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The Ardent Monthly Ledger - Issue #27
May 9, 2018

Latest News: Wellspring!

Winter is over, and the bright Renaissance of spring is at last, and blissfully, upon us — not just in the real world, where colorful blossoms now abound and vibrant new life pleasantly churns around us, but in Villagers & Heroes, too, where a similar rejuvenation of the landscape, the mechanics, and the spirit of the game has undergone a radiant new awakening.

Wellspring isn’t just a little build with a couple of pretty new plants added, or a few minor tweaks made here and there to the otherwise routine gameplay. It is a dynamic expansion to Villagers & Heroes which has transformed the weighty and elaborate crafting and gathering elements of the game into a lean, tight system, one which, though now much simplified, still retains the richness and complexity as it ever did before.

The fluid ease of the new systems — no more sore clicking fingers or vast amounts of confusing materials to be collected in overstuffed vaults, or tangled up recipes which require a pen and paper to laboriously sort out and remember — is but just one of the many new features offered in Wellspring, an expansion which, above all, embraces the villaging aspect of the game for PC and mobile users alike.

Not only have SEVEN new village projects been added to invigorate the much loved cooperative aspect of the game, but the new customizable environments feature made possible by these projects allows players to create truly spectacular new looks and designs for their villages! With a pallet of literally thousands and thousands of options to choose from, the entire appearance of a village from the skies above to the earth below and every detail in between — trees, shrubbery, flowers, earth, weather, ambience, terrain and more — can all be beautifully transformed within seconds, rather like magic!

So whether it’s the golden sands of an arid desert, or the rugged green Pines of a majestic forest, or maybe an eerie night sky over fields of turquoise grass, the possibilities are truly endless, and no two villages in the game will ever look alike again. And best of all, our mobile players can at last partake in all of the villaging aspects of the game! No more having to hop onto PC to vote for a mayor, or set up custom ranks for villagers, or contribute with projects, or set vault access, and so much more — mobile players will now truly be able to enjoy all that the game has to offer.

The Wellspring expansion has something for everyone, and we’re confident that our players will be well pleased with the many exciting new improvements and features in store for Villagers & Heroes. Spring has truly arrived in every sense! Let’s embrace it! :)


Let’s hear it for the amazing Sighfrid of EU1, and his fantastic rendition of the one and only, King Leo! Thank you, Sighfrid!


Before we jump into the nitty gritty of the many changes and benefits offered by of the new crafting and gathering systems, let’s kick off this Ledger by sharing some lesser known, but equally juicy, fun features and improvements which Wellspring has to offer!

How many of you have ever faced this dilemma before? You have countless active quests spread around what feel like a bazillion different zones in the game, and, because like most players, you often indulge in a great many other activities in addition to questing, that when you’re ready to pick up where you left off with those quests you have absolutely no idea where to go, or what to do? If so, then happily, those days are over because with Wellspring comes the all new portal quest tracking feature!

Previously, quest tracking (those big helpful arrows on the ground) only worked if players were in the actual zone where the next step of the quest took place. No more! So long as your quest is tracked, from now on, portal tracking will remind and literally guide you all the way to the exact zone, anywhere in the world, where you need to be to complete the quest!

Or how about some of these dilemmas? Your guild leader hasn’t logged on for days, weeks, or months even, and no new players can join your guild as a result. Or what about when some of you decide to move into a new village, only to find yourselves wandering around and around and around looking for a vacant house to occupy and maybe even just give up in frustration because such lots are seemingly impossible to locate in the crowded village? Or have any of you just needed to make a quick trip to your house, one which inevitably ends up becoming a bothersome, time consuming journey to get there, especially if you live on one of the outer districts?

Then good news. All of the above irritants will be no more! With Wellspring, not only will players be able to instantly teleport directly to their own houses and all vacant houses will be clearly shown on the zone map, but we’ve also given guilds the ability to promote other players to guild officers, who, just like the guild leader, will be able to invite new people into the guild.

