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Summer Solstice 2020

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Summer Solstice Event
Year 2020
Date From June 19
Date To July 3
Main Organisers Shadowfax
Theme volcano
Summer Solstice 2020 was the version of the Summer Solstice Celebration that took place during the final half of June 2020 and ended at the beginning of July 2020. It is the eighth such event. As usual, it was organzied by the world builder Shadowfax. Fellow world builder Morpheus assisted with the event this year.

The 'event show' command displayed the following throughout the event:

The Summer Solstice Celebration has begun!

The first event area available is the Starving Rock, a single player zone
designed for players of all levels.  The strength of monsters within will
scale up with your level.  The goal of this area is to kill 1000 monsters
by the time the event ends on the 29th.  You can exit the area at any time
and pick up where you left off later.  Use 'event start 108' to enter the
area.

The next available event area is the Puzzlewood Mire.  This area is
intended for high level group who know what they're doing.  The scenario
involves defeating wave after wave of monsters of increasing strength.  All
waves must be completed in a single instance.  You receive credit any mob
of equal or higher level than the wave you're currently on.  There are 31
in this year's event.  Use 'event start 137' to enter the area.

The main event area is Mowami Island.  The volcano on this island is about
to erupt, and villagers have prayed to the gods for deliverance.  You can
be the answer to their prayers!  Type 'event start 154' to be transported
to Mowami Island and start the scenario.  Fight fires, lava and poisonous
gases to keep the villagers safe and prevent their huts from being
destroyed.  If your character doesn't have a lot of magic, try levelling up
the Firefighter bonus class to give yourself the tools you will need.  The
scenario scales in difficulty with level and takes about a half hour to
complete.  (If you fail the mission, you need to start again in a new
instance.)  There is a strategy guide about how to complete this scenario
on board 8 if you need more help.

Please connect to the 'event' channel and refer to the 'event schedule' for
further updates.

Timeline

Date Summary
June 19 Starving Rock area opens.
June 20 Puzzlewood Mire area opens.
June 23 Mowami Island area opens.
June 29 Starving Rock and Puzzelwood Mire areas close.
July 1 Mowami Island area closes.
July 2 First Thirsty Thursday event.
July 3 Morpheus releases the Erom Bhooj areas for Ramanek.

History

The idea of players fighting a volcano was proposed by Kagome after reflecting on the Firefighting trial of the Summer Solstice 2015. She said it was one of her favorite quests.

Areas

This year's event areas were:

  • Starving Rock (108)

The Starving Rock area functioned much like it did the previous year. The mobs within got an overhaul by Morpheus, who balanced them to be fairer opponents for single player combat. Since less time was available overall for the event, the number of monsters that needed to slain to complete the area's quests was reduced from 1500 to 1000.

  • Puzzlewood Mire (137)

The Puzzlewood Mire mobs were also heavily scrutinized by Shadowfax, who tried to balance them to provide more of a challenge for high level group combat. The terrain therein was changed from forest to mire to prevent players from using 'fury of the heavens', the presumption being that since the number of waves was reduced to 31 that fury wouldn't be needed to progress through the strongest waves.

  • Mowami Island (154)

In the Mowami Island area, players attempted to do battle with an active volcano and prevent it from destroying the nearby village. Shadowfax posted the following on board 8 to assist players:

The Mowami Island volcano scenario involves some unusual gameplay, so I
wrote the strategy guide to help you out if you're getting stuck. 
Basically, you have to put out all of the wildfires, redirect all lava
flows into the ocean, and disperse any ash clouds that form while ensuring
that all of the villagers and their huts survive the ordeal.  You'll need
magic to complete the scenario.  If you don't know the 'create water', 'wall
of ice' and 'windbreaker' spells, you can level up the Firefighter class to
 gain equivalent spells.

The first thing to do is go to the chieftain's hut and put out the fire
there.  Use 'extinguish' or 'create water' to put it out quickly.

For the first ten minutes flames will erupt from the volcano and land all
over the island, starting wildfires.  One is generated every tick for
players over level 30 and every other tick for lower level players.  You
will notified approximately where on the island the fire starts.  Pay close
attention to wildfires that start in the village!  Find them quickly and
put them out like the first one.  A wildfire inside of a hut can burn it
down, thus failing the scenario.  Wildfires that burn down part of the 
village that is outside of a hut won't cause the scenario to fail, but if
any villagers are nearby they may begin to take fire damage.

