May 30, 2012
Summer of EpicDuel
Hi there, EpicDuelists! As we wrap up Spring (is there a Pony song for that?) we have some pretty great things to keep you entertained while we’re preparing for the Infernal Infiltration War!
Gently Down the Livestream
Thank you to all of you who participated in the latest EpicDuel Developer Livestream. We want to publicly apologize to all of you for allowing Practel to sing- it’ll just be me singing from now on. The stream is still up, so you’ll be able to watch the creation of one of the NEW War NPCs!
Many players were upset by the fact that the latest round of missions were geared toward higher level players. Lower-level players will be able to play some permanent chains for some nice rewards this week!
While war is brewing deep in the mines, not everyone is focused on the conflict at hand. Brunson’s Mama is preparing a very special feast, and she needs help from players of all levels (including the very lowest level players) to prepare her scrumptious morsels.
Midlevel players will be able to start a chain from Mirv. Both of these chains give credit and battle token rewards, along with another special surprise for players.
We are running a special contest for all EpicDuel players to raise awareness of account security. Nightwraith already wrote up a great description of the contest, so I’m just going to quote the whole thing:
You can submit entries on the ArtixEntertainment forum. Entries will ONLY be considered if posted here (http://forums2.battleon.com/f/tm.asp?m=20353961). Entries that are tweeted at us or posted on the Facebook fan page or emailed to us without being posted in the forum will NOT be considered. Entries containing a link to a file on your harddrive will not be considered. Entries that we must be your friend on Facebook or that we have to sign up for a site or service to see will not be considered.
As I’m sure this will come up: my advice to everyone who is designing a poster is to be direct and to the point. We want these to be something that could be placed in-game as a warning poster. We are accepting entries until July, so take your time.
Currently in my area of the United States (the midwestern US), we are experiencing an outbreak of Red Admiral butterflies, who are invading during their migration season. The Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta is a cosmopolitan and charismatic member of the family Nymphalidae, and is recognizable by the red-orange median bands on the forewings and marginal bands on the hindwings. This species has a winter and summer morph, with the winter morph being smaller and duller colored. The adult migrates to the northern part of its range during the Northern Hemisphere’s summer months (ranging from April to October), expanding into Canada. They overwinter in Texas to Florida, and are single-brooded in the northern part of their range and triple-brooded in the southern part of their range.
Interesting among butterflies, the males of the genus Vanessa, which includes species such as the American Lady, Painted Lady, and West Coast Lady, are highly territorial. Territories are typically located in the area between a ring of trees open to light on the west side, or on west-facing walls and will contain several resting spots. Males will defend their territories by chasing an intruder to outmaneuver and confuse the intruder, creating a wind tunnel, and ultimately forcing it away.
May 23, 2012
The Mines Open
Hey there, EpicDuelists! It’s that time of week again: time for a heaping helping of fresh-baked Design Notes! Yum, yum! Hopefully Nightwraith won’t eat this batch before we’ve got everything down- I’d better get right to it, as he’s gnawing on the corner while I’m typing.
In the United States, Memorial Day is celebrated in remembrance of American war dead, and we would like to thank our courageous men and women currently serving and have served to protect us.
To honor all heroes, we are introducing a seasonal Heroic Memorial Achievement, worth 1500 Rating Points that can be picked up from any VendBot.
Like many holidays in the US, it has another meaning: the unofficial beginning of summer! Warm, blue skies, beautiful sunshine... so how are we going to spend it? Indoors, in front of a computer, of course! For Memorial Day Weekend only, players will be able to grab the very first level 35 weapon, the Infernal Slayer Sword. Kraggor's people are expert jewelcrafters and miners and have created a weapon of immense power and beauty.
The Infernal Slayer sword is crafted from the finest electrified crystals, forged in magma for beauty and strength. Silas Auer, Legion Administrator and old enemy of the Lawman, has acquired 1500 of these weapons to finance his role in the coming war. Visit this mysterious new character deep within the Infernal Mines to acquire one of these destructive works of art before they're gone forever!
