February 29, 2012
This post only exists every 4 years
Geez, don’t take me so literally. I don’t constantly put hidden meaning into every syllable I type.
Happy Leap Day, players! Happy Birthday to all of you whose calendar age is 1/4 their chronological age. We’ve got some awesome stuff in store for you this week, so let’s say we jump right on in! (har dee har har)
Please, don’t leave me...
The Heartbreaker saga has come to its, well, heartbreaking conclusion. Players should go to the Guard Outpost in Fortune City to see how your plans turned out. I don’t want to spoil it for you guys, so you’ll just have to report to the Outpost to watch the cutscene.
Since we’ve concluded the Heartbreaker Saga, these missions will be going rare, as well as the Frysteland Aftermath missions, so now is the time to get those in if you haven’t done so already.
New Promotional Pack!
By popular demand (yes, Facebook fans, I’ve seen your constant posts and tweets begging for a new promo pack and “WHEN NEW PROMO PACK? ANSWER NOW!”), the Heartbreaker/Azrael promotional pack, along with all the other Heartbreaker-themed weapons will be going out NEXT week, so players still have another week to purchase this amazing item package.
The Celtic Cleaver, with its "Lucky Strike" skill, and all the other Celtic items from last year are coming back next week as well. What luck!
If it ain’t broke...
Due to the overwhelming popularity of PvP drops, we’re planning to add 50 more broken items! These broken items can be fixed by Ulysses for a mere fraction of the original varium cost, and these new weapons go all the way up to level 33! By Grabthar’s hammer, what a savings!
A wild Tech Mage appears! Rabblefroth uses Balance Changes. It’s Super Effective!
The balance changes for low-level Tech Mages seemed to work really well, so this week we’re focusing on addressing balance at higher levels. Go Rabblefroth! :D
There goes the neighborhood...
If you follow me (@Cinderella_ED) or Nightwraith (@Nightwraith_ED) on Twitter, you may have seen us conversing with two of the NPCs, specifically Lysander Cox/the NegaWraith (@Negawraith_ED) and Alydriah Descarl (@AllWillObey). If you tweet, feel free to follow all of us on Twitter! In addition, if you haven’t already, “like” us on Facebook at facebook.com/EpicDuelOfficial
This week’s Insect Fact is based on a brand spanking new paper (seriously, it was just published 10 days ago), so I’m super-excited about this. Endoparasitism by parasitoid wasps is a huge mortality factor for insect larvae across taxa, and insect species have various ways to combat parasitoid infection. One hypothesis for how insects combat parasitoids is the “nasty host hypothesis”, wherein in addition to normal immune response (insects do not have adaptive immune responses like we do, but they do have an immune system that allows them to fend off infection and encapsulate parasites) insects larvae are able to sequester allelochemicals from their host plants and sequester them in their hemolymph and body fat, which poisons the parasites. In the case of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, fly larvae that are exposed to ethanol are not parasitized as often by wasps, and when larvae are infected, consumption of ethanol causes increased death of the wasp larvae. Also, after infection, the fly larvae will search for sources of ethanol to consume. Infected fly larvae are twice as likely to survive parasitism by a generalist parasitoid after consuming ethanol than those that did not, indicating that the fly is self-medicating with ethanol. This is not the first time that this has been observed- flies infected with bacteria will give themselves fevers by seeking out heat sources to kill the bacterial infection.
February 22, 2012
The Heart Breaketh
Heartbreaker Saga Continues
For this round of missions, report first to NegaWraith for your orders. This will be a very dangerous endeavor for all those involved, mostly because you will be tangling with Alydriah's fearsome Alydroids! However, bringing down Alydriah’s citadel is worth the effort and the risk.
The time has come for action, Exiles. Administrator 12’s Legion Resistance has made all the necessary preparations. If you haven’t completed the Heartbreaker missions thus far, you’ll want to complete these missions prior to going forward.
This will also lead to the explosive conclusion of the Heartbreaker Saga, and its associated rewards.
