Lately we’ve partially opened a new location. It’s Rosarians’ Monastery. A great sits of Rosarians Order placed on a huge rock in Agia Triada near Nithal town. It’s one of the most complex structures in Margonem. It has at about 40 chambers, halls, and workshops. It’s filled with acolytes and monks. Apart from usual shop with potions and other, player has an opportunity to learn some monastic vocabulary, e.g.: names of monks’ chambers, like refectory, chapter house or lavabo. Of course in gardens, local brewery or bakery, player may learn how the life of monks look like. However, if someone doesn’t like to read much, under the monastery are caves with powerful ogres that carry quite interesting items, it’s a great opportunity to exchange your current equipment to something much better.

We started to work on out forums and the changes are visible. Now search engine helps to find information. Long awaited players’ profiles were also implemented. Now you can go through it just by clicking player’s avatar in the forum. Every player may even write a few words about himself. Soon we plan to add background  for players’ avatars.

Incy wincy little… bug

Maybe writing about bugs isn’t in our best interest, but we just want you to know that creating a vast virtual world isn’t as easy as sometimes it seems. However, it’s probably designers distortion, but we find some bugs interesting.

On the picture, there is Spiderweb Cavern – 3rdLevel. It’s a cave of size 32 on 32 squares. Our square has 32 px sides and every terrain map is made on the grid consisted of such squares. We’ve get a report about disappearing characters in that cave. It was tricky, because it was tested before implementing. It took some time to figure it out, what’s going on. The solution was simple, in fact. The whole cave was changed, new monsters were introduced and new maps. Third level map was smaller than the old one. The old cave left some stray data. Just look in the lower right corner. There are coordinates of the player’s character. They’re (35, 5) – they are outside of the terrain. Nevertheless, how could it be that it wasn’t noticed earlier? In Margonem MMORPG between maps are passages. They’re semi-transparent doors. Between some locations, there are more passage points just next to each other, just for players convenience. It works like that, you stand on the door and you appear on the random door on the other side. Random is a key word here. One door was placed right, so we have 50% chance not to spot the problem. The other door, apparently, was placed in the stray data outside the size of the terrain map. Of course, the problem was solved with dispatch.

Image Credit: Useres

It’s party time! In Margonem MMORPG takes place Halloween event! It’s a great opportunity to leave normal locations with monsters and immerse in the spooky world. Events will be common in the game’s realm. The biggest events are always connected with the most know festivals like Christmas, Easter, but we also hope to prepare smaller ones like vernal equinox, donut day and others. We even made events concerning football championships etc. Everything for the players! Events simple mean new shops, quests, monsters and many changes in appearance of the game. Of course, after the event all the attractions disappear and wait for the next year. Halloween in 2013 is a modest one. However, we manage to change whole town appearance into a frightening one with inhabitants in spooky costumes. A witch has a shop with costumes for players and other funny items. A gravedigger longs for his dead wife’s pumpkin soup. Therefore, the players have an opportunity to gather pumpkins for him. A vampire has a pressing problem with his teeth that’s why he sells exquisite equipment for artificial fangs. There are event auctions and two scarecrows roaming around. Come by and check this out!

Game designers face often quite unexpected problem. Span of live of virtual world is almost infinite. Even if the content of world is out of date, the interaction between players can be also assumed as gameplay. That’s why if there is someone to play and there are technical means to support the game environment, the virtual world could last forever. A few ancient MUD systems are operational till now. As you well know, there are a few types of players. One of them is player that races with others in terms of all kinds of rankings, but the most important is experience ranking. Simply, who has the highest experience level. Such players don’t stop even if they are the first and only. There are a few approaches to such matters. A few games have a maximal experience level that cannot be exceeded; others have exponential expressions that describe experience needed to gain a level. Margonem MMORPG is the latter. Our expression is x to power of four. We thought that it would be steep enough that players will stop about 250 experience level. However, out players exceeded 310 and the levels are still rising. All our players are important for us that’s why we prepared also locations suitable for players 250+. Nevertheless, when we take into consideration pure numbers the 150+ players are only 1% of game world population.  That’s why yesterday we introduced three main locations: Forest Ford, Wolves Hunting Grounds and Plunderers Hills filled with monsters for players between 15 and 45 experience level that complained that monsters for them are too scattered all over the northern part of the realm. The amount of players from this interval is 32% of game’s world population. I attach a screen from Wolves Hunting Grounds with wild Wolf Tribe.

Forum changes

Why do we need forum in MMORPG? Chats and mail aren’t good to discuss different ideas. Our forum is under construction but I’d like to show a few features. The main page of forum has tiles with forum’s sections. They’re divided into three groups. First group is social. It contains first aid, solutions, players’ parties and events, off-topic etc. The second group is strictly connected with professions. Here players make their own how-to, decide about the best weapon sets and skills. The last group concerns technical support, bug report etc. Short news and general news are made as a forum thread, they’re displayed directly on the main page and players at once may comment them. Popular topics and last moderators or admins posts are also useful features, because they are the information that players are searching on the forum.

