News from the Seven Realms • issue #31 • January 5, 2024

The Headline

Just when you thought it was perhaps extinct, this long dormant little newsletter has shaken off the dust, stretched, yawned, and sprung to its feet again to eagerly welcome in the new year! That’s right, the Ardent Ledger, thanks in large part to dedicated V&H players who, through their own hard work and efforts and desire to see this once regular publication get churning once more with its showcasing of player activities, community events, the plots and plans of Devs, Royal Guardians, and more, has at last returned!

Before we jump right in and highlight some of the exciting new features and content headed to the game in 2024, let’s take a moment to say goodbye to 2023, which finally saw the arrival of Homestead, and interior housing!  After over a decade of staring glumly at the outsides of your non-interactive houses, players who had spent ten years begging to be able to enter their homes, not to mention having the option to decorate them with a wide variety of customization choices, at long last saw their requests granted!  Interior housing was indeed a milestone for V&H, and MassivelyOp even awarded us ‘MMO Housing of the Year for 2023!’ (Thank you, MassivelyOp!)

In some ways, it was a quietly satisfying year: beautiful new creations like shimmering seahorses, flying pancake manta rays, and fiery Phoenix birds glided into the Seven Realms, mobile players at long last received the Knowledge Book, the clunky Item Shop got a sleek new overhaul, all players stopped cursing when they accidentally sold their Verda Sprouts with the inclusion of a new buy back from vendors option, and that pesky little ‘mana’ problem was at last addressed. 2023 was also a year of some loud changes (class balancing) and new tech (character migrations), and a few minor disasters (remember when the patcher broke in multiple countries around the world simultaneously?), and of course a frustration or two came with the delay of the holiday build at the hands of a certain larger company. 

Throughout all of the ups and downs of the past year, one thing always remains consistent – our fabulous VH Player Community who support us, support each other, and have created a positive, healthy game environment which is so special and different from other MMO’s.  We look forward to spending 2024 with you all, and are excited to bring what we hope will be thrilling new changes and improvements to Villagers & Heroes!

What’s New

THE CRUX!

Tired of all your maxed out characters listlessly grinding through the same old zones which have long since lost their shiny allure, or doing rebirth after rebirth all so you can reach level 95 where you get to repeatedly bang your heads against the confines of the Blighted Isles, while distantly dreaming of maps beyond?  We think the answer is yes.  So without further ado, 2024 will be the year of new high level content!  New sights, sounds, beasts, quests, battles, mysteries, characters, gameplay, lore, and high adventure will be continuously added to Villagers & Heroes throughout the entire year, in the form of a series of brand new zones which will culminate in a level cap raise of 100.

Starting this spring (our target month is March), we will be releasing the first batch of exciting new content with the introduction of a colorfully weighty zone, one which your characters have been thwarted time and again from reaching ever since the long ago days of Bevyn’s Coille when first its name was mentioned: The Crux.  At long last, the entrance to the mysterious land inhabited by an unusual insect species and reigned over by the now infamous Queen Zoria can be breached!

The story picks up right where it left off:  The Lumineers, having left you behind in the Marshlands to mete out some much needed vengeance to the four evil bounty hunters who murdered Lysander at the behest of wrathful Zoria, have gone forth into the Crux in search of reckless Nadia, and players are awaiting a message from them.  It’s been quite a wait for some of you.  But no more!  A message, cryptic and laden with terrifying rumors about the Queen’s descent into madness and the atrocities now being committed upon her subjects, the once peaceful Socorro, has reached you.  It’s time to journey into the Crux and plunder its secrets – unravel a dark mystery in story chained quests, learn the origins of the seemingly maniacal queen, engage with a whole new cast of quirky characters and creatures who desperately need your help in their struggle against a deranged monarch, partake in subterfuge, secret missions, smuggling, guerilla warfare operations, and much, much, more!

The Crux is by far the largest zone in the game, and rife for exploration. But perhaps its most exciting aspect is the new instancing tech which, first developed by our gifted programmer, Sean, for interior housing, he has now expanded upon and enriched the capabilities of so that the content within the Crux will be unlike anything we’ve seen or had before in VH.  An interactive environment!  Repeatable gameplay!  NPCs who run along at your side!  A wagon of supplies driven by Zoria’s militant thugs which moves non-stop around the zone and requires daily plundering, should you accept the challenge!  These are but a few examples of what we hope will be an exciting new chapter in the game, and more such chapters to come in 2024!

