You Got Vines in My Ylem!

TiurTiur ProducerMember, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 1,149 admin
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!

Highlights include:

-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 and @Hammar, who all put in work somewhere in this.


  • MykellahMykellah EnorianMember Posts: 69 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2017
    The one thing I wasn't fond of was how you basically had so many mobs spawning the server seemed to be tanking at some point. Some sort of upper limit might not be a bad idea :P

    By the by I missed the big fight because I couldn't find it and people weren't really saying what was up, but I enjoyed the janitor's mop for a few hours anyways.
  • RhyotRhyot BloodlochMember Posts: 636 ✭✭✭✭
    My biggest issue was that I wasn't even aware that there was a boss fight to be had (so to hear that there was a large boss fight and wasn't even made aware of it kinda makes me a little bitter). So I'm not sure which group was doing it, let alone WHERE they were doing it, but maybe next time if there's a boss to be killed or taken down, have some sort of OOC announcement or something. I did however end up spending 2 hours clearing zombies/torsos/arms from BL and the Mhojave.

    All in all, really fun with what parts I was able to participate in. Should we expect large based dungeons next??

  • RunasRunas Member Posts: 89 ✭✭✭
    Mine definitely goes with the above statements, I wasn't even aware there was a boss mob, until after it was dead and all these zombies showed up in Bloodloch and attacked me, I was told after it was already killed that there was one. I had been pretty active in collecting books every dawn, even logging in to do it at work (Bad Me), then one day the book collection stopped, and I had no idea why I thought the event was over.
  • TiurTiur Producer Member, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 1,149 admin
    Hmmm... we did a few GAMEwide messages. I'll make sure we emphasize that more next time. We all thought the mass of death would be obvious too!

    As to performance, I'll check the benchmarking. We didn't see problems from above, I don't think. But we weren't trying to speedwalk.
  • RunasRunas Member Posts: 89 ✭✭✭
    edited November 2017
    It is hard to communicate during events where there is large group combat to people where locations are in the spam, I was told the Northern Strand and by the time I found the exit which was a new area, it was just Spirit side people beating on a willow. Overall it was a cool event, I would have liked to see maybe an honors for people who found books as well, so that way maybe non-combat folk could have felt like they contributed. Since it seems generally with events, its only accredited to people who kill the final boss mob and dont participate throughout. The Aalen Bloom did better at that I felt with those who participated in stages of it.
  • RhyotRhyot BloodlochMember Posts: 636 ✭✭✭✭
    The problem with seeing the deathsights is that I wasn't aware the deathsights were in reference to the boss mob. Yes, people were dying to vines, but I had assumed that it was just another mob like the zombies/torsos/arms that were infesting the game. I had -0- idea that it was an actual boss mob.

    When it comes to things like large groups, a lot of communication goes out the window with the exception of those in your very specific web. People just logging in are pretty much forgotten about once the large group event has started.... even with majors. You don't know that there was a major until you see people die or see it collapse, and you're left standing there going, "WTF!"

  • TozToz Member Posts: 2,512 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm afk like 24/7 and still noticed there was a boss fight going on. There was like, shouting about 'AT LAST MWHAHAHAHA' and junk. Make a chat capture for group stuff too, I dunno.

    Plus, I'm kind of the opposite way. I like events where it isn't a billion people, it's just one or two orgs that know/should show up - I figured the plant monster was a lifer event since it was someone shouting about doing it for 'Her' and so I sort of hung back to minimize the zerg.

    Wish I had been able to be more attentive for it, loved the vine stuff itself, and the mechanics sound really interesting in general too, I like a departure from 'press bashing macro until they die to at least incorporate like, weaknesses/helping each other. Thanks for the fun!

    Arbre-Today at 7:27 PM

    You're a vindictive lil unicorn

    Lartus-Today at 7:16 PM

    oh wait, toz is famous

    Karhast-Today at 7:01 PM

    You're a singularity of unicorns awfulness Toz
    Didi's voice resonates across the land, "Yay tox."
  • AishiaAishia Queen Bee Member Posts: 2,272 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Like would it be way untenable to announce rough timelines for event conclusions? IE: Be here around x on x FOR EXCITEMENT? I know it could cause some disappointment if timelines fell thru but it would be nice to be able to plan to be around for conclusions or major parts of events (Or at least have the option to try)
  • TeaniTeani Shadow Mistress SwedenMember Posts: 2,221 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Perhaps you could also make sure that Event posts are written more often? Aside from a few player posts saying "There are these weird vines out there, try not to die" and "Hey, go check for books if you want to help out" there haven't been much IC information to be had.

    Event posts can be used to announce a new storyline from Admin's point of view. The vine thing seemed to be a worldwide thing, so it makes sense that someone writes up a small blurb about discovering vines and people requesting books. Make sure to keep small notes during the event and make a rough draft for a final event post after it is concluded. That way, when it is done, the Admin holding the event can alter the rough draft, add in some specifics, and then throw it up immediately.

    Sure, we can all go around asking other people ICly about what happened, but sometimes it's difficult to ask questions when you barely know what has been going on. Sometimes you don't even get answers because the people who were around aren't around when you are, and others don't feel like giving out information second hand.

    Event posts create a sense of continuity, a way of bringing everyone in, making people more engaged in the game, giving people something to talk about.

