Player Spotlight: SunStorm

In our inaugural Player Spotlight, we get to know SunStorm. In his time in Illyriad, Sunstorm has been an active player, a helpful member of our forum community, run player events, created a blog and lots of fun graphics for Illy players. Learn more about the Player Spotlight program at our website and nominate players by sending an email to Now on with the interview!

GM Luna

SunStorm's RL Avatar

(^_^) My in-game name is SunStorm. In real life, I am a student at university. My goal is to someday be a criminal psychologist who works with both juvenile and adult inmates, or a child psychologist who works with troubled kids. I’m a junior, so I still have time to decide (:P). My biggest struggle in life is trying to balance school, work, homework, and friends. In my spare time, I play Illyriad.

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

This last February was my 1 year anniversary for playing. One year ago, I was bored and randomly looked for something fun to fill my time. This, of course, was a time in my life when I had all my homework completed and had the extra time (to all students out there: be responsible). So this is exactly what I did: I went into facebook and started browsing through apps. I literally clicked on “newest” apps hoping to find a newer, low-key game to play. I prefer games that are not mainstream or overpopulated, so I scrolled through page after page of games. Most of them were complete and utter rubbish, but one stood out and caught my eye. Illyriad! (^_^) I began working my way through the tutorial and before I knew it my adventure began!

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

Yes. Though I only ever play one online game at a time, I usually end up being very active in the community. *sigh* It has been a long time since I was last involved in an online game (Maple Story), and I will comment more about that in the next question.

Any hidden talents or interesting hobbies outside of gaming?

Many have been to my Illyriad blog and have seen that I love working with images and graphics (and no, the comic strips do not accurately represent my talent with art – they are only a silly hobby of mine). In the past I have done some 3D CG art (which are up on, but I am fonder of photo-manipulation. Additionally, I enjoy video editing. This was my hobby for the last game I played (Maple Story), and I have several videos on They are still there today (^_^). I started making an Illyriad video…but it has been put off indefinitely.

What keeps you playing Illyriad?

I would have to say the overall atmosphere created by the community! After my first alliance fell apart, I was crushed. The friendships that were established in that alliance were so strong – we were like a family. I spent a few months in seclusion; telling the community I was a “recluse” and not to bother me (:P). The time away was good, and I also have enjoyed making a comeback. Had the members of the community been different, it is hard to say whether or not I would have stuck around. In all seriousness, I have not seen a tighter knit group of players anywhere, and I am proud to be a member of my current alliance!

What’s your favorite aspect of the game?

I love the personal interaction with the developers. I know everyone gets busy, but it is wonderful to see the creators taking a personal interest in their creation. I love to see the chat start buzzing every time someone with a blue name pops in. (^_^)

What’s your proudest achievement in game so far?

Few people know this (here comes my pride – most likely before my fall…lol), but I was the first player (to my knowledge) to ascertain the locations of all 20 statues in the heroic statue quest. This was done over the span of 6 hours by using my personal image filter to see only the statues and nothing else (please don’t ban me…lol). I coordinated (at the time) with ScottFitz of the mCrow alliance and BecBlue of the former Prisoners of Society alliance to fill in the gaps of both of their lists.

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

Faction AI! (^_^) Though I also worry about this since I placed my alt (an elf) in-between two warring (anti-elf) factions – lol. They are probably warring because they want to be the first to see what my alt might taste like if sautéed in garlic butter. Still, I think this will be good for players to exert some energy upon factions rather than other gamers.

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

Multiple worlds. Recently, the main map was named Elgea. I would like to see about 3 or more worlds with different play styles in mind. (e.g. One world that is set aside for those who desire a more warring “anything goes” gameplay – another world set aside which focuses on ruling kingdoms by means of some constant “king of the hill” scenario for each main and mini region – etc.)

What advice would you give a new player in Illyriad?

Listen to the wisdom and advice of the bigger players. They usually know what they are talking about. (^_^)



Web Art 

Old Youtube Videos: Page 1, Page 2


Live Events, Community and Giant Beating Monstrous Hearts

A beast has laid dormant in the south west of Kumala for ages in the history of Illyria. It has sparked fear and curiosity from citizens who wish to unlock its mystery and defeat the horrific Heart of Corruption.

