Horizons: Empire of Istaria Interview

Eschalon: Book II

Developer:Artifact Entertainment
Release Date:2003-12-09
  • Massively Multiplayer,Role-Playing
Platforms: Theme: Perspective:
  • First-Person,Third-Person
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Artifact Entertainment is currently working on Horizons: Empires of Istaria, a massively multiplayer role-playing game (or MMORPG, as it's now commonly abbreviated as). While Horizons is still far from release, the privately funded Horizons project has recently gone into full development.

With 15 playable races, which include playable characters such as Dragons, Demons, and Angels and a skill system hinted to allow the player to shape his character to any definitional class, Horizons allows for an assortment of choices. To understand a bit more about Horizons, we seek out Jeremy Dixon, Public Relations Manager for the Horizons Project.

GB: When going through the specifications released by Artifact Entertainment, and especially when I ripped it apart to create the GameBanshee Glossary, I was overwhelmed by the amount of history and content (and most of all the thought that was put into them). How close to reality is this information? Will the history of Horizons remain stagnant from release or will it change while the players and empires continue to interact through wars and disputes?

Jeremy: The history that you have read on the web page will be incorporated into the game. Will things stay the same? Definitely not! Our World Masters will continuously change the world and bring dynamic content to the players. You know how Turbine runs monthly events to change the world and continue the storyline in AC? Ours will be similar to that except it will be done in real time and won't be limited to just monthly events.

GB: When looking at Horizons, it is difficult to place the type of play style you're aiming for. Will horizons be focused on a more aggressive, competitive, or cooperative playing style?

Jeremy: Horizons allows the player to play however they choose. Someone who wishes to be powerful will have that chance. Someone wanting a more modest lifestyle, such as a tradesman, will have that option as well. We feel that we really don't have a right to tell players what exactly they should do so we leave it up to them. Want to make items? Go for it. Want to kill monsters or participate in raging wars? Go right ahead.

GB: With regard to public relations, can you summarize on the differences between the Game Master and World Master and what roles they will play in the Horizons world? More in depth, will players have the ability to run joint events with the world masters?

Jeremy: Game Masters will be our customer service division that handles complaints, abusive users, and whatnot. A World Master, on the other hand, will handle events and other elements that help to move the storyline along and deliver dynamic content to the world of Istaria.

GB: In Horizons, you have a unique race system that involves blood wars; this affects guilds by causing some serious issues to guilds on what races can be a part of the guild they form. Friends usually want to be in the same guild, but also have different preferences on what character types they want to play. Can you expound your thoughts on this?

Jeremy: I feel that the race wars foster more role-playing than if we allowed users of any race to join forces in guilds. For example, in EverQuest I played a Dark Elf character almost exclusively. I also role-played my characters. What made me sick was when a High Elf, a race that was a bitter enemy of Dark Elves, would come up to me and ask me to group with them, or worse, join their guild. What would you think if you saw a guild with Angels and Demons in it?