November 29, 2011
A Frosty Design Notes
Welcome to another Design Notes, EpicDuelists! I hope all of you US players enjoyed your time with friends and family and got stuffed on turkey and ham (or tofurkey if you’re so inclined). Here in the Northern Hemisphere, it’s getting colder, and we’re introducing our Winter event.
Last chance for 11/11/11 and Delta Weapons
This week, the 11/11/11 cheevos, missions, and Nightwraith’s personal items will be going seasonal rare. This will also be the final week we will be offering the Delta set in the 10K varium package. What is its replacement? Keep reading!
The Christmas/Winter seasonal house items will be returning in this update as well.
The mountainous continent to the North of the main continent of Delta V was called The Northlands by the colonists to the planet, but the indigenous people already had a name for it- Frysteland. Today, the area remains a strategic location for both Exile and Legion interests, and players will be able to ally with some famous faces in this battle.
One familiar face players will see in Frysteland will be jolly baker and weapons dealer Hank! Hank and Valestra prefer to spend the holiday season together in their Winter Abode, far from the stresses of city life, where Hank can bake Juloffenblotten cookies and Valestra can make delicious hot chocolate, and afterwards cozy by the fire, watching the yetis hunting rabbits outside. However, Hank’s gotten word that Arctic Commander Edgar Boothe is planning something big this Juloffenblotten... and it’s not a lute berry pudding.
Also making the journey from Fortune City to the Frozen Northlands is Alydriah Descarl. Since she’d begun to corrupt the wildlife, Descarl has planned to use these more powerful and violent animals to destroy anyone- human or otherwise- who would stand in her way.
Although this week is just an introduction to the storyline, we hope to make this future releases a full-fledged Winter event the likes of which you have never seen! The idea is that players will be able to choose alignment specific quests to determine the outcome of the storyline!
What is this? Quests based on alignment? Yes! Members of both the Exiles and Legion will battle each other, as well as the corrupted Yetis to win over the allegiance of the Krampus people.
With the Delta Weapons going rare, they will be replaced with the Frost Destroyer mutating weapon AND the Frost Slayer broadsword! These beautiful and powerful mutating weapons will be available with the $50 10K varium package starting this Friday!
This set of amazing weapons will come with the ability called Frostbite, which is a chance to cause your opponent to "leak" energy for 3 turns. If you have Baby Yeti and one of the new Frost Destroyer or Frost Slayer weapons equipped, your Yeti will also gain this ability!
We've had Portuguese support for EpicDuel for a few weeks now and it has really helped us refine the localization system. Now, we're ready to expand to new languages. Starting this Friday, EpicDuel will also have support for Spanish language in game!
South for the Winter
It’s not just Hank who likes to be warm and cozy during the winter- many animals migrate, including the Monarch butterfly. Perhaps the most recognizable insect in North America, the bright orange butterfly will begin flying from North America toward Mexico and Central and South America, where they will overwinter in huge clusters, huddling together on a tree, often forming clusters that cover entire trees!
This migratory behavior is not noted in populations outside of continental North America, as populations in Australia do not migrate very far, and they do not migrate at all in Hawaii.
Also interesting is that Monarch butterflies are one of the few insects that are capable of crossing the Atlantic ocean, and they are becoming more common in areas like Bermuda, where the plant they consume as larvae- milkweed- is a common ornamental plant. The consumption of milkweed as cateripllars make the adults distasteful to predators.
Child’s Play Platinum Supporter
Thank you for your support! Thanks to you, players, ArtixEntertainment is once again able to be a Platinum Supporter of Child’s Play Charity! We cannot express how deeply grateful we are to be able to support such a wonderful institution in this way!
November 22, 2011
The Krampus Cometh
Preparing for Juloffenblotten
If you follow our Fearless Leader Titan on Twitter, you saw he spilled the beans on the name of EpicDuel’s Winter Celebration: Juloffenblotten! Citizens all over Delta V are preparing for the holiday filled with joy and cheer, and the Krampus traders will be trekking southward from their northern mountain homes to sell their wares to Delta V’s citizens, including the adorable baby yeti pet!
