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Everything posted by Lyanna

  1. very old players

    Hello. Decided to pop by the forums for a little nostalgia. I started off on Newbie Island (NOT Isla Prima) in late 2003. A little younger than vart and the rest of his generation, I think, because I remember reading his guide (and Alastria's!) for new players. -Lyn-
  2. Players who suit MUDs Found this on another game's forums, but I thought it was pretty cool! It's a report about the different player types that are commonly found in online games: Achievers, Explorers, Socialisers and Killers, as well as ways to develop the game so as to accomodate all 4 types for a stable balance. It's quite long, but hope the admins read it! Lots of good general ideas there... -Lyn- P.S. I'm primarily an Explorer (as well as a "positive" killer)
  3. EL & Player Generated Narrative

    Yay, Sistema! You've reached the stage I was at five years ago, when I was working on stories for EL. It's nice to have someone else talking and thinking about emergent narratives (or environmental storytelling, or low-level stories, as I called them back then). Some examples for you of emergent narratives: - Weddings. There are plenty of invitations on the Events forum, but have a look at Scorpius' and Bernie's invitation here. Two things stand out. One is that they're using specific in-game environments to have personally-meaningful events in (such as holding their wedding reception in a tavern). Secondly, have a look at the Love Movie that Scorpius made to celebrate their union. It's an interesting case study of how he used various environments, poses and situations to illustrate his love story. That's emergent narrative right there, captured on video. - Invasions.. They provide a lot of personalized accounts about in-game events, though many players don't realise it or take advantage of it. Some of the ones that did wrote their stories on the forums, though. Razia's Ballad of the Red Moon War was a poem written shortly after the first invasion (ever). And later, Shea melded both his own comments and in-game messages to create The Call to Arms. Plus there are tons of invasion screenshots around, and the mods still take in comments about recent mod-run invasions to improve the player experience. (Though this was primarily for the purpose of gameplay improvements, rather than narrative improvements.) - The 3-lupine patch in Portland. That was my favourite spot for harvesting ingredients for mana potions, and I wove it into my history as the secret burial spot for my character's mother (see Memories of a Healer, part 1). Not to mention "Bob the Gob", the player-named goblin of Portland (he was first named in one of the Newbie Channel conversations, approximately around end of 2004, IIRC). He then got further remediated through another story about Bob and Sheila. - #beam. A game functionality command turned into a location, which then turned into a place with social and cultural meaning for players, and immortalized into a poem. Beam is where friends meet. It is the common home ground for all of EL's players. It was also a great place to do some environmental roleplaying for me. I don't know if people still do healing at beam, but I can share an example of what I used to do, just to spice up the routine when I sat down for a long session of healing. I would make an entire story out of lighting the campfire at beam, using emotes: So, you could argue that the way the emote system is set up in EL - the idea of just putting a ':' before being able to type anything you want, can allow for fairly complex (though text-only) emotes and actions being conveyed. In fact, it's possible that the very abstract (textual) nature of these emotes may make them more flexible, as opposed to the emotes used in many modern MMORPGs, which restrict you to a menu of physical actions / faces that you can display. - The Expedition to Irilion and the corresponding Role-Playing thread that it spawned. There was a case of a deliberate, planned effort to stimulate interest in the story of EL with the introduction of the second continent via "news posts". The fact that it happened to generate an epic role-playing thread in the forums was unanticipated, but highly satisfying to watch, and you can see how I tried to provide further tools for them when I gave them a scrap of the map for better organizing their storytelling efforts. This was an interesting case study because players took the basic forum posts about upcoming in-game content, plus lore and maps, and managed to create an entire (mostly-coherent) narrative out of it based on their own characters. You can also see how guilds tried to get into the act by posting official communiques on the news thread. ... Personally, my take on it is that emergent narratives often depend more on the player than the environment. A player that desires to create narratives will do so no matter what the environment offers. Myself, for example... every single story I've written has been based on some element of the game's environment, population, or gameplay feature. But not many people desire to create narratives about everything. Some prefer to experience or hear narratives told by others, while some don't care for narratives at all (forget the story, just let me get on with the levelling game!). Cheers, -Lyn-
  4. Cultures in EL

    So, I thought this might be an interesting discussion to have among the story writers of EL. It's been discussed off-and-on a few times before in the last three years or so, but I don't think there was ever a specific thread for it. I was just interested in hearing what the new writers think about the cultures present in Seridia and Irilion, as well as the races. This isn't meant to be an "official" thread... just a "discussion and speculation, with arguments and questions" kind of thread. I remember a couple of years back, when Roja was first discussing the race descriptions of the Orchans, she was linking them with the Native American Indian culture, with shamans and tribalistic beliefs. I think we added honour as one of their core values, after Saii's "History of the Lands" described them as such. I admit, I was thinking of and wanted to add in the honour-bound Japanese samurai/ninja clan culture to the Orchans as well. What do you guys think? What would a mix of Native American/Japanese samurai culture be like? And would that suit the Orchans? And what about the other races/political entities? When crafting the Tales of Irilion and the background politics, I was envisioning the Idal Empire as a parallel to the ancient Roman Empire (legions, prefectures, etc... as well as a whole bunch of Roman-sounding names). Did that come across well? And for the Draegoni, I was thinking of the (Asian) Indians as a base for their culture. A caste system based on the colour of their scales, highly spiritual and mystical, pacifistic by philosophy, etc. That's why the Sacred Caves of Bethel story sounded the way it did. Would that be an interesting culture to have for the Draegoni? What do you think? And what about the elves, dwarves and gnomes? Dwarves have some traditional associations with either Celtic highlanders or Norse Viking cultures. Elves are sort of fixed as nature-loving archers (unless someone wants to dispute that?) What about the Gnomes, though? I don't think there's a set culture for gnomes yet. Anyone have thoughts on what sort of cultures might be interesting? And all that is just based on races. Do you think there could be different cultures even among the same race, on different continents? (Eg. Compare English and French cultures to American and Canadian cultures... same root stock, but how different. Or Spain and the Latin American countries.) What kind of differences would you like to see? Just to provoke some discussion. Anyone is welcome to give an opinion. -Lyn- EDIT: I wonder if I dare suggest an Arab culture somewhere?
  5. Cultures in EL

