20 Oct 2014

14OCT14 – Prestige Scrolls

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Development, Game Design

PRESTIGE SCROLLS

For a long time, transfers of Prestige between accounts have either had to go via the Alliance prestige pool or using sitting rights. With sitting rights, one player would give rights to an account, and the sitter would then buy the Prestige and step out of the account. This has led to some players reportedly being scammed (“I didn’t receive the gold they promised!”) or – illegal according to the TOS – players swapping sign-in and password information.
Now prestige scan be transferred directly to anyone or sold on the open market at a trade hub, by using prestige scrolls. Let’s say that player A wants to give the new player B some prestige to help them along.
All player A needs to do is go into their Library’s new Resource Production area, make sure to have the correct amount of Prestige, books, mana, research and reagents and click Make – player A now instantly has a Prestige scroll that can be given or sold to player B. Player B then redeems the scroll in their Reading Room.
Be aware that items in transit, including prestige scrolls, are vulnerable to blockade, so be careful when shipping these valuable new items.
The Prestige Scroll recipes are as follows:
  • Prestige Scrap: 75 Prestige, 75 Mana, 75 Research, 1 Giant Rat Heart, 1 Pyrestone, 1 Sharproot
  • Prestige Parchment: 200 Prestige, 200 Mana, 200 Research, 1 Wild Dog Heart, 1 Claristrine, 1 Silverthorn
  • Prestige Page: 500 Prestige, 500 Mana, 500 Research, 1 Wolf Heart, 1 Deepsilver, 1 Furzion Seedpod
  • Prestige Scroll: 850 Prestige, 850 Mana, 850 Research, 1 Brown Bear Heart, 1 Rainbowstone, 1 Brownback Moss
  • Prestige Codex: 1200 Prestige, 1200 Mana, 1200 Research, 1 Giant Scuttler Heart, 1 Trove, 1 Suntree Haft
  • Prestige Book: 1850 Prestige, 1850 Mana, 1850 Research, 1 Scritcher Heart, 1 Svelaugh Sand, 1 Vistrok Flower
  • Prestige Tome: 3250 Prestige, 3250 Mana, 3250 Research, 1 Scaled Charger Heart, 1 Earthblood, 1 Ironstem Root
Prestige scrolls are regular items and will show in your towns’ and hub inventories. They can be placed in hub buy and sell orders as regular craftable items, and appear in the “Exotic” category.
Prestige scrolls can only be created from personal prestige, not from alliance prestige.
The creation and use of prestige scrolls is recorded and is shown on your prestige history page.
 
SERVER-SIDE MONITORING & DIAGNOSTICS
We have improved our server-side monitoring and diagnostics so we can be aware of a problem and try to fix it before you are aware. It also provides rich information and extra detail around issues to allow us to more quickly diagnose potential issues. We have already resolved a number of long term issues this way.
 
Sharing some insights, below is a graph around the time the Heart of Corruption began beating. The early response time peak is a deployment for improved Windows 8.1 support (do feel free to vote for us in the store!) which required a full server code refresh and so a brief response time hit as the dlls were jit compiled:
 

 

You can also see the server’s daily heart beat or ebb and flow of player demands (this is over a week). The later half of the graph increases in requests per second as you (the players) activate the Heart of Corruption and then in response start sending thousands upon thousands of missions to it and the corrupted temples.
 

CHANGES TO IMAGE, CSS & SCRIPT HOSTING

We have moved where and how we host our images, css and javascript files. Hopefully, this has been transparent to you, the players, as mostly the files are cached in your browser and they aren’t requested that much, per player. However, players occasional requests as a group and new players’ requests do add up as can be seen on the graphs below:
The graph on the left shows when we swapped over the DNS to point at the new resource, and you can actually see the dns update propagating over the internet as the new resource slowly ramped up in requests thoughout the day. The second graph shows the now current day to day activity; do bear in mind these files should be cached for a long time for returning players so those requests shouldn’t show up here, however this does include images on our out of game site (like www).
 
HTTPS SECURE ACCESS
As part of the reason for the change above, we are now more consistent on when we can serve secure image files, so you can now use Illyriad over https if you so desire:
 

 
 

MAIL NEXT & PREVIOUS ITEMS
Mail items now have next and previous buttons inside individual mails to move you through the mail without having to return to the full mail list:
 

 

The next and previous buttons are category aware, so if you are in a subcategory e.g. sent or trade they will just navigate you through available mails in that subcategory.
 
COMBAT XML API
We’ve reinstated the Combat XML API system, so that you can can individually, as players, choose to share your combat reports with third parties.  You’ve always been able to do this on an individual report basis, by using the “XML” button at the bottom of each combat report in-game mail.
 
However, you can now generate an API key in the Account & Preferences area of the User Interface.  If you generate and give this API key to other players, they can then access a listing of all your combat reports since you issued your first key, and then drill down into each individual combat report just as if you’d sent them each report via in-game mail.
 
We can see this being useful for any builder of third party tools, an alliance that wants to track their collective members’ military actions and/or any player who wants to make a killboard for (eg) the purposes of player-run tournaments.
 
The API key is something that an individual player can generate, and revoke (or rather, generate a new key) from their Account & Preferences page in the “API Keys” submenu.It differs from the individual combat report XML in that it is a generic key which essentially says “I hereby grant the holder of this key the right to access all my non-covert combat event logs in XML format until such time as I revoke the key by changing it“.A player who issues a Combat API Key can then use this unique, individual key to query a page that will produce a list of combat events that can then be queried via the individual report identifier, and they can share this key with anyone they choose.

