AE Reporters are players who volunteer to report about the game and what's happening in the community from a player's point of view. Currently, we have no active reporters. If you wish to become an Ashen Empires Reporter, please check the Knowledge Management position which contains the job details and how to apply.
Tempester was our longest running Reporter and can sometimes be seen waddling about the world of Dransik in cow-form. Tempester was a long time resident of the Heroes server but now resides on Legends.
As reporter, Midnight's bold mission was to put the day's controversial topics at your feet. Midnight can be found with a mighty Cedar Bow terrozing Talazarians on the Heroes server.
Special Reporter The Freshest Diva is anxious to get back to regular reporting, but currently her real life duties have her busier than ever.
|Tempester - Retired Reporter
That 'ol Retro Feeling
Item Idol Worship
Gold, Beautiful Gold
Bow and Blade
Orb Reset vs Knowing Your Build
Happy Holidays - Part I
Eye on Eastwatch & Update Comments
There and Back Again
Special Issue: Defenders of Dransik
In-Game News Reporter, Issue 2.5
In-Game News Reporter, Issue 2
In-Game News Reporter, Issue 1
Wed, April 2, 2008
Mon, February 11, 2008
Wed, January 30, 2008
Fri, January 25, 2008
Thur, January 17, 2008
Thur, December 13, 2007
Fri, October 26, 2007
Mon, October 15, 2007
Fri, August 3, 2007
Mon, July 16, 2007
Mon, June 18, 2007
Mon, June 4, 2007
Midnight - Retired Reporter
Slash Commands and Revenge
A Tale of Two Servers
Chaos Island, Boats, Guild-houses...Oh My!
Guild Looting: For the Win?
A Look into Character Builds
Sun, February 17, 2008
Fri, January 18, 2008
Fri, November 30, 2007
Sun, November 12, 2007
Mon, November 5, 2007
The Freshest Diva - Special Reporter
Tokens of Change, Part II: The Tilt
Under the Banner, Issue 1
Sands of Creation, Tokens of Change
Fri, August 3, 2007
Mon, July 23, 2007
Mon, June 4, 2007
That 'ol Retro Feeling
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
I was hunting lightning slugs far west of Chelra, on the Broken Finger, when it occurred to me. This place is a lot different. The Broken Finger area had a real �old-style' feeling to it. The lay out of the area, the monsters, the drops (Battle Armor of Waking, truly a modern piece of a warrior's attire), just the feel of being in that area felt like you were retrogaming in a sense.
It was interesting and at the same time very soothing. It felt like the hustle and bustle slowed down, and the stress left. It wasn't all about grinding, or overpowered weapons, or incredibly difficult mobs. It was a swampy, boggy place, which was very isolated. There was no fast way to get here, whether you came from Parian or Whisperdale, there was no quick way about it.
One could say that the "Old Hunting Ground" (in which I'm grouping Werewolf Island, Broken Finger (the area, not the dungeon), Hell and Badlands), were similar to a Nintendo Entertainment System. The lands of Talazar's Revenge, however, are a step up. I would say they're the SUPER NES.
Talazar's Revenge (seemingly) has complicated quests, overall tougher monsters and a new set of graphics. It's a new setting with generally more armor and weapons more widely used than "Old Hunting Grounds," and I like to spend most of my time there. I feel it's more modern than the mainland, but not as up-to-date as the newer areas (which we'll get to).
I find TR entertaining. The controls are simple and I have a good time. I feel like the "Old Hunting Grounds" are like an outdated, and too-simple control stick. One which you can manage, but manage too easily. I feel that the newer lands have a N64-controller type of feel. The type of understanding that you have to ask the kid of the generation under you, "Which button do I push?" For me, personally, my comfort area is Talazar's Revenge. The concept of grinding at Dragons is slightly frightening, and the hunting of lightning slugs is somewhat uneventful.
Now, if TR was a Super NES, then Sands of Creation (SoC) is the Nintendo 64. Completely updated graphics! New quests! New challenges! It's a lot of content, specifically designed for hours of enjoyment. I feel, however, that SoC doesn't have the same replay value that TR does. Once I do the Caiman Quest, or Fire Elemental Quests, I won't be going back...ever. (Just let it be noted I've never seen an actual Dragon mob, I'm that much of a nub).
SoC is the latest and greatest. The best items, across the board, plus the new levels and skills it brings with it. Honestly I don't feel like I'm ready for it, and it's probably one of the reasons I don't go there too often. I'd rather take it slower (which is why I like TR).
I can only imagine, from the spoilers of Tides of Fate (ToF) that we've seen, the meetings of the PVP council, the talk of Guild Halls and boats, that in the next few months we'll start to gear up for the next stage. ToF, in my opinion, is going to have a Wii-sort of feel. It will, in a way, have a whole new set of controls (for your ship) that you'll have to learn, and most of us will be "I'm crashing! Sharks! Seacows!"
I look forward to it, but I will always find comfort in the ease of the earlier areas. The hunting grounds which are now, and for a long time, have been vacant. You don't hunt there for drops, because honestly, if you got one no one would buy it. They aren't worth anything. But that's not why I find myself in Mushroom land now and then. I find myself looking at these older areas, trying to hold on to the comfort and feeling they provide when I see all the screenshots and read all the discussions about NEW areas and NEW weapons and NEW expansions.
Yet, I know soon that those areas will go away. A new graphical update is coming, and the graphics from years ago will be replaced by graphics of today. They'll still be as vacant, but slowly by slowly, development (as it always does) catches up with us. Adventure, and remember.
Slash Commands and Revenge
Sunday, February 17, 2008
Tired of relying on a GM to tell you how many of a type of creature you have slain? Tired of not knowing how far you are to the infamous slayer of dragons without being on the list? Do you like pie? Well, the last one isn't relevant but anyways...
Thanks to Zarquon for working diligently on the code for us, the players, to be able to avoid the third party in finding out our kills. It's always a great feeling to see that you are making progress after the hours you have spent hunting. When it is added, the "slash command" will allow a player to type "/killcount" to display his/her kills in the chat box. As happy as the players are about this feature, I'm sure the GMs are ecstatic as well as Midnight will no longer bug them to check the party's dragon kills. (Read the forum post.)
Switching directions, each server has now slain the infamous Mukarramma. Although the complete drop table is still unknown, more and more of the Blue Revenge set is being revealed upon each killing. Heroes boasts the image of Smaug wearing the gloves, legs, boots, and cape, and the weapon called the "Mind Flayer," while Legends is proud to show off Icelord wearing the plate, gloves, boots, and shield. Much like the race to the moon, who will finish the set first?!?!
Item Idol Worship
Monday, February 11, 2008
This is slightly complex, so I'll try my best to make it clear.
The Item Idol Worship is what I refer the dwindling number of people who are required to achieve certain objectives. This is purely opinion and does not reflect any actual IWG-based errors. It's a flaw in the gaming dynamic created by the community (though perhaps encouraged by certain features).
Case 1: Bosses (Lava Mold, Storm Giant Brothers, NFGI)
When Sands of Creation was released in December of 2006, I remember going on Lava Mold runs. I went on two, in fact, in January of that 2007, and I haven't actually been back since. Now this was before Cursestrikers were common, and before any real SoC gear had been obtained. Titan gear, Caiman Gear, Warden, none of that equipment existed (in any amount which could be referenced as 'common,' unlike now).
It took at least 6, though safely ten adventurers (of ranging levels) to take down the Lava Mold. Inevitably at least one party member died. The one item dropped would be rolled for (or not, depending on party preference) between all participants.
A few days ago I saw someone solo the Lava Mold.
Many will say "that's no problem" or "it's easy" or "so what?" A year ago that would have been unheard of. That's "so what." One person can fight a boss. Get the drop. One issue is the fact that all the treasure are going to these boss-soloers. The other fact (and the one I'm more concerned about) is that the party element of hunting is dwindling. Why take ten when 3 will do? You have a better chance at getting the item, so don't invite others.
How is this accomplished? See Case 2.
Case 2: Dragons
First there was the issues that parties didn't allow for enough people to hunt Dragons (Party cap was 10 members). Then it was raised to 30, and a slew of dragon-boss hunting screenshots were posted. 25-30 member parties were fighting the dragon bosses. 25-30 people, for 2-3 drops per boss, not the best odds to get a piece of something, but you work enough, contribute enough and eventually you'll get your share.
I've heard of a number of different methods to divvy up the booty from dragon hunts, most all of which reward those who participate in the grind. I'm not here to comment on any guild(s) method of rewarding their members. I simply wanted to point out how many people it took.
Then came the SoC gear. Dragonguard, Dragonscale, Warden, Flamereaver. Then came the Broken Finger Dungeon gear. Then came Eternium. Gear, some of which considered priceless and some of which goes for hundreds of dollars. Most all of which sells for at least a million, if not multiple million per piece.