    After reading through this thread again, I was struck by another thought. What sort of impact (if any) do you think a long lifespan has on the cultural attitudes of the races? Do you think it'll lead to a (multi-)generation gap problem, especially if world events are moving at a relatively rapid pace? eg. Portland City was founded approximately 120 years ago, according to its NPC librarian (Drial)... that would be about 9% of a Draegoni's lifespan, or about 15% of an Elf's. The rough equivalent in human terms, assuming an average human lifespan of about 90 years, would be about 8-14 years. Basically, only the youngest generation of Elven / Draegoni children would have grown up with Portland existing as a continental power. Their parents, grandparents, and great-(^n) grandparents would not have. Would the older generations therefore ignore the relatively young political entities? Or do you think the present moment would be important enough for them to pay attention, regardless of how long they live? Also, speaking of generations, what do you think is the average year difference between generations in the races? The average human generation is approximately 30 years currently in RL. But given the relative longer lifespan of nearly all the other races, should the period of fertility and childbearing age also be extended proportionately? The impact of these on family structure (and hence cultural attitudes towards life, death and children, as well as the relative influence of each race on world culture) is significant. Example: Human females are fertile from roughly ages 12-52, a period of 40 years, or about 50% of their maximum lifespan. If we assume a similar fertility proportion for the other races, that means Draegoni are fertile for approximately 500 years, and elves for approximately 400 years. This, by itself, could lead to a population explosion that far outstrips humanity unless something else counters it. This solution could take one of many forms: 1) Long fertility period, but very low fertility rate. (i.e. chance of conception is very low among Draegoni and Elves) 2) Long fertility period, but equally long gestation period (i.e. Draegoni and Elven pregnancy lasts a very long time) 3) Short fertility period, similar to human development (i.e. Draegoni and Elven females fertile for less than 100 years, experience menopause relatively early in their lifespans) 4) Cultural pressure against reproduction (i.e. Draegoni or Elven families are mandated by law to only bear one child each. eg. China's one-child policy) 5) Different reproduction patterns (i.e. Draegoni and Elven females have a yearly cycle, instead of a monthly one. Or maybe they only become fertile for a few days every decade. Or maybe they only HAVE one egg. Or maybe all the young in a batch will fight each other until one emerges victorious as the strongest of the litter.) What do you all think? After childbirth, of course, comes the issue of development and maturity. When would an Elf or Draegoni child be considered an adult? Do they follow in proportion to human development (i.e. first 10% is childhood, next 10% is teenage, next 10% is young adulthood, then 50% adult middle age, then 20% old age/retirement)? If they follow this pattern, then an Elf child would become a teenager at age 40, a young adult at age 80, a full adult at age 120, and an elder at age 600. Draegoni would become teens at age 100, young adults at age 200, full adults at age 300, and elders at age 800. That would place an Elf generation (time to reach full adulthood and start a family) at 120 years, and a Draegoni generation at 300 years. The reason why this is important is fourfold: 1) It has an impact on the historical development of places. You can't have a city / town that "has given rise to generations of elves / draegoni" last for less than 100 years. The history of elven / draegoni towns and dwellings have to be scaled appropriately to their lifespan and development cycle. 2) It places certain age limits on the "adventurous" parts of a long-lived individual's lifespan. Assuming that Elven and Draegoni children are allowed to "go wild" during their youth, but are expected to settle down and raise a family by the time they reach middle age, that means most Elven and Draegoni adventurers would be teenagers and young adults. That gives Elven adventurers a career lifespan of about 80 years, and Draegoni adventurers a career lifespan of about two centuries. 3) It also places limitations on the "lost in history", or "nobody now living knows" excuse... while humans may have lost it, there will likely be Draegoni or Elves who remember. In other words, for a past event to have become legend or historical mystery, it must be set a LONG time back... more than the maximum lifespan of most Draegoni. At least 1000 years ago. Unless you can posit that the races don't talk to each other, so maybe all the shorter-lived races have forgotten, while the longer-lived races have not. Great potential for some monumental one-sided racial grudges there. 4) This has an impact on their relations with other shorter-lived races. If the vast majority of the Elves living in Tirnwood Vale knew Lord Luxin when he was a baby, and also know that they will outlive him, what impact does it have on their obedience and submission to him as Lord of White Stone? And, of course, it's not just Elves and Draegoni who have this problem. Gnomes and Dwarves share it to a lesser extent as well. Thoughts, comments, suggestions? -Lyn- EDIT: Apparently, according to Jerun, Grandmaster of Air in the TG magic school, the elder races come of age at age 64 (four x four x four). So, what does this hold for the maturity cycle of Elves and Draegoni?
  6. Lyanna's Lectures

