Saturday, April 24, 2010

And that's why you don't sabotage the Emperor

So one month, we see the usual sort of sabotage notice. The interesting part was the victim- Emperor Ultralite Soliel. The second interesting part was that he lost ten acres of land.

Everyone waits to see what's going to happen. Will we know, a friend asked me. I thought we would only if the Emperor had allies to help bring the saboteur to justice.


A couple of months later:

Who's going to try next? Any volunteers?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Interview with TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn

Vulpine Eldrich, Soon to be King TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn, and Lady of the Bay Charm March

Vulpine Eldrich: Good evening, everyone. I'm here with Prince TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn, and his SL (and TE) partner, Charm March. They've graciously consented to tell me about the big plans that are set to occur for tomorrow, August 27th. TeuffelHunde, would you tell everyone just what you two are planning to do?

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: I will be ascending and we will be starting the Kingdom of Music. This kingdom will be to support Music in Second Life.

Vulpine Eldrich: And how will it do that?

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: Many of our members are Live Musicians, Singers, DJ's, Venue Owners and Music Lovers. We will do it through promotion of music and different events in Second Life.

Charm March: We have many friends in the music community, and we are both passionate about supporting live music in SL. We have yet to work out exactly how we will help, but that is our main goal.

Vulpine Eldrich: So would I be correct in saying that the music career came first, and then the Tiny Empires career?

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: It is more of a passion for the music. Yes we had that before TE. Charm ran a Venue for 2 years called Bay Vista Live Music Scene.

Vulpine Eldrich: Thus, Charm, your Tiny Empires title, "Lady of the Bay"?

Charm March: Yes, exactly.

Vulpine Eldrich: And how did you two become involved in Tiny Empires?

Charm March: I started TE about 2 years ago, and kind of floundered around in it. Then, through some convincing by friends, I decided to form the Kingdom of Music. Teuff joined me a little before that time, and we have been working on this goal together for several months now.

Vulpine Eldrich: So Teuff, you found Charm already with this idea?

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: I started in TE this past January when Charm and I started hanging out.

Charm March: The idea came about after he joined me, and since we both enjoy the music scene so much, it seemed like a perfect idea.

Vulpine Eldrich: So he joins you, but now that your kingdom is imminent, you're his subject and he'll be King. Is there something I'm missing about this apparent role reversal?

Charm March: Oh well. Yeah, I guess so. I decided that I preferred for him to be the King. I would rather take a supporting role in the kingdom. I actually think it will give me more time to do the things that I want to without having to take on the duties of Monarch day to day.

Vulpine Eldrich: So you make the Kingdom, and Teuff is the one that will actually administer it?

Charm March: Well, Teuff made the kingdom as much as I did. It really has been a joint effort.

Vulpine Eldrich: And how did the two of you decide on the Kingdom of Home to nurture your growing group?

Charm March: BackHome is a long time friend of mine. I asked him if we could come here and grow our line and asked for his support and guidance to help us along.

Vulpine Eldrich: Was he the one that introduced you to Tiny Empires?

Charm March: No he wasn't. It was another friend.

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: He has been very supportive and helpful to us as we have grown our line.

Vulpine Eldrich: And now you're within twenty four hours of Music being born. What sort of coronation party does the Kingdom of Music have?

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: We will start it off at 7:00pm SL with a Live Music Show, followed by a DJ for another hour.

Charm March: One of our Princes, Onehempcat Oldrich, will be performing.

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: We have set up a Music Stage across the sim.

Vulpine Eldrich: And I assume everyone who is interested is invited...

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: Yes :-)

Charm March: Yes! We hope to have a good crowd :)

Vulpine Eldrich: I'm sure you will! So have you been discussing your new kingdom with other venue owners and music performers? What sort of feedback have you gotten?

Charm March: So far the feedback is minimal. There is not as broad an understanding of TE as one might think.

Vulpine Eldrich: Have there been any common misconceptions or problems that you have in explaining it?

Charm March: Well, some people assume it is a role play. And the game itself is not easy to explain. So it takes someone just getting in there and playing it to understand.

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: That’s the challenge sometimes, just getting them to try it.

Charm March: But the relationships that are built within the kingdom are what have become really important. We will continue to spread the word, with the help of our members and hopefully we will become what we are aiming for.

Vulpine Eldrich: And what are you aiming for?

Charm March: Well, in the big picture-- I would like to have a kingdom that is a place where musicians, venue owners etc. can come to find and recruit talent. Provide support and suggestions for new musicians. Become well known as a resource for that sort of thing.

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: And have the fellowship and camaraderie of common goals.

Charm March: Or we may just hang out and enjoy music :) Who knows!

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: And a place to come have fun. We are a fun loving bunch.

Vulpine Eldrich: So I see! Do DJ's and live performers find it easy to play TE while they go about their business?

Charm March: Well, they usually don't have the hud running while they are playing. But otherwise they do. They are here a lot of time other than performing.

Vulpine Eldrich: Which is where the "hang out and have fun" part comes in, no doubt. But as you look at tomorrow's plans, does the fact that Music will be joining a list of Kingdoms with over two hundred entries in it make any difference?

