8 Jan 2015

Illyriad’s Top Ten Stories of 2014

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Community, Development

Hello Illy players!

2014 was a stellar year for Illyriad. Sure, we struggled with the usual indie team issues like figuring out how particular systems should work or when to release a patch but I’m proud to say that for such a small team, we did really well.

I wanted to put together a list of fantastic events that happened over the year. For more details about all of the updates, expansions, tweaks and fixes that happened over the year, you need to go to the announcements forum, here. Also, keep an eye on the news feed on our website if you ever want to see just how much we have done in a year.

So, to the list. Keep in mind that this is not in order of importance, and there is a lot more to choose from. I decided to go with the items that impacted the game the most. Add in your memories or suggestions for big events in the comments section below!

__________________________________________________

Broken Lands launches: We finally opened the Broken Lands, a massive chunk of land due South of Elgea. Players are able to move there, explore, build and take over — if they dare. It’s a pretty dangerous area, marked with unusual land types and many different factions, so don’t take moving to the BL lightly!

Windows 8.1-optimized app is released: Although we had previously released a Windows 8 app, this newer, optimized version was needed. We’ve drawn in a lot of players because of this app, and it has even won awards for SlideDB’s app of the year!

New city graphics options: Players had been staring at the same 4 city types for quite a while, so we thought it’d be a good idea to let them change it up! We added in 34 different styles, each one with a different look for each stage of growth.

The Player Council forms: What better way to attack a project than with the player’s help? To start this experimental player-ran council, we decided to use lore as a topic. Five different players were picked to head five different specialities, from the timeline of the world of Illyriad to how the continents work together. We’ve already released some information and will continue to push out more at the beginning of the year.

SOV for lakes, lochs, tarns: Starving players could finally fish those lakes, lochs and tarns! What better way to give your towns a boost than to shoot them full of yummy essential oils?

Prestige scrolls: Want to sell your prestige for in-game gold? Need to give a buddy the gift of prestige? Can’t think of that perfect gift for your favorite enemy? Worry no more, prestige scrolls are here! They are a physical item that can be “cashed in” for prestige, made by using different materials and the amount of prestige you wish to give.

Player spotlight renewal: Our players are our greatest asset, which is why we decided to restart the player spotlight program. You can always nominate a player for the spotlight by sending an email to community@illyriad.co.uk and include their in-game name and why you think they should be spotlighted!

A big gold exploit closed: Ugh, no one likes exploits, and no one likes the mess they leave. We were hit by a pretty big one in 2014, but luckily we cleaned it up and moved on. Normally we wouldn’t want to remember stories like these but with such numbers, they teach a valuable lesson.

Illy wins some IndieDB awards: IndieDB and SlideDB both gave Illyriad several awards! We won for IndieDB’s Best Grand Strategy of 2014, the Editor’s Choice for Community and the Player’s Choice for Best Grand Strategy app. SlideDB gave us the Player’s Choice award for a Grand Strategy app and the Editor’s Choice for App of the Year!

Private chat: If there’s one thing players love, it’s privacy. They had been asking us for private chat for quite a long time so we finally delivered, and now we’re able to tell players “Take it to private!” if things get out of hand. It’s a wonderful feeling. Not to mention that, now, players can scheme and hatch nefarious plans without having to write an IGM.

It was an awesome year, but we have an even cooler year ahead of us! Thanks again to all of our passionate players who make this game as unique as it is.

 

GM Rikoo

 

30 Dec 2014

Illyriad wins a few IndieDb and SlideDB awards!

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Press

Thanks to the fact that our game and community is so awesome, Illyriad has won a few awards! If you are not familiar with IndieDB, it’s a great site that features all sorts of news, updates and communications about the world of indie gaming. It’s been a good site for us and has given us a lot of attention. SlideDB is its sister site that concentrates on mobile gaming.Illyriad is proud to be a member of the DB community, and we’re very happy to say that we won a few awards in their latest yearly round-up!