    Disclaimer:This is not a professional analysis, and should not be treated as such. As always, these lectures merely represent my opinion. No insult of any kind or form is intended. Also, please note that these lectures were delivered off-the-cuff, and without prior preparation. Hence, the flow and structure may not be as smooth or polished as a written article. Lecture #1: Interactive Entertainment [Lyanna]: Lyanna's Lecture on Developing Stories for MMORPGs #1: Interactive Entertainment. a.k.a. The difference between a game and a book [citruz]: lol [Anukis]: go on [Lyanna]: Storyline developers in most games can roughly be classified into two categories: those that come from a programming background, and those that come from [Lyanna]: a writing background. Each side has it's own faults and weaknesses [citruz]: lol [citruz]: ur talking crap [citruz]: trying to sound good [Lyanna]: ...err, actually I've spent about 40 hours of research on this. [Hathol]: she does have a point [Lyanna]: In the case of those from a programming background, the weaknesses are particularly apparent in the style, immersiveness, and dramatic structure of a story [Hathol]: btw hi Lyanna [Lyanna]: hi Hathol [Lyanna]: This can be seen in the current EL script, which was written by Entropy, a programmer. While the core idea is fairly interesting, it falls flat in delivery [Lyanna]: There are instances of unbelievability, such as Lord Luxin's language, and the Tutorial NPC's out-of-character talk. [Lyanna]: Alternatively, story developers that come from a writing background face the opposite problem - that of interactivity. They fail to grasp the full potential [Lyanna]: of what a game can offer, and instead rely on tried-and-tested methods of storytelling... namely, text. [Lyanna]: A lot of good old-fashioned role-players who become DMs fall into this category [Lyanna]: However, with the development of graphical MMORPGs, and sophisticated advances in system, many many tools are offered to create a much more interactive form [Lyanna]: of storytelling. It is fully possible, in a small game such as EL, to mix and match different storytelling methods and art forms to create a truly [citruz]: not in this game. go talk to him, go talk to her, go harvest this, good job u did the quest [Lyanna]: interactive world. [Hathol]: I think the best person to write a script for an online RPG would be a Cinematographer, who loves Games and has a passion for reading novels. [Lyanna]: you have a good point... I'll get to that eventually. ): [Lyanna]: * [Lyanna]: Now, for example, in developing an online community, what matters most to the player is not so much what the world is like, but how their particular characte [Lyanna]: character* experiences the world. This, therefore, should influence game developers to create stories that have a deep, personal impact on the player [iszi]: Greetz all [Lyanna]: him/herself. However, most game developers tend to shy away from such stories, instead aiming for generic quests - such as the ones pointed out by citruz [iszi]: What's the lecture on anyway? [Hathol]: lecture resumed? [Lyanna]: Oh yes. Storyline development for games [Hathol]: [Lyanna]: Now, as I said, most developers tend to follow generic quests that do not produce much of an impact on the player's character, which is counterproductive [iszi]: Referring to most devs in general? Or EL devs in particular? [Lyanna]: With all the possibilities created by a truly Massively Multiplayer Role-Playing Game, it is much better to head in the opposite direction instead [Lyanna]: um... most devs. This is just a general lecture [iszi]: checking [iszi]: go on [Lyanna]: Hence, game developers should instead be focusing on how to let each player affect their game world in a meaningful, impactful way. [iszi]: impactful... is that a word? ;-) [Lyanna]: (I make it up as needed... as long as you get the picture, it's fine. ;P) [Hathol]: I get ya [Lyanna]: However, game developers are fearful of letting the players have too much impact on their world, hence restricting the player's freedom to affect it [Lyanna]: What they fail to understand is that it is fully possible to create meaningful experiences for the player character that do not necessarily have a [Lyanna]: large impact on the game world. These are the traditional tools of role-playing, which have sadly been neglected in this game. [Lyanna]: Classic examples of such tools would be support for in-game ceremonies, such as marriage, festivals, rites of passage, and the like [Lyanna]: These do not affect the world at large, yet can become cherished memories for the player's character, hence creating a compelling world for them. [Lyanna]: I will discuss this issue further in the second lecture, entitled "Low-level Stories", but for now, it's back to the topic [Lyanna]: So, how IS a game different from a book? [iszi]: (Most) books are linear, with the script laid out already by the author. [Lyanna]: The core of gaming is interactivity, meaning that the player must be able to affect his/her experience of the world, through his/her decisions [Lyanna]: Exactly, Iszi. [iszi]: A true MMORPG has infinite possibilities for the player, which - although it may follow a pre-determined format - allows the player to go down paths of their [iszi]: own choosing and have experiences entirely different from those of other players of the same game. [Lyanna]: With that in mind, developers must then start planning for a much more non-linear game, never forcing the player to follow a particular script. [Lyanna]: However, there are inherent technical difficulties with such an endeavor [Lyanna]: For example... how do you ensure that the player is psychologically prepared, by his previous experiences, to react properly to any point of dramatic [Lyanna]: tension in the plot? [iszi]: Many computer games rely on a predictable flow of events. Turn the control over to a human - a naturally unpredictible being - and everything is fragged to You are on the channel #4, and there are currently 6 players on this channel [iszi]: btw Lyanna... what "plot"/ [Lyanna]: (I was actually waiting for you to finish your sentence... but by plot, I mean the story of the game, as the player experiences it. A sequence of events) [Hathol]: we should get wandering fool to join this conversation, he and i have had quite a few long discussions about stoylines and Ai capabilities in games [iszi]: oh... I finished the sentence in local... missing word was "frell" [Lyanna]: Hehe... I should speak to him about that someday [Lyanna]: Ah [Lyanna]: Well, continuing on... [Lyanna]: Therefore, we must somehow allow a naturally unpredictable factor - such as human beings - determine the course of our game's narrative. [Lyanna]: This is the primary problem that most developers who belong into the second category face. They would rather tell THEIR story, instead of letting players [Lyanna]: determine the action. [iszi]: This is reminding me of a FPS I played once... [Lyanna]: (Which one?) [iszi]: My absolute favorite (can't wait to get the sequel) [iszi]: Deus Ex You are on the channel #4, and there are currently 6 players on this channel [iszi]: It had its own plot and storyline, but there were numerous different ways that you could go through it on your own. [Lyanna]: (never heard of it... but I don't play FPSs, so that's not saying much. ;P) [iszi]: Also had several endings. [Lyanna]: Ah. And did you always reach the same plot points in the middle of the story? [Lyanna]: (By plot points, I mean Significant Events that drive the story forward) [iszi]: Actually, yes and no. [Lyanna]: ...yes and no? [iszi]: Throughout the entire story, your decisions at key points determined what other decisions were available to you later on... [iszi]: Although it wasn't as entirely flexible with the player as it could have been, it was still a very dynamic game in terms of plotlines and story. [Lyanna]: In that case, I would think that Deus Ex is a pretty well-designed game, in terms of story [Lyanna]: However, being a single-player FPS tends to limit it's scope. An MMORPG faces no such problem [iszi]: Although it simultaneously complicates it. [Lyanna]: That's true too. [Lyanna]: What is needed is essentially a way to allow players at all levels of player get involved in the Lands, and allow their choices to affect the development [Lyanna]: of the various story arcs that will be implemented in the game, as well as their own individual story plots. [Lyanna]: For example, if a war were to break out between the temples of the different gods, then the choice of which god to serve suddenly becomes a lot more [Lyanna]: interesting and important. Your individual choice, as a player, can affect the balance of power in the game. [iszi]: And, at the same time, what of the Godless? [Lyanna]: Of course, to pull this off successfully, the development team must be ready to implement the results of such changes in power (such as the destruction of [Lyanna]: a temple, or the rebuilding of one). [Lyanna]: Likewise, the Godless perk becomes a difficult choice as well. It is no longer a mere matter of numerical calculation of pickpoints, but an important plot [Lyanna]: decision. Do you WANT to get involved in the War of the Gods, or not? [iszi]: And at the same time, what would the consequences of just standing on the sidelines be? [Lyanna]: That's why I say that there must be substantial rewards that come from the result of such a story arc. There must be an opportunity cost for missing out [Lyanna]: These rewards must be able to affect the player at some level, both physically (via game mechanics), and psychologically (via sense of achievement) [Lyanna]: sorry... "some" in the previous sentence was meant to be "two"* [iszi]: still made sense [Lyanna]: Now, a psychological sense of achievement can be accomplished in various ways. [Lyanna]: The most reasonable one to propose, given the current situation, is media coverage. The EL Times, had it survived, would have been a perfect vessel for this [Lyanna]: It could chronicle the major players in the War, as well as the key decisions that led to the current results. [iszi]: EL Times? Sounds like something I missed out on [Lyanna]: (EL Times - Adyna had started a newspaper via email, but it stopped when she left the game) [iszi]: bummer... would be interesting if one could be implemented in-game tho [Lyanna]: Well, if you're willing to take it up... ;P [iszi]: Prolly would be, if I had the time/knowledge. [iszi]: yippeee!!! [Lyanna]: Hehe... talk to Placid or Roja about it. [iszi]: anyway... back OT [Lyanna]: Hmm... I seem to have lost my train of thought. But I think that's enough for this lecture. [Hathol]: was a good lecture [Lyanna]: So, in summary, game developers face the dual problems of creating a believable world, and yet allowing players to affect their experience of it in a [Lyanna]: meaningful way. [Lyanna]: This can be accomplished by the usage of Low-level stories, as well as planning for non-linear storytelling. [iszi]: Define "Low-level"? [Lyanna]: The full implementation of such an approach to interactive media would require substantial support via game mechanics and various psychological reward tools [Lyanna]: (Low-level stories will be covered in Lecture #2) [iszi]: oh, right [Lyanna]: As it stands now, EL is nowhere near the development of such a system. But hopefully, in the future, with the right vision and people, it can be. [Lyanna]: *~*End of Lecture #1*~* [Lyanna]: *gasp* *wheeze* [iszi]: *Hands Ly an inhaler* [Lyanna]: hehe... thanks. I'll go back to channel 1 now. Lecture #2 will be sometime in the future
  7. Lyanna's Lectures

