The State of the Mud Address 2012

2011 in Review

Tragic Year
We had a very tragic 2011.  We lost a big part of DSL and long time immortal when Teresa Arthur passed away.  On the very same day,  our Admin Cahlizna lost his wife.  Also we remember that long time player Tommy Fort was murdered.  We all had to collectively catch our breath and find our own ways to recover.  Teresa's husband David (Fallwith) and Cahlizna remain on our immortal staff and working to help make our game a better experience for everyone.  Teresa's sister Wilma and friends remain on DSL and did a great job honoring her memory. 

Their strength inspires me and the rest of the immortal staff to keep going and through all of the sadness, I think we can expect a productive and even exciting year for 2012.  In fact, I want this to be the best year of DSL in a long time.

I pray that our community grows and our friendships continue to strengthen.  Most of you are pretty special to me and to each other.  This game has been online 16 years this April.  We've met (and lost) our spouses here and there are many children whom exist in this world because of the loved ones we've made on and around this game.  This kind of thing really fuels my passion for trying to make DSL a better game and a better community.

What we did in 2011
We did have a lot of exciting additions in 2011.  Siege Weapons came in, the Mentalist class was introduced, we had a great ACFL season, another round of the Algoron World Games, a few exciting AGL Elite matches, Kingdom Wars finally restarted, we added several new areas, we added PK Points and PK Stats and drastically increased the amount of Player-Killing, the game of chess was added, additional Blood Bath types, custom flee messages, we made goblins being poisoned a little more interesting and probably a thousand other changes and fixes.  We also moved the DSL server to MUCH better hardware and co-located it in Dallas where I am sure EVERYONE'S connection the game improved.  It cost more money per month, but it has been completely worth it.

So what can we expect in 2012?
I will share what my intentions are.  As always, some things may be reprioritized as new ideas or developments enter my ears and my mind.  Be nice to our coders and our immortals!  They do so much for this game and could really use your positive reinforcement from time to time.

The 2012 DSL Convention
First of all, allow me to announce the 2012 DSL Convention!  This is going to occur the 3rd weekend of July.  The dates are Friday-Saturday July 20 and 21st in Breckenridge Colorado.  We will try to have the 2013 convention somewhere in the eastern part of the U.S., but this year I need it closer to where I am in a place that can accommodate the amount of people we get at con.  Plus the weather and experiences there have always been fantastic.  It has been my favorite place to have con.  More information will become available for this years convention in the coming weeks.  I hope that you all make an attempt to come to this years convention.  If not, I'm sure you'll hear stories and see plenty of pictures.

New Classes:
Pirate:  Every day we hear "When's Pirates coming in?"  Well, I am pleased to inform you all that Pirates ARE done and should enter the game any day now. (Thanks Xandor!!!)  This is a public Thief reclass.

Confessor:  Knighthoods second reclass is DONE and should be in any day now.  (Thanks Bioteq!!!) (Knighthood CSR)

Shadow Mage:  The design is done and Shadows casting reclass is the next in line to be coded. (Shadow CSR)

I asked both Knighthood and Shadow leaders to design and sign off on each others reclass and I was pleasantly surprised with their ideas, they are VERY unique!  (even if I had to tone them a slight bit, lol)

The 4th Bard Reclass:  We'll be continuing our community discussion on the 4th bard reclass and allowing the players to help pick and design this class.

The 1st of many Kingdom Reclasses:  Nordmaar is getting the first one.  I am not releasing any information about this class yet, but I aim to have it in the game this year.

The 1st Chaos Transformation:  (in the form of a reclass)  I hope to do more of these in the year as well as we begin to push Chaos into the 4th major faction in the world of Algoron.

Old Classes, Vampires and Manatonics:
As always, we'll look at existing classes and try to adjust each one that needs it and provide additions to keep them fresh.  I also intend to redo and add some additional manatonic and vampire stuff.

Kingdoms:
Kingdoms Wars is live and jeez, it got busy fast.  I need to drastically improve how kingdom leaders give orders and manage their armies.  That will be a priority to continue to simplify the kingdom wars system.

We have a kingdom keep system designed and coded.  Kyri is writing the area for it and soon that's done, tested and approved, we'll have the games first Kingdom Keep in the game.  Kingdom Keeps are not like Clan Keeps as Kingdoms are not forced to fight other kingdoms.  The challenge will be in defeating the area and there is no Player Killing involved.

Kingdoms are going to start getting their own classes. (mentioned above)  Players with these classes will be initially unable to clan.  We may consider a more expensive way to clan at some point.

Clans:
Attackable castles.  I'm designing a system that doesn't allow the stronger clans to just steamroll the weaker ones, all the while making this a fun and encouraging system.  Your clan hall will not be affected yet you have a reason to get off of your lazy butts, sharpen your weapons and go out and fight and defend for your clan.

Fair fights.  We will be developing smaller "mission based" areas where a limited number (1-4 per area) of each clan may enter.  If you're wanting more small scale Player Killing, this should help you smile.

Underworld Enhancements.  We're adding new underworld gear and fixing a few things to make carrying a large group down there a little more fun.

Crafting:
Trinkets will be available from hard to defeated mobs in hard to travel through areas.  These items will allow unique spells and skills to fire based on when a weapon a hits something or when a piece of armor is hit.  Spellcrafters will be able to infuse your trinket to your armor for you.  We've already begun testing for mob balance for this (and other) systems.

Remorts:
Gem Dragons (neutral dragons) are going to happen.  Sorry Slayers!

Competition:
We are going to have the 4th season of the ACFL following Clan Wars.

AGL will continue.  Elite AGL will restart and be a lot more friendly towards the Lanistas pocket books.

Level 51's can continue their journey:
I am designing a few systems for level 51's who do not wish to recreate can still have achievable, yet challenging goals in an attempt to improve their characters.  We may very well introduce DSL's first multi-classing system.

Huge Changes to DSL Code:
We're currently incorporating the LUA scripting engine into DSL as a major addition for adding a better player experience.  (the same engine all of the big games use) This will allow us to write automated powerful quests, many of them step by step quests that I hope we can tailor for every kingdom, clan, class and race.  A lot will be generic ones available to anyone.  I can't say enough about the potential this has for the game.  The game is going to come alive like you have never seen it before.  Choices you make in these in-game storylines may reward or haunt you for the rest of your players lives and we can customize so many things. 

We're slowly but surely moving AWAY from ROM and into our own custom code base.  Little by little, we've been removing the old code and improving the source code.  Most changed you probably won't notice.  Some you absolutely will notice or even feel.

Summary:
As always, we are ambitious with plans for the year and the next mass information update will not be until the round table at the Convention.  And as always, DSL depends on the work and free time of the volunteers who run this game.  Bioteq has graciously taken on an enormous amount of work.  This game wouldn't function day to day without Kyri.  You can help out how fast and how often we put in changes and additions as well as the amount of in game quests and events we have by simply having a great attitude toward the game and the game's staff.  It's difficult to work hard when people (even when it's a small minority) have bad attitudes and quit being kind to each other.  Reinforce the passion, positive and constructive attitudes around and about the game and good things will happen.

I am VERY excited about 2012.  I hope you are as well.

-Scorn