Blog

 

Hi all,

This last week has been more of the same. Builders continue to work in the background on Laketown and other various systems. Our crafts list continues to grow on a daily basis and we're hashing out some issues with staff-run clans to make them easier for players to get involved with.

As usual, most of my time has been spent on the Warcraft system. We've got the bulk of complicated systems in place. Our operational systems right now include transfering of six different types of troops (Defenders, Scouts, Archers, Gatherers, Engineers and Medics) from an army's home base out to any of their existing remote strongholds. Transfers can be ordered back to the home base as well, in case you need to shift some troops around or you're sure you're going to lose the position no matter what. Take note that transfers are not instant, there is a delay of one hour for every troop that you move. For instance, if you order a transfer of 20 defenders and 4 Gatherers back home, these 24 troops will be in a transfer state and one per hour will report in at your home base. It works the same way when transfering from home out to the remote location. After 12 hours, half of your troops will have reported in and be available and 12 more will still be in the transfer queue.

I've done a complete re-write of how we're going to load mobiles for defense and acting as doorkeepers within the remote stronghold. The new system is much cleaner than the original and outfitting is done automatically rather than having to outfit each npc one at a time as they load. I'm also being forced to do away with the system to allow players to set clanning of these mobs as they see fit. I was basing this option off the fact that copying a mobile would also copy over their clanning, which, it seems, the system does not do. It's just as well. It makes the system more straight forward and takes away a rather confusing set of commands that players would have had to deal with when setting clanning.

The npc resource gathering system is fully functional now as well. Three cheers for Gatherers! In default areas a gatherer will be able to collect one log, a half piece of iron ore, food and water for three soldiers, a large rock and 10 feet of rope. What's more, we're allowing for areas of Central Mirkwood to hold more or less of the six resources. That means if you park your palisade on an iron-rich location that instead of the half piece of iron ore per gatherer, you may find your gatherers collecting one or two each day. On the flip side of this, that iron-rich area may not have as much wood, or food. I've finished the craft and associated craft prog to let you scout out the rooms of Central Mirkwood as well. This craft will allow you to determine how much can be gathered per day in these rooms and lists the outputs for all six resources (logs, iron, food, water, rocks, and rope).

The resource collection system also has a manual output that you can use to withdraw actual items from your palisade's stores if they are available. This will allow you to either use the resource to further strengthen your stronghold or use for other things, such as building seige engines, weapons, armor or whatnot.

NPC engineers are fully operational as well when it comes to the walls of your palisade. Should your engineers discover that your palisade walls have been damaged, each one will be dispatched each hour to execute repairs. How much is repaired is dependant on how many engineers you have in the position. Please note that an engineer making repairs to your walls will only add approximately 75% of the hit points that an actual player would add when running the repair craft, so it's in your best interests to do as many of these yourself as you can. Engineers will stop repairs as soon as the Maximum HP is reached. Player though, may extend a position's Max HP by executing the proper craft.

Movement of your palisade is also fully functional now as well. Travel in the four cardinal directions is possible as long as there is not another palisade in the room you are travelling to and it has been at least 24 hours since the position has moved and you are not currently being attacked by the enemy.

Attacking the palisade has been working for quite some time and now so too, is the loading of a breach object which allows direct access in to the position by the enemy. As soon as a position's hit point value drops below 10%, it is considered breached and the enemy may flood in. Be careful though! If you're breaching a position and you enter as soon as the breach appears it's possible that you may get cornered inside if the engineers in the position make enough repairs on the position to block the breach! Your best bet is to continue attacking the walls well after you've reached 10% and then enter.

Another thing I've gotten done this week is the absolute destruction of a position when it has been overrun. From the mirkwood room you may 'destroy stronghold', and if the position is empty it will set it ablaze and will no longer be available for the original owner to enter. They'll have to re-deploy a new position and start from scratch at their palisade starting position. Make note here as well, that if there are resources within the position and you confirm the destroy command, all of those resources will be gone. It will give you a warning that there are resources and if you wish, you can re-enter the position and pilfer all the gathered goods and haul back to your own position.

