April 25, 2013
Arborgeddon Is Upon Us
Hey there, EpicDuelists! It's your friendly neighborhood Cinderella here with a heaping helping of design notes! You may have noticed my conspicuous absence as of late (or not) -- and no, I'm not dead or fired. I'm winding down on my Master's degree (should be graduating at the end of the summer semester) and this has been the first time this semester I've been ahead enough on my thesis work, schoolwork, and teaching responsibilities to get a Design Notes post ready. So let's get right to it, shall we?
Arborgeddon Is Upon Us!
Longtime players will remember that Xraal's species was obliterated when they and the Bio Hazards were forced to cohabitate in the Biodome. The only ones lucky enough to survive were siblings and members of an intellectual/religious order -- the Archivists Xraal, Tamarill, Navarro, and Sekk. But there are rumors of another individual surviving -- the botany-obsessed Davarril.
Surviving in the deepest underbrush of the Biological Preserve, Davarril has been able to harness plants' rudimentary nervous systems (no, seriously -- you can take electrophysiological readings from plants) to his benefit. Using a mind-control parasite (no, seriously, there are mind-control fungi), Davarril has brought into being abominable lichens (a mutualistic relationship between a plant and a fungus) ready to wreak beautiful destruction on the human world (ok, this part we made up).
But Davarril is not fighting unopposed. Xraal and I need your help in sequencing genomes, building a proteome, and doing a little R&D on a possible weapon against these disgraces of phytology... on second thought, there's a lot of sensitive equipment. Better just collect samples.
By battling other players, players can collect various spore samples which can be turned in to various Bio Dome NPCs for special prizes. The most prized spore is the Purified Spore. Xraal any I have been released an experimental antidote into the air filtration system of the Bio Dome. Some have decided to attach themselves to player weapons and armor. Collect as many as you can and release them to combat the vile spores released by Davarril and his minions.
In addition to special War Prizes and more War Missions, players will be able to choose from a variety of plant-themed hairstyles to commemorate the occasion. More intense than a rose in your hair, that's for sure!
Feed me, Seymour!
Also, we have a bountiful harvest of weapons from up and coming artist TrizZzCENTRINO for your sample collecting pleasure! Also, Charfade has been hard at work creating an alien jungle worth of botanical furniture for use in your homes!
If you follow us on the Official EpicDuel Facebook page, you may have noticed that the option to send a message has been discontinued. Part of this has to do with the fact that it was taking an inordinate amount of my time (I am the Facebook page administrator, and the one who responds as “EpicDuel”) responding to individual messages. There was a huge issue with players coming to me to try and get around help team decisions. While I am more than happy to walk players through what they need to provide the Help Team, I am not authorized to override Help Team decisions, return “hacked” or scammed items/Varium, or change your username, password, or email address, or many other account issues. While you should never EVER give away your account username and password, sometimes we're not always vigilant about safety and fall victim to scammers. If that happens, you need to use the Account Recovery Page at portal.battleon.com.
Another issue was players begging for items, pre-leveled accounts, hacks, Varium, and prize codes. Prize codes are released at staff discretion, announced publicly, and are first-come/first-served with a finite number of times they can be redeemed. I cannot give individuals prize codes and they are not an entitlement for every player who “likes” a page or follows us on Twitter. I do realize that many players who ask me for things figure that the worst I can say is no, but when hundreds of players ask me the same question constantly, it becomes a drain emotionally and a drain on my time, especially when fans threaten to sue me, hurt me, or even kill me for not fulfilling their request. Ultimately, I'm moving away from the constant social media interaction to focus more on the creative side of EpicDuel Development.
Again if you have any account issues, the proper contact is the Account Recovery Page at portal.battleon.com. And no, they won't give you a prize code either.
I bet you've missed these! Recently, my mom (who is a teacher) found a caterpillar in her classroom, which her students insisted on keeping as a class pet. She brought it back to me for identification, and I've managed to identify it down to family. Members of the family Noctuidae are called owlet moths due to the eyespots on the wings of the adults of many species. The family is cosmopolitan, with species present worldwide. Noctuid caterpillars are important crop pests, including the cotton bollworm and corn armyworm are important crop pests in North America. With the increased reliance on transgenic crops, adaptation of these insects to the transgenic corn or cotton presents an issue for managers, but several management strategies are used to prevent resistance from developing to Bt corn or Bt cotton, which express toxic genes from the bacterium Bacillus thurigensis. These include crop rotation, use of multiple strains of Bt transgenic organisms, and the establishment of Bt free havens, to encourage the proliferation of non-resistant individuals.
February 12, 2013
Call for Moderators and Testers!
Hey there, EpicDuelists! As you may know (if you don't, then...well I can't help you) Omega is live, but testing is far from over! We are once again looking to expand our team! If you are interested in helping us, please read the official note from Lycus below. We don't have his avatar in yet, so I'm ghost posting for him (shhhhh!).
We are currently in need of a few more people to help out in keeping our game safe and helping with bringing our releases out faster and with fewer bugs! We pride ourselves on making the game with you and for you – many of the AE Staff began as regular players, some even very high up now, now is your chance to join our ranks!
Say what now!?
Due to the increase of players, the loss of a few members of staff and the fact we are still growing, we have need of some more hands to help with the responsibility of keeping the game safe for all players, old and new. We also need more help with the Testing our releases for bugs and helping out in the process of making sure everything is ready to go live!
A few of you may be wondering ‘Do Moderators not test releases?’ – yes Moderators previously have tested releases and some still will – however to up efficiency we have decided to split the team so everyone knows their core position and can concentrate on it as such. A few of you may also now be wondering what each position will entitle and I will gladly tell you:
Testers are a team of dedicated volunteers led by myself who play through releases before they are released, on the development server, helping to find any bugs, suggest changes and make sure the release is ready to go live! They are expected to be online on Thursday and Fridays mainly, but potentially other days, depending on when releases are due to release. This role requires less time to be committed over the week, but more specific times (Preferably 3pm-7pm EST on Thursday/Friday).
Moderators are a team of dedicated volunteers led Cinderella and I who help with in-game issues, deal with people who break the Terms of Service agreement and others of such! In short, they make the game safer and much more fun for everyone. This entitles a position that will expect you to be on most days of the week for a fair amount of time dealing with reports and other things.
Note: Both positions involve a lot of responsibility, if you do not feel you can handle that, and then these posts are not for you. Becoming a Mod or Tester is not as easy or fun as it may seem, it comes with work! However it will look great on your CV (Resume) if you are looking for work experience, and it is always nice to help out a game you enjoy playing so much!
Interested in this Opportunity?
Firstly, I would like to stress how important it is that you are OVER 18. If you are under 18, do not include your age in your application or you start off ‘I am not 18 yet, however…’ you will not even be considered. If you lie about your age, you will be blacklisted from any future Mod application processes regardless of your age then. So if you are under 18, wait, chances will come in the future, do not worry!
What you NEED to include in your email:
Please send your COMPLETE application to: EDCallForMods@artix.com
If you have not included all the above and your application is not complete, you will not be considered. Cinderella and myself will read all applications, so please only send ONE in - we also sadly will not be able to reply to every single email, sorry if you do not hear from us.
If we decide to take you through to an interview we will contact you on the email you sent the email from, so please do try to keep an eye out. We will keep you all updated here on how the search is going and when it is going to end!
***Special Addendum from Charfade and the EpicDuel Youtube Team***
Those of you who have been following our Official EpicDuel Youtube Channel may know that the primary contributors are Moderators. If you would like to be a Moderator or Tester AND would also like to contribute to the Youtube Channel, please address any of the the following attributes in your CV:
The video portion of the application process is entirely optional, but since those creating videos are privy to a great deal of behind-the-scenes development information, we require you pass through the same screening process as those who wish to moderator or test exclusively.
Good luck to you all!
January 11, 2013
While I'm working on the conclusion of the newest Frysteland story arc, Nightwraith asked me to go into a little bit of depth about world building. One of the great things about a creative endeavor like this is that we can create a vast universe with a rich history, various cultures, and a vibrant future. This, however, presents various challenges.
When building a world, an important thing to consider is where it falls on the Magic - Technology scale, and whether it's primitive or advanced. A sufficiently advanced magic-based world can have elements like browsing the ScryNet on your crystal ball and calling up the local IT Wizard to say a repair incantation over it when you can't read your m-mail or interstellar travel by means of dragon. A primitive technology-based society would involve a lot of bashing rocks together and the use of simple tools and machines.
Using the Krampus creation myth as an example, I'll try to explore some of these challenges. One of the most exciting and difficult aspects of creating a culture is determining their beliefs and practices. While the Krampus are in part based upon ancient Northern European cultures, I've borrowed ideas from Native American Pueblo and Zuni people- for example, the idea of sacred spaces being below the ground- as well as some others. In contrast, Snork's race is based somewhat upon Slavs by way of Mexico. It's good to look at existing world cultures as well as existing fiction.
