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OP 2/06/09 6:49:36 PM#1
From the Developers Desk: February 2009 Edition
Greetings Fellow Citizens of Istaria,
It's been too long since I've poked my nose in to look around the developers' desks to see what they've been up so, so this week I sat down with some of them in order to bring you an update. And wow was I ever surprised! I hope after reading this you will be too.
As most of you know by now, they are still hard at work on the Blighted Labyrinth, though no official release date has been set for it yet. The good news is that the longer we wait, the more surprises there are to discover when the Labyrinth is released. In the mean time, Amon, the Lead Designer, has been sending some Teaser Previews to one of our best loved Istaria Fan Sites, Istaria Wiki. For those who haven't seen these previews on our forums, or discovered this wonderful site, allow me a moment to introduce you. The Istaria Wiki is a player created site originally designed by our very own "StalePopcorn" (as he's known on the forums). He started the site in 2008 as a place for players to come together and share information about the world (and game) of Istaria. For those who haven't found the site yet, here you go: http://istaria.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page. As of this writing there are over 2,000 different articles on the site, with more being added all the time. And lest we all forget why this site is so important, it is where Amon has been releasing special preview information about the Blighted Labyrinth: http://istaria.wikia.com/wiki/Blighted_Labyrinth.
The Istaria Wiki isn't the only fan-generated content site that we're excited about this month, though. We're also closely following some new blogging sites which have been created in recent months for players to post about their own personal experiences with the game. One such site created by players on our Order shard in particular is Order Underground (http://orderunderground.blogspot.com/). This blog site has a handful of regular posters and people following the site, but it too is growing all the time. Here you'll find players sharing information about the world of Istaria, but also news of what is happening with their own characters and friends on Order Shard. Istaria also has it's very own Facebook group where you can find profiles for players, developers, and a whole host of "characters" all who are fans of Istaria. If you haven't joined our group there yet, you can find us by searching for Istaria: Chronicles of the Gifted, or looking for my own Amarië Ancalímon's profile on the site. Just as a note, developing our blogging and social networking sites is something that we would love to have you help with in 2009. We know that these sites are a great way for people to connect with one another and the world of Istaria. If you are a host of an Istaria related site and would like us to share your site in an upcoming Developer's Desk, please send a link to your site and a brief description to our Community Relations desk through our support system (http://support.istaria.com/support-center/index.php). We'll be updating our Sponsored Links page in the coming months and would like to include your site!
Another new addition to our website is the inclusion of new Concept Art. While currently this art focuses on what is coming for the Blighted Labyrinth, there are also concept previews for a new line of Heraldic items and banner concepts. The Art Preview section of our Image Gallery can be found at: http://community.istaria.com/gallery...showgal&cat=14 And don't miss the latest news on what is coming in our February Content Update. Already in testing on Blight are changes to treasure tables for monsters across the world, changes to spawn regions where players found it difficult to play, and a new layout to where players will find consigners that make up Istaria's own “economic stimulus package”.
But that is far from all that is coming up in the next few months for Istaria. The long awaited new launcher is nearing the point where it is ready for testing on Blight. This launcher will allow players to manage there accounts, create new characters, view information about existing characters, and do everything that they currently have to do through our website log in without having to use an internet browser. We've listened to the feedback from players we surveyed last year, and have tried to integrate as many of the suggested features as possible into this new "stand alone" launcher. This launcher is also a big step toward being able to bring our "Vista trapped" players back to Istaria. We know that with every week that goes by more and more of Istaria's friends and loyal supporters become unable to play because of the difficulty having Istaria run on Vista. For every success some players have, many more remain unable to play. Vista compatibility has been, and remains, a top priority for our programming team.
And speaking of loyal customers... Loyalty Rewards are coming to Istaria! Originally the team talked about Loyalty Rewards in late 2007 for those who had subscribed with 6 or 12 month long subscriptions. Rick asked the design team to come up with a concept for what these rewards would be and what would be needed to make this feasible. The whole team has worked together to create new artwork and brand new items that can be given to those who have been with the game for the past year. But we also listened to those players who could not afford the cost of a long term subscription but were loyally paying every month. Everyone who has been playing since Virtrium purchased the assets for Istaria will be rewarded for their loyalty. Look for a special email in the next few weeks for more details on this program, and just exactly what your characters have to look forward to.
Please visit our forums to discuss this month's Developer's Desk: