Related topics: 2002/08 - The Elemental Cisterns (Live Event)

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The Defense of the Cisterns

September 17, 2002

On the night of September 16th, 2002, the AC Team suited up specially created characters for a series of Live Ops on the worlds of Thistledown, Harvestgain and Darktide. In laying out the August Event, we included an element that would allow players to mount a defense of the final Lightning Cistern Core. The Shard of the Herald defense organized by players back in the November, 2000 event is something that people in the community and on the AC Team look back to fondly. However this time we decided to add a different element than was seen in the Shard defense. Instead of the obvious choice seen in the Shard defense--releasing Bael'Zharon is never a good thing--the choice in the August Event was more ambiguous. Would you choose the devil you knew, Gaerlan, or the devil you didn't, the Harbinger? Would you trust High Queen Elysa's leadership and destroy the crystal, or resist her? We were unsure exactly how the community would respond, but it was a feature we wanted to add to the event and planned for it accordingly.

In monitoring the various discussion boards after the community learned of the upcoming PK element, we saw people taking sides and forming factions almost immediately. Over the weekend we checked in on the progress of the various worlds, and were impressed with the dedication and the abilities of the players, whether they were attacking or defending. We were particularly impressed with a group of players on Darktide who spent seven hours destroying the low level crystal! On the majority of the worlds the attackers banded together and broke through whatever lines the defenders placed and destroyed the crystals. However on the worlds Thistledown, Harvestgain and Darktide, the crystals stood. Seeing this, we decided to implement the series of Live Ops we had sketched out.

The Queen Onslaught

Two hours before the Live Ops, the Queen made the following proclamation:

Those that mean to keep the final cistern core intact stand with Gaerlan. They stand against Dereth, and they stand against their race. As High Queen it is my duty to defend and stand for and with the people of Dereth. You have two hours. Then, if you continue this folly I will bring my might to bear against you.

I implore you to reconsider your actions. We have worked too hard to fail now. Gaerlan must be stopped and the defeat of these crystals is the only way to breach his Citadel's defense. Stand with your fellows. . . or face my wrath.

Those on the AC Team participating in the event then began the process of creating and equipping the characters they would need. The Queen's team consisted of:

  • High Queen Elysa Strathelar
  • Candeth Martine
  • Lord Kresovus, Leader of the Lugians of Linvak Tukal
  • Aun Hareltah, Chieftain of the Aun Tumerok Tribe
  • Royal Guard Allyson
  • Royal Guard Bahb
  • Royal Guard Shara
  • Royal Guard Kystra
  • Royal Guard Xao

Gaerlan would also be making an appearance, gloating and killing those who attacked his final crystal core. One choice the team made for these Ops was to create characters that could be killed. We wanted this to be a fair fight. . . or as fair as a fight of 9 versus 60 could be. Still it would not be god-like characters deciding the fate of the world. We also established one rule for the Live Ops: if Queen Elysa were to be killed in the final Crystal room, we would declare that the defenders had held the line and conclude the Live Op.

The first world visited by the team was Thistledown, famous for its defense of the Shard of the Herald. Here we found ourselves facing an enormous number of defenders and had great difficulty even entering the dungeon. Eventually the team made its way to the final room and began the attack on the Crystal. However, the defense mounted finally overcame the Queen, and Martine parted the scene with the final words, "Very well, you have made your choice. I will do this on my own."

After licking our wounds, we visited the world of Harvestgain. We found more equal numbers of defenders and attackers on Harvestgain, and progressed to the final crystal room much more quickly. Slowly the attackers, Royal Guard, and Elysa began chipping away at the Crystal, when suddenly the Queen fell, to our surprise. Later review of what happened revealed that two or three players, who had been attacking the Crystal, turned on the Queen, firing two Hecatomb bolts at her, almost completely draining her of life. A few melee attacks and the Queen was dead. After the Queen fell, Martine parted the scene again with the same final words.

The final world visited was Darktide. Many of the Crystals had been left standing on Darktide, and the Queen's called all who would to assault these crystals and destroy them. We found that many of those who responded role-played well, and we were glad to have them at our side as we destroyed the various crystals. The portal to the final Crystal opened and the Queen and the attackers made their way to the crystal to begin the assault. A few Royal Guards remained behind to try and prevent defenders from entering. These Guards held the line, and the Queen and her people finally destroyed the Crystal. Gaerlan, who had been battling Martine in the Crystal room prior to this, left with a final sneer to the defenders, "You weak Isparians! You cannot do even the SIMPLEST thing!"

With the last Live Op concluded, the team began to again review player reactions, both in-game and on the discussion boards. We do want to apologize to anyone who was trying to aid in the attack on the Crystal and was killed by the Queen or members of her party. Sometimes in the heat of battle, minds can be clouded by bloodlust. If you were killed by Gaerlan and were defending the crystal, well, just remember Gaerlan's opinion of Isparians!

Now What?

Well now you'll just have to wait and see. . .
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