From Broken to Mint
It seems like a lot of players are really enjoying the PvP drops. Have you won anything awesome this week? This week, to increase the excitement, we are adding a new class of item to the PvP drops: broken items! This may not seem like a bonus at first, but these weapons will be versions of Varium weapons, and some genius- say Ulysses- might be able to repair them to full functionality for a small Varium fee that is a % of the regular purchase price.
With the EpicDuel anniversary coming up, we would like to give our Founders a special reward. In thanks for supporting us when we were a small project made by two young men working out of a two-bedroom apartment. Today, our staff has doubled and we work out of a small office. Movin’ on up, baby!
In appreciation of those who supported us in the early days, we are giving every Founder and Elite player a special item: the Founder Bike! Those with the Founder achievement will be able to ride in style on this exclusive hoverbike. You can acquire this exclusive item by visiting Negawraith (who has been kind enough to stash these bikes) in Fortune City and taking the bike from his inventory.
February 14, 2012
A Lovestruck Design Notes
Happy Discount Candy Day Eve!
Hope all of you are having a wonderful and love-filled Valentine’s Day, not-so-bitter Singles Awareness Day, anticipatory Clearance Chocolates Eve, or a great Tuesday. I’ve put heart socks on the Squidlings for the occasion, but I’m sure you’re having just as much fun as Mr. Squiddles.
Due to the paint in his office still being wet, Raymus wasn’t quite ready to open shop last week, but he’ll (hopefully) get the contractors out of the building by Friday. He’s brought along with him some new housing features. Starting Friday, you’ll be able to see whose home you’ve invaded, and homeowners will be able to restrict access to their homes. If you own a home, you will now be able to restrict access to your home to make it private (only you have access), to your buddy list only, or just let everyone come in and track dirty mud all over your carpets!
We will also be slashing prices on home items! This means there's never been a better time to decorate!
Following the success of the lowbie drops, we’ve expanded PvP drops to include weapons for everyone! You get a drop! And you get a drop! In addition to expanding the PvP drop weapons to include weapons for all levels, we are adding the Hoverbike and Assault Bot to the mix. Rumor has it that there may also be some "broken" items that are unusable. I wonder if there's anyone who could fix them? Unfortunately, with the revaming of the drop system, the random credit bonuses and home prizes are going away forever. With mission rewards and power hour, there are many more reliable ways to get credits.
We’re also adding another dropped bot: the Rusty Assault Bot. Since it’s rusty and secondhand, this bot has similar effects to the Assault Bot, but he’s a little weaker. If you’re impatient and want to buy a refurbished bot, you can buy him (for credits only) at Junker.
We may be repurposing the arcade in future updates with minigames and other fun extraneous things to do (like "Battle Fruits"!).
In addition to Mr. Alexander, players will meet one of Administrator 12’s lackeys, a man nicknamed by the Exiles as “NegaWraith” due to his uncanny resemblance to the interstellar assassin Nightwraith. Could he be an asset? An enemy? What is his plan? These questions and more will be answered in Part II of the Heartbreaker Saga. See the Exile Soldier in the Bazaar (next to Titan) for more info and to begin Part II of the Heartbreaker Saga.
Word on the streets (of the Internet) is that Artix Entertainment is making its very first 3D game! Since space is limited, we're giving everyone who has ever purchased Varium in EpicDuel, along with members of the other AE games, a chance to grab your favorite name before anyone else! For more information, please check out http://artix.com/, your source for all things AdventureQuest 3D, and the future home of the Artix Entertainment portal.
BEEEES! OH GOD, NOT THE BEES!
Let me start out this week’s insect fact with a little anecdote. This weekend was completely spent on an assignment for my Environmental Studies class, and it was a review of the factors contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder. Being the sole Entomologist in the class (and pretty sure I’m the only Entomologist at my institution of Higher Learning), I ended going way off the deep end and wrote 10 pages for what I found out later was supposed to be a 2 page assignment. Suffice to say, I’ve been brain-deep in bee for the past few days. My conclusion for that paper is that further research is needed to quantify synergistic effects between pesticides and use measurement endpoints other than honeybee mortality to quantify the effect of chemicals such as imidicloprid, which confuses bees and the workers are likely to wander off and forget where their hive is. Also, the medicines used prophylactically to prevent bacterial infection may weaken the bees’ defense to the effect of chronic sublethal exposure to multiple pesticides, including those that prevent harm coming to the hive from Varroa mites. The parasitic mite Varroa destructor lives up to its name, and will wipe out a thriving colony in a year if left untreated. So, things are very unclear as how to manage the threats to honeybees.
