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raeshlavik

ACE Development Partners
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Everything posted by raeshlavik

  1. Yep. I'm hopeful that players will be locked to a single campaign for its duration, but can come and go to the EKs as desired. The import/export rules seem to back up this idea; where you can leave the campaign and go buy stuff in an EK, but might not be able to import it when you go back - depending on ruleset. If that's the case, the weekly EK Event can still be attended by everyone even if they're a full-time EK resident or on campaign with the Legion.
  2. I think, given that only some of the farm parcels I got with my kickstarter pledge are marked "tax free", that even real-money EK assets will have upkeep fees - if only to cover the server instance costs... Being as at the end of the day it's all about making a real dollar so that employees can eat, I'm guessing that EK asset taxes will be paid either via in-game assets (campaign materials) or via real money. This will allow people like myself with spare cash but not a lot of spare time to contribute just as well as people with a lot of spare time but not a lot of spare cash. People playing is a very valuable resource in an MMO, so it's only fair that their time nets a monetary reward - even if it's only covering their subscription cost or building upkeep in Crowfall's case. As for me personally? I'm okay with paying real money for EK upkeep as it's not having a direct impact on campaign PvP - and someone has to pay for the server/bandwidth costs for that EK instance... For example, I pay ~$300 a month to SecondLife for the "land" I have there, which is mostly to cover server/bandwidth costs - so Crowfall won't be too terribly different in that aspect if EK assets can be paid for with real money. Ultimately entering (and winning) campaigns will still be the fuel everything runs on though. Even if I can just pay for all of the buildings each month, all of the materials needed to make, well, anything must come from the campaigns. Which is why Vigil has a pretty amazing combat and crafting team.
  3. Soon (TM) Vigil (my guild) has the palace parcel and parts, and a huge assortment of everything else ACE offers, so it should be pretty spectacular. I'm importing the RP setting we've been using in SL for ages now, so there's pre-made history, events, names, locations, etc, etc. I'm also writing a lot of new material specific to the lore of Crowfall as ACE releases bits and pieces of it - so when the time comes we'll be all set to bring the Empire to life.
  4. Yeah, most of what I have planned is based on systems that have either been announced or heavily hinted at already... For example: Already shows the granularity needed to do everything I want to do at a kingdom level. The crafting system allows/will allow custom text fields - so if I want the players to find a specific object in some ruins, I can (in theory) just place a manufactured item with the appropriate text in a box somewhere - and if they survive to get to the box, they can bring me (the NPC) the item to prove it. Thralls also play into this as some sort of basic interaction will be available - so i can leave "quest items" on them to be acquired as needed. Things I've not seen but would like: The ability to place guards of various (user-defined?) abilities anywhere I want. I know the forts spawn faction-aligned guards in defined locations - but I'd like them to be furniture I can place where I need them to be in the EK. Hell, sell them in the shop to cover the server-cost of running scripted agents. Scripted agents in general. I'd like thralls I can fill with flavor text that respond to keywords - think old-school Everquest. Just some basic interactive text would be good. The ability to spawn / define MOBs. In keeping with the EK idea of them not being useful for campaign power, limit the EK variety to not being able to drop anything we don't load them with in the first place. This way any "loot" an EK-MOB drops, was gained though the campaign loop anyway. That's pretty much my wish-list.
  5. I think this is where the EKs start to really shine - in the right hands of course. The design spec for the EKs indicates that there will be some user-definable flags at a pretty granular level for things like PvP and whatnot. So, I'm currently operating under the assumption that for my guild's EK we can have an episodic series of events following a 'local' storyline of political intrigue and inter-kingdom tensions. If the PvP flags are as granular as indicated, then the palace area will be PvP enabled to allow players to try and dispose of various faction leaders who will be protected by bodyguards, mercenaries, etc. in bids to claim those factions (and the problems that entails!)... Even the throne of the land will be claimable - a group will simply have to get through the house guard and kill the crown. We will (if possible) even open this up to groups from other guilds who might like to participate in the RP-PvP storyline as they can carry that back to their guild and use it to create inter-guild tensions for flavor. In theory, once a player is killed I (or my officers) can lock out a player from the EK for the three day death cool-down - to limit the rinse-repeat on failure and give losing some teeth. The area around the palace will be markets and manufacturing, and will be safe from general combat - so if you're in town for the story-driven PvP or just general RP, feel free to do some shopping while you're there. This drives commerce for crafters, which drives desire for gatherers, which makes the world go 'round. Weekly random 'cells' will be spawned, flagged PvP, and set up for various storyline events; a quick example would be group-A needing to get the supply cart from one location to another, while group-B gets to play highwaymen and stop this from occurring - winner gets to keep what's in the cart (rare mats or something)... Stuff like that will be going on every week. The rest of the EK will be player housing for anyone who wants to be local to the action. This is basically the stuff I've been doing in SecondLife for over a decade now, so I have literally volumes of storyline events and interactions that can be re-created in the EK to entertain folks... So, if the EKs actually end up with a lot of the functionality that was proposed early on, I (and others like me) will be the themepark elements.
  6. So today we have lunch with Doggett followed by watching Dave paint deer - sounds great!
  7. Every time they use that term, I immediately think they licensed http://bigworldtech.com/en/
  8. Yeah, I definitely get that - and I'm hopeful that what we are seeing are just limitations of the test builds specific to the test environments. Which is another thing I wonder if folks might be overlooking; that these are test environments... Normally when doing testing you don't have a win condition, because your testers will fixate on winning versus testing and start to get the impression the build is the real deal - when it isn't. Hell, for all we know the poor performance could be all the additional instrumentation in the test builds as ACE tries to compensate for bug reports of "it sucks".