Players can pass their Combat API key to third parties (such as alliance techies, or killboard website operators) and these third parties can then query this page on behalf of the player, and retrieve the individual combat reports for every combat this player has been involved in.

ISSUING & REVOKING YOUR COMBAT API KEY

Go to your Account & Preferences page and click on the API submenu:

You will have a list of keys here – or, on your first visit, the option to issue a Combat Reports API Key for the first time.To create a Combat Reports API Key, press the “Generate” button.If you already have a key, pressing “Generate” will instantly disable your current key and generate a new one for you; thereby preventing access to your combat reports by anyone who knows your old key.

Account sitters can generate and/or revoke API keys.

SUPPRESSING INDIVIDUAL COMBATS FROM DISPLAYING TO KEY HOLDERS
For whatever reason (doubtless nefarious!) you might not want a specific, particular combat to appear in the Combat Report list you’ve made available to anyone with your API Key.
You can suppress individual combat reports from appearing on the list if you check the Is Covertoption checkbox on the “Send Army” page before you dispatch the army outbound.  You will need to have researched Covert Operations in the Military research tree to see this option.

USING THE API KEY TO GET AN XML LIST OF AVAILABLE COMBAT REPORTS – A PROGRAMMERS’ GUIDE
If you’re not a programmer, then the following is probably not relevant, and you can skip over the next couple of sections!
The API Key is in the format:

[Server Name]-[KeyType]-[Key]

This helps you identify which server to query (we currently only have elgea) and what page to query with the key.

A sample full combat API key for elgea might look like this:

elgea-COMRP-AQAAABoolkA8l0qQ7kL5Vpxmk-LwCjrv0qh5f9uB6M10saMBnAi01_0IiV4a-pnxWDUF5UcAhtw1SNQ2n0XGbgvb6gw=

This identifies this key as being good for pulling data from Server [elgea] for Combat Reports [COMRP], and the remainder of the key is an encrypted piece of data that identifies the player to us (twinned with the rights he has given to this key).

To query a key for the first time, call the following page:

http://elgea.illyriad.co.uk/external/combatreportsapi/[insert player's full Combat API Key including the server and keytype here]

and so, using the example above, your query would be:

http://elgea.illyriad.co.uk/external/combatreportsapi/elgea-COMRP-AQAAABoolkA8l0qQ7kL5Vpxmk-LwCjrv0qh5f9uB6M10saMBnAi01_0IiV4a-pnxWDUF5UcAhtw1SNQ2n0XGbgvb6gw=


WHAT DOES THE PAGE RETURN?

Sample (will not work in reality)
<combateventsapi>
<server>

<name>UK1</name>
<servercountrycode>gb</servercountrycode>
<serverlanguagecode>en</serverlanguagecode>
<serverlivedate>2010-02-21T21:53:01.190</serverlivedate>
<datagenerationdatetime>2014-10-13T16:30:43.040</datagenerationdatetime>

</server>

<player id="1"/><playerapikey id="elgea-COMRP-AQAAABoolkA8l0qQ7kL5Vpxmk-LwCjrv0qh5f9uB6M10saMBnAi01_
0IiV4a-pnxWDUF5UcAhtw1SNQ2n0XGbgvb6gw="/>

<combatevents>

<uniquecombatidentifier>

<server id=”UK1″/>
<combatguid id=”F94B7AC1-CFB8-4DE8-A211-044D1A4DAC18″/>
<troopmovementevent id=”507040″/>
<datacomplete id=”1″/>
<personalcombatkey id=”AQAAACTYblel0LzEsSb7kiZcZg0hQJZCDmbi_sgo82Ej6iKr”/>
<combatoccurrencedate>2014-10-06T03:09:10.523</combatoccurrencedate>

</uniquecombatidentifier>

<uniquecombatidentifier>

<server id=”UK1″/>
<combatguid id=”4D389937-545A-4CC0-A7E8-4EA27487DAAE”/>
<troopmovementevent id=”509341″/>
<datacomplete id=”1″/>
<personalcombatkey id=”AQAAAFICvEs1DXLWCN2fesfs61oCyonjDBukVnB0TxJJg2t3″/>
<combatoccurrencedate>2010-08-06T16:39:30.907</combatoccurrencedate>

</uniquecombatidentifier>

</combatevents>

Breaking it down, you have:

  • The standard Server Identification snippet, followed by
  • The PlayerID who this Key belongs to, and the exact key you just used
  • A list of combat events that this player has been involved in, along with the <personalcombatkey> identifier so you can then go off and query the specific event for the full details, using:
    http://elgea.illyriad.co.uk/external/combatreport/[insert <personalcombatkey> here]
You do not need to be logged in to access the Combat API listing or any individual Combat API report, so long as you have the key!