I want to clear up some confusion about the name of the celebration. I am speaking not of the origin in-world, but my creative process. The term “Juloffenblotten” is Scandinavian in origin- the word itself comes from “Julofferfest” which refers to the Yuletide celebration, and “blot” (pronounced like “bloat”) which is a Swedish word referring to a solemn and significant celebration or feast. Nightwraith and I used Scandinavian references while brainstorming the celebration- the Krampus being one example- and we wanted a name that distinguishes that EpicDuel does not take place in the AQW in-game universe. Delta V is not Lore, and her citizens do not celebrate Frostval. There was some speculation that the name was in reference to something with extremely horrific implications, and I can assure you that this is not the case.
One of the happiest times of the year, Juloffenblotten is a time for family, friendship, and gift exchanges! An element you might recognize from your own planet is the figure of a magical bearded man, who breaks into your house at night and rewards children for their good behavior with gifts.
Who is this mysterious gift-giver? It has to be Titanfraggr!
Titanfraggr, as any child raised on Delta V will tell you, rewards good children by filling their shoes with copper wire and lute berries- a very rare fruit that grows around Titan’s home. They are not tasty, but are high in nutrients. If, however, a child has been bad, Titanfraggr will replace his or her shoes with rusty bolts and bitter orange rind.
You can learn all about the legend of Titanfraggr in the poem “A Visit From Titanfraggr” which may or may not be read by George Lowe. If we can’t get George Lowe, we’ll just make Nightwraith do it. :3
I already mentioned that the Baby Yeti will be sold by Krampus traders after Wednesday's release. He will work in battle as a bot, taking up that slot in your inventory (although if I chew on Titan’s ankles enough, he MIGHT eventually be convinced that the Baby Yeti needs to follow you around in-world as well), and his special attack will be particularly effective against support builds. See, this baby Yeti is teething, and needs to chew on something to soothe his pained gums. The most convenient thing is, of course, your opponent’s bazooka.
The baby yeti will have a varium cost of 1900 Varium, with an as-of-yet undetermined credit price.
However, the baby yeti will not be the only bot offered during the Yule season, so keep watching this space for more information!
Words, Words, Words
We’ve become aware of several bugs and we’ll be rolling out fixes for these issues, such as the war kills leaderboard reading “fame” instead of “war kills”. We’ll be continuing to translate EpicDuel into Portuguese and we hope to have the game translated into Spanish shortly after Thanksgiving.
Our American players will be celebrating Thanksgiving shortly, and I want to wish you all the very best of days. Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends, food and fun, and most of all a time to reflect upon the things we are most grateful for in our lives. In uncertain times like these, it’s important to think about the ways that we are lucky. I am thankful in no small way for my friends and coworkers here at AE, and my bosses at on EpicDuel are the best I could ever ask for! And thank you players for playing, and giving me the opportunity to make an awesome game for you. <3
I promised you zombies, and you’re getting zombies! Insects infested by mind-control parasites!
The cordyceps are entomopathogenic funguses- that is, they live inside and off of insects. The cordyceps are a particularly interesting group of funguses due to the fact that they are able to control the behaviors of their insect host. Ophiocordyceps unilateralis infects carpenter ants, and takes over the ant’s brain. The victim will climb up a blade of grass, and latch on with her mandibles- a phenomenon described as her “death grip”. There she will stay until she dies and the fruiting body of the fungus bursts out of her head.
There are other organisms that are able to control their host’s behavior. Parasitic hairworms that infect grasshoppers force the insect to commit suicide by drowning themselves, leaving the worm safe to swim from the host’s drowning body. Lancet liver flukes control ants by forcing them to climb to the top of a blade of grass until they are consumed by the fluke’s preferred host. Gypsy moth caterpillars infected by their baculovirus are compelled to climb to the tops of trees in the rain, and subsequently explode, spreading the viral particles.
November 15, 2011
Winter Is Coming to EpicDuel
A Festive Look Forward
Hello there, EpicDuelists. First off, we’re not sure how much in the way of content we’ll be able to release for you this week. The first update in December is the start of a HUGE EpicDuel event, so we’re all working really really hard on it! Here’s what’s coming up soon!
