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This article was written by the player Athlon, and posted on January 28, 2013.

Disclaimer from the author: This is a review of events that occurred during 2013 written from a player's perspective. Do not take this in any way to be factual information.

2013 - Year in Review by Athlon

Looking back, it's been pretty eventful over the past twelve months. Changes have been implemented both for the good and for the bad. Areas have opened; this is always a good thing. Players have come and gone: depending on the players, that's either good or bad. Dentin's still around and cranking out the new code, though I have a feeling he's feeling a bit burnt out and wants to start working on something else. Yet with all of this gameplay evolution going on, one thing remains constant: the diverse, thriving community that is attached to Alter Aeon.

So, what all happened? Here's a breakdown of some of the biggest changes, events, and other happenings that went on, organized in no particular order.

18th anniversary event (Jan 15 - 20)

One of Weyoun's most famous and memorable runs through the ice fortress. Two solid hours of xp, fun and deeds. This run really helped to cement Weyoun's reputation as a powerful, intelligent and sensible group leader who was able to adapt to unknown situations. People tell me Laeg also led a run through that area, but I don't remember it happening. I was very busy that Sunday though. Roan came back to play on the 1995 port, and he and I and the two other members of his "Only Clan" had a blast. The area tours were interesting, but the real fun came during the untamed wilds death march, where Dentin basically sat around and watched his entire group get burned.

Summer Solstice event (Jun 19 - Jul 4)

Two brand new areas to visit, deeds to complete, prizes to win and super powerful eq to run. It was all here. Weyoun led another awesome run through the event with Wily and Colonel as the steadfast damage sponges. Our group managed to hold together fairly well, but if I remember rightly, Shadowfax, running the other group, was dragging around a bunch of players who didn't have saves. Needless to say, there were tons and tons of casualties. In the end though, we all got a cloak of flames. It's still one of my favorite pieces on the mud. I was sad to see the plane of fire area go, but at least we still have the Bathosphere to enjoy.

The promotional contests were also run, but only two real entries were submitted. Fehlan won third prize for his sub-ruins walkthroughs because no one else had the bravery or creativity to come up with another one? And my own contribution took me scarcely over two hours to complete. 1000 credits per hour of work? That's higher than minimum wage!

Halloween Havoc 2013 (Oct 29 - Nov 1)

Halloween Havoc was fun as always. Tons of werewolves, vampires and ghosts were released, and I and tons of other players farmed the crap out of force randoms. Also of note was Takeo's two wins in Arena wars, earning him two grinning skull tattoos for his trouble. Storm also earned two tattoos, one for a win in the arena, and another for the halloween costume contest win he secured. The costume contest was a novel idea; I'd never seen it done before. It was pretty cool to see. I once again got a pumpkin master shirt for being one of the top ten distances on the cannon. Timing is everything. I was hoping to win another eq restring, but such is life.

The Removal of Mob Deaths

I was sad to see it go, as were many other people. In retrospect, I don't think that it would have mattered either way. Some people still want it back though because it gives more information about the players, but really, mob deaths aren't an effective metric at measuring player ability. It is a metric; it's just not an effective one, and the reason why Dentin took it out was 1) so that people would not place unnecessary weight on it, and 2) to take away some of the allure of repeat suicide.

Even then, some people kept right on dying over and over. It was really annoying to recall to Glade WP and see thirty Mavrik corpses on the ground because he'd died to doll and toy over and over again. Yeah, due to him, Dentin caused a player to be booted and frozen for repeated suicides. Well, that taught all the dummies a lesson, no one that I know of has tried repeat suiciding more than once since then.

Note from Dentin: The reason we don't see more suicides now is because the code now has autoboot/autofreeze code to limit death spamming. It's hard to repeatedly suicide when every time you try you get frozen for a longer time period.

Panda's Eviction

After being sold, Panda's reputation quickly deteriorated. He'd managed to infiltrate three other clans by saying he was an alt of one of the previous clannies, then came back to Clan Demon with tons of information about deeds and things. It was a clever ruse...until he was caught. After everyone virtually chased him off the game, he's never come back since. And good riddance I say. He ruined an awesome char!

Clans

Clans continuously change and evolve. Here's a quick overview of some of the more important clan-related events of the year:

  • Sons of Malice was created. One of our longtime players finally found a clan home there. After being shunted around and leaving various clans in disgust, he's finally found a place to bed down.

  • Insanity: It used to be a clan of old players who at least knew something about the old ways of playing the game and may or may not have had good adaptation skills. That fire's gone now, and it's another clan full of people who are still learning to play. Those clans have to exist though, and they're not hurting anybody else.

  • Chaos: originally the Order of Chaos, Chaos is most famous for its large player base, which is eerily similar to clan Air. They recruit anybody who asks to join, unless the incumbant's reputation is so bad that even the elders know about it. Rivaling its large population is its rather ostentatiously named clan restrings. If you see the restring, you'll instantly know from which clan it came from.