Awards we won from SlideDB
2014 Winner – Players’ Choice – Grand Strategy App of the Year
2014 2nd Place – Players’ Choice – Overall App of the Year
2014 Winner – Editors’ Choice – Best Community

Awards we won from IndieDB
2014 Winner – Players’ Choice – Grand Strategy Game of the Year

We owe everything to our players and their passion for the game. We can’t wait to show you another year of fun…. and epic battles! Thanks so much for voting and for a year of great gaming!

20 Nov 2014

The Player Council’s first result

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Game Design

Hello everyone!

As many of you know, the Player Council was drawn together in order to work on different issues concerning the game’s lore. This is an experimental council, and you can read about the details on this forum thread.
Well, we have finished our first “assignment!” The council was tasked with tweaking and changing the lore and descriptions you see when you first make a new character and when you investigate the races on the website. If you log out and look into making a new character, you will see some of the changed text. You will also see these updated descriptions on the Windows 8.1 app.
If you investigate the lore and racial descriptions on the website (there is some great reading there!) you will see the updated text as well.
Note: We did not change the deeper lore sections, yet. As the council continues to work on their next assignments, we will likely change that area.
It might seem like a small task right now, but this was only the council’s first task. Next up they have been assigned some deeper questions like “What year is it?” “What is King Sigurd’s ancestry” and “What was the land mass like many, many years ago?” The plan is to gather all of this next wave of information and write it into an easy-to-read “story” that will explain much of the basic lore and settings to new players — and to curious current players as well!
So, check out the new tweaks to the race information. If you see something that is off, please let us know!
Now, on to our next assignments!
GM Rikoo
27 Oct 2014

Player Spotlight: Jane DarkMagic!

Author: Illyriad Press | Filed under: Player Spotlight

janedarkmagicHello everyone and welcome to another Player Spotlight! This time we’re talking with Jane DarkMagic, a long-time Illy player.

How long have you played Illy for? What first attracted you to the game?

I’ve played for just over 3 years since August 2011. I started playing Illy after I rage quit Evony for the second time. I had duo’ed a level 16 historic city with my husband and our own alliance stole it out from under us. Illy has some similarities, in that it’s a city-building strategy game, but is more of a sandbox and the impact of your diplomatic decisions last a much longer time since the server never resets. The devs are also much more responsive to serious problems and cheating.

Your name is evil. Why is your character SO EVIL?

I borrowed my surname from a Penny Arcade podcast. They play Dungeons and Dragons and my favorite player character is named Jim Darkmagic. My character is definitely evil though. A little in-game conflict makes it much more interesting. I am never without an in-game nemesis, and I think I would be bored if I had to play nice.

If you could control one of your friend’s armies to attack anyone you’d like, which friend would you control and who would you attack?

I would use Scottfitz’s army to attack Tanyafairy. She hates magic bears, and I think war would be a blast.

NPCs are fun. Which NPC would you want in your army?

I want snufflehumpsters(spelling?). Kill them with cuteness. No one can be mad after being attacked by adorable little cuddly rodents.

Tell us something you did in Illy.. that no one knows about. Bearing in mind we have impressionable children listening.

I once created a secret alt and had it run for leader of ecrow on it’s first day in the game. Kenyl was very passionately opposed to his candidacy. I’ve also got myself banhammered on purpose on several occasions in solidarity with other mcrow members. Of course, people know about both of those, but I’m terrible with secrets so there’s nothing I haven’t shared with my friends.

Have you ever thieved someone and then felt guilty about it later?

I’ve never been caught thieving, and I will admit nothing.

What advice would you give to a newbie? How about a vet?

To a newbie: Illy is all about the people. Makes friends wherever you can and never be afraid to speak your mind. To a vet: I would advise them to not siege players out of the game, even during war. People tend to quit and then the community is that much weaker for it.

Thanks again to Jane for answering our questions! She won a free trip to The Long White and a wad of mammoth fur!

 

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
Comments Off
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

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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!

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