Issue #30 - Villagers & Heroes

News from the Seven Realms • Issue #30 • January 13, 2023

The Headline

2023 has begun, and the Ardent Ledger is back!  It’s been such a long time since the release of this little publication – it remained quiet when evil Isreta and her enigmatic Catacombs descended upon the realms, there wasn’t a peep about the exciting changes made to the Rift, or a proper introduction given to that lusciously wicked duo known as Bonnie and Clyde, nor a mention of the all new Horde of Horrors, or even a few words about the Long Autumn of Reboots and the extraordinary patience of our community during that period – that it’s quite possible some of our players are scratching their heads at just what in the world the Ardent Ledger is, or why they were just annoyingly tagged on Discord about its publication.

So for the benefit of our newer players, the Ardent Ledger is a newsletter for Villagers & Heroes! It’s a chance for us to highlight exciting new features coming to the game, showcase fan works created by our talented community, provide a peek behind the scenes of quirky Otter goings ons, celebrate newly appointed Royal Guardians, meet players from around the globe, report on lively contests and events across the servers, or even just share amusing game anecdotes supplied by you all, our wonderful VH community.

So let’s kick things off by shining a light on, not distant things tentatively coming to the game way down the road in 2023, but on some of the new features and improvements actually arriving within the next few months to V&H, like:  the all new remodeled Item Shop, changes to the Mana system, and, of course, that elusive feature which you patiently waited for throughout all of 2022, interior housing!

What’s New

The New Shop

The new Shop, as seen on a mobile device.

As of just a few days ago, you have by now all seen our first new exciting feature of 2023 which just went live this week, or ‘Part One’ of it did – a completely re-designed Item Shop!  We can at last say goodbye to that clunky, hard-to-read, disorganized little shop of old and instead delight in this all new slick beauty which is easy to navigate, visually arresting, and far more efficient.

The brand new interface includes an exciting three pane design – no more hovering over items to read their descriptions, instead just click to preview them within the same window!  Items can now also be seen in much greater detail with the addition of a new tile system.  Those tiny, often miniscule buttons are gone, and have been replaced with large and medium tiles, which have the benefit of being able to prominently display the items in a more polished and exciting manner.  The days of squinting confusedly at outfits and mounts, or rubbing tired eyes to read descriptions are over, because the bold new graphics in the shop now beautifully showcase the numerous VH items within! The organization, too, is much improved.  Many items have been streamlined to avoid duplicates in different categories, and the sections themselves have been moved around to make navigation easier. 

On large PC displays, the shop automatically widens to fit more items.

So that is ‘Phase One’ of our all new Item Shop.  But what is ‘Phase Two?’  How many of you out there have often loudly bemoaned the scarcity of sales, or missed out on a sale because you were busy in real life?  Quite a few of you, we imagine.  Well, ‘Phase Two’ of our new Item Shop, which we expect to have live at the end of this month, includes a particularly exciting new feature, that of automated sales every single day.  Instead of once-in-a-blue-moon sales which have to be manually (and somewhat laboriously) implemented, the shop system will now randomly pick a different item each day and put it on sale!  You never know just what the system will roll, but you can count on always having a sale every day!  Additionally, the shop will also feature sales on ‘Exclusive Items’ – these will be rare items, often unique cosmetics or mounts that you can’t find anywhere else in the shop.  They will only be available through these random sales, which should certainly add some excitement each week, wondering just which exclusive items will be offered that you might not have, or perhaps have never even seen before!

What’s New

Mana Improvements

For many years now, there has been a certain imperfect mechanic in the VH game design which has long needed some attention.  It’s been discussed mightily on the forums, and, though players have greatly differing views on the topic, I think everyone can agree that the Mana System in this game needs to be improved – and that’s exactly how we’re going to start the new year, by finally making some much needed changes to the Mana system, one which we believe all players will see the benefits and value of, and will ultimately be genuinely grateful for.  Much thought and care has gone into the alterations.  Work has already begun on them, and we plan to implement the improved Mana system next month, in February.  And here to give you a small teaser of what you can expect, is Otter V!