The Crux is not meant to replace the Blighted Isles in terms of strenuous end game content – don’t worry, that comes later in the Sunkentooth empire, provided that you first survive the perils of The Hive and The Scaldrum of course – but rather to be a zone which provides stimulating repeatable gameplay opportunities, which do not feel like a grind.  Our goal is for players to have FUN in The Crux, and to keep going back because it’s enjoyable and not just a place where chores have to get done. To help achieve this goal, in addition to the new instancing tech, our amazing artist, Michelle, is creating a zone full of scenic wonders!  The Crux is an inviting land, rustic and magical, charming and vast, and a beautiful new addition to the Seven Realms, one which will delight your senses and inspire your imaginations. And just wait till you meet the Socorro who live there – an all new quirky species which can only be found in V&H!

It’s going to be a fun year, and The Crux is but the start.  And just a note, for any who are starting to plan ahead for springtime:  Players do not have to have Blighted Rep maxed to unlock The Crux, but players do need to have defeated the Level 95 Elders (and completed those quests.)

what’s new

EYE OF THE STORM!

Now some of you reading about the content above might be thinking to yourselves:  “Well, that’s nice and all, but what about RAIDS?  I want to know about RAIDS!”  

Fear not, die hard Raiders, because the Spring of 2024 will also be featuring a brand new raid with an epic new boss, Telemachus, stimulating rewards, and exciting changes in Season 8:  Eye of the Storm!  Otter V is here to tell you all about it!

From V:

With Raid Season 8 comes a slew of improvements, balancing changes and a brand new raid: Tempest’s Reach!

Embark on a perilous journey through storm ravaged isles, a collection of harsh, craggy islands surrounded by raging seas. Once home to a powerful dynasty of mariners, their imposing stone fortress was built into the isle’s nexus but has long since been abandoned due to the powerful Wyvern, Telemachus, who has laid claim to the area. Violent storms composed of turbulent winds, booming thunder and cackling lightning have followed the Wyvern, repelling any attempts to recover the stronghold.

Players who dare challenge this foe can expect to face deadly obstacles as they navigate through dripping caverns, flooded forests and deadly cliffs. Ancient gargoyles, once buried deep within its tunnels, have resurfaced and now desire nothing more than to pay retribution against those who tyrannized their kind.

Traps, puzzles and monstrous creatures now infest the area, requiring the utmost strategy, coordination and deadly precision to overcome. Making it to the Wyvern’s nest will be no simple feat, but those who accomplish it will find themselves dwarfed by the ferocious, elemental Telemachus.. Harnessing the power of the storm, the Wyvern will batter players with his tail, smite the ground with incinerating blasts of lightning and electrify the battlefield with currents of energy.

Alongside of this new raid comes the addition of brand new Heroic Curses, stacking the odds against our heroes and pushing them past their limits. Additionally, brand new Relics will be available within Tempest’s Reach, channeling the powerful energies that have been maliciously generated by the presence of the Wyvern.

Those who choose to advance through Heroic Tiers can expect greater bonuses! As loot rarity will begin to incrementally increase with each Heroic tier, properly rewarding the efforts of the brave raiders. Finally, Season 8 will revitalize the ducat vendor by reintroducing legacy season rewards from earlier seasons at the cost of hard-earned ducats.

contests

In addition to the fun of the Grinchta’s Lair Event Zone, the holiday season in VH is always an especially zany, creative, and collaborative time of year in the game, made so by the amazing participation of our player community who rally together every December in a series of contests known as The 12 Days of Christmas Event.  You all know what I’m talking about!  

And now, thanks to the hardworking efforts of Impresario and EC volunteers, Kitzy and Ventara, we are so pleased to be able to share with you this phenomenal look back at all of the goofy in-game Bingo tasks you all participated in, as well as your FABULOUS entries in the various other contests! This is indeed a truly special video, and a magical record of the recent holiday season we all just had here in Villagers & Heroes.  Thank you to all the players on all the different servers for your participation in the event, and a very heartfelt thanks to the individuals who made this absolutely fantastic video.

interview

V&H PLAYER: VENTARA

Player: Ventara

Server: US3

Class: Priest

Do you consider yourself to be more of a combat player, or a villager, or both?