    Interestingly enough, a recent Gamasutra article came out from this year's GDC talking about the same points that I brought up four years ago. Writing for MMOs: You're doing it wrong! Nice to finally see some industry validation, four years later. (Actually, the problem and solution has been obvious for quite some time... the issue is that not many developers have dared to implement it until now.) -Lyn-
  8. Quest time!

    I know it's a little late, but congratulations to the quest team who finally implemented this. Glad to hear that shasso's quests survived all this time. -Lyn-
  9. List of Trade Bots

    This is a list of store bots present in EL, mainly for the reference of players. Keep in mind that their actual availability may depend on the time of day. Ratings are based of size of operation (ie. quantity of items traded) and user-friendliness. Arranged in alphabetical order for now (do you think by map name might be better?) Trade Bots Adarah Owner: Coco Location: White Stone [182, 150] (near Raven in Grahm's Village) Merchandise: - Sells: Crafting products, Alchemy products, Metals, selected ingredients. - Buys: Crafting products, Alchemy products, Metals, selected ingredients. Activation command: /Adarah Help Rating: 5/5 Charn Owner: WizzKidd Location: Desert Pines [186, 97] (near storage) Merchandise: - Sells: Crafting products, Alchemy products, Armor - Buys: Rings, Bars, BP cloak, Bone Powder, Vials, HE's, WE's, EFE's, Death Essences Activation command: /Charn help Rating: 5/5 Iduna Owner: Thunderous Location: Valley of the Dwarves [63, 139] Merchandise: - Sells: Fur items, Armor, Rings, Essences, Vials, Wine, Deer Fur, Tit short. - Buys: Bars, Vials, Bone Powder, White rabbit furs, deer furs, leather, FE's, LE's, wine. Activation command: /Iduna Hello Rating: 3/5 Iluna Owner: Thunderous Location: White Stone [685, 155] (Lakeside Docks) Merchandise: - Sells: Medallions, Armor, Weaponry, Diss. Rings and Health Essences - Buys: Polished gems, white rabbit furs, vials and bone powders. Activation command: /Iluna Hello Rating: 3/5 MadameYes Owner: Minion Location: Desert Pines [171,79] (near DP storage) Merchandise: - Sells: Crafting products, Books, Defence equipment, Raw Meat, Serp stones, Fruit - Buys: Books, Raw Meat Activation command: /MadameYes Help Rating: 5/5 Nera Owner: Grum/the_antiroot Location: Portland [174, 104] Merchandise: - Sells: Armour, Weapons, Rings, Magic Weapons and Misc - Buys: Wolf Furs, Raw Meat and some Ess Activation command: /Nera #help Rating: 2/5 Salt Owner: Puntif Location: Desert Pines [77,65] (DP Docks) Merchandise: - Sells: Iron and Leather equipment, moon meds, tit short, hammer & chisel. - Buys: Enriched Fire and Water Essences, FE's, LE's, iron bars, raw meat, wolf furs, wine. Activation command: /Salt help Rating: 3/5 Vendor Owner: DoA_Pk Location: Portland [230, 93] (near storage) Merchandise: - Sells: Enriched Essences, Alchemy products, Cloaks, Books, Vials, selected ingredients - Buys: Enriched Essences, Alchemy products, Cloaks, Tit chain, Wolf and Bear furs, Raw meat, Vials. Activation command: /Vendor #help Rating: 5/5 If anyone knows of more trade bots that appear regularly, please post in this thread in a similar format, and I'll add it to the list. Thanks. (Should this be pinned? ) -Lyn-
  10. A Typology of Events