  9. I think one of the big things people need to ponder on is that comparing Crowfall's combat to Game-X's combat is, in general, really hard - for one big reason; physics. What I mean by this is that it's relatively easy to have super-fluid high-flash combat when your only concern is if two volumes connect at any point in time: bounding box A collides with bounding box B while key C is pressed is the sum-total of the procedure in most cases... Usually weapons don't even have volumes; you equip said weapon and said weapon may make the player's bounding box bigger to create a longer reach, but the simulation is still looking for the intersection of two volumes - period... This is why most games don't have player physics, because it's orders of magnitude harder when you want to declare values on those volumes and test against those values in real time. But what you get for the extra work is a far more tactical simulation where player position, vector, inertia, and target leading are important, and the player's interactions with the world around them begin to have importance, but the cost is you have to limit combat speed to perform those calculations - which impacts twitch noscope headshots and the mad jumping about that many people call PvP. So right now, in my humble opinion, we're seeing a lot of grumbling about the combat system because many people are expecting a game made almost entirely of high-speed ganking, like Game-X - when what I get out of the design doc for the game seems to indicate a slower pace of combat with more emphasis on group composition, tactics, and world dynamics in order to fully utilize those physics. Hopefully the game as intended, with its myriad tactical problems of resource control and management, supply lines, defensive positioning, terrain considerations, and inter-guild relations leading to numerical superiority will better illustrate the full scope of combat over simply beating each other over the head. Right now it's a bit like flying a few starter frigates in Eve Online and orbiting each other while cycling weapons - and assuming that's the whole of the game.
  10. Several hours pass whilst the Elkin is off reporting to whomever the leader of these lands are, and this gives Darith ample time to explore a bit of the city. Curiously for him, the general language of these people is Vhirel’eth, the Old Tongue, the spoken language preferred by the Fae and those of their ilk - like the Centaur. Darith has never been one for languages other than his own because there was no real reason to pick up another… The Humans are so plentiful that trade tends to happen on their terms, so everyone somewhat speaks their language. The same held true here – luckily enough – and he was able to spend his coin on a meal and mead in short order once he’d returned to the tavern. He sits nonchalantly on an oversized rough-hewn bench he’s claimed for himself, and watches the activities of the place with a practiced eye. It’s clear enough that the establishment is more than a simple watering hole; at this very moment there are a good half-dozen patrons in finery that belies means that would normally see them hard pressed to frequent such a rough-shod establishment. And just as clearly the ruling class of this place are Centaur; the heavy wooden floor holds as many of the thick mats the Centaur use as it does benches for bipeds. Outside there are the famed paved roads of the horsemen that define the city, and the shallow ramps versus stairs for the battlements are another dead giveaway. For Darith this merely means the scale of things are a bit larger than he is accustomed to, which also means the shadows are a bit larger too – and this appeals to him. The down-side is that the Centaur are known for policing their territory with fanatical zeal. Their society is entirely based on civil service, and because service is what grants full citizen rights they generally look forward to serving in some capacity. And this means a plentiful supply of constables and guards. Darith frowns slightly, remembering the last time he was on the wrong end of 40-odd stone of overly-angry pole-armed man-horse… At that moment the Alder returns from his meeting with their queen, reflexively ducking slightly as he crosses the threshold into the tavern. It was pretty easy to recognize Alder as there just weren’t a lot of three-meter-tall bipedal Elk wandering around, even here, and the few there were tended to be brown toned instead of the grey and black colors of Alder. The Elkin’s expression was inscrutable to Darith, who figured the Elkin was just stoic all the time, but the creature’s movements indicated no small level of annoyance. The Elkin slumps down onto the bench next to Darith and gesticulates as his deep voice rumbles. “Kaisera’a Ainuliden denen’ne ieo gan’ne elb acin’ne hadri… Te’maga eom ieo geun’ne ois!?” He punctuates this with a motion towards the door and questioning look. Darith blinks. “I have no idea what you just said Alder…” Alder’s ears droop slightly, an indication that Darith has quickly come to associate with the Elkin feeling sorry about something, and Alder follows this with a shake of his head. “Alder sorry friend Darith. Alder forget Darith not speak Alder’s tongue.” The words come haltingly with a thick Fae accent; “Queen sends Alder to steal map from enemy so that Queen know enemy plan, Alder know not how to do such thing.” Darith brightens, having been pondering how to broach the subject of ‘acquisitions’ with his new hairy friend. “You’re in luck Alder, as I happen to know a thing or three about the procurement of things from people who would rather them not be procured.” The human glances around the room quickly, “But – not here. Is there somewhere we can discuss this in private?” The Elkin processes the rapid-fire words for a moment before nodding his head, “Alder knows quiet place, come.” And he flows back to his hooves to tower over Darith as he motions towards the door once again. Following Alder through the city is not unlike properly casing a location before a heist; the Elkin instinctively sticks to the shadowy edges of streets and darkened alleys, and avoids notice of pretty much everyone as he leads them both to a central park-like location. If Darith were not so well versed in this particular sport, Alder would have lost him a half dozen times on the way… The greensward is thick with trees and tall grasses, and as they near the center of the small wood the street lamps and people of the city fade away. “None come here in dark.” Alder announces. “Rumor of wild beast…” The Elkin makes a low growling noise that makes Darith’s hair stand on end before making an odd whistling laugh. “No beast, just Alder.” Here between the trees is an area of flattened grasses and piled leaves about 5 meters across. Alder strides over to one of the trees and fishes about in a hollow for a moment before producing a leather sack. “This where Alder stays when in city,” he states before shaking his head in the negative. “Alder no like houses, forest better. Forest home.” The Elkin takes a seat on the ground and reaches into the bag to produce a handful of berries that he pops into his mouth. “Now, tell Alder how to steal map.” -=-=- (I'm having to take some great liberties with the lore here to generate some interesting character interaction - take everything with a grain of salt as it will undoubtedly change when we actually know how the world works. )