And that’s all just the beginning! Villagers will now be able to govern on the go, and more, for the UI for villages has received a remarkably polished overhaul! Players can now access the ‘Town Hall’ via a button on the HUD, enabling them to manage all village-related aspects — projects, politics, animal shopping lists, rankings — from anywhere at all in the game!

And for those of you living in the Graveyard Districts who wonder what sinister crime you committed to earn yourself a banishment to so ghoulish a place, be prepared to smile because your neighborhood, now known cheerfully as ‘The Burroughs,’ has been beautifully transformed into a truly lovely bit of prime real estate. And as an added perk, the Districts have been removed as Projects, meaning that all villages now gain immediate access to those regions and housing spaces!

Also, as was mentioned, Wellspring introduces seven new Village Projects to the game. But in addition to the Sugar Mill, Fish Hatchery, Seedling Nursery, Geology Lab, Arboretum and Soilworks, perhaps one of the most alluring new projects is the secret cavern beneath the town center, where an intoxicating oasis of gentle cascading waterfalls, lush greenery, twinkling fairies, and serene pools of bathing water awaits. This wondrous haven is the new heart and hub, the fountainhead, so to speak, of villages in the game.

It is the Wellspring project itself, which, through the cooperative effort of all residents in the village, will continuously yield great benefits to all. And by ‘continuously,’ we mean just that — this is a REPEATABLE village project, the only of its kind. The Wellspring project, every three days if completed, will yield such rewards as infinite gathering nodes, faster crops and high level seeds, increased gather times, and more animal XP.


Latch Gathering and Crafting!

With the Wellspring expansion, you may all cancel your pending appointments with physical therapists, or various hand doctors specializing in the treatment of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, because the painful ‘Clickfest’ era of Villagers & Heroes is officially over! Gone. See ya. Goodbye, to weary misshapen hands forever!

Latch gathering, or, ‘auto-gathering,’ allows players to repeatedly gather at a node for one minute, non-stop, without clicking. The speed of the gathering, and the quantity of items yielded, will still vary depending on tools and supplies used, but the duration will always be for sixty, blissful, non-clicking seconds!

Crafting, too, has received a similar auto feature upgrade, but unlike the new gathering mechanic which will always run for one minute, players, with latch crafting, have complete control over the amount of seconds, the number of items and amount of motes to use for each crafting session. Players can auto-craft up to a max of of sixty seconds or a minimum of even just one second, the choice is entirely yours, and the new ease and interface of crafting has never felt better!

In addition to the removal of all that excessive clicking, crafting and gathering in Villagers & Heroes, as a whole, has likewise been stripped of a great deal of unnecessary and often illogical weight. Less is truly more, and Wellspring delivers a new, much needed, clean simplicity to the game, one in which all of the components genuinely feel as though they all make sense now.

What does that mean exactly? For starters, the huge messy variety of gatherable items has been greatly reduced. Whereas previously, players were made to gather a new type of (often strange) item every five levels, this has now been changed to having to only gather a new sensible item every fifteen levels. No more medium or small fish, or shiny and glistening ore, or stout and seasoned wood, for example. Gone!

Also gone are monster parts, those ever frustrating items which usually dropped from creatures who shouldn’t have had them in the first place, and which served only to convolute the entire crafting and gathering system. (But don’t worry, pelts do still remain, and all legacy monster parts will be converted into Motes of Yorick, for those of you with stockpiles of them in your vaults.)

Much has been streamlined and simplified in Wellspring. For the better! Charters, for example, and all those tedious NPCs with their endless glitchy quests, have been converted into a currency system. Just sell your gathered items straight to a charter vendor now and receive tokens for them! It’s quick and efficient, and these vendors will accept any and all items players have, as opposed to only the specified ones asked for previously in charter quests.

Less is more in crafting, too! The twisty, cumbersome knots of chained ingredients have been removed entirely! Players no longer have to tiresomely collect massive amounts of lower level refined ingredients in order to create higher level versions. Instead, with Wellspring, all refined ingredients have one single recipe, which all follow the same single basic pattern: two gathered items become one refined ingredient. It’s that simple!