Charm March: It is challenge of course. We have a lot of contacts in the music biz here. So that helps. We have a stage here, and will have shows. We will promote the Kingdom that way. It will be baby steps.

Vulpine Eldrich: And I'm sure there will be lots of those. How easy do you think it is to form a Kingdom in Tiny Empires?

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: It has not been easy so far :-) Recruiting takes a lot of time. But I think it’s about building relationships, and that takes time

Vulpine Eldrich: And will Music stay a major kingdom after your ascension? That is, is it planned to. I know some ascend with the deliberate plans of not being a major kingdom for any length of time.

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: Our plans are to stay a major kingdom. I want to be able to give the Kingdom all the benefits that a Major Kingdom can.

Vulpine Eldrich: And Charm, will you become the Grand Vicereine?

Charm March: Yes that is the plan. We also plan to share that role in the future, to help others learn the monarch duties.

Vulpine Eldrich: It sounds as if things have all been planned out. Are there any last minute butterflies or worries about anything in particular?

Charm March: Oh yeah, lol. We will be on our own !!! YIKES

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: :-)

Vulpine Eldrich: And everyone will be looking at you, Teuff, and saying "you're the monarch, what's your decision on this bit of drama-laden spat"?

Charm March: Teuff is very patient. He will be a good King. He thinks things through before he speaks. He listens well, too.

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: I have come to like the Kingdom of Home's "Drama Free" approach. It works well. I think I will adopt that policy, too.

Vulpine Eldrich: What rules are involved in that policy?

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: Take your drama to IM and solve it with the person. Respect others feelings, we are all adults here. We are here to have fun and support each other, and to encourage communication with myself or Charm to resolve problems, if necessary.

Vulpine Eldrich: Have you had to resolve many problems in your group so far?

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: Yes, a couple of times.

Vulpine Eldrich: And even after that, you're ready to take on more! But speaking of taking on more, there are more than two hundred kingdoms to compete with. There are also ten guilds in Tiny Empires 3000. How does TE3K factor into your plans and enthusiasms?

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: Yes I am ready :-) I enjoy trying to make a difference. As far as TE3K goes, I play but it will be secondary to the Kingdom of Music. I realize that more of my time will be spent with members of the kingdom but that is all good. We are trying to build something worthwhile here.

Vulpine Eldrich: Do you have a group in Tiny Empires 3000 that corresponds to the Kingdom of Music? Or is TE3K something that your group does with others, if anyone, and you aren't directly involved in it.

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: I do not. TE3K is something that I started when it came out. I am just part of a guild. I have met some great people in that guild. They have been helpful. But my main desire is to help make the Kingdom of Music a success, a place where people want to be.

Vulpine Eldrich: Do you ever find it a factor when introducing TE to new people? "Wait, there's this other version of the game..."

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: Not yet, actually I see quite a few familiar names on the 3K hud from the original game.

Vulpine Eldrich: Yes, I imagine so. But, laying aside TE3K, what sort of real life experiences do you think have helped qualify you for this project? What sort of things in your past will make you a good King (and Grand Vicereine)?

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: I’ve been a supervisor at a boat manufacturer for a number of years. My experience has been with groups of up to twenty five people.

Charm March: In RL, I have had experience working with and leading teams. I have also been a counselor. I have spent a good deal of time in problem solving as well as in project development. So I think using that experience will be most helpful. Also, my experience running a music business in SL and working with one of the major music management groups here has taught me a lot.

Vulpine Eldrich: And made a lot of contacts, no doubt. Quite impressive, I must say! So, what else is there that we need to know about the Kingdom of Music and its people?

Charm March: We will be allies with the Kingdom of Home. That bond will always be there.

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: We want to thank BackHome Soon and Lodi McMillan for their gracious support.

Vulpine Eldrich: And I'm sure you'll prove that support well-founded. Well, thanks so much for your time, and may the Kingdom of Music stay in perfect harmony!

Charm March: Yayyy

TeuffelHunde Mandelkorn: Thank you Vulpine! We appreciate your interest in our Kingdom.

The party and ascension happened precisely on schedule, with the new kingdom being formed in the middle of the party. For those of you who missed it... it was fun!

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...

Sunday, March 29, 2009

TE Upgrade

Those worried that the original TE we've all grown to know and love would cease to have development on it must have been happy to see a new version of the hud released the other day. We're told that this one is compiled in mono, which means it should run faster (and that the SL servers should be happier with it.)

It also means that if you say /1100 help, you get access to some configuration menus, as follows:

Sounds sub-menu:

Text sub-menu:

My personal favorite out of those options is the option to have a turn sound only when there's something in that month. (It should prove helpful to those of us with two huds now!)

The ability to reset back to a default (visible) position is great as well. I know that I, for one, have accidentally moved it off the screen (and once missed a Trader that way.)

Another thing that's changed is that it automatically notifies you when you're going into non-scripted (or scripted) areas. The background of the clock turns red. I'm not sure if it works better now in non-scripted areas (that would be great news if it did) because I haven't had the courage yet to try it!

Still, a nice little bonus for us all. (Oh, and for those of you playing the new game, try /3000 help)

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Allies. Who needs them?