From V:

There are some exciting changes to the mana system in the pipeline! Here is a short preview of what to expect:

Consumables

While crafted consumables should absolutely be valuable and worth crafting, their effectiveness should align closely with their cost in order to preserve the integrity of other mana sources such as stats, talents, trinkets and spells. Currently, there is a bit of an imbalance where crafted mana potions are able to act as the sole means of mana restoration, which can undermine mana as a core combat system. In order to rectify this, there are some tweaks to crafted mana potions in the works with the objective of retaining their intended functionality while simultaneously toning down their control of the ‘mana market share’.

Class Balance

Some classes fare better than others when it comes to conserving their mana due to exclusive access to powerful spells or potent talents. In order to even the playing field and ensure that each class has the opportunity to effectively play their role, several talents and spells ranging across each class have been balanced or modified. While the full details will be revealed later, the goal is for each sub-class to have a somewhat unique relationship with how they consume and regenerate their mana without being too dependent on external sources.

What’s New

House Interiors

The most exciting new feature to arrive in the early months of 2023 is the one you’ve all been waiting the longest for.  (Some of you have waited over a decade!)  Rumors and whispers of its impending approach have circulated for months.  Strange messages began appearing in-game.  Was it a bug, wondered baffled players who happened to click on their house doors and were told: “Your house is currently under renovation.”  No, it’s not a bug, and yes, the rumors are true: the single most requested feature by VH players of all time, that which the Otters gave you brief glimpses of in long ago livestreams and tantalized you with images of its creation process, is at last soon to be a reality: interior housing and the ability to customize your own homes is coming to Villagers & Heroes in early 2023!  So let’s take a closer look at just what you all can expect!

Village Menu – ‘My House’

Before you even set foot in your home, you can first customize it with personal touches and permissions from anywhere in the game world.  Give your house a name!  Citizen Kane called his mansion, ‘Xanadu.’  Plucky Anne grew up in ‘Green Gables.’ What will your home be called?  Do you want to throw a massive party and invite your entire village into your home?  Or maybe just have a few friends over for a glass of Blueberry Merlot?  Or possibly you enjoy your privacy and prefer not to have random strangers dropping by at all?  These choices are all yours to make with the options provided in the Village Menu. 

Customization

A cheerful new NPC will await you all in your villages, and will provide a brief tutorial quest as to how to go about customizing your house interiors. The diverse quantity of items to choose from – beds, couches, bar carts, cabinets, chairs, window panes, bookcases, candlesticks, fireplaces, carpets, wall mounts, and much more – are considerable, and players will have a number of methods at their disposal to obtain them.  

For example, Crafters, your day has come!  Approximately 85 new crafting recipes and counting have been added to the game so that players can, not only indulge in one of their favorite pastimes, but have the pleasure of furnishing their homes with the fruits of their labors!  The recipes, given their different levels in the game, will range from simple to complex. That lovely ‘Ardent Couch,’ for example, that you’ve had your eye on and would look perfect in front of your new fireplace, will require a level 45 Woodcrafting recipe.  Or maybe Smithing is more up your alley – how about an exquisite urn, or an unbreakable safe to keep your valuables in?  Or perhaps you love to sit at the loom and fancy some gorgeous wall hangings or carpets in your home?  Then get tailoring!  The options for crafters will be vast, and those of you with an entrepreneurial spirit will also likely enjoy the new thriving in-game economy, and the booming Auction Houses which are sure to follow.

But crafting is but one of the ways to obtain home furnishings.  House items can also be purchased for gold through vendors, or found through world exploration, and some exclusive objects will also be available in the Item Shop for crowns.  The point, though, is that all players will be able to furnish their homes, regardless of gameplay style.

Your House Interiors

So just what is all this going to look and feel like?  The inside of your home, your own personal space which you can at long last enter and not just stare endlessly at the boring exterior of, will be vast – and initially empty!  But thanks to an intuitive ‘House Designer’ editor mode and a complex invisible tile system, players will be able to smoothly add, remove, and rearrange items to their heart’s content in a seemingly effortless manner.  