HOW TO CHOOSE WHAT EVENTS YOU NEED TO QUERY

1. You may already have the report from another player
Within:

<uniquecombatidentifier>

<server id=”UK1″/>
<combatguid id=”4D389937-545A-4CC0-A7E8-4EA27487DAAE”/>
<troopmovementevent id=”509341″/>
<datacomplete id=”1″/>
<personalcombatkey id=”AQAAAFICvEs1DXLWCN2fesfs61oCyonjDBukVnB0TxJJg2t3″/
<combatoccurrencedate>2010-08-06T16:39:30.907</combatoccurrencedate>

</uniquecombatidentifier>

IF

  • You already have a combat report with this <server id> and
  • You already have a combat report with this <combatguid id> and
  • You already have a combat report with this <troopmovementevent id>

THEN

IF

  • This new report has a less than or equal to ( <= ) <datacomplete id> than the one you currently have:

WHEN TRUE (YES, YOU HAVE THIS “NEW” REPORT ALREADY AND THE VERSION YOU HAVE IS AS GOOD AS, OR BETTER THAN, THE NEW REPORT) THEN

  • Don’t query this report – you already have everything you need

WHEN FALSE (NO, THIS “NEW” REPORT HAS MORE ACCURATE DATA THAN THE REPORT YOU CURRENTLY HAVE) THEN

  • Query this report using the <personalcombatkey id> and replace your existing report with this one

ELSE

  • This is a new report and you should import it

The reason we have the datacomplete flag is because different players can get slightly different versions of the same combat report (eg “Your army was completely destroyed and you heard nothing of its’ fate” vs “You completely whupped that guy, here’s the report”).

2. You don’t need to query the complete player history every time, to decide what’s new

Obviously we don’t want you to be querying a complete player history every time you pull the API key.

So there is an additional parameter we’d like you to use when you subsequently query view_combat_reports_api.asp – this parameter is called [since].  [since] is based on the actual combat occurrence date, not the date that the army was originally sent, so it should be a historic record.

This should be set to the most recent <combatoccurrencedate> for the <player ID> whose key you are using.

If you don’t have any data for this player so far, then please do not provide the [since] parameter.

Because there is a chance that you might have two combat events from the same player occurring at the same second, we will return the event(s) you already have at that datetime stamp, so please be prepared to ignore the first couple of events returned – as you may already have them (see above for how to decide).

The [since] parameter is in the same format it was provided in originally in the <combatoccurrencedate>field of the last report you have from this player, such as: 2014-08-06T03:09:10

The Date Time format is YYYY-MM-DDTHH:MM:SS

So, a first API Key query might look like this:

http://elgea.illyriad.co.uk/external/combatreportsapi/elgea-COMRP-AQAAAI0WUkqicWZIAoiQOP2bObRf5c2Vxr0CoiEQ3PPQNfCAXtq_ftlyXzYsNQ_dGhCAkRf_b2_C6VVn

… and a subsequent one might look like this:

http://elgea.illyriad.co.uk/external/combatreportsapi/elgea-COMRP-AQAAAI0WUkqicWZIAoiQOP2bObRf5c2Vxr0CoiEQ3PPQNfCAXtq_ftlyXzYsNQ_dGhCAkRf_b2_C6VVn?since=2014-10-14T13:36:38

… which will only return those combat events related to the player since (and including) the event that occurred on the [since] timestamp.


HOW OFTEN CAN I QUERY A PLAYER’S API KEY?

For the purposes of development, we haven’t yet set a limit.

However, we will probably impose a limit for a particular key query (from the same querying source) at some point in the future, simply to preserve server resources and bandwidth.  It all rather depends on how you player-programmers choose to use the API key system!

WHAT DATA IS AVAILABLE
Combat report data is only available from the moment that any API key is generated by a player.  You cannot access historic records from before the first API key was generated, except via the direct link provided at the bottom of your ingame mail combat report.
 
MOVING TROOPS
 
Things got a little wild around the Heart of Corruption as huge numbers of missions piled into it. Unfortunately this caused some noticable slow-downs in the browser pages getting updates to their movements when the map was focused on the HoC. 
 
To resolve this we throttled what was sent to the map to display a maximum of 1 mission icon (per type) per quarter square – and a maximum of 75 missions on the visible map (per type) at any time, focused around the map center. 
 
 
 
We hope you enjoy these enhancements to the game environment.
 
GM Rikoo
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7 Sep 2014

Player Spotlight: StJude

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Player Spotlight

StJude poopsHow did you find Illyriad, and what made you give it a try?

I had just come off a 23,360 hour long stint of World of Warcraft and decided I should probably start paying my mortgage and eating something other than thai basil fried rice from the local takeaway. After some time, once I had begun to recognize that sunlight was my friend, and that blinking occurs naturally, I wandered instinctively back over to my Dell Optiplex 745 and searched for some old browser based games of Risk.

While splendidly losing Brazil (because some other clever bugger had taken Australia first), I gazed distractedly at the sidebar banner ad. I lamented the lack of barely clad, large chested maidens beckoning me to “Come Play Discreetly, my Lord”. I did see the words “deep strategy” though… that got my blood pumping and made me swoony. By this stage, South America was lost and with it my 2 army bonus.

Deep strategy, eh?

So, I signed up. I immediately liked the slower pace of the game and after playing for a while loved the idea of real loss and therefore real risk. I figured this slower pace would force me to step away occasionally and encourage my re-integration with society. The map was huge and I was quite taken with the regional aspects and persistent state of the game. I headed over to the forums, saw some excellent posts in the long forgotten “Bitter Sea” and the rest is history.

Do you ever dream of doing particular things in game that you cannot do now?