Improvements, Improvements, Improvements
We’re working on continuing to improve support in-game for the Portuguese language, which will lead to a better gaming experience for our international players.
In the coming weeks, we’ll also be working for improvements in the inventory systems. With collection quests and nice drops from NPCs in the game and coming up, we’ll be integrating solutions for inventory crowding, such as stacking quest items, items that do not take up inventory space, etc. basically to make things easier on you, especially with the big Winter event! In case you were curious, the OneX6 Key will be resellable after the 11-11-11 event ends, but also keep in mind it will never be offered again.
Delta V’s mountain dwellers are a proud warrior people, more used to utilizing guerrilla tactics, or Beast Riding than the decisive and clean killing style of the Shadow Guard. Many of the Krampus were wiped out after Baelius decided to use mountaintop reveal mining on their homes. In an attempt to garner mercy for her people, the King Krampus Andra the Merciful went before Baelius, but her cries were met by the executioner’s blade. Following her death, the Krampus, led by Andra’s widower and infant son, took to running and hiding to escape Baelius’s devastation.
During the Rebellion many years later, some Krampus thought it wise to ally themselves with the Legion as the Guards promised safety to any Krampus who did so. Others, due to the horrors they were subjected to under the Legion joined Oz and the Uprising. Andra’s son, King Callan the Decent, took a true neutral stance until his death during the Haze of Iwona, when an Uprising faction led by Oz’s right-hand man Royce Armand devastated a Krampus village.
Since the Exile, the Krampus have mostly been ignored by Baelius’s forces- the Arctic Guard remains to threaten and control them, but are unable to bring true devastation, and under the rule of the young King Alaric the Technologically Inept they have been able to rebuild their culture- including the resurrection of the ancient art of Beast Riding. Because of their ability to control and train the wild creatures- colloquially known as “yeti”, as well as the corrupted versions you know as Hazards.
The next content update will introduce you to the first Krampus you meet, and you’ll be able to purchase some Krampus weaponry for credits! If you have some varium, you’ll be able to enter battle with your own Baby Yeti!
Who’s an adorable abomination? YOU ARE! 03
Wraith Weapon Errors
If you’ve suffered any inconvenience due to the stat error on the Elite Big 50 or Wraith Repeater, please PM one of us on the ArtixEntertainment forum so we can rectify this issue manually.
No insect facts?
You may or may not know that, in addition to my development and moderating duties, I’m a graduate student. I am turning the DNs in and leaving right for class, so expect a fact about zombie insects for the next DNs!
November 08, 2011
One One One One One One
A Delicious Part of Your Balanced Breakfast
We meet again, EpicDuelists. How did you like our Monday update? I hope you’re enjoying the new quests, low-level bazookas, and Guy Fawkes masks all the cool kids are wearing. And we have more stuff ready to come your way this week!
So, let’s get right on down to our milk and cereal!
You’re older than you’ve ever been, and now you’re even older...
So have you figured out what’s so special about this Friday? Besides that it’s all 11’s? Why, it’s Nightwraith’s birthday, of course! Our wonderful creative lead Nightwraith is older than he’s ever been, and he’s celebrating it with you! Some of the denizens of Delta V- the ElectroHazard, Hank, Charfade, Big Tuna and Cinderella, to be exact- have teamed up to throw our fearless creative leader a surprise party! Between mischievous squidlings running off with his presents, a backlog of orders of exactly 11 slices of cake and other misadventures, battling Nightwraith will give players an 11% chance of a dropped item, the OneX6 Key, which unlocks Nightwraith’s personal stash!
Level 34! Limited time only seasonal rares!
This release is a bit more complicated than most. In order to access Nightwraith's personal stash, available in the new ArmoryBots across Delta V, you'll need to collect the OneX6 Key.
This is just one of many ArmoryBots across Delta V in the Barrens, Fortune City, Central Station, the Biological Preserve, and the Minetower. They all have the same inventory, but we felt it would keep screen populations down to have more options.