Yes, yes and most definitely yes. I like raiding, and I like gathering and crafting. I also like puzzles and trying to find new ways of looking at the old content. After saving Summer’s Hollow more than a dozen times, I like to try to find new and different things that have been hiding right in front of me the entire time, and highlight them in puzzle form – sometimes even for others to enjoy.

What features would you most like to see added to the villaging side of the game?

I would love to see a jewelcrafting profession that makes necks, rings, and specialized trinkets making use of the gems that come from gathering. Also, I like the idea of having recipe fragments that can be put together through a hidden quest chain or world drops.

What features would you like to see added to the combat side of the game?

As an ice wizard, I would love to see an ice-feet feat or feat add-on like Frozone from the Incredibles. But barring that, I would like to see more done with the mount special abilities that were introduced with the jumping spider and the gouger mounts last raid season. Perhaps the raid vendor could sell items that add abilities to your existing mounts.

Please tell us a little about your involvement with the Event Committee. What is it that you enjoy the most?

When I first joined the game, I stumbled into a Poetry Night run by the Event Committee. My toon did a lot of stumbling into things back then…I realized this was a game with something special. Players are not only willing and allowed, but encouraged and supported by the Otters to run events within the game. I was enthralled. Now, I enjoy helping to continue that tradition and hopefully help more players take part if they so choose.

What are some of your other hobbies when you are not playing V&H?

I enjoy sewing most of my own clothes. So far, I have not been stopped by the fashion police, so I guess that works out well enough. Also, I enjoy solving puzzles, writing bad poetry, cleaning my fountain pens, and occasionally singing in my car on the way home from work, but pretty sure no-one wants to hear that…

When did you first start playing V&H? How did you learn about V&H and what makes you keep playing today?

I started V&H 4 Halloween Event Zones ago. I stumbled into the EZ, and loved all the skeletons and undead around, but wondered why everyone got so excited about running around in circles after the bosses. As I took myself back to Gandymeade Grove to continue questing, I shook my head and went on my merry lonely way until I was offered membership in a guild that I still love, and was eventually enlightened by the community of the seemingly strange ways of the EZ. Today, I still play the game for the community and the wonderful lessons available to those willing to look.

royal guardians

It is always our great pleasure to announce the most recent appointments of Royal Guardians to the Realm!  For the benefit of our newer players, you can learn all about just what an ‘RG’ is right here:  What Is A Royal Guardian?

Congratulations, and our sincere thanks to these outstanding individuals who consistently go above and beyond in their efforts for the game, for the community, and for us.

Everyone, please welcome your Royal Guardians of the Realm of 2023!

behind the scenes

TECH TALK FROM DAMON: RECENT LAG FIXES

Sarah asked me to contribute an article that talks about the lag fixes we made in October and November.  Here’s an overview of what we did– and didn’t do.  Some of this information was posted to the Test Server forums, but not on the public forums.

The first thing I want to say is that we didn’t fix all lag.  It’s impossible to completely fix all lag.  However, we did fix some specific problems and made some improvements to the game performance.

BACKGROUND

There was a forum post from the player Gaia’s Executioner back in August or September that outlined the problems that players were having when battling the level 95 elders.  Lannox, Jacinda, and other bosses in the game were not always in the location they appeared to be.  This triggered an investigation into the problem, resulting in some fixes and improvements to lag.  The following is an overview of these improvements.

TERMINOLOGY

In order to make this easier, here are some standard terms used by programmers.

Client-Server Architecture :  This is the most common pattern used for online games.  It means a system in which there is a central computer, called the server, that is running the game.  It handles all the game logic, processes all the player inputs (movement, casting spells, etc.), and then sends all updates to all of the players. Actually, not to the players, but to the players’ devices : ie., their computers, phones, and tablets.  These devices are called “clients”.  The server serves the clients.  Usually there is one server- or a few servers- whereas there are hundreds of clients that it serves.  The server is the final authority on everything game related.  If a client says “I have one million gold”, then that’s true only if the server agrees.

