Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted - All News
Thursday - April 17, 2008
Istaria - Interview @ RPG Vault
Rick Simmons of Virtrium has been interviewed by RPG Vault. He answers questions on the game's current status and its future, but also on its name change:
Jonric: Since it's the obvious first question, why you are changing the name of the game now? Are you trying to escape or sidestep any issues or questions related to Horizons' past?
Rick Simmons: Horizons has a long and illustrious history as the only game on the market with a website domain that doesn't match the game title AND a game name that sounds like a dating service - not to mention the confusion when you actually go to http://www.horizons.com. We felt that with the new ownership, "the game previously known as Horizons" would be best served with a name that was easier to remember, has a closer association to the actual game and doesn't cause confusion in general... you have no idea how stupid I've felt explaining that the game was called Horizons, but you had to go to www.istaria.com.
We're not trying to escape from any issues of the past; in fact, this change is in keeping with what we've been doing since Virtrium took ownership, which is to make the game a whole lot better. Some changes are about the gameworld, such as our recent expansion with the Confectioner update, while others are about support features, like our complete overhaul of the billing system.
And now, there's the name change. As far as I'm concerned, it has always been broken, and it's time to fix it. The new name is Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted. Istaria is the main continent in the world; it's a unique name and people already know www.istaria.com as the game domain. Chronicles of the Gifted indicates our new and much stronger commitment to telling story within the world. Players are referred to as The Gifted because of how they can restore their life's energy through the Ritual of Everlasting Life. You can check out our most recent audio story and prose related to the ritual here: http://community.istaria.com/news/?id=263
Istaria - Name Change
The company Virtrium, which bought the assets for the MMORPG Horizons: Empires of Istaria in September 2007, has announced that they've changed the name of it to Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted. Here's the announcement:
April 14, 2008 PHOENIX, Arizona - Virtrium LLC, developers of online game technologies and products, announced today that they are changing the name of ''Horizons'' to ''Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted.''
''We've always felt that it made more sense to have a name that reflected what the game was about,'' said Rick Simmons, President of Virtrium. ''And our game is about Istaria, and the stories of the people who inhabit the world. It's always been confusing why the name of the game was ''Horizons'', but our website domain was ''istaria.com'', and our main focus was about Istaria and the Gifted. We've decided to change the name so that it makes a little more sense.''
The game, originally developed by Artifact Entertainment, was purchased by Virtrium in September, 2007. Since then the development team has brought new life back to a world many thought of as stagnant, and even dying. ''We've seen some real growth in the game in our first few months of ownership,'' Mr. Simmons said, ''Players have responded well to this growth, with many of them returning to the game and official forums to comment.''
From one returning player: ''It's exciting to see what's been happening...as a returning player with many old accounts, I popped in to see how it was all going and decided to reactivate some of my characters. The sound of wings flying over the Saritova Islands just got a little louder, along with some very creaky old Saris brain muscles being stretched. Seeing devs who actually care about the game is heartening, and I'm happy to see the 'resurrection' happen. Keep up the great work !!''
The development team has shown a refocus on storytelling through an MMO world. Heather ''Velea'' Rothwell had this to say about the new storyline focus. ''Our most recent triumph is being able to bring players who had once held characters on the European shard, Unity, over to play on our US shards, Order or Chaos. This is something players from overseas have waited a long time for, and we're pleased that we can offer them the characters they'd worked hard to develop back. But we didn't just bring those players back, we brought them back with a story of where they'd been, and why they came to the US shards.''
''Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted'' continues to hold a unique niche in the MMO market as one of the only games with playable dragons as a race. As a Dragon, players begin as a hatchling, and progress through game play to become flying Ancient Dragons. The crafting and building systems in Istaria continues to hold strong appeal for the player community. Players may own and build upon their own piece of land in Istaria, be it on an above ground plot for the biped races, or an underground lair for dragons.
Asked for any closing words, Rick commented, ''In Istaria, players make the world their own. Whether in joining the war against the Withered Aegis, building their own unique plot, or just soaring the skies as a mighty Ancient Dragon, Istaria is a special place where people come together to be a part of a world that takes them away from everyday life. It is the Istarians themselves that make the world special, and hearing their stories is what makes our world truly unique.''
Thursday - October 04, 2007
Horizons - Interview @ RPG Vault
RPG Vault talks to Rick Simmons and Jason Murdick, President and Lead Designer at Virtrium, about the current state of Horizons.
Jonric: When did the game launch? At that time, what kept it from achieving the success you were hoping for?
Rick Simmons: Horizons launched December 5, 2003 in a really nice black box with a big dragon eye and the impression you'd have to cut your way through legions of undead armies and breath fire down on them from above in a massive battle to save Istaria. That wasn't exactly the game that shipped. I guess that's what happens when there's a bit of a disconnect between the publisher and the developer.
All I can say is that for other MMO developers out there, make sure your publisher has an interest in retaining customers once you attract them. Online games are all about subscriptions. If they leave after a month, the publisher may have made a few bucks on the box sale, but you, as a developer, are going to be eating a lot of macaroni.
Source: RPG Vault
Sunday - September 09, 2007
Horizons - Billing Issues @ Official Site
Virtrium has been unable to effect a transfer of those subscriptions that were with EI Interactive. We have requested multiple times that EI Interactive cancel subscriptions, but we have not received confirmation that any subscriptions have been canceled . As of July 18, 2007, EI Interactive was no longer the legal owner of Horizons. If you have been billed since July 18, 2007 or had a subscription that overlapped past July 18, 2007, please contact PayByTouch to request a cancellation and refund.
