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Free Realms Developer Blog

In Free Realms, players are free to do or be anything: Fight like a ninja, cook a tasty meal, raise a pet, battle goblins, set out on epic quests or connect with friends through a safe, social networking site.

Author: FreeRealms

Free Realms Comic-y Goodness

Posted by FreeRealms Wednesday August 11 2010 at 3:16PM
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Hiya everyone! It’s your pal Referee Ruby here.
You may or may not know this, but Free Realms has a pretty epic comic series that is published by our buddies over at DC Comics.
These comics follow the adventures of our heroes Dane and Maya, as they explore the land of Sacred Grove.  If you’ve wanted to check them out but can’t find a copy or you just don’t like paper or whatever…you’re in luck!  All 6 volumes of the Free Realms comic are now available as digital copies that you can download!
I’ll see you guys in-game…once I’m done reading checking out my sweet new comics, that is.
Over and out,
Referee Ruby

Referee Ruby's Awesome Block Party Recap

Posted by FreeRealms Tuesday July 27 2010 at 12:10PM
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Didn’t get a chance to check out SOE’s yearly Block Party event this weekend? No problem! Your buddy Referee Ruby has you covered. Check it out below!
Here’s my Phat Lewt bag! Everyone who attended got one, and it’s filled with goodies! Mmm…goodies.
 Block Party is serious business you guys. No fooling around here. Don’t argue with me, I’m a Jedi.
I was super excited to demo the new Clone Wars Adventures game! Like, ridiculously excited. I think you can tell a little bit.
They were also demoing Free Realms! I feel at home here. Ooh, prize wheel.
I also got to meet a couple friends! Here’s me with my buddy Jenna EmeraldChaser, wearing one of the free shirts we gave away! Check out that awesome hat.
My homie Robbie (AKA Bob) came up from Greenwood to visit. High five dude. He gives the best high-fives.
There was a live band playing live music LIVE! Maybe they’ll make it to the Snowhill stage someday if they keep up the good work. Two thumbs up in my opinion.
Whoa, what’s going on here? There was an awesome green screen where you could get your picture taken and have it put into one of our games!
It came out pretty sweet huh?
There was tons of other stuff going on, like tours, air hockey and loads and loads of prizes! I hope you guys can check it out next year. We’ll exchange high fives.
That’s it for now! I’ll see you guys in-game. Referee Ruby signing off!

Ahoy Mateys! Let's play Pirate Plunder...Arrrrrrrrrrrgh

Posted by FreeRealms Thursday June 24 2010 at 4:36PM
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Ahoy me mateys! Referee Ruby here again to share the most pirate-y installment of my Free Realms Game Guide Series!  Put on those peg-legs ye scallywags... today we're playing Pirate's Plunder!

For even more awesome Pirate information, check out the awesome Pirate guide my best pal Referee Shadow put together after the video link!

Free Realms Video Game Guide with Referee Ruby - Pirates!


Arrr mate! I am Captain Shadow and I’ll be guiding you through the adventures of pirating, on Free Realms!

There are pirates all over Sacred Grove. Talk to one of them if you’d like to head down to the docks and become a real pirate.

If you can’t find any of them, you can use your Atlas to go straight to the boat in Seaside