There are other possible architectures:

  • Peer-to-peer: There is no central server. All the player computers talk to each other. They divide up the work between them. A common pattern is that each computer is the final authority for its player.  The advantage of this is that it doesn’t require a central server, which of course saves money for the game developer/publisher.  This method is vulnerable to client-side hacks- for example, the client could be hacked so the player can see through walls, run extra fast, give them free stuff, etc.
  • Serverless: All the tasks are divided up into tiny pieces that are handled by thousands of nodes on the internet.  One example is AWS Lambda.  This is becoming more popular in other fields, but isn’t used for games.

For games, however, server-client architecture is still the best solution for the majority of situations.

Server : This commonly refers to a physical machine, usually housed in a data-center.  These servers are typically far more powerful than a home desktop machine.  They usually don’t have a monitor or a keyboard since they aren’t accessed directly by a person.  

However, server also means a software program running on a physical machine.  Villagers & Heroes has about 12 physical machines; and on each of these physical machines there are many software “servers” running.  

Every zone in the game, on each of the five game shards (US2, US3, EU1, etc.) has a dedicated “torque server”.  Since there are 5 shards, and over 100 zones in the game, there are more than 500 torque servers.  Torque server code is written in C++, and it handles movement, collisions, and physics primarily. C++ is a fast computer language, but it requires a higher level of skill from the programmer.

Additionally, there are 9 world servers for each shard.  These server processes handle all game logic- like spells, gathering, combat, etc.  These servers are written in Python. Python is not as fast as C++, but it is easier to use. The language is expressive, and you can get more done with fewer lines of code than C++.

Client : This refers to the player’s computer, phone, or tablet is communicating with the game servers.

Packet : This is a chunk of data that is passed from the server to a client; or from a client to the server.  It is the primary method that the two communicate with each other.  When, for example, a monster moves in the game world, the server will pass a packet to all the clients to update them on the monster’s movement.  Packets typically range in size from 200 bytes to several thousand bytes.

Lag :  This means some delay in the program.  Here are some examples of lag:

  • You try to attack a boss, but you can’t because the boss isn’t actually where your computer (client) thinks it is.  This is because your computer hasn’t yet received an update from the server– the update is “lagging” — it is slow.
  • A boss appears to be alive (Jacinda, for example!), but is actually dead.  You’re just seeing a phantom on your computer that isn’t really there. Again, it’s because your computer hasn’t yet received an update from the server.
  • You try to activate a spell which should be refreshed and ready to be cast, but the icon is green, and you can’t push the button. Again, this is because the server hasn’t communicated with your computer for a while due to lag.
  • Movement is really slow and clunky.  You try to move forward and turn, but your character just lurches forward, and you fall off a cliff, and then you turn too late. This is often caused by a low frame rate on your computer. In this case, the “lag” is entirely client-side.  A low frame rate causes “input” lag — inputs like movement aren’t being processed quickly.  The controls feel sluggish and unresponsive. 

Lag can have many causes. Here are some of the more common ones:

  1. Internet lag: this is simply the amount of time it takes for a packet to travel from client-to-server (or the reverse).  This is the same thing as “ping time”.  Back in the mid 90s, lag was often around one-half second or more (500 ms).  Nowadays, ping times are typically 50 to 200 ms.  
  2. Dropped packets: when a packet is lost, then the packet has to be re-sent.  If too many packets are dropped, the game becomes unplayable. Packets are usually dropped either in-transit, which is usually caused when a router somewhere in the internet is broken; or locally, which happens most often when there’s a weak wifi connection.
  3. Low frame-rate : this was discussed above. Low frame-rate causes “input lag”.
  4. Game server has become overburdened in one of three ways:
    1. Cpu-bound : there is so much code being run that the program can’t keep up with all the requests
    2. Bandwidth-bound: the server is unable to process all of the outbound packets in a timely way. To obviate this, we have chosen high bandwidth hardware for the game servers.
    3. Memory-bound : this isn’t happening for V&H.

Issues 1 and 2 are not something we can ever fix.  The only thing we have done is to make the game more resistant so it tries to recover from these situations. However, ultimately, if more than 5% of the packets are being dropped, V&H– and any real-time online game for that matter– becomes unplayable.

