Sunday, September 25, 2011

For the Love of the Game (And Its Players)

Dear players,

The other day I was watching a conversation happening on the Dark Risings ooc channel regarding the players' right to complain, and the reasons (as understood by a few players) that mud developers do what they do. It got me to thinking, and I decided this might be the most appropriate atmosphere to express my own thoughts on the matter, should anyone be interested in hearing from the horse's mouth, what the horse might think (as opposed to listening to an ass speculate about it. Zing!).

I remember someone once saying that the only reason to be a mud developer is for pure joy of doing it. And there is some truth in that: I think most people tend to take up as hobbies activities which they enjoy. There's a reason I'm not a golfer. (It has something to do with bowling balls.)

But, there is a huge difference between being a happy little developer crafting your mud with your buddies and goofing around as you do it, and spending six years running an live, active mud with hundreds of players, each of whom has his own ideas about where the game should go.

It's a strange catch-22, in a way. Working on a mud that is closed to the public is highly enjoyable for me because I can do whatever I want on it without having to worry about making changes that the players might not like. But I get lonesome there, and I tend to lose steam when I'm not receiving any player feedback.

Working on a live, active mud coming up on its 13-year-anniversary (and that is 13 years of constant uptime, complete with playerbase for its entire run), the challenges and the rewards are completely different. Much of the joy I experience while building my own private mud is absent, because I can't just do whatever I think would make the game cool -- I can't rip out races I don't like, or change skills so radically that it would require a pwipe. Dark Risings is not in beta, I have way too much respect for the game and its players to pull something like that. I love seeing players come back after two or three or seven years away from the game, and be able to pick up right where they left off (though with cool new features to discover).

So that pure unadulterated joy of developing a game for the sake of developing a game is not there. This is not to say that I don't love being an implementor for an active game. I do -- and I love it not because of it's gratifying to see what I have built, as with my own private game, but because it's gratifying to see people enjoy what I have built. I get off on that, man. Seeing people explore areas I've retooled, hearing someone comment on some little scare or bonus or trick or easter egg I put in: that's where that joy comes in, and when I am full of joy, I feel very creative and want to write and build and make and create more things for the mud.

I am not implying that I wish all players would try to kiss ass. That behaviour is actually quite off-putting for me, because I don't like having to try to guess which features you enjoy, and which ones you are typing super fantastic things about with your knuckles. (Because in real life your fists are clenched. In rage.)

What I like best is honest feedback, tactfully given. I want the mud to be the best that it can be. I take pride in how refined it has become over the years, and the more players who are willing to help out with things like constructive criticism, insightful comments, and the generation of ideas, the better.

That's why it can be really disheartening for me to get nothing but complaints from a player. I'm not talking about people who are good enough to point out minor little typos or major oversights, especially the exploitable kind. I certainly respect the need to hear that kind of thing, and if possible I will usually fix it on the spot. I appreciate tact because, like most creative people, I am sensitive about my work. I know that negative comments are often made for the betterment of the game; it's my preference to have them said kindly rather than with malice.

No, it's the players whose favourite thing to do is log in and complain about how much everything sucks that bug me: classes they can't figure out how to use suck, areas they pushed through while having room descriptions off suck, the helpfiles suck, the staff sucks, I suck. I will never understand why these people keep coming back to DR when there are thousand other muds out there, but they do, if only to sit in the same safe room for hours at a time telling everyone how much the game sucks -- even if they haven't actually played it for years.

I'm not saying that these bozos make me throw my computer across the room in a fit of blind fury or anything like that. (Maybe that one time.) I recognize that some of them have issues from before I was even playing the game, let alone running it, that some of them are not particularly well-suited to the kind of game we are crafting here, and that some of them are just trolling. It is the internet, after all.

I guess ultimately what I want to say is this.

Genuine positive comments make us happy and give us the creative energy to put in new features. Constructive criticism helps those new features be the best they can be. Thoughtless complaints sap that energy away and make us want to take a break from the mud for a while. You have the right to complain, just like we have the right to nochannel you if we get tired of hearing your complaints.

Ideally there should be restraint and respect on both sides, and we can all work together to make DR into something more than any one person can do alone (preferably while holding hands and singing some Dylan, also while riding ponies with sparkly butterflies or rainbows on their flanks -- but I guess not everyone has to share those preferences).



