Istaria (used to be Horizons)
I'm wondering if any TOGs play Istaria currently?
For those who don't know about it, Istaria was originally released in Dec. 2003 called Horizons: Empire of Istaria. Now it's still going, but has a different owner and is called Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted.
Istaria has some really amazing features, even for today's mmo standards ( player economy (the first mmo I know of that had a broker), player crafted everything, huge choice of classes, change class any time, Dragon race, etc.). The graphics are old, but actually don't look as bad as I thought they would look, considering it's the same 9 year old engine (at least I think it hasn't had an upgrade).
Currently there are 2 servers: Chaos is the normal server, and Order is the RP server. I'm playing on Chaos.
There are basically 4 ways to play the game:
Completely free forever: limited to Human race, only 1 character slot, can't own housing, only 5 slots on the broker.
Free 14 day trial: any race, 3 character slots, can't own housing, only 5 slots on the broker, time runs out after 14 days.
$10 per month: any race, 5 character slots, can't own housing, 50 broker slots.
$15 per month: any race, 7 character slots, can own housing, 150 broker slots.
There is NO COST for the client; it is free to download for any payment choice; so think of it as $15 to buy the game with a free month included :D.
I'm currently playing the 14 day trial, but if I keep liking it as much by the end of that I'll sub.
Istaria MMORPG offers Free to Play F2P and is a Fantasy Online Game with Playable Dragons
community.istaria.com -- Access Types
About the game
community.istaria.com -- About Istaria
I played Horizons when it first came out in 2003, and then off and on in early 2004. There was a lot of controversy over the game at the time, mostly caused by mismanagement of the game by the head of Artifact Entertainment David Bowman, formerly of Turbine. Bowman formed a new company called Tulga Games and sold Horizons to himself, as a way to cheat the people Artifact Entertainment owed money to. The people in Tulga were all original developers of the game. Now this is all early/mid 2000's events. I have no idea what has transpired with the game since then. I know for a while, just after the name change, they hired author Peter S. Beagle to write lore for the game.
I am curious to see what the game is like today. There was a lot about the original game mechanics that I loved. Who doesn't like double or triple classing a single character? plus the races were pretty cool, and I'm not just talking about dragons. I remember taking part in one of the first community events, which involved a lot of hauling materials and construction to unlock the faun/satyr race.
Tulga Games bought the game rights and assets in 2003; EI Interactive bought it in 2005; and the current owner Vitrium bought it in 2007. Vitrium is the only company who has really done anything with it; such as making it compatible with Vista and Win7, and upgrading the client to support up to 1920x1080 resolutions, as well as bug swatting.
I think Vitrium are the ones who did the strange pay model they use now that I outlined above too.
I see people in the game, even at low levels; most of them Dragons. It's not busy by any means, but there are people playing it. The weekend was decently busy in the starting area.
What's amazing to me is the free lifetime deal. If you're happy with playing a Human, and don't need to put a lot of things on the broker at one time, then you can play completely free forever; no cash shop. I'm really enjoying the Dragon though, so now I'm hooked on that; I may just have to sub.
I tried it out years ago too. I was drawn in more by the really impressive magic/special attack videos they had at the time than by the dragons (and was later dissappointed to find those magic effects never made it into the game). I did like the community focussed world crafting events, to tunnel to new areas etc, and fight off invasions. It didn't hold me for long though, as despite some of it being great design, the execution wasn't great, and the population wasn't very strong/stable.
Back in beta they promised a lot of exciting features that never seemed to pan out unfortunately. Still ended up being a neat game, just not neat enough for many. The absolutely horrible combat lag probably didn't help either. I tried checking it out a while back and they still had some combat lag.
Did that ever get fixed?
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