When in ‘House Designer’ mode, the icon for which is prominently displayed on the HUD, an unlimited menu of slots awaits which can be efficiently grouped into distinct categories to better manage what will soon become a brimming inventory of your owned house items.  Those categories are:  All, Furniture, Lighting, Decoration, Wall-Mounted, Storage, Prestige, Miscellaneous and Custom.

So what will the inside of your home look like?  Wood floors, or stone?  An array of elegant windows, or just a few tastefully placed?   Will your walls be aligned with bright tapestries and banners, or proudly display the busts of notable creatures instead?  Or both?  Will couches and bunk beds abound for all of your guests and future slumber parties, or will just a few comfortable chairs by the fire next to shelves of books be more to your taste?  The options are truly unending!

We are as excited as you all are for this wonderful new feature to at last come to Villagers & Heroes!  We can’t give you an exact date, but interior housing will arrive in the first few months of 2023.  Happy New Year!

Fan Works

Fan Friday

The Fan Friday entries submitted throughout 2022 were, no surprise, simply fantastic!  There is just no doubt about what an amazingly talented player community we have here.  Everyone, please enjoy this look back over the year at some of the terrific work created by your peers!

behind the scenes

Interview with Michelle

Our little Otter team has grown!  This incredibly talented artist started with us as an intern in 2022, and so impressive were her accomplishments during that time that we were loath to see her go.  Luckily for us,she did not, and instead accepted a full time position here at Mad Otter.  For some time now, you’ve all been seeing, wearing, or riding around on a number of her wonderful creations – Mallok’s beautiful coffin in the Catacombs, the adorable Beach Pig mount, the lovable Albino Bat, the Sun Druid, Tomb Guardian, Cursed Puppet, and Chocolate Merchant outfits, the Saint Bernard mount, to name just a few.  A truly gifted artist and a lovely young woman, we couldn’t be happier to have her with us!  Everyone, please meet our newest Otter, Michelle!

Michelle, can you tell our players please a little about your background? And where do you hail from?  

I have an extensive background in traditional and digital art. I focused on painting while I was in school and graduated with a BFA. In my studio practice, I had a strong interest in narratives and liminal spaces. Those interests coincided with my hobby of playing games on my PC and Dungeons and Dragons with my friends. I love how immersive games are and how they can create meaningful experiences and memories. After I graduated, I decided to explore my interest in games further by taking some classes in game art and design. This ultimately led me here to Mad Otter!

When someone asks me where I am from the answer that feels the best is: A little bit of everywhere! I have moved around all my life and my home usually is where the people I love are. Although I am originally from Texas, we never really stayed in one place there. Eventually, my family and I moved to a couple different states until we finally ended up here in beautiful Oregon.

In my personal time, I like to play games, make and read comics, hike with my dog and roller skate (when it is not raining).

As a new artist for Villagers & Heroes, which aspects did you initially find to be the most challenging, and why?

The part I found the most challenging was I couldn’t make all the assets I wanted or that players requested. Mad Otter is a small indie team which means that often we don’t have the resources or time to do everything. We have two artists responsible for making everything from advertising to texturing models. Comparatively, at a large game studio, who can assign dozens of artists to make art. However, I have always seen limitations as a way to make unique art and it leads to some really fun problem solving. It is also satisfying to be able to see the big picture of how these assets will be used in the game and being responsible for their creation from start to finish.

I think your thought process for creating outfits is fascinating, and I especially love your ‘Mood Boards!’  Can you please tell our players what a Mood Board is?  How do you go about creating them, and why are they useful?

A mood board is a collage or collection of images that capture the feel, general aesthetic and elements of design (shape language, color palette etc..) that visually communicate a concept. Also, in my case, can be used in place as concept art. Ivar was actually the one that showed me this specific practice of concepting while I was interning at Mad Otter! I thought it was a great way to generate ideas quickly and also have them organized in a way that is easy to reference.