The parties got smaller. Less people needed per party, greater chance per person to get a drop. Better gear makes hunting easier. Makes soloing easier. Makes supporting and healing easier. Makes doing massive amounts of damage easier. Resistances shot through the roof.
Rough Cedar Bow
The next part is not surprising, in this life of God-like pieces of equipment. The Rough Cedar Bow.
Now, just take a moment. How long was Rough Cedar Bow in the drop table? For how many months, how many dragon runs had Rough Cedar Bow in the drop table as a possible drop? And how many were in game when they were buffed?
See OneEye's quote, scroll down after clicking link. (http://forum.ashenempires.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=57305&whichpage=2)
Six. Six RCBs in the game after months of hunting.
Less than two weeks since that quote I spoke with an adventurer on Legends server. They had just finished completing SEVEN Dragon Boss runs. While I have no doubt that the grind to earn that many scales must have been legendary...SEVEN Dragon Boss runs. How many people did it take?
Seven Mages. Six Archers...with Rough Cedar Bows.
Now I didn't ask if they had a tank and I'm sure they did, but that is a party of 13 (possibly 14) people. I may not have all my facts straight, but from what I understood it was seven mages, six RCBs..and I'm assuming a tank. Fourteen people. Six months ago it was TWICE that. Now, thanks to the incredible items, what used to take a party of adventurer now only takes half that amount.
This party alone had six RCBs. How many are there now in game? Across both servers? This wasn't even how many were on Legends server, simply how many were in this specific hunting party.
Seven runs with 5 bosses per run, 2-4 possible drops (average 3, not counting scale drops), is 15 items per run, 75 items total. 75 Items. Now, I know a good chunk of those are considered "worthless." A small handful are considered "priceless," and the rest are worth at least a few million per piece.
What's it all mean, Basil?!
Items. Items are shaping how we play this game. They are shaping WHY we play this game. They are the objects of our desires and the rewards of our sacrifices and patience. We spend countless Corpse Summons to protect our items ($4). We are willing to lie and deceive our guildmates for items. We are willing to throw away friendships for items.
No one wants to complain about the recent item trends, high orb boosts, high resistances. Everyone wants these super-powered items. Everyone wants to be the next Meilute, the next Meatwad. The next God-like player with thousands more hit points and hundreds more armor than anyone (regardless of build) had a year ago.
I don't hunt Dragons. I know there are factors which others have brought up, such as players figuring out dragon tactics and thus don't need as many people. But I don't need to be there to see the screenshots or hear the stories of boss runs and new equipment. Perhaps my knowledge of certain events may be a little fuzzy, but what I do notice is the trend of equipment which has been released in the last year compared to before.
Even the Dalvon set is better than ANY other comparable armor for a level 20...and of course better than craftable armor. Well that's enough for now. I just wanted to give you something to think about if you haven't already committed to the grind, or if you ever question why it is you do what you do.
Gold, Beautiful Gold
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I know much can be said about "tokens" and how they influence and drive our current economy. Some would argue gold is worthless in the game now as everything is about tokens. While all of that is opinion, there is one thing which is true and that is that gold is dropping in larger amounts from the monsters of Ashen Empires.
The following is a combination of facts combined with speculation.
Gold. The precious metal which we use as the lifeblood of our economy. As a crafter, and thus a seller to adventurers, I always found it interesting how easy I could make money crafting compared to hunting. I pondered about how adventurers could afford to really "adventure" between healing, stamina and repair potions, ammunition for bows, crossbows and slings, and then of course upgrading weapons and armor.
It is well known that adventuring, especially boss hunting, can result in a very lucrative business, but you can't always count on that and you surely can't state that it will work for everyone. So while selling items dropped from bosses is a good way for some it isn't a sure way for everyone and definitely isn't a method that a new player can adopt into their adventuring.
Back to the gold. Back in December, 2007, something "shifted" in the world of Dransik. (Patch Notes)
And since that date...(over a month ago) I've been meaning to write this article.
Since December I have noticed more gold being dropped by monsters. A variety of monsters. I've found myself a significant amount wealthier after coming back from a long hunt (compared to amounts recovered from hunts previous). While I made a small fortune last night hunting Rock Trolls for 3-4 hours, I was more pleased to find out that the monsters around Starter Towns (Silvest, Krog, Whisperdale) were dropping larger amounts of gold.
Not only gold, mind you, but other valuable resources as well. It was noted to me on two different occasions that it appeared potions were appearing more often in the corpses of the fallen and some equipment and weapons as well! (See the Epic Set article for more details).
More supplies, both of gold and potions, have been available for the new adventurers of this land for the last couple of six weeks or so. While this is something to celebrate you have to keep in mind the inflation which has occurred as well. Blood Bandages a year ago were 200-250 gold each. Then they were 400 six months ago. Now people are charging 500 to 1000 gold PER blood bandage. So, while there is more gold coming into to the banks, there is also more going out to purchase supplies.
In conclusion, I think that the overall change here is good. The inflation really doesn't affect new players because the shop prices in towns hasn't increased. The gold they can now earn in larger amounts allows them to get their adventuring supplies more easily. These prices are set by the game, and not by players, unlike everything else in the game once you adventure out of these starting areas. I believe this change gives new players a stronger leg to stand on when starting out and hopefully this year will prove a prosperous time for the new adventurers.
Bow and Blade
Friday, January 25, 2008
I draw from the AE Forum Topic created by Meilute found here: http://forum.ashenempires.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=57305
The following is an Opinion article drawing on real life facts which may not always apply to a game setting.
The first post in that topic makes the comparison. The Rough Cedar Bow versus the Ancient Sword of Agon.
Now, I'm not commenting on should the bow have been buffed (prior to the Jan 23rd update it was not this good), or should every "common" build have a end-game weapon. I'm not commenting on whether people should orb-reset their characters to use this weapon or if the process of obtaining this weapon is balanced with its benefits.
I am writing about the concept of the Bow (distance weapon, capable of delivering damage of varying types depending on ammunition) and the Blade (melee weapon, single-damage type weapon).
This entry I believe will take on more length as I decide to revise it. For now I just want to point out a couple of things to consider.
1) Bow - It's All About Shot Placement
An arrow isn't lethal simply because it's an arrow.
Non-fiction: There are many places in your body where a piercing wound can occur and you not be in serious harm. Yes, it'll hurt, but lethal..no. There aren't many places which would deliver a instant lethal wound with an arrow. You would need repeat puncture wounds even in vital areas to deliver a quick death. You also have to keep in mind the more powerful the bow is the more strength it uses to fire. You have to hold the weight of the bow out from your body (which is a feat in itself if done for several minutes), and then for each arrow fired you must pull back against the tension, then hold that potential until you have aimed and released. It's exhausting and not nearly as quick as swinging a sword.
Fiction: Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. Boromir is injured by many arrows. It takes many arrows to deliver the fatality to the son of the Steward of Gondor. What I'm trying to point out is that a typical hero character (like the ones we plan in Ashen Empires) should not be felled by a single arrow. The arrows that struct down Boromir came from a strong Orc wielding a composite bow. It is a brutal wound, but it takes time for wounds like that to kill.
The benefit of the bow is distance. Wounds can be inflicted from a distance, and depending on your weapon, anywhere between a few feet or over 300 yards (longbow � something NOT in Ashen Empires). Injured and out of the battle is different than death. An arrow wound might cause a foot soldier to be out of the battle, but that doesn't mean he was killed.
Bows were a means of support for the spirit of true combat, the melee skirmish.
2) Blade - There can only be one!
Okay. We could talk about armor all day. I'm not here to discuss the types of swords, types of attacks, types of damage or how armor comes into play. I'm talking about when a sword, axe or edged weapon lands a successful hit...it is hard not to be devastated. You've either just lost a limb, lost the use of that limb, or have a hefty chunk missing from you.
Now, given a long enough time line a sword and bow are just as lethal. They will both end up killing their victim. What I'm trying to point out is that the average number of strikes with a sword is less than that with a bow to finish a target. Through this you can clearly see that the sword (on average) should be doing MORE damage than the bow (per strike).
I'm not discussing Effort vs. Exploitation (haha, math nerds) in the case of MMORPG work vs. reward. There has to be some logic to this system. Just because a bow is difficult to get doesn't mean it should be illogical. There should be a sword (or some other edged weapon) which should ALWAYS out-power the bow. Those are just the logical rules of weapon classes.
What to do?
I know this seams unfair in a game sense, because achievers want to obtain the best they can. I'm not saying a bow can't do a certain amount of damage nor that ranged combat is weaker than melee combat. I just think that a bow's damage-per-second (DPS) should not be as high as a melee weapon (of equal level) because that doesn't follow any logical train of thought. Now, that would be a real life argument. I can always do more damage with an axe than I can with an arrow whether the target be living or not. In a game, everything changes.