There are a few different ways to flee a fight as well when you're within, or right ouside a palisade. If you are an enemy standing within mirkwood you can use the regular flee command to get away. If you're trying to get in to the palisade, i.e. it's a friendly position and you're under attack you can flee towards the position. If you're actually standing at the walls of the position and want to flee indoors, you can do that as well. If you're an enemy standing at the walls of the position you can flee away.

Things I'll be working on this week:

Auto loading of defender NPCs when an enemy enters the breach. Mob progs to load more mobiles as they are defeated by the enemy, i.e. if five enemy soldiers enter the stronghold five mobiles will be loaded, and as each mobile is defeated it will load two more. This means that an enemy swarming a compromised position won't get ganked immediately upon entry, but that the fight will escalate as time goes on.

For our initial tests I will not be fully developing the recruit system for npc soldiers, but instead will slowly stream a number of available soldiers to each army each day. The initial starting numbers will be sufficient for each side to actually make war, but it will require some good plans and dedication to win.

Setting ambushes. Since each position sends out a resource gathering party each day, these soldiers will be available to be attacked by the enemy periodically. The ambush command will take in to account player's limited play times and rather than having to wait for hours on end for a resource patrol, if there's one scheduled within the next 24 hours they will be able to draw it out and engage with minimal delay. Be careful though... if you spring a trap on these soldiers it's pretty close to the palisade so they can call for help. If there are PC's within the position, they may come running out to help defend as well. It'll be a gamble for both sides, so be ready for some action.

I will be adding a function to allow the palisade owner to disable resource runs if they feel it's in their best interests. This would safeguard the troops, but would stop the flow of food, water and other basic resources. Be careful... if your npcs run out of food they won't fight as hard and may just decide to return to home base on their own to eat.

I'll also be working on the casualty system and mobile AI. Be aware that when you are battling npc mobiles that you most likely won't actually kill them, but if you wound them enough they will become a casualty and retreat back to their position on their own. If they are wounded they will be placed on the casualty list and be unavailable to take part in combat. Depending on the number of medics you have in your position that are active a wounded mobile may be healed and ready for action again within 4 hours all the way up to a few days. In time you'll be able to transfer your casualties back home if you like, and a local pc healer may be able to hasten their healing. (that bit won't be up and running for initial testing, but it's the plan.)

Taking prisoners is a huge part of warcraft and I'll be hashing out the basics of this sometime this week as well. It likely won't be part of our initial testing, but I'll have the basic framework in place prior to testing.

Thanks, as always, to our dedicated team of builders and admins. We couldn't do this without you and appreciate you all very much.

Believe,

Nim

 


Builder News:
09/25/2015 Updated all suede squares to have separate dyed versions to prevent variable monsters from eating my mental cords. Rishte
09/24/2015 Added several checks on warcraft, to check for resources and troops in a position before destroying it. Nimrod
09/24/2015 Added DESTROY STRONGHOLD prog that completely wipes the position off the map. May be initiated by anyone once the hit points have dropped to zero. (FYI - will not work if any players or npcs are inside, will have to remove or kill them all prior to final destruction.) -Nim Nimrod
09/24/2015 Working on scout resources craft for warcraft. Output will show resources gathered per day in Central Mirkwood. (This is per person). Nimrod
09/24/2015 Updated some output for staff when looking at a stronghold, added some echoes when engineers make repairs to the position. Nimrod
09/21/2015 Like writing? What about chalkboards? Language studying crafts with corresponding objects now live and available. Have fun! Rishte
09/21/2015 A... B... C... writing chalkboards now available for practicing your letters if you've the skill and money. Rishte
09/21/2015 Another education craft for repairing damaged study books. Rishte
09/20/2015 24 new study books available with 12 crafts to study said books. New craft available for making a cloth book, as well. Rishte

 

Vol 13 Issue 16 Onward!

 

Friends,

The amount of work that's been done in the last ten days is simply incredible. We couldn't be more pleased with our current staff roster and I'm going to give a special shout out to Rishte. She's been totes amah-zing. *wink* Seriously though, the sheer volume of work she's plowed through in the last month or so is staggering. Her strong work ethic, along with her willingness to take on the most menial of tasks is a boon to the game. She's the epitome of what a staff member should be, well, if you don't take in to account her unnatural love of cats. All kidding aside though, we love all of our staff members and think they're all doing a bang up job. Thanks all!