I would consider mood boards a secondary part of my art pipeline for more complex V&H assets like outfits and mounts for an event. First, I would maybe start with a list of ideas and do a bit of research on the theme of the event like on specific holidays or folklore around particular seasons for example. Then I will do a general image search on sites like Pinterest, Artstation, Google Images, Fashion History Timeline Etc…Afterwards, I compile them into mood boards with descriptions so I can present my ideas to other team members as well as a reference for myself. I tend to make a lot of mood boards so I can plan ahead for future events too. In general, I have found that having more preparation for complex pieces ensures the design is worked out completely by the time I get to creating the final piece.

You have by now created numerous different pieces of work for V&H – mounts, outfits, coffins, furniture – do you have a personal favorite among them?  If so, why?

This is a really hard question to answer! It is hard to choose one. I really feel like all these assets were such a good challenge to make and have moments during the process that I really enjoyed.

Re-texturing an asset can sometimes take quite a bit of imagination to re-imagine existing meshes to fit ideas I come up with. One of my favorite examples of doing this is the “Tomb Guardian” outfit for Equinox (2022). I had done some research on Egyptian burial rituals and death masks, and wanted to design an outfit based on that. I had an image in my mind of this mummy that had come to life ready to guard its tomb. The body of the mesh I chose was simple and the focal point were these large shoulder pieces. I could immediately imagine the shoulders made of gold with scarabs and embellishment sculpted in and precious gems. The linen wraps would be tied in draped in a way that its wearer had disturbed its intended placement of forever being at rest.

For Grinchta’s lair (2022), The narrative was the driving point for the design of this outfit. The narrative was about a chocolate merchant traversing across this snowy landscape looking for travelers to sell their comforting wares to. This was one of the instances where I made a matching mount. I thought a loyal St. Bernard would be the perfect companion for this story. For these two, my favorite part was coming up with all the props they would have with them like snowshoes to help walk through the snow, a wooden spoon and mug for tasting or a jar of marshmallows hanging on the saddle.

My favorite furniture pieces I have made so far is the bar set which has a bar cart, cabinet, shelf and ale barrels. The cart and cabinet both had to be combined with modern objects and fantasy/medieval objects. To combine the two I had to find a midway point between the small delicate scale of a modern wine cabinet and the bulky scale of a fantasy tavern. I ended up making a few concepts for this. To make it more rustic I made it a lot chunkier with rougher woods and big bottles and a large ale barrel as the focal point at the front.

Certain pieces do take me back to certain times at Mad Otter and what I was feeling. For example, Mallok’s coffin will always be a piece that has special significance. It was one of the first assets I made from start to finish for Mad Otter during my internship. I remember the realization that this would be one of the first assets I made that would be prominently featured in a game. I felt at that point that I was finally a game artist. When you are in school working towards a seemingly unknown future it is hard to imagine being in your career. So, It was sort of surreal finally reaching a goal I had set.

Mad Otter is now entirely remote, and we unfortunately never had the opportunity to work with you in our office days!  What is the experience of working remotely for you like?  Pros?  Cons?

When I hear about stories that happened during the office days I wonder what that would be like to experience that. This is an awesome group of people, so of course it would be great to spend time with them in person! In general though, I think the MO team does a really good job of staying connected through weekly meetings and a lively chat on Slack. So despite the distance, our connections with each other still feel strong and productive. I would say some of the biggest pros for working remotely are not commuting and also wearing at-home business casual (AKA sweatpants and baggy T-shirts). 

Creating a new mount from scratch is no easy task.  How does it differ from creating, for example, an outfit?  Can you give us a little peek into the mount creation process?

The general process for making a rigged character from scratch is: concept art, modeling, UV mapping, texturing, rigging, animation, and finally importing into a game engine. I haven’t made a mount from start to finish yet for V&H just due to limitations mentioned previously. Typically we will find a 3rd party model to save on the time of rigging and animation, and stylize the model to fit V&H.

There are a few ways to change a model. One is making slight tweaks to the mesh and making props like a saddle for example. Another is making a brand new model with dimensions that are close to the original and use the same rig and animations. Texturing can really change the appearance of an object. The same object could be made to look as soft as a pillow or be brittle and hard like a gem. I use programs like Photoshop and Substance Painter to texture a stylized hand painted look

The outfits are more difficult than mounts because there are so many parts. There are five parts in total between the male and the female model each needing their own set of textures. If I do a re-texture, I will go through our massive library of existing outfit meshes and mix and match the different parts. I take screenshots of these to paint over for concepts of specific outfits and then texture. The challenge with having so many parts is that you have to make sure everything matches especially between them like color, patterns or seams.

