Welcome to the Dalimond Peninsula Preview, the upcoming Winter 2009 Content Release for Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted. Unlike our previous Dralnok's Doom Content Update that was focused on tier 6 and high-level players, this update will be focused on those who are still learning the game and will be focused entirely upon tier 2 (levels 21 to 40). This update contains three key components we wanted to preview for you.
First, and probably the biggest, is the revamp of the landscape of the Dalimond Peninsula. No longer will you wander from Bristugo to Heart without seeing more than two trees and without seeing any monsters. Now, as you follow the roads you will encounter new sights, sounds, and many a monster!
The entire landscape of the peninsula has been revamped with some extreme changes (Look north and west of South March!) and others less extreme, but still surprising (west of Bristugo and south of King's Cross). Off the roads you will find new locations, tombs or ruins, undead outposts, lairs, and much more. Even the older areas have been touched, including the Dead Pool, the Chiconis Battlefield and the Observatory Outpost, and completely new adventure centers have been added.
Second, quests. This update contains more quests than the Dralnok's Doom Update (almost 200 in all!) including five distinct storylines (each with five or more quests) that introduce new enemies to the Peninsula, as well as bringing back old ones and tying them together into storylines that we hope you will enjoy.
In addition to the core storylines for the peninsula, there are also four school/race specific storylines - one for Healing schools, for Mage schools, for Warrior schools, and one for Dragons. These storylines are meant to replace the old quests that were given out by trainers every 10 levels and give an expanding story that ties directly into the world and complements the core storylines for the Update.
As players make their way overland they'll find that there are many new settlements that have been built across the landscape. While some of these are populated by friendly neighbors who will often have a quest or need help from one of the Gifted to build their homes, not all the new settlers are friendly. In particular, the skulks that have invaded the forests, erecting tents to form small villages, have proven a real menace to anyone traveling from Sable Shores to Bristugo and beyond. These skulks hide among the giant oaks which grow in the forests and will attack the unwary travelers and crafters who are out gathering wood to build their homes.
Finally, mini dungeons. With this Content Update there will be two mini-dungeons as we are calling them. These are small (compared to Dralnok's Doom) but we hope will still provide a fun experience for players. Both dungeons will contain sights never-before-seen in Istaria including an entirely new monster race that we previewed for you briefly back in July (http://community.istaria.com/gallery/pic.php?id=956).
Well, that's it for this first preview of the forthcoming Dalimond Peninsula Content Update. We're excited about this update and know it's going to make a big difference for Tier 2 players, as well as anyone else passing through the area. We hope you enjoyed the preview and thank you for playing Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted.
Developer's Desk: Fall
Once again the days grow long, nights grow cold... and the season of Festivals approaches in Istaria. Having seen some recent messages left for me, I know that the time of year has not gone unnoticed by many of the Gifted in Istaria. In fact, after seeing questions such as "Is there a fall festival this year", that made me realize that it has been quite some time since anyone has heard from the Office of Contest Management. So long, in fact, that I began to investigate. So before I talk about the future, a bit of a story and some old business.
When last we heard from the Office of Contest Management, they were wrapping up the Home and Hearth Winter contest, yes, way back in January. At that time our contest manager, Faresha Headly, had gathered submissions a writing and art contest, had completed judging, and even introduced many of the items designed by the winners to the world of Istaria. It is only recently that it was pointed out to me that Faresha seemed to have promptly then disappeared, never having released the wonderful stories told as part of the writing contest. Being the diligent investigator I am, I delegated the task of finding what happened to Faresha and the stories to a young hatchling interning in the office. It took some time, but soon Revo Suolaez returned with his report. Unfortunately he didn't return with Faresha, and the manuscripts he returned with were a bit worse for wear, but that's another story that would take days to tell. The Middle Cliffside version is that Faresha was found on the island of New Korelia deep in a cave, with a printing press and large supply of parchment. Revo's report stated that Faresha had intended to reprint the stories authored by our wonderful Gifted Istarians and release those stories herself, hoping to make a mith (as in mithril) from the sale of these stories. Needless to say, Revo quickly put those plans to an end. Our sincere apologies are owed to the authors of those stories, and we intend to release them quite soon, and for free of course, to all Istarians so that they too many enjoy these tales. In the future, I will personally be overseeing all contests, including working to ensure that proper credit is given and that the stories become available soon after the completion of the contest.
