong enough to maintain the title. Just in cast something does happen, however, we'll be keeping an eye out for any further development.

One Shots: High House Silver

Fantasy, Screenshots, The Chronicles of Spellborn, One Shots

With the recent news that The Chronicles of Spellborn is going to be going from a Freemium to a fully free-to-play game, emotions are torn. Those who have been subscribing feel like they're about to lose the game they've been enjoying. Those who have wanted to try it out but have been unable to do more than the first several levels are glad as it will give them a chance to play more. Either way you slice it though, it means change for the Spellborn community. With that said, we have a lovely screenshot from within The Chronicles of Spellborn that was sent to us by Terrivad of the Deiquonril server. He writes in: This is a screen shot of the interior of High House Silver in the city of Hawksmouth. House Silver being one of the five High Houses of the Enclave. They keep the economy in order and the day to day activities such as transportation, taxing and trade. (They're also obviously the richest House.)

One Shots runs on reader submissions, so we need to hear from you! Just snap a quick screenshot from your favorite MMO and send it to us here at oneshots AT massively DOT com along with your name and the game/location it was taken in. We'll do the rest from there and give you the credit for sending it in.

Gallery: One Shots

The Chronicles of Spellborn to be re-developed as free to play, bankruptcy issues loom

Fantasy, Business Models, MMO Industry, The Chronicles of Spellborn, News Items, Free-to-Play, Chronicles of Spellborn

The Chronicles of Spellborn only launched a few months ago, but they've already announced that they're going to "re-develop" the game as a free-to-play title. Acclaim Games stated on Monday: "The development is planned to carry into 2010 and will include several enhancements and changes to the current game. The enhancements and development of the new model will be carried through a joint venture between Spellborn NV and the development studio of Frogster Asia Co. Ltd based in Seoul, the Korean studio bringing its expertise in the field of free-to-play and micro-transactions."

Once this re-development is complete The Chronicles of Spellborn will cease to be a subscription game and will switch over to the free-to-play model. We're not sure if there will be any further development on TCOS as it exists now, but a post on the game's EU forums by community manager Kelas stated, "For now, the servers and system (subscription) will remain the way it is. There are still people available for running the daily work and systems."

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One Shots: From the front lines

Fantasy, Screenshots, The Chronicles of Spellborn, One Shots

We don't often get to look in on The Chronicles of Spellborn, so it's great to get a report back from a Spellborn player for One Shots. Today's beautiful-yet-almost-psychadelic screenshot comes in to us from Eric who writes in: Looking down at the docks as I venture, for the first time, to The Vaults. The first thing that drew me into the The Chronicles of Spellborn was the atmospheric scenery. The area I'm traveling to is used to further the lore of the game, and the long trek up to the top of the mountain really gave me a perspective much like a pilgrim. Really well done!

If your MMO travels have taken you to a world we don't often see, why not send in some screenshots and share your journeys! Email them to oneshots AT massively DOT com along with your name, the name of the game, and a brief description. We'll post them here and give you the credit.

Gallery: One Shots

The Chronicles of Spellborn art book now available as free PDF

Fantasy, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Chronicles of Spellborn

The newly launched fantasy game The Chronicles of Spellborn is a (air quote) freemium massively multiplayer online title from Acclaim, where three areas of the game are available for free, while subscriptions truly open the game up for its players. Those gamers in the EU who jump into The Chronicles of Spellborn are able to buy the title as a boxed product and thus get the art book which accompanies the box release, but no such luck for North American players. That is, until now.

Acclaim has opted to release the art book as a free PDF file, which you can find over at MMORPG.com. It's a nice, in-depth look at the game spanning 151 pages of art content and lore. The High Houses, the game's myriad Inhabitants, and of course weapons and armor are all included in The Chronicles of Spellborn art book. If you're already into TCoS or are just curious about it, be sure to grab your free download at MMORPG.com.

The Chronicles of Spellborn interview explains game's unique aspects

Fantasy, Business Models, Classes, Game Mechanics, Interviews, MMO Industry, PvP, The Chronicles of Spellborn, PvE, Races

The Chronicles of Spellborn is a game we've been hearing more about lately. We recently noticed an interview by Nolvadex at the Italian gaming site Gamesource with The Chronicles of Spellborn's lead community manager Pierre-Yves "Mirage" Deslandes.

Mirage discusses a relatively smooth European launch for the title and some of the complexities of their publishing deals, insofar as they affect the European market. The challenges of balancing PvE and PvP content in the game comes up, and Mirage also addresses why The Chronicles of Spellborn shipped without an auction house, stressing that a marketplace is indeed on the way. In terms of building upon the game's combat systems, Netherlands-based developer Spellborn NV doesn't plan to make any major changes to the game's combat system, which Mirage states is the trademark and backbone of The Chronicles of Spellborn. Adding greater depth to what's presently offered instead of simply adding more races and classes to the game is clearly a priority for the developers.

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What does Spellborn still need for a successful US/UK launch?

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, The Chronicles of Spellborn, Free-to-Play

Here we are a month after the European launch of The Chronicles of Spellborn, and we find ourselves gearing up for the US and UK launches very soon. What has changed since the EU launch and what have the developers learned throughout the month after launch? MMORPG.com's Patrick S. Marshall takes a look and gives us his opinions on what the game still needs to make it in this hard-knock era for start-up MMOs.

"The bottom line is that the game could use some more players, especially on the international servers, which are considerably less populated than the French or German servers," Marshall says in the article. "The UK is separated from Europe publisher-wise by a territorial IP-ban (Acclaim is publishing TCoS in the US and the UK - Frogster does the rest of Europe and Asia)." For more information on The Chronicles of Spellborn and their upcoming US/UK launch, check out their main website.

The Chronicles of Spellborn scores 8/10 in an early review

Fantasy, Launches, New Titles, Reviews, The Chronicles of Spellborn

Although a great deal of the world is still playing the beta version of The Chronicles of Spellborn, continental Europe has had access to the retail copy since the 27th of November. Since Eurogamer has had a couple of weeks to put the game through its paces, they've posted a review. Now, we're sure you know the various problems with MMO reviews in general -- the two biggest being that most (good) MMOs are updated frequently post-launch, and that there's usually too much content to get through to provide accurate insight to all levels and areas of a game -- but it's worth nothing that this one comes with a rather healthy eight-out-of-ten score at the end.

The art style and environments get an approving nod in the review, and so do the action-based combat mechanics. The "Skill Deck", which is the replacement for the traditional action bar you might be used to from a huge number of other MMOs, is both praised and knocked for its complexity. The primary criticisms that the review levels against TCoS are that it can be a bit generic at times, and that it lacks the glossy polish that you see in big-budget titles. Obviously these complaints were not significant enough to stop the reviewer from enjoying the game, and we look forward to seeing how it shapes up by the time it's released to the rest of the world in January.

The Chronicles of Spellborn close in on a North American Publisher

Betas, Fantasy, Business Models, Forums, Game Mechanics, Interviews, New Titles, The Chronicles of Spellborn

In a recent interview over at Ten Ton Hammer, Pierre-Yves Deslandes, the Public Relations Manager for The Chronicles of Spellborn answered some interesting questions about the upcoming fantasy MMO. One of the first questions on the minds of those at TTH and the minds of most players is why the game's launch has been post-poned another six months until autumn of 2008.

Of course, as with most game-launch delays, the development team is still working out some bugs. Plus, to complicate matters, the game is still without a North American publisher. But in addition to this news, we get treated to some wonderful information regarding the unique features of the game, including the "Dress to Impress" gear system.

Head on over to TTH to read the complete interview.

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