(sorry for repost, didn't know I could post here and posted this on the intro forums first)
My name is Rynar. I came upon this site and read some of the old stories about Shadowbane. I have a lot of fond memories about my time in SB and other MMOs and decided to share some. Please feel free to copy this to the SB board.
I started my MMO career on UO-Catskills. I think it was in 1996. Back then I was on dial-up from Europe, my connection was horrible and playing online was expensive. We called our server „Lagskills“, Atlantic was called „Atlagtic“, „Sonoma“ was called „Slownoma“, and so on. Many of us didn’t have flat-rates yet. It was early internet days. I remember people gating dragons, poison elementals or lich lords into the Covetous harpy room and creating a bloodbath. I loved early UO before statloss. It was chaotic mayhem every day. I remember the day when some guy lured some acid blobs (that would sometimes split in two when damaged) to his house, then used explosion potions on them to cause them to split and split them so often that he created a „black hole“ so that nobody on that server could even move. I think I PKed my first guy on Catskills but I am not sure. It was in deceit and I needed his stuff.
I later moved to one of the EU servers. I remember e-vortexing some red PK and causing him statloss and I felt quite bad about it. When Siege Perilous opened I moved back to this US server. At that time I had moved to a 36k modem and a flat-rate and then even to ISDN. On SP I started as a lockpicker running the gauntlet of the elemental dungeon „shame“, picking boxes. When I had enough money my stealth lockpicker was turned into a red stealth mage. With my ping from Europe I had to go this way. I could hold my own in combat, but my best skill was not getting killed – I became an escape artist. Siege Perilous was an incredibly difficult environment. The economy was so difficult early on, spawns with gold were very limited and fought over. In those early days before „rewards“ came in you still had to buy horses if you wanted to hang with the best and I believe a horse cost about 700 gold. Many people were continually broke. There were PK raids all the time with many of the best killers from all of UO at the top of the food chain. I remember their names better than any of the later guys. People like Nyvia, Nut WC, Perlaze, Blue Knight and many more. Siege was a great learning experience. You won’t find a more difficult server than early Siege Perilous. Probably ever. No sane gaming company would create anything like this because most customers would just give up in frustration. I regret never trying out AC-DT though.
After SP I moved to Dark Age of Camelot. I played a mage here at first and hated it. After I quit I played a bit on a friends account and started a minstrel named Coj. I forgot the server this was on, Gawaine maybe? Since I knew DAoC PvP servers were coming up I only leveled him to 43 or 44 I think. Still, with speed and stealth and all the minstrel abilities I became the bane of Hibernia and camped their portal for hours. I got really good at playing the minstrel and killing players had become routine. Then I knew playing a minstrel in DAoC would work for me.
Next I played on one of the DAoC PvP servers, Andred i think. My best fight DAoC fight ever came right at the beginning when SUN attacked the guild I leveled with and I got about 7 kills in one minute with a rediculously lucky streak of enemies being on low health just when they ran into me. I played a lot solo and I believe for a few months I was the best minstrel in the game. I have many hundred, perhaps over thousand, solo kills in DAoC. Playing a speed-stealth combination character with solid killing power became second nature for me.
When DAoC got old and SB came up I researched the game mechanics as well as I could, reading the boards for weeks. Without a beta access this wasn’t easy but I recreated my minstrel as a longblade rogue-bard on Treachery. Since I had some experience from DAoC how group-based leveling games work my character turned out really well. Some UO guys I played with (ML) didn’t have the experience and failed early. They all had to reroll and CoS crushed them easily. When Combine quit and my guild failed and made peace I wasn’t ready to quit the fight. I left ML, went solo again and turned on CoS, raiding their elven city and other spawns every day. My character turned out to be better than the CoS beta templates and I was wreaking havoc. Only when vampire characters were introduced my first bard template really became obsolete. In the fight against CoS I met Alodar who was playing a healer-channeler. Alodar was probably the best guy I have ever played games with and we teamed up on all the following servers. He was a Canadian from Vancouver.
After Treachery I went to some other server with a name that I don’t remember. I recreated (or did we transfer?) my stealth longblade bard and we played with some AC darktide guild for a few weeks or even months. The best fight was when some guild of 6-8 active players killed me in a neutral city. After that I went to their tree and camped it. They grouped up and started chasing me around the desert for an hour and I led them through spawns and split them up and killed their entire guild. They asked me for PvP training afterwards.
And then SB introduced an expansion that included the Nephilim race. I don’t remember the server I then was on, perhaps the one before Vengeance? I was with the Presidents on a desert island. I always liked experimenting with characters. Most experiments were failures, but this one was the jackpot. It was an experimental Bard with the name Teryn. I noticed his power from the very start when I could solo the highest spawns on newbie island almost from lvl 1. On day one I could challenge PKs 20-30 levels higher that attacked our leveling groups with this character. One example was a fully buffed dagger scout who raided us every day and who was feared by the entire guild. He was some AC DT veteran. When he met Teryn his time was over and he quit SB a few weeks later.
