Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Valley of Crucifixion and Myratana (take 1)

Over the last week I have been practising the maze at the start of the Valley of Crucifixion. This maze is split into two parts - one starts in the west and the other the south of the first room in VoC after entering the portal. There are instant death rooms in these mazes that can be used as markers to map where you haven't been yet until you find the arm in each part. Just pull/push the arm and it lights a candle in the rooms to the east of the start as follows:
Within the Pale
Nippy and moist is the haze, granting but an arm's length of bleary vision.A deceitful surrounding it is, where the hand reaches for shadows but catches nothing, and the foot trips over unseen obstacles. A peaceful stroll through a calm winter, or a treacherous tightrope over a bottomless abyss - within the pale, there is no way of telling. However, to picture anything but a perilous setting would be unwarranted optimism in this Otherlandian realm.
Exits: north east south west
A woman's arm sticks up from the snow, pale and stiff.
You take a closer look at the pale arm of a woman on the ground...
Sticking up from the snow, a pale arm and hand eerily hails passer-bys. Angel or human is impossible to tell, but distinctly female. Although frozen and dead since an eternity ago, her hand still stretches out in despair, begging for mercy. Evidently, none was shown.
You notice that it is in the down position.
Her hand is cold and hard like porcelain. It moves but a little as you push it.
You have lit a memorial candle. God bless your soul, Vilexur.
After lighting both candles head east from the entrance and follow the trail of the candles and you end up in a room with a girl and a bell...
The End of False Prophecy
From this, the highest point of the Valley of Crucifixion, one can gaze right into the cold eyes of the end of false prophecy. At the summit of the height of heathens, a thousand dead believers hail from below in every direction but the north. A perfectly vertical mountain wall ends the valley there, towering through the clouds above and beyond. To it, the height clings like an unwanted child to her mother, seeking refuge where none can be found from a nightmare all too real. A scaffold has been raised against the mountain wall, rickety but still climbable. The snow is red under it from a steady trickle of blood.
Exits: east south west up
(Glowing) The bell of mourning hangs from the scaffold, lamenting the dead when struck.
A weak, young girl struggles with a large mallet as she compulsively strikes the bell.
Zephaniah is shrouded in flowing shadow and light. 
 This girl strikes the bell every couple of minutes and says something like the following:
Zephaniah strikes the bell of mourning, falling over under the weight of the mallet...
The bell of mourning tolls, wailing for the here crucified and those reduced to dust in the Ziggurat.
Zephaniah says 'Fire... The demon becomes a god...'
Zephaniah struggles to lift the large mallet, her thin arms nearly breaking from the effort...
Zephaniah says 'Kneel in respect for the dead... Show your empathy and kneel...'
 When you kneel in front of her she says something cryptic:
You kneel down.
Visions of senseless killing and unnecessary death flash before your eyes.
Zephaniah tells you '....Servant....'
You kneel down.
Visions of senseless killing and unnecessary death flash before your eyes.
Zephaniah tells you '....Sight....' 
What these mean I have no idea. The next part of the area is one of the more interesting rooms and mobs of the game. When you make a new character one of the earliest messages you receive is the following disclaimer:
(2)  conversation and situations may arise during the course of play that may not be suitable for young children. 
I've always wondered about this disclaimer and what situations may arise that are unsuitable for young children other than the odd bit of bit language. That was until I first entered the following room, read it's description (after getting beaten, battered and bruised) and saw Myratana in the flesh as follows:

