Virtrium LLC - Rick Simmons, President / CEO, rick.simmons@virtrium.com


March 9, 2010 PHOENIX, Arizona - Virtrium LLC is pleased to announce the release our second major content update for Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted. Even bigger than last year's "Dralnok's Doom" content update, this latest project, called "Scourge of the Skulks", includes both new content as well as extensive improvements to gameplay. An entire continent of the game was overhauled for functionality, as well as to add more storyline to the game.

Scourge of the Skulks is the central storyline for the world surrounding the cities of Dalimond and Chiconis. Skulks, a bi-pedal amphibian-like race, have settled into the forests of the Dalimond Peninsula and are making travel between settlements difficult. Resources used for building homes and crafting equipment are now harder to find due to the skulk invasion, so the Gifted have been called upon to help deal with this new threat.

The team has been hard at work with the new update, and has noted the following major features to be included in this release:

    • The Dalimond Peninsula was revamped in its entirety. Monsters, quests, and even the geography was changed.
    • New content for crafters: New items were added for players to build on their plots, and to equip themselves with.
    • More New Quests - With the content addition, new quest lines were added that expand upon the game lore. Quests were added for the primary biped schools, and dragon quests were changed to more story-based.
    • New Areas - With the change in the geography of the peninsula comes a few new settlements and areas for players to explore. Players will more readily progress from the starting islands through a series of quest hubs to the major cities of Aradoth, making it easier for them to know where to find level appropriate content.

In addition to all the new content, this update includes many changes to the world as a whole that will improve gameplay. “We've really tried to listen to player feedback with this latest set of patches. Many of the issues they raised have been fixed.” said Heather Rothwell, Producer, when asked about the release. “The world of Istaria is massive, so undertaking a revamp of the main island proved to be quite a challenge for the team. Though level wise the scope of the project was only one-fifth of the game, land mass wise the area being revamped covers much more. Adding storyline to such a large area of the land really changes the world for role players who use the stories of Istaria to build and tell their own personal stories. While Scourge of the Skulks is the primary storyline for the area, there are 10 other major story lines, each with dozens of quests that all add to the flavor of the world."

Rick Simmons, President of Virtrium, discussed the content update and the team's role. "The team works well together, and this second massive content update in less than a year proves that. With the success of the Dralnok's Doom release in mid-2009, the team looked at what was needed to attract and retain new players, and quickly realized that while the first portion of the game was looking solid, when players reached level 20, they began to feel lost in the vastness of Istaria. Rather than opening up the whole main continent to players with a 'go explore' attitude, the revamped area encourages players to still explore, but rewards them for that exploration. This brought the level of content in this second tier of gameplay up to where I'd like the whole of the game to eventually be."

Sitting down with the design team for a commentary on their work, they had several of their own thoughts to add on the creation of this release. "We wanted to continue what was initially planned for in 2007 with the revamp of the first 20 levels of the game, but also bring those plans up to date with what we're doing with the game overall. The goal was to design this area so players could steadily progress from west to east in the world, but also learn more of the story of Istaria. As they advance from level 20 to 40, they'll find that the character they are developing becomes more and more an intregal part of Istaria's lore. The other primary goal with the revamp was to continue to help players find and attain the items they need to make their equipment and gear as the character levels. By revamping loot tables as well as the monster spawns, and adding quests that point players in the right direction, we guide players through the world to where they need to be for their level range."

Players can look forward to this great content release from Virtrium in March.

More information about Istaria can be found at http://www.istaria.com/

ABOUT VIRTRIUM - Virtrium LLC, founded in July 2006, is a privately held software development company founded to support the games and technology behind the massively multi-player online games market. Virtrium brings real, applied experience in technology design, development and implementation for the software and techniques behind MMO products – as well as experience behind product launch and continued development in a live, production environment. The company's mission is to provide software technologies and support services that enable the growth of niche entertainment products within the massively multi-player online games market. To find out more about Virtrium LLC, visit http://www.virtrium.com.

ABOUT ISTARIA: CHRONICLES OF THE GIFTED - Released in December 2003 as Horizons: Empire of Istaria and renamed in 2008 as Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted, Istaria boasts a dedicated following of players worldwide. 2008 saw a significant crafting expansion, massive plot revamp and the re-branding as Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted, demonstrating Virtrium's deep commitment to expand development and re-establish story as a significant feature of the game world. The ability to play as a flying Ancient Dragon, coupled with comprehensive crafting and community construction, allows Istaria fans to experience, explore and create a world epic in scope. Players are able to take on the role of Dragon, or one of 10 other races ranging from the lawful Elf to dark Fiends, as well as more unusual forms, such as the cat-like Saris and horned Satyr. For more information on Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted, visit http://www.istaria.com