Interviewing Ubluntu about player-run tournaments

speculation200With the recent enhancements to the combat API, players in Illyriad have been able to code their own tools to use in game. Some players, like the one I am interviewing below, have used the API to make their own tournaments. These tournies can be based upon anyone who wishes to share their API key with the tournament organiser, so the Illy crew thought it would be a good idea to ask someone how they do it in case others would like to try it as well.

Fundamentally, anyone who shares a specific API key with anyone else is sharing their specific API key-related data with that person for whatever purpose has been collectively envisaged (and can be revoked at any time). It’s a kind of “contract” between players to use the specific data provided (and there are many API keys for different purposes) for any purpose the data owner and the data recipient have pre-agreed.

This is a critical point to understand. The API key system is about freeing players (as individuals) to share their specifically-permitted dataset with other individuals for whatever purpose they collectively choose.

In other words:

If someone chose to only run a tournament with a single alliance, then this is their choice.

If they chose tomorrow to run a military tournament that was:


  • open to all players ingame, who
  • wished to share their combat API key, but
  • only if they were Elves, with
  • cities in Ragallon, whose
  • characters are at least 1 yr old and have more than 10 cities, but
  • started playing on a tuesday, and only
  • counting tournament military activity, if it
    • happens on a mountain square
    • in a jungle biome
    • only during night-time hours
    • during the full moon
    • where they kill NPC dogs rather than players

… then that’s their prerogative. That’d be the tournament they chose to set up. Pretty cool, huh?

The above is only a small example of the full set that could be tournamented; all the background data we provide works in harmony with the API key system.

And now, here’s a chat with one of our players, Ubluntu, who’s been test-driving the API system from the perspective of a player-run tournament:

Illyriad: OK, first up: introduce yourself. Who are you and how long have you played Illy?

Ubluntu: I am Ubluntu! I am a code monkey by trade and an Illyriad fanatic by choice. I have been playing Illyriad for a little under 3 years and in my time here many have come to know me as extra nerdy.

So what have you been doing lately? The word is that you host your own tournaments in game.

I sure do! I love to tinker with code and wrote some for Hunting Tournaments that run themselves. As far as I know, all other player-ran tournaments have required every player to send each relevant in-game-message to the organizer in some way. The organizer then had to copy and aggregate that information.

You have been using Illyriad’s free combat API, but what does that mean? What is an API and how does someone use it?

API stands for Application Program Interface. It is a way for different software to interact. In the case of Hunting Tournaments, your Combat Report API Key grants me direct access to your combat data in a machine-readable way that does not require any additional interaction from you (after you have generated and submitted your API Key).
So, rather than having to care about every in-game-message regarding anything that counts, “points” are automatically assigned while the host does nothing but have fun playing the game.

What do you enjoy the most about running your own tournies?

Initially it was the increased activity among alliance members, but now it may be the gold! 😉

What else could be done to make self-hosted (player-hosted) tourneys better or easier?

I feel like being able to send in game mail to more than one player at a time and improvements to the Alliance Forums(HTML and edit/delete posts/threads/forums) would make it easier to organize and inform players.

If an Illy player wanted to get started with running their own tourneys, what should they do to get started? What sort of advice would you give them?

To get started, just pick your favorite programming and language (all APIs are XML over HTTPS) and database then have a look at the API announcement posts:

Combat Report API :
Notification API :
In Game Mail API :

My advice would be to pick tournament rules that are already enforced by the game itself and assign points according.

Thanks again to Ubluntu. He has been a great player for quite a long time, so we were eager to get him to explain how he has been hosting his own tournaments. If you have any specific questions, put them in the comments section. You can also email with any questions and we’ll see if we can get an answer for you.

GM Rikoo

Player Spotlight: Ravana!

filter (1)What is Coin? It’s your alliance ticker, so what does the alliance stand for?

* disclaimer* my answer is in no way to point fingers at other alliances and is not in any way stating other alliances aren’t doing similar things, but instead my answer is what I am proud to point out Coin does or plans to do.

War is easy to start but peace is hard to maintain. Coin is a peaceful alliance with the intent to help others as well as give players a place to call home in this game. At the most basic level, Coin is a trading alliance which supports T-O and eventually the Dsd as well. It is also essentially a home for tinkerers, thinkers, leaders, and players who want to be their unique selves as well as be a team player.