And so, without further storytelling on my part... What will be happening with this fall and the winter festivals?
We have decided that it would be improper to allow the miscreant Faresha to spoil the happiness and fun that such year end festivals bring. However, with the current state of both the Empire and the calendar, holding two festivals between now and the end of the year is not feasible. Therefore, after speaking to those involved in the planning and creation of such festivals, it has been decided that we will move forth with a single year's end celebration, so for this year we won't be holding a "fall" festival and a few months later a "winter" festival.
As is tradition in Istaria, we will once again hold a contest where we accept submissions for stories, banners, lair murals and specialized clothing. Details on this year's contest can be found below. In light of having just one celebration to end the year, we will not limit this year's submissions to any particular "theme", though as submissions come in we may decide to have specific categories for those considered to be "winners" of the contest.
In addition, the Empire will once again open the Festival Crypt and release the spooky spiders and the like. But I would also like to hear from you. What are your favorite memories of festivals past? What do you look forward to each fall/winter as the leaves begin to turn in Istaria? If there is something which you enjoy and want to see brought back, please take a moment to share your thoughts on our forums (http://community.istaria.com/forum). Something you mention may spark a new idea that can become tradition, but I also don't want to miss something which may be possible to bring back. No promises, of course, but I can only suggest to the Officers of Seasonal Festivals that which either I remember or am reminded of.
Now this year's seasonal festival isn't all that's coming in the later part of this year. Departing from the "story telling" point of view now, I wanted to share with you a Developer's Preview detailing what is coming for the next major Content Update. This information is being released to various press agencies in the real world, in addition to being posted on our forums, Facebook and Myspace sites. Feel free to repost or link it and share what's coming to Istaria later this fall. Reposting a snippet of the Developer's Preview with a link to the original article, and a bit of a note from you, can count as one of your blogs for this month in our Spread the Word program! Then not only will you be helping share what's happening in Istaria, but you'll be one step closer to a free plot!
I'm looking forward to seeing the creativity of our player-base in action once again. And as I said "in-character" above, the stories from the 2008 Home and Heart contest will be released at the end of this year's Home and Heart contest as well.
Year End Festival Contest:
We are excited to announce a new contest to run prior to this year's end-of-year event. Many of you were here in previous years for various contests that we've held and so these rules will be familiar to you. This year rather than holding multiple contests over the last few months of the year, we're combining the contest into one for a fall/winter season, and plan to hold another in the spring/summer.
As in years past, we are looking for works of art in many forms.
This year's contest is actually in multiple parts.
Chronicles of Istaria: Hearth and Home - A short story contest
Chronicles of Istaria: Songs and Poems - A poetry and song writing contest
Artists of Istaria: Clothing - Design a new pair of shorts or a mask around a year-end theme
Artists of Istaria: Banners and Murals - A design a special banner or dragon mural
Short stories must be original works of fiction set in Istaria around a holiday tradition or event. Lore wise, most races of Istaria view the end of the year as a celebration of the "scarier" side of life, with themes of death, the undying and the mystical unknown being the focus of celebrations as summer ends and fall beings, and winter as a time of new beginnings, though they all celebrate it in different ways. Writers are encouraged to reflect any of these themes in their stories.
Songs and poems should also center around one of these themes. The song or poem may be written to follow the tune of an existing song or melody, but please reference the song and artist when submitting your work.
We have provided templates for shorts, masks dragon murals and plot banners to encourage players to design new items as well.
We'd like to encourage anyone with an interest - regardless of experience and skill set - to submit an entry for this contest.
For a complete set of rules, including where to download the templates, please visit our website at: http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=dcv3hb6k_19c9xs4c
From all of us at Virtrium, developers of Istaria, we wish you a safe and happy holiday season.
Replacement Contest Manager Even More Extraordinaire