Staff's ability to run with and work on things and stay within our vision has allowed both Frigga and I to concentrate on some specific tasks that have been languishing for much too long. Frigga continues her crafting work, oversight, and general love for all things food and lore. I'm able to devote some serious time on Warcraft and backend systems.

I realize the public forums being shut down is still a bone of contention for many and we've discussed the issue at length among ourselves. We'll continue to leave the forums shut down for now, and most likely until we reach Beta, at which point we'll re-visit the issue and make a decision on how (and if) we should re-open some specific forums. Don't worry, none of the forums are gone, everything is safe and sound, it's just not available to the public. On a positive note though, the attention that we're able to devote to the game itself has sky rocketed and we're quite pleased with the results.

Yes, numbers are down in game, but that's okay. We still have a lot of people logging in for short periods of time, and several die-hard players that keep grinding away. We love you all! Don't worry, we're not going anywhere. The game is healthy and will continue for a long, long time. If you feel we're ignoring you, we apologize, but please know that in the long run, the time we spend now on fleshing out systems and the game itself will pay dividends in the future. Having a disciplined staff that concentrates on documentation and the game itself will allow us to step in to Beta much more prepared than we were for Alpha.

To touch base briefly on Warcraft, because that's what I'm spending the bulk of my time on and I'm very excited about it, I'd like to give you a brief run down on the process that you'll see as players in the future. Please note that there may be some things that have changed from my original talks on Warcraft, some things have morphed in to different systems and even sprouted new and bigger ideas.

So, what will you be able to do? Simply put, you'll be able to wage war in a much more drastic, and detailed manner than ever before. If you remember mini-forts, you've got an inkling of what Warcraft is all about. First off, anyone that wishes to found their own clan, be it an orc offshoot of the Vadok Ushtarak, a competing tribe, a merc group of drunken dwarves, they'll be able to apply for inclusion in the warcraft system and lead their clan to glory or utter destruction, depending on how good you are.

What, exactly will you be able to do? You'll be able to deploy multiple strongholds at your home base (number varies by clan). You'll be able to command those strongholds to pick up and move. Yes, you can move all the way across Central Mirkwood, though that'll take some time. Basically one room per day. You'll be able to reinforce your stronghold and increase its max hit point value, you'll be able to assign six types of troops to your position, and those troops will be able to gather six different resources. Troops will be self-sustaining if you deploy them in proper numbers, they'll even be able to gather resources that you can use for other things if you play your cards right.

You'll be able to recruit troops, deploy them to strongholds, recall them to your home base and re deploy them to other strongholds as well. Even non-combatants can get in on the action by donating, actively recruiting for you and lending aid when possible.

Once you park your stronghold in a room adjacent to an enemy stronghold you'll be able to engage in all out warfare, firing on the position with your catapults, raining down flaming arrows, burning the walls, laying seige in several different formats, even using your hands and feet to rip and tear at the enemy position if you dare to get close enough.

Once the stronghold position falls below 10 percent health it is considered breached, and you can send your npcs in to attack the defending npcs and you can even enter yourself to take on npcs or other pcs that may be defending the position. Aggressive attacks lead to prisoners that you can force in to labor to gain you even more resources. You can even send an enemy pc down in to your slave labor camps and force them to do your bidding, though some have been known to escape from time to time.

Don't have hours and hours to spend grinding out crafts to build up your position? Don't worry with our new craft timer bank and hefty crafts you'll be able to contribute a lot in a short time to your clan mates.

Ah, I've rambled on too long, apologies for the length of this newsletter.

Believe,

Nim

Builder News:

09/20/2015 Several rooms built for soon-to-be-available mines for multiple Sphere-use. Helloooooo mining crafts. Rishte
09/20/2015 Audited all dyecrafts. Now dye-making uses an Artistry check instead of Textiles and has a tiered branching structure to give better and more tangible growth patterns. Rishte

