The Emerald Conspiracy Chapter III: Update
Attention heroes and citizens of Stormreach:
The Coin Lords have received the following report from Inquisitive Ingaram:
“Hail good Sirs of the Coin Lords. I had a conversation with Brother Mirashai today. In his travels, he spotted an unusual cargo being unloaded by a group of men – one matching the description of the notorious +Derneal - at Sorrowdusk Isle. It is my professional opinion that they may be attempting to smuggle something into Stormreach.”
The Coin Lords have asked that I share this information with those who would be interested in exploring Sorrowdusk Isle and researching this issue as reported by Inquisitive Ingaram. If you do go to Sorrowdusk, please bring a full experienced party of level 7 or higher. If anyone is being smuggled into Stormreach, please put an end to their plans. You may keep any items you find in your explorations.
Safe harbor to Sorrowdusk has been scheduled for the following times:
Ghallanda: Friday, November 9th, 7:00pm EST
Argonnessen: Friday, November 9th, 8:00pm EST
Thelanis: Friday, November 9th, 9:00pm EST
Khyber: Friday, November 9th, 10:00pm EST
Sarlona: Friday, November 9th, 11:00pm EST
Report back with your findings. Thank you and may the Silver Flame guide you back safely.
Request for the live events...
First, I *like* the fact that you guys are running this ongoing storyline, but let me throw out a few observations concerning the last one that might stir thoughts before the next one (the one after Sorrowdusk).
1) having the events start late and end early tis annoying, but I understand that you have to get set for the next server, have a bathroom break, etc.
2) much, much, more frustrating is having the 'special instances' be only those where a dev comes into to spawn a couple of mobs. While i can appreciate a couple of knock-down brawls with mass mobs, it just seems like it could be so much better.
2.i.) The devs can't get to every instance as happened last time at Ataraxia's Haven for some players.
2.ii.) The feel of the story is lost (imo) when we go in and randomly have mobs spawn in the middle of openness just because.
These could be fixed by doing something like the following idea... or if this idea doesn't fit, please try something to address them.
While I don't know the fullness of the complexity of creating your instances, it would seem to me that the work breaks down into 3 parts:
a) terrain design and images (major work)
b) monster design and images and AI (major work)
c) creation of "triggers" which have part b in part a.... wouldn't seem to be the major undertaking the first two were. While I *do* understand it is not as easy as "wave a wand over the keyboard and it is so", given that a & b are done and finished, part c has been done by many people over many years everytime a fan creates a mod for a game or a new level... and it gets faster with experience... experience I would assume the Turbine staff has.
If the time was taken to take the map of Sorrowdusk and just add a few location triggers (i.e. if player does x then y spawns/happens at z) which continues the storyline of +Tchurvul and crew, then the time issue from the dev side to be present and spawning things would be fixed and the players would have a better flowing story/experience. It would even be reasonably easy for the Turbine staff to compile the results of the various instances that people run during the live event (read realtime continuing storyline) to have our actions AFFECT the storyarc... wouldn't THAT be a blast for the playerbase.
To further make it easy for the Turbine staff (this would pay off more and more over time), you could code in a time trigger on the instances so that if party A goes into an instance of (say) Sorrowdusk at 9:59 or earlier, they hit the normal Sorrowdusk map, if the party creates an instance of Sorrowdusk between 10 to 11 (or even longer as the program is controlling the on/off times) then a special, live-event instance (i.e. map with modifications) is created.
Think about what you could have done for Halloween. I remember a game (the name escapes me) which had special areas that only opened up during the real life full moon times... if the moon was full (the 3 day window), you could access a special map.
(slight topic shift, but still applies)
In my opinion what will help keep this game alive and interesting is the ability of a player to feel like they are working towards something worthwhile... be that a higher character level, a dungeon that needs to be figured out, hunting down better equipment, designing a house, making a museum collection,... or affecting the storyarc. Sadly, for a long time now, there really hasn't been much that a person can do to feel that progression with the exception of figuring out dungeons (Mod 5). While I appreciate the effort which went into making those dungeons (and I do actually like the Orchard quests, think that most of the new Necro quests are cool & challenging (with the exception of the rat maze... that one just bores me waiting on the rat to shamble his way around /shrug), that challenge is very much a short-lived event by it's very nature.... there are only so many dungeons and they take massive amounts of time to make.
So something else (one of the other items on the above list... or something I'm not thinking of at the moment) should be present... hopefully something which doesn't require massive time expenditures on the part of the devs.
Just my 2cents.
-Tygre of Thelanis, Tharashk and Xoriot