  • Wolf was created. The clan's policies are stronger and more rigid than most, making it a more promising clan that has a great amount of potential.

  • Fire nation: It's revitalized, with Ritchhart, enthusiasm for the game restored, at its head. Not many players stayed through the desolation age, but clan membership seems to be up. Still, most of the other clans are waiting for Fire Nation to really heat up; it's still just glowing embers to many.

  • Dominion: I and the rest of the mud respect this Clan a whole lot, on a par with the older Shadow Alliance, Havoc and Dragon. They've actually stopped recruiting anybody and everybody, which helped greatly with their reputation. Best part: the clan as a whole is not even snobbish. That kind of social behavior is rapidly being phased out from common usage on the game, which is something that all of us can appreciate.

  • Space: one of the shortest-lived clans I've ever seen on the game. Clan Space was owned briefly by Adruid, but he was unable to find the funds to keep it running, so clan space has lifted off, never to be seen again.

The Druid Expansion

Yep, the thing you've all been waiting to read about: druid. Is it worth playing? The answer is a distinct "maybe". I don't really see anything all that revolutionary about druid that affects existing characters, except for maybe salves and tinctures. It would be cool if weather affected spells from other classes, but the logic of how those spells work doesn't take the weather into consideration either. Dentin still says he has to add some skills at the high end such as moon and starcatcher-specific skills, but who knows if that will actually make things better.

Druid solo ability is a bit lacluster. You spend ten minutes controlling the weather, having to regen two or three times in between castings, then you finally unleash big ice storms on your enemies. However, druid groups are truly devastating. You can all help out with the weather control, then triple hailstorm or triple blizard or whatever, and really give the mobs a good wack. Also tempest and the other wind spells work everywhere but underwater, making them versatile. Still, druids are currently completely helpless underwater; Dentin says that is going to change, but it's not happened yet. Druids are either extremely powerful or extremely ineffective at pk depending on the arena. That's sad though, because you can never rely on a druid for a clanwar. But it'll all be balanced soon, I hope. Oh, since a lot of druid stuff uses expendables such as spellstaffs and poison mushrooms, it makes them just that much more useless at pk because no one ever remembers to enable the use of expendables in the arena.

New Equipment

Newbie help continues to grow more and more obvious. You can now go just 5 to 12 rooms from your nearest waypoint on any island: Sloe, Kordan or Archais, and buy eq that's worth using! Eq shops have been dotted around the island cities but they usually sold completely pointless pieces or expendables. but no more! The eq is actually good. If you are lazy you can use the city-bought equipment and do just fine, and if you feel adventurous you can go on out to improve your sets, but improvement is not as necessary as it used to be.

Eq has also improved drastically at the high-end as well. There are a lot more hit 3 dam 3 pieces out there, thanks to Magar, which seems to be loaded with that stuff. Speaking of Magar, it's a big step forward in terms of area difficulty. The mobs in it scale with the amount of players in it, making it just as dangerous in a big group as it is solo, perhaps even more so.

Arguably the single most groundbreaking eq change was the addition of Dragonstrike, the most powerful weapon available to warriors out there. Originally meant to be a dedicated dragon lancer, the warriors quickly realized that it served as an equally deadly leaper and shadow striker. Dragonstrike has, ever since its release, been a subject of argument among people who pk, as players can barely survive the astronomical damage that the weapon does when shadow striking people.

Player Trades and Sales

Dentin's made it a lot more costly to trade players. Thanks to the account system, you can no longer just give your password to another char and say here you go. You now have to pay him $20 for all the work that he has to do. He mostly put in that fee to stop dummies from trading their characters back and forth though, so the fee does have validity. Here's a quick list of all the character trades I know of, though it's not by any means exhaustive.

  • Emrebaba traded himself to Thetruegamer
  • Goroth was bought by Flamestar
  • Nerri was bought by the old owner of Emrebaba. Hellfire now owns the old Nerri.
  • Balbus was traded to Danielmaster/Woof. Balbus had created Nerri to begin with.
  • Kliro and Starry are now owned by Slej
  • Kroza was bought by Dorian/Ikana
  • Panda was bought by Alicinia, who then sold him to Mavrik
  • Zetan was sold to the old Martin
  • Felicity was traded to Jonathon
Note from Dentin: The cost isn't because it's a lot of work. The code pretty much handles everything for me, so I don't have to do much. The cost is to entirely to reduce the amount of trading. If players are serious enough about a trade to pay the fees, that's great - but having a lot of trades of low level characters was causing serious confusion issues for everyone.

Player Achievements: Famous and Infamous

  • Neenah, Westie and Smith all hit tot 144 (top four levels all at 36).

  • Pug and Neenah gained the hidden Collected 50000 soulstones achievement.

  • We can finally understand what Almaric is saying! No, seriously, his English has gotten a lot better.

In Conclusion

Another year has passed, and another is upon us. The community will still be around at the end of 2014, and the game will have evolved to its next stage. The roller coaster ride that is Alter Aeon shall continue.



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