We’ll finally be opening up the Refinery, and introducing new d00ds, and along with that, two alignment-specific quest chains. Players should start at the Infernal Infiltration “Third Officers” (ie. Legion players should start at Nightwraith and Exile players should start at Galatea) for instructions on how to navigate the mine tunnels. Be sure to read the Mission Complete text carefully, as these won’t be easy, and will be filled with riddles. Your ultimate reward will be a blueprint scrap, which eventually will unlock special alignment goodies!
We’ll be looking for ways to avoid even the appearance of “punishing” loyalty, so in the end, if you switch alignment for these specific mission chains, all you’ll end up with is a handful of credits and an extra blueprint scrap you can’t use. So, really, it’s not worth it.
During the war, which will be waged in earnest in the coming weeks, we’ll also be raising the level cap to 35, which should be good news for those at or near level 34. Not there yet? It’s the perfect time to become acquainted with Power Hour (10am and 10pm EST)!
This week, we will be giving Mercenaries a small buff in the form of an upgraded version of Field Commander, Blood Commander, which will add a small % of life steal along with the strength buff. This new skill will not stack with normal Field Commander or Blood Lust. Tactical Mercenaries will retain Field Commander unchanged.
For those whose inventories are about to burst, we have a solution. We're allowing players to purchase up to 150 slots of inventory space, which should be more than enough space for all the goodies that you'll find during the upcoming War!
EpicDuel Artists Livestream
As we typically do once a month, on Sunday May 27th at 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time, the EpicDuel developers will be hosting a livestream on the EpicDuel Artists Livestream channel. This will be a great opportunity to ask your burning questions about the upcoming war event! Last time I’m pretty sure we almost broke Livestream... can we do it again? Not sure what could possibly top the Derp Owl, but we’ll certainly try!
Question Mark or Comma?
A couple weeks ago, I was in the woods, and I happened to see a really beautiful trio of butterflies. I’d actually never seen this particular kind before, and I was very excited. Until I went to identify them: the butterflies I saw could be members of one of two similar, related species the Question Mark and the Eastern Comma.
Both butterflies are members of the family Nymphialidae, which means that their front legs are reduced, giving them the appearance of only having four legs, and puts them in the same family as the charismatic Monarch butterfly. The main difference between the two, from what I could find, is that the Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) and the Eastern Comma (Polygonia comma) is that the former is slightly redder. I do, however, believe this to be a Question Mark. Both species are kind of unique as the adults are not nectar feeders, but eat mineralized water, tree sap, or carrion.
May 16, 2012
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
How are you enjoying your new Pyro Flies? Be sure to keep them well fed from yummy enemy skills or they might carry you off instead! Mechachillids (Kraggor's race) have been spotted emerging from burrows across Delta V which lead us to believe that there's something big happening in the old Varium mines. The Mechachillids were built to dig, so maybe they've uncovered something extra nasty down there...something that should have stayed buried.
We’re adding another reward to the current selection of bonus items available with varium purchase: the Tactical Battlegear pack. This reward is worth 3 keys, and contains unique level 20 weapons, so it will be useful for those who have some experience in the game, but are still having trouble against those fully-armored level 25s!
Remember, all of our current promotional items will also be available, and you can use keys to unlock multiple rewards. For example, you can use the 3 key package to unlock one 2 key reward and 1 single key reward, or select a 5 key package and chose a 3 key reward and a 2 key reward.
This week, we will be opening the Refinery under the Minetower. Players already know about the Mechachillidae, but what other secrets are contained in the Refinery? And what about the mysterious Delta Vaults?
The Refinery and the areas beyond will be the setting for the upcoming Infernal Infiltration War.
This war will also feature new mission types, such as missions that are completed by winning random 1v1, 2v2, or any random battle!
Chemotaxis is the process by which recognition proteins on cells recognize chemical signals. Many insects recognize chemical signals in the form of pheromones, such as aggregation, alarm, or signal pheromones, or to attract mates. Common in social insects is the formation of pheromone trails, such as those laid by ants, which are then followed by other members of the colony.
The Mechachillidae are also able to follow trails, such as those left by citizens’ personal teleportation devices. Which is why Kraggor is able to follow players so swiftly!