Wouldn't it be cool if a law guild had the ability to gather evidence of crimes? Things like: follow a blood trail to find the room a KO took place in; figure out the race and class of victim and criminal; figure out the method of murder (scalp, feast, etc). I think it would.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Away in White, Back in Black

As many faithful readers know, my coder and I stopped working on our new project for a while in order to go back to our first mud, Dark Risings, and help it get back on track. Then I took time off from that mud again to get married and spend quality time with my new husband. Here I am now, though, yearning for the soothing black screen of my beloved muds, pining for my DR fix, and most of all itching to get back to work on the new project.

It's interesting to be able to come back and begin looking at it again from a fresh perspective -- having set it aside for so long means that I have forgotten a lot of what we had worked out and planned. A few things that hadn't quite been sitting right with me have evolved into better ideas, I think, and it's very exciting to be back working on this project.

As my coder and I were chatting tonight, we came up with some good ideas we want to save and so I decided to break my too-long silence and post them here, both for our own reference and also for the many who asked us if this project was finished forever or just on hold or done forever. It's back in black :)

So, some of the ideas:

-- Remove Thief as a specific class and instead making thief-like spells and abilities available to every character, though in different forms (a Sunder Lock spell for Mages, for example, versus a simple Pick Lock ability for Merchants). These abilities won't be broadcast in a guild but will come up as options depending on how the player chooses to play the game. Hanging out in seedy pubs, for instance, seems like a great place to pick up these sorts of habits.

-- Create a special object type which holds only potions, and which, when looked into, indicates both the short description of the potion and also, on the second line following, lists the effects of the potion, to look something like this:
A magical potion chest holds:
( 3) a pink potion
* Sanctuary, Wild Heal
( 2) a green potion
* Sleep

-- Make scrolls only capable of having one spell, and create a chance, when recited, of giving the player +1% to the spell written on the scroll, assuming he meets the requirements. Spells already known to the character (but not quite perfected) would be affected by this, and it would also be possible for characters to learn new spells through this method, assuming they met the requirements for learning the spell. For example, a spell might require certain stat minimums (ex. Int 27), class specifications (ex. Fighters only), or even that the caster has knowledge of a prerequisite spell (ex. to learn Shield, you must first know Armour).

-- Really look at the races again. We are not sure we want to use fantasy races, with the host of problems it brings. If we are going to create original races, then we think we are courting trouble by giving them names of well-known fantasy races which have all sorts of history and background players are probably already familiar with from other sources. I like that mostly everyone is human in the Wheel of Time, with different nationalities accounting for different traits and customs, and this is the way I would like to go. This way we can make races which really are original and we don't run the risk of having players decide to play an Elf the way they think an Elf is (as opposed to the way the game environment portrays Elves).

There's a lot more (isn't there always, when brainstorming), but I will sign off for now and go get some work done.

Mrs. Sidonie

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Crunchy Numbers, Mmmm

Hello everyone,

Since my last post, my partner and I have been busy hammering out all the million details which have to be considered when balancing races. Although that task is far from complete, this post is a bit of an update to show those of you who may be interested in such things the way we're going about it.

We are taking an approach to race, class and skill gains which will have a familiar feel for ROM-stlye gamers, but which also has some significant (and we think awesome) changes. Our goal is to make a game which is easy to play but difficult to master, and to us that starts with character creation.

In creating a character, players will first choose a race, which comes with preset base stats: Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Constitution, and Luck. For example, Elves will start with Str 1, Dex 4, Int 5, Wis 4, Con 1, and Luck 5.

(Sidenote: currently we're working on a 5-point scale, which lends itself easily to balance and all that junk, and which will be doctored once things are all sorted out to reflect max stats of 25.)

Next, the player will choose one of only three very basic classes, each of which offers a +1 stat bonus: Mage, +1 Int; Rogue, +1 Dex; and Fighter, +1 Str. For example, an Elf Mage would get no class bonus to stats, since as an Elf his Int would already be maxed out, but an Elf Rogue would have as his base stats Str 1, Dex 5, Int 5, Wis 4, Con 1, and Luck 5.

Finally, players will have two bonus stat points to allot however they want. For example, a player could give his Elf Rogue character +1 to Wis and +1 to Str, or +2 to Con, or +2 to Str, or +1 to Str and Con. In other words, he will be able to tailor his character in the way which will best suit the role he intends to play. Note that currently we are discussing having these two bonus stat points occur not at creation, but later as the character levels or possibly as it accrues additional XP after reaching level 50.