  • AnteheAntehe Immortal Member Posts: 476 Immortal
    edited November 2017
    Event posts are typically written as a conclusion rather than a guide book.

    In the end, we can't make you care. There was lead-up that SOMETHING was going on in that area 24 hours in advance. There were shouts. There were game-wide bright red lines and mini-paragraphs. Several of them.

    If your citymates aren't announcing/communicating with their organizations that things are going down, that is a player problem. While there are always things we can do to improve, even in the midst of mass death, "ct get to v23523523535235 we're dying over here" is not outside of the realm of possibility for players to manage.

    > ct I heard there were vine things, could someone write a post
    > ct War minister, we need you to stay on top of this international threat.
    > ct Where is everyone dying, can I help?

    OOC messages for plot devices are unlikely to happen. For a game that is so focused on story and immersion and wanting the world to feel more dynamic, that is one of the trade-offs. This isn't plunderskulls in ESO.

    --- A last thought ---
    This happens occasionally. Events will be ongoing and players for one reason or another will not be invested/interested/inclined to follow along/chase information/push their allies to share. Then something neat happens and they miss out, so they are upset after the fact, while during, they were happy to let it go. Next time, push your people more.
  • TeaniTeani Shadow Mistress SwedenMember Posts: 2,221 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Big boss fight is done. Vines are gone. Event explanation has been posted here. Still no Event post in the game though? It's that conclusion post I'm talking about when I say it gives people an opportunity to chat with others about what's been going on even if they weren't there.

    I wasn't there during the action, so I can't speak on how things went down then. I only ever saw the ambient stuff. 

  • AnteheAntehe Immortal Member Posts: 476 Immortal
    edited November 2017
    Yes, the Event post is being written. Got a bit delayed with some RL family stuff. It will be up today.


    The post is now up.
    Post edited by Antehe on
  • PhoeneciaPhoenecia The Merchant of Esterport Somewhere in AtticaMember Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I dunno about most people, but I had little to no problem finding out things were going on. Granted, there were city news posts updating people on what was going on, and when there were global messages and shouts marking the event conclusion, people figuring out where to go wasn't a huge issue - we usually had someone able to tell people who wanted to participate but didn't know where to go. Didn't know there was an event going on? That does seem like more of a player issue than an admin issue. 

    As far as the event itself goes, I loved it. I do wish some of the books were available as actual books you could obtain in-game and have them displayed on shelves or cabinets like they are in the SGS. 

    I only wish that the zombies had been around for longer (ie. A few days as opposed to just popping up during the wrap up). I think it still would have been a good lead-in to the wrap up event, and would have helped hint at what was to come. I also heard that if you were behind a locked door, the zombies would knock and stuff, which was kind of creepy.

    Within the boss fight, I think it might've helped if there were hints or prompts as to strategies you could take. For example: The gargantuan icewyrm fight in the Big Game Hunter quest line alerts you when the instakill attack is being used and where the safe zones are.

    Hints don't even have to be super explicit either. 

    [HINT]: It looks like someone is trapped by vines! Maybe you can free them with a few solid hits.

    [HINT]: The plant looks extremely tough. Maybe clearing away some of the vines might help.

    Granted, people might still have no clue what to do, but it'd provide a bit more of something to go on.
  • AnteheAntehe Immortal Member Posts: 476 Immortal
    Phoenecia said:

    I do wish some of the books were available as actual books you could obtain in-game and have them displayed on shelves or cabinets like they are in the SGS

    I hear you. Special editions of "Flora for the treatment of Impotence" and "One pod, Two pod" will soon be available.

  • XeniaXenia Member Posts: 1,092 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I wasn't really involved in the event due to my schedule keeping me busy. BUT good job, and I dunno, thanks for not holding our hands too much in making us participate. As a result, there were a ton of organic responses that are still generating ripple effects of RP that I'm finding fun and engaging.

    If not for the ripple effect alone, thanks to everyone who designed and participated in this event. As someone playing catchup, I'm loving the process of taking the initiative to learn what happened.

  • MykellahMykellah EnorianMember Posts: 69 ✭✭✭
    Tiur said:

    Hmmm... we did a few GAMEwide messages. I'll make sure we emphasize that more next time. We all thought the mass of death would be obvious too!

    As to performance, I'll check the benchmarking. We didn't see problems from above, I don't think. But we weren't trying to speedwalk.

    The biggest thing here is there was no direction where this was going on. I spent literally half an hour looking for this going on since the people fighting weren't really responding to queries, before I gave up and just started wandering about and eventually into zombies.

    It's really easy to miss stuff in event spam, too, if you are involved.
  • AyegorAyegor Member Posts: 13 ✭✭
    Don't forget, Aetolia is a multiplayer game. Your characters don't always have to be the ones killing the big bad boss.
  • MykellahMykellah EnorianMember Posts: 69 ✭✭✭
    Ayegor said:

    Don't forget, Aetolia is a multiplayer game. Your characters don't always have to be the ones killing the big bad boss.

    I was robbed of my ability to die dramatically many times! Robbed, I tell you!
  • LinLin Blackbird The MoongladeMember Posts: 1,846 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Here I just wanted to see the mudsex zombies.

  • TiurTiur Producer Member, Administrator, Immortal Posts: 1,149 admin
    I'll see if we can get some interesting quotes from the 'would have been' pile.
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