09/20/2015 Updated all leathercraft and good-leathercraft to have balanced and present delay timers, successes and fails. Rishte
09/20/2015 3 new crafts added to woodcrafting. Rejoice you whittlers! Rishte
09/20/2015 Added default and area-specific resource objects so some areas of Mirkwood may yield more or less wood, iron, food, water, rocks, and rope for Warcraft. Don't let your troops go hungry, make sure you have plenty of Gatherers in your stronghold! Nimrod
09/20/2015 New craft - clarify meat-drippings added for all your tasty fat needs. Frigga
09/20/2015 The list of greens produced from the current Mirkwood flora has been updated for use in chopping raw-greens and the new cooking craft basic-salad. Others have been tweaked for future use in medicines or as livestock feed. Frigga
09/20/2015 Added modifiable resource objects to sprinkle around in Mirkwood. Depending on where your stronghold is located, it may be able to gather some resources more quickly. Currently resources include: logs, iron, rope, food, water, and stones. All are important for the fight for Mirkwood. Nimrod
09/18/2015 Lots of stuff done on warcraft this week. Nimrod
09/15/2015 30 new gardening crafts. Wee. Rishte
09/14/2015 9 new orcharding crafts. 3 new gardening crafts. 1 new general craft built. Wee. Rishte
09/14/2015 Feeling peachy? Me too. Say hello to peaches, pears, figs, pippin apples, almonds, plums, olives, and grapes. Incoming amah-zing cooking madness and gardening deliciousness. Rishte
09/14/2015 Want to make some fertilizer? Check out general-labor. Rishte
09/13/2015 Modified naming function of strongholds to confirm so we don't get improperly named strongholds. Nimrod
Announcements:
09/20/2015 We're testing a new support system. Zendesk Inbox. Currently we only have a single inbox set up through the new system while we test. If you have any support needs, please help us out by using the system. Simply send your request to hello@middle-earth.us and it will automatically be added to our queue. You will communicate back and forth via email replies only. No more logging in to a separate web system. Please check it out and let us know what you think. -Nim Nimrod
09/12/2015 We've updated our policies. You can read them here: https://shadowcooperative.atlassian.net/wiki/display/PW/Policies Nimrod
Coding Announcements:
09/15/2015 Updated calculate_sale_price function. It was using the discount for the markup on pc-sold objects, which makes zero sense. Modified to use the correct markup on all objects instead. -Nim Nimrod
09/15/2015 Added Garden and Orchard sectors for crafting. -Nim Nimrod
Plot Announcements:
Web Site Announcements:
09/20/2015 We're adding things to the new wiki and we have the capability to allow up to 2000 users so if you're interested in contributing, please let us know. Nimrod


Described Rooms: 2519
Total Rooms: 2895
Total Mobiles: 370
Total Objects: 2550
Total Crafts: 1002

Total Characters: 1766
Total Accounts: 816
Player Writings: 1861

 

There's been quite a bit going on in the background over the last few weeks. Building is moving along at a brisk pace thanks to our dedicated staff. Some changes to our home page will be coming in the coming weeks and we're expanding the wiki. We've made the decision to go fully open source with our code base after a year of discussion. Warcraft continues to move forward and we're laying the ground work for some fairly nice systems in the future.

As I'm most familiar with WarCraft, I'll take a few moments to touch base on where we are, exactly, with the work. We've got deployable strongholds working that can be reinforced by allies and attacked by enemies. Stronghold movement orders are working and add an incredibly dynamic element to the war in Central Mirkwood. Strongholds can be set to private or public, which will allow non clan members of the same sphere to take refuge should they find themselves in a tight spot while out in the wilderness.

All aspects of the stronghold system are documented via an in-game board, available to all clan members. This will allow clans to determine which of their strongholds may be under attack and they'll be able to take steps to help defend it.

Things I'm working no now:

Clan members can recruit man power for their strongholds in several different ways. Basic Defenders, Scouts, Resource Gatherers, and Engineers can all be recruited to each stronghold and each type plays a very important role in the process.

We've added a new Morale variable to the WarCraft system. This will allow non-combatants and combatants alike to contribute to the cause in a very real way. Are you a baker in Laketown and want to contribute? Donate a few dozen loaves of bread or a few dozen cookies and see your favored army morale rise, which in turn, yields a more willing fighting force, which will fight on a bit longer than normal.

There's a lot more of WarCraft that is up and running right now, and many more bits that we could talk about as well. The system slowly continues to form and I'm very pleased with the progress. We're hoping to begin some testing in the very near future.