Hiei and I have been planning this alliance for quite some time now, we wish to give players an interactive personalized way to learn the game mechanics and keep it interesting as we go through team-building simulated situations in which players both new and old can partake in. This alliance is all about helping one another, helping out the game’s community but while keeping a creative edge to how we go about doing so, so it will remain fun.

What would you like to add to the game if you have magical dev powers and unlimited funding?

An alliance bank for items, not just gold. Factions hubs are alright for this to a degree but if we had the option to give ____ player(s) power to view what the alliance had, put items in, take them out, etc it was would be safer for the alliance as a whole instead of designating one player to act as an alliance hub or have it all scattered between a lot of players and crafters. Maybe even going a step further and let the alliance have their own faction hub where they can buy and sell to one another without other alliances seeing their inner-alliance prices would be great and fun to see which alliance could build a stronger inner-alliance economy.

Name a time in Illy when you did something you regretted.

I try to play the game in a way where I never really regret my actions, but instead accept the outcome be it good or bad since this is first and foremost a game that is meant to be fun. If I really had to choose a time I felt regret, it would be the times when I recently decided I wanted to change up all 10 cities, exodus each, rebuild them into better balanced cities… it’s sad to see my population go down as much as it has. I only have a few in their new locations as of yet, but at the same time it’s a game so what the heck… I can rebuild it back up to where I was or even surpass that and get an 11th on that day so will be fun.

Do you have an in-game nemesis? (I don’t mean someone who you actually dislike in RL. Maybe a competitor for trade or something? )

Hiei 100%! It’s a love-hate kinda thing in game and out of game. We choose to be partners in this game; meaning we stick together through thick and thin, work together no matter how much of polar opposites we really are and try to out do one another with the best/craziest/most creative ideas we can think of to try out in game. We keep it fun and help out our new alliance and alliance members with growth.

That doesn’t mean we work in harmony all the time, we bicker like an old couple, are rivals in being the best leaders we can be and will nitpick each other’s playstyle and choices when we have slow days or want to play around. I believe — as messed up as all this may sound — that type of relationship in game actually makes us stronger and more balanced as a team since my weaknesses are his strengths and his weaknesses are my strengths. It sounds cliche but it’s fun and it also allows me to nag him and be my mother-hen self and anyone who knows me knows that’s my specialty and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What advice would you give to a new player that is not normally something that newbies hear?

This in my opinion: it’s a sandbox game. That means you can go down any path you can think of in-game — that the game mechanics allow and isn’t “wrong” — even though some people will try to force you to believe it is. So the only way you can really know how to build your city is to make mistakes yourself and learn what you like, learn what you don’t, and customize it to match your unique amazing self!

Long story short, please don’t always blindly follow the social norms of the game thinking that’s the best way to be a part of the community, any good sandbox needs tinkers, thinkers and leaders so be creative, random, thinking outside the box to see if it will work. Just have fun with it!

How long do you think it took to become “skilled” at Illyriad?

Who said I was “skilled” in it now? Heck, I would love to think I am skilled at the game but I’m not sure there is a way to truly know if you are or aren’t since this, in my opinion, is a sandbox meaning there is no wrong way, just different styles. It took me a good few months to get down the game mechanics at a basic level then a year or so to get a way in which I felt was best for my personality.

As the game becomes more developed there are more things to take into account or learn about so I think I am always learning and growing as a player. I have “skills” in some categories of the game but not all of them… maybe one day though! Until then I will always happily accept other people giving me their opinion on good tips or strategies for the game.

Thanks to Ravana for being such a creative player! Congrats!


Interview: RTS Guru

RTS Guru has taken an exclusive first look at our latest game update (coming this weekend) and has posted a 2-part series about the changes.

Part 1: Illyriad Will Change the Game – New “Organic” Animal System Will Give Players Greater Impact

Part 2: Illyriad Q&A on Going “Organic” & Making Big Changes to the Game

Thanks again to RTS Guru for taking a deeper look into the future of Illyriad.


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

Interview: Illyriad: The Journey from Concept to HTML5

Andrew J Baker talks to Illyriad CEO James Niesewand about the HTML5 MMORTS Illyriad, from initial concept to release to adoption of HTML5 and continued development. As well as advice for new and old developers of persistent HTML5 games.

You can read the interview on Gamasutra.

Andrew J. Baker was a speaker at the first HTML5 games conference onGameStart, and is the developer of the work-in-progress HTML5 game Fleeting Fantasy and promoter of the browser-based games channel (#bbg) on