Thank you and Happy New Year from all of your crazy online friends here at Artix Entertainment! This is the 10th year in a row of saying "Can you believe we actually did more this year than we did the year before!?" Our weekly releases, special events, and new projects are all possible because of you -- and we are truly grateful. Before we set out to do new, never before done things in 2013, let us take a look back at the past year. WARNING! Only 1 out of 1,000 people will make it through this post. We believe this is more due to escaped radioative time traveling rabid ninja squirrels than the post length. I have a good feeling about you though... you are one in a thousand.
"In 2012 we boldly and recklessly ventured into the gray area between fantasy and reality. As it turns out, we made the real world a bit more fun, and the game world a bit more real."
Every year I come into the lab on Jan 1st. No one else is here. It is dead quiet. The lights are all off. You can hear the building creek and the subtle hum of the servers. That is right, the servers are actually being powered by electricity today. Even the server hampsters are home for the holidays. Last year on this day I went through ALL the stacks of old notebook and piece of paper in the lab... As a visual oriented person, I sketch and write EVERYTHING I think of for the video games to communicate it to the team. Great things start with a blank sheet of paper. I found tons of unused white sheets of paper! So I gathered all of the old blank pieces of paper up, put them on a clipboard and made the paper a promise. Dramatically paraphrasing it was something like, "You were the unused, forgotten, and lost... but I vow to thee stack of white paper... you were being held for something special... in 2012 our thoughts, dreams, and gaming ideas shall be drawn on you." (Pretend there was epic movie music when you read that and use the voice of Vegeta from DragonBall Z.) I was true to my word. Every piece of paper was used. So as we look back at all of the amazing things we did together in 2012... remember that each of these things started with a blank sheet of paper.
I honestly have no where to start... so I am going in to in 'Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey' order.
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!?!?! 10 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! To celebrate we wanted to do something BIG. Something that would span the entire game network. And perhaps most importantly, something that no other game network had every done before.
To do this, we need something outside of the games that would bring them all together. Since 2004, EbilCorp ads and references have been appearing in our games, calendars, and printed materials. Did anyone notice the EbilCorp ad in the back of the MechQuest Art Book? Or in the back of the Calendars? It appears multiple times in MechQuest and other places online too. If you are a Doctor Who fan, it was sort of our "Bad Wolf" or "Vote Saxon." Starting 2 years ago, the real life Chairman Platinum appeared on the scene. He is the nefarious owner of EbilCorp. We had a brief encounter with him at our DragonCon 2011 panel. Then he showed up with an army of ninjas and a minion dressed as Sepulchure at our DragonCon 2012 panel.
Needless to say, the most epic "WAR" of all time took place during our 10th Year Anniversary when EbilCorp attempted a "hostile takeover" of our game studio called Gameocide. Every one of our games was under attack by EbilCorp monsters and we had exactly 7 days to save the entire game network. It was an epic war event spanning 6 different video games at the same time. I cannot think of any other video game studio that ever had something like this happen before -- it was so unusual. As the war raged on, Chairman Platinum released video after video on YouTube and his Facebook taunting us and egging us on. (Note: You would not believe how many real death threats ths Chairman got during that week!) In the end, the players of Artix Entertainment emerged victorious! Everyone who participated was given free in-game currency (AdventureCoins, DragonCoins, Varium, Nova Gems, Smash Coins and Ztokens) as a reward. The last we heard of Chairman Platinum he was throwing an absolute raging sissy fit, red in the face with anger from losing... but we know that he and EbilCorp are out there, plotting their revenge, and rebuilding their army.
It has been 2 weeks since you stopped the end of the world. Do not be too upset that The Doctor and Goku were taking all of the credit on Facebook. All of us that where there for the epic 12-12-12 and 12-21-12 events know it was really you that saved us all. If nothing else, it was truly a once in a life time event.
AQWorlds expands with a new release every single week on Friday night -- and often there are additional mid-week releases. The game is so big and active it now has two game leads: Cysero and Alina. There were so many releases this year it would be crazy to list them all. So I asked you on Twitter, and here are the replies for your favorite releases of 2012!
Friday the 13th (x 3!!!)