We continue to concentrate on building the game world and let plots and animations take a temporary back-seat. Keep the faith, we're moving forward and more excited than ever for the game world.

Believe,

Nim

Builder News:
09/11/2015 Nimrod added something amazing and while I didn't do it, I just had to share how happy I am and how awesome it is I work for this staff because AMAH-ZING. Give Nims a hug... and a cat pic. Seriously. Cat pics, all over, please. Rishte
09/11/2015 Added morale to warcraft progs so everyone can participate in the Central Mirkwood Conflict. Nimrod
09/05/2015 It's going down, I'm yelling timber! You better move, you better dance Let's make a night you won't remember I'll be the one you won't forget ...because I made a Lumberyard.... I'm yelling timber! Rishte
09/05/2015 14 more shops built in Laketown as well as a public working area. Rishte
09/05/2015 8 more shopfronts built in Laketown, amah-zing. Rishte
09/04/2015 Multiple tenements in Laketown built, joined by a glassworks shop, clayworks shop, run-down manse, an orphanage and two swanky import warehouses for Trade Companies. More to come. Rishte
09/03/2015 A ton of room updates to Laketwon (shops, manses, infirmaries)... my fingers... my brain... I'm going to dream in rsets again, I know it. Rishte
09/03/2015 Feel like Goldilocks? You can be her! Laketown has 3 tenement options for the poor, the working class and you richies out there. Helloooooo options. Rishte
Announcements:
09/12/2015 We've updated our policies. You can read them here: https://shadowcooperative.atlassian.net/wiki/display/PW/Policies Nimrod
09/11/2015 Wiki Contributors rejoice! We've been granted an open-source license for our Confluence site. As soon as we make it live you'll be able to request to be a contributor. Nimrod
Coding Announcements:
09/11/2015 We're going open source. The codebase has always been publicly available, and now we're making a concerted effort to include those that wish to contribute. You can read more about it here: https://shadowcooperative.atlassian.net/wiki/display/COOP/Shadow+Cooperative (It's under construction at this time and is an on-going work.) Nimrod
09/11/2015 Added a couple new languages to the codebase for Frigga. Nimrod
Plot Announcements:
Web Site Announcements:
09/11/2015 Added a data-base driven page on our site to list all the crafts: http://www.middle-earth.us/index.php/info/crafts/ Enjoy! Nimrod
09/11/2015 Working diligently on the Confluence Site over the last ten days. We've added the Questions add-on and have received an open-source license from Atlassian. Watch for some extra stuff showing up on the site in the coming days. We've got the final site hidden as we slave away and will port over the url to our links soon. Nimrod

 

Eyes on the Horizon

With the closing of our forums staff have been able to concentrate fully on building the game world and working with players to sort out any minor issues they may have. Our numbers remain fairly steady and we're seeing a good number of players returning that had originally started to play at the beginning of Alpha. We're even seeing a few old timers stepping in to the game that have not shown their faces in more than four years. Welcome. We've missed you and hope you enjoy the slower pace that Alpha gives.

Personally, I have taken a lesson from the past several weeks and have been concentrating on the most basic aspects of the game. Mainly with better defining our overall vision, policies, rules and how we work with new players. Watch for our overall policies to be solidified in the coming days, as well as a renewed investment in the players themselves that have been so dedicated to the game.

We're getting closer and closer to Laketown every day. Many staff members have spent many hours over just this last week hashing out the details and building. The basic structure of Laketown is complete, the public streets (or boardwalks), the Underdocks, the lake beneath. The room descriptions are wonderful and I could not be happier with how things are progressing. We've finalized the building placements, what shops go where, and how we're going to handle the unique, player-owned (or leased) buildings and shops. We're working on npcs to populate Laketown and to sell the basics and more. I fully expect to see a fully realized Laketown in the next month or so.

Does that mean we'll be opening Laketown right away? Sadly, no, we have some further building to complete before we make the leap to Beta. We also have much testing that needs to be done, as well as adding some secrets for you all to find. Fortunately the rest of the building that we need for Beta is not nearly so demanding as Laketown itself has been.

In closing, I'd like to thank all of our hard-working staff members and you, our dedicated players.

