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The Ardent Monthly Ledger - Issue 18
March 4, 2016

A Sneak Peek at The New Fire Wizard!

Not long ago, we mentioned to you all that we planned to make some much needed improvements to the combat aspect of Villagers & Heroes. So we thought you might enjoy getting a brief preview of the progress made so far on the ever incendiary and powerful Fire Wizard (more on the Ice Wizard later!)!

“The main goal,” explains Diet, “is to make the wizard FUN.” Diet’s focus also included cleaning up certain random aspects of the class so that ultimately the wizard would feel entirely whole – he enhanced, trimmed, and consolidated the build into that of a single forceful entity in which every spell and feat now serves a powerfully relevant purpose.

So what kinds of things can you expect?

  • An all new game mechanic known as ‘Devastation’ in which wizards can ‘kindle’ their fire energy to create the ultimate power!
  • All new animations and audio effects for all fire spells!
  • New Fire Spells! (Volcanic Blast, Flame Bolt, Spark of the Mind to name just a few)
  • No more heavy reliance upon Auto-Attack!
  • The addition of Cast Bars to display the timing of events during combat!

Furthermore, a whole slew of improvements to combat in general, which will be beneficial to all classes, such as:

  • Talent Window and Tooltip make-overs
  • Scaling Powers
  • Global Cooldown
  • A new way to track combat stats (more about this in a future issue of the Ledger!)

And, much, much more!


Though many of the original members of the Mad Otter team (the ‘Founding Otters’) have moved on, their immense contributions to Villagers & Heroes remain today, and always will. These early Otters not only fashioned the unique look and feel of our game, but it was through their vivid imaginations and wildly creative talents that much of the personality of V&H, that quirky playfulness and harmonious spirit we all know so well, sprang into being.

With that in mind, we are so very pleased to be able to introduce to you today one of these founding Otters – lead artist, the tremendously gifted Adam deGrandis whose zesty warmth can be seen and felt in all that he creates. Thank you, Adam, for taking the time to talk with us today! (And also: We miss you!!)

From Adam deGrandis:

Hi Everyone! My name is Adam deGrandis and I worked at Mad Otter from 2007-2011. I was one of the principle artists on the original version of the game, though a lot of my work can still be seen in V&H’s current form; many of the 3d models for characters, monsters, houses, and weapons are mine, and I also did a bunch of animation that’s still there. In fact, one of the male player head options – the stern old man head – was based on an art test I did to get hired at Mad Otter.

Back then, our goals for the art style were twofold. We wanted to create an aesthetic that was bright, punchy, and welcoming. But we also needed it to be a look that allowed for ultra-fast asset creation (“asset” is an industry term for a piece of art). That’s how we settled on the look for V&H. It’s colorful and approachable and doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it’s also fairly simple. During crunch periods, we could do concept drawings of a new monster, model it, and texture it all in the same day. That process usually takes at least a week, if not more.

I also worked with our scripters/quest writers, Darren and Katie, to help build up the lore and figure out how the world flowed. A lot of that has changed, but there are big set pieces that still remain from my time as an Otter. I was around for the naming and theming of Ardent and Greenhaven and Stormhold. How the process worked was we’d get a request from Damon (something like “we should have a snowy realm”) and then Darren, Katie, and I would start talking about what that realm might be in V&H. We’d talk about snowy areas in other games we liked or ones we didn’t. I’d sketch about the things we were talking about.

We’d riff on ideas for potential quests. It would start with someone suggesting a quest story that was pretty run-of-the-mill. Then one of us would excitedly say “yeah, that’s cool, and also X could happen as a misdirect.” We’d keep building on the idea until it eventually devolved into suggesting purposely absurd stuff just for laughs. Those goofy ideas were often the best ones, though, and made their way into the game.

I left Mad Otter in 2011 to move back to my adopted home – Maine – and began freelancing as well as teaching at my alma mater, Maine College of Art. In 2013, my wife and I started our own small studio, Chickadee Games, with the intention of making visually stunning comedy games. We released a mobile title named Notorious Inc, and started a few others. Eventually, though, we decided to rebrand the studio as an art contracting company, which is what we do now.

Our big project right now is called Tooth and Tail, which is being developed by Pocketwatch Games. It’s an arcade real-time strategy game with a modernized pixel aesthetic, and features armies of animals fighting each other for food; the victors eat the losers. Check it out if that sounds like your thing, and follow me on twitter (@adamdegrandis) or tumblr (adamdegrandis.tumblr.com) if you want to see more of my artwork! Thanks for reading!