Beating Heart Gif by SunStorm

Until recently, most efforts to explore the area and battle the heart have come up fruitless. But, a mighty forum warrior by the name of SunStorm rallied the call of his fellow Illyrians in an effort to, once and for all, make a stand against this monstrous horror. A massive rally of troops descended upon the spot and discovered, that instead of destroying the beast, it began to grow and take over an even larger part of the map. Armies continued to pile in and become a sacrifice until, the heart came alive and began to beat.

Corrupted Elves and Dwarves

This shocking turn of events sent ripples across the land as corrupted beings rose from the dead, returning to their home cities with hostile intentions. Orcs, elves, humans and dwarves fought against the corrupted forms of their citizens, some of which left behind haunting traces of the attack in the form of a mysterious unharmed tentacle. After a time, and for unknown reasons, the Heart of Corruption has collapsed into its original state and corrupted armies have ceased to emerge.

You would think this is where the mystery ends, but no, our brave forum warriors have begun, yet again to send encampments and armies of troops, perhaps out of continued curiosity, sheer malice or in an attempt to seek revenge for those lost…

And yet again, it grows.

Illyriad players, as a sandbox gaming community, are a smart, resourceful and curious bunch. The entirely player-driven effort to unlock the long-standing mystery of the Heart of Corruption (or Audrey as nicknamed by the players) has been a testament to that fact. As someone who gets the pleasure of watching these things from the inside out, I can say that the development team has been just as excited as the players to watch this event unfold. As each new piece of information came to light, I’ve been quietly cheering everyone on and have been so pleased to see the enthusiasm and cooperation that has emerged from the event.

The word of Illyriad truly does belong to its inhabitants to explore, shape and affect in a meaningful way. Just don’t feed it too much, because sometimes it just might bite back.

GM Luna

Introducing Illyriad UIv3

Illyriad is proud to reveal a first look at the new UI version 3. 

After the successful launch of UIv2 last year, the development team agrees that it is time to take yet another step forward with the Illyriad interface design. Presentation and usability are important to the success of a game, and the new UIv3 should make Illyriad even more appealing and successful to a broader target audience.

We at Illyriad Games Ltd., believe there is an untapped marked for complex, sandbox-style, online military strategy games. This untapped market represents billions of dollars in spending each year on virtual goods and entertainment.  This market is tweens, specifically tween girls. And with UIv3, we are certain to create an environment that appeals and connects to this new target market.

This is an early, work-in-progress concept of the town page. You’ll notice the new, helpful pop-ups that remind you of things that need to be done in game. This will make the game even more accessible for our new target audience and includes a fun, new art style as well.

(Click for a full size view.)

UIv3 will be available for testing and release soon™.

We are proud to be leading the marketplace as the first sandbox MMORTS for tweens and look forward to expanding the Illyriad community in a new direction.

GM Luna


****April Fools! This is very much a joke and not an actual design for the Illyriad UI. Thank goodness!****

Enter the Illyriad Elemental Giveaway!

Want a chance to win some of the most unique military units in the game, Elementals? Well here’s your chance, fair Illyrians. Just follow the directions on the widget below to earn raffle points and be entered into the giveaway. The more ways you enter, the more chances you have to win. One random winner will be chosen. Winner must have an active Illyriad account to receive the prize. Contest runs until March 29, 2012.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Illyriad Website Redesign

Illyriad is coming up on its 2 year anniversary since the game first launched in Alpha. In that time the external game website has been through a few versions. For 2012 and as we move into the third year of Illyriad’s existence we are happy to share with the community a new and improved website.

Why a new website?

One of my main goals as community manager at Illyriad is to make sure our players are having the best user experience than can have. In part this means that our players should have easy to access information about the game readily available. The current (now former) website just wasn’t doing that very well.

As most of our players know, Illyriad has a small cross-functional development team. This means, at any time, one of us may be working on a project that seems like it falls outside of our more formal titles. So in true Swiss army knife fashion, I set out to give the website a new coat of paint. My background (aside from community development) is in graphic design. So it’s really not quite as much of a stretch as you’d think.