We had THREEEEEEEEE Friday the 13ths this year! Everyone's favorite creepy musician, Voltaire, and his twisted evil teddy bear friend Deady hosted three of the spookyist releases of the year. Each one of the releases was original and HUGE. Not sure if anyone knows how much work goes into one of these - but the team truly went on overdrive to do them. Of the three original events, my favorite was the "Riding a Black Unicorn Down the Side of an Erupting Volcano While Drinking from a Chalice Filled with the Laughter of Small Children!" (There was also the Neverworld and the Bunnypocalypse) You can get to the events using /join voltairetown
- "Loves Eternal Curse" Valentines Event with Mia J. Park
Short version: Artix wrote a love story about ghosts, got Austrialian singer Mia J. Park to sing and voice act it, and the storylin spirals into the underworld and ends with the ultimate love story twist. You can play it using /join lovescurse
- I CAN HAS MOD (Contest)
A contest ran where players obtained a "Golden Cheezburger" for 0 gold from a shop. Anyone holding this item had a chance of being an honorary mod for a day, hanging out with any staff member they wanted and the ultimate prize... a wish. Yes, a WISH. They could wish for anything, but there was a secret list of Death Note style rules that were only discovered once wishes that were impacted by them were made. In general, wishes that helped other people or were kind and selfless were HEAVILY rewarded. Anyone who was greedy or selfish (thankfully none of our players were) would trigger terrible rules that would do terrible things.
- EtherStorm (Desoloth!)
On 11-11-11 a portal opened unleashing the great Dragon Desloth. In this storyline we quested through Etherstorm and battled the Desoloth himself!
- April 1st Prank
You had to be there for it...
- The Magic Thief (Guest Author Event)
- DoomWood Part II
The Doomwood saga continues, but players were surprised to find that this storyline focused on Gravelyn, the leader of AQWorld's evil faction. As a twist, after two weeks the story turned into...
- AQWorlds ZOMBIES
"What if the DoomKnight Sepulchure had won?" We found the answer to this question. The entire world would have been zombified... and it was. Players battled an unstoppable growing hoard of zombies. Town after town fell... heroic characters who were once our best friends turned into zombies and tried to eat us. This storyline was the continuation of DoomWood Part II. You can play it by using the button on your map in game.
- Dage vs Nulgath
Dage started as Nulgath's apprentice... both in-game and in real life. But this past summer, the huge fan bases of these two popular artists went to war. This would be voted this year's most cared about event. Unless you were there, it is hard to describe how insanely loyal and devoted Nulgath & Dage's fans are. Players were forced to pick sides in the ultimate battle between EVIL and... um... EVIL! Yup, both of their characters were evil. Dage is an undead lich and Nulgath is a being from the underworld. The war itself was not without problems. Both sides claimed fowl play as reward items and item drops changed. Dage's Legion won the first battle, but the next two were decidedly won by Nulgath's forces. The ending cutscene caught a lot of critism. Despite winning, Nulgath returned to his realm and his creation of the new game Oversoul was announced. Regardless, it was an epic and memorable experience that both sides loved and future players will wish they had been a part of.
- SkyGuard Finale
- Xan the Pyromancer Saga
- Fishing and Alchemy Trade Skills
- Attack of the Lag Monster
- Lorepedia created
- Power Gems
- "Rawr" TV Commercial
- The Span - Chronomancer Chaos Lord Saga
- Guilds (Phase I)
- Game Cards now available at Gamestop!
- J6's Wedding
- New Book of Lore
- Mogloween 2012 - One-Eyed Doll music video premiere, CD launch, and haunted insane asylum
- Alina & Rolith's Wedding
- Dark Harvest - The darkest thanksgiving event... ever
- New Character Creation
- 10th Year Anniversary!!! EbilCorp "Hostile Takeover"
- Frostvale 2012: The End of all Things
2013 is going to be a huge year for AQWorlds! We are going to redesign the town of Battleon and reshape a lot of the world. Guild Phase 2 & 3 will bring guild owned towns and guild wars! We are working on a new book called the "Art of AdventureQuest Worlds." As for the main storyline, there are only 4 Chaos Lords left... and if we defeat them we may finally be strong enough to face the most powerful bgins in our world -- DRAKATH. But one glance at how many empty spaces are left on the map should give a hint that even Drakath is not the end... in fact, you wonder why know one ever asks why the word "Worlds" is at the end of this game's name.
Events from the OTHERWORLD
"... and we made real life a little more like a video game."
- Artix.com launched! (Phase 1 of 3)
- 10th Year Anniversary!
