The Chronicles of Spellborn
UPDATE: This game has been shutdown and is no longer available
This game has been SHUT DOWN – It is NO LONGER available. This means the official servers are offline and no one can create new accounts or log in to the game. For all intents and purposes this game is dead. This page will be updated if the game ever re-launches.
The Chronicles of Spellborn Overview
The Chronicles of Spellborn is an interesting fantasy MMORPG with Western-style graphics similar to World of Warcraft. Originally launched a pay-to-play game, Spellborn is now entirely free-to-play. What sets the game apart is its first-person targeting and fast-paced combat system. Players must expertly time their attacks on the revolving skill bar. During character creation, players chose between three archetypes, each with three class choices available upon reaching level 5. The classes are:
Blood Warrior - The perfect tank. Blood Warriors possess the ability to create links between themselves and others that absorb or redirect damage from them. Their emphasis on defensive skills means they have less offensive potential than other classes.
Wrathguard - Specialist fighters who evoke ancestral spirits to unleash their powers. Wrathguards have powerful individual and group buffs, making them effective in large parties.
Adept - The undisputed masters of martial arts. Adepts have many powerful unarmed fighting skills and the ability to disarm, slow, and silence their opponents. They can also heal allies, which makes them very useful in group battles.
Ancestral Mage - These spellcasters summon the spirits of the past to fight alongside the living. While their offensive capabilities are limited, Acestral Mages can significantly buff their pets and allies in combat.
Rune Mage - A powerful class that specializes in offensive spells. Rune Mages can create special runes which enhance their power and the abilities of those around them.
Void Seer - Devout mages who posses the ability to counter enemy spells. Void Seers play a supportive role which includes buffing and healing their allies.
Death Hand – Masters in the use of poisons. By using a mixture of different poisons, the Death Hand can take on multiple opponents, making them ideal in group situations.
Skinshifter - Deadly assassins who have the power to shapeshift. They possess both melee and ranged skills, making them one of the most efficient solo classes.
Trickster - This class utilizing both speed and ingenuity. Tricksters can create illusions and rely on sleight of hand to gain the advantage. They may also craft small devices and traps with which to confound their enemies.
The Chronicles of Spellborn Screenshots
The Chronicles of Spellborn Featured Video
The Chronicles of Spellborn Review
By Erhan Altay
The Chronicles of Spellborn was released here in the United States in early 2009 and didn’t last more than a few months as a subscription-based game. Fortunately for us, Acclaim has decided to make the game 100% free to play for at least a year until the game is re-launched as an F2P title supported by micro-transactions. While this does mean a server wipe is inevitable within a year or two, it at least gives gamers a chance to experience a premium quality MMORPG without any restrictions. It’s great to see another game make the switch and join the ranks of Dungeons & Dragons Online, Archlord, and other formerly pay-to-play titles.
We’re Experiencing Some Technical Difficulties
Since its commercial closure, the official site claims that the only cost of experiencing The Chronicles of Spellborn is downloading the game, but that might not be a lower barrier after all. The client clocks in at 3055 MB and must be downloaded using one of those special downloader files that are so popular these days. Even on my broadband connection, it took me quite some time to download, install, and patch the game. When it’s all said and done, Chronicles can end up taking 12 gb of hard drive space, putting it alongside other MMORPG behemoths such as Vanguard. Spellborn uses nProtect’s GameGuard as its anti-cheat program. I generally don’t have trouble with this piece of software, but for some reason it decided to act up this time. Fiddling around with my firewall and antivirus eventually fixed the issue, but it was still a frustrating experience worth noting.
Customize & Accessorize
It is during character creation that players will get a taste for the most distinct features that set Spellborn apart from almost all other MMORPGs. Character race and equipment (including armor and weapons) have no effect on gameplay. After selecting their class archetype (Mage, Warrior, Rogue), players are free to adjust their character’s appearance as they see fit. The default race is human and is largely preferred since the other race, the Daevis, just looks like an ugly human. There are several body types such as thin, buff, and fat (which looks overly exaggerated). Next up is hair and face customization, which allows players to choose from a large palette of skin and hair colors. There are a wide range of clothing options and colors, which allow players to dress their characters up as glittering club girls, to ninjas and everything in between. I spent a good ten minutes on character creation messing with various outfits, and can safely say Spellborn has one of the best appearance customization systems of any free-to-play MMORPG.
