Sunday, April 26, 2009

Gold Bars and the Alchemist

Some time ago (last October, in fact), I asked if anyone knew what was the significance of the gold bars some people were finding when they bought their land. The answer was: nothing. They had apparently been released by the Emperor, but he didn't know- or hadn't finished- what would actually be done with them. Gold Bars became something of a joke-- something that was totally useless.

All of that changed a few weeks ago. Gold Bars began popping up everywhere. People found them buying land, selling land, completing steps on the Path to Royalty, in gifts they sent to allies, from the Trader, and as prizes at Festivals. At the same time, the moon started turning red.

That is when the alchemist came.

She comes in a brightly covered wagon when the moon turns red. She comes only to people who have gold bars, and to them, she offers the choice of three mysterious potions, which can be bought if you have enough gold bars. Their effects are widely varied, and are not fully documented yet.

So, are these gold bars worth the bother? How much is a gold bar worth, anyway? It's worth as much good as you get out of the potions. It looks like a good rule of thumb is that one gold bar is worth two acres of land- the exact amount varying according to what you get, of course. For example:

Blue Potion (Cost: 1 gold bar):
When the Trader comes next, he will not charge anything for his prize. Since his usual fee is roughly 2.5 acres of land, that's 2.5 acres' worth of gold that your bar saved you. Note that the Trader also gives out five gold bars as his prize. At 2 acres per bar, this makes the prize worth ten acres, one of the better possibilities.

Bubbling Potion (Cost: 1 gold bar):
The report on this one is that it led to a windfall worth roughly three acres- it says that you feel lucky.

Dark Green Potion (Cost: 1 gold bar):
Five years of tax amnesty. This means roughly 150 percent of what your land produces in a year. How many acres that equals depends on acre cost vs acre production and what your tax rate is. In my case, it would be considerably less than one acre, since I have a lot of acres that don't produce much compared to their cost. Unless you have a fairly low number of acres, this may not be a good option.

Draught of Quintain (Cost: 1 gold bar):
When you go to the jousts, you don't have to practice (twice). Since you 'practice' by giving up an acre of land, this potion saves you two acres.

Elixir of Prevention (Cost: 1 gold bar):
Prevents disasters and gives you the amount of citizens that you would have gotten if you had done the second highest option. Considering how much the second best option costs, multiplied by the four times that someone reports it lasted, puts this prize in the one to two acre range.

Essence of Loyalty (Cost: 1 gold bar):
Increases the amount you get for being loyal. The usual loyalty reward is 1/4 of acre price. With this, the prize is twice acre price. Again, just under two acres in land.

Lure of Gold (Cost: 1 gold bar) :
Increases the amount potential subjects are offered when you send bribes. One report is that the amount tripled. Assuming that the amount normally offered is roughly one acre of land for the recipient, this means that they would get two more acres of land from it. (Note that it's said the larger bribe offers keep getting made until someone accepts once.)

Oil of Metagrobology (Cost: 1 gold bar):
Lets you get the prizes for answering correctly to riddles even if you don't answer at all. This one works repeatedly, but it would have to work a lot of times to be worth two acres! One, perhaps. Of course, all it really saves you is the trouble of answering the riddles for yourself... and if you don't pay much attention to the hud, it turns a lost chance riddle into an automatic gold windfall.

There are other potions. Many are not well understood at this point. Many that are understood are only good for particular people. For instance, what good is the ability to not pay an acre to joust if you never choose to joust? What good is being rewarded for loyalty if your liege never rewards your loyalty? And so forth.

My personal experience with the potions was with the generosity one that let me give away land. For a one time gift of three acres, I could just say the name and they got three acres of my land. It's only a convenience, unless the person you're naming is never available, for whatever reason, for you to give them the acres, and you want them to have them.

In the end, it looks like a very mixed bag, some that could be worth a tidy amount, some that are useless, many that are yet unknown. If you have knowledge of more potions and what they do, feel free to add them to the wiki. (It lists more potions that I didn't list in this analysis.)

Until then, count your bars carefully and keep an eye on the moon. It may or may not be "worth it", but it's fun to find out!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Breaking News!


Grand Vicereine Liasha Halcali of Angels of the Empire was detained by the Emperor's Imperial Police Force early Sunday afternoon for the attempted murder of the Mysterious Trader. Investigators in this case have uncovered disturbing mental health records from a recent stay in the Empire's Mental Health Facility, which may tie in with this GV's state of mind at the time of this crime. This photo is a still from the compound's numerous security camera's.