- The team learns how to create cosplay armor
- Artix Entertainment on NBC Channel 8 News
- PASCO EDC Technology Award - That one were we crashed a fancy pants party wearing our cosplay armor
- Artix Entertainment on FOX News
- 1st "Artix Gaming News Update" with Karlee Perez
- DragonCon 2012
- AE Pre-Paid Card arrive at GAME STOP in the US! (The cards are doing much better at GameStop than at other locations, so we are removing them from Target.)
- Artix gives a TEDx TampaBay Talk on "The Future of Storytelling"
- AE partners with Tamp's Museum of Science and Industry - teaches children about making video games
- Artix & Faith talk to children at school about making video games
- AE team visits the Shriners Children Hospital with bags of HeroMart gifts
- Artix, Roam & Chairman Platinum get accepted to compete on American Ninja Warrior (However, Artix was in Japan during the filming, Chairman Platinum's run was never aired, but Roam's was!)
- J6's mission to draw AQWorlds in space
- Artix & Sepulchure Action Figures released at Toys"R"U
- J6 creates Galanoth's helmet in real life
- The wedding of Alina & Rolith - and Rolith's wrestling bachelors party
- Daimyo (Artix's undead slaying battle pomeranian) gets 6,000+ likes on Facebook
- People realize that the 2012 Calendar's December page featured the calender blowing up as if the world was going to end. Everyone laughed when they turned the page and there was a second December where everything was normal and everyone was smiling.
- Mobile Game Test! We successfully ported AQWorlds characters to a mobile app. This is the start of something great.
New Game! AdventureQuest 3D: Legend of LORE
Coming in 2013!
Last year's New Years Post announced that we were creating our first brwoser based 3D MMO. It did not even have a name yet. Actually, now that I think of it we named the game in a live, streaming Sock Puppet Show. (We are so weird.) I am not sure what your favorite memory of 2012 was... but I think putting on that sock puppet was mine. We still have the two sock puppets, Xeph and Zeph in a glass case near the front of the lab. Cysero built them with a hot glue gun the same day as the show. We announced the name of the game was AdventureQuest 3D: Legend of LORE...
...and at the same time gave the link to the first Alpha Test of the game! The files were so big that it completely killed the little test server when 5,000+ people rushed on to play it. Later we wisely moved the files to our distributed CDN (Content Delivery Network.) Early development was going fast. but we hit a technology wall as Unity & Flash & the assorted Web Browsers of the world stopped playing nice together. At DragonCon 2012 we released a flythrough of the zones the team had been working on. It looks pretty amazing... but when people realized the fly through was actually playing from a web browser they freaked! We truly believed that we would be Beta by last summer and launching last October. When we realized there was no way to release the game until early 2013, we got very quiet about the game and let OverSoul & AdventureQuest Worlds take the spotlight to buy us more time. This is not the only game that took us over time. DragonFable was the exact same way - taking nearly 2 years to get up and running. The AQ3D team is small by industry standards, but very big by ours. The 6 person team has been working non-stop through the year on the art, animation, and programming for project. As I write this combat is now working (using the term working loosely). We wanted to surprise our AlphaKnights (awesome players have been taking the AlphaKnight oath on AQ3D.com -- an oath that they are ready to test a truly experimental, barely working version of the game) by releasing a combat test in December, but there were so many bugs, technical issues & graphicial glitches that we decided to wait until it was more presentable. That is what we are working on now. Also, LOL, while we are waiting for the game engine changes the artists all met over at my house. We spent a day playing video games and brain storming on our look and feel. Then, we did something unthinkable. We tossed out all of our current male and female character models and started building new, better ones from scratch. Over the past year the 3D art skill of our team has been skyrocketing. So look forward to posts with the new character models as early as this week! AdventureQuest 3D: Legend of LORE is definatley the most challenging thing we have ever attempted. If you want to support our efforts in creating it... please renew your AQWorlds Membership or upgrade in one of our others games. The team needs funding to compete ths new game! (So if any part of the testing requires AQWorlds Membership -- you now know why.)
On Halloween / Mogloween night, we launched our 7th major flash-based game! Oversoul is a fantasy card-game-style battling game. The game design, art and animation was created by the talented Nulgath.