Click on the book next to Jolly Roger to get started. Before we go though, we need to find someone to play with.
You can invite your friends for some intensive pirating action or just select “Quick Play” to be randomly grouped. Now that I’ve rounded up Referee Ruby into my crew, let’s get started. Avast!
Of course, Danger Tiger can come too.
The objective is to collect Treasure Chests by picking them up and returning to your dock.  You can also destroy other ships, steal their loot, and return to your dock. The player with the most gold at the end of the round wins. Each round last for 10 minutes, at the end of the round, you’ll get to spin the loot wheel regardless of what place you’re in! There are 3 different maps total: Treasure Isle, Shipwreck Cavern, and Arctic Bay.
The controls are simple. Use the arrow or WASD keys to move, and Ctrl or Left Mouse Click to fire. If this is your first time sailing, you might want to look out for a few…. “occupational hazards.” First, there are power-ups scattered across the map. Pick them up to get a temporary special power.
Speed - The speed power-up makes you go faster
Repair - Repair restores needed health to your ship
Firepower  - Allows you to inflict more damage with every successful hit
Longshot – Cannon balls travel a greater distance allowing you to hit ships from farther
Rapidfire – Shoot normal cannon balls at a faster rate
Whirlpools are shortcuts that can move the player’s ship around the map faster.  The whirlpool teleportation will transport your ship instantly to another location on the map.
Currents can get you where you need to go fast so long as you are moving in the direction the current is flowing.  You won’t get very far sailing against the current.
Neutral Forts are located in strategic points around the map.  They will fire on any ship that enters their sites.  The Player’s Home Fort will protect the player from enemy ships that stray too close and will also heal your ship when it is docked near it.
Now let’s go over some rules: No you can’t enter your enemies dock. No you can’t destroy their fort. And no, you definitely can’t steal their treasures once it’s unloaded at their fort. Now we’re ready to set sail! Anchors away!
You start the game off at your dock.
Head out and look for some treasure!

"Captain, enemy ship sighted off the port bow! Should we engage them and steal their treasure?"
Make it so, First Mate Ruby!

"Oh no, we’re hit! We’re taking on water, Captain!  What should I do?! Let’s go into my fort and see what happens!"

Once you’re inside your fort, your ship will be restored to full health. You can also change your ship to a bigger one for more awesome power and room for treasure or smaller one for more speed and maneuvers but less cargo spaces. I went with the small ship. Now, let’s get back out there!
Oooo, treasures! My precious treasures! Return to your base to drop off the loot! We’re rich! Yarr, great job mateys. Now it’s time to enjoy our loot!
Don’t forget to check out the Station Cash Marketplace to get some awesome pirate gear.
Yarrr and avast,
Referee Shadow
See you buccaneers in game!
Referee Ruby

A House Filled with Bears?! Oh My...

Posted by FreeRealms Monday June 7 2010 at 7:07PM
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Hey guys! Referee Ruby here again to share the latest installment of my Free Realms Game Guide Series... Housing! For even more awesome housing information, keep reading after the link!
So, you think you’ve got what it takes to become a top decorator? Think you can create the best and most exciting space in Free Realms? Well, let’s see what you’ve got then!
I’m gonna warn you now though, you’ve got some pretty tough competition. Oh yeah.

First you’ll need something to decorate, obviously. We’ve got plenty of options though, so you can feel free to pursue your artistic vision in whatever space you choose!
Currently there are three types of houses available: The Apartment, The Small Wilds House and The Large Wilds House. The Apartment has one bedroom and is free for all players, both Members and Non-Members alike. The Small Wilds House has two rooms and a small yard. This house is free for Members, so if you are a Free Realms Member you will get both an apartment and a small house! Sweet deal right? If you aren’t a Member, you can always purchase the Small Wilds House from the Marketplace. The Large Wilds House has three huge rooms and an enormous yard for your decorating pleasure. I hope you have one of those riding lawnmowers handy. This house is only available through the Marketplace. 
If a house doesn’t suit your fancy, check out our Empty Lots. These are flat, empty spaces for you to build anything you can imagine. There’s the Snowhill Lot for a light and fluffy feel, or the Briarwood lot if your tastes are a bit darker.  I filled mine with launch pads... seemed like the right thing to do.
To get to your houses, click the house icon at the bottom of your screen. Then just select the house you want to go to and BAM… you’re there.

Now, down to business... to decorate your house, click the big "Decorate" button. It's in the middle of your screen - you can't miss it.