Needless to say, it is a shocking photo. However, there is no known motive behind this heinous crime. The Emperor's agents have remained silent on the case, only commenting to say, "The Trader is fine and again making his rounds. His safety is no longer a threat." Meanwhile, Liasha Halcali has been detained, and will remain locked behind bars without bail. When approached by our news team, she had nothing to say about the charges against her. A formal court hearing is expected in the coming weeks, and as always, we will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Interview with Zak Zamin

Vulpine Eldrich and Zak Zamin

Vulpine Eldrich: Good evening everyone! I'm here with Royal Cassanova Zak Zamin of Avalon, dancing in a charming little club while banana leaf fans create a slight breeze and a purple dragon flies by in the distance. Wow! I'm not dreaming, am I, Zak? This is happening?

Zak Zamin: Yes. The baby dragon is hatching too. You may pet it if you like.

Vulpine Eldrich: Ohhh! I think... later! So in the meantime, I understand that you're something more than 'just a Prince' in Avalon. What is your exact rank in the largest Kingdom of the Empire?

Zak Zamin: Really I am a Prince in Avalon. One of many. I have completed my path to royalty and had the correct number of acres to qualify for Grand Viceroy. So at the moment I am acting in that role. It is temporary as I am from way down in the organization.

Vulpine Eldrich: So what is going to happen next? And when, I suppose I should also ask.

Zak Zamin: When my time is up as GV, I will go back to my liege and resume my status there.

Vulpine Eldrich: So is there a regular schedule for this role?

Zak Zamin: No. Queen Shawna asked if there were people in the Queendom who would like to participate. We had to qualify and we also have to be directly under her. So there is a lot of logistics that have to be considered.

Vulpine Eldrich: I can imagine. So you were down in the lines, and you volunteered to be an acting Grand Viceroy. Obviously, the application was accepted. Is this the highlight of your career, or is there something in the past or future that is greater?

Zak Zamin: Ascending to King would be the ultimate. However, being the GV is sort of like practice for the Royalty Rank.

Vulpine Eldrich: Is there anything you lack in qualifications for being a King?

Zak Zamin: No. I completed my Path to Royalty except for the final step where I would be promoted. I asked the Emperor to suspend my Path so I would quit getting the prompt on my hud. One slip and you are there and cannot return without major problems. I don't even know what they are but I did come close to selecting the wrong button.

Vulpine Eldrich: That last step... have you ever heard of such a thing happening?

Zak Zamin: No. I don't think anyone would want to admit a mistake like that.

Vulpine Eldrich: lol, perhaps not! But you won't have to worry for at least as long as you are a Viceroy. As I recall, the Path is automatically suspended then, which is a nice fringe benefit in this case.

Zak Zamin: I have never looked at the rules that hard for GV. Right now I am enjoying giving free acres and titles to residents of the kingdom.

Vulpine Eldrich watches another title given by Zak roll across her hud and nods in understanding

Vulpine Eldrich: So what else do you do as Viceroy?

Zak Zamin: Basically, I try to make sure that if someone has a problem, I look for someone who can resolve it if I can't. I give acres to people. I am just support to the Queen.

Vulpine Eldrich: What sort of problems do people bring to you? And what sort of problem does it take to be beyond you?

Zak Zamin: People need subjects. They don't know how to pass out the trial hud. I sometimes give pointers in how to entice others to become part of TE.

Vulpine Eldrich: Are there any you'd like to pass on to the rest of us?

Zak Zamin: There are a couple. One is for women, I ask: "Have you ever dreamed of being a Princess?"

Vulpine Eldrich laughs. "And if they inform you that they're always a Princess, what then? Oh, never mind, do go on. What about the men?"

Zak Zamin: I laugh with them. You'd be surprised how many say, "Yes!" All their lives. Then I commence to tell them of the game and how they too can be a Princess.

Zak Zamin: I keep a Rez Day Calendar of people in SL. TE is not required to get on my calendar. I currently have 1750+ names on my list. I talk to many, many people, everyday. I will admit that most of the people on my list have women avies. Women are easier for me to talk to than men. Always have been.

Vulpine Eldrich: So are more of your downline women than men?

Zak Zamin: Most of my directs are women. I have 7 directs. One is loaned out. I have 2 men and 5 women. After that, they get their own down line. I just help them and make sure that their people are happy.

Vulpine Eldrich: Have you ever moved someone to a different liege, using your abilities as a Grand Viceroy?

Zak Zamin: Ouch. Yes, just this morning.

Vulpine Eldrich: Ouch? There weren't any problems with it, were there?

Zak Zamin: It is a very expensive move. However, the individual in question played before with one avie and gave up his membership in SL. When he came back he was a fellow of his first alt. So I moved the first (defunct) alt to the current one. Now the current person has his acres from his prior TE experience.