When Nulgath first told me about his game idea he said, "I want to build a game that I want to play." It may seem like a simple statement, but it is exactly the sort of passion and thinking it takes to build something great -- so we helped him make it happen. Rolith & Warlic joined his team to program the game and create the multiplayer game server from scratch. We would like to put out a special thanks to all the hackers and packet spammers for... um... helping us make the game server ultra secure and stable. Haha, it was quite the challenge for Rolith these past few months. The vast number of server crashes definately gave that classic "Yup we are in BETA" feel. Few people remember how the original AdventureQuest crashed multiple times daily when we were first building it. Oversoul is a true multiplayer game, with all combat calculations taking place on the server -- it is a thousand times more complex. I am very proud of the Oversoul team for overcoming all of their challenges. Now that the game is stable, we are all anxious to see more game modes and gameplay elements added to the game. Nulgath and his apprentice hav been adding new characters with amazing art and animation to the game weekly. Oversoul is definately growing and great potential. If you have not already, check it out for yourself at http://oversoul.artix.com/ If you like what you see, support the game buy getting a few SoulGems (SG) -- but do it fast, the Founder package is goign to expire soon.
This year we experienced the finale of DragonFable: Book 2 "Elemental Chaos." (NOTE: They used to call them 'chapters', but the storylines are so huge and full that it makes way more sense to call them books.) Book 2 focused on Warlic, who was a good mage (a wizard) and his nemesis Xan, who is an evil pyromancer (fire wizard). The adventure lead you through their tragic backstories... and most importantly how they fell in love with the mysterious woman frozen in ice. If you have not played Book 1 or Book 2 yet, I highly recommend playing through them. Especialy because Book 3: "The End of Magic" has already started! The beginning of the game was re-created to help new players get through the story easier/faster. The Quest Log, DragonLord Class, and many other things were improved too!
If you want to skip the first two storylines and jump right into Book 3: "The End of Magic" you now do so! This newest book takes place several years after the end of the previous adventure and the world has changed. I am not just talking about the cute little Petshop girl growing up and becoming a woman either. (Although Oishii's new redesign of her, and other characters is really cool!) A order known as "The Rose" is eliminating magic throughout the world. It is effecting almost every place you have ever been in the game. Play at www.DragonFable.com
HeroSmash is our smallest game, but the players are the most loyal and fierce of all the games. This was proven during the 10th Anniversary Event when the HeroSmash players shocked ALL of us by being the first to achieve victory by getting their war meter to 100%. Randor the Red took over the game this year is now looking for background artists to help in creating new areas. One look at the art talent of the HeroSmash community and you have to wonder why we are not taking on more apprentices. We have been thinking that HeroSmash would make the great training ground for artists and animators.
The game is pretty well known for breaking all of the rules. But it was still interesting when we traveled to Liath, a planet devoid of color. How many space games suddenly break into black & white? Then, we went to planet Romero... which was named as a tongue in cheek joke after the Director who created the movie "Night of the Living Dead." Needless to say, the planet was zombified as a result of an evil pharmaceutical company. You teamed up with Artix to save the world. Players were pretty excited about using the transforming starship known as "The Paladin" to perform a planet wide excorsism. Other notable releases included Meltface mode and the "crossover" with EpicDuel -- you know, where the giant mecha Dragonoids appeared in game. But the main event is starting right now. Mecha pilots are buzzing about the 2013 storyline finale... the great war between the worlds you saved and the evil Shadowscythe invader's fleet is about to begin. The fate of the Universe will depend on what happens these next few months.
Catch up at www.MechQuest.com
Two years ago we started an online store called HeroMart to sell our team's creations. It was a side project run by Faith who used to be the lab's receptionist. Now, HeroMart has grown
- Artix vs Sepulchure Action Figures!
- Dage's Limited Art Prints
- Shadowscythe Mouse Pad
- Tshirts (Zorbak, Mogloween, 10th Anniversary)
- Those Bunnypocolypse thingies that glow in the dark...
- Running dangerously low on Card Games and Booster packs... no way to order more.
- 2013 Calendar/Poster (reversable!)
Coming next month, we gathered many of the Artix Entertainment artists and made a special sketch book of all of their work. Called "The Artists of Artix Entertainment" it is a must have for any one who wants to see what it takes to get into the art side of game making. Also, realizing that we have been drinking out of the same old, chipping coffee mugs that came from my house nearly 10 years ago... we broke down and made a bunch of Artix Entertainment coffee mugs (and some EbilCorp ones strictly for infiltration purposes). We made the mugs for the team... but if you want one, we can ask Faith to put some up on HeroMart too.