I hadn't really codified the Krampus creation myth until called upon to think about the Endless, who as you'll recall is a powerful, immortal being who inhabits the Void. By necessity, any native peoples on Delta V will have to address the Void in their cosmology, so it makes logical sense to involve it in their creation story (in the case of the Krampus, they believe that their deities came from the Void). It's been previously established that the Krampus are a highly religious, superstitious culture, with alternations between agricultural and nomadic lifestyles. They are polytheistic and engage in some degree of ancestor worship, which is related to their belief that their race is descended from gods.
Creation stories often have several elements in common, mainly how the world came to be, who the forces ruling the world are, where death, illness, etc. come from, among other issues. In a culture like the Krampus, where they have to survive in a harsh environment while warring with neighboring tribes, the opportunity to grow old and die would be considered a blessing rather than a punishment. Geography is going to play a huge role in how your culture's going to develop, so keep this in mind when trying to build a fictional world. Nomadic, warlike peoples in a harsh environment aren't necessarily going to have the same kinds of rites, practices, and values as an agrarian society.
The challenge then is to integrate character, culture, and plot where they intersect. Your individual characters are going to have different experiences, and experience the same event differently because of personality, gender, age, etc. Think of your characters as people, but also think of them as tools. Don't get so involved with characters that you can't allow anything bad to happen to them- especially if the character is an Author Avatar. A common pitfall in writing characters based on the author is that they end up being too perfect, ie a “Mary Sue”. Whether you're writing an original story or fan fiction, should you have an author avatar character, you want to make sure that the character is flawed, that there are challenges the character needs help to overcome, and that you're not using the character for escape or wish fulfillment. Think of Sancho Panza, Hermione Granger, Professor Digory Kirke, Faramir/Beren, etc. Try to avoid comparisons to Bella Swan. This is especially challenging when writing for AE since many of the characters are blatant author avatars. When writing as Cinderella, I try to use how I would react to situations as a benchmark for how she reacts, and she'll say things I will actually say in conversation, and she shares some of my research interests. I do have to watch for wish-fulfillment in areas like her relationship with the Lawman (unfortunately, I will never get the chance to reconcile with my own father, but Cinderella may). When writing for a culture or peoples, you avoid the idea of a Race of Sues, or a Planet of Hats. Characters don't all have to be the last of their kind, or some kind of free-thinking radical, or otherwise extreme to be interesting. Every Citizen of Delta V doesn't have to be the Chosen Hero of the Exiles Who Will Save The Universe Singlehandedly.
So, what does that leave us with? Beyond I'm sure turning all of you off of ever trying to write anything ever, I hope this gives you insight into how you have to think to be a successful (er... semi-successful) writer. By keeping a log of in-world continuity, it can help against revelations or characters seeming forced- and address issues like “Why can't the Krampus just summon the Endless constantly?” or “Why haven't we seen this important Administrator yet?” In a serial work like this, you have to be able to seamlessly insert new information, or even make references that the player won't understand because of lack of exposition but that the existing characters know intimately. An exercise I use is just to write short stories about characters in their voices and frame them within the timeline. Most of this is never seen by players (though some is posted in the DN's) but it hopefully enriches the storyline and makes EpicDuel's universe an engaging world.
January 07, 2013
2012 Year In Review
Hi there EpicDuelists. With the year 2012 behind us, and new possibilities in front of us, I've written a brief overview of the story so far in EpicDuel!
After years of an uneasy truce between the Legion's presence in Frysteland- the cold, mountainous region to the north of Delta V's main continent -- and the Delta V native Krampus, dictatrix Alydriah Descarl made a move to conquer those that remained relatively free from the Administration's control. Led by the formidable Commander Edgar Boothe, the Legion soldiers and corrupted Yetis fought aggressively against the primitive Krampus tribe. The Krampus, led by the Shaman Aldhagrimm the Erudite and King Alaric (the Technologically Impaired), the Krampus allied themselves with Exile forces but were ultimately defeated.
In the aftermath, Alydriah set herself up as Queen over Frysteland and began the work of corrupting the local wildlife, including Ylwa the Demon Rider's personal mount Maia the Frost Demon. Boothe, torn between his loyalty to the Legion and love for his heritage saved some of the Krampus from execution, including King Alaric and Boothe's grandmother Aldhagrimm. The War coincided with Hank and his wife Valestra's Juloffenblotten festivities, ruining their winter holiday.
With Alydriah distracted in Frysteland, a group of Legion loyalists who felt that Descarl had ultimately betrayed Baelius and the principles of the Legion made their first move against the despot. The Legion loyalists formed an alliance with the Exile Leader, whose base is contained within the ruins of Old Fortune City. The 12th District Administrator John Williamson III orchestrated a plot to bomb Alydriah's spire before she returned to the mainland. Williamson's son Lysander Cox (the Negawraith) disguised himself as the assassin Nightwraith and offered his services to Alydriah's brother, Administrator 11, while the Resistance -- represented by Habuki and Shadow Guard Mike -- planted bombs in the Spire. However, the plot was discovered, and Administrator 12 took full responsibility, sacrificing himself for his men and for Order. Despite his attempt to kill his executioner Administrator 11, the District 12 offices and the Administrator himself were reduced to ashes. Inspired by his father's death, the Negawraith took over both the 12th district administrative duties and the helm of the Legion Resistance.
The Bionic Battalion Saga introduced a band of superintelligent sentient rabbits -- Brachylagus, Capensis, Myxoma, Lepus, and Mr. Cottontail, who built a set of rabbit battlesuits to fight and survive outside of the Biological Preserve. The rabbits discovered that they were descended from colonists from the planet Orychtolagus and devised a plan to escape Delta V. The Bunny Escape Pod was destroyed by a mysterious force, but Brachylagus and Capensis survived the attack. Meanwhile, Lepus attempted to make friends with the fearsome Electro Hazard and was rescued by Myxoma who “reprogrammed” the creature with her poisoned hair dye. Lepus discovered the Archives under the BioDome, which serve as a safe haven for the Archivists. The Archivists belong to an Order dedicated to preserving and maintaining Delta V's history, but they have since mostly died out leaving only Xraal and his siblings Tamaril, Sekk, and Navarro.
This was EpicDuel's biggest (and darkest) storyline to date. After years of searching, John “The Lawman” St. Alban was able to enter the mysterious Delta Vault, but not without opposition. John and his allies had to face off against not only the Legion forces led by Administrator 7, Silas Auer, but also the subterranean insectoid techno-organic creatures known as Mechachillids. But this story started 20 years before the events of EpicDuel, and each of Auer's allies had their reasons to hate St. Alban. John's obsession with the contents of the Delta Vault led him to betray his partner in the Galactic Marshalls -- a young Silas Auer -- by sending the younger man's former lover Commander Valestra Acker (Hitchens) into the hands of Delta V's enemies. Valestra lost her arm during her escape, and when he confronted John about it, John shot off Silas's face. Along with Silas and Valestra, John fought against his daughter Ella and the man he blamed for seducing and corrupting her, the Nightwraith. But, in the end the Exiles and John's allies -- Ulysses and Galatea and John's younger daughter Selina -- were the first to infiltrate the Delta Vault and uncover its horrific content: by Baelius's order, Ulysses had developed a method of using a corpse to power a cyborg soldier (his wife Galatea was, in fact, one of these soldiers after having died in the Vault). He was sentenced to death, but survived his execution, losing his memory. Silas was not ready to accept his defeat, but John proved once again that he was not above underhanded tactics, threatening the child Silas had fathered with Valestra- Naomi. Silas surrendered himself to save his daughter.
In EpicDuel's crossover with MechQuest, Delta V found itself facing the greatest threat it had so far encountered. Deep in the Barrens, a mysterious creature called Dravax the Harbinger warned of an apocalyptic fate that would befall Delta V unless they surrendered the woman named Char. This was Charfade, the last survivor from the Mer'a homeworld. Dravax's Master is one familiar to players of MechQuest: a huge planet-devouring being known as the Dragonoid. Due to overwhelming support, the Citizens of Delta V banded together to save Charfade from the Dragonoid! The Slayer teamed up with players to defeat Dravax herself and gain access to Mirv's defense turret, but this only injured the Dragonoid. Though he doesn't advertise it, Mirv is a technical genius, and wrote a program that had to be directly implanted into the Dragonoid's brain. Players allied with Charfade to battle the Dragonoid Brain, replacing the coordinates of Delta V with those of the Slayer's plague-destroyed homeworld Delta IV. The Dragonoid consumed Delta IV (hopefully it was uninhabited) and Dravax was marooned on Delta V.