Artix and Sepulchure action figures are going on sale at HeroMart this Friday, and they should also be at a Toys ‘R' Us near you on May 23 (provided you live in the United States). Keep an eye on Artix.com for the lastest updates.
The following is a correspondence between Silas Auer and Paloma San Marco, Administrators of Fortune City districts 7 and 9 respectively.
To Paloma San Marco, Administrator of Fortune City’s 9th District:
Paloma, I know you prefer communication to be high-tech, but I really can’t risk this letter being picked up by Her Excellency’s tech squad. I hope you understand. You’ve been a loyal friend and confidant ever since you were a Guard under my command fifteen years ago. I know I’m no longer your commanding officer, but I hope I can trade on that authority for a huge favor.
My informant in the old mine tower tells me that the man who’s taken control of that area, my old enemy John St. Alban, is planning on cracking open the Delta Vaults. You know the rumors as well as I do- if the Lawman gets his bloodied hands on whatever’s down there... well, I know the man as well as anyone. He’s the kind of man who’ll stab you in the back while convincing you that it was your idea to get stabbed in the first place!
I need to take care of this. The Lawman will die by my hands- this isn’t a job I trust to anyone else. All I’m asking of you is to make sure the scum who call District 7 their home manage not to kill each other in my absence. Or just kill each other a little. Her Excellency can’t find out that I’m shirking my administrative duties, not after what happened with Williamson. While I’m not acting against Her Excellency, I ain’t acting on her orders either.
Thank you, Paloma.
To Silas Auer, Administrator of Fortune City’s 7th District
Silas, I built the watchdog systems. I concur, pen to paper is the perfect way to avoid detection.
I’m half-surprised that you didn’t try to get the old team back together for this. I know that Boothe would be itching for some warmer weather- although he probably likes the cold, being Krampus royalty and all. Neither Boothe nor Habuki are Alydriah’s favorites at this time, and I have not engaged in a true mission in far too long. My sword grows rusted on the shelf above my desk. I do not need to mention Lorenzo. Is Valestra involved?
Exercise caution, my friend, that you do not allow your anger to overtake you. Vengeance is sweet, but the fruit has a bitter rind. And Her Excellency may not see things through your eyes.
To Paloma San Marco
Valestra is joining me. St. Alban’s as responsible for her arm as he is for my face. I’ve got a few others with a bone to pick with the Lawman, including his oldest daughter. This is not your fight, Paloma.
Lorenzo. I don’t know who that kid in the train hub is, but he sure ain’t Lorenzo. One of mine put Lorenzo in the ground.
I really don’t see why we need to concern Her Excellency with this at all. She can’t see anyone doing anything to bring her down any, no matter what’s in there. Though I fear even for us if it’s something worthwhile to her.
Besides. You know how I feel about rules.
May 09, 2012
Riveting Design Notes
Hi folks, and welcome to another EpicDuel Design Notes. Some people were upset last week because we forgot to announce in the DNs that the bunny weapons were leaving. I apologize sincerely for that. Development is a fluid process and sometimes changes are made last-minute that we don't have time to mention here. But, if you want to keep on top of all the previews (including the stuff that doesn’t make it into the DNs), please follow us on Twitter (@Titan_EpicDuel, @Nightwraith_ED, @Charfade, @Cinderella_ED) or “like” us on Facebook (Facebook.com/EpicDuelOfficial).
War is brewing beneath the surface of Delta V, and it’s ready to crack the planet wide open! Mechanical insects that can only be the stuff of nightmares are pouring out from abandoned mine towers like soldiers from a hive, but a special warrior might be able to tame them and harness their incredible power!
The Pyro Fly is a new pet/bot that can either be purchased in-game from Kraggor or as a promotional item with the purchase of Varium, being worth 3 keys. Its special skill is Infernal Swarm, which causes tiny mechanical fireflies to swarm your opponent and neutralize one active skill at random.
But the Pyro Fly is not the only insect emerging from the mines. Charfade’s been hard at work on these mechanical monsters.
What is their purpose? Only time will tell.