Essentially, we are organizing skills by class and stat, and player access to skills will be based on those two things as well. Simply choosing the Fighter class, for example, will not guarantee that a character will gain access to all possible Fighter skills. An Elf Fighter, with a +1 Str bonus, can put both of his bonus stat points into Str and still only have a Str of 4. Although several good fighter skills will be available at Str 4, the very best ones will require Str 5, which no Elf Fighter will ever be strong enough to learn or use.

However, it will be possible (and encouraged) for players to learn skills outside their own class, which they can do at a -1 stat penalty. Our Elf Fighter may not be able to learn the most elite Fighter skills (which only a very strong Fighter can use). However, he would still have Int 5, which means that after factoring in the -1 stat penalty suffered when attempting to learn Mage skills, he would be able to learn everything up to rank 4. Not the best -- but close. Therefore, a player who wishes to play a warrior-like character who has some Fighter ability, some Mage ability, and some Thief ability would find himself with a very nicely rounded character. If he wants to play a very powerful mage with limited or nonexistant Fighter or Thief skills, he can do that too.

Although it may seem limiting, at a glance, to have so few classes, our concept of the game is actually designed to provide the opportunity for very rich character customization, because though there are only three basic classes to choose from, characters will not be limited to their class when it comes to gaining abilities.

As of right now, I have only finished crunching numbers for stats for four races: human, elf, dwarf, and giant. Still to come are Tiefling, Goblin, Orc, Ogre, Garou, Variel, Seidon, Dragon, Spirit, and Undead. Whew!

As I work, I'm putting all the data into one spreadsheet which I've made available online for anyone who is interested in the inside scoop as to race/class possibilities. If that's you, then direct your browser to:


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Races for Real

Hello everyone,

I've been having trouble building lately because I've been trying to work on the city I want to make into my epicentre of culture, a blend of all races and beliefs in the centre of the world. But it's proven extremely difficult for me to create a city of culture without having a strong idea of the people who make the culture. Which brings us to races which will populate the land.

Our goal is to create a game with a great story which ties everything in it together in a meaningful (though usually hidden and secret) way. It's the formalist in me. It's been the mechanics of going about that which have been hard to nail down. Where to start?

At first we thought about doing something completely new and different from our first mud, DR. But once we got into specifics, we began to realize the extent of the work we would need to do to start from scratch, and decided to use as much of DR as we feasibly could.

Early on, we brainstormed about races. It was an exciting and heady time, because we had finally broken away from DR and were in a place of endless possibilities where we could do and make anything we wanted. But so early on, we -- or maybe just I -- didn't really grasp the scope of just how different we could make things. We worked off of a list of DR races, changing a couple, axing a few, adding a few.

The problem was, I didn't have a good idea of what I wanted to use for a creation story. So while I had a vague idea of what races we would have and what the people of our new world might be like, as I got deeper and deeper into the creation story, the more I began to realize that the races we had picked first would just not work, not as they were. There was nothing to tie them into the story, and too much chance that they would be tied more strongly into other stories, motivating people to bring in mythology from the world outside the game rather than embrace the one we are creating -- something we really want to try and avoid.

But yesterday, Parvi and I sat down and talked it all over: the pros and cons of having standard fantasy races. What kind of players we want to attract: both people who enjoy fantasy, and people who normally avoid fantasy. What kind of races might best attract them: if we want people who don't have a high opinion of fairies and elves, would a mud based on fantasy races repel them? On the other hand, Parvi and I both agree that if we start a new mud as a player, making a character for the first time, we are turned off by a list of races which we don't recognize or know anything about. It's a bit much to expect a new player to read a thick manual about race before picking one, when there are a thousand other muds out there.

The question is how to make a mud that is fresh and new while still retaining the familiarity of what has been around forever -- and of course how to tie the races into the creation story we are writing.

I decided to sit down and go over our race list again. I wanted to make races which new players would be able to recognize, but that I would be able to tailor to the specific story of our mud. I also wanted to make the more generic races have interesting twists to appeal to both experienced and new players, and include radically new and interesting races which play very differently than typical mud races.

After much thought, here's what I came up with:

Human -- default race
Elf ------- quick, delicate, magical
Dwarf ---- short, stocky, iron constitutions
Giant ----- big, strong, intelligent

Tiefling -- warped version of humans
Goblin ---- warped version of elves
Orc ------- warped version of dwarves
Ogre ------ warped version of giants

Garou ----- can shift into wolves at will
Variel ---- can shift into birds at will
Seidon ---- can shift into sea serpents at will

Sprite ---- ephemeral, can neither attack nor be attacked
Dragon ---- start out as human, but gain power and abilities with age

Undead ---- cannot be chosen at creation; can quest to become undead and gain access to death magic

I have them blocked into groups because I think of them in categories. The first group are humanoids, designed to be a reliable choice for players new to the mud: they will play like one might expect, with a few interesting twists. Each of these races will get its own city, with all the appeal of a city, including rooms and houses to rent or buy, but I will come back to that more later. I am leaning towards having these four be the only races which can become embraced.