  11. I plan to still create singular characters with defined forms as much as possible, as that allows for a smooth transition from game to written works and back again. It’s just easier that way when you have to supply a coherent setting for other players, because people build structures out of static known elements to define their imaginary world. If you change things too much, too often, or you depart too far from generally accepted reality, it breaks the shared concept of the environment for your players. So to aid in creating this coherency for dozens of random people, I tend to write journals for the bigger characters in my RP arcs and detailing their involvement in things as the event progresses. These journals are an easy way to allow tangentially involved players to have ‘overheard’ things about ongoing events, and therefore remain current on evolving situations even if they aren’t participating at the moment. This is an important part of ‘Living Story Roleplay’, which is any persistent setting with mutable players. Living Story stuff requires a different sort of flexibility than a tabletop scenario with a defined group, because your players will be dropping into the middle of ongoing events and departing just the same – and the world will go on without them. So, in general, you need to make core elements of each arc readily accessible from anywhere in the execution of that arc because players will come and go randomly throughout the event. My (current) idea to allow characters to define their image a bit given the crow and vessel system is to determine that, much like the psychological body map that people create which gives rise to ‘phantom limb’ situations, the spiritual crow seeks familiarity – especially after the initial death event. This means that when you are first killed and rendered into a disembodied spirit by whichever petulant godling deems you important enough to serve in their army, said spirit tries really hard to acquire a body that is as close to the original as possible. With each successive death this spiritual crow gets more comfortable with the afterlife and can (and will) venture further afield for physicality, but the initial death and rebirth cycle is a clean transition from previous-life to eternal-life… This way one can have an actual character with an actual story behind it, and have that carry over to their immortal existence – despite the fact they are dead and really nothing more than a poltergeist. This also handily explains the existence of Eternal Kingdoms… If you’re nothing but a disembodied spirit hopping from corpse to corpse to wage wars for the gods – why even bother building house? Let alone an entire palace and city around it? If the very core element of your existence, your physicality, is so ephemeral that you change it like underwear – what use is anything material at all? For me, it’s that seeking of familiarity. The spirit seeks at all times to maintain itself and the world around it in a familiar state. So despite the fact a crow cannot feel ‘cold’, it still inherently seeks the warmth of a fire in winter. The crow cannot feel ‘wet’, yet it still seeks a roof and walls – because these things are familiar. So no matter the body, the crow will inherently create a simulacrum of the physical world it is most familiar with. Hence, eternal kingdoms. But all of this is just my thinking currently… It is all liable to change as we get more information on the actual cosmology of Crowfall and understand more about how things are intended to work.
  12. I just checked, and it's working here. I've had this happen before as well, where I got a 500 error on a pantheon link but other folks said it was working... I'm guessing there's a load balancer in the mix that is losing it's 'sticky' on occasion. Try shift-f5-ing the page to reload it from source.
  13. *is roughly shoved into the spotlight by unseen hands from offstage, and begins reading from a prepared statement* “Um… My captors want two million dollars in unmarked currency delivered to a nearby municipal airport along with a fueled helicopter and …” *looks offstage for a moment before pointing to the paper he’s holding with a puzzled expression* “What? Turn it over?” *flips the page over and reads briefly before nodding* Hi there! I’m Raeshlavik, ‘Raesh’ or ‘Ravik’ for short, and I’m another of the many people working on our Vigil initiative. You’ll note from my forum signature that I’m one of the two ‘consuls’ for Vigil and I live in the S-9 department. For the curious, our consul rank is derived from our patterning of ancient Rome for a lot of guild flavor. The Roman Consul was one of the two chief magistrates who jointly ruled the republic you see, and between Imperious and I that fits pretty well. The S-9 designation also follows our guild layout, wherein S-9 is the media and message tasking; twitter, forum stuff, graphic design, a lot of the roleplay stuff like guild back-story and political interactions, and other such things are my department. So this early in the development cycle of both Vigil and Crowfall you’ll mostly see me running around various forums and such. So, about me… I’ll just paraphrase my profile from the forums here: I’m the CIO for an outsource software QA firm by day, and a mad inventor of fantasy and science fiction settings by night. I’m also ex-Navy, specifically submarines, and my tour of duty involved the building, launching, and commissioning of SSBN 735, the USS Pennsylvania – making me a plankowner of the largest, most powerful US submarine built to date. I got my first box-set of D&D in 1977 and have been an incorrigible role-player ever since. This has led to a life-long fascination with realms of the imagination and eventually led to my 20-ish years and counting in the Interactive Entertainment industry. Over the years I've worked in some capacity on more game titles than I care to mention, published two roleplay settings of no real consequence, and have led literally thousands of people through various fantastic realms of the imagination both in-person and online. For me, video games offer the opportunity to invite someone into a living, breathing version of someone else's imaginary world; a chance to see inside someone else’s head if you will. And when MMOs like Ultima Online became a reality that offer was extended to thousands of people at once; but building a full-on MMO requires a herculean effort by dozens of specialists over years of time, so it’s virtually impossible for one guy with a great idea to build one. This means the medium is limited to a few dozen content producers for millions of content consumers. The 'Holy Grail' for me has always been an MMO where I can create some or all of the content within a defined, uniform game system accessible by thousands of people at once. Until Crowfall's "Eternal Kingdoms" idea I was limited to things like Second Life where I build not only fantasy worlds, but the game systems they use as well. Granted, I'm told that what I do in SL is astounding, but SL's downfall is its flexibility: you cannot hold the players to a rule system very easily because SL exists to not place boundaries on players. Everyone can fly, everyone can wall-hack, everyone can cam through solid objects, and everyone can teleport anywhere… So it’s hard to build a sense of discovery when everyone can just skip to the denouement whenever they feel like it. That and anyone can be anything at any time, so you perpetually have to deal with ‘that guy’ who wants to be a 40-foot robot in the middle of your high-fantasy setting… So with Crowfall I've found that potential Holy Grail of a uniform game system accessible by thousands that also has the ability to bend a bit of it to my will. And that's why I'm here. And that leads me to Vigil and what I am doing this for… Vigil is at once the organizational framework for hundreds of people to achieve goals in Crowfall, and also the canvas I will be using to illustrate my imaginary world. The back-story for the Selentine Empire has