During Delta V's War for Independence, when Baelius turned on his backers to declare his venture a sovereign nation, there was only one investor that allied himself with Baelius -- the unscrupulous Chairman Platinum. The Chairman returned to Delta V to check up on his investment, and was unhappy with the way Alydriah was running things. To protect Delta V and her Citizens from the Chairman and his Corporate Ninjas, Citizens found themselves depending on an unlikely champion. In her first EpicDuel appearance, lead singer, guitarist, frog aficionado and frontwoman of One-Eyed Doll Kimberly Freeman used the citizenry of Delta V as her own personal Meat Shields as she defeated the silver-tongued Chairman Platinum. Seeing that death would be too great a mercy for the Chairman, Alydriah decreed that he should remain on Delta V.
With 2013 ahead of us, there are so many possibilities open for EpicDuel's story line. Will the Dragonoid realize it ate the wrong planet? What's on the other planets in the Delta system? Are there untouched areas of Delta V? When will we see the other Fortune City districts? And what about the characters? Will Hank and Valestra's marriage survive the constant obstacles thrown at them? Will the St. Alban family ever be repaired? When do we meet Brunson's Mama? Will Shadow Guard Mike ever be allowed to just kick up his feet and watch some television? Will we incorporate more elements form the Lore-verse into EpicDuel or should we stay far, far away? What would YOU like to see in the coming year's storylines?
Thank you all for being with us and your continued patience as we prepare to launch EpicDuel Omega and the latest adventures in Frysteland! I'm so honored to be creating this world for and with all of you, and working with the best team ever! I don't think I could write like this for anyone but them.
December 18, 2012
Omega is almost here! Can you feeeeeel it? We've been working tirelessly to bring you the highly anticipated Omega update and everything is really coming together. As I type this, Titan and Rabblefroth are working furiously along with our equally hard-working testers to troubleshoot the newly reconstructed battle engine. The statting system is looking really promising, and allows for extraordinary flexibility with your gear loadout.
Be sure to view our development on The Official EpicDuel Youtube Channel:
One new feature you may notice in Omega is that many items have credit OR Varium options, both to purchase and to upgrade. In order to emphasize credits as an effort currency and Varium as a convenience currency, some credit prices will be increasing. However, this is balanced by the fact that you can still upgrade your existing weapons for a credit fee that would be less than purchasing and unlocking a new set of level-cap gear. Also, with unlimited NPC battles, farming for credits will be a much less painful endeavor.
Hi there, EpicDuelists - there's a ton of new missions for your playing pleasure. Alydriah has returned to Frysteland and her capture of the Krampus Shaman Aldhagrimm has forced the Krampus and sympathetic Legion forces in Frysteland to join together to drive her out. The main story quest starts with Commander Edgar Boothe (Legion)
and King Alaric (Exile).
Players should report to them to complete the mission “A Frosty Reception” for a Legion Token or Exile Token. This token is your ticket into a class-specific chain. Exiles will turn the Exile Token in to Raymus if they're Bounty Hunters or Cyber Hunters, the Krampus Technician if they're Tech Mages or Blood Mages, and Hank if they're Mercenaries or Tactical Mercenaries. Legion Bounty Hunters and Cyber Hunters should visit Valestra, Tech Mages and Blood Mages should visit Talia, and Mercenaries and Tactical Mercenaries should visit Negawraith to turn in their tokens. For those who want the well-rounded story experience by changing class, Alaric and Boothe have two additional missions that award this token! These all culminate in a single turn-in mission on Rabblefroth, with the same reward for both Legion and Exiles that will conclude part one of this Frysteland saga.
This means that, should you complete this chain 3 times, you'll have extra Misc. items, but fortunately they don't take up space in your inventory.
In addition, there are missions that allow you to train up your Baby Yetis and/or Dark Yetis by giving them a Yeti Growth Serum.
Hulnas the Beast Tamer can train your Baby Yetis into Warrior Yetis, and Ylwa the Beast Rider can train your Warrior Yetis into Omega Yetis. Would you rather have a Dark Baby Yeti? The Arctic Trainer can train your Dark Yetis into Dark Warrior Yetis, and the hard-as-ice Captain Murdoc can train your Dark Warrior Yetis into Dark Omega Yetis. Both can be “convinced” to give you some Omega Yeti Serum as well, if you don't want to go through all the trouble of training them.
I'm very excited about the Omega update! For the first time, there are missions requiring you to turn in multiple disparate objects; that is, turning in different kinds of objects. So, if Hank had a mission asking you to help him out with a mirepoix, you would be required to turn in 2 onions, 1 carrot, and 1 celery in the same mission!
Plus, there's a secret mission. What is it? If I told you that, it wouldn't be a secret! /mysterious
October 24, 2012
In my part of the world, the leaves are changing, cool air is blowing on one’s face, everyone’s wearing (or, if you’re me, knitting) sweaters hats and gloves, and everything is pumpkin-flavored. Yes, it’s autumnn, and with the cool weather comes Nature’s bounty: a harvest. Delta V’s Harvest Festival is also soon approaching, with the return of last year’s Harvest content. This includes missions, the Harvest Husk, and the Harvest Reaper and Soul Reaper. These powerful limited rare mutating weapons include a 13% chance to attack your enemy with a rain of gourdy pain with the Jack O Fire skill!
The Harvest is also pulling up some new Harvest content, such as the Cardboard Crusader. This armor will be available for credits... though you probably shouldn’t wear it outside in the rain.
To commemorate the Harvest of Souls, Snork is forging an item commemorating his people’s history. What is it? Well, he hasn’t told me, but he did say that the most valiant warriors who can prove themselves in armed combat with him will have a chance to hold this mysterious rare item!
Oh My Gourd!
The amazing Charfade just revealed that she's created a big ol' pile of pumkins for your home decorating pleasure! Get your home ready for Trick and/or Treating this Friday!
I Can Has Suggestions, Plz?
But that’s not all! After sifting through the bounty of awesome player suggestions, the Player Suggestion Shop will once again be open! Everyone whose item was chosen will receive their item in their inventory (regardless of cost, level, or class) and the Epic Artist achievement!*
*Massive apologies, but the Player Suggestion Shop will take a bit more time to finish. We tried to work through some technical difficulties, but ultimately couldn't finish it for today. We will have it out next Wednesday, fittingly enough, for Halloween! Stay tuned for more previews on Nightwraith's Twitter.
The Spooky Head contest is still going on, but you’re running out of time- the contest ends this Friday, just before midnight Saturday. More details here: http://forums2.battleon.com/f/tm.asp?m=20723387
A Balanced Diet
Speaking of the forums, you may have noticed that, rather than cramming all balance discussions into one topic in EDGD, we’ve implemented a Balance Discussion subforum in the EpicDuel section of the AEF. If you’ve been on the fence about joining the AEF, now seems to be the best time to do so! http://forums2.battleon.com/f/tt.asp?forumid=415
Cover Your Torso!
As the cold autumn winds start to blow, now is the perfect time to acquire some coverings for your torsos! To help with this, HeroMart is introducing a new shirt to commemorate our 10 Year Anniversary as a company. Among the bonuses this shirt will give in the other games, in EpicDuel you will receive an exclusive sword, Artix's Triumph.
Something About a Dragon?
In addition to new shirts, HeroMart will also be stocking One-Eyed Doll's latest Album, "Something About a Dragon" which includes music from AE's games!
As an in-game reward for purchasing the CD, in EpicDuel you will receive both One-Eyed Axes! If you missed them in-game, this is the perfect opportunity to pick them up! If you already have them, you'll still have an awesome CD and two weapons you can resell for bonus currency!
Onward! To Victory!
So, what’s next? After this week, we’ll be plunging into building the next phase of EpicDuel, along with a pretty cool winter event (will it involve yetis? Quite possibly!) and Nightwraith promised to have some preview art up for you guys. Obviously, we’re all very excited about this prospect and we hope our players will be as well! :D
Revamped Mercenary concept by Thyton!
September 20, 2012
Yaar and so forth
Yesterday was Talk like a Pirate Day! If you haven’t already grabbed the cheevo and items from that salty wench Isla “Big Tuna” Grier.
The Dragon’s Reckoning
The Dragon’s Reckoning is coming to its epic conclusion with an epic cutscene! What will become of the Dragonoid? What about Dravax? Will Mirv finally get the praise and attention he craves? See Charfade in-game to find out!
You may have noticed that you can now purchase hairstyles, and said hairstyles are yours forever. Changing between hairstyles or just changing your colors now only costs credits! Unfortunately, this is only relevant going forward, as we cannot figure out every hairstyle every player has ever had. But the Steve-bots are eager for you to get your hair did, so they’re offering a new, evolving Epic Stylist cheevo! Epicly stylish! Can you buy enough styles to unlock them all?
Codes...How Do They Work?
If you follow any of the ED staff on Twitter, you may have noticed us posting codes periodically. What are these codes and how are they used? Currently, the codes can be redeemed for free Starter-Kit weapons, but we are expanding the system to offer a number of different prizes. Here's a step-by-step guide for redeeming these codes.