Tiefling, Goblin, Orc, and Ogre will be our evil races (though I am planning, with permission, to pattern the goblin city and culture on the Goblins webcomic by Tarol Hunt, so they won't really quite be evil...). We need to flesh these out a lot more, but we think there's a lot that can be done here, again offering up that familiarity with a twist for those who prefer to play evil. If the good races can be embraced, maybe something else, new but as powerful, can be done with these ones...hmm.

The next three are all shifter races. Wolves, giant birds, and sea serpents: each will have unique abilities when shifted, such as the serpent's ability to breathe water, which will be a remarkable ability when combined with some of the new redit room code we've put in. I can't help loving the names of them. It's the Rowling in me.

Sprites are a completely new kind of character, at least for us. Sprites will be made of Spirit, and they will be able to wander wherever they want, through any door, see and talk to anyone they like. But they won't be able to pick anything up or carry anything. Creatures of air, they'll have no possessions and nothing to fear. It will, however, be possible to banish a sprite from a room where he may be unwanted. This race is designed to allow players to explore the mud without fear of death or attack, to see what's out there without risk.

Dragons are also a new character type for us, and one I think is going to be really fun to play. We've decided to make dragons into a player race which begins life as a weak, frail human. For the first ten years of a dragon's life, he'll be weak and powerless in nearly every capacity. The next ten he will be somewhat stronger, and by his third decade he would be on par with a normal adventurer. After that, however, the dragon would begin to grow stronger. In the fourth decade the dragon would gain the ability to shift into the form associated with dragons, sinuous airborne creatures of wing and scale and claw, tongue unfurling a burst of flame, with all the benefits and abilities such a shift grants. Increased age will grant dragons increased power, up to their hundredth year, when they will gain extreme power -- as long as they can stay alive. Dragons will be as immortals, never dying, but if they are murdered, they are reborn as juveniles just on the edge of the fourth decade. We can make this race because of the new system of time which Parvi has made -- it has opened a lot of doors, and this one might be the biggest.

The last race, Undead, won't be available at creation. Rather, characters who wish to pursue death magic will be required, at some point in their training, to make the ultimate sacrifice to their craft. The path to get there, and the reward for doing so, are as yet undecided (though I had one idea about undead status granting immunity to piercing and slashing weapons).

The next thing to do is figure out all the stats for each race, and to build cities for each race, and to write stories for each race. I have a great idea for the dwarves that I am itching to get started on, so I will sign off for now.


PS I am looking for someone who knows how to make a website using Dreamweaver. If you know how and would like to talk to me about either starting up a website for us, or helping me get started with a basic template I can play with, please send me an email at

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I thought you might find the current contents of my notepad interesting. I had to make a few modifications to make it show the correct spacing (hence the dots for spaces in my beloved mini-charts). Enjoy, and feel free to comment and speculate :)

Potions are made using the craft of {minfusion{x. Each vnum has four v-slots which may be used to create potions of varying strength and effects. Not all potions can use all four slots: the number available is governed by the object's level, as shown below:

Level 1-30: v1 <-- at least weight 1
Level 31-40: v1 and v2 <-- at least weight 2
Level 41-50: v1, v2, and v3 <-- at least weight 3
Level 60: v1, v2, v3, and v4 <-- at least weight 4

Potions must weigh at least 1/10th of a pound (Weight 1) for each v-slot used. Different infusion ingredients will make potions different weights, some of them quite heavy. Use the {mingredients{x chart to find the weights used in your potion, and add them together to determine your potion's weight. Note that the level of the potion object and the level of the spells it uses must be identical, but that each has to be set individually. To do this:

TYPE: {Clevel {x<{C#{x> TYPE: {Cv0{x <{C#{x> This would correctly set
EXAMPLE: {Clevel 50{x EXAMPLE: {Cv0 50{x <--the potion's level to 50.

