|Developer||Indepenn Dextera (Whizad)|
|Release Date||18 February 2029|
|Usable Hardware||NerveGear, Amusphere, Halcyisphere|
Skartran is the third game in the Xhilatren cycle.
"Long ago, Mount Skartran was an active volcano in a perpetual state of violent eruption. Then one day, it fell silent. The foremost magicians of the time seized the opportunity to place magic seals and barriers on and around the mountain, sealing it into a magically-reinforced dormant state. The volcano itself sits at the center of a small forest, which is surrounded by vast wilderness.
Over time, a bustling urban sprawl was built in the mountain's caldera. Called Skartran City, it is home to the most gifted craftsman guilds, the most high-end hotels, and the foremost artists and musicians.
Ten years before gameplay begins, an organization of dark magicians emerges, and proclaims their manifesto: cause Mount Skartran to erupt again. Naturally, the other magicians get to work reinforcing the magic seals and barriers and begin to hunt down the dark mages. No one has heard from the dark guild for about two years, and the people are becoming complacent. Little do they know that the dark guild Xanthos' most dastardly stratagem yet is finally nearing completion..."
This description, released two weeks before the game, drew the attention of the gaming community. The company with the super-advanced graphics engine had finally made a game that seemed like a "real" RPG. It even suggested that players could choose a side.
After its release, the reviews came pouring in.
- "Infinitely better than their first two tries." - four stars
- "FINALLY a REAL game from the people at ID." - five stars
- "I'm very excited about future gameplay as both sides attain higher levels." - five stars
- "I love the option to fight for or against the city. Makes for a great story as players clash with players." - four stars
- "The ability for players to switch sides is where the game really grows. Double- and triple-agents will no doubt emerge soon enough." - five stars
- "Too much fog/smog/haze/whatever that stuff is. I can barely see!" - two stars
- "I don't know why everyone complains about the fog. There's a beginner-level spell that allows you to see through it!" - four stars
Like SAO, the game does not feature any set-in-stone classes. Instead, players may assign and reassign potential points to different stats as they level up. The use of both magic and non-magic in combat allows players of all combat styles to participate in the battle for the volcano's fate.
While long-range teleportation is not possible in Skartran, shadow-shifting and spells that work like D&D's "Blink" abound for use in combat.
Almost anything the player can think of regarding magic is possible except teleportation, and players can submit ideas for expansion in magic's capabilities to the company for consideration in the next update. The lack of restriction makes gameplay extremely unpredictable, while still having structured spellcasting and straightforward HP and MP systems.
The popularity of Skartran caused an influx of players to VRMMOs that had never before been seen. Many players, drawn by Skartran's increasing social relevance, started playing multiple VR games at once. This contributed to a large increase in the VRMMO industry's profit margin, and helped lesser-known games achieve public notice.