Step 0: Get a Code
Currently, you can get these codes by seeing us in person at a convention or by following us on Twitter!
Step 1: Find a City Guard
They primarily hang out in Central Station and Fortune City. You can use the Delta V map to travel quickly between areas if you don't feel like going on foot (or by bike).
Step 2: Select the "Prize Code" option
Step 3: Enter the Code and select "Submit"
These codes are currently one-time use so only the first one to redeem the code will get the prize.
Stay tuned for more developments on this exciting feature as we add features such as more prizes, more redemptions per code, and more ways to receive codes!
Something Ebil This Way Comes!
Some twenty years before the current events of EpicDuel, Baelius had a “falling out” with his investors and backers when he declared the colony on Delta V a sovereign state and declared war. But not all of his backers turned on him -- Baelius’s war was partly financed by the mysterious and influential Chairman Platinum. Word has it that the Chairman is returning to inspect his investment. Is he coming to free the people of Delta V from Baelius' vile machination or will this be a hostile takeover? Knowing the Chairman, we suspect the latter.
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I had a pet caterpillar named Nova. Nova was a happy caterpillar, was hand-fed the finest tomato leaves whenever he was hungry. Eventually, he was slated to pupate (that is, metamorphose into his adult form), and after wandering for a bit, he turned brown and began pupating. He was also a lucky caterpillar -- I’d noticed that he had cleared an infection by braconid parasitoids. But his luck was not to last -- a few days after pupating, I noticed that his coloration was off, and there was a weird discoloration along his ventral nerve cord. Naturally, I observed, and much to my horror eventually Nova exploded, leaving a pile of slimy grey maggots.
These are the larvae of tachinid flies (likely Winthemia manduca), which lay their eggs on lepidopteran larvae (ie. caterpillars), and develop inside the caterpillar. They’ll begin to devour the caterpillar from the inside during diapause and emerge. They’ll spend a day or two as free-living maggots, and pupate for 10-24 days depending on environmental temperature. As adults, they resemble house flies, and will repeat the whole process over again. As they reduce populations of lepidopteran pests naturally, they are attractive for use in integrated pest management. However, they are not extremely host-specific, and will attack related species to the target organism- eg. an East European tachinid fly introduced in the US in areas affected by gypsy moth has caused a massive reduction in Saturniid moth numbers.
September 06, 2012
A Practical Dragon*Con Recap
Howdy there, EpicDuelists. I'm stopping by briefly to turn the DNs over to EpicDuel tester and Mod Practel for a thorough Dragon*Con recap. Artix did a pretty amazing job describing the event from the developers' perspectives, but I think it's equally interesting to read about the Con through a different set of eyes. Without further ado, heeeeeeere's Practel!
Hey there, Duelists! You might have noticed that this Design Notes post isn’t from your friendly neighborhood warrior princess, Cinderella. This is my first (and most likely last) Design Notes post! Some of you may not know me, so let me introduce myself. My name is Practel, I’ve been playing EpicDuel since December of 2009 when EpicDuel merged with Artix Entertainment. I became a tester (someone who tests the weekly releases every week for bugs and to make sure it’s stable for you guys) in August 2011, and now I am an in-game Moderator for EpicDuel and a forum ArchKnight! I’ll be writing the Dragon*Con Recap since our awesome story telling writer Cinderella wasn’t able to attend (which is sad, there’s always next year!)
What is Dragon*Con?
Every year about 50 Artix Entertainment staff and assistant staff travel from their secret undisclosed battle locations to Atlanta Georgia (an 8 hour bus ride) to attend Dragon*Con! Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film in the universe! Each year the convention attracts about 60 to 70 thousand people, and an awesome group of Artix Entertainment players! To see everything that the con has to offer is almost impossible, but those who are courageous enough to fight the “4 days with no sleep” boss can do it! The con offers something for anyone. There are panels about everything from making your own functional steampunk R2-D2, to meet-and-greets with some of the biggest names in TVs, Movies, Gaming and Books. There are thousands of people dressed up as their favorite characters, movie marathons, a sea of tables for table top games like Dungeons and Dragons, card games like Pokémon, Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh, board games like Risk, Settlers of Catan and King of Tokyo.
Dragon*Con Pizza Party Meet and Greet!
Each year, generally the day before the convention officially starts, AE throws an awesome pizza party for all the players that attend. People come across the world just to hang out and talk with the staff about the games, what’s coming up, and genuinely have a good time. The players LOVE hanging out with the staff, and the staff love hanging out with the players! Each year a different, very dedicated player will come by and discuss the game to the point where even the player knows more than the developers about their own game! This year there was one player who was VERY dedicated and even cosplayed as Artix!
The Artix Entertainment Panel
Just like the awesome pizza party AE holds every year, it’s always a tradition to hold one of the coolest panels in all of Dragon*Con! This year was definitely the best panel AE has ever hosted – it had well over 100 people attending to come and watch, laugh, even cry, and genuinely enjoy their time as a player and proud con-goer. Each game lead stood up, discussed the game they headed, told the players what was going to happen in the future, and answered questions. Coincidently, I happen to have a video of Nightwraith discussing some EpicDuel stuff!
As promised, anyone who went to Dragon*Con this year should have received their Slayer armor and DragonBuster II sword by now! If you signed the paper for the AQW item, but forgot to list your EpicDuel name, please let us know!
Artix Entertainment always has a player fan booth, where about 5 or 6 staff sit, talk to players, answer questions, and have a good time. For the entire convention. During this time, we had a few very friendly players that most of us knew from Twitter and the forums visit. I was completely shocked and happy when one of my good friends A.C.W popped up and introduced himself to me officially in real life! If you visited the booth, you could have gotten a bunch of cool ribbons to put on your badge. One for each day the booth was open!
He came in a champ… left as a legend. One very awesome, and very dedicated player by the name of HawkBlackWell did the unimaginable… he challenged Titan to an Epic BattleOn Battle Cards game!
The stakes were as follows:
If Titan won, he would receive one steampunk trophy.
The battle was tight… Titan was annihilating HawkBlackWell, and it was in everyones eyes that Titan was going to win. Then, the most magical thing happened. HawkBlackWell played his deadliest card, life swap, swapping his and Titan’s HP. Titan was instantly annihilated.
A deal is a deal, and it was a tournament between Titan and HawkBlackWell. Look for a HawkBlackWell NPC sometime in the future!
It’s always sad to leave the wonderful players each year, but there’s always the time where everyone needs to get back to reality, go to school, work… life. Everyone had a great time this year at Dragon*Con, and it was all thanks to you guys, the players. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
As usual, we hope to see you next year, for another epic time with the team.
September 05, 2012
First off, a hearty welcome back to all of our staff and players who had the opportunity to attend Dragon*Con! Practel twisted my arm and he’ll be writing a recap post later this week.
Codes and Keys
If you visited us at Dragon*Con or follow us on Twitter, you may have seen some codes being posted that you could redeem for a starter pack of weapons by entering the code at any City Guard to redeem the code for starter pack items!
How can you get a code? Well, we gave codes out at DragonCon, but the best way to find a code is to follow us on Twitter or Facebook! It is possible that this code redemption system could be used for other promotions in the future so stay tuned for more developments!
Decide Charfade’s Fate!
As Nightwraith announced at the panel at Dragon*Con (and you may have seen in this video by Practel) we are allowing players to decide whether to save or sacrifice Charfade. To decide this, we will be polling players in game. Visit Dravax to choose a side. After voting, you’ll be able to see how many players are with you and against you. When the poll is complete, Charfade will be sacrified or saved based entirely on YOUR votes!
Also, to discourage “stuffing the ballot box”, voting will be restricted by account, IP, and level (you must be at LEAST level 5 to vote).
Lock ‘em up!
The missions to obtain the Exile and Legion locker keys are going rare with this update, and eventually these keys will convert into achievements. The Blueprint scraps will be sellable if you still have some taking up space in your inventory.
August 28, 2012
Daring Draconic Design Notes
DragonCon this Weekend!
Hey there, EpicDuelists! With Dragon*Con this weekend, we’ll be rolling a midweek release. Remember that if you visit our fan table in the Hyatt Regency Atlanta (lower level) and write down your character name for us (one per attendee, please; please don’t beg your friends to get free stuff for you) to be awarded the Dragon Slayer armor, which is also available in-game and comes with the Dragon Master achievement! For those who are brand new to EpicDuel, we will be giving out codes redeemable for a free set of starter gear! This is an exciting new feature as it can be used for more special promotions in the future. First time DragonCon attendee? Lucky for you, Cysero has posted a DCon survival guide on the AQW design notes: http://www.aq.com/gamedesignnotes/dragoncon-2012-2072 !