Section view isn’t really innovative. The topics are also tile-like. There is all the most important information. Topics read lately by the player and new topics will be clearly indicated. The green and blue stars denote topics in which game master or moderator posted their answers.

Topic view needs a lot of work. I said earlier that the forum is integrated with the game. That’s why avatars of players on the forum are the same as in the game. Under player’s character will be a certain customized background that will look like a place in the game. The bars beneath players’ outfits are forum levels that depends on forum’s reputation, level of experience and age of player’s account. Emoticons and BBCodes are already implemented. The curious feature is that players may show their items from the game on forum with the proper looks and the same stats presented in a tip as it is inside the game. Players may quote other posts, ignore posts of certain players, report posts that violate rules or edit their own posts.

Starting with the 25 experience level, player can decide by himself how he wants to develop his character. First of all, player may assign one talent point to chosen main statistics value (strength, agility, intellect). From now on, with every gained level player’s character will obtain one skill point. Skill points may be exchanged for special abilities. It can be done at trainers’ skillshops.

There are 4 paths that may be chosen: strength, cunning, elements and enlightenment. They are usually connected with groups of professions. The first path in connected with strength, so the damage of the blows, durability and health. The path of cunning is closely connected with ranged weapons, speed and survival. Path of elements concerns magic, spells and protective globes. Particularly paladins specialize in path of enlightenment. From this path you may acquire healing spells, auras that affect whole party and holy fervor. The skills are passive or active.

Passive skills work all the time, e.g: increase evasion rate, attack speed, critical hit chance etc. Active skills can be used during a fight, e.g.: multiple shot, berserk fury, healing touch. Every character has energy and mana. Energy is used for performing actions like special blow that hits several opponents. Mana is used for casting spells. Player’s character may use special moves and spells only if it has enough energy or mana to perform them. These values are replenished every new fight. Wisely chosen skills helps player to overcome stronger monsters and are inevitable when fighting in party with bosses (elite II or titan type monsters).

Browser games have often problems with bots. Players can modify the client’s code to make some things easier. It’s ok if it’s autoheal or starting a battle by pressing single key. Often certain players create programs that do something instead of them, e.g.: walk and fight. It is clearly visible in terms of fighting with powerful monsters. In Margonem MMORPG their class is called elite II. They loots usually items that are very expensive on auctions and mighty when you wield them. In that case, usually we see a character that stands in one place, doesn’t talk and hits elite II monster when it respawns. There are two approaches: we can detect bot or we can detect human.

On the picture, I’ve started a fight with a green troll, an elite II monster. It casts a spell. I have a few seconds to match the same runes. If I choose wrong or exceed time, I’m dead. If the answer is correct, the battle starts normally. Therefore we detected that the player is a human

International version of Margonem MMORPG is a great opportunity to change some things and make them better. Even small adjustments may make steering more intuitive and panels more clear and ergonomic.

Our guild panel was functional; however, it lacked some graphical frame. We gave guild’s leader or chosen by them members a great range of customization. They have official page that every player can see. It used to present the guild to whole community and partly to recruit new members. Every respectable guild should have a well-made official page. Another page is a private one. Leaders may place there announcements, important news, rules and plan actions of the guild. This part is accessible only by guild’s members. There must be a vault and leaders may gather funds to buy guild depository, outfit or upgrades that gave more experience point for members for slaying monsters. However, when someone doesn’t have skill or not feel like doing graphical stuff – the guild panel looks rather poor.

That’s why we added default graphics that can be exchange for custom, but they look quite nice even without intervention of guild’s leader. All the elements was grouped and the button received a new graphics. Crucial functions were move to the front or to top of the guild’s panel page. The add buttons are now on the beginning or various lists. Diplomacy will receive history and guild history will have more filters. These changes don’t take much time, but they really influence handling guild’s affairs and members. Here I present demonstrative screen of future guild’s panel page (vault). We also consider introducing guild’s experience levels.

Accidental imprisonment

The Margonem MMORPG is created from a great number of images that are terrain maps. Of course, the main locations are much greater than interiors of buildings. Some of these maps are used only in quests. They are closed locations and player is usually teleported there to witness or experience a certain part of the quest’s plot. In these places, using teleport devices is restricted. Even after death (than can be induced by player) player is respawned in the same map. The main reason is consistency, leaving and entering this place leaves the plot “hanging”. Players often forget what they were doing or destroy important items. It causes trouble.

However, we introduced a new option. Players may cancel quest they are carrying out. Today we’ve encountered a problem. One of the player left quest staying in the closed quest map. Thanks to bug report we were able to correct it and free the unfortunate player. Playing eternally in only one location may be dull and depressing. Mental health comes first. Now the main NPC characters taking part in the quest with closed locations has a secret dialogue line with exit when the player doesn’t have this quest among his active quests. We also anticipated this situation in a few other missions. Therefore, we hope it was individual accident.