its basis in my tabletop and convention games going back many, many years and contains dozens of characters with rich tapestries of wants, needs, and desires I can use as something akin to NPCs. I plan to use all of this to generate a depth of raison d'être for Vigil that gives a defined sense of place within the Crowfall milieu. This in turn gives guild members a complex and varied tapestry as a background for their activities – should they desire such a thing. For me, PvP is all well and good, but it’s even better when there’s a reason for it, and it is the reasons behind the conflict that can take PvP from a simple cage-match to a sweeping Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings epic. It’s certainly fun to scrap with other guilds on the field of battle, but when that is backed up with political goals and social currency it’s even better! It is for these reasons that the “EK” for Vigil will offer a meta-level guild versus guild environment with select PvP enabled areas. (Please note that the following are dependent on certain rules and controls for the EK that are not finalized yet… But we will have things similar to this in as much capacity as possible) Within Vigil there will be loyalists belonging to at least two pro-empire factions (the nobility and the military), of course, but there will also be varied seditionists looking to overthrow the monarchy; shadowy figures operating in the background to attempt to take over the Empire. This means it will be entirely possible to assassinate NPCs and players for political gains – in certain areas. The complexity for the players is figuring out who is on what side, as it will not be obvious until you gain certain trusts with them. And along with this, players will not know who is spying on whom and saying the wrong thing in the vicinity of the right ears could result in bloodshed. On top of this there are the threats from without to contend with too; other guilds may decide to get in on this as well and attempt to topple the Empire for fame and fortune. And we’re all for some good old-fashioned GvG warfare! But all of the above is generally relegated to the EK. When on campaign, where things are a bit more heated and actual line battles are being fought and people are relying on each other to stay alive, the focus is on achieving the win scenario and all of Vigil are on the same team and the same page. So we will offer solutions for many playstyles: If you want to live in a safe-zone and just craft, or just take a break from looking over your shoulder for a bit – welcome to the city surrounding the palace proper, which will be a non-PvP area. If you like the idea of more role-based PvP with lots of skullduggery and political maneuvering, hang out in the palace for a bit – but make sure you test that wine before you drink it as this is an EK-rules based PvP area. Other guilds wishing to participate will be flagged accordingly for the duration of their involvement. If you just like shoveling bodies into dumpsters, head out to the Dying Worlds with the Legion and help support the Empire’s efforts on foreign fronts against all enemies. If you’re a gatherer or crafter and want to reap the rewards of campaign experience, you are more than welcome to enlist with the Legion and head out to see the cosmos as well. And players are free to move around these layers as they feel the inclination to do so. We can offer this sort of layered game approach specifically because Vigil’s administration is very well versed in this sort of gameplay, the EKs offer a fine level of control over the rules per area, and because player skills are time-based. A player can spend their entire Crowfall ‘career’ engaged in palace political maneuvering and back-stabbing, and accrue skills the same as if they were rinsing and repeating the campaign worlds or just happily crafting away on work orders from S-4. So there is no ‘down side’ to playing the game however you like, and our job as administration is to offer as many meaningful results for those varied playstyles as possible. And at 1500 words, I should draw this introduction to a close! Thanks for reading, and if you have any thoughts or suggestions, just drop me a PM either here or on the Vigil forums (click my sig)!
  14. The gardens of the palace are always at their most magical under the silvery light of the moon. The various night-blooming flowers, artfully arranged by the groundskeepers, are scenting the cool night air with the sweet perfume of nature while myriad fireflies twinkle amidst the topiary. Even the lamps that line the covered walk around the garden walls are carefully placed to add to the overall ambiance. Though the Praetorian Guard had interceded a bit on that point during the design; preferring a lack of shadows to hide in over frivolous mood lighting. She’d counted four – no, there were two more at the archway leading into this walled botanical sanctuary – so there are six armed guards trying to be inconspicuous around the garden at this moment. She knows they have their reasons for being vigilant, after all the world beyond the walls can be a decidedly unfriendly place – but this does not stop her from secretly wishing the guard would take the night off… Their presence is a constant reminder of the tensions in the lands beyond the walls of the palace. As she slowly winds her way between the various carefully shaped trees and beds of groomed plants, the gravel of the brick edged path crunches quietly under her silver-shod hooves. She comes here sometimes, late at night and after the petitioners have all gone home, to clear away the day’s travails of running a nation. The trees and flowers care not for the petty squabbles of people, and in their midst she is sometimes able to borrow a bit of their serenity – if only for a while. She pauses at the foot of the massive oak that presides over the north end of the garden to reminisce a moment, causing the long fur-trimmed train of her ornate cloak to drape over her hindquarters and whisper to a stop about her back hooves. Her father was King Kaelis Ainuliden, and he had decreed that she, and her two brothers, would learn the arts of statecraft at an early age. At her father’s hooves she learned much about the functional and financial ins and outs of the Legion and its operations. And though even he could not make an acceptable shield maiden out of her, he supported her innate talent with numbers with the best books and tutors the kingdom could provide. On her 20th birthday she, and the entire royal family, had been killed in a sweeping coup. And for reasons she’s never quite figured out, she awakened as one of eternal spirits waging an endless war for the Gods… It’s not like she was a great warrior, or a brilliant tactician, or anything that would be handy in a cosmological conflict. She’s not even certain which of the Gods is responsible for her current state of spiritual endlessness; though she’s come to suspect Kronos is somehow involved… Time has little meaning in the endless spring that is the Eternal Kingdoms, but in the period since she awakened into this afterlife she has come to discover that her father’s lessons in statecraft have made her very successful at one thing; and the present state of the Selentine Empire, her Empire, is proof enough of that. After this moment of contemplation, she smiles and reaches out to place the palm of her hand on the old oak’s warm bark in silent greeting – the finely wrought silver bracer that graces her forearm, and which matches the bands about her lower forelegs, glinting in the moonlight… This is her favorite spot here in the garden. This old tree feels, to her, as if it is the ruler of all it surveys; it looks out over its leafy citizenry