Reign in Blood
At the top of the scaffold, various planks and leftovers from the construction of the great display below have been put to use. As old as the humanhangers indeed, withstanding the test of time does not seem to be much of challenge for material found useful by divine will. It has built a container, in shape rectangular, and perhaps best described as a bath. Poorly, one might add, as it is leaking freely. While nothing is peculiar about a leaking container, what steadily trickles from this one is quite interesting indeed. Bodies lie jampacked inside it, cut open or in half in the most fascinating places.
These men must be several hundred years old, yet still their bodies pump out fresh blood to refill the everleaking bath. Under the deep red surface they can be seen screaming in excruciating pain, but the blood mutes their cries immediately. Drowning in blood must be quite stimulating when one is not allowed to die.
Exits: down
A scantily clad angel moans as she bathes in the blood of humans.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant shimmers beneath an aura of dark energy.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant is surrounded by cascading torrents of electric fire.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant caresses her body with bloody hands, pervertedly smearing herself with brains and guts.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant yells 'Come to me, heroes of Despair. Those denied by heaven I welcome here.' 
Ambition and ruthlessness was what Golgonooza saw in Myratana when he promoted her to lieutenant of the divine army of the Left. Unlike Golgonooza himself and Melfice, she lacked both honour and respect for her enemy. Her hatred for the mortal races of the Realms blinded her completely to the real purpose of the conflict. She even despised her superior Golgonooza and often refused to follow his orders. However, his lust for her as he watched her naked body bathe in the blood of humans easily defeated his ratiocination. Veiled but a little by torn white robes stained by the blood, brains and guts of those dead by her whip, she stands here in a seductive pose. With freely exposed breasts, long red hair and a blood-drooling mouth she radiates a nauseating sexuality.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant is in perfect health.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant is using:
<worn on body>       the blood-stained robes of the vitiated
<wielded>            a whip of ritualistic flagellation 
 This evening though I thought I'd try something crazy - taking on Myratana solo. There are strategies for groups to do on Myratana but solo was to be a different challenge. I tanked it on my paladin which worked quite well in the sense that I was staying alive. The problem however was that I just couldn't do enough damage meanwhile my equipment was being damaged again and again. Myratana has a lot of damage programs and interesting messages with them. Well interesting when the fighting is over.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant stares lustfully into your eyes.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant says to you, 'My body is fire. In your thoughts I burn.'
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant utters the words, 'gqafqpuio gjfoz'.
A fiery current lashes through your body!
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant stretches out her wings to their full length.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant closes her eyes and starts to glow with a humming, bright light.
The light fades and for a moment everything is silent.
As Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant opens her eyes, they glow with the power of the dark heavens.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant utters the words, 'akutenshi'.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant's Angel Ray grazes you! 
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant pulls you close to her and places her hands on your breasts.
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant says to you, 'Men of these Realms can not please you. Come, let me teach you divine pleasure.'
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant kisses you.
Her saliva burns in your mouth, and the pain spreads like fire through your body!
(the Breastplate of the Ravager gets damaged)
Myratana, the Angel Lieutenant laughs and pushes you away from her. 
 Ouch. I'll have to rethink my strategy - either get a group together to try next time or equip an army of alts and do a tag team attack one after another. But end result is Myratana wins this round...

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Why (and how) the Lizards Should Return

In my last post I wrote about how I have one of the few remaining lizardman characters. What this post is about is why it was wrong for them to be taken out of the game, why they should be brought back and how to make them more popular.

Lizardmen disappeared in early 2001. I still remember logging on and trying to make a new lizardman warrior only to find it couldn't be done. After asking around I heard that they'd been removed because they weren't popular enough. This bothered me as there was no official announcement, no warnings, no attempts to make them more popular and no mention of any ways for them to return. Even when they have the occasional raffle where the prize is to be able to make a character of any race/class combination there is always an except lizardman clause. Generally I respect the decisions the Council of Elders makes and believe they are in the best interests of the game. This decision I did not because afterall what harm were the lizards doing to the game?

I can understand why lizardmen weren't very popular. They could only be warriors or rangers and the base stats for them were generally terrible. The base stats for my lizardman ranger are:
Your base stats:    18 str 9  int 9  wis 11 dex 17 con 12 cha 9  lck.
Your current stats: 25 str 12 int 10 wis 20 dex 17 con 12 cha 12 lck.
Tyring to maximise strength, dexterity and wisdom for a ranger with those stats is tough. The funny thing is this problem has been fixed. When they removed statnames from the game they replaced it with a system where all new characters had their statistics add up to 100. This has been tweaked so that now new characters  have their statistics add to 95. The above stats only add up to 85.

The second problem of only having two classes for lizardmen has also been fixed. Since lizards have gone they have added barbarians, bladesingers and fathomers which I think would all be perfect for lizardmen.

The next problem with lizardmen was the lack of special equipment. Half-orcs, half-trolls and half-ogres were always more popular due the racial equipment they had available. Recently there have been racial sets available for dwarves, halflings and gnomes as well as several other minor pieces of racial equipment. Bringing in a lizardman set of equipment would make the race more popular and could be used to develop a series of quests or a storyline for the race.

I believe there is a lot of potential for the lizardman race in the game and I know people would like to play a lizardman character if they could. I was once asked by an immortal how I would feel if they brought back lizards and mine was no longer rare. My response was that I would be happy because I'd love to make a few new lizards myself.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Last of the Lizards

I am lucky to be one of the few people to have a lizardman character left in the Realms of Despair. Sadly someone made a decision 12 and a half years ago to remove the race from the game. Since then the number of lizards left have slowly autodeleted away until the last I heard there were only 37 lizards left. What it has allowed for is a story that about the struggle for existence and futility of attempting to survive to develop for the handful of lizards left that few players get to see. Themes of survivalism, anger and camaraderie are present throughout the realms for the lizardmen.