Wildfires do slowly move around, burning down the terrain and leaving hot
embers behind that can damage you.  The damage scales up with your level. 
Use of 'ice shield' or coldsave equipment can protect you.  You can use the
'berm' or 'wall of ice' spells to contain wildfires.  Wildfires that reach
the ocean will put themselves out.  When you have a spare moment, begin
gathering villagers in one place such as the beach or chieftain's hut.  You
talk to a villagers to get them to follow you, and you can dit ch them in
the location of your choosing.

For the next ten minutes, lava flows will start forming at the same rate of
wildfires.  These move faster than wildfires and should they linger too
long in a location they turn it to lava and begin doing even more fire
damage than wildfires.  Fortunately, lava flows only originate from the
mountainous terrain around the volcano's vent (or the vent itself).  There
is no way to destroy the lava directly with magic.  You can use the 'berm'
or 'wall of ice' spells to block lava flows from entering the village , and
they should eventually fall into the ocean, where they cool and are
destroyed.  If you are especially ambitious, you can cordon off the whole
mountain or build chutes to quickly guide the lava flows into the ocean.

As one might expect, lava flows will destroy huts!  Above level 30,
wildfires may still occur at a reduced rate.  If you haven't already, you
will want to gather up any remaining villagers into one place in
preparation for the next stage.

For the third stage, clouds of ashes will begin popping up all over the
island, at a rate of one per tick.  These appear without warning, and the
poisonous gases they emit can quickly kill villagers, which is why you want
them all in one place.  The clouds are stationary and do not damage huts. 
You can disperse them using the 'ventilate' or 'windbreaker' spells.  Above
level 30, lava flows may still occasionally pop up, so watch out for those.

At the end of the final stage, you will see a message that the volcano has
gone inert.  Now that the danger of more ash clouds forming is over, you
can begin mopping up any remaining wildfires, lava flows or ash clouds.  By
looking at the totem in front of the chieftain's hut, you can see how many
of each are left.  You can find remaining wildfires and lava flows by
moving around the island and using the 'scan' command.  Ash clouds can also
be spotted using scan but may be hard to see at night.  If there  doesn't
appear to be any threats remaining and you still haven't gotten the quest,
try looking at the totem one last time.

I hope you enjoy this little scenario.  Thank you for your patience and
understanding while this event area has been developed.  Its unusual nature
made it difficult to test.  As sometimes happens when experimenting with
gameplay mechanics, there were a number of unforeseen issues to iron out! 
Please don't hesitate to mudmail me with any comments or suggestions on how
to improve it.

Mobs

Further changes were made to both the Starving Rock and Puzzlewood areas to make the mobs different from one another. Even mobs with the same description may behave differently depending on which area they come from.

Quests

The goals of the Starving Rock area:

  • Killed 100 monsters on the Starving Rock 2020
  • Killed 500 monsters on the Starving Rock 2020
  • Killed 1000 monsters on the Starving Rock 2020

The goals of the Puzzlewood Mire area:

  • Completed Wave 0 of the Puzzlewood Mire 2020
  • Completed Wave 10 of the Puzzlewood Mire 2020
  • Completed Wave 20 of the Puzzlewood Mire 2020
  • Completed Wave 30 of the Puzzlewood Mire 2020

The goal of the Mowami Island area:

  • Saved the villagers from the wrath of Mount Mowami!

Post event

Date:    2020 Jul 14 17:09
From:    shadowfax
Subject: Summer Solstice Celebration 2020 Prizes!
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Post-event prizes for the Summer Solstice Celebration 2020 are now
available!  Talk to Xena in room 1388 to receive your prize(s).

If you completed Wave 0 in the Puzzlewood or 100 kills on Starving Rock,
you get a participation award: a commemorative frisbee!

If you completed the 1000 kills quest on Starving Rock, you win a ring of
limitless possibilities.  This will randomize its stats every time you cast
dispel magic on it and will adjust to your level.

If you completed two of the three event areas (1000 kills on Starving Rock,
Wave 30 of the Puzzlewood or saved the people of Mowami Island from the
volcano), you win a prize voucher that can be exchanged for a piece of
equipment.  Turn the voucher in to the class guildmaster of your choice in
Ralnoth.  For example, for the gauntlets of the fire warrior, you give the
voucher to the guildmaster of swordsmen.