PayByTouch may be reached at 866-729-2986, option 3, to request a cancellation and/or refund. An email has been circulated within PayByTouch and staff are aware they will be receiving calls. When talking with PayByTouch customer service, the very best way to look up your account is with the credit card that you used to create the subscription.
PayByTouch can issue refunds for the past 30 or 60 days. If you need a refund for a charge beyond 60 days or if you are unsatisfied with PayByTouch, you also have the option to contact your credit card issuer (there should be a number on the back of your credit card). Contacting your credit card issuer will allow you to dispute the charge. This is a significantly more powerful option because it informs Visa or Mastercard that you have had a problem with EI Interactive. If you feel you have been incorrectly charged by EI Interactive and want the credit card industry to be aware of your experience, do the following: 1) Request a cancellation from PayByTouch, but do not request a refund. 2) Dispute all charges, where appropriate, with your credit card company. This is an acceptable method within the credit card payment industry to identify problem merchants. The credit card payment industry has automated methods in place to monitor for problem merchants and will take appropriate action.
Virtrium believes that you should not be charged for a service that you attempted to cancel or if you were playing Horizons, pay money to a company that was not actually operating the service. We strongly encourage you to take the action you feel is most appropriate. Virtrium is behind you as a consumer and we're here to help.
If there's more information that Virtrium can provide to assist you, please don't hesitate to contact us by submitting a trouble ticket to http://support.istaria.com
Please accept our sincerest apologies for the current circumstance, and that we are unable to issue a cancellation or refund on your behalf.
Virtrium pledges to always engage in ethical and honorable business practices. We would like you to know that we worked very hard to avoid this situation, but were unable to come to a timely solution with EI Interactive. If the current circumstances cause you to leave Horizons - we understand. If you decide to stay, we will continue working very hard to earn your business each and every month. We are strongly committed to Horizons and see a bright future ahead.
Sunday - August 19, 2007
Horizons - Q&A @ GamersInfo.net
Something is stirring in the Empire of Istaria as a new Q&A with former Tulga Games CTO Rick Simmons reveals.
It seems the super secret new owner - Virtrium, LLC - is none other than said Rick Simmons. He, along with members from every department of the former Tulga development team are working diligently to get the game back on track. Some very familiar faces are back on the job, Lead Designer Jason "AmonGwareth" Murdick and CS Lead Sean "Reyem" Meyer are just two of several. David Bowman, due to commitments with Certain Affinity, will not be involved except as a consultant on design - particularly those areas that were left unfinished.
Friday - December 22, 2006
Horizons - Special Report @ MMORPG.com
Act Two, Scene 1.
MMORPG.com published a link to the SOAP vulnerability that had been reported to EI Interactive. Speculation began to run rampant, forcing a public statement from EI Interactive in which they reassure subscribers that their account information is safe.“…the vulnerability described in the article allows for only individual account exploits. The vulnerability requires foreknowledge of account information, e.g. a valid username and password.”
Just what is SOAP and how does it affect anyone? Simple Object Access Protocol or SOAP is a protocol for accessing a web service. I spoke to the publisher of the report, Bernd Kilga who works as a security consultant, in order to learn how he discovered the vulnerability.
Wednesday - November 29, 2006
Horizons - Pixel Magic Acquires EI Interactive @ Official Site
An announcement at the official Horizons site indicates that EI Interactive, who had recently acquired the IP from Tulga Games, has in turn been purchased by Pixel Magic Entertainment. What this will mean for the beleaguered MMORPG is anyone's guess.
11/28/06- Carson City, NV- Pixel Magic Entertainment Corporation announced today their acquisition of Enhanced Interactive Communications Corporation. Enhanced Interactive Communications Corporation is the parent company of online game publisher EI Interactive.
E I Interactive publishes online interactive content products. This includes casual games through an online game portal, gaming review and information sites, and massively multi-player online games (MMOs). EI owns and operates www.mygamehaven.com a portal access site for MMOs, which is one of the fastest growing markets in the interactive entertainment industry.
Pixel Magic Entertainment Corporation through its affiliate companies builds and evolves online products for niche communities. Their efforts endeavor to incubate technology that better supports community construction in the online world. Their culture is built around a team-based commitment to discovery and innovation in technology driven online communities. Interactive entertainment is amongst the fastest growing consumer markets today; the online component of interactive entertainment is its fastest expanding subset.
Thursday - November 02, 2006
Horizons - Security Concerns @ Official Site
We believe that the manner in which the information was released exaggerates the gravity of this vulnerability, to the detriment of Horizons and its community. We would like to reassure subscribers and potential customers alike that Horizons account information and PayByTouch billing services are secure and that the vulnerability described in the article allows for only individual account exploits. The vulnerability requires foreknowledge of account information, e.g. a valid username and password. In no way does this open private customer information to outside parties, nor does it allow the Horizons game servers to be affected.
Saturday - October 28, 2006
Horizons - EI Report @ MMORPG.com
On July 20th, the gaming community was informed that EI Interactive had purchased Horizons: Empire of Istaria in a press release from EI Interactive. In subsequent interviews with David Bowman, former CEO & Creative Director of Tulga Games, and Ed Andercheck, Chairman of EI Interactive we learn that, effectively, everyone at Tulga Games LLC was out of a job.
EI Interactive (EI) acquired the game Horizons: Empire of Istaria from Tulga Games effective July 21, 2006. The agreement transferred ownership of all intellectual property and relevant technology related to Horizons to EI Interactive, as well as the rights to operate the title. The Evolution Engine, an MMORPG development platform built by Tulga Games, and Dark-World Online remains the sole property of Tulga Games.