Player Spotlight: The Duke

This month’s Player Spotlight focuses on alliance leader of Shade and long time Illy player, The Duke . The dev team and fellow community would like to extend a thank you to one of our community leaders. Learn more about the Player Spotlight program at our website and nominate players by sending an email to 

GM Luna

The Duke's RL Avatar

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

I had a real life friend who started playing about a month before me. He more or less convinced me to give the game a try. It just so happened that around the same time i started playing I lost my job and with the excess free time I spent it here getting to know the community. The community was what really kept me intrigued and kept me logging in. I honestly can’t count the times I’ve logged in and just talked to people in Alliance Chat and not even touched my cities.

I’ve been playing since May 12, 2011.

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

I played Evony for a couple of weeks but nothing ever came of it. I played stronghold and age of empires periodically against people but nothings ever kept my interest for long. One of the major reasons I feel Illyriad has kept me playing and others haven’t is the interactions with the GM’s and the game is constantly evolving, changing, and growing.

Any hidden talents or interesting hobbies outside of gaming?

My major hobbies are sports. Growing up I was a basketball junkie. I can remember nights at 2-3 am playing at the local courts with the older kids. We moved around a lot, so as a kid I used athletics to make friends.

What keeps you playing Illyriad?

I think I covered this pretty well already but the interactions the players get to have with the GM’s. I don’t visit GC as much as I used to but I have a lot of people I can call my friends in my alliance Shade- and the community that we have built and are building there is great. The GM’s don’t get complacent like in other games. There’s always something coming up and being worked on- whether it’s a tourney/factions/ the broken lands…ect ect.

If I was to quit and re-visit in a year the game would be different from it is now.

What’s your favorite aspect of the game?

Tournies. As soon as one is over I’m looking forward to the next one. Most the veteran players can tell you killing NPC’s is fun and all – but it’s not the same as going against another player(s) armies. You don’t have to worry about a NPC coming back for revenge.

What’s your proudest achievement in game so far?

I’ve had a lot of personal goals I’ve been able to accomplish like reaching the top 10 alliances, reaching 100k population(190k now lol ), making the stats pages for capture attempts and more. My proudest achievement however is simply tenured time here in illyriad. A lot has changed since I started and I like talking about old times with people who were around back then and didn’t just read something in the forums.

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


I think this will add a whole new aspect to everything. Trading, sov, and armies. I think factions are going to e the most complex addition we have had.

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


I know a lot of players may think a lot of different things here- but as an alliance leader I can honestly tell you the way the mail is done is terrible. Alliance Forums not being able to delete old threads.

Theres no private chat channels for leaders. We can of course make do with things out of game via skype ect… but this is my biggest grievance in the game so far.

What advice would you give a new player in Illyriad?

The game is complex. There’s not a whole lot you can do to kill yourself in the beginning so stick around for a while. Make some friends in GC. Message the people your city was spawned beside. If your anything like me- you can get to know the people- and the fact that your building a city is just a bonus factor.

Broken Lands Faction: Tears Eternal

From the journal of Barnard of Shelton, master trader in the employ of the Illyria Trade Council, recording his journeys to the Broken Lands.

A visit to these Elves is first perplexing, and then depressing.

They have no collective name. Other groupings in these lands have names, as most sensible people will – the Kartur-Hhakrall, the New Light, and so on – but not here. If one asks ho they are, they simply say “We weep.”

Common courtesy is similarly confounded. In most lands I might say “How are you?” and receive the polite, meaningless response “Fine, thank you.” But not here. Here the polite response is to pause, smile knowingly, nod, and reply, “I weep.”

Their public events, too, are infected with this mawkishness. Other peoples might have parades, or carnivals, or feasts, or present plays or rituals. But here they simply get together to be quietly miserable. For an really important ceremony, I’m told, the most admired of their holy men and women will get together and sob silently for days on end.

At first this is just bizarre. But after a while it gets to you. To spend all day surrounded by joyless, somber Elves, who stalk about with their eyes cast down, never laughing, to walk streets where even children do not play or laugh, where long flute solos or vocal laments drift through the air from each dour tavern, this is just depressing. I truly wish that I would hear at least one song that is not about the horror of the Sundering or the futility of life or our alienation from the divine.

Clearly I am not the only one who is affected by this maudlin atmosphere. I found a human trader, who has lived here for seven years, and he has certainly suffered for it. I asked him, hoping for some glimmer of cheer, how he has found his time here.

“I lost my love of life in the first year,” he told me, sounding as miserable as anyone I’ve ever spoken to. “Then I stopped seeing any purpose in work, and because I stopped bothering I lost my business in the third year. Then I spent two years living on the street as a beggar. But now, well, now I understand.”

Today I became so exasperated that I almost shouted at one local, “But the Sundering was five hundred years ago!” She just looked at me with pity, as one might look at an idiot child, and said softly, “no, it is every day.”

Broken Lands Faction: College of Silence

From the journal of Barnard of Shelton, master trader in the employ of the Illyria Trade Council, recording his journeys to the Broken Lands.