The gauntlets are all hands wear location pieces of equipment with 1
castlevel and absorbfire by 5.  They are class flagged.  For example, the
mage version looks like this:

Item: 'gauntlets red flames fire mage' 
Weight: 1  Size: 1'0"  Level: 38
Type: ARMOR   Composition: METAL   Defense: 2 ac-apply
Object is: MAGE 
Wear locations are: HANDS 
Item has other effects:
Affects:  MAGE_CAST_LEVEL by 1
Affects:  ABSORB_FIRE by 5

If you change your mind, return the gauntlets to the guildmaster to get
back a voucher.  (This will be disabled in about a month to prevent
crafting abuse.)  Gauntlets from previous events can also be returned for a
voucher, if you so choose.

For completing all three event areas, you win the grand prize: a cloak of
flames!

If you don't want your ring of limitless possibilities or cloak of flames,
you can give it back to Xena for a prize voucher.  You can also turn in any
rings of limitless possibilities from previous events.

If you don't want to trade your voucher for equipment, you can give it to
Xena for 2000 gold.

Also if you're interested in completing the 'Obtained Soul Eater,
ultramarine form' feat but have since lost your Soul Eater, you can get
another one from Xena by giving her 10000 gold.  This will give you a
carnelian form Soul Eater.  You must have done the prerequisite quests of
rescuing Lady Lyonors, slaying Lady Morgana and having had Lynette explain
Soul Eater to you to obtain the feat.  (There is no advantage to gaining
multiple Soul Eaters, so don't waste your gold if you already have one.)

Xena will be available until the end of the Feast of the Sacrifice event on
August 6th.

TL/DR Talk to Xena until she stops giving you stuff.

Post event roundup:

In the Starving Rock area:

  • 99332 mobs were slain in total.
  • 189 players killed 100 monsters.
  • 78 players killed 500 monsters.
  • 60 players killed 1000 monsters.

In the Puzzlewood Mire area:

  • 35215 mobs were slain in total.
  • Players died 212 times.
  • Wave 0 was completed by 135 players.
  • Wave 10 was completed by 96 players.
  • Wave 20 was completed by 74 players.
  • Wave 30 was completed by 59 players.

Other:

  • 39 players saved the villagers from the wrath of Mount Mowami.
  • 41 players completed at least two of the three event area questlines.
  • 17 players completed all three event area questlines.

Reception

Reception was generally positive with a couple of exceptions.

Controversy with Starving Rock

A tiny minority of players surreptitiously objected to one of the new mobs in Starving Rock called 'an antifa'. In what was obviously intended as a lighthearted parody, its description went something like this:

Name string:  'black bandit masked'
Fight string: 'an antifa'

Ground string:
A masked bandit clad in black wanders the land in search of his next victim.

Long description:
This bandit is wearing layers of black clothing like its going out of
style.  Like a rebel without a cause, he pillages and murders
indiscriminately in blatant violation of the philosophy of peace that
he professes to believe in.

After hearing complaints and examining the mob, Draak changed its fight string to 'a fanatic' and modified the insult to match. Shadowfax was displeased but busy with Mowami Island (explained below). After thinking about these circumstances for a few days, Shadowfax changed the mob's description to make a point and asked for Draak's approval.

Name string:  'censored mob'
Fight string: '[censored]'

Ground string:
The ground string of this mob has been sanitized for your safety.

Long description:
This long description has been redacted for failure to comply with current
progressive policy.  While buffoonish Republican presidents are acceptable
subjects of political satire, it is unacceptable to parody left-wing
anarchists no matter how many crimes they commit.  Also note that this
description is satirical in nature, and it shouldn't be taken too
seriously.  Enjoy the event!

Shadowfax further pontificated about his feelings regarding this situation in the Alter Aeon July 2020 Update (link at the bottom).

Troubleshooting Mowami Island

The Mowami Island area was an attempt at providing a unique experience within the scope of Alter Aeon playability. Unfortunately, this attempt did not come without bugs, and its quest wasn't actually able to be completed until several days after it had opened after much troubleshooting by Shadowfax.

While most players were sympathetic and patient, others expressed frustration with being unable to complete the quest and questioned why the buggy area was released in such a state.

Notes

The event was originally scheduled to end June 26th.

See also

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