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'Blade Mistress' adds the 'Realm of Spirits'

by Rainier on Sept. 25, 2002 @ 6:13 p.m. PDT

Blade Mistress Online has expanded its content to include the Realm of Spirits, an alternate dimension of translucent monsters and jagged mountains, where the evil spirit dragon Dokk and his Centurions reign.

Blade Mistress is a server-centric, ultra-low bandwidth, persistent world, massively multiplayer, 3D graphical fantasy role-playing game. The latest version can be found here.

In a magic world filled with dangerous monsters and fantastic adventure, the Eight Great Spirits watch over a matriarchal human society. The heroines of the land include warrior Blade Mistresses, magical Enchantresses, and artistic Craftswomen. All three types of heroine protect and promote the small human population that exists in this fearsome and challenging world.

Blade Mistress currently has PvE combat, trading, crafting, chatting, character advancement, totem magic, and ritual magic. It also has dungeons that can be edited by the players themselves.

The Realm of Spirits is the most visible, but certainly not the only enhancement the developers have been working on.

Dungeon editing has been enhanced with treasure chests. These chests are fixed in place, so the Dungeon Mistress has to assemble the dungeon around them, to protect them from being looted by other players. While the chests remain un-looted, the Mistress gains money.

The game contains many more particle effects, and the rendering engine has been cleaned up and optimized.

Words of Power have been added to the game, which, when said by several players together, do amazing things.

The Great Trees are alive in the land. They give out quests, and keep the players informed about the feelings and thoughts of the Eight Great Spirits.

The developers have also delivered on their promise to be guided by the community. "We've made so many changes because the players wanted it," said Frank Chang, Community Manager. "From color-coded inventory lists to changing the way skills like Dodge work, we've been listening and reacting. We expect to be building, extending, and polishing this game for years, and our players will continue to dictate our development direction."

Blade Mistress lets each player create up to eight characters. Each character can be named, and can be customized with an array of faces and clothes. The hair and clothes can also be changed to almost any color. The creation process also lets the player distribute points among the Physical, Magical, and Creative statistics of the character. These statistics modify the different skills and actions of the character in the game.

What does "ultra-low bandwidth" mean? Thom Robertson, the game's designer, explains. "It means that bandwidth costs big bucks, so the only way our small shop can bring this game to the players is to design the game from the ground up with a commitment to using as little network bandwidth as possible.

"The most noticeable result is a game map that is divided into large squares, and you move from square to square, instead of just going anywhere you want.

"In testing, it took players a couple of seconds to wonder why they couldn't just move anywhere they wanted. Then a light bulb went on, and they got it, and were happy with it.

"We think that our players will understand that we can't compete with the big boys on graphics and flash, but to compensate we're gonna strive for something fresh and fun, and we're gonna listen to the players and take the game in the directions they choose."

The latest version of the game can be downloaded here. The web site also has instructions, a FAQ, and a forum.

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