I think good, powerful bows should exist. Bows are very useful and strategic weapons. They are used for support fighters (supporting the tanking warrior), the blade is king when it comes to lethality.
A Tale of Two Servers
Friday, January 18, 2008
Everyone has their own reasons as to why they chose to journey from the Heroes server to the Legends server. For the most part, though, the reasons have been quite similar. This I find amusing...that so many people took action to get away from the problem. What was the problem you ask? The actions of some players on the H server; the scams, the griefing, or the killing of new players. These actions were shunned by those who are now finding a warm welcome on Legends.
So, my advice to the newer players wishing to embark on a journey through the world of Ashen Empires is to start out on Legends, as what is left on Heroes is mostly the higher level players. On Legends, you may level up in peace and interact with those that are willing to help. However, if you wish to stray from the peaceful side, the Heroes server is still there for those who wish to engage in some Player vs. Player action!
Last but not least, recently there have been several threads on the forums regarding ideas to make the game more interesting, exciting, and fun for both the newer players and the long timers. Some of these ideas include no longer dropping your backpack when you die, new level-coordinated areas with benefits for those who go there, etc. It seems that the devs are making more efforts to listen to those suggestions, but if you wish to voice your opinion on these matters, my advice is to keep away from the insulting and arguing as that solves nothing.
Orb Reset vs Knowing Your Build
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Last Tuesday (15th) I proposed getting an orb reset for Tempester, my Ranger (level 105, 100 STR, 100 DEX, 31 CON). I am nearing the completion of all tradeskills and level 106. With my recent move to Legends (Non-PVP server) I find myself drawn to hunting more and more. Once tradeskills are maxed I will most likely spend the majority of my playing time out and about throughout Dransik and the other regions of Ashen Empires.
So, I thought I would need a stronger hunting build than the crafting one I had grown to love. Little did I know that the flaw wasn't the build, but the player: me. I knew of the Balron Set (one of the hardest sets to obtain, without nearly the quality reflecting the hardship to achieve it) was available but I didn't realize how much gear I had at my disposal simply because I had avoided hunting on Heroes (PVP server) for so long.
The Caiman Set and Titan set are both sets which result from hunting. Sands of Creation (SoC) is where most all of the high level equipment is, anything not covered in SoC is definately covered in Talazar's Revenge (TR) and I have successfully collected full sets of Coldsteel, Wyvern Plate, Demonic and Swiftwind for supplementing my hunts with better resists. I just recently learned how much I had been missing out on by not having some of these pieces from SoC.
Starting today I began my hunt for Caiman Hides (and a new Cursestriker bow), my leveling of Skinning (for Titan Quest. Yes I'm using a Taskmaster. Yes, I am ashamed), and trying to achieve level 106 by February 22nd (54.5 mil to go!). Awaiting me at 106 are 2 pieces of the Holy Arda Set, which I hope to expand to more by the time I achieve 106.
What I'm trying to say is this. Before you consider switching and leaving your old build or character behind, you should really look into avenues you haven't considered. I feel confident that while I may not be as great a hunter as some other builds, the new equipment I hope to obtain over the next month or two will definitely increase the overall effectiveness of my hunting.
Happy Holidays from the Cows of Ashen Empires - Part I
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I recently took a short hiatus from Ashen Empires about a month ago. It lasted about five days before I returned, though not quiet as publicly as before. I returned for my guildmates, both the Templar Veritae and the newbies of Heroes Server, the Cows of Dransik. It was a much needed break which allowed me to reevaluate a few things.
The first of which is that this game is very much a part of my everyday life. No, it isn't my life and contrary to popular belief (and in some circles could be considered blasphemy) I do not waddle and moo in real life. The game is fun. It's a way to spend some free time I have, or to even socialize a bit if I feel like chatting. It definitely rewards those who feel the need to have a sense of accomplishment. Every level earned at the grindstone, either for a craft, or weapon is one more page in your book, but also one more piece of string tying you to the Ashen Empires. It's the nature of roleplay games.
I started playing November 3rd, 2006. Just over 13 months ago. In that time I've created a few characters, including Tempester (level 105 ranger, my main), Katrina (lvl 69 dex-mage, long story about the name...), and then a level 7 character named Tempcow on both servers for fun. I've met the majority of the Heroes playerbase through tradeskilling and banksitting, and most of the Legends playerbase via the forums.
What am I trying to say? Ashen Empires is a game, but it's part of me and I like to think to some degree I'm part of it. So, in the spirit of the holidays I've decided to write a multi-piece AE Reporter special, starting with this introductory piece, followed by a few more pieces each week until the unveiling of the newbie-oriented website to assist with more FAQ, maps, guides, etc as well as promote the new Ashen Empires Player's Guide. Each week I will try to keep up and summarize the latest and current game news.
Chaos Island, Boats, Guild-houses...Oh My!
Friday, November 30, 2007
At last, what we've all been waiting for. New content is soon going to be put into place for all of the Ashen Empires community. Our imagination can roam freely on this one. The players themselves have done well by posting suggestions on the Ashen Empires Forums about what they want to see in the game.
Such ideas will soon be implemented to enhance game-play for all, such as resurrecting the interesting feature of seeing what's in an enemy's corpse after they have been slain. Hopefully this will enhance game by creating that adrenaline rush as your loot timer slowly, but surely, counts down to the infamous line of "You cannot loot for another 1 second." Your heart is beating rapidly...You're about to pilfer from the enemy!
But wait, there's more in which can be described simply as...Chaos Island. Chaos island is exactly that, chaotic. You will be engaging in Player vs. Player gaming against your peers, competing for rewards as a token for your skills in the exciting, but sometimes fearsome, Player vs. Player interaction. Not much about this island has been released to the public but there will be more, juicy information coming in the near future.
The next item on the list of discussion is the next expansion titled "Tides of Fate." The players have worked diligently on the forums asking for guild houses and ships for their likings, and now they're right around the corner. "Tides of Fate" will provide all sorts of new content for those of all levels, so don't feel too bad if you're a newcomer to the game, or just a player that isn't as experienced as another, there's content for you too.
On that note, I hope to see more suggestions from the community as to how the game can be molded into a game that we all want to play. The guild options thread is still open and awaiting new thoughtful ideas. Hey, maybe even YOUR ideas will be implemented, but you need to express them first. ;)
Guild Looting: For the Win?
Sunday, November 12, 2007
You're hunting with your guildmates at the local Rock Troll spawn above the town of Josody. Unfortunately, you die and awaken at the last spawn gate in which you marked. Fortunately for you, you're right in Josody! Your guildmates ask if you need to be ressurected to which you reply "No, I'm right here in Josody." You carelessly jog up to your body in between the mountains to find...you're missing items!
Guild looting. Yeah, when you think about it, you might say to yourself, "Hey, it won't happen to me, my guild is trustworthy." Well, that's what you'd think. However, it's a fact nowadays that it's hard to keep track of whether or not the people you added to your guild are really the same people that you had befriended so long ago. Such has happened to many different guilds recenlty, such as Rogue Element, Death to All, and Defiance on H server. Although it does NOT break any rules essentially, it does have some negative effects on the community. This has shown in the latest thread on the forums about guild looting. Some seem to think that it's part of the game, part of what we call "role playing", but in reality it shouldn't be. Guild looting is stealing. No matter which way you look at it, it has a negative impact on player's experiences.
The players should be protected from it somehow. Some players have suggested some sort of a "tag" you can place on people in your guild, allowing them to loot your body. Others have suggested a text box, sort of like the resurrection box, giving a "Yes" or "No" option to those trying to loot you. This would have to be part of a revamp of the guild system, which we all have wanted for a while and really wish to see done.
On this note, I would like to hear your ideas about a new guild system. There will be a thread in suggestions asking for a new guild system and I want to see your ideas! (Link to Forum Post)
A Look into Character Builds
Monday, November 5, 2007
There are many different builds in Ashen Empires. They are all different, some more than others, and each finds a vibe with certain players. However, to develop a strong character you must not only have the "best" gear or the "best" build. There are small tricks that may help you play your build to its fullest potential. For example: as a 100 Strength/Dexer, if a swordsman comes running up to me I have to be able to time my attack and move around, evading his attacks. Little things like this, which you learn over time or through friends in game, will make you a stronger player of your build.
I interviewed several players with the following questions about their builds:
- How long have you been the build you currently are?
- What influenced you to become this build?
- What are some pros of this build?
- What are some cons of this build?
- What must be done to attain the best gear available for this build?
- What would you say to someone wishing to become this build?
- "6 years."
- "I like sword and magic, doing both that is."
- "Battle-mages are very versatile; they can hunt nearly anything and are also good at trade skills."
- "They're weaker than other builds; you don't have the same power or defense as others."
- "Since we can't use many top end items, it isn't hard to get a majority of much of the top end, though some pieces require long questing."