from this spot in much the same way she looks out at her own citizens from the windows of the palace. But here she is not the ruler. Here she is simply a quiet observer to the efforts of a silent nation whose borders are the garden’s walls. She glances down to a lone flower between the oak’s roots. It is a small thing, which one of the groundskeepers has apparently overlooked; clearly the flowers over there are unhappy with being so far from the fountain over here, so they have sent a representative to speak with King Oak… She likes to imagine the sorts of things the plants would come to King Oak for, and how he would resolve their issues… “My Lady…” The voice that comes from several paces behind her is sonorous and shatters her introspection abruptly, causing her to jump slightly and her tail to lash in annoyance. She pulls her hand away from the tree and turns her upper body slightly to view the speaker. “Alder.” The huge Elkin who all but materialized out of thin air behind her offers a bow before he speaks again, keeping his eyes low. “You asked to be informed when I had actionable intelligence on that site the miners unearthed, I have that now – as well as indications that the Tirynian Circle moves on the site as we speak. They are three days from the site; three wagons, six crafters, and two squads fully armed.” “I see...” She motions toward the arched entry into the garden and the manor proper beyond as she speaks. “Thank you Alder, please meet me in my office. I shall be along shortly, as soon as I speak with Imperious and send an appropriate response to these scavengers...” The Elkin nods once and turns sharply to return whence he came; she is struck by how uncannily silent and fluid the huge creature moves. Valinye sighs quietly and reaches out to pat the old tree once more, “It appears there is no rest for the weary my friend…”
  15. (Just continuing the tale...) Alder leans his sturdy frame upon the windowsill with one hand, and uncomfortably fiddles with the collar of his outfit with the other. He absently stares into the evening though the leaded glass before him, taking in the sweeping view of the lights below… Out there, in the moonlit night, the city still hums - even at this hour; the lamps that line the streets and light windows strike sparks from the rippling inky black of rain-slick cobblestones. Alder knows that were he outside on a veranda, and not cooped up here in the palace, he could more than likely hear the commotion at The Rat’s Nest; the nearest tavern to the palace proper, and one known for being a place where mercenaries and nobles alike mingle. And it is where he had left Darith. The odd human had insisted on following Alder to the capital, insisting that he had a life-debt to Alder and that he would not rest until it was repaid in full. While the human was loud and boisterous – absolutely useless for stealth – he was fairly good with a sword and had been marginally helpful over the last week. Alder grumbles as he runs a finger under his collar again. Even though his current outfit is tailored specifically for him, a gift from Queen Ainuliden herself, Elkin necks and thrice-damned noble finery rarely mix. He catches himself and tamps down his growing frustration. All of this ‘civilization’ never really sits well with him. He is a creature of the wilds and cities make him nervous; too many odd echoes and strange smells for his finely honed tracker’s senses. He shakes his head and let’s slip a little chuckle; and don’t even get him started on the complexities of polished marble floors and hooves. For these reasons, if he was in the capital he usually made it only as far as the aforementioned tavern where he’d meet up with one of the Queen’s security advisors and give them his reports. With the tavern’s mixed clientele, it had a certain scale that prevented him from perpetually hitting his antlers on lintels, hanging lamps, or other trappings of civilized life that the smaller races seemed so enamored with… That and being at the tavern, casually overhearing the ebb and flow of information from both here and abroad, would be preferable to delivering the current situation report directly to Her Highness. Not that he minded the lass, specifically, but she operated on an entirely other level than he did, and she made him feel, well, simple… But whatever is going on here at the palace had her wanting to hear his report directly. So he had to set aside his dislike of cities, come to the sprawling capital of the empire, and deal with palace bureaucracy… Like that damnable chamberlain who wouldn’t let him into the Queen’s private wing of the palace looking like, to quote, ‘a bear with antlers and smelling like one as well’. That delayed things by at least an hour, on top of being responsible for his current state of attire-based annoyance. His ears flick at the sound of something in the kitchens down the hall, and he looks over his shoulder towards the door of the room in the reflection of the window. Behind him sits a large and rather ornate dark oak desk. In front of the desk sit three matching chairs with deep red upholstery, and behind the desk there is no chair at all, just a large crimson pillow. The set occupies the center of the room’s polished stone tile floor, which is inlayed with bronze to create a stylized sword, shield, and raven motif that is echoed everywhere in the empire. The desk itself is festooned with loose papers, maps, stacks of old books, and two lit candelabras that lend a warm light to the chaos. The room itself is rather pleasant; there are two immense seven-meter tall windows framed with thick deep red curtains that are currently drawn back. These windows flank an equally immense fireplace made of gold edged white marble, which currently contains a well banked fire that is attempting to chase off the damp night air. The remaining walls around the room are lined with shelves of books from the floor to the ceiling some ten meters above. And two winding open staircases on either side of the entry into the library lead to a walkway around the perimeter, about five meters above the floor. Scattered around the room are lit braziers casting light and warmth, various ladders for reaching those harder to get tomes, and miscellaneous crates of old velum scrolls awaiting binding. He sighs as the cathedral bells begin to toll out nine times. The Lady is undoubtedly in the garden, as she tends to be to end her day, and he knows better than to trouble her there… But there really is no option for waiting any longer. Alder can feel his frustration returning, furrowing the dark pelt between his brows, and he silences it once again. He takes a step back from the window, allowing the light from a nearby brazier to overcome the night outside and illuminate his visage, turning the window into a makeshift mirror. There in the window his doppelganger looks back; various shades and patterns of black fur and big emerald green eyes, with a broad cervine nose and large expressive ears beneath large many-pointed antlers. He adjusts his uniform a bit with thick, heavy-nailed fingers; lining up the buttons of the quilted black satins and velvets of his doublet and coat before pausing to inspect the ornate armor at his shoulders. He feels the absence of his bow as he would note the absence of an arm – but weapons are only allowed to the Praetorians within the palace, and Alder is just a mercenary. A mercenary in direct service to the Queen, but still a mercenary. He knows he is pointlessly fidgeting in the hopes the Lady will walk in and he can deliver his report without interrupting her – but it is not to happen. Damn chamberlain… With a final nod to his reflected twin, he strides out of the room and towards the garden.