The Decorate menu will pop up on your screen. This gives you all the info you’ll need to make a fantastic house.
On the left you will see a number. This number shows how many items you have in your house out of the max number allowed. The max number of items for the Apartment is 100 items, the Small Wilds House is set for 500 items, and the Large Wilds House max is 1,000 items. Not enough for you? The empty lots have a whopping 1,500 item allowance! I wonder what that would look like filled with chickens…hmm…

Now look on the right side of the window. The first option here is “Lock House.” This makes it so that other players cannot enter your home unless you invite them... for if you need some quiet time. Under that is the “Snap to Grid” option. This allows you to align items differently, depending on whether you want to place your items in a straight line or move them freely.

In the center you will see your housing items. Click the item you want to add and you will be able to place it in your home or yard. Just move it around and click again when the item is placed where you want it to be. Once you place the item, you can click it again for more options. This is only available when you have the Decorate menu up. Removing an item does not delete it, it puts it back into your inventory so you can get it back whenever you want. Items can only be placed in certain locations. If an item cannot be placed somewhere, it will turn a fantastic shade of red (the best color ever) when you are trying to place it. If you insist on trying to drop it there anyway, you will get an error message.

You can place interior items outside and vice versa. Items can also be placed along the walls or ceiling, and you can even stack items on top of each other to create interesting results. There are some cool things to note when decorating your pad: Some items, like this rockin’ dance floor, do special things when you click on them!

Housing items can be obtained through the Marketplace, Coin Shop, quests and the Daily Spin wheel. Most Marketplace and Coin Shop items are even tintable, which means you can pick a color to match your décor.

If you want to check out one of your friend’s pads, select their name from your Friends List and click the "Go To House" icon. A popup will appear with the player's houses that are available for visiting.

Decorating a house isn’t just about making a cozy kitchen space…far from it! There are tons of creative things you can do with your house, like build a theme park, hoverboard race course, maze, or any number of things! Personally, I filled my house with bears. Red bears.
So I kind of don’t have space to sleep or anything. Does uh…anyone want a bear or two hundred? Maybe? ...Anyone?

See you in game!
Referee Ruby

Harvest Coin with New Jackpot Plants? Yes, please!

Posted by FreeRealms Friday May 28 2010 at 4:01PM
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Hey guys, Referee Ruby here again... this time to tell you about all kinds of new stuff!
This week will see the return of archer items to the Marketplace.
New School Molten Bow
New School Scoped Stalker Bow
New School Skull Strike Hoodie
New School Spider Shot Hoodie
Next we’ve got some new hoverboards! Here are the Dwarftech Hoverboards (550 SC each)
Colors you can choose from are:
Green, Red, Pink, Black, Yellow, Orange, Blue
And here are the Clockwork Hoverboards (550 SC each)
Colors you can choose from are:
Green, Red, Pink, Black, Yellow, Orange, Blue
AND, You too can own one of Chatty’s Treeble pals for the low, low price of 500 SC!
We’ll also be seeing the addition of the Jackpot Plant today. This is a pretty neat new feature, but fairly complex for a housing item.  Jackpot Plants can be purchased from the Station Cash marketplace for 300 SC or 270 SC for members.
Once you drop a plant in your house, it cannot be removed. You can move it around like normal furniture, but it cannot be put back in your inventory.
Just like regular plants, Jackpot Plants need to be watered or they’ll wither away. You can do this by clicking the plant.
Here you’ll see the plant with a full water level. Watering a plant will always set it back to full, no matter what it was at previously.
After 4 hours the plant’s water level will go from full to half.
At 14 hours th e water level will be at empty, and after 24 hours with no watering, the plant will wither.
If the plant is at the Medium or Large size level, it will also drop a size after 24 hours. After 48 hours it will drop another size.
If properly watered, the plants will eventually become harvestable.
The plants start in the Bare state, and after 12 hours will change to the Budding state.
After 23 hours, the plant will be in the Bloom state, and players will be able to harvest the coins.
When a plant is harvested, it will increase in size from Small to Medium, and then Medium to Large.
Large plants will stay Large after being harvested.
The amount of coins harvested from the plant will increase with the size.
Small plants will give 500 coins.
Medium plants will give 700 coins.
Large plants will give 1,000 coins.
After 30 days, the plant will change into the Expired state. This will happen no matter what condition the plant was in previously, and can be identified by the leaf particle effect on the plant. When they are expired, they cannot be watered or harvested.
Once the owner of the plant clicks on it, the plant will disappear and a Golden Jackpotted Plant will be added to the player’s inventory instead. This item cannot be interacted with, but it looks shiny and can be sold for 2,500 coins.
Friends who visit your house can also get in on the plant watering action. A plant can be watered by a friend (meaning someone who doesn’t own the plant) every 15 minutes. Friends receive 50 coins for every plant that they water. Players can water 25 plants that they do not own within a 24 hour period. This timer starts from the first plant watered.
Plants also have a Friend Counter feature that increases every time a friend waters the plant. For each friend that waters the plant, this counter will increase by 1 (Up to a total of 25.) When the player harvests their plant, the player will receive bonus coins.
Friend Counter
Let the coin farming begin!
Oops, someone already beat us too it. There are a couple “Coin Farmer” NPCs scattered around now. Talk to them and they’ll send you to the marketplace to buy coins.
That’s not suspicious at all...
See you in game!
Referee Ruby