Seriously, sending emails with multiple recipients and a CC option would make me quiver at the knees. Barring that, I’m fairly partial to the military side of things. There have been some brilliant suggestions made already on the forums that I would love to see implemented regarding region control in the form of capturing nodes. I would also like to see defensive options added to a city under attack. Things like additional fortifications (other than walls) that are the *sole* target of siege engines. I’d love to have an option to sack a city once the siege is successful. Total destruction of a city should take a significant investment to achieve. It should take months to raze what takes months to build.

Give me a good war story.

A lot of players think or thought that the Baughb account and StJude account were played by the same person. I’m not sure I can do much to persuade those of that mindset otherwise. Early on, he and I were introduced to a player who would later be known as Gaia Nutella Tulips. It was due largely in part to his recruitment efforts that I joined the fledgeling alliance, “Havoc Unleashed” in Kumala. There was an “incident” and shortly (in Illy terms anyway) thereafter Baughb and I went our separate ways from Havoc. We were both interested in the “Deep Strategy” side of things that Illyriad had to offer and we took advantage of this separation to explore this “Deep Strategy” thing with our former alliancemates. Things were rather silly, all things considered. Our declaration of war was over the top, frivolous and laced with more sarcasm than the number of caravans sent by Global Chat to unwary newbs. There was some good banter and funny exchanges between us and several members of Havoc amidst all the drama. What I think speaks more about our intentions than anything, is the surprising and daring move made by Gaia Nutella Tulips in the middle of the war. GNT, as he will now be referred to for the remainder of the story, still maintained his relationship with Baughb and I,

He frequently exchanged friendly in game mails with us, but never betrayed his alliance by providing insight or intel on their plans. We developed a good rapport I think and we did a good job convincing GNT that there was no malice involved. We were in it for the fun of the competition and GNT recognized that. Someone else can fill in the rest of the details, but GNT informed his alliance leader (Jonny112) that he was going to be leaving “Havoc Unleashed” and joining the Baughb and StJude circus. Even while he was a member of our merry little band, he remained tight lipped regarding any information he might still hold regarding his former alliance. He was truly a class player and as extremely fun loving guy. It was folks like GNT and his antics that kept me logging in to the game and one of many reasons I wanted to come back. We never really took ourselves seriously and this alliance switch mid war, all in the name of fun was one of my favorite moments in the game.

Give me a good newbie tip.

Illyriad is like prison, I advise finding the biggest and baddest alliance and/or player and making a bold statement. Once you have established your dominance, the prison yard is yours. That, or find a player much smaller than you and take all their stuff. Most importantly, be sure to declare your sovereignty over an area. Research siege weapons ASAP and use them to clear the area of rabble rousers and anyone who rustles your jimmies. The Illyriad community respects and encourages this kind of aggressive and forward thinking behavior. Your mailbox will be flooded with invites to various well renowned alliances and you will wake up in the morning to an inbox filled with digital high fives and attaboys.

If that’s not your cup of tea, join a training alliance while you get the lay of the land. This is a unique phenomenon in MMOs as far as I can tell. I’m not aware of any other games doing this.

Give me 500 million gold.

Give me an Illy T-Shirt with Stormcrow and Thundercat dressed as a sexy fire marshall and a lusty B2B Integration Solution Architecture Analyst II, all while parading King Sigurds head on a stake and we have a deal. 1200 prestige is also on the table. Singles only please, I want to tuck them into the waistband of GC.

How has Illy changed the most over the years?

Wow, interesting question. Illyriad is more than the sum of its parts. I think the greatest change I have observed is how knowledgeable the overall player base has become. There is a pretty good understanding of the mechanics of the game with a lot of good tools available to help with decision making.

Name something that you think should be changed or tweaked immediately.

The siege mechanic and a limit to the number of troops that can occupy a tile. I’d also like to see a scaling cost for troop upkeep that increases the larger your city is. I cheated, sorry, that is more than one “something”.

I like War.

 

Thanks to StJude for participating in the Player Spotlight! If you would like to nominate someone, please send your reasons to community@illyriad.co.uk!

GM Rikoo

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5 Aug 2014

Choosing a winner for our Name That Ocean contest

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Development

OceanNameRecently we asked players to submit a name for the newly discovered massive strip of water that lies between Elgea and The Broken Lands. While we knew that we’d get a lot of entries, we weren’t prepared for how good many of them would be! Some players submitted several at once, while other players preferred a single entry that was complete with definitions and origin. Just reading through the thread was a lot of fun.

Originally we were just going to pick the winner and announce it. Finally we decided to put up three different choices to see if the community backed up our original decision. We listed The Bitter Sea (submitted by Canesrule) or The Sea of Mercy (submitted by Arctic55) or Gateway to Wealth (LadyLifeGrows.) These are all great names because they are simple, easy to understand even for newbies, seem to have a story behind them and would read easily on the map. There were several names that were submitted but were other names for a developer or alliance and we didn’t want it to seem like we were pulling favorites.

In the end, the votes echoed what we thought: The Bitter Sea is a brilliant name! The name also has a history in Illyriad. It used to be the name of a forum where players were allowed to vent more freely than we normally allow. It was closed due to a leaking roof and rat infestation.

The name The Bitter Sea does not need to be explained to feel epic or dangerous; it just feels like something an old sea captain might call it. Congrats to Canesrule for suggesting it, and enjoy your journeys across the newly-named sea!