- "Its challenging and not as easy as other builds."
: Master Ec
: Dex Con
- "1.5 years."
- "Being able to engage in PvP more efficiently."
- "The ability to take much more damage than most other builds, not to mention the Dragon Scale Armor."
- "Not being able to use a good pole arm."
- "You need lots of time to hunt dragons and farm scales to get to what drops it."
- "It's a good build to have, but there is not much armor to choose from. I hope they would like the build as much as I do!"
: Dex Str
- "Since DS (~4.5 years)."
- "Dexterity began to work with the DS update, and I like the bow :P"
- "The best thing about the build is that it is versatile. There is a wide range of weapons you can use and a wide range of armor you can wear."
- "The downside is lower HP, hence harder to pvp, due mainly to lower Constitution."
- "Hunt dragons and have no life."
- "If you like being versatile then it's good, but if you want to be all powerful in pvp, or want to be a tank, or have an obsession with HP, it's not for you."
: Dex Int
- "About 18 months."
- "I liked how Spesh (player Special Needs) could bow so easily and kill things so easily, but I also liked being a mage. I got my Fellstrike drop and I decided to go Dex Mage."
- "I get lots of dodges, blocks, double attacks, and crits, and being able to bow and mage."
- "Low health, low con, low armor class. Its hard to hunt due to these factors. I have no unique bows to use and the set I have for 100 Dex 100 Int sucks and it isn't even complete."
- "Some of the gear is quest related: Haflah/Kidds boots, FE gloves, and many hours must be spent to get a Staff of Elemental Mastery and Library Book, and the rest of the gear are drops from SoC mobs, aside from my talisman of pure brilliance, which was crafted for me."
- "I am the best dex-mage around so they shouldn't try to compete with me and just go warden."
- "10 months."
- "I noticed the blood soaked items were cool, and muhajid was a great wep. I talked with Itsit a lot and he had many great things to say about the build. I was Nordic archer before I changed, so I wanted to keep some dex and I noticed I could wear lots of great gear."
- "I don't get hit often, and when I do, it's highly resisted."
- "The lack of con hurts me against mages."
- "Hunt lots of dragons, spend time farming scales, etc."
- "Once you get to wear the better gear, you can tank like a beast."
- "19 months."
- "At 55 dex I could wear Wyvern Leather Cuirass. This way I could get a lot of dex to do tradeskilling."
- "I have a good weapon/armor diversity. Best melee dps weapons and pretty decent ranged."
- "You have to be close to your target, otherwise your dps is worthless. That's why this build isn't that great in group pvp, most of your opponents will have ranged."
- "You need to do a lot of dragon hunting. All dragon gear is not useful for PvP though, but all other pieces are pretty cheap, just that you can't buy dragon gear like you can buy balron etc. You have to get it as a drop."
- "If you go with this build be ready to have to melee more because the arching isn't that great without the dex of other builds."
: Unreal Warrior
: Con Str
- "1 or 2 months (recently switched)."
- "I wanted good strength, con, and regeneration."
- "Great for hunting."
- "There's not enough armor or weapons made for this build. All of the new weapons require dex of more than 30."
- "To get the best gear, you need to hunt and farm at dragons, but there's so many wars over dragons that it's not worth it."
- "I think it's a real good build for hunting, but to be the best you can be with that build, you're going to have a tough time getting the best gear since it's dropped by dragons, like dragon guard armor."
: Int Con
- ""I started to train con mage like 15 months ago."
- "I was on legends back then and all mages were dex. I liked con and int since there was a damage cap at 205 int, so I could get 205 int and use spore tunic and con items. It was awesome for healing and tanking mobs."
- "Int/Con mages have high health and Int and are awesome at PvP."
- "It's pretty hard to level, there are no places where you can powerlevel other than boring skeleton fiends."
- "You must hunt dragons for a sun burst robe and royalty cloak and kill instigators for warden gear."
- "Although it takes a while to level, once you get 106 you'll know it was worth the leveling."
Eye on Eastwatch & Update Comments
Friday, October 26, 2007
Surprise, surprise when I arose the morning of the 25th of this month. OneEye announced that the servers would be down for a patch. I (and I assume most everyone else) thought this would take all day. I had actually considered going outside this morning. That was until I found on the Ashen Empires forum, reading the list of updated material. "Great!" I thought, the new Dairy Cow was in, but more surprised...the servers were up!
And so the day was enjoyed with the stories which usually occur with updates. So-so boss wasn't working, and "my guild ended up killing him 50 times in an hour!", or "the new boss dropped his entire set!" Eventually these are fixed, but not until it's abused enough.
I, however, enjoyed part of the day mining for the Mining Contest! I was slightly confused as to why I wasn't getting any �special ore' for the contest before I realized you had to buy a ticket with tokens to even participate. Silly me. That disappointment was short-lived because I was then informed by a friend of a new quest in the game.
I spent the next hour and half as a level 105 in a level 25 area, along with two level 110 players and several others. It appears the Dalvon mines south of Eastwatch have attracted a pack of kobolds. No, not your run-of-the-mill Kobolds, but Miner and Foreman kobolds! These nasty buggers mean business! Richs have been found in the mine here west of Silvest and humans aren't the only ones interested.
Aside from the quest involved, there is an entire set of kobold miner equipment! This is what actually inspired me to write this piece. It shows, thankfully, in regards to my worst fear of any game which caters only to the highest-level players, that the developers have not forgotten about the low-level players. This gear has some mine bonuses, and best of all is level 15 to use. Almost as soon as you leave Valinor you can strap on this nice-looking set of kobold equipment.
A new quest, some new equipment, anything else? The area, the mine, is big enough to lose yourself in for a bit while hunting. Not a small area you can run through in a minute. Though because the Kobolds have put a lot of resources into their mining operation, don't think they've come unprepared. Make sure you go in a party of multiple people if you're fresh from Valinor.
There's no bank in Eastwatch, the closest town, so whatever you need for this adventure you'll need to bring from Silvest! Perhaps all this new traffic to the mine could inspire a banker to find a place in Eastwatch? *nudge*
In closing I have a couple more remarks about the update. First, as is expected, the Dairy Cow. While adorable (thanks to Tyrantcow), it isn't wereskinnable, and therefore players cannot be Dairy Cows yet. We should expect this soon, and OneEye mentioned he would post on the forum when this is fixed. They can be found in northeast Josody, but are considered tamed. Attacking them will put you in temp status with the guards after you in one of the highest player-killing areas in the game.
Eggs! I just bought a few thousand. Pies, pies pies. While most people don't know the thrills of baking, this reversal of egg-placement taken away in December 2006 has made us few bakers extremely happy. This will hopefully encourage new players trying their hand at farming to also try to bake a pie as well.
Halloween pack looks fun. Pumpkins are great. What's with the GIANT pumpkin? As large as a dragon a Great Pumpkin rolled into LSP bank today, demanding our worship.
Thanksgiving pack...I had to sigh at this one. It's a mask pack and equipment pack it seems. I did a double sigh when I saw it was described as "Indian and pilgrim." I couldn't believe it when the actual item name is included the word "savage." While not the most politically correct player, I don't feel this was a strong addition to the game. Let's all be �savages', in remembrance of the horrors which fell upon them by the religiously intolerant pilgrims. While this isn't a forum for political discussion I feel that if you were going to introduce such a socially hostile subject, there are better ways to do it, though avoiding it would be the best even at the risk of losing the possibility of a few tokens being spent.
There and Back Again
Dragon Flame's Return to Hero Server
Monday October 15, 2007
A summer spent over on Legends, Dragon Flame is back on Heroes. A very fresh look at server differences, both of community and gameplay. And he has his bucket.
I was in Teylan, one of the towns of the Talazar's Revenge Expansion establishments and the home of the Altar of Offering (source of power hours), when a friend of mine decided to visit. Not well-liked by the guards, the entire town attempted to fend him off, though to no avail. He has come for an interview, one constantly interrupted by the vigilant, though useless, guards of Teylan.
The journey of one player throughout both realms of Ashen Empires is one which reflects motivations of a player as well as the dichotomy of our dual servers. Originally known As Mike Vick on Legends Server he enjoyed the friendly atmosphere and adventuring, spending months on the Non-PVP server leveling, questing and having fun. About six months later, however, he grew restless and wanted something new, primarily Player-versus-Player action.
Dragonflame, as he became known, did exactly what he wanted to do. He became a member of Death To All (DTA) then Rogue Element (RE) guilds. He found what he was missing on Legends Server and enjoyed his time immensely. He noted that initially there was a culture shock. The behavior of players between the two servers was very different, though he adjusted.
As summer set in, Dragonflame grew tired of the lifestyle that a PKer had to live by on Heroes Server. He had grown tired of Player Killing (PKing) and couldn't freely hunt because of his reputation status, his perception by other players and his reputation on the server. True, Heroes provided something Legends lacked, but it soon became apparently that Heroes was missing a few gameplay elements which Legends had.