Back to the Future with Free Realms HOVERBOARDS!

Posted by FreeRealms Thursday May 27 2010 at 4:00PM
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Oh, hey guys! Hey guys! I'm Ruby and I'm a Free Realms Referee! You can usually find me at Crossroads, I like hanging out there because I can meet all the new players and give them hi-fives.
Right now, I’m just chilling on the MOST AWESOME HOVERBOARD EVER!
Yeah, it’s pretty sweet. This is an ATH, or an All-Terrain Hoverboard. Land, water, air… no problem.
Sure, it hovers, and that’s awesome on its own…but guess what? It can also do tricks! Press the space bar while you’re cruising around and you’ll do some sweet moves.

So that right there is double awesome. But we aren’t done yet. Nope, we’re taking it up to TRIPLE AWESOME!!! Try it out on a launch pad to see what your Hoverboard can really do.

Jealous yet? Ready to get your own? Just head over to the Rides section of the Station Cash Marketplace, or the Stables outside of Sanctuary to pick one up! While you’re there, talk to my buddy Durn Cogspinner. He can tell you some pretty cool stuff about where Hoverboards came from. Ooh, mysterious…
Hmm… also mysterious.
Here’s the Precursor Hoverboard. It’s my faves.
But if you’re like not feeling the blue, you can check out the Molten Precursor Board. It’s pretty sweet too.
Yeah…I guess you could say I’m pretty much the master of hoverboards. Like, I haven’t really met anyone that matches my skill or anything.
Whoa, hey. Hang on.
Okay, okay…I got this.
Yep. Pretty much the master.  
See you in game,
Referee Ruby

Free Realms Birthday Bash!

Posted by FreeRealms Wednesday April 21 2010 at 8:16PM
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The Free Realms development team is eagerly anticipating the celebration of our first birthday!  And what better way to celebrate than to throw our own party? All of Sacred Grove is preparing for the grand birthday bash and there are plenty of tasks to be done before the big event.
The royal party planner, Camellia, in Sanctuary has called for the most favored chefs in all the realms to participate in a cake bake-off. As if preparing a cake wasn't hard enough, the chefs have been dealing with a frosted monster whose only desire is to be the best cake. He's been terrorizing the townspeople, so much that they've come up with a name for him, Cakenstein. Maybe you can help find a way to get rid of this cakey beast…
Once the cakey mystery has been solved, the party can begin, not that the preparations haven’t already started. Don't forget to participate in the big birthday bash. I know I'll be there. With tons of party favors, rewards and a new set of balloon pets, who wouldn't? 
And, guess who is coming to the celebration!
We will be posting some more detailed information on the Free Realms First Birthday so be sure to check back soon!
Margaret Krohn
Free Realms Game Designer
Sony Online Entertainment

A Pirate's Life for Me!!