GM Rikoo

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25 Jun 2014

Player Spotlight: Kodabear

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Player Spotlight

koda1This month’s player spotlight is none other than Kodabear, possibly the most popular Illy player EVAH. We received more nominations for him than any other candidate — even breaking Mohit’s record! What accounts for that? We’re not enitirely sure, but it’s possible that his magic bear stories (and general chat magic spells) are the key; they are free-flowing journeys that feel silly, deep, enchanting and — of course — magical all at once. He’s also generous and funny. We dare you to look at his profile and not laugh your butt off. So, to the interview!

Who are you and how long have you played Illy for?

I’m Kodabear, the LORD of the Magic Bears. I have been playing Illy for a little more than a year. I first found the game when I was on the Wii U looking for a game that was just HTML5 and I found a website that has a list of web HTML5 games. Illyriad was number 1 on the list. I started playing for a few hours and then quit, and then a few days later I came back and never stopped playing.

Tell us about the race of Magic Bears. When did they start and why are they here?

Magic Bears are the oldest thing in the universe and the most powerful. Magic Bears love to mess with life forms. Magic Bears can only be killed by an Evilbear or by one of the top ranked Magic Bears (high-kings Magic Bears or the LORD of the Magic Bears). Magic Bears started because I was bored one day and I was always giving people food so I thought of casting spells for food. Right now Magic Bears are just watching the people in Illy and seeing if they should invade or not. :D

Some players seem to think that Illy is a chat room with a game attached. Others believe it is a non-stop game of war. What do you think?

To me, Illy is more of a social game. I’m always talking and helping newbies in my alliance or newcomers to the game. As I’m in T?, a training alliance, we don’t do the war stuff. We are here to help the newbies and to teach them how to play.

When was the last major battle you were involved in?

The last major battle I was in was during the tournament. I lost 6,435 units and killed only 3,787 units.

If you could add one thing to the game, what would it be?

I would love to see some Magic Bear NPCs! But really I would like to add more quests. I loved doing the quests when I was a little bear. They could be faction quests or quests for higher pop. cities.

If you could take one thing away from the game, what would it be?

I can’t thing of anything that I would take away from this game. Yes, things could be better, and it’s nice to see the devs working on that.

What inspires you to log in as often as you do?

The people inspire me to get on as much as I do. I love talking in GC and I love how people play along with my Magic Bear stuff. The game is great, its fun and it takes time, not just something you can do in like an hour. I love my alliance. They are great people and I meet newbies almost every day and it is always hard when they graduate.

Thanks again to Koda for sending in his answers! If you have someone you’d like to see in the Player Spotlight, be sure to send the nominations (along with why they should be nominated) to community@illyriad.co.uk!

26 May 2014

Player Spotlight: Mohit

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Player Spotlight

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Another nomination from the community, this month we get to know Mohit! We received SO many nominations for him, probably breaking all previous records. Learn more about the Player Spotlight program at our website and nominate players by sending an email to community@illyriad.co.uk. The player who gets the nomination can choose between a t-shirt from our shop or from 1200 Prestige! So, to the interview!

So, tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hello, My name is Mohit and I am glad to be given an opportunity to be in the Spotlight. I really appreciate the efforts of all those who voted for me, thank you all!

What brought you to Illyriad and how long have you been playing?

One day I was looking for an online strategy game, and then I found this. It has been a nice experience to play the game since then. I have been playing Illy for more than 2 years now and hope to play it till I finish the game (like Urp! did!)

Have you played many other online games or been active in other online communities?

Well to be honest I have played many, many other games where I play maximum for a week and then leave the game. So I have not been as active in any other online community, nothing else gives that Illy-like feel! ;)

Any hidden talents or interesting hobbies outside of gaming?

Oh yes ! Well, I don’t know if that is to be discussed here! But I like to go out with friends, enjoy the moment of laughter with them but most of my time is taken by gaming, work or sleep.

What keeps you playing Illyriad?

As many have said, I also feel the same: it’s the Community. It keeps you glued to the game. General chat can do wonders for you if you are having an off day. Then I have the amazing members in my alliance who make me feel like being in their shoes and doing things like they do ( not talking about you Hoover :P lol! ) That is an amazing factor if you realize they have become a family in another world, even if you don’t want to achieve something in the game you want to come online to meet them or chat with them. I love that aspect of the game. I believe through this game that I have made friends all over the world, with whom I may or may not meet in my real life but will be sharing a beer or coffee with them online here in Illy.

What’s your favorite aspect of the game?

The community is of course one of my favorite aspect of the game. I also love the fact that this game continues to bring something new to the table every now and then. True, this process has slowed down, but heh, this is the favorite and most awaited aspect of the game: something new and awesome from the developer team !

What’s your proudest achievement in game so far?

Being in the spotlight is the proudest of them all, for the very simple reason is that many people voted for it. It was truly an amazing surprise and I want to send thanks to you guys again! :) The second-best moment was when I was given an opportunity to share in leading Bane. It was an honor and really made me feel proud.

What are you most looking forward to for the future of Illyriad?

First I would like to thank the devs for creating a vision of what we can expect, without it I couldn’t answer this question. I am looking forward to the new schools of magic and hope that it gives a new dimension to the game. Then I am waiting for the use of all the extra t3 resources (advanced herbs, anatomies and rare gems) that do not have any use at the moment, and I wonder how their use will affect the game.  The Live Factions are always a thing that intrigues me. They could give alliances and their diplomatic work a new dimension and hopefully will make quests more interesting.