To set your potion's ingredient v-slots, simply:

TYPE: {Cv{x<{C#{x> <{Cingredient{x>
EXAMPLE: {Cv1 blood{x
EXAMPLE: {Cv2 aloe{x {m================================================================================{xhelp {mDrinkcontainer{x to continue or {mPill{x to go back
help {mOedit{x for the complete list of {mOEDIT{x helpfiles
See Also: {mhelp infusion{x, {mhelp ingredients{x

weight and armor: base weight for each wearslot: ac 0, ac bonuses with every 5 lbs: heavy items offer more protection: mages should be in robes, not platemail (unless magic...)

added containers which can't give more weight but can give more item space (ie quivers, potions)

have as best item for infusionists be container with space for limitless potions which will never break

corrollary idea: make containers break potions

to be decided:
.............plants minerals animals


fire water earth air mind
emotion shock acid sound blood
dex str con int wis

fire: color_spray burning_hands haste frenzy infravision teleport resist_heat
water: chill_touch lifetap sleep/freeze giant_strength refresh magic_ward breathe_water
earth: slow chaos weaken stone_skin shield earthquake
air: charm_person sleep levitate detect pass_door invis 
mind: domination forget headache change_sex remove_curse vanish
emotion: sorrow betray sanctuary awe/calm curse
shock: energy_drain shocking_grasp resurrect cancellation word_of_recall
acid: blindness wither_limb cure_blindness destroy_armor blister
sound: sleep heal faerie_fog mirror_image 
blood: plague fester cure_disease cure_poison poison

note: nothing grows in city, inside, underground, noswim
swim: shallow water
river: running water: add as a sector: identical to swim
lava: add as a sector: identical to underwater, except take heat damage unless has 'resist heat' effect
swamp: add as a sector: movement points 8, must be hot

....desert...............river...........forest.............field...animal parts....frigid/cold

things to use: fungi that drips acid
body parts

*charm person as a perfume, air as ingredients which are used for the scent.

make wild magic part of all magesmagic has % chance to go wild whenever casting a spell, chance to wildly cast wrong goes down as you gain in xp. or you can choose to have your magic become more and more wild.

wild magic: does more damage than a targetted spell, and has a chance to do it to everyone in the room. fighting alongside a wildmage then becomes risky, enforced by code.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Building Character

So the last few weeks have been pretty chaotic. I used to work for my dad off and on, between bouts of education: for two years after the time I spent writing about Aristotle and coversations between God and Satan; summers the next two years while I was learning and testing theories about criticism and transmission of knowledge. After that I sort of knew what I wanted to do in life and off I went to do it.

But, this year my dad really needed some help and I know the job and, really, I do have the freedom in life to be able to go and stay somewhere for the six months if that's what's necessary. And besides, Saskatchewan is paradise in the summer. I've been driving out in the back country soaking in all the beauty I can hold. We went fishing the other night and came back with not one fish but three or four dozen crayfish. My dad and I cooked them up and shelled their tails and tiny little claws and I made a lobster thermador using crayfish meat, which we ate on the back deck in the setting sun light. People can keep their mountains. It's the sky for me.

Still, it's baling season and I'm working 12 hours a day dragging around massive heavy belts giant metal pulleys and knives and teeth and all sorts of other nasty things covered in grease and oil and poky parts. It's hard chaotic work and I come home, take a bath, talk on the phone for an hour or so, and fall asleep. The good parts are I've lost 5 pounds,and it's a perfect place to wear my black engineer-style cap with the little black bow. The bad parts are, I haven't worked there for two years and there's a lot I have forgotten and it's a very stressful job, and it's busier than I remember it ever being.

All of which to show why I haven't had much time even for playing videogames let alone for building a mud.

However, last night, after a crazy week of 12 hour shifts, I had the night off. After watching this awesome Japanese vampire movie with my dad, I decided to pick up my Summoner game, which I hadn't had a chance to play all week.

So I was wandering around in the Ikaemos swamp thinking, as I always do when I play video games, about the new game. In Summoner (Devotion and THC), Joseph is this farmer born with a mark who has to go around collecting rings in order to be able to summon the demons bound to the rings. When he's wearing the rings, if he gains XP, the rings he's wearing gain XP, and when the rings' XP reaches a certain level, Joseph gets access to a new summonable.

I started thinking about how that could be done within the framework of our mud. Thinking about EQ and the problem of there being not enough motivation for people who are finished levelling to engage with the game, leading them to sit around and become players who say things like,

"Behold! I am a powerful wizard! Beware my wrath, or I will flutter my hands around, and emote lights and sounds! I may even act your role for you, graciously showing you how to react to my awesome display of magic which no one else in the game can see or feel! You say it's not real magic, but I say it is, and I can tell you a hundred very long stories about all the mighty feats I did to gain access to this magic! What does it matter that I just made the stories up and didn't actually do any of them? This game is all about making stories up, right?"