And for all of you players out there who have never enjoyed, or perhaps greatly disliked, having to have all of your skills leveled simultaneously in order to craft gear, those days, too, are over! The intertwined reliance between the different skills has been removed. So, for example, if your cooking level is considerably lower than your other crafting levels, it won’t matter. Players will no longer have to be dependent upon others to do their cooking for them, or forced to keep any such skill leveled up in order to proceed in the game!


Player: William Hououin
Class: Priest
Server: US3

This is the first Ledger we’ve had since we launched on iOS, so we’re very pleased to have with us today an iOS player entirely new to the game, and playing on our brand new US3 server! William, please share with us some of your initial impressions when you first began playing V&H. What made you download the game from the app store? What were some of the first things you liked about the game? Hi all! First of all, let me express how flattered it makes me to be able to contribute in a Ledger, I’ve read all Ledgers and I would’ve never dreamed to be able to do a player interview, so… yeah, thanks a lot!

So, to answer the question, I was looking for a mobile mmo for quite a while, tried many, but either the community was mean, which is a big downer for social anxious me, or it was plagued with autoplay (I hate not playing my games.)

And then at the end of February, I was glancing at the App Store and saw that 3D mmo game, and gave it a shot… And OMG I was surprised!!! I remember I was kinda lost when I arrived in Summer’s Hollow, so I tried to ask in world chat for direction, not expecting anything, and had so many replies !!! Even people came to me and showed me where to go! It was amazing. I remember that I first I wasn’t too enthralled with the graphics, but now they grew on me and I love the game art style ! I am also surprised about how much I like gardening and ranching! My ranching level is higher than my combat!

What is it like playing on a brand new server? Pros? Cons? Please share with us some of your experiences. It felt great! I felt I was on par with most people. Nobody was max level, so that made early zones more alive. There was a frenzied atmosphere in the game, it was nice. The cons would’ve been not having experienced players to help us new people (there were so many questions asked in world chat, that was insane)

BUT! Many experienced players made toons on US3 and were replying to questions, and they were helping with grinding Elders, so I feel there was no real cons. By the way, shout out to TwittyBird, PD, Angel, JackBlack, Emilyboo, Cinder, CardQueen and Hendershot for your help !!! :)
(I know I am forgetting some … sorry!)

As you know, with the Wellspring expansion, a great many improvements to the mobile aspect of the game will be implemented. Are there any you are especially looking forward to? Why? Which areas of the game do you feel lend itself best to mobile? And the least? Voting for mayor !!!! Seeing projects in village, and therefore being able to contribute in a easier way is really awesome ! That was definitely lacking before Wellspring. I feel it was really making a big gap between PC and mobile players. Now we will be on the same page which is great.

About what I feel is less mobile friendly… healing!!! It’s hard to click on the person’s name in the party, then select it, and then cast healing. In the midst of a elder battle, it can really be a matter of life and death. And I know I can click on the character directly, but it’s not always easy either. I believe in you though, the game is just getting better and better with each patch :)

Please tell us a little about yourself, if you’re willing to share. What activities do you enjoy when you’re not playing V&H? Well, I work full time and I have two young kids, so honestly I don’t have much time left! I began playing mmorpg in February 2017 with FFXIV, where I’ve met many wonderful friends, so I am still playing it. Apart from that, I am an anime aficionado, watching Steins;Gate 0 these days, love it, the first Steins;Gate is my favourite anime of all time. That’s about it for my free time. 😆

Apart from that, I am a big tea drinker, and love to learn about tea (mostly Sencha.) When I have the time (i.e. never) I love to read books. Stephen King is my favourite writer, loved those Dark Tower books.

If you could devise any sort of in-game competition or contest for the game, what would it be? I am not that much into contest and competition… with the new customizable villages coming soon, there could be a “what’s the most cool looking village” contest. If we had in-game voice chat we could do karaoke 😂

What weird or useless talent do you have? You know, when you make food and there’s leftovers, I always know in what container they would fit in. It’s always perfect!

