The Game Archaeologist uncovers Shadowbane: Your journeys

Every time I tackle a new game for this column, I keep rediscovering a key truth: that there are the bare facts of an MMO that you can research and process, and there are the memories and experiences that transcend the features bullet points on the back of the box. It's always terrific to see players come out of the woodwork and say things like, "You know what really made this game special...?"

Shadowbane is proving an interesting case study as well. Because it flew so very low on my personal radar during the entirety of its operation, I naturally assumed it wasn't that good for the few souls who did play it. It turns out that I was wrong, considering just how many testimonies we've had from people who admit that if you could get past the graphical limitations and technical issues, there was a helluva game experience waiting for you.

So to follow up from last week's interview with a blogger, this week we're going to hear from Massively readers who took the time to send in their favorite memories of Shadowbane so that they could be preserved in the hallowed Game Archaeologist vaults. Let's do it!

Guy "Stubs" Trotter: The Priest

I have so many memories from Shadowbane. I got my whole family into MMOs with that game. I hated PvP when I started it. I would send the nastiest hate tells to people who PKed me, but then I learned to build and play characters right, and I fell in love with PvP, especially healing -- keeping a group of 10 alive through a fight with bad odds was like a drug.

One of my favorite things to do in Shadowbane, after it went free-to-play, was to take my Human Druid and Priest (dual-boxed) down to the Tainted Swamp. There was a peninsula next to the zone that had no cities on my server, so I would hide my Priest over there so he was off the beaten track. Then I would run through the zone and kill all the [Chinese] farmers and levelers, take their loot, and summon myself back to the Priest. I'd give everything to the Priest and head back into the zone for more!

Shadowbane duel
Aaron Hughes: The duelist

I recall being caught on more than one occasion by a neighboring city's guild leader, unbuffed and improperly geared. His character type was a thief, after all. He felt very smug from his victories, and after much trash talk, we decided on a duel on the grounds between our cities. Buffed and appropriately geared, I drubbed him soundly. Later, with the support of my nation, I went on to assert dominance over our entire region and levy stiff taxes on my neighbors.

The screenshots of the duel are of much finer graphical quality because I had a recording to convert into a screenshot with my newer computer setup. That was probably one of the finer features of the client: the ability to record and play back autonomously.

Marty Dodge: The Minotaur

Shadowbane is my favorite MMO of all time; there was nothing quite like it. In fact, I am still a member of the guild I joined playing the game. What attracted me to Shadowbane was the fact I could play Minotaurs. I have no idea why that was as big a pull as it was. I miss the game and all my friends in it.

Shadowbane pvp
Mayson: The innovator

As the guild Rerolled, we made a name for ourselves using innovative spec groups to take on massive odds. The powerhouse of our server was a guild called House Davion. We fought a six-hour bane, and with a group of 18 we defeated a nation of over 54. In the screenshot above, you can see that each person killed was worth one experience point apiece!

When not clawing his eyes out at the atrocious state of general chat channels, Justin "Syp" Olivetti pulls out his history textbook for a lecture or two on the good ol' days of MMOs in The Game Archaeologist. You can contact him via email at or through his gaming blog, Bio Break.
This article was originally published on Massively.