Believe,

Nim


Builder News:
08/29/2015 56 rooms created in Laketown for markets and PC and NPC stalls. Rejoice in selling and trading, crafts! Rishte
08/27/2015 'Forge thick-meat-hook' was created for the blacksmithing craft set. Cynric
08/27/2015 'Forge metal-goblet' was added to the blacksmithing craft set. Cynric
08/27/2015 'Forge metal-spoon' has been added to the blacksmithing craft set. Cynric
08/27/2015 42 new rooms for Laketown in the PC shop areas. Delicious. Rishte
08/26/2015 Automated shop/stall/manager license renewals. Check out your local Artisan Union Office! Rishte
08/26/2015 'Forge metal-fork' added to the blacksmithing craftset. Cynric
08/26/2015 'Forge medium-metal-bowl' was added to the blacksmithing craftset. Cynric
08/25/2015 'Forge metal-platter' created and added to the blacksmithing craftset. Cynric
08/25/2015 'Forge metal-ladle' added to blacksmithing craftset." Cynric
08/25/2015 'Carve wooden-ladle' has been added to the woodcraft skillset. Cynric
08/22/2015 A dozen objects created towards automating license and leasing renewals. Yay! Rishte
08/11/2015 You like bodies? You want to stop seeing dead ones? Go bury them at your local grave. Crafts General-Funerary Rishte
08/11/2015 Wrote some progs that are bound to irritate some people. Ceredir

 

Vol. 12 Issue 3 - Milestones

 

On December 1, 2013 we have officially requested an update to our DNS settings for our website.  The URL middle-earth.us will soon point to our new website and forums and the old will be archived.  We've embraced a bold, new look for our public-facing site.  One that embraces a clean, easy-to read format and a love of stirring imagery.  Please join us in stepping into the new Shadows of Isildur - Laketown experience.

The deep history that has evolved around Shadows of Isildur's play areas, such as Minas Tirith, Minas Morgul, Osgiliath and Ithilien, though no longer the focus of our attention are not gone.  These beloved places, the characters and events that have stirred our souls over the last decade will not be forgotten.  Ever.  

Change, though often terrifying, is inevitable and when embraced by the entire community can draw everyone together, forming a more tightly-knit group that can overcome all odds.  New adventures.  New terrors.  New alliances.  New challenges on all fronts are being faced every day and will continue to be confronted by future staff as well as players in the coming years.  We invite you to join us in this new beginning.

 

 

Working to provide a simplistic style that is pleasing to the eye and combining that with stirring images, Shadows of Isildur is pleased to present its newest incarnation of its public-facing home page.  We have simplified the front-end, concentrating on providing the barest of information while spicing things up with amazing images provided by some incredibly talented people.

Our back-end web-interface continues to evolve as well, eventually allowing for our beloved Player-Builders to contribute to our ever-expanding world.

Please take a few moments to peruse our new look.  Let us know if you enjoy all of our hard work.

 

Old friend or new, the ever-present greeting of Shadows of Isildur rings true.

Welcome Friend!

 

Rising once again to greatness, the world of Middle-Earth comes alive through textual glory to tell the unwritten tales of hundreds of souls who occupy this vast world in spirit, mind or dream. The journey continues upon the docks of Laketown, along the banks of Long Lake, at the base of The Lonely Mountain, within the dangerous Mirkwood Forest, deep in the bowels of Mirkwood Mountain and coursing down The River Running.

Shadows of Isildur: Laketown beckons young and old, new friends and old, urging you forward with open arms to come join us as we begin the next chapter of SoI.

An expansive world is unfolding behind the scenes beginning with our Alpha version of Utterby, a small settlement near the River Running, which is much, much too close to Vadok Mal, the mountain base of an orkish army led by the iron-fisted orc sent by the dark forces of Dol Guldur.  The outlook is grim for the hearty folk of Utterby who fight for life itself in the wild and dark Mirkwood Forest. 

Deep within the eastern-most mountain of the Mirkwood Mountains, Vadok Mal, a great evil gathers, venturing forth to strike at the innocent peoples of Utterby.  Their charge, though simple, is heinous beyond measure... crush the inhabitants of Utterby, show no mercy to any man, nor woman, nor child.

Will you answer the call?  To the heroic fight... or to dark?

Playable clans for both humans and orcs, new and old.

The epic struggle continues.