    A Typology of Events Introduction This aims to be a critical analysis and categorization of all major types of events held in EL so far. It can then be used as a reference for the creation of future events. For analysis, I’ll also be using MUD Player Types to help analyse the events. You can click the link to read the full report, but I’ll include a quick summary below: There are four main types of players that play online multiplayer games: Achievers, who are primarily interested in beating the game and reaching the highest levels or rankings possible. (In the Hickman categorization used by the Events team, these would be Gamers) Explorers, who are interested in finding out every little secret about the game and knowing all the little tricks and trivia within the game. (The Hickman categorization doesn’t mention these) Socializers, who are mostly interested in chatting and making friends with other people through the game. (In the Hickman categorization, these are Talkers) Killers, who are interested in beating/pwning other people and/or doing nasty things to them in the game. (Hickman calls these Fighters… however, as people can fight against each other in EL for actual battle or just to train, I’m using “Killers” specifically to refer to PKers, as opposed to combat-oriented Achievers who want to gain levels) ======== Events by Type Now, as to events. There are several types of events in the game, and I’ll list the most common in no particular order. Various unique events have been created as a result of mixing and matching one or more of these basic events, or providing a fresh twist on an event category. Giveaways involve usually one rich / experienced player giving away items to poorer / greedy players. Sometimes, these also happen when a player is leaving and wants to dispose of their storage inventory. These were also formerly called drop parties. However, recently they have been deemed to be bagspamming events, so are no longer officially supported. (It is still possible to run them, if no bags are created, I suppose…). Giveaways primarily attract low-level Achievers, who want to get better items/money in order to help them level up faster, and Explorers who want to complete their collection of rare items. They are usually hosted by either Achievers who have collected too many items and need to get rid of some, or Socializers who want to be seen as charitable and helping others. Manhunts at their most basic form involve looking for a single person hiding somewhere in the world. Prizes are normally awarded to the first people who find the hider. There are usually clues provided to the hider’s location, though the level of helpfulness of these clues often depends on how difficult the manhunt is supposed to be. An example of a manhunt system already in-built into the game is the search for Joker, of course. Manhunts can also be chained together with other event types to create more complex events. Manhunts primarily attract Explorers, who like to put their knowledge of maps and pathways to use. However, if the prize is sufficiently great to outweigh the time spent on trying to find the person, Achievers and Killers may get involved as well. Socializers usually get involved if there is a large enough crowd getting involved in the event, as it provides an interesting topic of conversation among those participating. Manhunts are mainly hosted by Explorers, who again like to show off their knowledge of obscure places to hide and weird clues, and occasionally by Socializers as a way to stir up excitement on a boring day. Note that one of the main problems about this is that the manhunts organized by Explorers and Socializers usually don’t have big enough prizes to make it worthwhile for Achievers or Killers to take part, as the first two groups find it difficult to accumulate money without spending it on something else. Treasure hunts are similar to manhunts, except that they involve finding an object instead of a person somewhere on the map. Again, usually cryptic clues are provided as to the object’s location. Classic examples of treasure hunts are Entropy’s hyperspace bag hunts. Just like manhunts, treasure hunts can be chained together with other event types to create more complex events. Everything said about manhunts with regards player types also applies to treasure hunts. However, treasure hunts are more difficult to organize than manhunts, because unattended bags can be picked up by Ants or the unwitting passer-by, whereas hyperspace bags and their keys are expensive, restricting the number of people who can participate. Fetch-and-carry events involve bringing one or more items from one location/person to another. Very rarely are these organized to stand on their own. Often, they are integrated with a time limit to turn it into a race, with more than one player to make it a relay, or with a manhunt or treasure hunt and some riddles in order to make it into a more complex scavenger hunt / riddle quest. The types of players this event attracts depends on what it’s mixed with. Storytelling and Performance events involve people taking turns to either tell a story or perform an act of entertainment (like stand-up comedy). Sometimes, this comes in the form of a contest, with judges voting on best entry. By far, Socializers are the ones most attracted to both attend and host these sorts of events. However, if it is in contest form and the prize is sufficiently great, other player types – particularly Achievers who are aiming to build a reputation in the social, entertainment or roleplaying spheres – may choose to attend as well. Trivia contests involve a series of questions to which participants must guess the right answer to, with the winner getting prizes or points. These may be about the game, or about things outside the game. Examples of these are the EternalTrivia bot on channel 11, and the Eternal Lands Trivia Contests that Lord Vermor / Acelon used to organize. The hosters of these sort of events are mostly Explorers, as they are the ones with the esoteric knowledge of trivia and secrets about the game. Trivia contests will naturally attract Explorers, who like to be tested on their knowledge of the game. They can also attract Achievers if there are rankings or sufficiently great prizes, and Socializers if there are big crowds as there can be a lot of excitement generated after each question. Because the barrier to participation is so low (all you need is some knowledge about the game and a bit of luck), almost anyone can attend. Riddle quests involve having a series of riddles about the game or objects within the game that participants will have to guess the answer to. They are sometimes used as standalone events, organized similarly to trivia contests, but more often mixed