Remarking that you could hunt solo on Legends and not having to worry about getting PK'd, a common occurrence for all players (regardless of reputation). The overall quality of the public channels on Legends was also a deciding factor in Dragonflame's switch to Legends.
Dragonflame once again became Mike Vick, a name he had chosen over a year ago, his original Legends name (it had nothing to do with the recent news pertaining to the American Football player, Mike Vick). With his return he hunted dragons with the Legends community and he leveled his mage character. He said he enjoyed the relaxed attitude on Legends, something which is not shared on Heroes. While he enjoyed is hiatus from the PVP-server, Dragonflame said he would one day return.
A couple of weeks ago we witnessed the return of Dragonflame, albeit not by the same name. The name �Dragonflame' had been taken, so he provided a free name change and took �Dragon Flame' instead, the name you'll find him with now.
As for the future, Dragon Flame doesn't know if he'll go back to Legends or not, and if he did, whether it would be permanent or simply a visit. For now he's having fun once again on the Heroes Server, making up for the summer of no player-versus-player action. As agreed, once this interview was concluded Dragon Flame chased Tempcow around Teylan, PKing him about three times.
Tokens of Change, Part II: The Tilt
The Freshest Diva
Friday August 3, 2007
For some time, the token system has met with a lot of player criticism. IWG announced with the release of the token system that it was part of a plan to make the game free to play, a plan that would take time to gradually bring about. Many players have had strong opinions about the different items and services featured in the Ashen Empires token store, but until recently, that plan had yet to make it's first step toward free play. In our last update, the prices of Ashen Empires subscriptions were reduced, marking the first step toward bringing this plan about.
Formerly, a month of Ashen Empires was 160 tokens, exactly eight dollars. That price has been reduced now to 120 tokens, two dollars less for access by-the-month. Six dollars will now purchase enough tokens for a month of play, and this is no small change. A price reduction like this is quite possibly enough to bring back some old players, and if it isn't, this marks the first of a series of steps toward IWG's plan to make the game free to play.
However, banners say the game is free to play now. Many players have things to say about this as well, bronze status does not actually allow the player to so much play the game as enter the world and chat. Items cannot be dropped or taken, experience is reduced by 90%, one cannot join a party with other players, and any houses owned by a bronze player will be foreclosed after a time of continued bronze status. Some players wonder if the changes could bring about a gradual reduction of the restrictions on bronze players.
The actual price reduction, however, has sent a pleasant wave through the community. With the game's access price reduced by this much, even some skeptics cannot help but consider that the token system will do some good. Very few players do not use any of the token store features, critics or not. Perhaps we will truly know once the game is ultimately free to access how people will feel about the new system then. Only time will tell, as Ashen Empires continues to evolve into a new creature.
~The Freshest Diva
In-Game News Reporter, Special Issue: Defenders of Dransik
Friday, August 3, 2007
Lotor's Castle stood defiant of the tragedy just south of it in the town of New Korelth. The bastion of order and justice remained, though its foundation was shaken. The King distraught, the guards unsure of the forces mounting against them and the ever-smoking New Korelth served as a sign of the coming apocalypse. If only there was hope.
Through the dying light of dusk they rode. Their banner, the great shield with a D enscribed on it, was held high for all to see. They rode towards the castle, like the demons of Hell were on their heels. The dust they kicked up made them their charge toward the castle all the more intimidating. The guards on the wall called out. The guards on the wall called back that it was the Defenders of Dransik. While this was a good sign, for the Defenders had proven themselves in the past as allies against the Darkness, none were allowed into the castle at this time.
When the party grew closer, the guards could see the mounted Defenders riding forth. They called out and signaled to halt. None were allowed in the castle. They did not heed the warning. On his horse, Gothika called something to the Defender next to him, Tempester (of course, a cow). Tempcow nodded and charged forward. There were guards in the way of the gates. They needed to be cleared. Lowering his head he sped ahead of the pack, preparing to ram the guards.
Why were the Defenders storming the gates of the castle?
A calling went out on this last Tuesday for all those who would fight against the tyranny of Talazar, of the corruption of New Korelth and the devastation his forces has left over the weekend. A banner was raised south of New Korelth, and all those who heard the heard the summons and felt it their duty to answer. Queen Anne, Lotor's wife, had been kidnapped during their wedding reception over the weekend and in adding insult to injury, New Korelth had been transformed into Hell on earth.
Standing alone with the great Banner of the Defenders, Tempester (aka Tempcow, for he was a cow) waited for his brethren. They came. Ameerah, the bunny mage. The Blacksmither. KillerAO (aka Killercow, also as a cow), Gothika, The Ruiner. The Defenders of Dransik had been formed once again. The goal was to lay siege to New Korelth and weaken Talazar's hold over the city. After drawing out enough of his strength away from his fortress the party may turn their attention to his underground fortress and storm Hell itself.
They set off; two cows, a bunny and three heroes of Dransik.
Tempcow crashed into the guards, clearing them from the gate. Others had been summoned, however, and although the gate was cleared for the rest of the Defenders Tempcow was finding himself surrounded and trapped on the edge of the castle walls outside. A shadow covered the wall, and the guards. They were all facing Tempcow, but something had landed with a huge and ground-shaking THUD behind them.
Turning, the guards found themselves face-to-face with a dragon. Lord Ertzel grinned and snorted. Opening his mouth to speak, smoke escaped, "How are you all today?" With that the guards turned and fled, leaving Tempcow free to roam.
Nearing New Korelth, they could see the demons and hell spawns that awaited them. They could also see something else. A dragon was in battle with one of the demons, casting spells and rending flesh from the demon's hide. Standing over the hulking corpse as the party arrived they hailed Lord Ertzel (in dragon form). Inviting him to join their adventure, he happily agreed and they all set forth into the burning wreckage and remains of New Korelth.
Drawing our blades and notching our arrows, we began to lay siege to New Korelth, moving from building to building, slaying everything we say. No demon or hellspawn appeared lasted more than a few seconds after we saw it. We began to spread out, split up, allowing us to successfully manage the entire spawn of Talazar's creatures. For a brief few minutes New Korelth was out of Talazar's control, even if it wasn't restored to its proper form.
"Work it harder!" yelled Gothika, slaying a Horned Demon.
"Make it better!" replied The Blacksmither finishing off a Hellspawn.
The Ruiner turned and called, "Do it faster!"
KillerAO answered, "Makes us Stronger! Moo."
Ameerah squeeked, "More than ever hour after."
"Our work is never over," Lord Ertzel finished, his dragon jaws ripping the head off a Hell Hound.
The guards cleared and the Defenders at the gate of Lotor's Castle, they dismounted and walked to the gate. Some faces had changed. The cow, KillerAO was no longer in their ranks but joined them were Rith V and Knight Warrior. Knight Warrior and Rith grabbed the handles to the gates and swung the large wooden doors open.
Striding into the long hallway down to the throne room The Blacksmither and Ruiner began to walk. The party followed. No one was wielding their weapons, but it was clear they weren't to be stopped. Lotor's chambers awaited.
To Be Continued...
Under the Banner, Issue 1
The Freshest Diva
Monday, July 23, 2007
The first of my interviews means to reach beyond the scope of a single person and focus on a guild itself. I considered at length who I should interview for the first installment, and while there are so many to choose from, there will certainly be chances to get around to everyone.
In this issue, I interviewed MoMz guild leader Still Da Mom, and a member who also helps with leadership, Toasty. I, myself, have known Still Da Mom for several years, but it was a pleasure to meet Toasty for the first time.
Please enjoy the first edition!
Mother Of Many Zoo Animals
Diva Fresh: Under the Banner, Issue 01!
Diva Fresh: Hello, Sill Da Mom, Toasty.
Still Da Mom: hullo
Still Da Mom: =D
Diva Fresh: While Felice is getting our drinks...
Toasty: hey hey ;oD
Still Da Mom: I oddered a stiff one
Still Da Mom: hope it gets rid of the nervousness a bit
Diva Fresh: Taking your best guess, when would you say MoMz was conceived? And by whom?
Still Da Mom: well it was conceived by me....but
Still Da Mom: lemme think
Still Da Mom: we've been together for about 4 years
Still Da Mom: we did have an incident where a guildie got his 4th book done and wanted to see what it was like to tag someone
Still Da Mom: and disbanned the guild
Still Da Mom: =/
Diva Fresh: Wow, that long? Time goes by.
Still Da Mom: so do we start from there?
Still Da Mom: or the beginning?
Still Da Mom: yes, way back
Diva Fresh: Any dormancies other than that little accident?
Still Da Mom: I took a year off when TKO took over and there was too much lag to really participate
Still Da Mom: it was Christmas time and I thought I was leaving forever so I gave all my gold away =X
Diva Fresh: Fozzie update by chance?