Learning to Walk…
After character creation, players hear a mysterious voice that serves as a short introduction to the tutorial. Players start as passengers on a sort of airship making its way towards Hawk’s Landing. Chronicles feels it is necessary to re-teach gamers all the basic keyboard controls. W,A,S,D are used to move, the space bar jumps and the camera can be panned by holding the right mouse button. A series of simple tasks, which involve breaking barrels, attacking training dummies and so on, tested my patience. Eventually, players are introduced to combat against small flying creatures that appear on the deck of the airship. Combat in Spellborn is truly unique, and involves action-RPG reflexes. Players have both a ranged and melee weapon, whose standard attacks are assigned to a skill bar along with the more powerful special moves and spells players learn as they progress. After each attack, the six-sided skill bar rotates. Each side of the skill bar has five slots, allowing for large variations of assigned skills. Manual aiming is another unique aspect of combat in Chronicles. Players must physically have their crosshairs on their target for their attacks to deal damage. While this doesn’t matter much when fighting monsters, it can make for some very interesting PvP situations. Overall this original combat style is a welcome change of pace that’s still familiar enough for gamers to easily pick up. The tutorial does a great job at setting a foreboding atmosphere and introducing players to the unique, mysterious environment, but is just too long in terms of functionality.
New to the Docks
After landing on shore, players follow a very familiar progression route. Local NPCs provide delivery and kill quests that involve clearing out the local wildlife (wolves, boars and so on). Even gathering-style quests (which World of Warcraft first made popular), make an appearance. In-between saving the town from cursed demons, my character found the time to pick five flowers for a local villager. There is nothing wrong with this sort of gameplay; the reason why it’s so common must be because people enjoy it. The trouble in Chronicles of Spellborn is that the whole world feels barren. Remember, this is a game that was a commercial flop that’s currently in the process of being redeveloped for a new launch within a year or two. The publisher, Acclaim, is kind enough to offer the game for free until then, but it shouldn’t come as any surprise that few players are willing to invest their time into a server that is scheduled for closure in the near future. There are only two servers available – one PvP and one PvE. Regardless of which you choose, don’t expect to see many players wandering around, and even less willing to work together.
Waiting to be Reborn
The graphics in Chronicles of Spellborn are without a doubt in line with subscription-based games, which will help it compete in the ever expanding F2P market. I only wish the developers had taken even bolder steps in setting the gameplay apart from the competition. One of the most compelling reasons to continue questing and grinding in any MMORPG is to get new equipment, weapons, and accessories to boost your stats and attack. In Spellborn, that powerful incentive is completely missing, and there’s no real substitute in place. Each level, players receive handful stat points to distribute among three attributes, Body, Mind, and Focus. All skills and spells have a primary attribute type. For example, most Mage skills are tied to Mind, while Warrior skills require high Body. This rather simplistic character development means proper skill selection and implementation are by far the most important aspects of the game. Guild Wars serves as a good comparison in this regard, even though players could start at max level with access to hundreds of skills, it is coordination and proper skill balance that determines the better player. The only form of equipment customization in Spellborn comes in the form of Sigils, which serve as upgrades for your weapon and armor. Keep in mind that these upgrades are applied to individual characters, and not tied to the particular equipment model currently displayed. If you’ve been following the game’s development or are really itching for a new, high-quality, MMORPG experience, don’t hesitate to give the game a try. For those who are in no hurry, wait until the official re-launch scheduled for 2010 by Frogster.
Final Verdict: Good
The Chronicles of Spellborn is an interesting Western-style fantasy game that manages to be a bit original and still offer a traditional MMORPG experience. The decision to launch with a subscription-based model was obviously a mistake in today’s environment, but the game now has potential as a free-to-play title. For those who can’t wait until the official re-launch, now’s a great time to give the game a test run.
The Chronicles of Spellborn Videos
The Chronicles of Spellborn Character Creation
The Chronicles of Spellborn Tutorial (Part 1)
The Chronicles of Spellborn Tutorial (Part 2)
The Chronicles of Spellborn Gameplay Footage
The Chronicles of Spellborn Official Trailer
The Chronicles of Spellborn Links
The Chronicles of Spellborn System Requirements
OS: Windows XP / Vista
CPU: 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent AMD processor
HDD: 12.0 GB Free
Graphics Card: 128 mb with Pixel Shaders 2 support
OS: Windows XP / Vista
CPU: 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 or equivalent AMD processor
HDD: 12.0 GB Free
Graphics Card: 256 mb with Pixel Shaders 2 support