Back in the days:
Me: Those mashed potatoes leftover? Take that bowl to put them in the fridge
My wife: you sure ? I feel they won’t all get into it
Nowadays:
Me: Those mashed potatoes leftover? Take that bowl to put them in the fridge
My wife: Ok, thanks.

Since I already know you are a music aficionado, this question is designed just for you. If you could add specific pieces of classical music to the game, what would they be, who are the composers, in which zones of the game would you put them, and why? Hmmmmm … not everything blends well with “The Planets” from Holst :) I think “Gymnopedie no1” and “Gnossienne no1” from Erik Satie would be very nice at night in the village, or in some safe zones like Lake Kiwa.

I think that Dvorak’s New World Symphony (op. 95) would fit in quite well (mostly the 1st movement). That could be playing in the later zones maybe ? Like in Traven ? (Haven’t seen all the zones yet so… yeah.)

I would LOVE to hear the Dies Irae of Berlioz’s Requiem in a long boss fight. I swear it would be epic! I also swear I am not objective, because Berlioz is my all time favourite composer … but please go listen to it! A last one (cause there’s so many good classical music pieces it would take a lifetime to list) you could listen to Ma Vlast from Smetana. I feel it could fit in.

What is something that really annoys you in general, but doesn’t bother most people? I don’t know if other people are annoyed by that, but one of the things that annoys me the most is those round laces for shoes … they always untie themselves!!!! I need to do a double loop for them to stay tight … but then they are harder to untie… urghhh!!!!!!

What single most feature or aspect would you most love to see added to V&H in later builds or expansions? I would love to see treasure hunting implemented ! Don’t know how it could be done … but it would be so nice to team up with friends and try to find the treasure! Said treasure would be guarded by a strong monster/person of course!

The other thing I would love is voice chat being implemented. I know it’s a hard one though! I would like to be able to just stay in the game without having a 3rd party app running in the background for voice.


A few months ago, V&H had a fun-filled two weeks of community challenges. Players from every server pooled their efforts together to collectively earn rewards and prizes for every single player in the game, multiple times.

Not only did we once again learn just what a fantastic and selfless community we have here, but those two weeks also demonstrated just how incredibly talented and creative the players in this game are!

See for yourselves! Take a look at some of the many wonderful creations you all came up with. :)


Just what would we do without our beloved Sneaky Scribbler? The Scribbler’s eyes and ears are everywhere! Nobody is safe. Thank you, Sneaky Scribbler, for once again amusing us with your deliciously wonderful habit of eavesdropping on all of the servers.

From The Sneaky Scribbler

YOU SAID IT

Sir Lance-a-lot?
Sdrrejawl: anybody have a minute to help my with Kevin’s boil
Skurge: hmmmm
Aurora ArchAngel: 0.o
Sdrrejawl: Bevyn’s Coille

Alas, poor Yorick
where is crafters square and what merchant sells yorics balls — Ember Prime (EU1)

Ecstasy!
oh ny god i can click the goat ignore me — Noemi Jor (US3)

The Parent Trap
i might get a spider mount just to annoy my mom she hates spiders and always points at stuff im doing asking whats this whats that with a spider on screen she wont do that anymore — Avina (EU1)

Probably not in the Auction House
can you buy guys and if so were? — Daniel III (US3)

Tales from the Crypt
oooh I can always tell the story of my student loan debt – that should scare the pants off y’al — Aveline Storm (US2)

Musical origins
Smiley Bob: i’m sure there is a blues song about that
Smiley Bob: I bound my soul to some glittermore…but she don’t glitter anymore

How to welcome new players. Or the dangers of drugs.
William Kaidan: How are you all?
Korax: Happier than a monkey finding a banana =D

He Who Tried To Hug It Out
let it be written, he died a warriors death. tried to solo cuddle cakes adn it didnt go well — RedTheRonin (US2)