Issue 3 is something we’ve spent a lot of time addressing by improving the graphics code to render more in less time. The game engine does things like remove distant objects from the scene so they aren’t displayed.  You can see this when an object suddenly pops into view.  Additionally, we’ve exposed graphical options to players so they can customize the graphics to their preference, favoring either performance, or visually fidelity.

Issue 4 is, always, the main area we focus on when reducing lag.  The fixes in the recent lag improvements were all focused on reducing the burden on the game servers so they can do more work in less time.

Green Feat Lag :  This is the term that we and players commonly use when a spell of feat is ready to be cast, but it simply cannot because the game servers are overburdened. The reason it’s called “green feat lag” is because when this happen, the button icon to activate the feat actually turns green in the game.

TECHNICAL DETAILS

Prefatory note: Villagers and Heroes, as with most online games, uses a “client-server” architecture.  The game servers (there are actually about 12 of these) communicate with the computers and phones of all the players who are currently playing the game.  The player computers and phones are called “clients”. The server serves the clients.

When you are playing the game, at any one time, there are two primary servers that are communicating with your computer or phone. One server handles game logic, like leveling up, inventory, spells, effects, etc. This server is running code written in the Python programming language. When this server becomes overly busy, spells and feats won’t respond in a timely fashion when players activate them. When that happens, the icon to cast the spell appears green. This is the so-called “Green Feats” lag. We made some improvements to Python lag earlier in the year; but the fixes we did more recently in October and November did not address Python lag.

The other primary server handles all the physics, movement, graphics, and collisions. This server code is written in C++. It also communicates with every player’s computer to make sure they stay updated so that each player’s computer knows where everything is in the game world. It’s important that it does so quickly, otherwise player’s computers are showing an out of date version of the game world. For this reason, the hardware that hosts the game servers is highly-performant: lots of cpu, lots of memory, lots of bandwidth, etc. With the power of this hardware, and the fast internet speeds everywhere, it’s not typically a problem for this server to keep the player computers updated. However, in the large battles it can begin to degrade. 

Imagine you have a battle with 50 players, 10 enemies, and maybe 50 spells active at all times. In this case, the server needs to keep 50 computers updated with the location, rotation, movement, appearance, state, etc. of all 50 players, 10 enemies, and 50 spells. That means you have to update 50+10+50 things to 50 players– so you are having to do: 50 x 110 updates = 550 updates. Updates are sent out 16 times a second, so you can end up with 8000+ updates a second– all being packaged up on the server, transmitted thousands of miles from the server, to each player’s computer. Therefore, it’s important to optimize this process so the server can handle the large burden being placed on it.

Note: updates are sent in “packets”. A packet is a chunk of data of variable length size. Pretty much all data transfer on the internet is sent via packets.

IMPROVEMENTS

1. Removed a lot of unnecessary data that was being was being sent from the server to the each player’s computer

2. Reduced the size of the data being sent by using compression techniques (I’ll provide examples below)

3. Introduced a priority scheme so that the most critical updates are sent before the less critical data

4. Added a check to see when the server is being overloaded with a lot of updates, and when this happens, the server will stop sending certain updates entirely- I call this “culling”.

5. Increased the size of each update packet by 3x.  This results in fewer update packets being sent.  It’s more efficient to send fewer packets with more data each, than more packets with less data.

METHODS TO REDUCE THE SIZE OF UPDATE PACKETS

  • The first and best method is to simply find a way to not have to send a packet at all.  For example, if packet B contains identical information to packet A, you just don’t send packet B.  One example from Villagers and Heroes was that a class was sending updates when one of its parent classes was sending the same updates (I won’t go into the technical details of parent classes and inheritance in object-oriented languages like C++).
  • Another common method is to use compression algorithms. One example in the game is sending the location of a point in the game world. Let me use an analogy with the real world. Let’s say you want to specify a location somewhere in your house.  One way to do this would be send the full address of your house: country, state, city, street, street number, and then which room in the house, and then maybe an x,y offset to the nearest foot within the room.  However, if we already know where your house is, we can just send the room and the x,y offset; and we don’t need to send country, city, state, street, street number. This same technique is used in the game for the location of a spell effect sent by a player. Since the game already knows where the player is, we just send a location relative to the player.  Typically, this technique cuts the amount of data being sent in half.
  • Another bad thing we were doing was sending a full path and shape name from the server to the client. This might be something like:

\test.game\data\shapes\buildings\Kitchen\kitchen1.dts

Sending raw text (in computer lingo, a “string”) is wasteful and sloppy.  Each character in the above string takes up one byte, so the above string is 55 bytes.  However, there are a finite number of shape file names in the game, and we already know the name of each of them.  From this, we can construct a list of all strings in the game, carefully numbered like so:

1. “\test.game\data\shapes\crafting\tailor\spinningwheel.dts”

2. etc.