If I am making a completely new outfit mesh, I will either change an existing model or start from scratch using the base body model as a reference. The character model needs to be hooked up to existing animations in the game unlike mounts which have their own animations. So, I will use the same rig and animations that are in the game and make sure the new model doesn’t get horribly mangled when it is animated. After everything looks right it can be put into the game.

What are some future artistic additions that you would personally love to see added to V&H, and would excite you to work on?  

I love designing and sculpting creatures. I think that dictates what I focus on sometimes when I play games. I will spend a good chunk of time admiring wildlife and enemy creatures (at afar until I need to fight them!) or be an insane completionist trying to find every creature or plant listed in my journal. It is even better when I am able to keep them or train them!

So I think I would love a feature where I train pets or mounts from the V&H world. It would be really fun to specifically design and create creatures to look like what their abilities are. Like a lava newt with molten skin that spits fire or a plant gollum that can heal you and glows when it is casting its spell.

With the new housing feature coming out, I also imagine making a room or a sort of terrarium to keep small creatures, fish, bugs or plants that you collect during your travels in the world. Or maybe you can expand your farm animals on your ranch by domesticating ones you find in the world. For example, what if there were cotton candy sheep during the Sugar sweet event you could catch and domesticate for your farm to produce cotton candy wool.

For something way into the future, would be to help concept and design a new area. It is exciting to me to see all the smaller parts of different assets come together as one big composition. The setting of a place is pretty important I think to the immersion of a story in a game. It would be a good challenge to figure out such a large piece of the visual story being told.

Any words of advice for young artists out there who are unsure as to how to get started on a career path doing what they love?

First, make sure you have strong art foundations before anything. It is kind of weird to say, but art is a lot like math where it builds on itself and has rules that you need to know before doing more complex stuff. A game or animation studio can teach you how to use specific programs but they can’t teach you how to be an artist. So I would suggest maybe spending a year or two working on: knowledge of other artists and art history (both traditional and digital), drawing, sculpting, perspective, color and design (composition, color theory, hierarchy of scale etc..), anatomy, and observation.

When you are developing your portfolio make sure you are up to date on what other artists in your field are making. It will give you an idea of how to put together your own portfolio. Try not to be judgmental of yourself instead treat it as a learning opportunity. Give yourself a moment to be amazed and a bit jealous then afterwards try to figure out how they did it. Make sure you are not just showing the final piece but some process images as well. In game development, for example, a model not only needs to look good but also be functional. So you would want to have examples of topology, UV maps and textures to give employers an idea of your clean and organized practices. You also don’t have to put every project in there, put only the best pieces in even if that means you only have one or two things to show.

It is not required to have a degree to get an art industry job. Having a strong portfolio will make you a good candidate for most entry level art positions. There are a ton of online classes and YouTube videos out there that you can learn from. However, if you are considering school be sure to research the program ask yourself: Where are their past graduates now? Do they offer internships or connections to the industry you want to work in? Are there particular teachers you want to be mentored by?

It is also helpful to do informational interviews and read interviews of people who are in the career you want. I ended up doing these for career classes that I was required to take. I found that most people are pretty helpful and are more than happy to share about their experience and offer advice.

Lastly, it is important not to burn yourself out. Be kind to yourself, have patience and stick with it. It is called a practice for a reason. Improvement comes with time and repetition. I think having the mindset that it is a job really helps you do it everyday and continually improve. However, make sure you are a kind “manager” to yourself with breaks, lunch and vacation time like in any other work place. Also have interests outside of your favorite medium or art. You need a place to draw from when you are creating what better way to do that than having fun hobbies and seeking new experiences.

Royal Guardians

We are excited to announce the most recent appointments of Royal Guardians of the Realm for Villagers & Heroes!  Our sincere thanks and congratulations to the following individuals for their outstanding contributions to this game, and to this community.