One thing I found interesting that I actually hadn’t thought about before, is that the honeybee is an invasive species in North America, and there are over 4,000 species of native North American bees that can “pick up the slack” if we were to lose all of our honeybees. The bumblebee (genus Bomba) is actually a more efficient agricultural pollinator than the honeybee!
February 08, 2012
Everybody Loves Raymus
Welcome to another week, my EpicDuel droogies! This week’s going to be a little short on content, but big on features that all players should find something to their liking!
Drip Drip Drop!
Starting on Friday, EpicDuel will feature PvP drops. Essentially, every PvP battle in EpicDuel will work like an arcade battle, and every time you defeat one of your friends (or a complete stranger), you’ll have a chance at adding something nice to your inventory. It could be a weapon, it could be a gem, it could be a useless tin can... it is a mystery! Who knows what your opponents could be hiding?
We’re not implementing stackable items yet, unfortunately, but Mission Items like the Skull Card, or special items you get for missions will no longer count toward your inventory space. This should benefit players, especially low-level non-varium players who have had to find ways to clear out enough space for mission items. With gem drops, one could stockpile a little treasure with this update...
We’ll be making improvements to the Housing system in EpicDuel, starting with the presence of a Realtor. Due to the increase in the housing market since the Exiles started returning to Delta V, there is an increasing demand for Realtors, who are able to lead customers through the benefits and risks of purchasing real property. One man, known simply as Mr. Alexander (or “Raymus” as it says on his deskplate) has stepped up to the challenge. Visit his office to learn more!
We’re not continuing the Heartbreaker Saga this week, but be prepared for new faces (maybe someone who the exiles can use to their advantage?) and more chances to use that infinite mission item inventory space!
Here is a comprehensive list of some of the minor fixes and features in this update!
Some insects store the toxic chemicals from the food they eat in their body fat, which makes them poisonous. Think about the Monarch Butterfly caterpillar, a Nymph butterfly that is the classic example of this system. It eats milkweed and stores the iridoid compounds from the plant on its body fat which makes the caterpillar nasty and poisonous. Insects that sequester toxins from their diet, such as caterpillars in the family Nymphalidae do so as a protection from predators. However, this leaves them open to parasitic and viral infection.
February 01, 2012
Hey Fellas, Have You Heard the News?
If you haven’t, that’s what the Design Notes are for! The Frysteland Arc is coming to a close- and I’ll thank all of you a billion times for making EpicDuel’s first in-game War a success! Now, though, we’re moving on to the next arc, the Heartbreaker Saga. This will be a month-long story arc, and arguably the darkest thing I have ever written for EpicDuel, so I’m excited. Are you excited?
This week marks the release of another Player Suggestion Shop. Once Nightwraith has them all drawn, I’ll post the names of all the players whose dreams have come true by having a design in EpicDuel. Nightwraith promised to draw until his hands are withered claws, so we should have a hefty amount of items for all classes.
Remember, all players whose designs are implemented in game will receive their item (regardless of price, level, or item type), as well as the EpicArtist Achievement!
The results are in! The following is a list of contributors to this suggestion shop. This was one of the best batches yet so keep up the good work!
Despair - VectosAE
If your suggestion didn't make it in this time, take this as an opportunity to improve and submit new designs for future suggestions shops. It's also possible that we really liked your idea, but didn't have time to include it in this release. Eithery way, the next suggestion shop can't come soon enough!
Lost and Found!
Ever wonder what’s the best weapon for your level, or wonder where your opponent got that cool item? Just ask the Finderbot! The Finderbot is programmed with statistics on all of the items in EpicDuel, and he’s sorted them by level and type, with numerous filter options, so you’ll be able to find the gear you need much faster!
