In Iron Realms this past month, we've been focusing hard on improving the game experience for newbies, as we prepare for a big advertising push to bring in fresh blood to our games. Aetolia is no exception to this!
Many changes have been made over the last few weeks, as we strive to make the game a fun and easy experience for people both new to Aetolia and MUDs alike. A lot of these changes you will not have seen, as they handle alerts and tracking that only Gods can see; some you will have noticed that were announced were vampires no longer burning in the sun immediately after they become one, allowing a newbie vital time to get the levels required to withstand it without immediately dying. We also introduced the PORTAL CITY and PORTAL GUILD commands, allowing a newbie easy access to their guild and city tutors. If you've made a newbie character lately, you may have also noticed some of our other unannounced changes.
We will be continuing to focus on improvements to newbies in the coming weeks, and I am interested in hearing any suggestions people might have!
One big problem we've highlighted with newbies is that often when they join a guild or House, there is nobody online (or not afk) to assist them. It is no secret that Aetolia's population isn't as large as it was five years ago, yet we still have the same number of organizations as we did back then. As a result, our population is often spread thinly between them. Not many people will like what I have to say on this, but it is a necessary evil: We will be reducing the number of guilds and Houses we have. The ideal figure I want is four Houses, and twelve guilds.
We will be introducing changes to Houses during February, resulting in Houses dissolving to clans if they remain a minor House for too long. The calculation used for differentiating between major and minor Houses will also be changing with this in mind. The Imperium will be receiving some changes to help make it more relevant, and we will be adding a novice channel to it. All newbies coming from the tour that select their class as Nightstalker will instead join the Imperium novices section, rather than joining a House. From there, newbies can join a House as they please.
Work will also begin during February on dissolving two of our guilds, to bring our total down to fourteen. This does not in any way mean the class associated with those guild will become unavailable.
Our fourth Delos Brawl was held again last month, this time featuring a new modification. The Brawl modification creates chaos in any room that has three or more people in it, making attacks have a random chance to hit another target. The first run went pretty well, with Daskalos managing to take on a team of five and downing one of them before falling himself. The next Brawl is due very soon, and several key bugs have been fixed with the modification to make it even better than before.
This month also saw a brand new event: The Iron Epicurean. This cooking contest was our response to the Brawl being a regular event that was only aimed at one facet of Aetolia. The event was overwhelmingly successful and entertaining, largely due to the effort put into the event by the Gods running it. The success of the event has guaranteed its return in the future, and we will be busy thinking up many new regular events like the Brawl and the Iron Epicurean that we can run.
The Sect of Blades has been released and blood has already been spilled several times since its release. We will be continuing to make changes to the Sect over the next few weeks, based on feedback and observation. The first set of changes will be a small "arena" Sect members can enter and fight to the death. Neither can leave until one of them has fallen, and the victor will gain double the usual points. Like a normal arena, your fight cannot be interrupted by the outside. However, all curatives will still be used up, and you will not be protected from death.
And lastly, work continues onwards with the huge project that is Albedos. To emphasize how huge this task really, the room count for Albedos currently stands at 14640, rivaling Sapience already in its enormity. Because of the huge scope this new continent represents, we want to help familiarize everybody with Albedos as we continue work on it. Haern, who leads our builders, has volunteered to write regular posts on Albedos, its areas, and all the lore and mythos surrounding it. The depth of Albedos is far richer and more cohesive than Sapience, so I hope everybody looks forward to learning more about it.