Teryn was a Nephilim rogue bard that was INT-based and using spells instead of a longblade. He had a heal rune applied and was one of the very few created before WP made this impossible. Armed with 2 proccing vampire daggers (good against chars with less than 1000 def) he could get an attack rating of over 3000 with spells. I remember a fully buffed centaur prelate with 2200 armor running up to our 20-player group and nobody could touch him. Except me. I chased him and killed him solo. My character could fly and probably was the fastest character ever in SB. I even had magic speed boots from some event that I had bought. Nobody could catch me if I didn’t give him the chance. Even vampire scouts and centaur huntresses were not safe.
My character was OP, I was good at playing it and I was the terror of the demon realm and the high lvl spawns. I usually never attacked any lvl 39 or lower characters unless they interfered in my fights. One time I went into the middle of 3 8-man groups at the big demon spawn, killed the enemy guild leader who played a bard and had just claimed to be the best bard in the game, and escaped. Another time I remember a team of 7-8 chasing me around the elven zone seven (!) times for about 2-3 hours. I always managed to split them up and killed most of them one by one and sometimes in between I killed some farmers I came across. I was the master of the running battle and with Alodar we surely were the best 2-man team in the game.
I am not sure which server this was on when LKK decided to bane our city on the small desert island. I think it was Vengeance? Our city was the westernmost on the small desert island beneath the gate. It was the worst idea they have ever had. I remember when they baned our tree we messaged their guild leader and told him that if they were going to destroy our town we would start war on them. I heard they laughed about it in guild chat. What guild of 200 would be afraid of a guild of 2?
Yes, they destroyed our town but then we struck back. I was never really interested in banes and tried not to get involved, but now… We carped baned their cities so much that Wolfpack changed the price of bane scrolls from 1 million to 3 a bit later. Nothing like running from one LKK city to the next with 5 bane scrolls in my bag and a swarm of angry LKK chasing me. Alo and me basically invented terror baneing…when your guild has 2-3 defensive banes on average every day it drains your will and crushes your soul. Mostly we didn’t even show up to the banes because we didn’t care about losing money. We crushed LKK and as a byproduct took the heat off KGB and EB, who were both in trouble before this. It was probably the only time I had any influence on server politics or war outcomes…never really cared for all that anyway. I just wanted to kill people.
After the war was over we had destroyed about 10 LKK cities with help from KGB and EB. The desert islands were full of burnt ruins. With the war I financed, our allies KGB turned around from desperation to be a winning guild. LKK had designated people with the task of checking when I would log into the game. Sometimes a few seconds after I logged on some LKK guy would say „hello“ or usually something filthy. I remember a girl in KGB who had a similar name as my bard Teryn and she told me that people were sending her hate messages every day because they thought it was one of my characters.
The hundreds of million gold I had were coming from renting some 6-8 vendors in a town called „farmville“ that was actually operated by some enemy guild. I had a flying stealth scout who would fly into towns, buy useful items from vendors that guilds tried to sell cheaply to their own members, and resell them for more. And I took advantage of people not understanding how the trade skill worked. For a few months my vendors were the best source of equipment on the server. I always wondered how many people have asked Wolfpack to investigate me for duping back then. Maybe someone from WP remembers? When I quit that server I think I still had about 300 million in the bank and maybe 2000 pieces of good equipment, enough to supply a huge guild.
After Vengeance I believe I played two more servers and switched to a human magic-based rogue bard since Nephilim could no longer apply heal runes. I remember one english guy in one of the guilds I was in saying „whenever I log in the first thing I see in chat is a kill message from Rynar“. I probably had the among the most or even most solo kills on several servers.
Contrary to what some people say these games took skill. Any of my characters had 20+ different skills or spells that they would regularly use. My characters were not so much about twitch skill but about picking my fights, about very quick decision-making and using my abilities and the environment to maximum effect and with ruthless aggression, but also about knowing when to run. I created all my SB templates myself and all 3 bard builds were special. The only other SB character I ever enjoyed playing was a Neph wizard I played for a few weeks. That kind of killing power was fun. I remember wrecking a fully buffed flying chainsaw barbarian with that 1-1…but in the end I went back to my bard because he was much faster and could track and heal.
I was never a guild guy really. I have been in a number of guilds but I always preferred to fight solo or in small groups. I don’t think I participated in more than 25 bane fights in all of my SB career. Only my latest bard templates were even usefull in bane fights. On the other hand I doubt there are more than a few people who have anywhere near my experience in solo or duo fighting in SB.
After SB in 2004 or 2005 my MMO career was over. When WOW came out I leveled a char to 20 but then quit because it was far too boring. I invested about one afternoon into EVE but didn’t like the combat. I didn’t try any of the later games.
These days I don’t have the time to research game mechanics and develop character templates and I don’t want to be in the middle of the food chain. I don’t even have a desktop computer any more to play on. Chances are I will not play Crowfall but occasionally I think about the old days. Good times.