Diva Fresh: We had a horrible "night lag" problem.
Still Da Mom: I think it might have been a little after that
Still Da Mom: I stayed a while for that
Still Da Mom: I loved the green glowy marshes
Diva Fresh: Yes, those were eerie. :)
Still Da Mom: it was that last year right before IWG came and rescued us
Diva Fresh: So tell me, how would you describe the leadership body of your guild?
Still Da Mom: well first and foremost...
Still Da Mom: always have fun
Still Da Mom: we are a very goofy gang
*Still Da Mom nudges Toasty for some input*
*Toasty clears throat*
Diva Fresh: Oh, yes, Toasty, by all means. 8)
Toasty: we don't really see mom as a leader
Still Da Mom: we aren't much into the pvp scene but love to go watch and jump in for some excitement once in a while
Still Da Mom: =O
Toasty: like we do
Still Da Mom: more like a family
Still Da Mom: "Mom"
Toasty: we're her kids
Still Da Mom: "kidz"
Diva Fresh: Ah, yes, that's always good. :)
Diva Fresh: So you'd say the guild pretty much makes decisions together?
Still Da Mom: we aren't the kinda of people who freak out if we lose an item or get pk'd
Still Da Mom: pretty much, yes
Still Da Mom: like say, when it comes to guilding a new person, we all talk about who has seen them, what kind of reputation they have
Still Da Mom: things like that
Diva Fresh: Background check! :)
Still Da Mom: lol something like that, yes
Still Da Mom: and we take turns no matter the level, doing quests etc
Diva Fresh: I think any smart guild does that. 8)
Toasty: everyone gives and recieves between each other =o)
Still Da Mom: we try to remain very friendly, even amoung our enemies
Toasty: yeah, no grudges
Diva Fresh: So, what would you say MoMz stands for?
Still Da Mom: well it started out as a joke....
Still Da Mom: all those years ago
Diva Fresh: I mean the guild. :)
Still Da Mom: I believed that our letters have to stand for an abreviation
Still Da Mom: oh ok...I was going into something way off topic
Diva Fresh: Hehe that's alright.
Still Da Mom: we stand for trust, honesty, and friendship
Toasty: i think those things are what makes us strong
Still Da Mom: if you do something to make us distrust you in our guild you may not stay
Still Da Mom: that is usually made pretty clear when entering
Toasty: lol mom.. ;op
Diva Fresh: So what would you say are your greatest accomplishments?
Still Da Mom: our greatest accomplishments.....
Still Da Mom: well we have built houses for many of our guildies, so in that sense we are providing for them
Still Da Mom: but we also take a lot of time teaching newer players the ropes
Still Da Mom: which is hard to find lately
Still Da Mom: every once in a while we get someone that was in the guild and may have been booted...and has a grudge
Still Da Mom: and they create a new char just to drive us nuts
Still Da Mom: so we have become a little bit more particular about who we guild
Still Da Mom: but that's our main goal...
Diva Fresh: Yeah, I can definitely understand that.
Still Da Mom: to get newer players settled in
Diva Fresh: Not alot of focus on that these days
Still Da Mom: Toasty here has gotten what? 90 lvls since joining, in just a few months
Diva Fresh: Wow, Grats Toasty, that's hard work
Toasty: thank you =o)
Still Da Mom: she's very humble though
Still Da Mom: and blushes alot...
Still Da Mom: =P
Toasty: shush i am not!
Diva Fresh: Awww!
Toasty: she lies
Still Da Mom: but if you can't take a good razzing you aren't a "MoMz KiD"
Still Da Mom: I WHAT?!?!
Still Da Mom: =O
Diva Fresh: So, what would you say are the future goals of MoMz?
Still Da Mom: same thing, we would like to make sure that those newer players have a place to turn to, even if we don't guild them
Still Da Mom: we still like to help them out and answer questions and such
Toasty: and to take over dragon lands ;op
Still Da Mom: yeah that too
Diva Fresh: I think everyone wants to do that.
Still Da Mom: I don't think ALL of MoMz combined can take out ONE dragon
Still Da Mom: ....yet
Toasty: on a more realistic note, perhaps become a more solid guild
Toasty: in terms of strength
Toasty: and that will be done through what mom said before
Toasty: continuing our work with new players
Diva Fresh: Have you had any wars in the past with other guilds?
Still Da Mom: waaaaayyyy back we had a war, if that's what you want to call it, with H
Diva Fresh: A war with H?
Still Da Mom: I don't quite remember over what
Still Da Mom: I think because we had a pker in our hunting party and H killed them so we looted their items
Still Da Mom: they didn't like that =/
Still Da Mom: but I'd say we get along pretty fine now
Diva Fresh: Ah, I see! Well, that's good. :)
Still Da Mom: that was sooo long ago I'm surprised I remembered it
Still Da Mom: back when DL ran Desp and BLC, that was
Diva Fresh: Can you think of any memorable battles you've had, either in a war, or against pkers?
Still Da Mom: no other wars
Still Da Mom: myself and another member killed Kane a few months back and looted a few "trophies"
Diva Fresh: I mean like any big epic battles
Still Da Mom: not really,just the usually Jos RT's thing, but it's always the same
Still Da Mom: so not really memorable
Diva Fresh: Ah, yes.
Still Da Mom: we see pkers and usually run with our tails tucked =/
Diva Fresh: Lastly, what would you say to anyone interested in your guild, that you look for in new members?
Still Da Mom: honesty is a very big thing, and it's not something you can see right away
Still Da Mom: so we have "trial" periods
Diva Fresh: Aint it the truth!
Toasty: i think commitment is another thing too
Still Da Mom: when you might have to trust someone else with your life and posessions, you have to have honesty
Still Da Mom: yes, we do see a lot of people come and go, but we also see a lot come BACK
Still Da Mom: which is always a good sign
Diva Fresh: Definitely!
Toasty: i think our guild develops a lot of loyalty
Diva Fresh: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
Still Da Mom: I'll take another please Felice
Toasty: stop it!!
Still Da Mom: MoMz FTW!
Still Da Mom: oh
Toasty: you'll pass out before the interview is over!
Still Da Mom: I can't think of anything else
Still Da Mom: *hic*
Diva Fresh: Haha... well, if that's everything, we'll conclude the interview. Thank you for meeting with me. :)
In-Game News Reporter, Issue 2.5
Monday, July 16, 2007
The following is an article I wrote thanks to TheTyrant and FujiQ. It is not a spoiler article. I wrote it to get you excited and to give you a little hint as to what's to come. As FujiQ has announced, OneEye will be making a sizable post about what changed. Hope you find this entertaining and informative.
Stopping by Swamps on a Chilly Evening...
An exclusive inside look into the July 15th Update and DEV TheTyrant...
I had been summoned to one of the most isolated locations in this world. Why? I had been promised pie. Apple, in fact. I, Tempcow, waddled west from Chelra along the coast as dusk fell. Hurrying past the various Storm Giants, Elite Fighters and Liches I found myself in a much more dangerous place. In this lost portion of the world, true monsters roam. Monsters of great strength, such as Ancient Ogres and Elder Treants call this place home. Monsters of incredible annoyance, like Chyrmorphs and Vampire Bats.Here, at the edge of the world, I had been summoned. Summoned for pie.
I could smell the wonderfulness of the apple pie as I waddled to the western edge of this area. It had been called, the 'Giant's Thumb' or the 'New Lands' (a name now far outdated). It was the habitat of the illustrious Lightning Slugs, the sticky and shocking beasts which had chased me around in circles. I finally came upon my final destination. A small apple pie, still warm from the DEV oven it had come from. Beside it TheTyrant, one of the four Developers of Ashen Empires.
"Greetings, Tempester," Tyrant welcomed me.
Frowning at him I replied, "Why meet all the way out here? Sluggies chased me!"
"I hope they weren't too much hassle?" he asked, chuckling.
I narrowed my eyes at him and ate my pie. Delicious pie.
"I brought you here so you could see the newest addition to the mainland," Tyrant explained, "You're one of those 'news reporters', right?"
I corrected him. I was one of the people who yelled in the middle of Lotor's Summer Palace until people listened to me. Some people call that news. Then I realized that I knew almost nothing about TheTyrant. I stopped munching my apple pie and looked at him. Nudging him with my large cow head I asked him to give me a brief summary of his existence. It was entertaining to say the least.
Tyrant traces his Ashen Empires roots back to 2001, when it was Dransik. He had left for a bit and returned 3 years ago in 2004 when it took on a new name, Ashen Empires. As a player also interested in game design Tyrant did beta testing for various other games, one of which landed him a Lead Quality Assurance spot for NOKs Technologies (noks.com) and a development slot the online web-php game, Galactic Dominion.