Posted by FreeRealms Tuesday March 30 2010 at 3:32PM
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Ahoy, me hearties! Have ye been working on yer pirate speak? If not, ye may want to catch up for this month’s Free Realms game update included a brand new minigame, Pirate's Plunder!
Long ago, the humans and a few pixies banded together and fled across the seas to escape the cataclysm. With all the ninjas roaming Sacred Grove, it was only a matter of time before pirates anchored their ships in Seaside. Now, the Crusty Crab Fleet has returned to their home land with plenty of loot and a competitive game. If you happen to cross one of these pirate-like characters, be sure to pay close attention to what they have to say.
If you're up for a challenge, make your way to down to the water’s edge.  Off the pier, Jolly Roger is awaiting your ship's registration. Any of the podiums on the pier will start you in the new Pirate's Plunder minigame.
The primary concept of Pirate's Plunder is to collect the most treasure. You can collect treasure where any "X" marks the spot or by defeating other ships and knocking out the treasure they have collected. Your objective is to pick up as much cargo as you can and make your way back to your home base while avoiding attacks from other captains. With a variety of maps, you're sure to plunder a ton of treasure!
There are plenty of power-ups to help you along your voyage. Some power-ups will make your cannons more powerful, and others will help you navigate the map at a quicker pace. If you ever find yourself in a rut, have no fear! You can stop as a repair power-up or make your way back to your base to fix your armor.
Power-ups aren't the only way to traverse with ease. There are also whirlwinds that will teleport you from one whirlpool to the next across the sea. Try to use these whenever you can. They'll make travel time hasty and are a great way to escape from other player's attacks as well.
Another tip that isn't as obvious is the use of the water trails behind other players as they zoom around. If you're chasing another player, you can follow their wake. This will make catching them much easier by boosting your speed a little!
Starting out, you can choose between three ships in the cave at your home base- the Eel, Juggernaut, and Cutlass-, but you can buy more! The Eel is the smallest ship. It's speedy and easy to maneuver, but it lacks powerful cannons and armor. The Juggernaut, on the other hand, is a sturdy and well-armed ship which can carry a large load of treasure, but it's hard to steer. In-between both of these ships is the Cutlass, a medium ship. It carries a decent amount of cargo, shoot cannons sufficiently, and can turn adequately.
Don't forget about your flag decal while you're in the cave! There's a variety of choices. Choose one that will express your inner pirate.
If you complete the game, you can receive a variety of rewards, including treasure map paintings and rugs for your houses. You can even put a flag on your wall! There are also several wearables, not only for your avatar, but for your furry friends as well.
If you're not really into shooting cannons or stealing booty, you can always celebrate the pirate affair by buying items from the Marketplace. So far, my favorites have been the oasis and giant pirate ship. The bed is pretty rad too. It works similar to the bounce pads.
My character is all decked out in pirate garb. I even got myself a new tiger pet. Now, I just need to win that hook and my outfit will be complete! So tell me, what's your favorite part of the Pirate's Plunder update? I can't wait to hear your answers!
Fair winds,
M. Margaret A. Krohn
Free Realms Game Designer
Sony Online Entertainment

Time to RIDE!

Posted by FreeRealms Wednesday March 17 2010 at 5:49PM
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Free Realms is filled with all kinds of mystical creatures that players can befriend, train, dress up and even RIDE. With the large variety of pets at launch (several varieties of dogs and cats) and the later addition of Ponies, Pegasus, Unicorns, Dragons and Dinosaurs, it was only a matter of time before players wanted to take these new friends for a ride! So how could we resist creating Rides!

Rides in Free Realms allow players to move quickly through the over world with excitement. To be a bit more precise, players are granted a speed bonus of approximately a 150% of the normal player run speed.