Redeem Key Tutorial: Take 1
Zeboodes: how do you use those codes btw?
Pe Ell: launchfun22dq5
Pe Ell: type /redeem
Pe Ell: then put coffee in window that pops up

Redeem Key Tutorial: Take 2
Capt Chaos: type /redeem
villagerone: it’s says unknown command REEDEM.
SKULDEATH: lowercase
villagerone: really.
SKULDEATH: rectum
SKULDEATH: redrum..
SKULDEATH: fun with spellchecker.. Haha

A real conundrum
i dont remember my memory — Ester (US3)

A Weighty Matter
how we supposed to go potty if we never get off our horses — Bridget Wexford (US1)

Wizard feux pas
enhance your stiff* — Sdrrejawl (US2)

When to re-write a thank you note
Brahmbo: thanks for all the info again everyone, on tormenting
Brahmbo: lol, gnogmenting*

ToS do’s and don’ts
running thru a zone aggroing every mod is just bad — Rose Heart (US2)

Method to the Madness
John Wick: this is soo good.. m playing on mobile and i need to gather stuffs…plus i need to eat meal so i use my toe to tap while i have my meal…. 😀

Food for thought
my livestock eats so much better than I do. Carrots, mushrooms, lettuce, squash, berries…For me it’s al PIE, PIE, PIE — Ivy Eftsona (US2)

Is that true, Alexa?
bots will be boys — Red Wizard (US1)

The New Normal
speak for yourself! im completely normal, my cat says im a wonderful conversationalist — Butch Deluth (US2)

Knowing your limits
I apologize for being a sucky explainer. — Deadliez (US2)

Props to the Sanitation Workers
artemis the 2nd: theres no reindeer poop in this zone
Blue Glowworm: or rat droppings LOL

Priorities
missing head is fine. i can live with that. missing bags? no way — Raven Shinycowl (US2)

Bilingualism? (Or maybe he was talking about the 80’s rock band)
Pe Ell: I speak English and bad English
moose74: I speak English and drunk…lol

Mods are an acquired taste
Cinder Fate: yup poor little castle dragon was getting sick when we tried feeding him Mods
temp512: you must be trying to kill it then
WickedChar: lol
WickedWitch: whoa whoa
Cinder Fate: its ok he spit them out pretty quick

Poultry Pain
i feel sorry for my chickens. The eggs keep getting bigger but the chickens are the same size.. — Smiley Bob (EU1)

First rule of thumb
Noy P: Hi Angel! any advice for a warrior?
Queen of Cards: hehe
DubsWubb: *waves to AC*
AngelinaCopperscale: don’t start acting crazy 😀


did_you_also_know_new

Attention all mobile players! Your day has at last arrived. No longer will our Android and iOS players be enviously eyeing their PC peers, sadly wishing that they, too, could enhance their own gear, or contribute to village projects, or vote for mayors, or in fact be a mayor themselves with a snazzy campaign slogan in their own right.

With Wellspring, the often frustrating disparity between PC and mobile players within the game has happily come to an end! Android and iOS users will be able to: Enhance gear, participate in village projects and politics, set vault access and rankings for villagers, change the village name and motto, get an instant overview of the food items and needs of ranching animals, access all portals on maps, and more!

But did you also know that we’ve added a number of improvements to the mobile interface as well? The mobile dialogue window will now have a larger text size, for example, and we’ve adjusted the secondary quick action bar to last five seconds before returning to the standard bar so that players will no longer believe they have lost their feats, which was happening far more often than it should and causing a likewise amount of angst. Furthermore, enchantments are now shown in the Character window, just as it is on PC, and headers in the Supplies window have also been made a good deal more clear.

Also confusing to some, was the purchase of a mounts. So from now on, players will find themselves instantly riding their brand new mounts — no more searching around cluttered bags, or being perplexed about how to access mounts after ‘using’ them. Instead, voilà! One more thing made simpler and more logical in this expansion.

For mobile and PC users alike, Wellspring has much to offer, so much, that it’s simply not possible to relay everything in a few sections of a newsletter. However, we can certainly try to cram a few more interesting nuggets in for you. Like what? How about the introduction of an all new feature called ‘Villager Insight!’

