August 14, 2012
The Vault Is Open
The final vault door has fallen to the Exile forces! John St. Alban, the man known as The Lawman has commanded the Exiles to victory over Silas and his Legion army and now has control over Baelius' most horrifying experiment - a cybernetic army harvested from the civilian population of Delta V. Now all he has to do is figure out how to turn all of them on!
Fortunately for the players, Ulysses has been able to activate a few and the Lawman has seen fit to sell them to Legion and Exile forces alike to finance his next project. Whoever figures out how to activate them all will have an army of millions of cyborgs at his or her disposal.
But what of the Legion? How will they fare in the aftermath of this war? The Lawman seems content to let the soldiers go free, but you can bet Alydriah won't let this insult go unanswered!
Also, this Thursday we will be removing most of the War content including Missions, War Battles, and War Achievements. War weapons will be reallocated to the Light Mechachillid at the front of the Mines and the Exile Soldier in the Delta Vault. Players will also be able to sell back grenades for 15-25 Credits. You may be disappointed if you were hoping for a high sellback, but we warned players repeatedly that it would be better to throw them than keep them.
What Was THAT?!
Those of you who saw the end cutscene know what I'm talking about. EpicDuel is indeed planning a crossover event with MechQuest to coincide with DragonCon. We have never confirmed or denied whether or not EpicDuel takes place in the Lore Universe, but space is a big place, and there are monsters out there that transcend time and reality! How did this creature arrive at Delta V? Is it friend or foe? I guess you'll have to wait and see!
Before we say goodbye to the Infernal Mines, we will be adding a new credit-only Infernal Apartment! Be sure to decorate your new digs with a selection of Infernal items ranging from Stalagmites to Mechachillid statues!
After much player discussion on the matter, this week we will be addressing bot balance. Some bot skills are wildly better than others so we will be tweaking them to encourage a better variety of effective bot strategies.
Call for Spanish Translators
Account Recovery and Security
It seems like we've been getting a lot of players lately emailing us directly about account and payment issues. If you are unable to access your account because you have been hacked, or you made a payment and have not received any points, please contact the Artix Help Team as soon as possible http://portal.battleon.com/help/mailer.asp?c=10
We have a hardworking staff of support professionals (real, human people last I checked) who are 100% dedicated to helping you fix your account. Contacting us on social networks through email will not help you get your account back any faster, and because we spend most of our time building EpicDuel, any time we might spend fixing accounts is less time we would spend building features, fixing bugs, and drawing content.
That said, here are some simple yet helpful tips for helping you protect your account from hackers and scammers:
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 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?
Tags: Cinderella Cinderella marbles marbles War War Infernal Infiltration Infernal Infiltration Bugs Bugs Grenades Grenades Weapons Weapons Mechachillids Mechachillids marbles marbles War War Infernal Infiltration Infernal Infiltration Bugs Bugs Grenades Grenades Weapons Weapons Mechachillids Mechachillids
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 08, 2012
Infernal Weapons Explained
Loyalty is the Key
As we improve the War system, we will be introducing new and exciting features to differentiate the alignments without disrupting game balance. One of these features is a Legion and Exile shop to reward alignment loyalty which can be accessed with a special key. Our new volunteer artist Disturbed has created a grand cache of Infernal weapons to reward the loyalty of Legion and Exile players.
But how do you acquire these weapons? You will need to turn in FOUR Blueprint scraps to either Silas or The Lawman. Because there are now tons of mission in the game, I have located this handy-dandy list of missions that reward Blueprint Scraps!
Refined - Slayer
Dance, Puppets! Dance! - Alydriod
Toxic Love - Lepus
Impious Convictions - The Lawman
God Prefers a Heretic - Silas Auer
After you have gathered FOUR Blueprint scraps (they will be sellable later if you have too many for whatever reason), please report to either the Lawman or Silas for the mission "The Bigger Picture". Completeing either mission will reward either an Exile Locker Key (Lawman) or Legion Locker Key (Silas). This item will unlock a shop contained on either NPC offering exclusive alignment specific items.
Remember, once you have completed the mission and turned in the scraps for a key, you CANNOT access the opposite alignment's shop. We plan to update these shops as the war progresses.
Because this system is new and we want everyone to be aware of how it works and where to get Blueprint scraps, we are delaying the release of these weapons until next week. We also want to ensure that the servers are stable before introducing this new feature. We had some setbacks this week, but next week we'll hit the war even harder to make up for lost time!
We still plan to remove the Faction Cannons until they can be adjusted for the new Faction system, but their removal will be delayed until next week.
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 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.”