previews\ Aug 18, 2003 at 8:00 pm

Horizons: Empire of Istaria - PC - Preview 2

A new game is gearing up and preparing to enter the fray of massively multiplayer online role-playing games.

Set in the medieval and somewhat mythical land of Istaria, Horizons features a unique character class, a huge and seamless world, an encroaching menace, and a deep skill system.

The game is being developed by Artifact Entertainment and will be published by Atari in the fall.

Though still in early beta, I was fortunate enough to get into the test group for this game. Being a huge fan of MMORPGs, it was an offer that was eagerly accepted.

The first step is to create a character class. There are several to choose from and you easily drop one skill to pick up another. However, players will find that working a skill is not a simple chore. It requires perseverance and dedication.

The game sports nine playable character races, which include dwarves, elves, humans, fiends and dragons. As the latter players will first be limited to the ground but as time moves along, their wings will get stronger and they will eventually be able to fly. However, dragons are not the community-oriented species that, say, humans are, and tend to be a little more solitary - well, at the least greedy, simply because their status is related to the size of each dragon’s horde.

Istaria itself is an amazing land, with floating islands in the sky, huge cities, and a lot of wilderness areas. The world is 32k by 40k in size, and will take quite a while to traverse. Dragons can fly across it in about 1 and

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