You may have seen that part of the delay of the last update involved incorporating support for Portuguese into EpicDuel as a step towards making our game friendlier for our International Player Community. Titan and Hudelf will be working on translation, localization, and special characters. The system they are building is especially exciting because it will make adding additional languages in the future very easy, and provide a template for localizing the other AE games! Hopefully we won’t lose visuals on our text. Again. D:
The Arctic Guard
Baelius’s presence is felt all over Delta V, including its frigid and mountainous Northern Continent. Protecting both the miners working in the dangerous conditions- including the great carnivorous Beasts as well as Delta V’s indigenous mountain people- and Baelius’s interests are the Arctic Guard, specially trained soldiers who are well prepared to deal with the frigid temperatures the Northlands offer.
The leader of the Arctic Guard is one Arctic Outpost Commander Edgar Boothe. As a young man, Boothe rapidly rose to prominence in the Shadow Guard. Perhaps because of his tactical skills, or maybe because of his handsome appearance, he quickly caught the eye of Alydriah Descarl. She assigned him a command position in the frozen Northlands- something about it just seemed... right.
Commander Boothe is one of the characters you’ll be interacting with closely during the winter event, as well as helping to shape his destiny.
We’re still planning on readjusting the Tactical Mercenary skill tree, but due to the addition of support for Portuguese language, I’m told it is unlikely to be released this week.
I can confirm adjustments to Frenzy and Smoke Screen. Following this update, Smoke Screen will now have a Support requirement. Frenzy should be a little less powerful after this update, as the healing factor will no longer take into account the damage adjustment, which was what we intended in the first place, but it was not working correctly for some reason. The practical effect of this is that Frenzy will heal you for less than it did before.
I'd also like to make a quick announcement that our Mod and tester formerly known as Rainaka, is now known officially as Lycus! His green name should update by the new release!
Paper or Plastic?
Certain social wasps build their nests out of cellulose fiber that’s been wetted and crushed, then reconstituted (a material known better to you as “paper”). The families of wasp that do so are the yellowjackets and paper wasps.
Members of the genus Polistes are the most common and recognizable type of paper wasp. The European paper wasp is often mistaken for a yellowjacket, due to the similar yellow and black coloration. However, they can be distinguished from yellowjackets due to their more slender figures and long legs which dangle distinctively during flight. Colonies are founded by a single female or a small group of often, though not exclusively, related females. The foundress lays her eggs directly into the hexagonal cells of the nest, and she and her sisters will feed the emerging larvae by regurgitating masticated caterpillar flesh. In the early summer, workers emerge and co-foundresses are often exiled to found their own nests. Males emerge from the broods during the reproductive phase of the colony, along with reproductive females, and colonial cohesion breaks down, with intercolonial aggression increasing. Over the winter, the colony huddles together in a hibernative state.
One type of paper wasp, the Mexican Honey Wasp, is one of the only insects other than bees that produce honey. These dark golden-brown and yellow wasps construct paper nests and produce honey from plant nectar in the same fashion as honeybees. This honey is the larvae’s sole food source and is also consumed by humans, although the nectar from some plants can result in the honey being toxic.
November 03, 2011
An Exuberant Design Notes
Hi there EpicDuelists, I am super-excited about all of the awesome things coming your way in the week(s) ahead! I don’t even have a witty intro paragraph- let’s dive right in!
As awesome and dedicated as our players at or near the level cap are, the vast majority of our players are in the lower levels, so to give new players a more dynamic EpicDuel experience, Charfade’s made a whole arsenal of low-level bazookas for your dueling pleasure! And I’ve written a bunch of new quests- available from Exile Soldier, Habuki, Steve 2.0, Junker 2.0, and ConductorBot- that should help lower-level players get their duel on! If you’re inexperienced, you cannot pass up these sweet rewards!
High-level? We’ll have some nice stuff for you too, especially with our next minievent. Although I suppose you could do these missions as well, there’s certainly nobody stopping you. And if there was, it would be the level 3 guards.
