April 18, 2012
Post Post PAX Post
Design Notes: Straight-up. No chaser.
By now you’ve had the chance to see Nightwraith’s recap from PAX, and some of you have pointed out that “off topic” posts like this aren’t technically “design notes”. As creative people we draw inspiration from all sources- and events like conventions are great arenas for us to meet up with other creative individuals and share our ideas. This is part of the creative process and isn’t to be discouraged. To steal from Neil Gaiman, creative people are people too and life is a GOOD thing for us. It’s where we draw our inspiration. So forgive the occasional con recap, piece of prose, or other post that isn’t a list of what’s going into the update, no chaser.
New Packages: For Realsies this time! (or smack Titan)
Last week, we announced the mid-level packages. Well, with the transfer to CS5, we weren’t able to implement those promo packs just quite yet. Starting Friday, players will be able to purchase varium with Veteran Battlegear or Advanced Battlegear. As an aside: these are additional promotional items, the current promos will still be available.
This enables players to mix and match varium quantities or bonus credits with promo items, and we hope to give players more options in the future!
Escape To the Planet of the Bunnies
As you recall from last week’s missions, the bunnies have been building a spacecraft to get off of Delta V and back to the planet of their ancestors: Orychtolagus, where Rabbits are the dominant species. See Mr. Cottontail in the Barrens to find out how their scheme all turned out!
I realize I wasn’t as kind to the lower levels with the mission chains at Myxoma and Lepus this time around, but never fear! The missions are staying in for a little while to allow you guys time to catch up!
Moderator Applications Closed
Now that we have narrowed down our list to a handful of qualified Mod finalists, it is time to formally close the application process. Thank you to everyone who applied! It is truly thrilling that so many of you care deeply enough about EpicDuel to want to devote your time and energy to helping us, but, sadly, we cannot pick everyone. To our finalists, we thank you for bearing with us during this process and we will get back to you shortly!
I tweeted a bit ago that I’d been working on a background story for an upcoming storyline that’s been pushing the page limits of a short story (single-spaced even!). Here’s a brief excerpt from what we’ve been calling “the novella”. In this excerpt, which takes place 20 years prior to the events of EpicDuel, the Marshalls- an intergalactic police force- have been sent to Delta V to investigate some of the suspicious activity going on. The Marshalls have sent two of their best- veteran John St. Alban and his green partner Silas Auer to meet with the leader of the Shadow Guard:
Silas took the opportunity to investigate his surroundings. Everything was clean, cold antiseptic white. The long table appeared to have been carved from the room itself, or formed naturally like formations in a cave. The wall opposite their entranceway was made completely of glass, and the view from Alydriah’s spire showed several districts of Fortune City, and as the twin suns were rising over the horizon, the shadow of the mine tower fell over the land.
“So that’s where the varium comes from.”
“We can ruminate on the origin of magic rocks later, kid. I don’t trust Descarl, especially with her sending that obvious red herring after us.”
“Commander Hitchens is not a red herring, I assure you.” They turned to see Descarl at the door. Her black hair was pulled up in a bun high on her head, and she was wearing the Shadow Guard dress uniform in white, indicating her status as an Administrator. On her lapel, next to the rows and rows of medals indicating her military successes, was a pin with a large Roman numeral I- Administrator 1.
“How does the ranking system work here, Administrator?”
“It goes by district, and again John, call me Alydriah. I’m the Administrator for Fortune City’s First District and Supreme Commander of the Guard. Second in command to Baelius himself: may he bring Order forever.”
“Order. Is that what you call it?”
“You may find my methods a bit unorthodox...”
“I heard you brought stocks back into vogue.”
“...but you can’t argue with my results, John. The workforce is mainly robotic drones commanded by our most talented citizens- we call them Tech Mages- while occasionally a faction or two will pop up, a little public humiliation is enough to make a willful child see the light.”
“And the genocide?”
“Exaggerated! The Krampus enjoy protected status under the rule of the Legion, and many of them have joined our workforces and intermarried with our citizens!”
“And the Dragonmen?”
“Refused vaccinations, believing them to be Outsider poison. We tried to save them, truly. And the non-humanoids are protected under anti-discrimination laws.”
“Now see, what I heard tell was that y’all are threatening to destroy some peaceful planets.”
“The very idea is absurd, John!” She sat, gestured for her guests to do the same, then snapped her fingers to summon a robot butler. “Devil’s Claw, for me as well as for my guests.” The butler bowed and rolled away. “My own private reserve, I’ve bred these fruits myself. It tastes as if you’re drinking the feeling of a gentle sunshine on your face. Now, that noise about us attacking peaceful planets comes from Baelius’s business partners. Since the conversion of Delta V from a mere business venture to an independent state, these huge corporations have been sending their private military forces to attack and subjugate us, demanding repayment upon their investment, especially now that our scientists have unlocked the secrets of teleportation and interdimensional shift! If we are at war, sir, it is a war for our independence!”
A deafening silence fell over the three of them, until it was broken by the butler’s entrance.
“Perfect timing, Servertron,” Alydriah said, accepting the liquid the metal servant poured into her tumbler. The sunlight danced in the faceted silica. “You may investigate the grounds to your contentment, we’ve prepared quarters for you here in the spire. After breakfast, I’ll assign you guides from my guard.” Alydriah drank. “You’ll find nothing.” She stood. “Now allow me to attend to my duties. Paperwork and all that.”
Insects have many strategies for survival, one of which is parasitism. Parasitoids exist as endoparasites (ie. an organism that lives entirely within another organism) as part of their life cycle, but exist as freely-living adults. This strategy is used notably by tachnid flies and brachonid and icheumon wasps. The braconid wasp Cotesia congregata parasitizes sphingid caterpillars by laying her eggs inside the caterpillar, which causes devastating effects including not only death but associated illness. The parasitized caterpillar experiences a decreased feeding response, which is associated with changes in foregut contraction mediated by the octopamine (a neurotransmitter/neurohormone similar to norepinepherine that’s involved in a variety of functions in insects such as modulation of muscle contractility, learning, memory, and light production by fireflies). Caterpillars combat the infection by forming nodules, aggregations of hemocytes that attempt to kill the parasitoid egg. However, even if the caterpillar manages to clear the infection and survive, often the damage to the endocrine system (particularly management of juvenile hormone) is permanent and the caterpillar experiences extranumerary molts and dies. X^^^> (dead caterpillar)
Arts Livestream in AQW!
Tune in to AQW at 4:00PM EST today for week 5 of the AE Artist livestream! This week features Thyton! Just like last time, players should send their suggestions via the AQW forums and join the live draw map to watch the creation of a new item, and get some pro tips on art!
Not to be outdone, this Sunday at 9:00 AM EST the EpicDuel developers will be hosting our own livestream at the EpicDuel Artists livestream. If you’ve tuned in to one before, you know that we’ll be answering questions, talking about the game/our inspirations, and apparently I’m required to sing every 10 viewers. So if you want to hear us ramble on about things we find interesting, tune in Sunday! We'll try to keep this to under 2 hours this time, so be sure to get in as soon as you can! Can’t make it to the livestream? The recordings will be hosted there as well!