For those who only want the bare-bones details on for meeting us at Dragon*Con, here they are:
This year the Artix Entertainment Panel:
This year's AE Pizza Party:
We understand that many of you cannot attend Dragon*Con, but please understand that we are not affiliated in any way with the management or funding of the convention. We cannot ask them to host Dragon*Con in your hometown, and as great as it would be to travel to your city or town to meet you, it is not logistically feasible. Again, we understand that not everyone can travel to Atlanta, GA to visit us, but we do not want those who do stop by to see us to leave empty-handed.
A Char-faded Memory
We did not release the first missions for this arc because we were building a new battle feature! With this release, players will be able to team up with the Slayer to defeat Dravax itself and send his master a message he'll never forget! Your missions start with Dravax, who attempts to convince you to hand over Char without conflict. Your quest will then lead you to Mirv, who needs your help to re-enable the turrets defending the planet. Will you surrender Charfade to the Harbinger and its Master? Or will you keep her safe and save Delta V another way?
Of course dragons do not exist, but there are insects who are pretty close to spewing fire! Bombardier beetles are a cosmopolitan tribe in the Carabidae consisting of over 500 species of beetle named for their defense mechanism. The beetle maintains two reactant chemicals (hydroquinone and hydrogen peroxide) in abdominal reservoirs, and spray the foul-smelling resulting chemical at enemies. The product is not only foul, but the reaction is highly exothermic, with the spray reaching 100C (ie. Boiling) and quickly volatilizes. This system is often used by creationists as an argument for intelligent design and irreducible complexity, but the use of hydroquinone in defense is conserved in the carabids and hydrogen peroxide is a normal waste byproduct of cellular respiration.
August 21, 2012
The Dragon's Reckoning
Did Someone Say Dragons?
Legion and Exile forces are still recovering from a massive war within the Infernal Mines, but now a powerful force is making its way toward Delta V, ready to bring the Day of Reckoning to the planet and her people. This threat from another world will be unlike anything ever faced before, but there are ways to survive: attempt to appease the being or rally a shattered world to send the abomination reeling back to the darkest corner of the universe. I wonder which you will choose?
The Slayer does not take kindly to off-worlders intruding on his home turf so this Friday, he's prepared to finally release his personal stash of armor to help eager duelists to repel the alien threat. Additionally, he has crafted a brand new weapon, The Dragon Buster II broadsword* which will be included with the new 5 Key promotional package. He will also be bringing back the legendary Dragon Weapons that return every year to commemorate Dragon*Con.
Draconic Mutating weapons will leave as soon as Dragon*Con concludes.
The Dragon Slayer Armor will be available for 5 keys, but as a special treat, players who see us and write down their EpicDuel character name at Dragon*Con will get the armor and sword for free!** For more details, check out the Dragon*Con post below!
*We were previously going to buff the original Dragon Buster sword to offer in the promotional package, but our players made it clear that they wanted a brand new item and that it was not fair to buff the old item. You reminded us of our old promise so we're honoring your request and introducing the Dragon Buster II broadsword. We will have images as soon as it's drawn!
**To clarify, this offer is only valid for one EpicDuel character name per DragonCon attendee.
Bye, Bye Bio Borg!
Once the new Dragon Slayer promotion goes live, we will be removing the Bionic Battlegear and the Bio Borg from the game forever! I know it's been around for awhile, but if you were procrastinating getting it for any reason, please do so before the release on Friday!
The desolate wasteland known colloquially as the Barrens was not always so. At one point, it was a lush wilderness, but it had the misfortune of being mineral rich and tactically advantageous, two qualities that made it irresistible to Baelius and his corporation. After most of the easily accessible resources were tapped, a battery of turrets was installed as part of a massive planetary defense grid. Thousands of weapon batteries could adjust their trajectories to his targets on the other side of the planet and utterly annihilate targets in space.
When war broke out, this battery was crucial in ending the insurrection and keeping any outside forces from entering Delta V's atmosphere. A suicide strike was ordered by resistance forces to break Baelius' chokehold over the region and divert the cannons away from the defense of Fortune City, and it partially succeeded. The makeshift fleet of freighters retrofitted with budget armaments and stolen military vessels rained from the skies over the Barrens until their secret payload could be delivered -- a massive EMP that disabled the turrets and remaining ships alike. But the General overseeing the Barrens was no fool, and turned the turrets on his own rebellious slaves to try and salvage the area. During the strike, the General was assassinated by his daughter’s personal bodyguard, but not before the turret gave its own killing blow- the blast from destroying the Uprising’s main weapon devastated the area, killing much of the area’s life, and corrupting the rest.
The Dragon's Harbinger
Today, the Barrens are a haven for criminals, outcasts, and daring adventurers. The Legion has no interest in reclaiming this area as it is tapped of all resources, and the once mighty turrets rest silently, many still pointed skyward as dormant sentinels. However, a mysterious being calling itself Dravax has appeared just outside the devastated turret field heralding the coming of its master and seeking the being known as Char. It's message is simple: obey and receive mercy or resist and be destroyed.
The Heartbeat of the Universe
I was browsing the grocery when my communicator rang. I thought it was Eldhi, asking for some spare parts or a tomato, but my heart sank when I saw the tag.
It was Alaric.
Alaric was one of the few who would not assimilate into the Legion. Aegir said it was too foolish, too dangerous to live as Krampus anymore. I hated Aegir. The hand he extended was the hand of a conquerer, not a friend. But, his actions did keep the Administration from slaughtering us, but at the cost of our culture. Though, I had tried to convince Alaric that we should just sign the marriage papers in Fortune City instead of reassembling the council of elders. I thought about the card I carried, that gave a false name. My mother gave me the name Ylwa. My actions earned me the title Beast Rider. The card identifies me as Winter Page. Not the most common, not the most exotic. But it renders me invisible.
Invisibility. Invisibility is safety.
The beeping brought me back to reality and I saw the message. “Ylwa and Aegir. Come immediately. The Shaken. Sorry, Shaman.” Oh Alaric. He never understood autocorrect. But his message, mangled as it was, was dangerous. There had to be a reason that he would take the risk of the Legion seeing he was still alive. I paid for my groceries and fled to the mountains.
The abandoned strip mine was cold and dank, and the smell of mildew hit my nose as I entered the cavern. Aegir had beaten me to our hideout. Aegir had long ago abandoned his training as a Shaman to join the Shadow Guard, taking the name Edgar Boothe. But even so, he was seated across from his grandmother, staring into the fire. Both humming to the sound of the universe.
I made my way around some of the other Krampus who had taken to living in the caves with us to find Alaric. He had long abandoned his royal finery, pawning the ceremonial armor to buy food for the Krampus orphans, and he was clad in rags. I embraced my betrothed and kissed him deeply. The concern was written plainly on his face.
“What is it, my King?”
“The Shaman. She’s been staring into the fire for days, just humming. The second I brought Aegir here, he joined her.”
I held Alaric’s hand and we approached the mystics. They were chanting under their breath, but the chant increased in volume until they screamed the words so loudly that I prayed to the gods that my eardrums would break. I didn’t understand the language - it was an old tongue used only by Shamans. The color drained from Alaric’s face, and he ran out into the snow. I followed him.
“What is it?”
“You don’t know what they said?”
“No. I’m not a Shaman. Why? What are they chanting?”
Alaric held me and stared into my eyes. “The Devil is coming. The Dragon is here.”
Artix's Dragon*Con Update!
DragonCon takes place every year in Atlanta, Georgia. It is a weekend long convention (Recommended ages 15+) with 30,000+ attendees... most in amazing costumes. I guess it is really like a weekend long costume party with celebrity guests (walk of fame), panels featuring the casts of your favorite sci-fi/fantasy/etc TV shows, video games, art galleries, table top games, concerts, shopping and... well, check out the schedule on the DragonCon website. As usual, the Artix Entertainment team will be attending in force again this year, including Titan, Nightwraith, Charfade, and Rabblefroth! We will be running a panel and a fan table!
Come see us at DragonCon
New Matomy Ad Offer on AExtras!
I couldn’t phrase this better myself, so I’m going to be ripping this directly from the AQW Design Notes:
From August 17th until September 2nd, Matomy is running a special AExtras offer! ONE lucky player who completes an offer will win the grand prize: a combo pack of the black Artix and Sepulchure action figures! You can also win either 3,000 or 4,500 ACs!
Click here to begin participating in AExtras offers! (Make sure you have a separate email just for doing this.)
As always, the offers in AExtras are provided by third parties, and ArtixEntertainment has no control over what offers are available in your area. We apologize for any inconvenience this might cause
August 07, 2012
This Is The End, Beautiful Friend
War is Ending
The Infernal Infiltration War is winding down, and while the Exiles have a significant lead, the Legion can’t be ruled out just yet! Remember to use those grenades -- you can resell them for credits after the War is over, but it isn’t worth stockpiling them, and grenades are happiest when thrown.
When the War ends, the bombs will no longer be available, nor will the missions to get bombs.