Zak Zamin: I did this for a member of a different line but within Avalon. I would do it for someone in my downline in a heartbeat but would actually think twice about doing it for another.

Vulpine Eldrich: Which means you could move anyone to anyone else within the kingdom of Avalon.

Zak Zamin: They have to qualify. The moving avie has to have been inactive for a period of time. Also the rules of movement have to be followed.

Vulpine Eldrich: No Prince under a Duke, etc... still, even with the expense, it could be very useful, as you pointed out! But looking back to the past... how did you get started in Tiny Empires, and in the Kingdom of Avalon?

Zak Zamin: I started in Avalon. I have some dear friends in this line. Starting with Marissa Goodliffe and moving to Lachland Campbell. They come to the Lily Pad to see Starr Singer when she performs there. The owner of the Lily Pad was contacted by Lachland. Drift Monde then created an alt of Tipsy the Frog. Tipsy sponsored Starr and Starr sponsored me. Starr and I were partners at one time. I will not leave her

Vulpine Eldrich: Not even to be King?

Zak Zamin clears his throat.

Zak Zamin: I could have moved to King a little less than a year ago. My ties to my immediate upline are too tight. This is a game and moving would be tough for me. Starr and I had a plan that we would ascend and we would retire as Royalty. Once a Royal, always a Royal even if you don't have any subjects. But Starr had some changes in rl and she is not as active in TE as she had originally planned. So she is far from being ready to ascend.

Vulpine Eldrich: Which leaves you temporarily moving to Queen Shawna to be Grand Viceroy. But speaking of games and being active, what about the new game- Tiny Empires 3000. Have you tried it?

Zak Zamin: No. I cannot imagine starting this all over again. I know that others are running both.

Vulpine Eldrich: Have you noticed any particular effect it has had on people being active or not, moving or not, in the traditional game?

Zak Zamin: I have noticed the absence of people for long periods of time. But that may be caused by other games outside of SL, too. Right now, my renters are looking at another game called Openlifegrid, so they are not around in here that much.

Vulpine Eldrich: I see what you mean! So do you find Tiny Empires occupying much of your Second Life, or do most of your activities here focus elsewhere?

Zak Zamin: I have begun to help Drift Monde with her Lily Pad Lounge. She has been in SL since 2003 and is tired. So I offered to help her so she could get away from SL for awhile. So I manage the Lily Pad, Play TE, and attend to my Rez Day Calendar.

Vulpine Eldrich: Well thank you very much for making time for me in that busy schedule! So is there anything else that people need to know about Tiny Empires and your role in it?

Zak Zamin: I may be a Prince in Avalon, but I am just a pawn in the whole scheme of things. The object is to have fun. If you can't have fun where you are, you should move or quit. Enjoy, always.

Zak Zamin: I notice you have a large line in TE yourself. Do our ideas complement one another?

Vulpine Eldrich laughs

Vulpine Eldrich: I helped create the Kingdom of Caledon. It was the sixteenth one formed, over a year ago now. I never will become Queen, but that's because I'm part of what I created now.

Zak Zamin: Ahhhh. Well, I'm impressed by your lines. You have done well.

Vulpine Eldrich: I made new friends, and brought my old ones into it... the rest followed. Thank you for your compliments, however, they should be honored by them! And I might also add, thank you for the dance as well as the conversation.

Zak Zamin: It has been my pleasure.

Vulpine Eldrich: Now, what about that baby dragon... shall we go see if it's pettable without losing anything vital?

Zak Zamin: Sure. Come.

Vulpine Eldrich: Great!

As you can see, he was very pettable, and heart-meltingly cute!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Greetings of the Day!

So I get on this morning, and people are laughing in the TE chat. It didn't take long to see why. Here was the hud that greeted me:

So who am I to argue with my hud? Well, the next month I was ready to! "Smeared Makeup Vulpine Eldrich"? Puh-leeezee And then the next month is "Always Forgotten Vulpine Eldrich". Riiigghhttt...

So, Greetings of the Day! April Fool's day to be exact. Enjoy your new titles! Check your Liege and your subjects as well. Here are some I've collected, everyone feel free to add more in- and who they applied to, if you dare! :)

All Thumbs
Thug Life4Ever
Such a Baby
Light of my Life
Totally Forgettable
Destitute Millionaire
Shy & Dullard
Royal Janitor
Unskilled Ropejumper
Power Overwhelming
Dances With Sheep
Here Kitty
Minor Character
Royal Idiot
Out Of It
Incompetent Spy
Smarty Pants

...and it goes on...