EpicDuel is our Player-vs-Player game. It has has a lot of great releases this year, but as I write this, EpicDuel is preparing for their biggest upgrade ever. It is called "OMEGA." This release is so big they had to completely rebuild the game and combat engine. For the full story on how you will be able to customize EVERYTHING, check out game lead Titan's Omega Design notes post.
AdventureQuest Classic -- the game that started it all!
10 years ago, there was a little Inn and a hand ful of monsters. The game was completely new, unlike anything ever seen on the web. Back then, people were used to installing games on their computers from CDs. The idea of of a game that you could play on any web browser in the world was original... but being able to login anywhere and play your same character, that was amazing. The concept of weekly updates was also completely unheard of. AdventureQuest introduced the idea of wars, holiday events, and tons of seemingly small things that countless games have copied, and then those games were copied and so forth. AdventureQuest's items were not like normal games... the weapons had a chance to do crazy things like fly out of your hand, transform, and do wild attacks. You could change classes to any class you wanted on a single character. We take these things for granted now, but 10 years ago... no one else did these things. A little web game called AdventureQuest did not just influence our future games... it played a very big role in influencing the entire gaming industry. It is not surprising... our community is directly responsible for AdventureQuest and all the things we accomplished in it. The best part is... 10 years ago... so many people laughed at the idea of a one time payment and getting weekly releases. They thought it would never work. To all of those players who supported us -- BRAVO! As a special thanks I wrote a nostalgic and very archknight humor style 10th anniversary adventure along with the team to celebrate. It was created for both brand new players who have never played the game AND for our oldest, most hard core players. If you have not played it yet, be sure to check it out in-game at www.BattleOn.com
A special thank you to the AE TEAM
Keeping a video game studio that does weekly releases up and running for 10 years is an unbelievable WIN! I sincerely want to thank the entire Artix Entertainment team for all of your hard work, long nights, and incredible dedication to the games. Few people know how hard it is to create a new release from scratch - every single week of the year - even during holidays - without ever getting a break. You are not normal people... and that is why so many look up to you as role models and inspiration. Thank you for every thing you do. Thank you for making the games better every week. Thank you for every time I called you at 3am on a weekend because the server was down... thank you for staying late and coming in early to make those endless urgent changes to the games...Thank you for spending your weekend and free time building cosplay armors, silly videos, dressing up and visiting children for no reason other than to make them smile. Thank you forgiving me when I make mistakes -- and thank you for helping to fix them. Thank you for making our forums and community a safe place for younger players. Thank you for doing jobs that no one realizes is even remotely related to making video games - and doing it better and more proudly than anyone would have dreamed. Thank you for being good, honest and kind people who care about what they do. No amount of words can ever describe the graditude that I and so many of our wonderful players have for you. You rightfully deserve our love and admiration for everything you accomplished in 2012.
(Whispers: But do not let it get to your head... we all expect you to top it in 2013.)
HAPPY NEW YEAR! (Thank you again!)
We hope you enjoyed all of the past year's contests, videos, random pictures, special events and game releases. Right before we get started on THIS Friday's 2013 releases (Yikes, 2 days to build the first one) the team and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts! ...and the tops, sides, back, front, and insides, and other dimensional sides for making this possible. Everything we created this year was because of, and for... you. This year is going to be our most exciting and challenging yet -- I mean, we are going to build and release our first 3D game AND also our first real mobile game! We have always built our games alongside you... and now, we need your help more than ever. If you look down you will notice that Artix.com features commenting. Unlike Facebook and Twitter -- we can actually see and read all of these. (We sorta have to, we approve each comment by hand.) You can log into this site using your Artix Entertainment "One Login to Rule them All!" If you do not have one, please create one, they are free and this single login will work with Oversoul, HeroSmash, EpicDuel and ALL of our new games including AdventureQuest 3D. Please make a post below... you can give a hearty "Battle On!", give a special message to the team, or tell us what your favorite memory from last year was. Later this week I will begin making posts here about things we are working on. You can get involved and help build the games by responding to the posts! Congratulations to everyone on 10 years of adventure... today begins somethign entirely new. I am so honored that you are being a part of it with us!
BATTLE "Elbow of Hope" ON!!!
Artix & the entire AE Team
"... going back to add pictures and links now. Wow this post took a super long time to write! - Artix"