RabbleFroth loves me. He must because in the updates leading up to the war, he’s programmed me a bunch of new missions features! Players will be able to play real quest chains (where a requirement for one quest is the quest prior to it in the chain), accept quests specific to your class (Hunters, Mercenaries, and Mages), and follow the story more effectively with mission complete text! I just found out about this today, so I’ll be writing three class-specific chains (I haven’t decided on the reward yet, but we don’t want to force players to class change for some pixels). Bounty Hunters and Cyber Hunters should visit Tamaril, Mercenaries and Tactical Mercenaries should visit Navarro, and Mages and Blood Mages should visit Sekk. They will tell you a little history, and give you an item that you can turn in to Xraal so that all players get the same reward.
Artix Action Figures!
Artix action figures are coming soon to Heromart! We've also received word that Toys 'R' Us stores across the country are starting to receive their first shipments! With these figures, you will also receive a substantial amount of additional bonuses. Cysero breaks it down for you in the AQ Design Notes!
What action figures would you like to see produced after Artix and Sepulchure? A Nightwraith with karate-chop action would be the bee's knees!*
*Stop hijacking my DNs, Nightwraith!
The following preview takes place 15 years before current events.
Silas stormed out of Valestra’s hospital room, and as he walked dialed up John St. Alban on his communicator. “What have you done?” he snarled into the receiver.
“Silas. Come to the minetower.” John droned in the communicator, and the line went dead. Seconds later, exact coordinates appeared, leading Silas to the tower’s apex.
When Silas arrived, he saw John standing in wait next to what appeared to be a corpse in a glass coffin being tended to by a diminutive, lab tech, hunchbacked from years of working in the mines. “What is this, John. You set Valestra up to be killed, for what?”
“I sent Commander Hitchens off-planet so I could investigate without arousing Ms. Descarl’s suspicions.”
“Five years ago, you told me about the Vaults. I finally managed to find out who sent you that message, and I’ve been in communication with him ever since. He couldn’t tell me specifics, and communication’s been choppy since Baelius declared victory and sovereignty. I had to figure out a way to get on planet when all communication with my contact ceased. I’m afraid I was too late to help him in any appreciable way.” He gestured toward the coffin. Silas approached it and looked at the corpse- much of the tissue on the face and head was missing, and the arm the man had presumably used to shield his face was completely destroyed. But, what little of the face had not been reduced to skull Silas recognized, as well as the intact navy blue of his uniform.
“The engineer...Ulysses.” The corpse turned its head toward Silas. Both of his eyes were missing, reduced to burned-out hollow sockets. Silas screamed in spite of himself.
“He ain’t dead, kid. That box is preparing him to be shot off into the Void. He’ll be suspended there until someone can fix him.”
“He knew too much, and he was reduced to this by Descarl’s brother before he could tell me what was in the Vaults. I failed, Silas. I was too late.”
“You could have told me. You didn’t have to lie to me. You didn’t have to hurt Valestra.”
“That was unfortunate. She had to try and be the hero.”
“She has a daughter around Selina’s age. Turned four two months ago.” Silas allowed his words to sink in. “You of all people should understand that.”
John turned to Silas with an exasperated look on his face. “If everything had gone according to plan, she would have been released and home to see her husband and kid just in time for dinner. But no, you had to enter their airspace and panic that militia. Had to save your damsel in distress. Though, I gotta admit, I admire your stubbornness.”
“None of which changes the fact that you betrayed me. We’re supposed to be partners, John.”
“I didn’t want to get you involved. I wanted to protect you.” They were silent. “It’s this planet, Silas. It gets into your blood, makes a man crazy. Let’s get off this godforsaken rock and back to civilization.”
John was interrupted by a gunshot- the bullet knocked the Lawman’s trademark hat into the air, and Silas stood, gun drawn, calmly looking down and away from John. “Leave. Before I kill you, John.”
“I mean it. Get out of my sight.”
The Lawman picked up his hat, brushed it off, and replaced it on his head. “If that’s how you see things, I certainly understand. I reckon I’ll be on my way.” Silas turned, satisfied, and forcefully hit the ground. The two men struggled over Silas’s weapon, fists flying. John was bigger and a more experienced fighter than Silas, who, fueled by rage, swung wildly at the older man. Tears stung his eyes, and his aim betrayed him more often than not. Finally, the gun discharged, a spray of blood filled the air, and Silas fell to the floor.