3. etc.

248. “\test.game\data\shapes\buildings\Kitchen\kitchen1.dts”

etc.

2454. “\test.game\data\shapes\bridges\ardentbridge.dts”

So instead of sending the full string, we just send its corresponding number (which is called an “index” in programmer speak).  Without going into too much detail, a list of size 2454 (which is the size in the above example), requires 13 bits of data. Rounding up that’s 2 bytes.  So, instead of using 55 bytes to send the string for a shape name, we can send only 2 bytes.

To facilitate this method, we had to create a system to track all the strings.  The concept behind this system is really simple- but the implementation is a lot of work since it has to be a system that will be easy to maintain into the future (ie, it doesn’t break), and required much testing.  Most programming tasks are like this. They are easy to understand, but the actual work to get them written and tested is tedious and time-consuming.

PRIORITY SCHEME

We added some code to track how many packets were being sent out with each update.  When that number gets too high, we throttle packets.  That is, we prioritize packets being sent out, and we don’t send packets that aren’t critical. 

Here are some types of things being sent, and how highly we prioritize each:

  • Player info- like locations, movement, appearance, etc. – very high priority.  It’s important that players can see each other accurately.
  • Boss info – locations, movement, etc. – very high priority. Bosses are important- their location etc. must be accurately
  • Zodiacs and spells that are warnings to players – very high priority.  Obviously, a player can’t jump off burning fire if he/she can’t see it; and can’t dodge a falling meteor if its impact shadow is not seen.  We spent time looking over every zodiac / spell in the game and marking the ones that are warnings to players. If we missed any, send a bug report and we’ll check.
  • Enemy info – locations – high priority. These are always updated (eventually), but higher priority things (listed above) are sent first.
  • Spells that the player has cast, and spells that are targeting the player – like incoming fireballs, etc. – high priority. Players need to know and see a) what they are doing, and b) what is being done to them.
  • Spells that the player’s party has cast – medium priority
  • Spells cast by players outside the player’s party; and spells cast by enemies that aren’t targeting the player – low priority. It almost never important to see these spells.

When a large battle becomes busy, the server stops sending all spells that fall into the last category listed above. In a big battle, there are TONS of spells like this. It gets so busy, visually, you can’t even really tell what’s happening. So, when this happens, all this data is simply not sent. This is a big savings in large battles. Note: this is just the visual information that is not sent. The game will still update the damage done to enemies from these spells, even those those spells were not transmitted to all the clients.  It’s important to be clear that the spells ARE still active on the SERVER- it’s just the visual part that isn’t being sent to ALL the CLIENTS.

In practice, what happens now is:

  • Players, bosses, and warning zodiacs for harmful effects are always updated to all clients immediately
  • Enemies, spells a player has cast, and spells targeting the player are never culled (they are always sent).  They are however sent only after the things in the above step are sent first.
  • Spells cast by players outside the player’s party, and spells cast by enemies that aren’t targeting the player are NEVER sent (when the server is busy).
  • Spells cast by the player’s party are sent to the player if there’s time.

There’s also a really nice side effect when the game stops sending all these non-essential effects: since they aren’t being displayed on the player’s computer or phone, there is an increase in the frame rate- so animations are smoother.  Movement doesn’t become awkward and clunky. Client-side lag is reduced.

SUMMARY

Here’s what these fixes didn’t fix:

  • “Green Feat” lag / Python server performance – this wasn’t addressed 
  • Client-side problems due to connectivity issues – poor internet connection, dropped packets due to blind spots for wifi routers, etc.
  • Frame rate issues on client (though, see above, in some cases this was improved a bit).