I’m still writing the first missions that will introduce the Heartbreaker Arc, but I can tell you that you’ll need to start out in Old Fortune City to receive your first orders from the Exile Soldier and Exile Leader. Watch my Twitter for more info about where to go for story missions this week!
Sweet Insect Facts
Recently, honeybee (Apis mellifera) colonies have been in decline worldwide. The odd syndrome (named Colony Collapse Disorder) causes the almost sudden disappearance of workers from the hive in a short amount of time- this is caused by the worker bees leaving the colony when they recognize that they are diseased.
The current hypothesis for the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder is that it it is caused by several simultaneous plagues afflicting the bees, and with international bee commerce (eg. purchase of royal jelly from hives in China, import and export of hives across continents) the plague has a much higher rate of infection. A good candidate for a viral plague is the Deformed Wing Virus, which is spread by parasitic mites, Varroa destructor, who prey upon apian pupae. The pesticides used to control mite populations may increase sensitivity to DWV, but treated hives are less likely to succumb to Colony Collapse Disorder.
January 25, 2012
This is the End, Beautiful Friend...
The end of the Frysteland saga, that is! As the War comes to a close, I want to congratulate each of you who participated and made the Frysteland war a success! Remember that your actions determined the outcome of the War for Frysteland, and influenced the storyline as a whole. I’ll be posting an addendum with the official announcement of the alignment winner, along with a description of the missions you’ll have to complete to discover how this arc concludes.
What's gonna happen to these little guys? You'll find out soon!!!
We’ll probably be revisiting these characters in a future arc, and I know some of you were interested in the mythology. Frysteland will remain open all year to visitors from all over Delta V, whether you're seeking conquest, information, or riches.
Since this marks the end of this particular story arc, we’ll be implementing the Aftermath missions, and making changes to the Frysteland screens to reflect the aftermath of the Frysteland conflict.
Also, all the seasonal rare frost weapons will be leaving for another year, possibly taken by the mysterious Titanfraggr for unknown reasons.
I would like to confirm that an individual cannot have both the Legion’s Bane achievement and the Krampus Slayer achievement. Players who switched alignment to earn both achievements will lose the second achievement earned. So, if you killed 100 Krampus for the Krampus Slayer achievement, then switched to Exile to kill 100 Yeti and get the Legion’s Bane achievement, you would only get to keep the Krampus Slayer achievement.
This situation showed us that we need to overhaul the war system for the next epic war event to encourage loyalty, and punish treason more severely.
Following the Frysteland arc, we will be starting with the next EpicDuel story arc. As Alydriah was distracted by the conflict in Frysteland, the Exiles in Old Fortune City seized this opportunity to plan a counterattack at the Heart of Alydriah’s operations. Not much more I can tell you right now, except that this arc won’t hold back- it’s the darkest thing I’ve written for EpicDuel so far; I hope you are prepared for it!
With this story arc, we’ll be implementing a NEW Promotional pack to replace the Frost Destroyers. This promo which will be going live Friday will include Azrael Borg and Azrael's Curse. The Azrael Borg is a robotic wasp does that physical damage, and has the special ability to sting your enemy with it's unblockable serrated tail and deliver a Heart Attack! Well, technically it's not a real heart attack, but it does drastically reduce the effectiveness of any applied buffs on your opponent. It also has a physical primary attack in which it uses it's razor-sharp heart blades to give your opponents more than a broken heart!
The second part of the promo is the awesome mutating weapon, Azrael's Curse! This potent physical weapon forged as a warped marriage of technology and magic carries the Mark of Azrael, which offers a +5% chance to crit!
The Heartbreaker weapons will also be returning, and you can buy them from Alydriah’s Heartbreaker Bot in her Fortune City Spire or from Exile Leader in Old Fortune City.
Balance Tweaks (Postponed Until Next Week)
We'll be making another small balance adjustment for this update. One that is confirmed is removing the effect of Support on Deflection to Technology. This should increase the usefulness of this stat while reducing the "Swiss Army Knife" status of the Support stat.