We all love the thrill of accomplishment when gaining a new level in combat, don’t we? That rush, that little flash of light our characters suddenly puslate with, and that always fun feeling of pride and adrenaline we experience as result, not to mention the joy of receiving another talent point as a reward. So why shouldn’t reaching a new crafting and gathering level yield something to look forward to as well? Well, the new ‘Villager Insight’ does just that!

This fun, and very potent, new feature gives players a special buff whenever any one of the crafting and gathering skills have been leveled up — it grants one extra material to be gained while gathering, and reduces base crafting time by 0.5 seconds. Whenever players hit a new level in any of the skills, this buff will last for fifteen seconds multiplied by the number of your new level. So a level 80 player, for example, will receive the Villager Insight buff for 20 minutes. And especially fun, too, is the added gameplay factor involved — players will have to plot and strategize how to best maximize the benefits of the Villager Insight buff before the ticking clock runs out on it!

The amount of exciting new features and improvements in Wellspring is truly countless. And just to wet your appetite a little further, here are a few more things our player community can look forward to with this expansion: Name changes, a special new button for redeeming gift keys right on the HUD, five all new Crafting Specializations, stylistic new 3D models for gardening and animal pens, crafting jewelry has become an enchantment, and the implementation of a brand new 30 day login calendar for new players, with some exceedingly lucrative and very special rewards which can always be redeemed, despite missing a few days!

Wellspring truly has something for everyone, and we can’t wait for you all to see for yourselves!


Welcome to the completely non-game related, amusing, off-topic anecdote section of the Ledger! This week’s headlines: little indie game company in Oregon discovers existence of little beer brewery in California with same name!

That’s right! Much to our delight and surprise, some months ago, Mad Otter Games learned that nestled along the scenic coast in northern California there dwells a small brewery by the name of Monterey Bay Brewing Company (soon to be partnering with Carmel Valley Brewing Co.), and their flagship craft beer is called…wait for it…Mad Otter Ale!

Could anything be more fitting? We had to get our hands on that beer! But how? Though Oregon itself is something of a microbrew haven and it’s typically fairly easy to get a hold of unique craft beers from all over the country, sadly, we had no such luck acquiring any Mad Otter Ale here in Eugene.

Fortunately, as coincidence would have it, it just so happened that a couple of parents of one of the Otters, happened to be taking a little trip around the Carmel, California area, and, when, instructed by their cub Otter to track down this special brewery in Monterey, were more than happy to do so!

The result? The Mad Otter Games team now has a whole lot of bottles of Mad Otter Ale! Whoop, whoop! (And it tastes VERY good!) :)

And in keeping with this theme of alcoholic libations, we thought we’d give you all a little behind the scenes peek at just what kinds of beverages each of the Otters likes to partake in. But let’s make it fun, and see if you can guess who likes what!

So. Which Otter favors Cosmopolitans (a la the show, Sex and The City), and is frequently teased for his partiality for so light and fruity a cocktail? Who on the team is known for their love of Guinness Stout, and even has a character in Villagers & Heroes named Guinness? Which Otter brews their own beer, and has become quite the talented Master Brewer? Which Otter does not care for alcohol of any kind? And, lastly, which Otter’s refined pallet craves the occasional taste of the oh-so-exotic liqueur known as Green Chartreuse?

ANSWERS:

Damon likes the Cosmos, but also enjoys sipping Jagermeister and has been known to make one single shot last for hours. Sarah is a Guinness gal, and often gets annoyed with lazy bartenders who don’t know how to pour it right, because, yes, there is indeed an art to the perfect Guinness pour. Ivar doesn’t drink much, but will sometimes reminiscence about a Swedish libation, a special mulled wine called Glögg. Diet, game designer that he is, has perfected the art of brewing his own beer with original recipes, and it is our brilliant programmer, Liam, who favors the elusive and potent taste of Green Chartreuse.

Cheers, from the Mad Otter Team! :)


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