  • Give the website a fresh look
  • Create an easier to use navigation
  • Add a community section
  • More detailed information about the game
  • Add FAQ and support section
  • Better social media integration
  • Have dynamic content and news on the front page


The first step was identifying the basic layout of the website and what sorts of content would be inside. I did this by creating a series of very rough wire-frames and a pagemap. After looking at a few options the team chose the one below:

From there I went about laying out a mock-up of the homepage in Photoshop. My philosophy with the visuals was to retain the key elements that relate to our brand but still give a clean, updated visual look. Familiar elements like the character art on the backgrounds, the parchment paper texture and red buttons relate to the former website and game while still giving a new look. One of my favorite parts to update was the treatment for the logo. The Illyriad logo has a pretty unique look and the former implementation of plain flat black wasn’t really giving it the attention it deserved. So I experimented with a few treatments and landed on a subtle silver 3D lighted effect. My biggest struggle, however, was with color. The game and former website use a lot (seriously, a lot) of beige and brown tones. I wanted to retain some connection to the game through the use of the parchment texture and beige color, but I felt that the site overall needed some more contrast and depth. I was inspired by the mottled dark blue-grey sky that was used in one of the character portraits. So after much layering and experimentation I came up with the rich blues and dark browns that are used in the new design.

After settling on the overall design and laying out mockups for the rest of the pages, we began the process of making the designs come to life. Through an amazing partnership with Illyriad CTO and technical wizard, Ben Adams (aka GM Thundercat) all of the things I imagined actually turned out to work, often times even better than I thought. The account creation and log-in pages for example are so much more slick and interactive than I thought they could be, due to some amazing HTML5 technical wizardry. The real hard work was coding and I consider myself quite a lucky designer to get to work with someone who when I asked “can we do that?” always said yes.

Overall, I am so pleased with how the website has turned out and I hope the community is as well. At some point soon™ we hope to be giving the forums a dev blog and new look as well to match the new website.

Make sure to hop over to the homepage to check it out for yourself and stop by the forums or leave comments on this post to give your feedback on the new site! I look forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts.

GM Luna


Ryan Kenward from the gaming blog has reviewed Illyriad.

“Illyriad has a great niche. It’s a simple and fun game that is easy to keep running in a separate browser tab for most of the day. There is plenty to do and I would suggest that everyone with a few minutes goes and checks it out.”

Read the full review here.



Free for All: Comparing the payment models of Runescape and Illyriad

Illyriad was mentioned in Massively’s Free for All column this week in a discussion about different free-to-play payment models.

“So how does real money work in Illyriad? Simple. You spend cash to buy prestige and then spend that prestige on a few things. You can slightly buff your defenses and the output of your resources. You can even buff the combat effectiveness of some of your troops, but as James Niesewand told me in a live video interview this year, the amount is very small and is only one of many, many factors in combat. You can also spend prestige to speed up building times on buildings. Even with all that, a player cannot speed up skill learning. As in EVE Online, players nominate a skill that is learned in real time. One skill can take days to learn. These skills are often needed to build certain buildings or to perform certain tasks. As in other PvP games, items mean nothing without the skills to use them. Illyriad‘s payment system is easy to understand, it’s cheap, and it doesn’t significantly affect gameplay.”

Read the full article here.




Illyriad Massively TV Interview

Today,‘s Beau Hindman sat down with James Niesewand, CEO of Illyriad Games, for an interview on Massively TV’s livestream. They took the opportunity to discuss the current tournament, The Undead Horde, as well as many aspects of future development for Illyriad. Player submitted questions from the community were also answered on air.

Check out the full video from the interview below.

Watch live video from massivelytv on

Illyriad Voted Top Indie MMO of 2011!

Illyriad has been voted into the Top 100 Indie games of 2011 at IndieDB and is the top Massively Multiplayer game.

There were over 3000+ independent games in this year’s competition and first round votes were entirely chosen by the public. We were thrilled to see the Illyriad community come out in full force to help us get into the top 100 games!

But we need your help again. 

Voting has begun for the final round to choose the top 10 games from this list. Let’s see if Illyriad can win the overall Player Choice award across all categories of Independent Games!

Vote here

After you have voted it should look like this:

Voting closes on December 20. Thank you again for all of your support and for making 2011 a great year for Illyriad!