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the adventures of reine du fromage de blight

this is my blog of the mostest awesome mmo currently available! go to www.istaria.com for more information!

Author: velveeta

we interrupt your regularly scheduled broadcast for this important news

Posted by velveeta Wednesday March 31 2010 at 3:35PM
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hails and praise to you, beloved monarch!

i send word of important events that occurred this past week among the mighty dragons of order.

in the interests of brevity, my liege, this is but a summary of the 2 councils i snuck....ummm, i mean, gained admittance to.  i have attached the meetings of these councils for you to preuse at your leisure.

 

the councils were called to discuss the problem of, and possible solutions to, a truly troubling and highly unusual behavior pattern of a transplanted ancient.  apparently, this ancient has been drugging hatchies into unconsciousness and then - my queen, i can hardly believe it enough to repeat - then, this ancient eats the hatchie!

 

how can such a thing be true, i know you are asking yourself!  it is to determine this very thing that the dragon council was called.  thru my resources (as naturally, this was not considered a thing for peds, and thus was not generally announced), i discovered the time and location of the meeting.  knowing this is the kind of news that the queen desires, i decided to attend, if i could make my way past so many mighty dragons undetected.

 

both councils were held in the grand assembly chamber of the town center lair of dralk.  stealthily as possible, i followed the line of dragons into the chamber, as i find all lairs to be a confusing maze of hallways and rooms.  somehow i remained unnoticed, and slipped into a small hollow in the massive stone walls of the chamber.

 

most of the honored adults and ancients of order were in attendance, with several hatchies as well:

1stcouncil1.jpg picture by velveeta3

1stcouncil2.jpg picture by velveeta3

1stcouncil3.jpg picture by velveeta3

 

the first meeting was called to order by lungtien, who then explained the reason for the meeting.  lung advised the group that hatchies have been informing their elders of an ancient that offered them treats (usually cookies and other foods loved by youngsters).  shortly after consuming the treats, the hatchies would 'fall asleep' - then, to their horror, the ancient proceeded to consume them.  the hatchies awoke when the gift renewed them to life.

this ancient, rorix, was afraid to show up at the first meeting.  one of his kin, starstilanxs, acted as defender for rorix and was allowed to present the ancient's point of view.

as you can read in the minutes, my liege, rorix apparently has a distaste for the taking of life, even to feed hunger, and his method of relieving said hunger without the technical taking of life was to consume the gifted young of his own kind.  apparently, since the gift does not allow permenant death, the eating of gifted young does not violate the principles involved.

this is, of course, abhorrant to all sentient species - so natually the council began to debate possible consequences for rorix's behavior.  starstilanxs spoke as best he could for his kin and promised to relay the council's thoughts.  tho i attempted to remain silent and merely observe, there came i time when i felt you would want me to comment.  altho frightened at the myriad of possible responses to my intrusion, the dragons were quite accomodating after the initial shock of my presence.  the first meeting then adjourned until it recieved rorix's reply.

 

the second meeting occurred a few days later.  this time, in addition to the concerned dragons, rorix was in attendance to face the charges against him and to hear the thoughts of the council:

2ndcouncil3.jpg picture by velveeta3

2ndcouncil2.jpg picture by velveeta3

2ndcouncil1.jpg picture by velveeta3

 

many elders were happy to get the opportunity to directly question rorix as to his intentions and beliefs.  rorix was somewhat less pleased, perhaps, to hear the conclusions of the council, but in the end, was willing to abide by the combined will of his comrades - unwilling to risk severance from his family and friends, should he continue in this contrary and deviant behavior.

 

while compromises always leaves all sides unsatisfied, the alternatives make them the best choice.  i am pleased to report that in my opinion, and if i may be so bold to state that i believe it your opinion as well, this necessary compromise benefits not just the parties involved, but also the gracious society of order as a whole.  hatchies are free to continue to learn more positive lessons about the world, and elders can be secured in the hopes that their young are not being molested in the most vile way imaginable.

 

until there is something more of interest to report, i remain as always your most willing servant!

so you wanna be an architect! part 1

Posted by velveeta Monday March 22 2010 at 6:15PM
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one of the best things about  istaria is the ability to change the world - not just as a player, but actually change the face of the virtual world. 

there are plenty of public or game things to build - bridges, lighthouses, gazebos, even crafthalls and workstations.  vel is responsible for finishing the public buildings in the settlements of selen and sanctuary bay, as well as the sslanis coast lighthouse(affectionately known as 'the queen's tada'), on blight.  if you can't afford a plot, its a great way to get experience in the construction skewls.

but nothing beats the feeling of owning your own little piece of the world, someplace you can call home.  having a plot or a lair, designing it to suit your needs, slaving away at it for months or even years, then laying the last keystone or tapestry and watching the building pop into existence - that feeling of accomplishment is carried back to you every time you see your home again.....

plots and lairs in istaria come in many sizes and locations.  the smallest start at about 15x15 or thereabouts, up to over 100x100 - lairs are 3 dimensional, so you have to build down as well as across.  lair design is a very tough operation, apparently!  its not something my poor brain can handle, so i am all good with just having a plot!  of course, draggys can't do ped construction and peds can't lairshape.  the each can help the other only by harvesting the most basic resources (stone brix, metal bars, and essence orbs - draggys can't harvest or use wood or fabric products).