Here’s the stuff that was improved. The torque servers are now sending the same amount of information in about half the size (so a 2x improvement). Since the size of the update packets was increased by 3x, the torque servers should be able to handle a 4x to 6x increase in load with the same performance as before. That’s the theoretical number, but it’s more complicated.  These fixes certainly reduced Torque/C++ lag. Hopefully the level 95 elders, and event zone bosses, are now providing a better experience than before.  

sneaky scribbler

Sarah: Hey, Damon, can you write a couple of quick paragraphs for the Ledger about lag tech?

Damon: Sure, I can write one or two paragraphs. <maniacally laughs and proceeds to write seven pages>

Just KIDDING, that’s not exactly how the conversation went, but it sure feels like it! 😀 But meanwhile, let’s find out what our players have really been talking about! That’s right, it’s Scribbler time! Uh-oh! What has the mischievous eavesdropper of the servers been up to lately? Let’s find out! Whatcha got for us, Sneaky Scribbler?

YOU SAID IT:

A BYTE OUT OF BLIGHT 

Lady Hawk: I think Shadenor is bugged, all the motes are gone

greenpuppy: *burps* yeah bugged

—US2

CLASS STRUGGLES

Father Rugslug: can a toon get sore muscles? I think I have mace elbow

Evisceria: I’d say yes. I have sword strains

TheNorthWind: my hunter gets Archeritus

Evisceria: lol

Grafire: My priest has a staff infection

Grafire: mabe that was the wizard – lol

Evisceria: my earth shaman has the shakes

—US2

SUMMING IT UP

Osyth: what is diminishing return

Good N Plentiful: marriage

–EU1

EXPLOSIVE TALK

Mangeridon: Prisma up C4

mcmatey: you want to blow up Prisma with C4?

–LatAm

THE GIFT OF GIVING

Bark Vader: *rolls a die for sten* A 20 sten dies of the bubonic plague

Hunting Sten: oh my…

Tiggery: oh but wait, Tigg revives Sten!

Bark Vader: of course Tiggery would heal sten

shanefa: oh no Tiggery died of bubonic plague caught from sten

Tiggery: I would heal you too Bark but not shane evidently

–US3

THERE WILL BE DIRTY DANCING!

Rugslug: Not cool Google. You don’t put Grenchta in the corner.

–US2

THE NEXT DAY

marissa31: Happy New Year

Temera: Same to you!

Rhiannon RavensRook: lol we all wake up in the bushes?

Marissa31: laughs. 

marissa31: Yesss

Temera: I was celebrating lots last night after Michigan’s win 😄

Temera: And I woke up here

Rhiannon RavensRook: either a reboot or a great party 😄

–US2

DON’T CALL ME SHIRLEY

Absolutly: I need to read better 🙂

Emeraldia: When busy we mostly just catch the key words 😀

Absolutly: Exactly

Exactly: Yes?

Absolutly: 🙂 Good one

Emeraldia: Absolutly good one 😉

Absolutly: ssst … our secret

Absolutly: 😀

–EU1

THAT PAINFUL FORK IN THE ROAD

Hyacent: grinchta eta? just logged

Fyr Playce: 14 min

Kitzykitt: hyacent, type /showboss 

Hyacent: yes just at a plenti when I logged in so I couldn’t move :p 

Kitzykitt: it’s a hard choice…Grinchta daily…plenty…Grinchta daily…plenty

–US3

USER ERROR

Shadoevines: id join. ut im grk dk

Shadoevines: grinding pies*

Shadoevines: sorry lol. dropped the phone on my face

–US2

A CAUTIONARY TALE

Kahos: someone to clean swimming pools in andorra

Brad Pitbull: not safe to go swimming there… i peed in the water

–LatAm

SEASON OF THE ITCH

Bark Vader: and fleas are my armour and attack fleas. also for the circus

Bark Vader: my dumpster kittens bring home fleas from work where they make pies

Velphra: lol I still have your lucky flea though :p

Bark Vader: gimme back my lucky Irish jig flea

Bark Vader: NOW!!

Velphra: its helped a lot today got all the dailies done on 4 toons got the fish on zale woot I’m keeping him

Mooki: sorry I never took your fleas – was giving them miniature pies

–US3

TUNED UP

Furia Landenen: omg i know a song that says that…how ironic

Edea: ya but this time last year I had no lag

Baa RamEwe: Don’tcha think?