Tyrant, as some of you may not know, rose through the ranks from player-status. He was a player who just made suggestions and art for the game, all those years ago. What encouraged him was the TKO (company before IWG) Development who unlike a lot of DEVs of games Tyrant has played, actually listened to the playerbase. Tyrant's first 'footprint' (as he calls it) in Ashen Empires was when Demon Eye went in. His input helped shape the dice game to what it is today. (Demon Eye is the game in the Inns. Go play it. Now.)
Submitting art and suggestions directly to OneEye starting last year brought Tyrant one step closer, and his enthusiasm for game development was encouraged greatly. A year ago he moved to Boston, and for the summer Tyrant did wall art for Sands of Creation as well as the Enchanted Leather set. It was in September 2006 when Tyrant moved to Austin and directly into Iron Will Games.
Since September Tyrant has been generating graphical content for Ashen Empires from within the office. He's been working with Denis Loubet, a name known throughout the gaming industry, who does some of the artistic and animation work as well. Using 3d Studio Max has allowed Tyrant to produce higher quality, 'shinier' art for all the players.
Concluding my summary of Tyrant's life story (all the important parts, anyways), we started to talk about the new update. Finishing my pie (most delicious pie, ever), I listened intently on what was going on. Though my bovine brain is small and slow, I was able to understand most of it.
Aptly named the "Broken Finger" update, the DEVs have fixed over 150 bugs (icky, squishy bugs) and added new content to the region of the mainland that I had always heard called the 'Giant's Thumb.' It brings in larger models, not quite the site of dragons, but Tyrant explained that he prefers larger models for both monsters and items. Larger models allows for more detail, all the better to show Tyrant's creative talents. The models are 'beefier' ( har har har!) as he explained. He warned me to be prepared for giant warriors, 3-headed bounds and new demons.
Tyrant's favorite model is the 'giant shaman model' though he doesn't know what the monster's post-production name is. It was his favorite to work on, with a spellbook in one hand and a staff in the other he's excited to see what it looks like in game. The demons are creepier, with gross textures and he laughs as he explains that they won't be attacking with claws, but with rotting limbs!
His philosophy on updates is that while old issues should be fixed, he also likes to see new content added. The entrance, for example, to part of this update had been discovered ages ago but players had no idea how to get to it. I'm trying not to be too vague, but also not too specific. Explore this region for you to figure out what I speak of. On the topic of new with old, though, a new Stone Giant model is also coming out with this update.
While some may not be aware of how much time actually goes in to all of this, be assured it is more time than you'd ever want to be involved in the development of something. Everything is taken into consideration when new content is coming in. Player interests, DEV interests mixed in with how much time is needed versus how much time is available all factor in to what the final product looks like. Believe it or not, Developers do take in player suggestions and ideas. Tyrant's a testament to that exact concept. Though everything is tempered to a comfortable 'middle zone' in which players enjoy what is being produced and DEVs like what is being added. As Tyrant puts it, this means making things 'beefier, shinier and half-naked."
All this excitement and I just had to ask, but no. No new cow skins or monsters this update. As I waddled around the area, the 'Thumb' I couldn't wait to see what was to be added. For sure we are all waiting for the first few screenshots posted by players as well as the great list of bugs that were squashed! I hope this was entertaining and informative for all of you. I'd like to thank GM FujiQ and DEV TheTyrant for their time to answer this silly cow's questions.
In-Game News Reporter, Issue 2
Monday, June 18, 2007
*Correction. Last issue said this issue would contain an article about the Dragonlands. That has been replaced by an article on Lotor's Wedding. The Dragonlands article will be published in time.
The Adventurer's Journal: Valekar's Fortress
An in-depth look an item or area of Ashen Empires...
Mystery and darkness surround this fortress. One of the most interesting places to visit in the mainland is a ruin just south of the Orc town of Dawat. Nestled in the mountains due west of Arda, the surface level is but a ghost of what it once was. Crumbling ruins make out the once impenetrable above-ground element of the fortress. Now they are a haunt for spectral orcs, having nothing to do but wander in their accused existence endlessly.
Valekar was a Rune Warrior Commander. The Rune Wars was an era in which the lands of Dransik entered a time of chaos and seemingly nonstop fighting. Those loyal to King Lotor and those who fell under the rule of the Rune Warriors were locked in brutal massacres day after day. While much is not known specifically of the Rune Warriors themselves, we have scholars looking into that area of study to discover more. What we do know was that Valekar was one of their leaders, a man who had a dream of what he would do to the lands of Dransik.
What he considered a dream, most would see as a nightmare. It started with the construction of Valekar's Fortress. The construction wad done in secret, hidden through unknown means (most likely magical) to hide the progress from the rest of the world. It was an amazing feat, for upon completion the spell wore off and a newly constructed fortress now stood, a symbol of Rune Army might and their dominance over the realm. Valekar would use this as a base of operations as his army conquered town after town, crushing all who opposed him.
More on the subject of the history of Valekar and his fortress will be written later, after the scholars have returned with their findings. Regardless of the past horrors, the ruins of that once mighty fortress are now supreme hunting ground for all adventurers. Rich with Brimidian, many find themselves surrounded by potential mining riches if they can survive the inhabitants of the underground caves. Also frequenting the ruins are those who have been send by Lotorian and Chaos (though less often) Knights. The knights do what they can to keep monster numbers to a reasonable level.
Those exploring will find three floors below ground, and a very large pentagram on the lowest. The fourth floor is inaccessible by the solo adventurer, and is the domicile of one of Dransik's oldest bosses and quests (but more on that in a different issue!).
In closing, I would like to speak of my own personal experience. The dungeon in my opinion is well constructed. Narrow passages and winding turns are to be expected. However, this dungeon is inhabited by ghostly monsters; spectral beings which pass through walls with ease to come to you. It is easy to become trapped and pinned in these narrow corridors. Adventure with caution, and good luck!
The Bard's Tale: The Wedding of King Lotor!
Tales of Action and Adventure...
A celebration indeed! A week ago a great festival was held in Lotor's Summer Palace. Rumored for about two weeks the gossip filled bank and brothel from Whisperdale to Hammerfist. From frozen land to scorching desert riders went, carrying the news to the farthest corners of Dransik. The King was to wed.
Long have I adventured through these lands and never once believing that King Lotor would take a bride, but he did! The beautiful Lady Anne from Hothbra was to be the new Queen of Ashen Empires! The secretive courtship of Lady Anne which brought this wedding surprisingly to light has me wondering what else might be happening in our world that we've yet to hear about.
The usual commotion and ruckus occurred, which was unfortunate. During the ceremony there was constant chatter from the observers but not enough to ruin the event. The two exchanged vows and all were overjoyed and many cheers went up for King Lotor and Queen Anne. It was an exciting day, a blessed day and a day the lands of Dransik will not soon forget.
Speaking about not forgetting, this land is one with history. A history filled with shadows and scars. In the darkest chambers of forbidden castles and the deepest caves of cursed mountains the forces of darkness and evil wait. This day would be their day as well. The wedding of Lotor and Lady Anne meant one thing in their eyes. It wasn't about preventing happiness or ruining a celebration. It was about a baby.
A baby meant a King's son. An heir to the throne. Another generation to hold the tides of darkness at the shore. Now would be Talazar's chance to strike at Lotor when he was most vulnerable and he did not miss the opportunity. Moments after the ceremony was complete the orders were given and assistance was requested for adventurers and heroes to rally at New Korelth.
The pies and cakes, ales and wines would have to be delayed. The great feast which was intended for guests would be cancelled. The guests were no longer wearing their formal outfits but their war staves and battle plates, heavy mail and blood-soaked armor. All manor of weapons were raised to the heavens as the charge broke and legions of heroes went forth to battle.
Talazar had not been idling. This was no ordinary hellspawn. He had roused the great Balrons from their slumber, calling on far more which were normally found by adventuring parties. Escorted by hordes of lesser demons and beasts they crashed against forces which Lotor commanded; both divine zealot and criminal brigand.
Into the early afternoon the sword crashed with claw until finally New Korelth was safe. At no time did King Lotor or Queen Anne come close to being harmed. It was an eventful day for sure and one which will be remembered by both the lurking darkness and viligant defenders for many days to come.
The Fireside: Qpea/Brisky
A personal chat with an adventurer...
Wandering into the Lotor's Summer Bank this past week I bumped into a female mage who looked at me oddly. Why? Because a big cow face was looking back at her. Taken slightly by surprise when I excused myself, she introduced herself though looked awkward when she extended her hand for a shake. I smiled and gave it a lick. I had found Brisky! I waddled on down to the Inn in Lotor's Summer Palace where I bought her a slice of her favorite pie (apple...yum!) and we sat down for a chat.
