Here's the info, straight from my inbox:
A new world is coming to Shadowbane! The Shadowbane Team is proud to announce its plans to unveil a completely new and unique world to the players of Aerynth in the weeks to come. The Shadowbane world building team has been hard at work on a brand new map that will enhance both the strategic elements of guild warfare and more closely reflect the lore of the game.
While several details of the new world have not yet been finalized, there are many design elements to this new world that are revealed below.
New World Design Concepts
First of all, the new world will have a new name and history. One of the Safeholds will be completely redesigned and built and will be a prominent city from the lore. The exact city will be named sometime in the future.
Instead of three large continents and a large newbie island from the current worlds, the new map will only have two large continents of roughly equal size. These two continents will be separated by a body of water. They will also be connected by a chain of small islands in between.
All zones in the new world will be grouped together by terrain: grasslands will be together, large swamps, deserts, and forests will also be grouped together and spread across the two continents.
The number of adventure zones will stay the exactly the same as the current worlds except on this map they will be more concentrated based on their terrain, lore and difficulty. Each terrain region will have far more adventure areas grouped together than currently exist. For example, while the bog has only a few Rank 4 zones with many others spread around - the new swamp region will have all the spawns connected to the swamps extending the high, medium and low ranged mobs together in one region allowing for more player choices in adventuring.
Runegates will be placed in locations that are more conducive to adventure zone travel. The development team realized they were not being utilized as much as originally planned for, so this new configuration of rune gates should give a boost to the traveler discipline again. These portals are expected to become strategic control centers to be fought over and controlled.
The new map will contain many peninsulas, lakes, and rivers to provide areas of strategic importance. There will also be river deltas in the new world. These deltas will contain many rivers grouped together and often hold extremely long and wide rivers that will be dangerous to cross. Many of these new lakes, waterways and deltas will offer several locations for optimal guild city placement in terms of defensive advantages and area control. However, many of these locations may look promising, yet offer little terrain advantage. City planners will need to scout these areas very carefully!
The new map will contain many strategic choke points of control over various drops and resources. There is an expectation of a lot more conflict over resource consumption in this world.
One more commander discipline dropper will be added to the map.
Safeholds and Newbie Lands
Safeholds will be placed close together in the center of the map in the grasslands. We hope more centralized Safeholds will encourage more grouping among R2-R3 characters. These cities will be surrounded by mid-level content which expands outward to more difficult spawns in the macro zone. The Safehold areas will be quite a distance from the higher level adventure zones. There will be no rune-gates close to the Safeholds.
We can expect to have one brand new Safehold city that is prominently mentioned in the lore. The other two Safeholds will be identical to the older map, except they will have new names.
The newbie zone will be moved to a pretty small island far away from the two continents. There will only be one series of hamlets on the island with more concentrated and condensed adventure zones. Newbies will be able to move outwards from the hamlets and fight progressively harder mobs until they reach water. Overall the newbie island will be considerably smaller in size than the current worlds.
Ruins and Errants
Like the Safeholds, the Ruins will also be grouped together in one region. Unfortunately for Errants, the ruins will be located on several small islands in the chain of islands which connects the two large continents. As there is no bridge joining the two continents, Errants will be forced to swim from island to island to island to reach one of the continents. The life of the Errant entrepreneur just became a little bit harder.
A decision is pending soon regarding which server will be replaced by the new world. Updates will let players know when a final decision has been made regarding next steps. One of the next steps under consideration involves several options and plans on what to do with players currently living on these worlds. As this new map gets closer to completion everyone will be notified on how this process is going, and what to expect. Whichever world or worlds are replaced, the development team is looking at several ways to reward and remember important contributors to the history of that world.