Halloween events! We all hope you have fun, even it was a bit of a slow burn to get to the climax. So what were the thoughts on this one?
The plan began as a way to make death matter, at least for a short while. Early on I thought we would just spawn zombies of everyone to hunt down the player that they rose from. But that was very one-note, without any interest. And then our lovely lore people reminded me that things in Aetolia need reasons, and I can't just say "Datlotl did it" every time.
Instead we started tracking every death, and built on a way to track what rooms had the most death. Of course it got to be a great deal more fun by sharing with you all how the death was stacking up! We expected here for players to death-attack one another's cities, or to pre-kill one another to make Orrery more difficult. And at least one Archivist to kill themselves over and over to see what grew.
We did not expect three separate groups to do that. And do it so quickly that we needed to change the rank bands THREE TIMES to keep up, lest things get too violent around the world. The vines should be daily, noticeable effects, not a hinderance to everyone all the time.
Book turn ins seemed popular too! It's a little of a proto-technique we might use later for 'researching'.
The boss fight was the most fun. The intention was to introduce concepts over the course of the month that the Boss would utilize against all of you. You've seen the breath attacks, you've seen how HACK works, etc.
-----BOSS MECHANICS via @Razmael
There was three main mechanics the boss had. We made most of these special mechanics highlighted in bold yellow colouring when used, to draw attention to them and make you realize they weren't just regular old attacks. Note that this is a growing process for us both, players and Admins. You're not used to the new complicated hunting, we're not used to how to get the information across.
1) It would periodically shoot a bunch of pods across the area. These pods would eventually hatch, spawning a bunch of zombies that would track to the boss room and attack people there. There was two options for dealing with them:
a. let them hatch and just kill the zombies
b. kill the pods before they could hatch.
If option b was selected, the boss would spray the area in poison fog in retaliation. This dealt
periodic room damage/afflictions until it dispersed. You can HOLD BREATH if you had the skill to negate its effects, or the poison fog could be dispersed immediately by a Shaman using Squall or an Archivist using settle.
In practice, it looks like the zombies didn't end up being much of a threat so mostly people just ignored the pods. The poison was released a few times but I didn't see anybody making use of the various counters to that (Keroc even dropped a hint in his post!).
2) Vines would periodically grab someone and imprison them in a pod. The trapped pod person would periodically take damage, which would heal the plant. People could be broken out of the pods by directly attacking the trapped person with a damage skill. Once it reached a threshold of damage, they'd be ejected from the pod.
After a few wipes (and a couple of hot fixes on our end) people eventually figured this mechanic out!
3) You could HACK VINES while in the boss room to decrease the boss' level by 5 each time (thus decreasing its damage), in return spawning a handful of (weak) vine NPCs that die pretty fast. If somebody died in the boss room, the boss would take the energy from their corpse, the boss would increase its level by 5. There was a minimum and maximum cap on this, so the boss couldn't get super weak or strong.
Didn't really see anybody figure this one out. While a single use of HACK VINES wouldn't decrease its level by much, getting it to the minimum cap would've made a noticeable difference in its damage output.
And that was it! Obviously the boss had extra attacks, but those were just our normal mob attacks using the standard oact system like 'target entire room with damage and sleep', 'target single player with entangle', etc.
So we're interested in your thoughts! This was a slow-burn event. The goal was to have an omnipresent 'threat', but not really mess up your day to day gameplay until the end. We expected Orrery to be a hilarious mess, we figured just a single go wouldn't be too bad. In exchange for your thoughts and ideas, here's how we messed up!
-Literally, there are three updates to the code with the comment "MOVING GOALPOSTS" because deaths were so fast and numerous.
-The book titles were some of Our favorite parts, all of Us got to write some and were carried away. I'll list the titles here:
Useful books Nalin wanted:
"book123226" volume two of, "Nassaeg: Enquiry into Plants"
"book174565" volume five of, "Nassaeg: Enquiry into Plants"
"book237640" a faded book of current and energy theories
"book239449" a book theorizing the impact of the Seams
"book250653" a worn book titled, "Invasive Plants of the Ashtani Waterways"
"book250704" volume one of, "Nassaeg: Enquiry into Plants"
"book250718" a volume of, "Payat's Guide to the Southern Valleys"
"book250724" a long book entitled, "Physiology of Plants"
--not turned in on time--
"book165653" volume three of, "Nassaeg: Enquiry into Plants".
Curious and questionable books:
"book6112" a solemn, gray book titled, "Everybody Taps"
"book14514" a vine-etched book labeled, "Life of Vines"
"book31852" a red book titled, "Leylines and You"
"book65238" a gray, stained book titled "Supra-Spacial Fluid Dynamics"
"book88855" a bright blue book labeled, "Exploring Ylem"
"book173898" a rudimentary book labeled, "One Pod, Two Pod"
"book179918" a rather plain book titled, "Botany for Dummies"
"book190079" a large, green book titled "Fantastic Plants and Where to Find Them"
"book197191" a tiny, blue book titled "Flora for the treatment of Impotence"
"book226801" a colorful book labeled, "The Drunken Botanist"
"book234062" a small, wrapped book titled, "Feeding Thorns"
"book234724" a spineless book labeled, "The Giving Foci"
"book250643" a book labled, "The Tiny Pod"
"book255722" a small, black book titled, "Live, Laugh, Ylem"
"book258078" a pink book labeled, "Foci Club"
--not turned in on time--
"book66203" a thin book titled, "Living with Ylem".
"book257431" a rigid book titled, "The Effects of a Ylem Thorn"
"book258800" a book titled, "Midnight In the Garden of Ylem and Foci".
-Alas, the most important book, the one that ended it all and turned off all the searching? Done while we were asleep. Oops. Next time, include a check for that, we shall.
-Mobile attacks have a wide range of use. One of the techniques we use is to give them a proportional bonus, like "x3 damage", because a low level mob might hit very softly on its own. This usually works great... unless you leave a mobile at level 255. Then x1 damage kills people, let alone leaving it on x3. MurderWillow will be remembered forever as one of the most murderous mobiles Aetolia has ever seen. @Hammar
will never live it down.
-The zombies don't like being critted. That's a new effect, something you might keep in mind in the future. They really aren't so bad if you let a mid-range player kill them. Torsos and hands spawned based on how smashed up the zombie was.
-Zombies really were based on deaths. While the vines grew on their own, the level bands were so far apart by the end that it didn't matter. Yes, you guys really did die that many times.
-The zombies would have also talked, using special code made to record and mimic players (via very clever Markov code). Except then some zombies would speak in mudsex terms, so we nixed it. True story.
- Razmael temporarily locked himself out of his dev box while testing the boss plant fight. When the plant used its trap command on him, it stopped all his commands and left him unable to do anything until he had to reboot his server.
- He later added in some commands that would bypass this, except in doing so accidentally left in some commands for players to use while trapped as well. Including being able to heal, so they'd never die with firstaid/system turned on. Thusly giving the Boss nigh infinite health.
-Forgot to make the drain disappear on death... so for a bit there, he was draining people who were dead, becoming more invincible. Thanks @Kanivara
A whole lot of thanks to my wonderful team for this one. I would call out each individual person for their efforts to make this a blast, but that would be the whole team's work! Special thanks to our resident awesomes @Diogen @Antehe @Kyna
, and our new crew of freshly whip-scarred Celani, @Nils @Arayl @Samaria @Ceraen
, who all put in work somewhere in this.