 


Oh, my. He’s done it again — Sighfrid of EU 1 never ceases to amaze! Thank you, Sighfrid for this fantastic rendition of Kaone!

Card V&H Overlord Kaone


Player: Armageddon
Server: US 1
Class: Warrior

Ace reporter Puzzler is back in action! Her interview subject is someone you all know on the forums as Kapr. In-game on US 1, he is Armageddon, a young man with an incredibly sharp mind and a quick wit, who has been playing Villagers & Heroes for a good many years now, and who has consistently helped our game community and the game for the better. True, sometimes he drives the devs nuts (actually, many times come to think of it), but that is why we Otters love him — because he is forever challenging us to do better! And he’s also a pretty cool guy. Enough rambling. Here is….Arma! (And thank you, Puzzler, for grilling him!)

arma

By some cosmic accident, the world of V&H hasn’t learned your deepest, darkest secret, so what is is? Hmm, something about me that the people of V&H don’t know? Well, truth be told I’m not actually a mean psychopathic killer like I am in-game. Well at least not all at once.. but really, my secret is probably that I have a fear for water/swimming… no it’s not because I’m a witch.

Other than this one, what is your most favorite game? Games? Types of games? Favorite Game (Other than this one of course) would have to be a very old PS2 game called ‘Star Wars Battlefront 2’. Probably not old by the standards of most players in the game however… I enjoyed it because it was back in the day before everything came bundled with season passes, DLCs etc. and when gaming meant going over to a friends house and playing split-screen. That just never happens anymore. My overall favorite type of game would have to be medieval fantasy RPGs. Hey would ya look at that?

What is your one talent that no one on this forum knows about? I’m actually heavily into MMA (Modern Martial Arts) and more specifically XMA. I’ve been doing it for about 6-7 years. I specialize in the bo staff.

Would you rather travel in time to the future or past? Why? And as a traveler to either of those times, would you use your time-traveler-status to seek fame and fortune? Definitely the future! About 3 years in the future so I can play V&H without waiting for the updates. Oh and if I could use time traveling to get fame and fortune, you can bet your buggers I’d do it.

Left or right handed? Left! Makes for awkward handshakes and weird elbow bumping when taking a test in close proximity to a ‘righty’.

We all know you are full of ideas on how to change and improve the game. But, imagine you can do just one thing, right now, this second… what would it be? (please say gardening boost!) Villages vs Village! Creating dungeons with your allies through crafting, monster ranching, and teamwork and then attempting to conquer the dungeons made by another village? That is something I could do daily!

If you invited your guild to a karaoke party what song would you perform for them? I’m not good at making dolphin noises or I would say Skrillex..

What do you consider your greatest accomplishment? (Or, if it hasn’t happened yet, what will it be?) In-game: Obviously the guides website! http://www.vhguides.com/ (Shameless advertising) which is in the process of getting a huge update! In real life: Surviving high school… never going back *shudders*

Tell the world about your hats. Top 3 hats (or outfits) in the game please. You’re making me do the impossible… I have 7 vaults full of clothes! My favorites include (but are not limited to) the purple nymph outfit, the dark sentinel pack from way back when & my lime green lederhosen! Biggest wardrobe failure is when I bought that Clementine dress (for 500 crowns!) because it said it would have a male version. Turns out males and females wear the same thing in V&H.. dresses. A patch or so later they cut the price too.. go figure.

If you were puzzler asking Arma a question, what would she ask you? What would be your answer? Hmm, so you’re asking me a question of if I was you asking me a question what would I ask myself? Am I me too or are you me now? I guess I would ask this: “If you were puzzler asking Arma a question, what would she ask you? What would be your answer?” That’ll boil your (my?) brain!

Favorite food of all time? I once ate Taco Bell every day for a week. I’m Indian and I love Indian food – but Mexican food will always have a special place in my stomach.

What’s your favorite pun-based joke?
There are way too many hilarious puns out there. So I’ll just think of the first that comes to the top of my head (and coincidentally the google search): “I’d tell you a chemistry joke, but I know I wouldn’t get a reaction.”

What was your favorite event that was organized by you? My favorite events are the crafting events I get to host for my Guilds. Nothing makes me happier then watching people flash. :)

arma_swords
Arma’s XMA Weapons


leo3

Congratulations, and a sincere thank you to the following five individuals for their outstanding contributions to Villagers & Heroes, and for always going above and beyond in their efforts for the game and community.