The Lawman kicked away Silas’s pistol and slammed his boot into his former partner’s face where the bullet had hit, leaning forward. “Never forget who you’re crossing, boy. You’ve made yourself a powerful enemy.” He twisted his foot around, the sickening crackle of bone plainly audible beneath his feet.
Silas coughed defiantly. “So’ve you.”
John scowled. “Just remember who your real friends are, kid. Alydriah. Valestra. Women like that will keep you around until you ain’t of use to them no more, like an old hunting cur. I still can’t believe you’d trust her after what happened five years back. Me? I’ve been here through thick and thin. Just remember that.” John tipped his hat and walked off. The lab tech with the coffin started the teleporter, and Silas crawled out and made his way back to Fortune City.
He joined the Shadow Guard that night.
May 01, 2012
Keys, New Gear, and a Welcome to our newest Moderators
Hi there EpicDuelists! It’s your friendly Neighborhood Cinderella here with your weekly dose of design notes!
As we noted last week, and many of you have noticed, we now have a new system for building your own promo pack, where instead of a set promotional item, you get “keys” with which you can use to unlock weapons, extra credits, and other goodies.
To clarify some things: all keys must be used at one go, you cannot stock up keys. You can purchase multiple bonuses to use up your keys if you wish or use them all in one go. Players who purchased packages prior to this system will not be receiving more keys. The keys are simply a way to allow you to unlock more bonuses with higher tier Varium packs. You cannot purchase keys independently from the Varium packages.
If you need some help figuring out how to purchase promos using the new system, Practel has helpfully made this video guide to purchasing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XXuVB_TQQZM
Our newest addition to the creative team, Disturbed, has been hard at work on some new weapons as a preview to our next war: the Infernal Infiltration War! Again, we are super-excited to have him around, and he’s going to start working on backgrounds and items for this saga.
I should have an outline turned in by the end of this week for the first part of the saga. As before, player action will have a profound effect on the outcome of the story and impact on the aftermath.
We’re proud to announce the selection of the new members of our moderation team!
In no particular order:
Elf Priest Jzaanu
Congrats all! If you see them running around with a green name, be nice to them- they’re new!
I also realize that at least one of our selections comes with quite a bit of controversy. Practel has been a tester and a personal friend of the development team up to and including Artix himself for quite a while. While he is not quite of age, AE has made exception for exceptional teens in the past, and we have confidence in Practel that he will live up to our expectations.
Artix & Sepulchure Toys
Cysero of AQW has already done a great job describing the new action figures, so Imma just rip it and post here. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiip :3
They are nearly here!
My sources (at least the reliable ones) tell me that they are on their way to the U.S. Toys R Us locations right now. They should arrive there a week or two before theyn reach us here and become availible on HeroMart.Com.
People often ask us why we can't get them to Toys R Us locations in other countries and that's mostly because there are different branches of the company and our relationship is so far only with the American branch of the company.
If our stuff keeps selling well in the American branch then we might be invited to start up a relationship with various other branches of Toys R Us... but that's really up to you guys.
Toys R Us gets to set their own price and we want the HeroMart price to be competative with the Toys R Us price so we have to wait and see what they set their prices at before we can set ours. If we decided early and went too high with the HJeroMart price, then we would be shooting ourselves in the foot and losing sales to Toys R Us. If we go to low, then we undercut Toys R Us and they might decide to cut ties with us which kills any future deals we might make with ANY branch.
SO... soon they will get theirs, we will find out what the decide for the price and then we will be able to tell you the HeroMart price whicl will be very close to the store price.
For the special Limited Edition BLACK version of the toys, I'm pretty sure that the price will be $50. It comes with the same in-game items as the normal versions but we made a LOT less of these and you will ONLY be able to get them from HeroMart. These are for hardcore collectors ONLY (or maybe people who want to resell them on E-bay for double price when they sell our and go rare).
More news on that as it arrises.
LiveStream Event with Dage the Evil
As you know, AQW has been inviting their artists to take part in live stream events in the game. The 5th and final artist participating in this particular event is Dage the Evil. I know many of our players are huge fans of Dage, so head on over to AQW around 4 PM EST/Server time.