with other events such as manhunts or treasure hunts to form more complex events. Because of the scope of the riddles, they are technically open to all player types… though if the riddles describe in-game items or places, Explorers have a slight advantage. The type of players that are attracted to these events and host them are dependent on what other event elements are mixed in, as well as what the scope of the riddles cover. Riddles involving other players, or the intricacies of skills or combat may attract Socializers, Achievers or Killers respectively. Celebration parties are social gatherings simply to celebrate something happening to one or more of the players. These range from simple drinking parties in a tavern to celebrate a birthday, to complex weddings on custom-created maps with feasting, summoning and full coordinated guild costumes. An upcoming example of this type is the First Annual High Society Gala. Obviously, the primary player type that both hosts and attends these events are Socializers. Other player types attend because of personal ties to the celebrating person, not by natural inclination, unless they want a break from their normal activities. Invasions come in two forms – the automated small-scale ones generated by the system, or the scripted, large-scale ones designed by players. Hostile animals overrun one map or more, requiring players to band together to fight them off and destroy them all. Surprisingly, all four player types enjoy invasions. Achievers enjoy testing their skills against the challenges that the game is throwing at them. Honorable Killers do the same, dishonorable killers enjoy the bag-looting that comes afterwards. Socializers (those who can fight or heal, at least) enjoy being part of a large effort that involves player cooperation. Explorers like guessing what would come next and trying to get to the new invasion fronts before anyone else. PK / fighting contests are perhaps the most common form of player-organised events nowadays. These involve one-on-one duels between two players, with moderators and judges, and usually some form of tournament, league, or ranking system. An example of this is the upcoming ~LE~ EL Seasonal PK League. Very obviously, these are largely organized by Killers, for Killers to test themselves against each other. Occasionally, Achievers will take part, as a means of testing their skills or proving their dominance. Socializers and Explorers hardly ever participate, though they may attend as observers or audience members. Organized Wars are one step up from fighting contests in that they comprise groups of players fighting each other instead of individuals. These are usually incredibly difficult to organize and moderate, because of the sheer numbers of people taking part. Similar to fighting tournaments, these are attended primarily by Killers and Achievers, although Socializers with decent skills may also want to get involved because of the teamwork factor involved this time. Generally speaking, only those with high reputations or standing within the community (usually Achievers of some sort) will be able to host and organize such an event. Contests of Skill involve activities in which players with compete with each other through a series of challenges testing one or more (non-combat) skills. An example of this type of event was the Glilin’s Recipe crafting contest. With the introduction of hyperspace bags, this type of contest has become significantly easier to organize (in terms of needing less manpower). This type of event is specifically designed for Achievers, and usually well attended by them. Achievers would also be the most likely people to host these sort of events, if you could pull them away from leveling. Killers, Explorers and Socializers are unlikely to find much interest in competing, though they could be part of the audience. Games of Chance like lotteries are something fairly new, but look promising. Slightly different from the other events in that they are ‘played’ simply by purchasing tickets and waiting for an announcement, as opposed to something that requires constant active participation for a shorter period of time. Player types are fairly irrelevant to who takes part, though Achievers may think of it as a possible ‘get-rich-quick’ scheme, while Explorers just want to try their luck and maybe work out a system for beating the odds. But Socializers and Killers wouldn’t mind taking part as well, I suppose. ======= Analysis So ends a listing of all major event types or elements of events so far. Now, I’ll break it down via player types: Achievers like: Contests of Skill, Organized Wars, Invasions, Fighting Tournaments, Giveaways, and Games of Chance. Explorers like: Manhunts, Treasure Hunts, Riddle Quests, Trivia Contests, Giveaways and Games of Chance. Socializers like: Celebration parties, Storytelling or performance events, Trivia Contests, Riddle Quests, and sometimes Invasions and Organized Wars Killers like: Fighting tournaments, Organized Wars, Invasions, and sometimes Manhunts (if it involves killing). Now, this can be useful. If, for example, we want an event to cater to as wide a bunch of people as possible, it's good to try and bring in event elements that will appeal to all four types of players. Currently, by my rough guesstimate, EL's population ratio is something like 50% Achiever : 10% Explorer : 30% Socializer : 10% Killer. Possibly, then, the reason why many players seem not so interested in events is because (1) the event doesn't appeal to them, and (2) the events that DO appeal to them are hard to organize well, or if done so, cannot be done in sufficient quantity to produce a self-sustaining movement. Because the time it takes to create a good event is much longer than the time it takes to complete / consume it, there are generally two solutions to the problem: Either make it automatically-generated via computerized procedures (eg. automated invasions), or somehow massively increase the number of event creators. After seeing the dissatisfaction of players with regards to procedural generation of events, I'm firmly heading in the opposite direction - give the tools for good event creation in the hands of as many people as possible, and motivate them to create interesting events for the rest to enjoy. The great challenge right now is how to divert the 50% of EL's population that are Achievers AWAY from the levelling grind and into active event creation. The other challenge is how to empower Socializers and Explorers (who generally are interested in event creation but lack the resources because they don't get too involved in the rat race) to be able to create events that can draw attendance in spite of low rewards. Any thoughts, opinions or comments? -Lyn-
  11. Memories of a Healer