The Royal Guardians of the Realm for the month of February are:





adrilinda
Adrilinda (BR)

tnarg
Tnarg (US 1)

frigga
Frigga (US 2)

gogo
GogoGadgetGo (EU 1)

Isdurit
Isdurit (EU 2)


noble_party

Did you know that on the EU 1 server, a rip-roaring, celebratory event recently took place? The festive bash in question, one filled with much laughter, was a well planned surprise birthday party hosted by Noble Spirit for their dear friend, Mutsie. How exactly does a surprise party get pulled off in V&H? Fortunately, Noble Spirit has supplied us with all the details! Please enjoy the following account of what sounds like a truly wonderful time that was had by many. And a very special thank you to the members of Noble Spirit, and to Mutsie, for sharing with us. :)


The Preparation by Noble Spirit:

I don’t have to tell you: Mutsie will try to help anyone, anywhere, anytime, anyhow, and she doesn’t ask much back. So, once a year we just want to tell her how much we appreciate her, and smother her with presents and hugs. What better day than her birthday?

A week beforehand we started to organize things, and I can tell you, prepping a surprise party by chat is not easy when the subject of the party is around so much of the time. Luckily it was not hard to think of presents this once, she had recently told us she was almost bankrupt because of all the gear she was making (for others!), so the presents were obvious: gems and flowers (btw, she loves flowers, just so you know for the future).

We decided to invite a number of her friends that she had been hunting with lately (yes, I must have missed many of you, my apologies!) and of course the entire guild. That meant a lot of mails had to be sent, but man, did it work! We don’t know how much you all sent her by mail, but she told us it was massive. And that was only part of the presents, the rest we smuggled into the Village Vault fifteen minutes before the party started. That was a scary moment, as Mutsie was running around the village, wondering why everyone was queuing in front of the VV like it was a public toilet… All in all we gathered more than a page and a half of stacked bling and flowers, and it took much more time to fill than we anticipated. The first guest were already arriving while we were still frantically organizing the vault, Mutsie was snooping around, and it looked like this was going wrong!

But then… we were saved by the phone… A big thanks to the person that just at that precise moment decided to call Mutsie for her birthday, and gave us the time to finish the vault and welcome the arriving guests.

When Mutsie (finally ) finished her phone call, the village was full of guest, guildies and other gentlemen and ladies. It took a few seconds before she realized all these people were here for her, but then the fireworks started, drinks drunk, presents presented, hugs hugged, kisses blown and the party was crashed joyously. To me, the rest is a blurred and happy memory.

The Effect by Mutsie:

It was evening after a day filled with sweet surprises in my mail box: pressies, lovely poems , sweet words and wonderful wishes! I was tending to garden and animals as I got called away from game by a phone call. I had no suspicions whatsoever of something going down, as I had requested not to make it a big thing. It’s only my birthday, and why should mine be celebrated more than others?? Getting to play with friends everyday is a party on its own, and being part of this community is the best gift one could ever wish for, and I am happy to be part of it!

On my return, I was called to village centre and almost fell off the hill there seeing so many guildees, friends and hunting buddies secretly gathered around the village vault. You guys really know how to keep a secret! Fireworks and cheers coloured the atmosphere, it was such a pretty sight to see.
Later on the party moved to my house, and for unknown reasons, we all ended up wearing our “bubbles crown” people lost their clothes and ended up sitting on roofs!

We attempted to do a conga line, which wasn’t as easy you’d expect, but still did a pretty good job. We’ll never find out who spiked the punch, but I am pretty sure after a hectic and fun party like that, no one cares to know, as long as it happens again on the next one to celebrate their day of birth. Pictures were taken, and published with the consent of the people featured in them. Thank you everyone on EU1 server, for making this day a very special one!

XX Muts


And speaking of events…if any of you V&H players out there have been wracking your brains lately trying to come up a little something for your village to do, then worry not because Avenian of US 1 has just the thing! Thanks, Avenian!

Need A Guild/Village Event? By Avenian

A couple weeks ago, I hosted an event called the “Catch Me If You Can Event.” The premise is somewhat simple in that I would hide somewhere, and the first person to open a trade window with me would get a prize. The hard part for the attendees was that I was hiding in some less traveled locations within some well traveled zones. Also, since there were no random drug tests, all and any boosts were welcome.