  16. #GameOfCrows #TheDyingWords #QuothTheRaven is probably my favorite because it's topical to tweeting, contains a raven, and Poe was awesome.
  17. Hat, ring, tossed. It's a bit tricky to really noodle into the lore without a lot of lore to noodle into. Especially as I'm definitely interested in the Stalker archetype and the Elkin race in general and there is precisely zero information there... But as long as things are left as basic character interactions (read: combat) anything will probably fall within the realm of plausibility as we learn more.
  18. The slanting rays of a setting sun dance upon a carpet of mottled gold leaves that cover the forest floor all around. And the tread of my cloven hooves make little sound as I move along the loamy edge of a two-track cart path worn between these old oaks. This cart path is what passes for a road between the ruins of Meriden, where I had recently been hunting with little to show for it, and the guild-lands of some group with a green and black banner... I’d watched a few of them from a distance over the last week and assumed the sigil, some sort of tree-like device, meant that they were associated with Gaea. This usually means the group are devotees of Balance, and in my experience they would not be openly hostile to my presence as long as I did not present myself as a problem. Either way, they were few in number and I wasn’t overly worried about patrols on the fringes of their lands, so I had allowed myself the luxury of travel by road this day – or at least the very edge of it. My ears flicked to and fro as I listened to the sounds of the late evening forest about me; the chirping of the night birds beginning to wake, the scuttle of a small animal as it moved on the fringes of the forest, and the rustle of a slight evening breeze through the leaves… I drank in the surrounding forest through all of my senses. Almost unconsciously I began to hum and piece together the beginnings of a melody; my antlers bobbing to fill in with the imaginary tempo. And as the woods about me added their own subtle tones to the harmony, I began to test a few words against it to capture the sense of peace that fills this place like the undisturbed surface of a quiet pond. It’s an odd habit I admit, my minstrel’s musings, but thoughts stick longer in the mind and are easier to recall when put to music, and I tended to relegate my scouting to song as that makes the details easier to recall later. But just as a pond's surface is disturbed and set into motion when a stone is plunged into it, my peace is likewise shattered by the clash of arms in the distance. The sounds that perk my ears are not loud really, but they strike so much against the grain of the natural woodland noises that they may as well have be a trumpet blast. I halt, crouching in the long shadows along the edge of the road. My dark fur and long cloak becoming nothing but a shadow amongst the tall trees and undergrowth as I focus my attention on the conflict; the snarl of more than one wild wolf, the sound they make when lunging into an attack, followed by a loud, singular cry of surprise - distinctly Human. I’m not normally one to get involved in matters not of my own making, but where there are wolves there is prey and I had yet to bag anything worth taking back to my camp – that and it’s never a bad idea to be owed favors… Standing, I quickly slide between the trees and leave the worn path I’d been following to instead make use of a thinly visible animal trail that leads deeper into the forest. As I move silently through the trees the sounds become louder; more snarls and an angry shout of "Come get some!" The air grows colder, the trees darker, and the ground sparser of undergrowth the further I progress towards the sounds of conflict. I lower my head to bring my antlers to bear as my steps slow; I am scenting a mix of musky fear and metallic blood nearby – which is always a bad combination. Rounding a large oak, its branches barren and curled like skeletal fingers, I step into a clearing; across the way a dark-haired Human male in similarly dark leathers has his back against a tree. He’s holding three enormous wolves at bay with a longsword in one hand and a dagger in the other, and the snarl that twists his face matches the wolves’ perfectly… But so far his blade work appears to have only succeeded in depriving one of the wolves of an ear, and for its part the animal is showing no less resolve for the lost bit of flesh and fur as it continues to seek an opening. I quickly take stock of the situation – years of scouting the Dying Worlds allowing instant assessment; the wolves in this land are pretty damn big, but these were unnaturally large examples with small patches of fur missing to show barren flesh – and an unnatural light glinted in their narrowed eyes… The Hunger had set into this pack, which meant Fall had clearly come early to this place… My silent approach bought me a moment of advantage, so I spent it and lunged toward the wolf on my left – succeeding in catching it by surprise. With my left arm around its neck to hopefully control those snapping jaws, I hauled back – my hooves digging furrows in the dead ground as I fought for the leverage to force the animal to sit back on its haunches – and I slid my horn hilted dagger into his soft underbelly towards the heart with my right. The animal was silenced instantly and it collapsed just as quickly, dragging me to ground with it as it slumped over. The snarling sound of a second wolf was decapitated by the slash of a longsword as an exclamation of bravado reached my ears; at least the Human was still alive. All that remained was the wolf with a single ear, and it circled just out of the Human's sword reach; rumbling deep in its throat. Repeatedly dodging swings, the beast danced about with almost supernatural grace as it waited for the man to tire. Kneeling next to my kill and working my dagger free, I saw one ear’s eyes flicker from the Human to the trees behind him and back again. Following the line of sight, I was just able to make out a faint outline in the dimming light; another one of these twisted wolves was approaching from the fighter's back, low to the ground, ready to pounce at any instant. There was no way I could reach the new combatant fast enough to keep the Human alive… I unslung the bow from my back in a practiced, fluid motion; bringing it up and around before me as my other hand was already nocking a black feathered arrow on the oiled string. The woods grew still around me as I drew back on the bow, sighting along my outstretched arm as mere seconds stretched out impossibly long... Runes delicately etched into the wood were beginning to glow with faint eldritch energy; my focus narrowing to