Interview

V&H Player: Jytal

Player: Jytal
Server: US3
Class: Shaman

Let’s just deal with the elephant in the room straightaway:  Jytal, why are ALL of your VH characters naked all of the time?  Tell us a little about your penchant for nakedness.  (In real life, do you belong to a nudist colony? Kidding.  Sort of.)

My first toon was Jytal, a water shaman. Between levels 1-15ish I did wear clothes but, I found shaman armor really really really ugly. To make it worse, when I first got a helmet it only made the whole look worse… moments later I was naked. A few months after that, Vale opened up (my first event zone) so I saw a lot more people than before and my favorite emote/command was /rodeo. So in Vale I made friends and I would constantly be dancing with them at Prisma and I became known as the Nekkid dancer, Sir Jytal of No Pants (for the hive!), etc and it stuck. I can not confirm nor deny whether or not I belong in a nudist colony. 

When did you first start playing VH?  How did you come across it, and what makes you keep playing today?  Specifically, what are some things you enjoy most about it?

I started spring of 2020; whenever I get bored I’ll download a lot of games from the app store and continually delete them as I get bored with them. It just so happened that time I downloaded VnH on my phone and continued playing since. What keeps me playing, things I enjoy to do, or what I do most of the time is all bikik. We created bikik so we can bikik all the time together and bikik. To answer in a different way, the community would be the main reason to continue playing, it is unique to most mmos and I have made good friends in this game. 

If you could design your own brand new Raid, what would it look like?  What sort of challenges would face players?  Who would the evil raid boss be?  How about rewards?

This is endless, I don’t think I can even answer it lol. There could be an underwater raid where you defeat Tamatoa (shiny dancing crab from Moana) which would be amusing, a battle ridden mountain to get to the peak to eliminate a fake god and their followers would be thrilling, or crashing a pirates wedding and fight the two bride and groom to be at once. There’s too many different raids that could be made. I simply can’t do just one. 

Raids should challenge players in different ways such as enemy fights, puzzles (like gongs), avoiding obstacles, navigating terrains, and cooperation. Things I’d avoid are parts which are more of time wasters that don’t require any skill or real effort such as the beginning running into the Catacombs section, Veldt’s “memorization” puzzle, and running through Cloister’s long corridors.

The rewards would maintain the raid reward system all other raids have. I would like to change parts of it in general as well though, there should be two relics available per raid each season but, each season one of those relics would change so that there is always something newish in the rewards system. After you have one of that kind of a relic, all other ones of the same or lower tier rarity also become obsolete so there should be a sell relic function to earn ducats from them. And, as heroic raid levels increase, the rewards should also increase as well in rarity. 

If you don’t mind sharing, what are some of your other hobbies and interests when you’re not playing VH?

I really enjoy rock climbing/bouldering and go when I can, there’s different difficulties and ways to do the same path. It is always fresh and challenging. I used to do this a lot more years ago but I do enjoy origami which I learned as a kid but, any type of build set things such as legos or wooden model sets I enjoy as well. 

You are primarily a mobile player, and we certainly know there are a number of features we still need to add to improve the VH mobile gaming experience.  But if you were forced to only be able to name one and only thing that you would MOST like to see added to mobile, what would be the number one thing on your list?

I partake in mainly group content (raids and event zones) and the biggest thing that is always missing is the bounty/quest journal’s lack of information. Using Grinchta’s big quest line “Winter Wonderland” as the example, the quest states to check the quest journal to track your progress but, the mobile quest journal does not have the information to track this, it also does not tell you when repeatable quests will be active again both of which have this information on PC. There is also no bounty journal, yes the map does show how many kills completed but, that is only if the bounty is active, if you recently killed the bounty, it will be gray and you can not find out how many times you have killed them until they are active again (which you don’t know when they will be).