Bonus! Celebrate Guy Fawkes Day a day early with these festive, but sinister masks! "Remember, remember, the fifth of November, Gunpowder Treason and Plot"
Harvest Wrap-Up, Harvest Wrap-Up! Let’s finish our Autumn cheer, ‘cause soon Winter will be here!
Harvest gear, quests, etc. will be available until 11/11/11- what’s so important about that day, you ask? Besides the fact that it’s made entirely of elevens,
I’m not sure what makes your face implode, but that’s how this is gonna work.
We’ll be working on a new, experimental feature coming soon to EpicDuel in the coming weeks. I’ll be working very closely with Nythera for this, and I’m actually not too sure how it’ll work yet, so watch this space as we hammer out the kinks!
As we’re leaving the Harvest behind, we’re all ecstatic to get started working on the next big holiday. Even in the Dead of Winter, Citizens of Delta V are still able to find reasons to celebrate, and Players will have much to celebrate, since we’ll be able to have full quest chains for this event!
We’ll also be introducing players to new people and a new (to the Players) world. During this event, you’ll be introduced to new allies (and new enemies!) and have a chance to permanently affect the planet’s balance by your actions!
If you follow Nightwraith on Twitter, you’ve been seeing some of his concepts for the new enemies you’ll be facing- the SnowHazards and Frostbiters. The SnowHazards are large and keep warm underneath their thick layers of soft, thick fur, while the Frostbiters are slender and well adapted to navigating the bitter cold ice floes. Both of these creatures were created much like the Hazards- wild creatures were corrupted by Legion scientists, and overtook the wild populations within a few generations. You’ll be called upon to challenge these horrifying Beasts soon enough.
It’s truly incredible to be making something that inspires so much creativity, and seeing the characters you imagined come to life. Nightwraith just showed me his sketches for some of the characters I’d created, and it’s a truly unbelievable and unique experience to see how he’s interpreted my words and brought them to life.
We’ve also been working on a special gift for the players for this release, but this is one we’ll keep tight under wraps!
Mod Packs and Artix Logo t-shirts available at HeroMart
Is your torso suffering from perpetual lack of coverage? Do you need a t-shirt? Maybe one that has a dragon logo on it? If so, then- by golly- you’re in luck! Artix Entertainment Logo t-shirts are now available at HeroMart. For $19.99 plus shipping, you too can look as cool as Dage the Evil!
In addition, the Artix Entertainment Trading Card Game Chaos Mod Pack and DoomWood Mod Pack are now available at both Toys-R-Us and HeroMart. When both packs are purchased, players earn the powerful Paladin Slayer class in Adventure Quest Worlds!
Child’s Play 2011
Tis the season for generosity, and yesterday marked the official launch of Child’s Play Charity’s Holiday Season. Founded by Mike Krahulik and Jerry Holkins of Penny Arcade fame in 2003, the charity has sent close to nine million dollars in toys, games, and books to children’s hospitals worldwide. The Charity works in two ways: donors can view a hospital’s wish list on Amazon and purchase a gift for the hospital directly, or they can donate directly to the charity via PayPal. When gamers unite, they can make a huge difference, and we hope that some of our players with room in their hearts can spare a thought for a sick child.
Baby, It’s Cold Outside
Insects have limited ability to regulate their internal temperature, and have several mechanisms for surviving in low temperatures. One such mechanism utilized by insects and other arthropods is diapause- a state of dormancy characterized by the seizure of certain metabolic processes and lack of responsiveness to external stimuli. During the induction phase which occurs at a genetically predetermined stage of life, the insect is particularly sensitive to external stimuli in the form of light, temperature, or food chemicals. The Preparation phase follows the induction phase and is characterized by storage of food molecules within the insect’s body to prepare for Initiation of diapause. This is when morphological development ceases, and other physilogical changes take place to prepare the insect’s body for freezing cold. This may be accompanied by behavioral changes, such as the aggregating behavior of Monarch butterflies, who cluster together for warmth following a mass migration. The period of diapause is called the Maintenance phase, and when environmental conditions are once again favorable for growth and development.