It drives me crazy to see players doing this because I think it makes the game feel hokey and cheap, and makes players aware that they are playing a game. Although I love cubism, this is not a cubist mud. I don't want players to be aware of the frame. I want them to enter it, to accept its reality as their own, to create depth.

So if that's what I want, why not use code to reward people who do go out and engage with the game?

We had already decided not to stop the XP counter when a character reaches level 50, so that characters can accumulate XP forever (from fighting monsters, exploring areas and completing quests, winning games run both by AI and by staff, by performing tasks set by guilds, etc.) I want to give players real power, and to reward all types of play. I want people to sit around and roleplay, but I ALSO want them to go out and play the game itself and work to gain real in-game power with their characters.

I think one good way to do this is to give (Magic) objects an XP counter which is related to the player's XP counter, so that while a player wears a (Magic) object, a portion (as yet undetermined) of the XP they earn while wearing the object will go on that object's XP counter.

We just made a whole bunch of new v-slots for objects (we are making each weapon type have a cool unique ability) so I thought it would be possible to have objects be able to:

* Set an item's XP counter to 0 when worn; and

* Specify a preset XP amount which, when reached, will give ring new abilities; and

* Specify two or three different levels so that the item can become more and more powerful as the wearer gains more and more XP.

I think it would be great to have (Magic) items not reveal their true natures until they have shared enough experiences with the wearer. Bullies who attack people with activated (Magic) items and loot them would find themselves with an ordinary eq of no particular value, because removing such an object in any way (such as with the 'remove' or 'loot' commands) would reset its XP counter to 0.

I think this would be fun to do for Jewelry type items :)

I was going to write a lot more, but I got sidetracked helping a new builder get set up. This is a great time to get involved because now is the time decisions are being made, so if you're interested in building, playtesting, or if you want to help in some other capacity drop me an email at


Friday, May 28, 2010

Spring Sweet Spring

Hello everyone... welcome to spring :)

After a long dark winter spring has finally arrived and new ideas are blossoming everywhere. I was prepared for this process to be a lot of work, but I radically underestimated just how much needed to be considered. Once again I'm grateful to have such an awesome game to work from, both in terms of the stock ROM 2.4 code and in the awesome storylines and additions which grew up in DR.

Here are some of the things we've decided on for sure:

Vampires and Patriarchs
One major problem with DR as we see it is that vampire activity is so completely dependent on the patriarchs. After much discussion we've decided that anyone who wants to become a vampire should be able to try to become one, and to hard code in possible ways to do this which do not involve pc pats. We may still make it possible for players to become patriarchs. The details have yet to be hammered out, but one possibility is that if a character manages to maintain a vampiric state for more than a hundred in-game years, it would gain the power to embrace minions who had slightly different powers than the vampires which could be gained by approaching the mud as an adventure game. The game in general is going to have a much stronger vampire theme.

Area Use
After MUCH thought and discussion we have finally decided that I'm going to look at the areas of DR like pieces in a puzzle, and break them all apart to reassemble as I see fit, with several changes along the way (including creation of a secret history, quests, clues, and hidden paths to extreme power). I want to make the entire game more cohesive. A lot of areas are getting the axe, and a lot more are serving as inspiration before getting combined with other areas and rebuilt.

I just finished designing a kingdom with dozens of shops and homes carved into massive three-story trees growing in a circle to form a round courtyard for a large castle (houseing storerooms full of loot) carved into the stone wall of a large canyon. Hidden guards and their dogs will roam the valley floor and its edges, with rope bridges for their convenience. Five points to anyone who can guess what three DR areas inspired this one for me :)

Player Houses
This has been requested on DR forever and after much thought we think we have figured out how to solve the problems which stood in the way of it. So, the current idea is, players will be able to buy houses ranging in size from a single hole-in-the-wall to a 16-room mansion, with group rates available for clan headquarters (palaces, castles, etc.). This new feature is going to require another new one: locks and curses which may be purchased and placed on containers kept in a house to further secure the contents.

It's getting late and I better sign off, but stay tuned for new developments. The ball is really rolling now...

Anyone interested in doing some building (either just rooms, or redesigning areas) please send me an email and I'll let you know how to sign up.

Happy gaming everyone :)