Brisky has been playing for about six years now and has seen many ages come and go. While she is current in the Lotorian Knights, a righteous and valorous guild (shameless plug), she was part of a guild long ago called the Phoenix Kingdom which had a blue "P" for a tag. There was a division among the ranks and the Lotorian Pheonix came out of that guild and Brisky followed.
Her hopes include a Chicken Mask in the next update, for she believes this best represents her character. Always one to avoid and shy away from player-versus-player conflicts, she feels the chicken is a most suiting animal for her and has wanted to be able to change into one for a while. Brisky also hopes for new fun things to buy from the Ashen Empires store.
The fondest memories she spoke to me about were hunting in Storm Giant Lands, running though Valley of the Giants and hanging out at farm towns. Looking into the past she spoke of what she missed the most which was her long hair from back in 'beta' and she hopes that one day hair is restored to the masses.
Her current goal is to max runecrafting (SoC required), a very valuable and profitable skill in the game nowadays. This is perhaps the one skill which people find the most scarce. Those that have embraced it however have found it profitable and their guilds benefit greatly from totems (SoC required).
The Instigators of Sands of Creation are her favorite mob to fight at this time. They give good experience, according to her, as well as item drops. Her favorite drop of all time however was the Symboled Blade of Destruction from Meklor, one of the great horrors of Valekar's Fortress.
Brisky's favorite quest is the part in the Guild Book Quests when you have to run through Hell. She wasn't clear which book that was or what you had to do before or after, but she did love that part specifically. Her favorite boss is Frump, as she could not think of anything more adorable and entertaining than a goblin with a frying pan as a boss.
Brisky is a Dexmage (100 INT, 100 DEX, 30 STR) and her favorite spell is Flourish because it's one the prettiest spells.
Coming Next Issue:
The Fireside: Rania ssSSSsssS!
(Bard's Tale and Adventurer's Journal to be announced!)
Sands of Creation, Tokens of Change
The Freshest Diva
Monday, June 4, 2007
Shortly after the Sands of Creation (SoC) expansion pack brought a great deal of new challenges and one huge new feature to the world of Ashen Empires, a new system was released to offer various boons to those who'll buy the tokens for them. A system that, though almost unanimously opposed by the community upon release, has become widely used the majority as players seek to keep or gain the upper hand against their enemies. Through a new portion of the client, an in-game store can be accessed to use tokens, bought with real money, to buy everything from subscriptions to conveniences to advantages against rivals.
At the same time, SoC has offered lengthy, difficult, and very involving quest-work to be done in order to access what is, at present, the most challenging and rewarding hunting ground. Many complaints about the token system have protested that it would be the death of PvP, although it clearly hasn't. Some may even beleive that it has actually fuelled this activity. As it becomes commonplace to use the new token system to gain edges in warfare, from spying on an enemy with Scrying Scrolls, to summoning one's corpse after defeat with the Summon Corpse ability, we see that neither the rate or frequency of PvP engagements have decreased.
How has this affected the game servers as a collective?
As one evil faction focused on accessing the "Dragon Lands", they have begun to monopolize, causing even supposively good-guilds to lay down their swords in submission. Others who have refused or not been given such an opportunity have only found that, at least for the time being, their efforts in gaining access to these new lands may have been fruitless.
So as this seems to revolve around PvP, how has this affected the Legends non-PvP server?
A large number of players have turned once again to the token system for another of it's features: the Deluxe Server Move, a migration that allows the player to switch servers intact with all their resources and wealth. As many players moved to the non-PvP server simply for the ability to hunt in these new lands, things for the side of good have seemed grim on the Heroes server until the most recent surges of collective effort, but one thing is for certain, this has certainly tilted the population of the servers. It would be most interesting to know an actual figure on just what percent of Heroes players have migrated to Legends. Not everyone is content to move, and many have been waiting for a call-to-arms to unite against the force that has remained unopposed for some time.
Uncertainty is certain, as one thing that is clear is that the large changes brought by both SoC and the token system, have created a volatile double current that has completely changed the face of the game. Still, it is curious to observe that prophecies of the death of PvP by the token system have proven untrue, as it seems to rage on oblivious.
Time will tell how things will go on both servers, as these changes continue to have their impact.
~The Freshest Diva
In-Game News Reporter, Issue 1
Monday, June 4, 2007
The Adventurer's Journal: Lotor's Summer Palace Zoo
An in-depth look an item or area of Ashen Empires...
What better area to look at than the most popular place in the world! Lotor's Summer Palace (LSP) was released in late December, 2006 to Ashen Empires when Sands of Creation (SoC) was also released. Initially this led to come confusion as to if SoC was required to access the palace but it was a content patch to the game core, not the expansion.
Lotor's Summer Palace is accessible from all "starter towns" as well as the larger cities of the world of Dransik. Whisperdale, Krog, Silvest, Valmond and Josody all enjoy access to Lotor's Summer Palace which is a floating island south of Valinor (starter island) and north of Krythan (an island with Silvest on it). SoC brought two cities which both have access to LSP, though traveling from LSP your SoC destination city is based on your alignment.
The Palace has many features but one of the most interesting and unique parts is the zoo! Lotor's Private Zoo is located in the southwest section of the island. It was built to show the variety of life found throughout Dransik, according to the Zookeeper. This man with green pants told me much of the zoo.
I wondered why there was only one ettin when he said the original plan called for two, but the one just seemed entertained enough with itself. The hardest part to construct according to the Zookeeper was creating a miniature winterland for the Mature Wyverns right next to model Hell for the demons. Another thing they regret was putting a tree in with the deadwillows. Visitors sometimes can't figure out what is actually in the cage. The other interesting things with the zoo are the fact that the injured Minotaur never seem to heal and the termigons seem to be biding their time before they tunnel out.
Patrons of the zoo when I visited included a goblin named Montro who loved the demons and a child named Joreal who wouldn't stop talking about how much he loved the zoo. After an hour of having Joreal squeal at me I eyed the Hungry Pumpkin as a means to an end.
The Bard's Tale: The History of Ashen Empires
Tales of Action and Adventure...
It is not well known the history of our lands. The books of recorded history and the old wise elders are scattered throughout the land. Some know of parts of it from quests. Some know because they seek out the dark histories of the times before now. These stories, these legends and lore, are what shaped our world to what it is now. Without them things would be much different. Isn't it worth it to know our history? Isn't it important to understand where we come from?
Tune in this Sunday at 7pm EST( 6pm CST) to channel "Story." In the past an Orc named Gurtack started "Storytime Sundays" which lost steam after a few weeks is coming back, but this time with a new historian! If you don't know who the Soluri were or where the Rune Warriors went, tune in and listen!
The Fireside: Focus
A personal chat with an adventurer...
I caught up with Focus in the harsh northern lands of the Dransik mainland. The winterlands are a terrible place to track someone as the weather makes it nearly impossible to follow. This region is also almost outside Lotor's grasp, for the establishment of Hammerfist is constantly infiltrated by evildoers. It was during one of these scuffles that I was able to steal a few words from Focus.
Until recently, Focus was the 6th member of the guild, Rogue Element (RE). He was a recruiter for the guild until he left this week. He has been playing since Dransik Beta and in that time he's been a part of many guilds including H, Dark, A, RF, DM, PA, UD, DL, DLX and Fear.
Focus is a hunter and most of his time in the world of Ashen Empires is along those lines. His favorite all-time monster to fight is the Greater Skeleton, a well known foe throughout the land. His best memory is one of finding a Robe of the Archmage (RoAM) during the period before Demon Spire (pre-DS). His worst experience happened recently when he was defeated in battle and lost his Edge of the Slayer (EotS) which wasn't completely paid off. Hunts can be fruitful for the successful adventurer and Focus's most favorite drop is the Dragon Tooth Axe (SoC, level 100, 44.62 dps) which gives more benefit to the wielder as well as better weapon than the EotS.
Hunters have goals and one that he never thought he'd achieve was level 105 (Talazar's Revenge required) two months ago. A good hunter never quits and he continues down his path with his new ambition of level 106 (Sands of Creation required) in which he is only 180 million experience points away. When he's not hunting, if that day ever comes, Focus plans on maxing his jewelry-crafting skill, a very valuable tradecraft.
When reminisce about the past we spoke of his favorite quest was one he referred to as the �Meklor Quest' which starts in the town of Dawat by talking to a fellow named Kongodo. I asked Focus if there was something which existed at one time which doesn't exist anymore that he liked and he replied �the whole system.' While he is an adventurer of Ashen Empires he enjoys his time but prefers a system which once was and is no longer.
Focus is a Con Warrior (100 STR, 50 DEX, 80 CON) and of all pie flavors enjoys cherry the most. He said, "I like it as I like my women." I can only conclude Focus enjoys his women with a flakey brown crust and a fruity filling.
Coming Next Issue:
Clash of Dragons: Ongoing Coverage of the Dragonlands Conflict
The Adventurer's Journal: Valekar's Fortress
The Fireside: Qpea