Set in a "traditional" fantasy world of sword and sorcery, Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted (Formerly known as Horizons: Empire of Istaria) features a "sandbox" type of environment where players are urged to try out any sort of crafting or adventuring class that they'd like. The story behind the game centers on the struggle between the "living races" (including the players), and "the Withered Aegis", an army of the undead seeking to destroy all life. This conflict acts as the basis for the player versus environment (PvE) style of combat that is prevalent in Horizons.
Players can choose from 11 different races: Dragons, Satyrs, Dryads, Elves, Human, Dwarf, Gnome, Half-giant, Fiend (humanoid with blue skin, horns and tail), Saris (a cat-like humanoid), or Sslik (a reptilian humanoid). While the choice between the biped races incurs a few forms of stat adjustments, the choice to play a dragon substantially changes a characters gameplay. With the choice of a dragon, players are forced into a very difficult situation where their initial player character is very weak, but will eventually become of the strongest player characters in the game. Dragons do not choose classes, rather they become either combat or crafting oriented and, if they reach a high enough level, can choose to become an adult dragon thereby getting bigger, stronger and acquiring more abilities. It's one of the more unique systems within Horizons.
Arguably, few games have had as many ups-and-downs as Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted. A quick search of the game on the internet will show that the ownership for the title has switched hands three times, and the community has been vigilant through the entire ordeal.
The name of the game was changed from Horizons when the title was purchased by Vitrium to its current incarnation, Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted. The game now offers a free-to-play option with additional subscription-based plans that add more benefits to the user account such as additional character slots.