Horizons: Empire of Istaria
|a game by||Artifact Entertainment|
|User Rating:||8.0/10 - 1 vote|
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Horizons is a huge undertaking in many ways. Artifact Entertainment is trying to create a world much bigger and more varied than Ultima Online's Britannia - to put things in perspective you can add all the lands of Norrath, Britannia and Derreth together and they won't match the total size of Istaria. But it doesn't stop there, add to this player-capable realms of Air and Water, with creatures such as Dragons, Demons and Limurians (an underwater reptile), and you get the feeling that depth is as much of a priority for the developers as size.
A lot of Horizons is still under well-protected raps, but info is sneaking out slowly and the 'final' engine graphics are out and look nice - imagine EverQuest with a cartoony edge. Races are substantially different from the norm - the Elf lovers will not be disappointed, but there are also lizard types and Giants. Players won't be limited in warfare either: fight on land, sea and in the air, just remember that the Dragon you are hunting isn't Al, it's another player. An unusual aspect of Horizons is that players will age, have a family and will need to mature. This particularly applies to races like the Dragons who, although ultimately very powerful, start off very weak. How death is to be handled is not yet known but Artifact is promising many changes to the normal approach.
Wor/zons (Istaria) is split into independent realms ' which each have their own distinct politics, religions and .. attitudes. Furthermore, they will also develop their own plot-lines and players will have the opportunity to become involved in these - or not. Player-killing (PK-ing) is not detailed much, though vague promises of "something very different" keep coming from the team, with hints of a player's Deity coming to help him out if a high level PK attacks him - how does this work? Nobody knows.
Overall Horizons sounds great, but it's too early to say too much. One thing is for certain: you'll need a ninja PC to meet the minimum specs. PIII500,128Mb RAM, 32Mb 3D card, 3D soundcard... this won't be a game for the light-hearted (or those with a light wallet). Having said that, there's no projected release as yet (2002 is stated) and it's early days - don't be surprised if we don't see Horizons for quite a while, by which time the spec won't look so daunting.