Skotos, sometimes known as Skotos Tech, is an online game company that was founded in 1999 and released its first game, Castle Marrach, in September 2000. Its primary focus is prose online RPGs (essentially, MUDs and MUSHes), though it currently offers a total of 15 different games. These include a number of graphical RPGs and online strategy games, which are also available at other sites.
Skotos is a commercial service that charges a monthly fee for its services. It is also the owner of RPGnet, a free tabletop role-playing web site.
SOE Denver's Games
Sony Online Entertainment acquired Worlds Apart Productions as of August 10, 2006. Worlds Apart Productions is now known as SOE-Denver.
Worlds Apart Productions originally intended to provide text-based role-playing games online and launched The Eternal City in 1996, and later released Grendel's Revenge in conjunction with Skotos Tech Inc. However, declining interest in text-based games led WAP to seek other online gaming niches. Worlds Apart Productions partnered with Decipher Inc. in 2003 to create the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game and noting the success of the game, then developed the online engine that allowed them to bring the card game online and reach a broader audience. The Lord of the Rings game was followed by the equally successful Star Trek Online, Star Chamber: The Harbinger Saga and The Auto Assault Online card games.
Two of Worlds Apart Production's games are available solely through the Skotos service. Scott Martins, co-founder of World Apart Productions, stated on the Skotos.net forums that the two text-based games would continue to be offered by Skotos Tech Inc. after concern was expressed by players upon hearing of WAP's acquisition by Sony Online Entertainment.
In 2010, Sony SOE divested itself of any owning interest in The Eternal City and Grendel's Revenge, ceding the titles to Skotos.
In 2010, Sony SOE shut down the Sony SOE Denver division.
Games created by Worlds Apart Production, either independently or in conjunction with Skotos Tech., include:
- The Eternal City. This traditional MUD, with a very sophisticated combat system, is set in the low-fantasy Roman-like city of Iridine. It was previously available as an ad-driven service and became part of Skotos' text-based game offerings in 2001.
- Grendel's Revenge. A game developed jointly by Skotos and Worlds Apart, where players take on the roles of monsters. As of 2012, the game was made free-to-play, due to Skotos Tech. no longer providing support due to a low population playerbase.
Worlds Apart Productions was also in the process of creating a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) prior to joining Skotos Tech. Called The Eternal City: 3D, screenshots previously available on the old Worlds Apart website revealed some of the landmarks visible in The Eternal City. However, the project was abandoned in favour of the trading card games which eventually led to Worlds Apart's acquisition by SOE.
Skotos Strategy Games
There is currently one strategy game available exclusively through Skotos:
- Galactic Emperor: Hegemony. A 3-week long recurring space combat game, previously available as Space Empires (not related to the Malfador game), designed by Richard Wolfe, and purchased and rebranded by Skotos in 2001. This game is based on Mike Young's The Galactic Emperor is Dead.
Other Skotos Channel Games
There are a number of other games currently available through Skotos on a non-exclusive basis:
- Online Strategy Games. These are turn-based traditional online strategy games: Droid Arena and Space Federation. Galactic Emperor: Hegemony also fits into this same category, but is an exclusive game, as noted above.
- Tabletop Strategy Games. The entire series of Days of Wonder online games is available through Skotos. This currently includes: Ticket to Ride, Ticket to Ride Europe, Gang of Four, Fist of Dragonstones, and Queen's Necklace.
Some games used to be available on the Skotos Channel, but were removed in 2006 for lack of players:
- Graphical Roleplaying Games. These are more traditional MMORPGs, though mostly last generation ones. Only Meridian 59 is currently available via this gaming channel.
Other Skotos Services
Skotos also has a free article archive available. It's largely centered on online game design, though a few authors have also written about online game playing experiences and the gaming industry in general.
Skotos also owns RPGnet and continues to offer it as a free service.
Skotos uses a "Story Points" system to reward players who refer new players and participate in other community-building activities. These are redeemable for both in-game and out-of-game benefits.
Skotos has received attention for the quality of its publicly available articles on virtual world design
- Skotos Main Page
- Skotos Articles Archive
- Brass Lantern article on Skotos
- Brass Lantern interview of Skotos' former director of game development
- "SOE Acquires Assets of Worlds Apart Productions". Retrieved 2007-01-18.
- "Skotos.net Forums: Sony bought Worlds-apart". Retrieved 2007-01-18.
- "Celebrating TEC's Fifteenth Anniversary". Retrieved 2011-01-12.
- "SOE closing studios, cutting 205 staff". Retrieved 2011-03-31.
- "The present and future of Grendel's Revenge". Retrieved 2012-02-12.
- "Skotos Tech Acquires DGD License" (Press release). Skotos. 1999-02-05. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Croes, Felix (2010-04-02). "Dworkin's Game Driver - Open Source Release". SourceForge. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Skotos Tech Inc. (May 2000). "The Skotos Proximity System". Imaginary Realities. Archived from the original on 2006-03-26.
- Appelcline, Shannon (2002-03-04). "Announcing Story Points". Skotos Forums. Skotos. Retrieved 2010-04-20.
- Bartle, Richard (2003). Designing Virtual Worlds. New Riders. p. 37. ISBN 0-13-101816-7.
Neither is it surprising that the best informative and speculative articles about virtual world design are being written for—and made publicly available for free by—a company specializing in immersive text-based worlds, Skotos.Bartle, Richard (2003). Designing Virtual Worlds. New Riders. p. 61. ISBN 0-13-101816-7.
Perhaps the best expression of this difference is seen in the comparison between the early advertising slogans of Verant (makers of EverQuest) and Skotos (makers of Castle Marrach)): * Verant: You're in Our World Now. * Skotos: Why Yes, I am God. Skotos' games have only a fraction of the players that EverQuest has, but their slogan sells more T-shirts.