as a player, i can only afford one subscription, which carries the ability to own one plot.  my original plot was the cheese palace:

it has a saris manor house, sslik house, saris house, silos, storehouses (silos for food), a tavern with all the food prep workstations (distillery, cauldron, mill, etc.)[the tavern is the building directly in front of the alts, with the windmill for the mill workstation peeking out above it], a casino, large fountain (affectionaly known as the royal spa), gazebo for outdoor eating, a consigner and a pawnbroker, a library stuffed full of formulas and spells, and lots of fluff in the form of trees (called 'thum's garden' ;-}).  i have one of the largest size plots available.

i chose the location for the cheese palace because an old player had a godbuilt plot with expert workstations right next to me and the incoming portal pad.  i put in and filled silos with all the basic resources for quick builds of weapons, tools, and armour.  it was totally the kewlest beans smothered in awesome sauce.....

then the time of trouble came, and a lot of dedicated players left.  the new gods declared that land with no active owners would be reclaimed and sold.  they were sold as is - so a lot of players bought big, well developed plots to tear them down for the sahweet novians (novians are the percentage of the building resources you get back when you deconstruct buildings - for instance, if you applied 100 maple braces to a building then tear it down, you would receive a large portion, say 80, of them back) - the case with icing's awesome plot!

so, the reason for my bigazz plot with all the silos is no more!  needless to say, i was totally bummed.

then, the gods decreed that players who 'spread the word' about istaria could earn a free plot slot!  the plot on the other side of the cheese palace was just as large and was my biggest envy!  i immediately set out to earn another plot slot to obtain it.

so i did - only to learn that while i was out trying to earn the slot, someone from one of the live shards had already bought it!  no development, just a big empty space that i desperately wanted to fill!

thru the excellent players on the forums, i was able to make contact with the person who owned the plot and they were gracious enough to sell it to me for the paltry sum of 1 silver (these plots usually go for 12 or more gold)!  thanx nellie, you still rule da skewl!:

so, now i have my long desired plot!!!  whatever shall i do with it?  tune in again to find out!

not about horizons per se, but i would play it here if i could!!

Posted by velveeta Tuesday March 9 2010 at 6:02PM
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now this is what i am talking about!!

 

Ultimate D&D-playing dungeon. And I do mean "ultimate."

 

Cory Doctorow at 8:33 AM March 7, 2010

 

 

 

The Burntwire Brothers spent two years building a custom D&D room in their house. It includes a rack of swords, medieval chandeliers on dimmers controlled by the dungeon-master, as well as hidden strobes and fog machines. It also has every goddamned game ever published, by appearances. And skulls. Iron-bound doors. You get the picture. Give these chaps the Happy Mutant of the Year award.

 

Two years later... (make sure you clik this!!)
 

messages and visions from the gods

Posted by velveeta Tuesday March 9 2010 at 4:32PM
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"We are Skulk! Resistance is futile. You will be focused on changing the world to fit our needs." These are words that the designers of Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted heard even in their sleep for the last few months.

At least, that's what I was told they heard. I myself think that a bit of fresh air and sunshine may be in order for the Istaria team. In either case, I can tell you that as the list of what changes were required to meet the goal of improving the "tier two" regions of the world increased, our development team began to wonder if they were defining the world, or if the world was defining them. And as the Skulks are the primary enemy in the region, it was often them who seemed to be in charge. Forests were created for these stealthy creatures to hide in. Lakes were dug from the very earth for them to fish in. Tents were erected for their shamans to perform strange magic that anyone has yet to fully understand. Just as the snow was falling outside windows in real life, so too did snow on the tops of Dalimond Ridge blanket the land. Even the city of Dalimond itself was razed and rebuilt as part of this massive undertaking. And if you want to hear a secret, I heard whispers of a great landslide that occurred in the world just outside South March that left a large peninsula around the community. From what I heard, future plans are to create adventuring areas in the otherwise empty ocean, though how players will reach those islands remains a carefully guarded secret that even I was not told.

So... just what is in this most recent content update? And just what has been keeping not only me, but most of the team quite these last few months? Well, if you open your map of Istaria, the answer is probably clear. The area known as the Dalimond Peninsula is a quarter of the total land mass of the main continent. Stretching from when you cross onto the mainland from Lesser Aradoth into Sable Shore, all the way east to Chiconis, north to Dalimond, and south to the old Gnomish Observatory, there's more land to cover in this region than probably any other single tier in the world. In addition to the three main cities in this area, there are three major adventuring areas that had already existed, and dozens of small communities for players to build their own plots or lairs in. But the team didn't want to stop with just revamping the existing content. They added ten new "quest hubs" for players to seek out quests that guide them as they move from east to west across the land. All totaled, there are over 100 brand new quests that were added with this content update. The monsters which spawn on the peninsula have all been updated, many with new items to loot, trophies to collect, and components to gather. In the main cities of Dalimond and Chiconis, the Town Marshall has level appropriate quests that will direct players to where they can best gain experience in whatever adventuring school they are working on as well as offer bonus experience for completing the quests. But what makes this content release special is the many stories that are told by the citizens of Istaria itself. There are major storylines that explain the presence of the Withered Aegis on the peninsula, and even lead players to discovering a traitor in the midst of the government itself! And as each tale weaves it's way across the land, players will find that the story of their own character's life in Istaria grows.