Massakari: lmao

Baa RamEwe: Lag may come, and lag may go, but the RNG stays the same?? 😉

Edea: I’m on dedicated internet and have brand new clean divice

Temera: It’s like laaaag on a platinum raid

Baa RamEwe: ROFL Temera!! 😄

Edea: plat raid don’t lag it lags at h 10 rook

Temera: it’s a free rezz after you already laid

Kamru: like a free resss when you’ve already paid

Temera: *paid

doorena: lol

Temera: OMG kam jinx

Kamru: *boink*

Massakari: edea I think u missed the reference hehehe

Edea: I’m stiken to what I started

Eloquenta: it’s the raid boosts that you just didn’t take

Edea: didn’t see the fork I. the road

Temera: hahaha yes Elo!!

community news

We love to hear about the various lively happenings taking place on the different servers!  From US2, here is Grafire to share with us his thoughts and news about some of the wonderful activities occurring on that server.  Thank you, Graf!  🙂

From Grafire:

This year is my 4th year playing V&H,  I took a hiatus from MMO’s and then decided to follow some friends to V&H after I retired.  I soon found my old friends after a couple days and they took me under their care.  This is how I learned the true nature of this game, it is to depend upon one another.  You start off weak and alone, except for the ramblings on world chat.  As you venture forth and discover that the level 20 Elders will require some help as you are smacked down. Then you learn about crafting specialization, you can’t make the best gear by yourself.

The game encourages you to make connections with one another.  I remember Grinchta’s Lair being my first event zone. The Toy Exchange was a great way to make friends..

Somehow I was nominated to join the US1 (now LatAm) event committee (EC).  Getting to see how much work goes into running an event is eye-opening.  My favorite event is the 12 days of Christmas and Secret Santa.  However there were 3 languages on that server and it was difficult to run events in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

When the English speaking community was graciously offered the option to migrate to another server, there was uncertainty and doubt as to what to do.  Our core group did not want to splinter across the other servers. So we studied to see which community would be best for us.  The vast majority of us decided to move to US2, as they are self proclaimed “wonderful and weird”, just as we were.  We found our new home!

How is US2 wonderful? They fight to be the first to help one another. It is the only server with an OoberMart. Oober claims not to be a bot, but some have doubts. 🙂 Seriously, Oober demonstrates how wonderful US2 is.  There are many 10 year players here who know the game inside and out. Just don’t get them started about VIM and other such ancient arcane topics.  This whole server is highly competitive. They turned on their gardening prowess, raising roses mostly for bragging rights.

How is US2 weird? Just the other night, there was an hour long chat of Love song titles. This community adores clever puns. They are addicted to raids, and it’s not pretty when it is between raid seasons.  

The US2 event committee sponsored some fun events this past year, since I moved to the server.

In Dawn of the Living Dead, zombies have taken over the Cirque Du Darrig zone, hunting for fresh brains.  When a zombie catches a survivor, they become a new addition to the zombie army,  Only the last remaining survivor wins.  Some have found very clever hiding places.

For Halloween, we had a costume party, the best outfit and presentations were awarded prizes. There were some inventive costumes. Then the gang went trick or treating to several village houses. So many spooky houses. 

And my favorite event is the 12 days of Christmas. It brings the server together with Bingo, Secret Santa, growing flowers, and individual contests.  There’s so much love within the community as they work together toward a common goal.🥰

If you have an idea for an event, please share it with an event committee member. 

Come and visit us and see how special this server is, maybe stay and join us!

fan works

Fan Friday

The Ardent Ledger just wouldn’t be complete without a look back at some of the terrific Fan Friday entries created by our insanely talented player community over the past year!  It is always such a pleasure each week to see the submitted entries. Thank you, Fan Friday participants, for all the time, effort, and creativity that you all put into your submissions.  We love your amazing creations, please keep them coming always!

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!  In 2024, the Ardent Ledger will be published REGULARLY again, not just once in a blue moon! Player contributions are most welcome (and needed)! Please just send an email to:

social@madottergames.com

(Subject Heading:  Ardent Ledger submission)

We look forward to hearing from you!  😀