I’m going to do a few quick mentions. I am not much of a crafter/villager so my own choice wasn’t the knowledge book but I do know many others would want that. Mobile mail only shows the sender, if it is a guild mail, village mail, or has multiple recipients, it will now show that information but on pc it will. This bothers me because I don’t know if certain mail was private or meant for guild/village mail at times. Also the text box in mail is just so small you can’t read what you wrote or see typos made. And the last mention is about quick slot bar vs having the bag open on pc. Mobile has 9 quick slots on the first set which can be rotated for 8 different quick slots but this rotate button can and will lag and won’t switch the to the set you need and you can’t see cooldowns on the other set without switching the sets to see. Mobile will also have to spend quick slots on consumables while pc can have inventory open and see all their quick slots all the time. And that the biggest quick slot button changes to whisper…

Given your fondness for not wearing any clothes in the game, I am curious to know what some of your favorite VH outfits are when you do choose to clothe yourself.  Let’s hear a few of them!

Currently, all my toons do have holiday hats on. Hats do NOT count as clothes, they are accessories, and we had an argument before in chat about this. I do have some joke outfits I like to wear like Clementine’s Dress with Fancy Lady’s Hat which I will use with the red shield with a white cross on it and the Sugarsweet axe. One that I would like to wear is the chicken mask with desert wings and yellow undies so I can run around and bwaak at people. I do really wish that wings/capes were on a different slot so that I could do this.

If you had to make a meme with the topic of, ‘VH announces changes to the mana system in 2023,’ what would your meme look like?

It would definitely be the waiting skeleton meme. Mana system 8.1.35 implemented in 2033.
Or this is fine meme and have all the blueberry farms burning in the background. 

Let’s do the old ‘desert island question,’ but with a few tweaks.  You are stranded on a desert island with two other people, any at all throughout history. Bizarrely, this desert island also has a working LCD flatscreen TV with a built-in DVD player, and the DVD of one movie.  Which two people would you like to be stranded with, and what one movie would the DVD be of?

I don’t know the name of the movie but can it be a movie about how to survive a desert island and how to make a boat to escape? Is this considered cheating? I’d like to be there with Leonardo da Vinci and EJ Snyder. I really look up to these two people and I swear I am not trying to cheat out of the desert island. 

With the arrival of housing coming ever closer to the game, what are your thoughts on it?  Which aspects about it appeal to you, and why?  Do you envision it altering your own gameplay habits at all?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m not much of a person to just decorate houses for fun but, if it’s something like Animal Crossing where you also build up your house, add more features to the house as you work on it, and interact with things in the house such as minigames that’d be amazing. Really to me it is about building and creating in the house rather than decorations. I envision we’re gonna have a really big party house. Is there going to be a feature to teleport to a friend’s house or send invites to people to allow them to teleport to our house? That’d be great for meetups. 

Water Shaman can now walk on water.  If you could add other special abilities to the different classes, what would they be?

Well I main Water so I can’t really let them beat out my Jesus ability can I? I’ve got so many ideas but also ideas for class/talent updating but I’ll keep it to special stuff like Water Walking for now.

Earth, this was an easy choice, break down walls (temporarily)/create new paths.
Ice, ice wall from Mei in Overwatch or ice path which is movement speed buff but is uncontrollable with turns like Frozone in Incredibles.

Fire, leaves a trail of fire as you run, maybe it’s when you use blazing speed but have a Volcanic Blast charge up (either the charge is used for fire blast or blazing speed)?

Fury, temporarily uses the closest ally as a sword instead. Just kidding I just didn’t think of one… or am I serious?

Lighting, I’m thinking of something like a black out or energy surge but nothing that is really a special ability

Holy, resurrect or flying

Shadow, summon demon/skeleton/necromancy in general

Nature, summon animals but I worry it’s too similar to shadow. Nature could also summon plants/treants but I don’t like the idea of two summoning subclasses that are also dps and dot based they’re already similar

Marksman, snipe mode activated having either a long windup time for a more deadly shot or in general having longer range. All ranged classes have the same range that it doesn’t feel special


What is ‘bikik’?

Answer: bikik is bikik
Yes, what is bikik?

Answer: bikik
Bikik?
Answer: bikik <3

community news

We love to hear about the various lively happenings taking place on the different servers!  From US3, here is Impresario to share with us his thoughts and news about some of the wonderful activities occurring on that server.  Thank you, Imp!  🙂

From Impresario:

Event Reflections

Random thoughts from Imp regarding server events. 