We started in the Village, and my first hiding spot was upon a mountain near the Training Grounds. It was great to open up my local map and see a mass of blue icons running all over the place after the “GOOOOO!!!!” was said in local chat. I made sure that everyone put me on their friends list so that I would appear on the map as we had attendees from various guilds. We were also fortunate to have some extra prize donations that allowed me to hand out 1st, 2nd, and “3rd” place prizes.

The next spot I hid in the Village was behind the portal to Ardent City. I think a lot of people got a kick at being able to explore areas they had never been to before. They also got to see how much space the Villages have. There is so much space that the Developers could easily expand villages to include 30-40 more housing plots. (I hope those rumors of the Developers “insta-ban” button are not true.)

The third and final spot was the most difficult and took place in Ardent City. Some of the difficulties in travelling to these off-the-beaten path spots are that they contain holes or spots where you can get stuck. Still, people enjoyed the challenge and the cursing of my name was at a minimum.

So if you feel that this would be fun, then you are more than welcome to use and improve upon this event. This could even be expanded to a server-wide event as long as zones are accessible to all. Also, if you want more details on this event then feel free to contact me in the forums.


did_you_also_know_new

Did you know that a mysterious envelope was mailed to the Mad Otter office earlier this week? There was no return address on it, and, more mystifying, was that the little envelope contained no letter or note at all inside.

Instead, upon opening it, we discovered a handful of jigsaw puzzle pieces and nothing else! Curiosity now killing us, Damon (he of the nimble hands), quickly assembled the puzzle pieces and…. ta-da! Behold the otter puzzle! And on the other side of the puzzle is a message from its creator, a Villagers & Heroes player. We will leave you in suspense as to who it is until next month, when we reveal a picture of the puzzle’s other side…

Suffice to say, the Mad Otter team was absolutely delighted by the gift, and quite touched. :)


contest_new

The Winners of the Sneaky Scribbler Caption Contest!

Once again, the Sneaky Scribbler kept V&H players busy on the forums this month with another lively caption contest! You can read all of the wonderful entries here.

sneaky

Congratulations, to the winners! And they are:

First Place: RedEye (US 1):

Second Place: Elan Dark (BR)

Third Place: Rayne (Server ?)

 

And the winning caption by RedEye is:

“Chant of the Butterfly Hunter – I am a tree, I am a tree, land on me, land on me.”


BusterSmiles2012a

Everyone, please meet Buster! Thank you Katona of US 2 for sharing with us!

From Katona:

​This is Buster, aka Busterdawg, aka Bussie, aka Bus. Buster is what my husband Greg and I call our ‘love child’. A year after buying our first house together my husband and I decided it was time we got a ‘child’ and we had mutually agreed that a Dachshund would be fun. One day as I walked in through the employee entrance at the hospital I worked at I noticed a picture of some puppies with the always tempting “Free” noted in the title. I called my husband with the instructions to call the number in the bulletin ad and pick out a puppy for us if one of them felt ‘right’. When I got home I saw my husband snuggled on the couch with this precious guy and we have been owned and ever grateful that Buster chose us from that day on.

Buster is a beagle/dachshund mix and he runs the household as it should be ran according to his ever delightful terms. We do not own a pet; Buster owns us and showers us with love and kisses extraordinaire. Buster is an avid hunter and has made sure the back yard is mole-free and he is proud to announce that he caught his first squirrel a few weeks ago (to Mom’s horror).

Buster loves everyone he meets and is the household greeter. He lavishes his love on every person who visits and we know if Buster doesn’t like someone that someone is to be avoided. Buster doesn’t like to brag but he is very intelligent and fluent in doggie-talk. Buster also knows English quite well and he can also spell GREENIE and he is proud of his title “The Little General”. Buster’s hobbies include sleeping in Dad’s chair, sleeping on the couch when Mom isn’t looking, hunting and of course barking at and chasing squirrels. Buster says his number one peeve is fleas and he has started his own campaign to have them eradicated.

Somehow in his spare time Buster goes to the store every year and gets Mom a Mother’s Day flowering vine and a card. We still haven’t figured out how he does this amazing feat.

Simply stated Buster is the greatest dog in the world. To our surprise we recently found out that in addition to being as wonderful as he is to us every night he flies using his beautiful ears as wings and saves all the starving children of the world. He is an amazing, one of a kind dog of dogs and we are proud to be his own.

My characters: Katona, Catona, Noni all on US2.


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