    I don't know why everyone likes to write about big, grand topics, like wars and the birth of the world. Anyway, here's just a short story, about my character: -------------------------------------------------------------------------- Memories of a Healer I have never told this story before. It is painful to me, even after a century of good memories to balance it. I tell this now, only under great duress, because of the coming of the Orchans to our cities and shores. My mother, Linnix, was an Elven healer of great renown in Tirnwood Vale. She was one of the very few healers at that time who broke the traditions binding Elf to Elf, and made our magical healing powers available to all the races. She was cut off from the majority of our race because of that, but she persevered. Even when my sire died while pursuing a boar, she continued to heal everyone who came to her, irregardless of the cost. Her fame spread far and wide, as humans, dwarves, and other races came to ask for her aid. One day, a group of strange people appeared. I did not know it at that time, being only a young elfling of less than 40 years, but they were some of the first Orchans Tirnwood Vale had seen. They were miners, some of whom had been terribly hurt during the collapse of a cave in the Crystal Caverns. They had heard of my mother, and made the long trek to Tirnwood to seek her aid, bearing their injured comrades on rough stretcher. My mother, as usual, assented, and began to heal their wounds. I was in a little room, away from the main hall, playing with my flowers at that time. The intervening door was slightly ajar, and I used to peek through at the visitors that regularly arrived. I was always proud to know that my mother was so loved by everyone who came. Intrigued by the strange faces and manner of speech, I paid closer attention to the Orchans than usual. I caught them looking at my mother with admiration and something else, which I couldn't fathom, in their eyes. Finally, the last of them was completely healed. The lead Orchan thanked my mother politely, and turned to leave, only to slam the door shut against the outside. Another Orchan grabbed my mother and covered her mouth. She was not able to scream. Horrified, I watched, stunned into immobility. My mother was an extraordinarily beautiful elf - even by our standards. I saw what the Orchans did to her. I also saw what they did to her dead body, after they were finished. ... At last, when they left, I gathered the remains of my beloved mother, and fled Tirnwood. I ran as fast as I could, not knowing where to turn to or where to go (for remember, we were ostracised by our kind). I don't remember much of that hurried journey. I only knew an overpowering fear that the Orchans would come and take me too. I took numerous boats, just trying to get as far away from them as possible. Finally, I ended up in Portland. It was night, and I quietly left the city behind me, still carrying my mother's remains in a little bag. I buried her in the countryside, under a patch of Blue Lupines. They were her favourite flowers. I think her spirit still lingers there. Every time I visit my mother's unmarked grave to harvest some of the Blue Lupines, I find that I can collect more than one at a time. It is almost as if my mother was still helping me to carry on her task. I heal others of all races freely now, just as she did. I do it in memory of my mother, Linnix - the greatest Elven Healer I know. But never again will I have anything to do with Orchans. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  12. Bot Allowances

    You know, this could form the basis of an interesting multi-bot game. If each bot faced in a certain direction that led to another bot, you could leave a trail of bots to trace and try and find the end of. And if you add a codeword to be PM'ed to the correct bot next in line, which would reply with a new codeword, you could form a secret code-breaking / trail-following game that could easily be changed every now and then for endless fun. If the bot owners are willing, I would definitely want to see if we can try and organise this as a contest. -Lyn-
  13. Online Virtual Game Rape?

    If you want the Julian Dibbell article that described the first cyber-rape in a virtual world, here it is: The Bungle Case on LambdaMOO. It was probably the case that first brought cyber-rape to light, and it was a pretty serious thing. A character called Mr. Bungle used a bot to hack the other characters and make them emote truly disgusting things... all while allowing the players involved to see it happening and being unable to stop it. It was as if some strange bot in EL suddenly hacked your account and started sending messages like " :sucks Bungle's smeg" " :sticks a big rod up her smeg and orgasms in pleasure" ... all while you're connected and watching it happen, being completely unable to stop it. Even if there ISN'T any physical contact, if that isn't sexual violation of one's person (i.e. "rape" of one's personhood embodied through the online avatar), what is? -Lyn-
  14. The Hunt for Joker

    The Hunt for Joker was a two-part series of events, both of the manhunt and fetch-and-carry type. Players were challenged to find Joker as many times as possible within a set time limit, and bring those items to myself. In the second event, an additional complication was added where the person they had to return the items to (me) was hidden as well, and clues provided via a bot who was witness to the kidnapping. Lessons learned: - Joker has become incredibly hard to find recently. One estimate puts him at around 80 spawns in C1. Organising a contest around trying to find him many times no longer has the same exciting feel as it used to have when the number of spawns was smaller and there were more expert Joker hunters. A constant rhythm of Joker findings is needed to generate excitement, and nowadays those are too few and far-between. People start getting discouraged if there have been no sightings within half an hour. Clues would have to be provided in order to solve that problem, but that requires a high-level mod. Future Joker-hunting events would probably have to rely on a "Find him first" principle rather than a "Find him the most number of times". - Joker-hunting has a few advantages over regular manhunts: the broadcasts are made automatically, so everyone immediately knows when someone finds Joker, making it easier to keep track of. And secondly, Joker automatically respawns somewhere else in a blink of an eye, creating a moving target that's much more difficult to find. - Joker's best prize is a Steel Shield, which has a current market value of around 400gc. Prizes offered for Joker-hunting needs to be more than that, as well as more than the amount of time it takes to hunt Joker. The current prizes offered for this contest were in the 2500 - 10000 gc range, which attracted plenty of newbies and Explorer-type players. However, newbies often had no idea what Joker looked like, having never seen him before. - Don't hold Joker-finding contests on days with great positive effects, like rare manufacturing day. That seriously decreases the number of people willing to take part, I think. The opportunity cost may be too high, unless the prizes are raised further. Also, players seem to get confused with too much story or role-play elements involved in the announcements, sad to say. - I used Gossip's "about player" feature as a tool to give out clues to a person's location for the manhunt part of the second contest. That was a good innovation, I think, and can be used more often in future events. If there were more bots with the "about <something/someone>" feature or that broadcast player-submitted messages on channels, more variations to this element could be integrated. Bots help to reduce the manpower requirements for running events. -Lyn-
  15. God Mode'd Mortos should not PK anymore