a pinpoint just beyond the wolf’s hide, my ears picking up the slow beat of the beast’s heart as it prepared, the creak of sinew as muscles coiled for the leap… I let the arrow loose. The wolf fell as a brilliant shaft of emerald light lanced forth from bow, transfixing the wolf from stem to stern just as its lunge began. The arrow vibrated slightly, embedded to half its length in the tree behind the wolf. As the emerald glow from the enchantment upon it dissipated into a thin vapor, the smell of charred fur and eldritch power filled the little clearing. Keying on the distraction this caused, one ear made its attack. It was caught in mid jump by the fighter's shorter blade as he deftly dodged to the side, and the beast crumpled to the ground, twitching as its life ebbed from the mortal wound in its chest. The Human ended the beast with an angry exclamation and a thrust of the longsword to the head, and it lay still. Approaching the twisted creature that I had felled with an arrow, I found it too was still just barely alive. And I likewise ended its misery with a quick stab of my dagger just behind the shoulder... I was careful to note the pale blue glow in its eyes that expired as it did. That the Hunger had made it this far into the continent meant that I would have to plan my next few months very carefully… "I am in debt to you for your help." The words yanked me from my thoughts as I realized I was being spoken to, and I stood to turn and face their source. "I am Darith.” he said absently, more to himself than to me as he wiped the gore from his blades before looking up at my two-and-a-half-meter height with a small jump of surprise, "and by the silver lady! What manner of creature are you?" "Alder. Alder Darkmoon. That is my name." I responded slowly, bludgeoning my mind to remember the words in his language, "and I am... Elkin." -------------------------------------- That's a bit over 1500 words, so I should stop there... I may introduce the next member of our little band, a Confessor searching for our mysterious swordsman, in another installment.
  19. I had the game on in the background while I was burning the midnight oil on another project, and it was great fun to just listen in. More involvement: I think it's fine the way it is. The occasional call-out to the audience for a name is great. If you really want to involve people, have Todd work with Max to offer the odd "what do you think the NPCs should do?" with 2-3 numbered options for quick chat-room tally. At each break, get the audience vote on it (where the players can't see) and then run with it after the break... If the audience K.O.'s a player, have that artist sketch the scene. Things I liked: That you did this. A lot of the more 'character actor' folks on the forums were curious if the team did any role-play, and that answer is pretty obvious now. Things I didn't like: The mics need a compressor/limiter - Behringer makes a few really nice ones for under $200, and I can personally vouch for the MDX4600. Side notes: I would steer away from 'Crowfalling it up' with game lore or archetypes as A ) That's too much like work and this is clearly a non-work activity and B ) it would add too much expectation on the contents of the session; things would be said off-the-cuff that some viewers would take as gospel and then get foamy when it didn't come to pass.
  20. History: Crowfall is projected to offer gameplay scenarios that the traditional MMO does not offer, such as time-limited PvP campaigns, fealty trees, guild-level city building, and detailed empire-scale economies. Because of this, and after much thought, Imperious and myself (Vigil’s Core Leadership) have decided to ‘start fresh’ with a focus entirely upon Crowfall’s unique features versus trying to get our existing guild organizational structures and systems to fit it. For example, given how Crowfall works we can actually reward members with land allotments and things to put on said land… This is a far cry from simple DKP-type MMO arrangements. This is not to say that Vigil has left its past behind entirely, as many of the players Imperious and I have worked with over the years will be joining us in our campaigns within Crowfall. So while Vigil itself is a relatively new initiative, its roots are much, much older. Imperious and I have some forty years of combined MMO leadership experience. We both started out in games like Ultima Online, EverQuest, and Shadowbane, and over the intervening years have led teams through literally dozens of different games… This experience was refined and expanded upon to eventually become organizations such as Ordo Imperialis, which Imperious founded about a decade ago. We are certain this experience will become evident as you read further though this introduction. Our Mission: To formulate and cultivate a community of players who seek to establish and promote an active and expansive regime within the milieu of Crowfall through the Three Pillars of Empire. Our Method: Vigil is built upon what we call the “Three Pillars of Empire”: PvP, Crafting and Mercantile, and RP. While there is no requirement to participate in all of the Pillars, we’ve found over the last couple of decades that even the most hardened PvP killing machine, single-minded crafter, or dyed-in-the-wool roleplayer can appreciate the benefits the others bring to the table – as long as it is well managed and they can choose how much interaction they get. Organizationally Vigil is set up as follows: Maneuver (PvP) and Support (Crafting) are ‘real work’ elements of being successful in-game, and as such are overseen by HHC with input/control from the various s-shops, depending on tasking. The overall organization though supports the Roleplay aspects of the group, and the RP in-turn generates the ‘texture’ of our little slice of the cosmos. So the whole thing can be thought of a bit like Painter, Paint and Canvas, and Inspiration – with the end result being a work of art. This work of art is only as good as the constituent parts though; and it falls to us, Vigil’s Leadership, to make sure our members have the best of each part we can offer. PvP: At its core Vigil is a very regimented and military-minded group, and our PvP branch is managed, trained, drilled, and deployed by an active US Army Artillery Officer who also oversees Vigil’s S-3 department. If you are current or ex-military you will find things very familiar with our PvP structures, and it is this format that has been key to our campaign successes in the past. Player-versus-Player scenarios are one of the Three Pillars of Empire within Vigil, especially in a combat-oriented game like Crowfall. Accordingly, it falls to Vigil’s leadership to ensure that the tools are available within the organization