Everyone at Virtrium is excited by the positive feedback we've already been hearing from players who have experienced the new content. As kind words are said, we know that the many months of long hours and hard work are worth it for the continued enjoyment of Istaria. As we see new faces appear, and "old" faces return, we know that though this content update has been released, the world still is not "complete", as no MMO world ever is, and the work is never "done". Already the team has many more stories even for this area that need to be told, and more work remains to be done. As the final parts of this content update were being packaged to go to Blight, I overheard Istaria's producer commenting on the numerous bug fixes that were also included in this patch. "The game has changed so much in the last two years, but it's not just the new content that the players comment on. They recognize that we're working hard to fix things as they come up right along side of developing new content," she stated. "And players both long term and new are seeing that."

I sat down with her to talk about what plans there are for the future of Istaria and where the team was heading after this particular content update makes it out the door. "We've talked about many different possibilities, and deciding what should be the highest priority next is always difficult. Looking back on the last two years, we've focused quite a bit on improving the game for adventurers with the tier one, tier two and tier five/6 areas being our main focus. And we've added new content specifically for dragons, revamping the "how to train your dragon" quests to be more story-based than just "grind kill" quests, and new lair structures for those who enjoy dragon crafting. Where we haven't focused for any real length of time is on the biped crafters of the game. Though one of our first projects was to complete the Confectioner revamp, that really was the only major project we did for those with two-legs who like to craft." So though I don't have much in the way of detail that I could weasel out of her right now, what I can tell you is that in the coming months the focus will be on crafters, especially those who own plots. There's even whispering around the office happening about perhaps introducing brand new structures for plots! And lest dragons feel left out, I have heard that the team plans to continue to improve the dragon quests which already exist, and the long awaited Rite of Passage quest revamp is already underway.

In conjunction with the launch of this major content up date, we've also created a new video with more of an emphasis on dragons. This video is focused on those potential players out there who have yet to experience soaring the skies of Istaria. In the coming months we plan to launch a more focused marketing campaign, but in preparation for it we've been working with members of the press, working with a website designer, as well as making this new video. You can preview the video on YouTube and help by leaving a comment, sharing the video with your friends, and linking it to your own fansite. This will build interest in the game, and that always helps make any focused marketing that the company does more effective.

And because it wouldn't be a "Developer's Desk" without something from me, I've started a contest of sorts on our Facebook page. I call it our "Who is this masked man?" contest. The statue pictured in the screenshot below is of someone famous and is somewhere in the "revamped" region. If post on either Facebook with both who the statue depicts and where it is in the world, you win! What do you win? Fame and fortune of course! Well, at least fame, as we're a small gaming company. So come befriend me on Facebook or Myspace. Join us as a fan of Istaria on Facebook. Let's see if in the next month Istaria can grow to have more fans than those "Be a fan of this pickle" groups that seem to crop up daily!


Who is this masked man? Facebook Photos  facebook albums
Join our Istaria fan group on Facebook: Facebook Group

Promotional Video

a couple of pages of horizons videos

 

Until next time, enjoy Istaria!

-Amarie
 

the satyr who would be king: on being a real noob again, part 4a

Posted by velveeta Thursday March 4 2010 at 6:05PM
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once you start attacking, you will, of course, be hit back.  you will lose hit points, and the game will give you the basics about them and how they regenerate:

once you make your first kill, you get loot!!  isn't loot lovely?  i love loot.  loot in istaria can range from coin to expert forms and tech resources.  unlike most games, player made stuff is always better than almost anything (of the same level, of course) you can get in game, so forms and resources are worth more than their weight in coin at the pawnbroker. ALWAYS ask in chat if anyone needs anything you loot (assuming you don't want it, of course) - especially resources!  chances are great that at least one person needs what you have.  and of course - draggys always need hoard!  if you are a ped, you can easily make friends with our flying friends by passing on your hoard!

anyway, back to the looting process.  the first time you kill something, you will see the following info:

you can also select the corpse and right clik to bring up the menu:

hovering your pointer over the items on the loot screen will give you info about them.  also, unlike some games, you can loot and attack at the same time - its quite a time saver, let me tell you!

once you have had all the fun you can ask for on the spirit isle (you can take several more quests of both types if you wish, or even change skewls), you talk to ryson and he gives you the 'quest' for leaving and making your way to the beginner island of new trismus (there are others as well, and you can get to them thru the nt portal, but they are no longer used for training so much):

you clik the link that sez you are done with the island and get the instructions on where to go to find the portal (altho if you have been doing the quests and exploring the island, you already know where it is) that will take you to new trismus and into the wide wonderful world of istaria!

my next series will feature all the fun of designing a plot!  believe me, its more fun than building one!  ;-}