What area of the game do you think needs the most improvement?

In my view, the defense mechanism needs some improvement. The game supports the attackers too much. Then I would love to see a draft option in the mailing system. Next, an option to make our own chat room would be great! Many times two group of people tend to love or fight each other so much that other people tend not to interfere. Having an option to create a chat room for them would spare GC from the assault and those who want to be part of the chat could be invited in it.

What advice would you give a new player in Illyriad?

Play as you wish! This is a sandbox game. You can be anything you like! Just make sure you make friends on the way to the top — and not enemies. And, of course, in case you guys need anything there are awesome people in GC waiting to help you guys! (Rillbot is 24×7 available :P ) At the end of this I just want to thank you all, and I feel lucky to be part of such a great community.

Thanks to Mohit for accepting the nomination and for taking the time to answer our questions!

20 May 2014

GM Cerberus: Behind Illyriad’s Art

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Development, Game Design, Graphics

Billetmaking

We’ve always loved the artwork inside of Illyriad and now, Age of Ascent, the upcoming MMO shooter we’ve been working on. So, who makes all of those pretty pictures, graphics and icons that you see while playing? It’s GM Cerberus, that’s who. We wanted to let him talk about himself so that you, the player, can get to know this superbly creative individual who pops into chat once in a while.

What got you started in art?

I’ve loved creating art from a very young age, I was fortunate enough to be raised by a family of artists; my mother being a singer/writer and my grandmother being a painter. They helped and encouraged me to cultivate my talents. What really got me into art, though, was video games. I loved drawing Samus from Metroid and Mega Man bosses as a kid, and I would occasionally get in trouble in grade school for doodling when I should have been working on school work.

What is it like making art for the specifics of a video game? How is it different than other projects?

It has been a learning experience from the get-go. There are a lot of technical aspects when creating digital art that you don’t have to account for in physical media. Not everyone who views the work I create is viewing it at the same settings I am, for example, there are different resolutions and browsers to take into account. Heck, some people’s monitors aren’t even correctly color calibrated. One of the biggest things, however, is that i’m creating artwork not just for form but for function. Everything I create has a purpose in some game mechanic, and seeing it all in place and functional in-game brings on a sense of self-satisfaction unrivaled by any other project I’ve ever undertaken.

Do you have an estimate of how many pieces of art you’ve made for Illyriad? How about for Age of Ascent so far?

I’ve done upwards of 250-300 “large” pieces that players can view in the tech tree in Illyriad and hundreds of other miscellaneous graphics and doodads that I can’t even begin to put a number on. It would be difficult to put a number on Age of Ascent as well, but I’d be safe in saying it’s over 100 pieces. These numbers can be misleading however, as I’m including something as small as a scout unit or afterburner icon.

Do you have a preference of working on fantasy or sci-fi stuff?

I’m really torn on this, so much that I feel like two different artists when I’m working on the styles. With my fantasy work I feel more at liberty to have them look hand illustrated where with science fiction I feel the need for precision and almost have the work be Trompe l’oeil. With Illyriad most of my work is done using a form of vector illustration and some freehand with a tablet, and on Age of Ascent it’s a lot of photo-manipulation illustration and a bit of drafting. I can’t claim favorites honestly, I’m fortunate enough to have the freedom to explore so many different styles that I love them all.

What is your process like? Do you sketch? Work on paper or all digital?

My process is very traditional in the sense that I start with a very basic sketch to act as a skeleton for the piece, and work up from there. My vector illustrations, for example: I begin by getting a very basic sketch, sometimes I refer to photos I take and chop up to insure I get my angles and proportions correctly, and then I create the dark contour lines. After the contour is complete I move to coloration and then shading to give the piece depth and light. For work with Illyriad and Age of Ascent I don’t really touch paper, everything can be done digitally and it’s very convenient to not have to scan in sketches or attempt to translate what I created on paper to digital media.

How do you create so many pieces of art while still maintaining your sanity?

Who said anything about me being sane? I very much doubt my sanity and it spirals downward daily. Seriously though, as I said before I am fortunate enough to have the privilege of being able to work on a myriad different styles. If I get burnt out on making logos for corporations in Age of Ascent I can switch over to creating freehand military units, isometric machines, blueprints, or vector illustrations. Variety is what keeps me sane, and I have lots of it.

Thanks to Cerberus for taking the time to talk with the blog. Now, get back to work! Those drawings won’t draw themselves!

28 Apr 2014

Player Spotlight: Rill

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Player Spotlight

302f295fAnother nomination from the community, this month we get to know Rill as our Player Spotlight. A big thank you to those who sent in nominations. Learn more about the Player Spotlight program at our website and nominate players by sending an email to community@illyriad.co.uk. The player who gets the nomination can choose between a t-shirt from our shop or from 1200 Prestige! This time we received a ton of nominations, but the most came in for Rill, a player who is one of the most well-known and helpful players in Illy! /cheer

What brought you to Illyriad and how long have you been playing?