for each member to be the best player they can be – both as an individual and as a member of a team. To this end Vigil focuses on team building for all members, and offers real-world leadership training to anyone seeking to engage in an Officer Track within the organization. While we expect our members to do their homework in order to learn the ins and outs of their class(es), and to play to the best of their abilities when representing Vigil, it needs to be stressed that Crowfall is about group combat rising from tactical objectives, not single-player death matching. This means the individual player is only as good as the team they are with. In this, we expect our members to be team players and actively engaged in the betterment of the group’s performance. Crafting and Mercantile: If PvP is the vehicle used to project Vigil’s power and protect its holdings, crafting and mercantile is the fuel it runs on – especially in a game like Crowfall where everything is crafted by players and then decays with use (or disuse). We have some very hardcore crafting and mercantile folks on staff who eat, breathe, and sleep spreadsheets, formulas, and the miscellany of making a virtual buck in an MMO. It’s easy to see that in-game economies and the ebb and flow of merchandise is one of the Three Pillars of Empire within Vigil. Vigil’s crafting details are currently tentative pending more information from ACE on how crafting will actually work, but the general gist is as follows: Vigil’s core crafting teams are broken down into divisions of labor based on a pyramid structure. The basis of the structure is material acquisition through gathering or commerce, which responds to either the war department (arms, armor, vessels, spells, potions, etc) or the facilities department (walls, buildings, roads, etc). The whole branch is overseen by S-4 with input from the other s-shops with regard to current wants / needs. S-4 manages organization material stores and both acquires and releases material via the free market by-way of an organized mercantile group. Individual crafters are issued work orders from S-4 and supplied with the materials to fill said order. Individual crafters are then paid for filling these work orders in material allowances beyond the manufacturing requirements. This allows crafters to work ‘on the side’ to promote their craft in the free market while still fulfilling the needs of the organization and while avoiding the need to gather PvP-Area materials - if desired. RP: Roleplay is the last of the Three Pillars of Empire for Vigil, and the story of the Selentine Empire is leveraged to give both a recognizable image and a sense of purpose to Vigil’s operations. While role-playing has always been a core part of our past guild and group endeavors, the choice to participate in it, and how much, is entirely up to the player. The Selentine Empire is a true hegemonic empire formed from the political combining of four kingdoms in the distant, murky past. The Empire currently exists as a fully-functional parliamentary monarchy complete with legal codex and ratified constitution, and offers literal books of backstory for anyone wishing to pursue such things. How we will integrate the ongoing tales of this political powerhouse is as of yet undecided as we need ACE to release a bit more of the Lore of Crowfall to fit the pieces together. Once we have this key information though, Vigil’s lore will be made available for perusal. The overall RP setting, story, and the diplomatic functions that arise from them are managed by S-9 as part of the media and message tasking for the department. Integrity and Image: We achieve our mission through our Integrity and our Image through our reputation. Accordingly, we expect our membership to maintain a high level of decorum with regard to other players and organizations - regardless of the actions others may deem appropriate. This means there will never be any disparagement of other players or groups via a public medium from one of our members, and going against this is grounds for reprimand. Any issues arising from interpersonal or guild-level actions will be managed via Vigil’s diplomatic corps. Simply bring your issue to anyone in S-9, and let them handle the diplomacy in order to present a unified image. So what does this mean for you, oh curious reader? We estimate that Crowfall is about 200 days out from release at this time, and this post aligns with our R-200 gate. R-200 is when we start publicly talking about what we have planned and answering questions about how we plan to do it. At R-170 we will transition to open recruitment. Being as our focus is on Crowfall, we will be looking for players who are heavily interested / invested in Crowfall and what we are planning here, and looking to get in on the ground floor - but aren’t so flush with free time that not having someone to kill every night is a detractor to the overall idea… We’re still half a year out from release at the R-170 point. At R-170 we will also be starting the weekly sync on our TeamSpeak to both elicit feedback and ideas on Crowfall and Vigil itself. This also serves to get folks used to each other on voice; gamers are a rather eclectic crowd with a monstrously diverse background, and it’s always great to get to know everyone. We will be announcing our intents and goals with future R-Gates, so stay tuned!
  21. I'm now the proud owner of a t-shirt someone liked!
  22. Did you see all of the little doodads and props they're making for us to place inside the buildings? I'm guessing there will eventually be a huge library of chairs, tables, lamps, shelves, rugs, trophies, etc, etc. so that people can make spaces specific to whatever they desire. Ye olde tavern should be entirely doable, and exactly how you want it to be
  23. Yeah, the last was that the land ends with an ocean; and then JTC teased that this was because oceans might allow for naval battles someday.
  24. The 980 is new enough that it has all of the built-in safeties, so you can get away with quite a bit as long as you watch the temperature. 1450 is pretty good, I know guys at work have hit 1480 stable on winning chip-lotto 980 cards. The trick is how stable it is at those speeds. The way I do it is to adjust the clock up bit by bit and run it against Firestrike, then when it fails bump the voltage until it's stable or overheats... If the latter, just back down the clock a bit and call it good... Then I run a stress test: about a half an hour of Firestrike usually works. If it passes that, then I figure it's a good OC. And yes, memory gives little return. Any time people adjust it, it's just to try and keep the card stable, not really to go faster.
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