In addition, the Alignment-specific cruisers will go rare. However, neutral mechachillid cruisers will still be available.
Winner Takes All
As mentioned before, the alignment to power through this final Vault door first will win the Infernal War, as well as control over the Infernal Mines. Not enough for you? How about a new bot?
The Infernal Android will be available first to the winning alignment, and its special attack is related to its origin in the Vaults; the longer a battle lasts, the more damage the special attack does! As mentioned just up there, the winning alignment will have first stab at using it, and the Infernal Android comes in both varium and credit-only flavors.
Also, the first alignment to breach the Delta Vault will receive the Infernal Conqueror achievement worth 2500 rating points! The other alignment will still receive the Break On Through achievement worth 950 rating points! I would show the artwork for the achievements, but they're a bit...spoilery.
New Boost System
As we wrap up the war we are turning our attention to systems that could be improved, such as boosting. The revamped boost system will allow you to boost based on duration or number of rounds, and we will be introducing a new credit boost, which many of you may have figured out from the new end battle screens.
There is a lot of build with this new system so it may not go live this week, but it will definitely be available next week.
Did You Know?
Did you know that following battles, you now see a new screen that includes facts about EpicDuel? This new screen should be more helpful and informative than previous. Do you have an idea for an EpicDuel tip? Then post it here: http://forums2.battleon.com/f/tm.asp?m=20164694
Why didn’t I announce this in the last design notes? Well, I’m remote staff, so I find out for sure what’s going to be in the update on Monday or Tuesday, and write the design notes based on that. Occasionally, Titan and Rabble look at each other and decide yes... we can fit more into this update. They then add a feature that I don’t find out about until testing.
Happy Birthday Titan!
Our favorite cheeseburger-loving Physical God is turning another year older this week! He hasn’t asked for any missions, but it’s possible that Titan has forged in his mighty foundry an item of such power and inanity that it cannot be comprehended.
Where u go? ;-;
I’m likely not going to be writing the DNs or have much to do with the game or development next week, as I will be doing field work at another university across the country from where I live. Maybe I’ll post pictures on my Twitter!
Have you ever seen scars on fruit or flowers? Or seen a tiny insect crawling inside your LCD screen? Then chances are, you have encountered a thrips. Thrips are tiny insects (as small as 1/25 of an inch) with fringed wings belonging to the order Thysanoptera. They typically feed on plants by puncturing the plant with their mouthparts and sucking out the delicious juices. Because they serve as a vector for several plant viruses including Tobacco mosaic virus, thrips are considered pests by farmers.
August 01, 2012
The End Is Near
War is Ending... Who Will Prevail?
The Infernal Infiltration War is rapidly coming to its epic conclusion, and it’s still anyone’s game. Legion! Do the Administrator proud and bash down that door before the Lawman gets his grubby hands on imperial property! Exiles! Don’t you know about the rumors about what’s in there? Treasure, weapons... you name it. Are you just going to let the Legion have that? Remember what the Legion did to those poor Yetis? See your Generals for a final rallying cry!
Remember, the winner of this vault will determine the fate of the Vault’s contents, and Delta V.
Everybody’s been asking about the grenades, and whether they will have Varium sellback after the War. We’ve decided that they’ll have credit-only sellback, so stockpiling the dropped grenades or grenades from the missions (remember, there are missions for FREE grenades) in the hope of getting Varium is not useful. Grenades are happiest when thrown!
Some players were concerned about moderator participations, as I’m sure you’ve seen us playing in the War. Moderators are able to participate, but we must adhere to guidelines with regard to using grenades and war participation. As some players who’ve been partnered with me know, having a mod on your side is not a guarantee of success, and we don’t get grenades or drops at any greater frequency than you. Mods are also prohibited from being on the tops of the war boards.
Also, the credit-only mechachillid weapons were mistakenly tagged as seasonal rare, when they are in fact permanently rare. They will be getting one additional enhancement slot with the correction.
We forgot to mention it in last week's Design Notes (it was in the patch notes), but we are currently offering a limited-time achievement to commemorate the 2012 Olympics in London. It will be available until August 17th, which should be enough time to collect the 2012 Tokens necessary to claim it!
Mechachillids? In MY AQW? It’s more likely than you think.
One of the Mechachillid drones, Roggark, somehow found his way into Battleon looking for recruits to defend the Vaults! He’ll be selling some of the discarded exoskeletons to Lore’s denizens... but they can only be used on Lore. Funny thing about that. See the AQW design notes for more info!
July 27, 2012
War Missions Addendum
Hey there, EpicDuelists. While testing the missions last night, we realized that the text may be a bit vague about who to go to while completing the missions. I wrote them as two separate chains, which is what creates the confusion. So, here’s a brief outline to make completing the missions easy peasy!
Since Exile is first alphabetically, we’ll go through their side first.
The chain starts with three missions from Ulysses requiring you to win several war battles, turn in a purchased item, and turn in an Infernal Grenade for an upgrade. Ulysses then tells you to see Charfade about her explosives. Charfade will give you two missions, then direct you back to Ulysses.
From there, you can access a story chain concerning the St. Alban family. As you already know, one of the Legion officers is the Lawman’s daughter Ella, but the reason behind her estrangement from John is not entirely clear. You’ll complete one mission for Selina, three missions for the Lawman, then two more missions for Selina. Completing the entire chain rewards you with an achievement.
Your missions start with Valestra, who will give you three missions requiring you to win several war battles, turn in a purchased item, and also turn in an Infernal Grenade for an upgrade (I’m sensing a pattern...). Valestra then sends you to Habuki, who gives you two missions, then direct you back to Valestra for a final mission.
From there, you access the St. Alban family chain from Ella and Nightwraith’s perspective. You’ll complete two missions for Nightwraith, two missions for Cinderella, then one more mission each for both Nightwraith and Cinderella. You will then be awarded an achievement. This is the same achievement that you can win from the Exile chain.
The basic mechanics for each alignment are the same, and any player level 20 and up should be able to complete the chains, though it will be easier for you if you’re higher level. I suggest holding onto the Infernal Grenades you get as rewards, since each alignment has two missions that involve turning in an Infernal Grenade and receiving a Super Grenade. With the exception of the final mission on each side (Selina for the Exiles, Cinderella for the Legion), all of the missions will reward you with a grenade that can be launched against the final Vault door.
July 25, 2012
Three Doors Down
Go Legion, Go!
Congratulations to Administrator 7 and the Legion, who have prevailed to open the third Vault Door, and have exclusive access to the Vault Breaker III achievement along with the Magma Grenade. But, as they say, it ain’t over ‘til it’s over, and there’s still plenty of fight left to be had! The resourceful Exiles have shown that they are capable of great things when rallied behind a common cause. Could the Lawman be the charismatic, unifying leader they've been waiting for?
The Final Vault Door
With the fall of the third Vault door, players will be fighting the fourth and Final Vault Door, the true entrance into the Delta Vault. You may have thought that the first three were a challenge, but this one is the real deal.
This is for all the marbles (I lied, there are no marbles): the alignment that manages to power through this behemoth will be declared the winner, and determine the final outcome!
What’s contained deep within the Delta Vaults? To find out, you’ll have to attack the door with all you’ve got. Grenades will continue to drop, and the new War mission chains (going in for real this time, and available from your alignment lieutenant: Ulysses for the Exiles and Valestra for the Legion) will go a way towards blasting down that door.
In addition, we’ll be introducing a limited-quantity grenade for both alignments: the Om Nom Bomb! This rare grenade summons mechachillids to gnaw on the Vault door itself, then go boom! These grenades will only be available from the Heavy Mechachillid outside the final door at will not be available through war drops!
***To ensure that as many different players get to use the Om Nom Bomb as possible we will only be allowing players to purchase one bomb at a time. You can purchase more after using the item, but you can only have one in your inventory at a time!
We'll also be adding new credit-only Mechachillid-based weapons for both Legion and Exile forces! These weapons will not have any special skills, but will allow a wider range of players to own rare Infernal War weapons!
With all the new grenades and grenade drops, please keep in mind that there will not be another Vault. Remaining grenades in your inventory after the war can be sold back to clear them out of your inventory, but there is absolutely no incentive to stockpile them. Grenades are happiest when thrown. Make your grenades happy and huck them at that blasted Vault!
I’ve been getting a lot of reports lately from players who have been scammed, many of whom gave their information to individuals on Facebook who claimed to be ArtixEntertainment staff. This is especially disheartening in light of the Account Safety Awareness contest. But, just a few reminders:
ArtixEntertainment staff will NEVER ask for your password or other personal information. If someone claiming to be me or another staff member asks for your personal info, please report them.
We will NOT conduct moderator searches via Facebook. When we are calling for moderators, we will announce in the games’ design notes. Probably the worst way to go about becoming a moderator is to contact one of us and say “Can I be mod?”; the best way is to make yourself stand out by being polite, constructive, and helpful. Also, players under the age of majority (that’s 18 in the US) will not be considered for moderator positions.
