Artix Entertainment, developers of the MMO AdventureQuest Worlds (among others!) provided players with a terrific “un-live” event featuring the gypsy pirate goth musician Voltaire. With over 32,000 players attending, it was quite the gathering. Didn’t make it for the Friday the 13th event? No worries, there’s a replay for another week so be sure to keep reading to find out more about the event and then get in there and GAME ON!
OUR FIRST UN-LIVE EVENT w/ Musical Guest Start Voltaire
Greetings friends! Boy do I have a story for you today. Last week in the Web MMO AdventureQuest Worlds ( http://www.aq.com ) we threw our first major live event and crashed the servers in grand Titanic style. Over 32,000 players attended! Despite the chaos it is being hailed as the greatest release in our games history by our amazing players. Is this the start of something truly huge? Read on for the secret behind the scenes details…. and to see what we are planning to do next!
UN-LIVE: A live event full of undead!
It was truly a night to remember. Last week, on Friday the 13th, at sundown we had our first ever live event with musical guest start Voltaire. It was an ambitious project. A five act adventure with all new art, voice acting, music, cut-scenes, boss monsters, tons of new items for both upgraded and free players AND the introduction of our first war meter! If you missed the event, you can play it in “re-run” mode now – it will be available for one more week.
The Cursed Guitar of Skull Punch Island
The quest is to board a haunted pirate ship manned by a “skeleton crew” and sail through monster infested waters to reach an uncharted island containing a cursed instrument. The journey is full of music, danger, and piles of rare items (Including our first guitars (axes of course), armors (including undead pirate transformation), weird non-functional underwater breathing apparatuses, and… well, maybe you should see for yourself.
Special Musical Guest: VOLTAIRE!
Voltaire is best described as a gypsy pirate goth musician… and that is in real life! Best known for the song “BRAINS!” and “Land of the Dead” in the Cartoon Network show The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Voltaire has released a number of albums and comic books. We first met him at DragonCon after one of his concerts. It is an awe-inspiring sight watching this fearless man sing horrific and hilarious songs in front of thousands with breaks to tell some of the craziest stories you have ever heard. It is no surprise that Safiria (our resident Vampire Queen and head of Player Support) is a HUGE fan of his dark and funny music. In fact, she was too shy to talk to him at his booth after the performance which is how this whole story really starts. I went up with her and during our conversation we ended up talking about the game. We had just finished DragonFable.com at the time. A year later we made a mini-game with him for fun based on his Comic book character Deady the Malevolent Teddy ( http://www.ebilgames.com/games/Deady/play.asp ) It was such an honor to work with him. Sometime later he asked about using some of the mini-game art for the packaging of his Hot Wheels Deady Mobile (’63 Cadillac Fleetwood hearse) which would go on show at the 2007 Hot Wheels Custom Car Show in Osaka Japan. (Not relevant to the story… but this was SOOO COOOL!)
Skipping ahead. It was just over two weeks ago… I was in New York… Safiria let Voltaire know I was going to be in town and we never really hung out before so we got some Sushi on Saturday night. I told him about our new MMO and how well it had been going. Please keep in mind that this was NOT a business meeting nor was there any “Plan” – we were just getting together to catch up. Sure enough, I tell him about this idea I had for doing “Saturday Night Live” style events in our MMO with special guests. He asks, “So how soon would you be able to do something like this?”. I gave him the Artix’s dead serious stare smiled while saying, “There is a Friday the 13th this month.”. He apparently realized that it was only two weeks away while I did not…. and that is exactly how I always get myself in this kind of trouble!
Voltaire’s latest album, To the Bottom of the Sea ( http://www.aq.com/events/voltaire/songs.asp ) had been released late last summer. So after returning home Cysero and I got together and listened to the songs and came up with a story. It was pretty easy since the entire album is themed and a story within itself. It is amazing with only two weeks to do this that we created all the backgrounds, items, animations. We added several pieces of new functionality! We created an in-game version of Voltaire who became our first talking (voice acted) NPC. Also we introduced the war meter (the live event was technically our first game-wide war.) Finally, we coded the timeline of the audio streams which triggered some events in the game (cannot wait to do more of this!) Meanwhile, Voltaire re-sang the selected songs with some AdventureQuest/Dragon Fable lyrics in place of the original words.
We were surprised to find out that Voltaire had been running around the game servers the week prior to the release learning how to play alongside with the help of our players. Prior to this the LAST Friday the 13th event (last month) was our biggest event with 20,000 people showing up. So we acquired two new servers and I bought $2,000 worth of additional CDN (content delivery network) bandwidth just for the event. We thought we were prepared…
…. We were wrong…
32,000 Players were online!
Actually, the servers were at max capacity… a lot more were trying to get on! We severely underestimated the players. The event started off great, but the moment we tried to switch to Act 1 the poor servers were crushed like Teenzor (The worlds smallest pirate skeleton) in the hands on Undead Captain Blackberry. We always talk about destroying the servers with a release… but this was the first time we really delivered! We persevered and battled through the problems… you should have seen the command room here in the secret underground lab. We were all huddle around the war table trying to fix each server by hand calling out issues and rushing to solve the problem. We have never heard of an event like this being done before – and now we know why! People will be telling tales for years of what happened on that fateful Friday the 13th – I am glad you were a party of it! Next time we are going to get more servers and do something even crazier!
Side Story: Human Fire/Server Hazard
At the convention DragonCon, Voltaire throws his big concerts and then during the day would do small shows in the area outside the event rooms. However, last year 2,000+ people showed up for these shows he was basically throwing in the halls!. The fire marshal showed up and told him that he was a fire hazard and had to clear the room. Now, in addition to being a human fire hazard, Voltaire is also a human server hazard! (Great job everyone!)
St. Patrick’s Day
Here is the really scary one… St. Patrick’s day was only three days after the big live event. J6, Miltonius, Reens and Llussien were able to pull off a full special holiday release just in time!
When I was a young boy my Mother told me there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I remember running endlessly but never being able to reach the end. Is there really a pot of gold there? That is exactly why the A.R.C (Anti Rainbow Cannon) was used to shoot the sucker down! You will have find out the rest for yourself in this Week’s special holiday release!
Thank you for reading the story about this legendary release. I hope you enjoyed it! You can play both the Voltaire release and the St. Patrick’s day release during the next week. If you are looking for every MORE to do, we also had major releases in each of our other free web based games — DragonFable ( http://www.dragonfable.com ), MechQuest ( http://www.MechQuest.com ) and AdventureQuest ( http://www.BattleOn.com )
Artix AE Team