I recently passed my fourth year in V&H this past November. I still remember how I felt that first month – the realization that I had finally found a game that gave me back that nostalgic feeling I had missed from my first MMO back in 1999. I saw how the community interacted with one another and I knew I had to be part of it. I saw how some members of the community were giving back in amazing ways, and I desperately wanted to give back in amazing ways too. 

I had no idea then that I would later be part of the event committee and the moderation team. I’m still in awe of our community and I love how we are all part of something amazing – something that so many games are missing. 

One of the things I find amazing is the event committee. It’s not just about the big events like Private Otter or Secret Santa. It’s about finding small ways for normal players to help make the game more interesting and entertaining for their fellow players. Every server is a bit different – some have a heavy focus on crafting. US2 seems to really like Hide and Seek! On the US3 server, we have a number of events born of tradition and layered upon ideas forged by those that came before us. 

One of the monthly US3 events is an hour of poetry. For those that know me, it will not surprise you to hear me say that I really love the poetry event! I think this was my first event as a player. William Hououin was hosting the event and I loved how people were volunteering to share poetry. Then William gave each of us that shared a small prize! It was very cool! He’d bounce around the theater in Summer’s Hollow handing out prizes to each person that shared, and kept encouraging more people to share. 

William is no longer on the Event Committee, but events that he hosted, like poetry and “Headlines on a Boat” are still alive and well on US3 – albeit, sometimes with minor changes. If you come to the poetry event on US3 next month you’ll get a chance to play an extra game called “Stump the Poet.” 

Another event we host monthly on US3 is called “Stories on the Strand.” This event is often hosted by the famed storyteller, Professor Goose – but just as often, Professor Goose is mysteriously missing and the heroes of the realm need to write a bedtime story to help Ardent’s children go to sleep. (Side note – some players on US3 have theorized that the children of Ardent are regularly kidnapping Professor Goose in an effort to stay up past their bed times. Professor Goose will neither confirm or deny this accusation.) 

In this event every player has an opportunity to add to a story. Most of our stories are posted on the forums to fully capture the insanity born of abject spontaneity being inserted into a half-hearted attempt at building something partially understandable. For example, the story from September 2, 2020 began as an attempted retelling of Peter Pan, devolved into crocodiles eating shadows, a boy flying on the new flying carpet mount…and then a dragon mount…and then finally a “Baby Carpet Dragon” (which has ended up in nearly every story event ever since). 

You don’t have to be a member of the event committee to host an event in V&H. My advice to players that want to host an event of their own is to keep it simple, keep it fair, and keep it open to everyone. Pick a date well in advance. Advertise your event on Discord and the Forums. Share your event idea with a member of your server’s event committee. If your idea is simple, fair, open to everyone, and advertised well in advance, a member of the event committee may help you with giving out some prizes at your event! A list of your server’s event committee members is posted on the forum. Maybe your event will become part of your server’s traditions!

Contest

The Housing NPC Naming Contest!

It was mentioned earlier in this Ledger issue that when Housing goes live, a perky, and very knowledgeable new NPC will reside in all of your villages and provide players with a tutorial quest which instructs everyone on how to customize their house interiors.  This NPC has a weighty role then, and certainly deserves a memorable name!

So we thought it might be fun if we let our players come up with that name!  The winner will receive one hundred crowns, and have the pleasure of seeing their contribution in every single village on every server in the game!

There is no limit to the number of entries you may submit. Please also feel free to include outfit types and gender for your NPC names if you wish. 

This contest will close on Friday, January 27th.  The Mad Otter Team will then select their favorite entry.  Good luck, and have fun!  We can’t wait to see what our new NPC will be named!

This is a forum only contest.  Please visit it here: The NPC Naming Contest.

Ardent Ledger Submissions

We love player submissions!  If any of you have any musings, news, anecdotes, funny screenshots, puzzles, memes, or lively VH info of any kind that you would like to share in the next issue of the Ardent Ledger, please do so!  Just send an email to:

social@madottergames.com

(Subject Heading:  Ardent Ledger submission)

We look forward to hearing from you!  😀