    Well, with regards to scripted invasions, just give me a couple of days to prepare everything and I'll open the scriptwriting process up to the public. You can all then test your theories on what you think a good invasion should be like. Keep an eye on the Events Forum. -Lyn- EDIT: It's actually pretty similar to what you've suggested, Korrode.
  16. The First Annual High Society Gala!

    Already posted to the website. Will be there if I can make it (depending on the time it's being organised for, of course). And have already pledged to donate 10k gc (which was given to me by Chance for funding events), so please contact me if I'm online. I think it's really great that you two are organising this! Hope lots of people come. -Lyn-
  17. When I started to play EL ...

    When I started playing: 1) All attributes cost beaver furs to level up. (i.e. pickpoints system wasn't invented yet). Made my first 1000 gc just by hunting five beavers. Frukas at Grahms Village upgraded your Vitality by 1 for every 1000 beaver furs, if I remember correctly... 2) The quests of Faris and Garis, Granny and Bakart were still around. 3) Summoning was this really cool new skill that everyone wanted to try. 4) Raven was hostess on Newbie Island instead of storage at Tirnwood Vale. 5) There was a "combat" skill in addition to attack and defence skills. 6) And the white cloak was the Monster Magnetism cloak, which could only be worn by people above level 30. -Lyn-
  18. Draia News ((Teasers for the next update))

    It was a name I just basically pulled out of a hat when I needed a name for some sort of medieval news agency to announce the Expedition to Irilion. In a sense, the Association is an in-game metaphor for what I wanted the Storylines Forum to be. Scribes and scholars were the logical information gatherers and distributors of their time, so I thought it would make sense, but you can tell that I didn't put enough thought into it when you consider what the acronym of the Association of Scribes and Scholars turns out to be. -Lyn-
  19. Velkyn

    Quite a good start to the story. I like how you've managed to merge your in-game experiences into the narrative fairly well. Hope to see more of your writing in the days to come. -Lyn-
  20. The War for Nordcarn

    The thing about this story is that it has a dual personality. The first half is a personal, character-driven narrative, where it takes four paragraphs to cover a short moment in time and a lot of names are mentioned.The second half is a quick pseudo-historical summary of a long battle that lasted three days, in which no names are mentioned and none of the characters we see introduced are developed - all in one paragraph. The sense of time and scope is all wrong. You need to pick one or the other, and stick to it. Either tell it as a story about the people leading the war, or as a mythic account of a historical event. This half-half thing is almost impossible to pull off unless you're a very skilled writer or have done immense amounts of preparation, or both. (Tolkien is a good example of someone who managed to do it. But it took him 12 years and 3 massive novels, plus assorted other stories. You're nowhere near that... so my suggestion is to settle on one style first.) And remember Roja's comments on your earlier story about not affecting EL's history in any major way. -Lyn- EDIT: In fact, the only writer on these forums who's managed to do it successfully is Saii, with his War of the Gods and the Tale of Folis and Salia. Even Tumaros and I - both of whom have been Heads of Storylines before - have never been able to do it. Tumaros chose the personal narrative style, with his story of the Great War and I chose the historical account style, with my Tales of Irilion. It's up to you which one you pick, but don't try to merge the two until you've gained a whole lot more skill (and patience).
  21. Tips and Tools for Story-Writers

    I thought I'd just post this link for the Storylines team. Contained within it are several articles on character- and world-building, written by Rich Burlew (creator of the Order of the Stick webcomic and very experienced DM). Have a look at the articles under Play Theory (at the top) and The World (at the bottom). Although they're primarily written for a D&D-esque world, a lot of his insights can be applied to any given imaginary world, including EL. I found them very useful when defining the overarching politics of Irilion, for example, as well as pushing for the theme to be the consequences of eternal life on a population. The articles are also good for people interested in role-playing. -Lyn-
  22. Yay! \o/

    Congratulations! "To nourish children and raise them against odds is in any time, any place, more valuable than to fix bolts in cars or design nuclear weapons." - Marilyn French -Lyn-
  23. Thought I'd just post this for people to read, even though I disagree with a lot of what he said. (Or rather, I think he's speaking from a very biased and limited perspective). Nevertheless, there are some interesting points raised, that maybe the EL dev team might have some opinions on (and anyone else who's interested in making an MMO game). Would love to hear what you think. Soapbox: Rethinking the MMO -Lyn-
  24. The Blackened Elf

    This was lovely. I like your writing style... probably because it's so similar to my own. Only found one error: "Endlessly searchin for the Blackstone, they struck forth..." Other than that, it's brilliantly done. Not sure if the coal advertisement came through, since I imagined Blackstone to be more jewel-like than coal-like (coal doesn't glint in the dark, does it? ). But nevertheless, this is really good. -Lyn-
  25. Scullsyk the Mighty

    Looking forward to your epic adventure, then. -Lyn-