You can contact us for more information about staff positions, but if you are looking for a position as development staff, be prepared to send a resume/CV, cover letter, and portfolio of relevant work (ie. programs you’ve written, examples of your art or animation, or a writing sample). Demanding a job saying “I should be staff because I have good ideas so hire me now” does not count as a cover letter.
Anyone offering you a job at ArtixEntertainment in exchange for your personal information is trying to scam you.
Thank you, and stay safe!
And Now For Something Completely Different...
This fact portion is not about insects. Earlier I tweeted about something that made me inconsolably sad: squirrels do not remember their friends following hibernation. That statement comes from a 2010 study by Jill Mateo (“Self-referent phenotype matching and long-term maintenance of kin recognition”. Animal Behaviour. 80: 929-935) which was conducted on Belding’s ground squirrels (Urocitellus beldingi). These ground squirrels, native to the Western United States are extremely nepotistic and are considered a model system for studying kin recognition.
In this study, baby squirrels were separated from their litter and raised by foster mothers in groups that were not biologically related. Following hibernation, squirrels were able to recognize their siblings, but not their foster brothers and sisters, suggesting that they are comparing the scent of newly-encountered squirrels to their own scent. They appeared to retain no memories of their fostermates following hibernation.
This actually contradicts data from social insects, such as ants or wasps, who maintain long-term memory of nestmates following overwintering. So, the question is: would mechachillids aroused from hibernation remember you?
July 17, 2012
Break on Through to the Other Side
Go, Exiles, Go...#RandyNewman
Congratulations, Exiles, for felling the second Vault door. With things as they stand right now, it’s anyone’s game and the Exiles and Legion will both have to work hard to punch through the remaining doors.
Before going on, I want to clear up some rumors that have been floating around. No, the Administration is not playing favorites with alignment. Both Exiles and Legion had equal chance to get the Vault Breaker II Achievement, and yes, Legion had to wait 2 extra hours to unlock level 35. There was also no help from the Administration for the Exiles- we did not orchestrate the Exiles winning one Vault. We want this war to be fun and fair and we will not do anything, nor have we done anything, to artificially alter the course of the War. This is all you, guys!
That said, let’s get into the meat of it!
This Vault Door will be the final Vault Door before the Big One. The Alignment that breaks down this door will have exclusive access to the Vault Breaker III achievement, as well as the powerful Magma Grenade, which weakens the Vault’s shields and makes subsequent attacks more damaging!
Both sides will have access to new Auxiliary weapons in both credit-only and varium flavors: The Mecha Disintegrator and Mecha Launcher, Super Mecha Destroyer and Super Mecha Launcher. These weapons will have the special ability Infernal Spirit, combining with the sidearms and Mechachillid armors for maximum damage and defense against the Vault!
In addition, you’ll have access to the Mechachillid Cruiser! Vroom Vroom!
We will also be adding TWO additional tier to the Vault Cracker achievement to reward players who are really, REALLY punishing those Vault doors!
Having trouble getting bombs to drop? Well, Players should report to their Lieutenants (Valestra for the Legion and Ulysses for the Exiles) for mission chains that will award all kinds of grenades, as well as some insights into some of the characters’ motivations. I had great fun thinking about Habuki and his character, his past, etc. This chain will unlock another short arc about the St. Alban family and their issues, including some answers about why Cinderella supports the Legion, while her father and sister support the Exiles. This chain will also award more war grenades.
Security Awareness Art Contest Winners!
Thank you to each and every one of you who entered the Art Contest! We’ve gone through every submission; we saw a lot of great art, and a lot of... interesting art and finally narrowed it down to the winners! So, without any further ado, congratulations to the following players!
First, the Honorable Mentions. These players will be awarded an achievement reflecting their excellence!
Wind: “EpicDuel Moderator Squidlings, Working Hard to protect you”
Ddog 81: “The BAN-HAMMER!”
Shadow2221: “Free Varium... are you kidding me?”
Blocky Bounty: “Nothing in life is free”
luminitos: “EpicDuel’s Ten Most Wanted List”
The First Place Winners will be awarded an achievement plus an exclusive home item and 1500 Varium!
mieteor: “My Precious”
Battle Elf: “Don’t let evil trick you!”
And finally, the Grand Prize Winner, who gets the cheevo, home item, and 10K varium package is...
..trizzzcentrino.. for the entry “be smart, play safe”!
Congratulations to all of the winners, and thanks again to all who participated. Also, if you didn’t win, don’t get discouraged- it doesn’t mean that your artwork was bad or sub-par, only that it wasn’t what we were looking for at this time. Thank you for participating!
*Achievements and in-game home items won't be awarded until the release on Friday.
July 11, 2012
Knocking Down Doors
Hey there EpicDuelists- we’re coming up to another Friday the 13th (along with the return of the F13 cheevo) and the continuation of the Infernal Infiltration War!
Legion may have felled the first Vault door, but there’s still time for the Exiles to catch up, with the 2nd Vault battle already underway!
Master of Unlocking
The Second Vault Door is already feeling the pain (metaphorically speaking- the Vault Door is a Door, and cannot feel pain) of thousands of both Legion and Exile soldiers. And players will have something valuable to fight for- upon the collapse of the Second Vault Door, Level 35 will be available for your grinding pleasure!
Along with unlocking Level 35, behind the door is a shop featuring Level 35 Sidearms (in both credit and varium flavors) that include the new special Infernal Spirit! This allows you to inflict +2 damage against the Vault and +2 Defense against its attacks. For a player wearing the Mechachillid armor, and wielding the Infernal Interdictor, this means that that Vault door doesn’t stand a chance!
When life gives you gren, make grenades!
We’ll be introducing four NEW grenades to make the battle against the Vault even more epic: The Stagrenade, Crystal Grenade, Hammer Grenade, and the Short Circuit Grenade. While all four will be available for purchase, anyone can get one of these grenades via a drop.
For more information, on how these Grenades work, check out this video on EpicDuel's Official Youtube Channel!
As stated above, all of these grenades are available as War Battle Drops (or as rewards for upcoming War missions), as well as for purchase.
If you manage to get a chance between bashing down the Vault door, AQW’s Friday the 13th event featuring Voltaire, the Beast Maker, and the Sleezter Bunny will be going LIVE on Friday. And if you’re as much of an audiophile as I am, you’ll love hearing Voltaire’s dulcet tones accompanying you through a voyage of mirth, mayhem, and weird hellbeasts.
HeroSmash’s Cirque du Freak will also be making its regular F13 appearance. So, lots of fun to be had even if you aren’t fighting the Vault. But, really, you should be fighting the Vault. ;)
What? No Insect Facts?
Don’t want to keep you away from the War for TOO long ;) Also, I’ll be doing some field work later this summer, so maybe Night will let me talk a little tiny bit about what I do beyond writing for ED. Also, some of the academic reading I’ve been doing is going into the quests. >::3
June 20, 2012
Brace Yourselves: War is Coming
Hey there EpicDuelists. After a brief hiatus where I was working on HeroSmash, we are back with our regular helping of Design Notes. These are gonna be extra meaty today, so make sure you have a good appetite for news!
Infernal Infiltration War
Originally, we planned to release the War this Friday, but after some massive discussions involving the proposed features for the Infernal Infiltration War, including new battle types, new NPC AI, and new consumables, we determined that it will be better to release a fully tested and polished version of the War next week rather than a buggy, less spectacular version this week.
However, we do plan to have a working prototype for Friday so our testers can create some awesome preview videos and demonstrate some of the War's exciting new features! This is disappointing short term news, but we are confident it will be worth the wait!
During the Conflict, players should report to their alignment’s 4 officers. Each side has a General, Lieutenant, 3rd Officer, and Auxiliary Officer. The War Officers are (in order) Exile: John St. Alban (The Lawman), Ulysses, Galatea, and Selina; Legion: Silas Auer (Administrator 7), Valestra, Nightwraith, and Ella St. Alban (Cinderella). There will be NPC adjustments and improvements soon- the Lawman’s revamp is going live with the start of the war, with revamps to Ella and Valestra soon to follow.
Attack the Vault
Ok, here’s the real meat and potatoes. This war will function differently than Frysteland- we’ve learned from our mistakes and we’re ready to take on this next challenge. Basically, this is set up as a race to the finish. Instead of strictly Legion vs. Exile, both Legion and Exile players will be punching through the Vault gates. Baelius spared no expense when securing the Delta Vault so the Vault doors are protected by multiple layers of shielding to protect the them from human activity. When breached, each level of protection releases a special “something” that will be discovered when that level of defense is breached. What is the reward? That’s for you to discover!