Our first Rides included striped T-Rex’s and a gold-tipped dragons. Each has its own texture and a variety of tints. Why these particular creatures first? Well, the team came up with a ton of ideas, but we wanted our first rides to not only be stylish, but give players something to brag about. I mean, who doesn’t want to saddle up on a dragon and float through the crowds in the Crossroads? Who wouldn’t want to romp through Briarwood on a fierce T-Rex?

Well, if dinos and dragons aren’t your Ride of choice, we most recently introduced Horse and Pegasus Rides! These new pets definitely give the Dragon and T-Rex some cool competition as they trot and gallop across Free Realms.

The Pegasus is a mythical horse that unfurls its wings as it takes stride.

If you prefer more modern horses, there is the Stallion or White-Nosed Mare, each available in six different colors. And they sure do love to jump!

And, acquiring any of these Rides is a cinch! Players who don't have a ride can access the Rides category in the Marketplace by easily clicking the Ride icon on their game dock. What if you already have a ride and you want to buy a new one? Don't fret! Go to the Shops link on your game dock and choose Marketplace. Then, you can click the Rides category from there. You can switch between your rides by clicking the Ride icon on your game dock. Pick the one you want and you're set!

For those who prefer to traverse the 3D world, stop by any of the stables to pick up a local breed. The stables are located in Seaside, Sanctuary, Merry Vale, Highroad Junction, and Lakeshore.

Transportation in Free Realms doesn't end here! We hope to offer more types of exotic beasts, and possibly a few mechanical Rides to boot. I've already bought myself a few of the Rides...My current favorites are my red gold-tipped dragon and my purple Pegasus (Can you tell I like Rides with wings!?). What's your favorite Ride? Tell us what you would like to see!

P.S. If you have some extra time, the idle animation for each of the rides is pretty sweet.

M. Margaret A. Krohn
Free Realms Game Designer
Sony Online Entertainment

Free Realms Festival of Hearts!

Posted by FreeRealms Friday February 12 2010 at 5:39PM
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Hello readers!

Free Realms' Festival of Hearts is upon us, so if you're the type to get a little nauseous at the thought of lovey-dovey amore, then you'd better lather on the cootie repellant right now!

The Festival of Hearts is a well-known holiday throughout Scared Grove, but no one delights in it more than the fairies of Merry Vale. Their town is home to the heart flower, named for its magical petals that radiate love. Players are welcome to pluck a petal from the flower each day.

The Festival of Hearts is a time to show appreciation for friends and loved ones. But how do you let that someone special know that they are, well... someone special? Chocolates? Flowers? A poem maybe?

In Free Realms, you'll have a bunch of ways to show someone you care! Thanks to the awesome art and items teams, there will be plenty of gifts to choose from at the marketplace and coin shop. I'm partial to pink blocks and heart wall stickers, in case anyone's thinking about giving me in-game presents! *hint, hint!*

For the people of Sacred Grove, collecting forget-me-nots is the way to show how adored you are. Luckily for all of you, we've placed an unlimited pile of them near the mailboxes in Merry Vale during the events. You can pick some up to throw at friends. If you manage to get enough tossed at you each day during the festival, you'll be rewarded with a mystery gift!

Of course, not everyone's idea of a good time is hearts and hugs and roses. In fact, there are a few around Merry Vale who would rather see all of this lovey-dovey crud wilt away. The old adage claims that misery loves company, and these heartless troublemakers are ensuring that as many people in Merry Vale are also unhappy during Stone Heart's Rampage.

You can pick up a love potion during the event and help defeat the heartbreakers, or put on your own Queen or King of Broken Hearts costume and join in on the mischief.

For those of you who want to help get to the bottom of things, speak to the curious pixie, Cudip, close to the heart flower in Merry Vale to follow along on the Festival of Hearts story.

The fun has begun in Merry Vale, and will continue on throughout the month with a variety of mystery awards available through daily activities, quests, and events.

If you see me in-game, be sure to toss a forget-me-not my way!

<3 Julie

Julie Burness
Associate Game Designer
Free Realms