I searched for a long time for Illy before I found it.  I perused many lists of MMOs and MMORTs, trying many that I don’t even remember any more.  Finally in June 2011 I came across the announcement of Illy’s official launch.  I made a new e-mail address, expecting to encounter yet another Evony clone and was pleasantly surprised to discover Illyriad in all its friendly, deep, complex, carefully crafted glory.  And so I’ve stuck for almost three years now.

Ryelle, by the way, would like me to mention that she is rather offended that this article is not being written about her.  I explained that she hasn’t had an active account in Illyriad for some time and therefore would not qualify for the player spotlight, but she replied that she is merely waiting to restart in the Broken Lands and wishes everyone to know that she thinks of them fondly.

Have you played many other online games or been active in other online communities?

I have been active on specialty bulletin boards and forums since the days of listservs. My first online game was an Evony clone, which I reached in around 2009 by way of an advertisement on the Los Angeles Times website. I had no idea such things existed. How I wish I’d found Illyriad then! But perhaps I appreciate Illy all the more for first having played something a bit different.

I still experiment with other MMOs from time to time — I’m particularly attracted to city-building MMORTs that have resource allocation as a substantial component. Perhaps my background in finance and investment is an influence here, as I mentally estimate the payback period and ROI (return on investment) of upgrading a clay pit vs. a lumberyard or calculating the most beneficial tax rate. (But I am not obsessive at all!)

Any hidden talents or interesting hobbies outside of gaming?

I love pretty much every creative activity involving fiber, from knitting to crocheting to embroidery, quilting and so on. I get very excited about the combination of fiber and color and have been known to hyperventilate in yarn or fabric stores. I am also interested in the history of textile production, both home production and industrial production, and the role that textile production has in broader history.

What keeps you playing Illyriad?

My alliance. The people of Crows Nest (nCrow) have a special place in my heart. They put up with me on days when I’m at my worst and more incredibly are mostly still willing to speak to me the next day. Behind the members of my immediate alliance, I would say there are many, many people in Illyriad who are special to me and whom I love to see every day — or as often as they drop by. And more than people in general, the new players who are discovering Illy for the first time. Probably one of my favorite things in the whole world is to watch new players dig in to the world of Illyriad, experience for the first time the wonder that I experienced.

I would say secondarily to the people of Illy, what keeps me in Illy is the promise of the game. I believe in the vision the developers have laid out for Illyriad and enjoy watching it come to fruition.

What’s your favorite aspect of the game?

Other than the people, and especially new players (by far the best part of Illy), my favorite part of the game is that it’s a sandbox. The game is not defined for us — we define the game within basic game mechanics. And we don’t even all have to be playing the same game! Illy is a big, broad, deep, complex game, and it has room for everyone.

What’s your proudest achievement in game so far?

What I’m proudest of is the everyday stuff. Hopefully encouraging someone when they are down, listening when someone needs to talk. Being a part of the community.

What are you most looking forward to for the future of Illyriad?

I am looking forward to the release of the Broken Lands. I never got the opportunity to be a newb among other newbs in Illy — by the time I got here, many people were fairly well established. I would love to experience an Illy where every morsel of wood, every pebble of stone, every ingot of iron, is weighed carefully. I am also looking forward to the release of the story arc. I love the faction lore and look forward to it coming to life and being shaped by players. (Including of course the inevitable downfall of the puppet of the Council of Illyria, the self-styled King of Illyria, Sigurd. Hail the Undying Flame!)

What area of the game do you think needs the most improvement?

I think what’s most important right now is consistent progress. The developers have identified quite a number of priorities, all important, many of them delightful to some or all players, and I think what is important is that they continue to make incremental improvements. Players have been very patient, and consistent progress, even if slow, is really necessary to restore confidence and enthusiasm.

What advice would you give a new player in Illyriad?

I would say that Illyriad is your game as much as it is anyone’s. You will get a lot of advice, some of it conflicting, from established players (me included). We will tell you how Illyriad “should” be played. And some of that is from our own experience of having tried other ways and failed abysmally! So it’s worth listening to established players. But don’t let that prevent you from playing your game in your way. Write your own story. Remake the world in your image. That’s what a sandbox is for.

Oh, and for the sake of all that’s holy: Upgrade your storehouse!

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14 Apr 2014

Check out the new Strategy Monday livestream!

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Community

Every 2nd Monday of each month we will be hosting a “Strategy Monday” and will invite players to join GM Rikoo for a discussion on many different topics. We’re starting off small in this first episode, talking about newbies! In the coming streams we’ll talk about deeper strategy tips that range from trading to warfare! Enjoy the videos below!


Watch live video from Luna_Illyriad on TwitchTV

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16 Aug 2013

Player Spotlight: Myr

Author: Luna | Filed under: Player Spotlight

Another nomination from the community, this month we get to know Myr as our Player Spotlight. A big thank you to those who sent in nominations, and to Myr everything that she brings to the Illyriad community. Learn more about the Player Spotlight program at our website and nominate players by sending an email to community@illyriad.co.uk. 

What brought you to Illyriad and how long have you been playing?

It was boring in my cell at the Cook County Prison. I was doing time for possession with the intent to sell again and my cellmate showed it to me on May 25, 2011. Actually after years of competitive figure skating my daughter hung up her blades. I suddenly had an extra 20 hours a week and no idea what to do with myself. I could have done something productive, instead I started playing Illy.

Have you played many other online games or been active in other online communities?