So, how are you getting through the Vault's defenses? You’ll be using grenades, available from drops or by purchase, to inflict massive damage on the Vault doors. ALL grenades will be available as drops (no exceptions), so anyone can use any bomb on the doors. There will also be mission chains that award even more war bombs! The catch is the Vault doors fight back! How long can you last against its devastating security systems? We will be featuring the most devastating players in Infernal War leaderboards!
The Mechachillids are, understandably, not happy about surface dwellers ransacking their home, so they’re sending Mechachillid soldiers out into the world to bring you down in a new battle mode. Random 1v1 or 2v2 battles have a chance to match you with a Mechachillid AI opponent or ally!
Loyalty is the Key
Just a reminder that the special Alignment Shops will remain open for the duration of the conflict, and will be periodically updated with more items (though not this week). Don’t like what’s available? After the Infernal Infiltration War is won, the Legion or Exile Key will be converted into an achievement!
But remember- choose your alignment wisely. Once you’ve chosen a side during wartime, there’s no turning back. You may still leave an Exile faction and rejoin another Exile faction, but there will be absolutely no turncoating during the Infernal Infiltration War.
New War Cheevos
Along with a new War comes new War Ranks- the stats for each rank are the same as they were for the Frysteland War and the player with the most points for his or her alignment (in this case, the one who inflicts the most damage upon the vault) at reset will win the Infernal War Hero achievement! Yay!
Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are well known for their production of honey, which is formed by purifying and concentrating the nectar harvested by workers. The worker regurgitates the honey into cells in the hive several times to treat the nectar with the enzyme invertase (which breaks sucrose into its monosaccharide components glucose and fructose) and lower the water content, making it into a sticky syrup. The honey is then consumed by the colony members, including the larvae.
However, this is not the only food consumed by bees. All larvae are fed initially with Royal Jelly, which is secreted from the mouthparts of workers. Royal Jelly is a high-quality nutritious food high in B vitamins and fatty acids, and female larvae that are destined to become Queens are fed Royal Jelly spiked with Royalactin. This peptide causes stimulation and maturation of the ovaries, which differentiates her from her sterile worker sisters.
June 06, 2012
A Stable Design Notes
Hi there EpicDuelists- we’ve got some really exciting stuff for you this week.
As you may have noticed, it appeared that all of EpicDuel’s servers were down. Well, they weren’t. Last week, Titan and Rabble introduced a new system to automatically show a server as Offline in the event of a crash to prevent players from attempting to login to a dead server. They also changed the way time is synchronized across the servers. Apparently, with this new change, when the day switched over, all the servers were flagged as dead. However, thanks to your reports, we got to the bottom of the issue and have a few fixes planned this week that should address our server woes!
Ideally, we want to create a system that can automatically notify us when the servers crash and even automatically reboot a crashed server. That's a feature that ALL of the AE games would love to have, especially with two new games on the way. We are not quite that fancy yet, but we are working on solutions to improve stability and manager server instability. Server stability is our #1 priority and we are working extra hard this week to eliminate errors and bugs so we don't have any down time during the War.
Infernal Infiltration Imminent
We should be starting up with the new war later this month, but preparations must still be made. We are introducing 2 of the new NPCs that you’ll be interacting very closely with during the saga- the Legion and Exile Footsoldiers. Without talking about too much I’m not authorized to announce yet (you’ll get the full breakdown when we’re ready to launch the war proper), these guys basically represent you.
In addition, those of you who were able to finish up every mission and chain that awards blueprint scraps should report to your Infernal Infiltration Alignment General (John “The Lawman” St. Alban for Exile players and Administrator Silas Auer for Legion players) to turn in your blueprint scraps. Your reward will be a key that unlocks a special shop full of alignment-specific items and weapons designed by our new artist, Disturbed!
RabbleFroth announced in the AEF that we’re going to be streamlining and improving the Faction System. Currently, the cannons are rather disconnected with the rest of the Faction systems and highly favor Varium players. To that end, the Faction Cannons will be removed for the time being until they can be retooled for the new faction system. For the full story, check out RabbleFroth's post in the AEF.
The Inventor and the Cyborg
Time does not pass as normal in the Void. The Void’s inhabitants experience each moment of their lives simultaneously and exclusively. To protect itself from this torture, the mind will drop memories of the time spent- some people exit the void knowing only their name, some not even that, while others experience their exile only as the blink of an eye.
When Ulysses returned from the Void, he was one of those who could remember nothing.
Upon news of Ulysses’ return, The Lawman “acquired” a technician named Mort to assist with the repair of the Inventor, and gave them safe haven in the area surrounding the Mine Tower. St. Alban’s pockets were deep, and Mort a man of desperate financial straits, so he did not think twice to use semi-legal means to get the required medical supplies for the maimed inventor.
Mort was the perfect man to get in and out of classified areas- he was a tech working under the Shadow Guard’s respected Security Officer Paloma San Marco, which gave him clearance to come and go as he pleased, and he was low-ranking enough that his presence aroused no suspicions. So, under the Lawman’s command, he was able to freely take out gauze, painkillers, and nanomedicines. The stolen medical supplies included a SurgeryBot, a top-of-the line model that included the programming from a deceased surgeon.
Day and night, Ulysses was nursed back to relative health- the damage was extensive, and his memory was foggy at best. Most of the time, he could only speak in vague thoughts, but eventually he awoke during a procedure and merely asked “What happened?”
Being the only one around, the SurgeryBot answered “You were injured, sir. I am treating your wounds.”
“Where am I?”
“I can’t see anything.”
“Your eyes were destroyed in the explosion.”
“Who are you?”
“I am SurgeryBot 7948. I was commissioned by...”
“No.” Ulysses interrupted. “Are you a program or a cyborg?”
SurgeryBot paused, holding the scalpel above his body. “I’m a cyborg. I was a surgeon for over thirty-five years.”
“Who were you?”
“I do not have access to that, sir. According to my biomarkers, I was female. That is the only information in my memory banks.”
“That makes two of us. I can remember vague shadows of names, nothing about my life before.”
As she worked, Ulysses asked her about the outside world, how it had changed from his memories, what few he had, and she told him about the Exile, the Revolution, about Baelius and the Legion, and about the man who had given her the directive to heal Ulysses. As she explained the world, he reached up toward her with his intact arm, and held her hand. Years later, she would say it was that moment when she started to remember her humanity.
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.”
April 25, 2012
Rise, Delta Knights!
Livestream Out Loud!
First off, thank you to everyone who joined us on the EpicDuel developer livestream on Sunday. We had a lot of fun answering your questions as Nightwraith drew Jimminy Mole Cricket. Titan showed us the Derp Owl he drew (livestream commemorative item anyone?) as well as demonstrating the new purchasing system, where packages come with “bonus points” to allow players greater flexibility in choosing promotional items and credit bonuses with their package. We’re really excited about it, and it’s coming out for real this time (Titan was hurt enough by #smackTitan)! We also announced that the next big story arc is called the Infernal Infiltration Saga, with a revamped war system.
During the stream, Nightwraith talked about the Delta Knight armor suggested by Reki, and he was excited about it. You were excited about it, he was excited about it... everyone’s excited about it! And Nightwraith’s been hard at work making it a reality! That means this Friday, we will be introducing the class-changing Delta Knight armor (a different look for each class!) for sale in game and as part of a Promotional Package.
Thank you to everyone who applied to be a moderator. We had the difficult task of going through all your applications and selecting the candidates we felt were best suited to the job. For those who weren’t selected: I’m so sorry that we could not offer you a position at this time. I hope you will continue to support ArtixEntertainment as a player even though you weren’t quite what we were looking for from staff. For those who were chosen: congratulations! You should be receiving an email from us soon with paperwork and such.
A Disturbing new development
A Warm Welcome to the newest member of EpicDuel’s development team! Disturbed has joined our team, and he’ll be helping out with artwork. Congrats, Disturbed, and welcome to the team! Be sure to follow him on Twitter for his latest works in progress!
Cerberoz Livedraw this Wednesday at 4pm!
Join AQW this Wednesday at 4PM EST for Cerberoz's in-game live-draw event! We'll be taking your suggestions over Twitter about what he should draw so that you can see your input shape the item as it appears on the screen!
If you haven't joined us for an in-game LiveDraw event yet, here's what's going on:
You'll want to /join stream once the event starts and you'll be able to watch as one of AE's epic artists draws an item based on your real-time suggestions! That item will go into the Black Market shop in the /stream map and, once the art is polished up, the item will turn into the weapon you've just seen created!
AE heads to Relay for Life!
The world is made up of everyday heroes, and this weekend Artix Entertainment is joining a whole group of them as we race to find a cure to save lives in Relay for Life! We'll be walking, running, /stepdancing, and even /sambaing our way up, down, and around the track for 18 hours from Friday to Saturday.
If you're in the area, /party up with us at the Charles S Rushe Middle School from 6PM Friday night to 12PM Saturday! We'd love to see all our local players there!