On my arrival I was somewhat shocked to find that, as a trader, I was directed to the dingiest, most miserable, labyrinthine maze of alleyways imaginable, in the shadow of the great college itself. In this ramshackle city I found a cramped market, shoddy lodgings, a bustle of traders and laborers and beggars, and, as the narrow streets are also open sewers, an unpleasant stench.

Naturally I made straight for the College itself, proceeded up the broad steps, and at the huge wooden doors I requested an audience with the Mistress. My demand was met with some bemusement, but I was politely allowed in to the great building, which rises above the surrounding squalor like some giant majestic temple.

Within, everything was in contrast with the world outside. The halls were light and airy, with hugely high ceilings supported by slender columns. Few people seemed to work or live here, though a few figures drifted through the halls, books in hand, not speaking. I tried to make conversation with my guide, but he rebuked me, saying: “Within the College we speak only to exchange knowledge. We might exchange knowledge regarding history, diplomacy, magic, engineering, or any other worthy subject. But we do not make idle chatter.”

The Mistress of the college greeted me, also wordlessly, in a room which seemed to be a private library, its walls lined with bookshelves. She sat not on a throne, as a ruler of a great city might, but at a desk strewn with scrolls.

I explained that I had traveled many miles, to establish profitable trade links with the cities of this land, so distant from my own. I’d like to think that it was a pretty slick pitch. But she dismissed all I said with two short sentences.

“Base concerns are dealt with in the alleys. Inside the college we have a higher calling.”

Obviously I was aghast. A higher calling than ensuring the prosperity of her city? What sort of ruler was this? I queried this, of course, and was brushed off again.

“We have a vital duty to perform here,” she frowned. “When the King dies, his successor will be chosen based on who in the lands is most blessed with wisdom, justice, compassion, duty and purpose. It is vital that people understand, and particularly, that the Kartur-Hhakrall understand, who might be worthwhile candidates, what their strengths and weaknesses might be. The whole continuity, peace and stability of the Kingdom relies upon the quality of the King, and so our role is key. During the reign, we simply amass information, and advise if and as we are requested. I am sure that you will understand that compared with this calling, to haggle over commercial transactions is insignificant.”

I tried to remonstrate, of course, but I was cut off with “Here we speak to exchange wisdom. You wish only to exchange gold, and so you should return to the alleys outside. The local merchants will welcome you. Farewell.”

Broken Lands Faction: Clan Dollogh

Clan DolloghFrom the journal of Barnard of Shelton, master trader in the employ of the Illyria Trade Council, recording his journeys to the Broken Lands.

When the Sundering ripped across the land at the end of the Second Age, the magics tore trees from the ground, whipped the air into great cyclones, and tore at the earth itself. The lands shook, plains rose up to form ridges, and mountains plunged into an abyss to be swallowed by the sea. For surface dwellers this was a cataclysm. Millions died, and only thousands survived.

But how much worse for races that dwelt beneath the ground! The deep halls of the Dwarf clans collapsed, their tunnels caved in, the entrances to their strongholds were buried. And not only the Dwarves were thus destroyed. In five hundred years no Kobold, those scrawny underground-dwelling greenskins, has been seen in these Broken Lands.

Of all the underground strongholds, only one survived the Sundering. It is a Dwarven hall. Its masters are Clan Dollogh, and they call their home Lasthold.

For five centuries they have dug in, built up, reinforced, defended. They are the last survivors of the Dwarves in these lands, and they will, they insist, endure.

I went to visit Lasthold. I passed through seven sets of gates, set in huge walls, and at each gate I was quizzed, searched, regarded with suspicion and fear. At last I thought that I was in, as I emerged into a broad market square. But then I noticed that there were almost no Dwarves here. And the Dwarves that I did see in the market, were surface-dwellers, from settlements in the lands about, visitors just as I was.

Beyond the market was another set of doors, made not of wood but of granite, set in yet another sturdy wall. I approached, but saw no guards, nobody I could speak to. As I stood there another visitor smiled at me. “That is Lasthold, in there. Nobody gets in, unless you were born there. And you aren’t a Dwarf, so you weren’t born there.”

All the gates and checks I had been through had not even been to get into Lasthold. They were just to get to the market where visitors come to trade.Dollogh Mech

I returned to the seventh gate, and attempted to engage the sergeant of the guards in conversation. I explained that I wanted to talk to their rulers, about trade deals. He did not answer. I asked who his rulers were. No answer. I pestered for several minutes, until in the end I hit a nerve and he exploded in a rage, shouting at me as his face turned deeper and deeper scarlet. My mistake was to ask how emissaries from “his King” (meaning the King of Virten) gained access to Lasthold.

“A thousand years,” he fumed, “a thousand years! For a thousand years we were slaves to Elf wizards, duped by their human servants, and abused by their Orc dogs! For a thousand years we were tortured, forced to work until we died. And then we were killed. All of us. When the mountains fell everyone died except five hundred Dwarves here, and a few thousand out on the surface! My people here, my forbears, they clawed through the cave-ins with their bare hands, and rebuilt! Now you think some human Orc-lackey is our King! He’s your King! Or he’s the Orcs’ King! You think after everything we’ve been through, we’ll let some human peasant, raised up by the Kartur-Hhakrall, tell us what to do? Out there, he’s your King. In here, we are free, and we will stay that way even if the mountains fall again!”