I tried lots of the games that showed up on the FB side bar, including Farmville, but none kept my interest for more than a few weeks. I didn’t expect Illy to be any different and I’m still a little surprised that it’s been over 2 years. I just started playing Medieval Europe with someone I fought against in the Big War, we’re making an empire but the communication system there isn’t great.

Any hidden talents or interesting hobbies outside of gaming?

I have no talents but I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I love roller coasters, zip lining, white water rafting, canoeing, and hiking. I can’t travel as much as I would like to so I read a lot.

What keeps you playing Illyriad?

I keep finding new things to keep me challenged and occupied. There are so many different facets of the game that I think it will be awhile before I run out of new things to try.

What’s your favorite aspect of the game?

You meet people from all over the world and I appreciate the fact that it’s so easy to communicate with your alliance in AC while you’re doing other things.

What’s your proudest achievement in game so far?

My training alliance, The Night Squires. I never imagined it would be this much fun teaching newbs how to attack and defend effectively.

What are you most looking forward to for the future of Illyriad?

Whatever you guys dream up! I don’t play the game for any releases that might come sometime; I play with what is available right now. In fact, I’d rather not know what’s in the pipeline.

What area of the game do you think needs the most improvement?

Battle mechanics. The way things are set up there is no way to damage your enemy without sieging and destroying cities. If I send my troops at a city my opponent just needs to move their troops out of the city and nothing happens. I think troops hitting a defenseless city should burn, loot, and kill, doing damage to a city without completely destroying it. There should be resources stolen, buildings de-leveled, and a corresponding loss in pop. The way to stop the intruders would be to defend. I think it would take a lot of bitterness about war out of the game.

What advice would you give a new player in Illyriad?

Listen to all the advice, then try things your own way and have fun! That’s why we’re all here, isn’t it?

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11 Aug 2013

Broken Lands Faction: Mellorisians

Author: Luna | Filed under: Broken Lands Factions

From the daily reports of Commander Cirian Danorian, deep reconnaissance mission.

Day 7, evening: We have camped by a huge rock, with a crude carving chiselled into it. The figure is vaguely humanoid, but has no eyes. Our scribe tells us that it is meant to be a spirit called Melloris. Allegedly the spirit has manifested to the leader of a local community, who described it as being made of gold, supremely beautiful, but blind. The lack of eyes might indicated blindness, but the strange shape of this figure does not suggest beauty, just a very poor stone carver.

Day 8, afternoon: We have spotted a stronghold high on a cliff. Its stone walls look ancient, but are partly ruined and have been recently and crudely patched with wood. Still, its position makes it seem impregnable. As we approached we found human farmers working small fields in the valley beneath, but they fled at our approach. We have made camp, and sent scouts up the cliff path to investigate.

Day 8, evening: Our scouts have not returned. We have also had visitors. A group of armed men, armoured, carrying bows. They said that they were a search party from the stronghold. They said they were looking for “Heretics who have fallen from truth and fled from the light of Melloris”, who they wanted to find in order to “save” them by taking them back to the community. They were very well armed for a friendly search party.

Day 9, noon: Our scouts have returned. They say that they were worried about climbing back down the cliff path in the dark. They also mentioned good food and warm beds in the settlement above. They report the community being confused by their visit, but there was no hostility. We will all trek up the cliff this afternoon, as a safe and comfortable place to stay would be welcome.

Day 9, evening: We have found passable food, warm beds, and solid fortifications. It is a welcome change from sleeping in a camp in the wilds. The locals are little inclined to talk to us, however.

Day 10, noon: The inhabited settlement is small. Just a couple of thousand people, but the location is so secure that no army could assault them. The people still avoid us, and lots of doors are locked. The old ruined parts of the stronghold are extensive, however, and merit more investigation. We are not the only visitors, as there is a small market. We found a small band of ragged elves trading here, and they say that the locals are as unfriendly to them as they are to us.

Day 10, afternoon: I was summoned to appear before the community’s leader. He sat on a large but crude throne, wearing the vestments of a priest and a large silver crown. I vaguely remember him. In Virten when I was young he was called Jerrian, and he was considered a possible future King of Virten. He was renowned as a virtuous man but the College of Silence suspected that he was mentally unstable. Now he leads this self-exiled community, and I was told to address him as Blessed Prophet of the Golden Spirit, not by his “former” name. He had summoned me to complain about one of our expedition. Apparently our scribe had been “spreading lies, infecting the minds of the true believers, promoting falsehood and immorality”. I doubt it. None of us have spoken much to the locals. But he clearly wants us to go, so I said that we would leave early tomorrow. I have no idea why he is hostile to us, but there was no point arguing.

Day 10, evening: Organised a search of the ruined areas, without alerting the locals. We found several rooms that looked like ritual areas, abandoned for centuries. Most interesting was a grand mural, dusty and cracked, from before the Sundering. It seemed to show a wizard or arch mage, depicted with a great staff, one eye covered with a patch, and one of his hands shown as being gold.

Day 11, morning: We set guards last night, and they woke us before dawn. They had seen movement where our horses were stabled, and they intervened, uncovering a partially dressed local woman and one of our animal handlers. He said that she had seduced him and asked him to stay and marry her. She said that he had tricked her into spending the night with him. I believe him, not her. He doesn’t have that much guile, and I don’t trust these people. We are leaving now. I would rather be out in the wilds than have to contend with the lies and paranoia that confound us here.

 

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