I was in the field a couple weeks ago and I had the opportunity to get up-close and personal with a web full of Eastern Tent caterpillars (Malacosoma americanum)- probably first instar. The tent was at eye level so I could see the caterpillars clearly. This species forms nests in woody roses including cherry, apple, and black cherry. The caterpillars are capable of consuming the cyanide compounds in these plants, but instead of sequestering the compounds in the hemolymph or fat, or metabolizing them, they keep the cyanide in the gut and vomit on would-be predators.
Of lepidopteran social behaviors, those of the Eastern Tent Caterpillars are among the most complex. Eggs are laid by the adults in spring or early summer, and the clutch contains 200-300 eggs. Upon hatching, the caterpillars construct a silk tent where they live communally, venturing outside the tend only to feed. They use vibratory and chemical signals to communicate with their siblings, and thrash as a group when the tent is attacked by a predator.
They emerge as cute little fuzzy pink or brown moths.
Infernal Infiltration Preview Continued
This is another excerpt from the backstory for the upcoming war. Interstellar Marshalls John St. Alban and Silas Auer are investigating suspicious happenings on Delta V during their war for sovereignty. The two are separated, with Silas being guided by a Shadow Guard Commander, and Alydriah’s right-hand woman, Valestra Hitchens. Known throughout the galaxy as the “Angel of Death”, Valestra is an expert at hand-to-hand and ranged combat, a skilled sniper, and an accomplished poisoner.
They ventured into Fortune City's tenth district. A center for research and innovation, the district was marked by a large hospital, which Valestra explained is where she had learned pharmacology.
"There's someone I want you to meet. He isn't the administrator, but I think you'll like him."
Valestra led Silas to a back office in the basement where a lanky man wearing navy blue was working with his back turned.
The man turned. He was a man of about 30; tall and long all over, with a visage that seemed to be stuck in a perpetual wonder. His face was thin and wide gray eyes hid behind tinted goggles. A shock of unkempt dishwater blond hair perched awkwardly upon his head.
“Valestra! And is this a boyfriend?”
Valestra laughed. “Aww, Ulysses. You know I’m waiting for you.” She turned to Silas. “Ulysses is a Master Craftsman, brilliant engineer...”
“And a lover of beauty.” Ulysses extended a gloved hand to Valestra, took her hand, and kissed it. “If you’re not Val’s boyfriend...”
“He’s one of the Marshalls. Making sure we’re playing nice.”
“Oh! Well, Marshall, let me show you my latest project... I’m sorry what did you say your name was?”
“I didn’t. It’s Auer. Silas Auer.”
“Auer. Like gold. Splendid!” He picked up a golden object. It was oblong and was carved with strange markings. “Do you know what this is?”
“No. What is it?”
“I have no idea!” He smiled broadly.
“Your project...” Valestra interjected.
“Yes, of course. Pygmalion. That’s the name I gave my creation. It’s a method for extracting the central nervous system of a sick or dying creature and placing it in this ingenious metal suit! So far I’ve only tried it on rabbits and squidlings, but it could revolutionize medicine as we know it!”
As he said this, Ulysses produced a cage containing a little robotic bunny. The cyborg rabbit sadly chewed upon a corncob, and looked despondent and confused.
“He looks sad.” Silas blurted.
“The alternative was dying from his injuries. This little guy was run over by a ground vehicle,” he said defensively, replacing the rabbit cage. “Lovely to see you, Valestra, but I’m sure I don’t want to waste any more of the Marshall’s time.” Valestra and Silas turned to leave when Silas heard his communicator beep. He read the text message- “Do not trust Alydriah. There’s more than she’s telling you. Find the Delta Vault.”
“What was that?” asked Valestra.
“Spam. Apparently, there are Fortune City singles who wish to speak with me.” He closed the communicator and smiled rakishly at Valestra, "Intriguing."
She laughed. “Your wife must be jealous.”
“You looked at my background. You know I’m unmarried.”
Valestra smiled to herself. “Come on, there’s more to see, cowboy.”