Not far from the entrance to the lizardman hometown is an egg. When examined most characters see this:
You take a closer look at A dried out egg shell on the ground...
Several things are immediately clear about this egg. It has been cracked
straight across the centre - surely no lizardman hatched from this egg.
In spite of its age, it is apparent this egg was licked thoroughly clean.
Surely, the lizardman bias is justified. This was the dinner for some egg-
thieving mammal.
When a lizardman examines it they see this extra bit:
Pausing a moment to reflect on the life that never was, the blood within you stirs ...
Grrrrrrrrrr ...
This running theme of the loss of lizardman eggs is also seen in Ockwater Fens when a non-lizardman character enters the room with the traveller in it you get this message:
The traveller sneers at you in contempt.
The lizardman growls at you 'Away with you, egg thieving mammal!'
The traveller growls.
 For the lizardman entering the same room you get this message:
The traveller nods in agreement with you.
 Throughout the whole area the lizardman mobs treat lizard characters differently. Instead of glaring at you the lizardman warriors peer at you quizzically. Anger towards the situation can also be seen when wearing a lizard hide from Salburg. When a non-lizard character wears one it says:
You sling a thick piece of lizard hide on your back.
You marvel at the strength and warmth of a thick piece of lizard hide.
While when the lizards wear it you get:
You sling a thick piece of lizard hide on your back.
You grimace in disgust as you feel a thick piece of lizard hide slide upon your back.
The strength of the hide combines with your own and makes you more powerful.
To me though the most interesting lizardman only message is the one you get from the lizardman totem in Vast Horizons. The lizardman totem is the crocodile and it's message is:

The crocodile spirit totem says 'Be strong. Gain strength from overcoming all things.'
You find yourself somewhere else, contemplating the vision your totem has shared.
Was it only a dream?
Surviving. Anger. Camaraderie.

I do wish they'd bring back the lizards. There is so much potential for it to be done and tied in with a storyline through quests and possibly new areas.

Here's hoping.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pop rates

For the last couple of weeks I've been working on equipping some of my underdressed character I use less. Part of this has been something that most people have done plenty of times - killing Justice in the Tower of Enlightenment. I usually kill Justice using just one of my thieves. It takes around 100 heals and a couple of true sights per kill. Fairly straight forward just need to watch the circle lag. Eventually the result is this:
Your pierce tears Justice!
Justice is DEAD!!
As the final blow is struck, a necklace of shimmering scales falls from
Justice's neck.
Justice splatters blood on your armor.
You get a gold coin from the corpse of Justice.
The corpse of Justice holds:
     (Humming) the Blindfold of Clarity
     (Glowing) (Humming) sword of equilibrium
     (Glowing) (Humming) scales of alpha & omega
The big mystery is once you've killed Justice what alignment the scales of alpha and omega are. Good aligned ones are the most useful and the most rare. In my experience I find that out of every 6 kills I get 3 neutral align, 2 evil and 1 good. In the last two weeks I've done 10 kills resulting in 6 neutral, 2 evil and 2 good aligned scales. I was wondering how likely this result was so started thinking about killing Justice as a Bernoulli trial. In a Bernoulli trial we have an event which has probability of occurring and can be repeated. In this case the event is getting a good aligned scale or not and can be repeated as in each kill. Looking at an individual binomial distribution table using a probability of 0.15 (roughly 1 in 6) for each kill the number of good align scales being popped in 10 kills is:
  • 0 good scale - 0.272
  • 1 good scale - 0.385
  • 2 good scales - 0.238
  • 3 good scales - 0.084
  • 4 good scales - 0.018
  • 5 good scales - 0.003
  • 6 good scales - 0.000
Looking at the above getting 2 good scales out of 10 kills is quite lucky - but this is making the assumption that the pop rates are 1 in 6 each kill.

Earlier this year I donated 20 Unfettered Deliriums to the Guild of Vampires. The aim was to see how many Maniacal Tendencies we could make from them and use them as prizes for guild quests. The pop rate for them is lower than for good aligned scales. In the end we managed to get 2 MT's out of 20. My guess for the pop rate from experience would be either 1 in 20 or 1 in 10. Again using an individual binomial distribution table to guess how many Maniacal Tendencies we should have popped gives different probabilities.

Using 1 in 20 gives:
  • 0 MT's - 0.358
  • 1 MT's - 0.377
  • 2 MT's - 0.189
  • 3 MT's - 0.060
  • 4 MT's - 0.013
  • 5 MT's - 0.002
While 1 in 10 gives:
  • 0 MT's - 0.122
  • 1 MT's - 0.270
  • 2 MT's - 0.285
  • 3 MT's - 0.190
  • 4 MT's - 0.090
  • 5 MT's - 0.032
The question is which is more likely to result in popping 2 MT's out of 20 attempts? Hard to tell - might need to try and make some more.