Players who buy the TE Federation HUD notice that one of the changes in it is that it now has a tab called 'Allies' (it replaces the old 'Fellows' tab on the regular hud) The next question is, what are allies?

An ally is another TE player with whom you are "allied". To become allies, the two of you stand next to each other and wait for the offers to come up. An offer says "do you wish to ally with x?", you say yes, they get the offer, and say yes or no. It's the same basic process as changing allegiance. You both have to be Count or higher. (One word of warning: if both players are at the Prince level, the huds may get stuck on offering to let one join the other. In that case, detach and re-attach.)

So now that you've made an ally (or know that you can), why should you? What good is one?

  • If you are sabotaged, an online ally will get the chance to pay to help get your acres back. (This is often seen in the announcements as 'an investigation funded by one ally convicted the main suspect...')

  • You can transfer citizens between each other. This transfer becomes even more efficient if you build an embassy

  • If you build four embassies, you get an extra gold per acre on your land.

One note about embassies: they are expensive (roughly five times acre cost) and they take an acre of your ally's land (your ally loses an acre of personal land when you build one.) On the other hand, you start getting good offers on your land which is attributed to the embassies. And the cost of an embassy can be reduced if you buy it during a year of cheap land from the trader. That year adjusts your land price down to a third of its normal rates, and a lot of calculations- including loyalty rewards and embassy costs- go down as well.

Since you can have up to four allies, and since you get that extra gold per acre after building four embassies, people who get the federation hud are strongly encouraged to get allies as quickly as possible- preferably ones who have plenty of citizens to give them!

But when looking for an ally, you must keep in mind the fact that you can not have your liege or a direct subject as your ally. This means that when you want to make allies within your own group (a natural desire), you have to look a bit further afield. It may be your liege's liege (or a subject's subject). Or it may be another subject of your liege. When trying to track who is allied with who, and who is lieged to, the joins can quickly become an interlocked mesh of two separate webs of connections.

Since things can be so complicated, and since new Federation HUD players are encouraged to get allies soon, they often find friends outside of their immediate group- may, in fact, have to. And why not? I know that when I find that there are people in my group who have allies elsewhere, I tend to say "great, I'm glad to hear it." It's a nice way for friends who are lieged to different areas- even kingdoms- to still share a friendship within the game. It's a good way to find other people (or have your liege find other people for you!)

And, in the end, that may be the best reason to have allies: to recognize existing friendships and create new ones.

Who needs allies? Perhaps the question might be better asked, who needs friends?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Snowy Sidran Interview

Queen snowy Sidran and Vulpine Eldrich

Vulpine Eldrich: I'm here this morning in a little grassy dell, under a dark sky lightening with the first hint of dawn. This is the home of Misterioso, and Queen snowy Sidran is here, with several of her companions and subjects. Snowy, the first question I always like to ask is, what does Misterioso mean, and why choose it for your kingdom?

snowy Sidran smiles. "Misterioso is the name of one of my favorite Jazz albums, a life recording of a concert by Thelonious Monk, and has for a long time been the name of my Home... and now the Home of the monarchy. When thinking for a name, we kept coming back to it, and in the end decided to simply go for it since it also makes a very nice reference to the Bohemia Homeland we all came from."

Vulpine Eldrich: So you ascended from Bohemia, then. How long have you been playing Tiny Empires, and in Bohemia?

snowy Sidran: Yes I did. I started playing TE in November of 2007. It started out as a "let’s go see what it is" amongst a group of friends that frequented the same club here in SL. We kinda got hooked on it quickly, and suddenly I woke up one morning after about a week finding myself a princess and having no idea about how the game really worked still. That luckily changed over time ;)

snowy Sidran: We started out in Bohemia more by chance, but we liked it there and never left until last Saturday, when I ascended.

Vulpine Eldrich: That's quite a long time! Was there anything in particular that made you decide a new kingdom was right for you?

snowy Sidran: I think that is a decision that grows in time more. And in the end, there is not one real reason to do so, perhaps. For me personally, it was need for a new challenge, perhaps. Having played for that long, being on cap on both land and gold, and wanting to do more for my own down-line specifically. Yet it was a hard choice, and it took me months to decide on it. Leaving "home" and making one’s own is not as simple as it seems, at least not to me.

Vulpine Eldrich: But you felt that it was the next logical step, and so you took it. Well, it's been a week now. What new things have you learned when long-time Princess becomes fledgling Queen?

snowy Sidran chuckles. "Mostly that it takes a lot of group-editing and well, honestly, that I have a great downline that sticks up for each other and knows how to take care of themselves very well. I am mostly busy with rearranging and talking to people once more on what they personally want to achieve playing TE, and trying to make it work. And, grinz, I am having a blast finally being able to give out titles and get the gold we accumulated over time into free acres ;)"

snowy Sidran: I think an important task of every monarch is to simply welcome people. I try to talk to every new player myself and get them to feel at Home. And since we grew a lot over the last week, that has been taking some time.

Vulpine Eldrich: So has everyone decided who is going to stay with you and who stays in Bohemia? Or is that a work in progress, yet?

snowy Sidran: The group that is here now is the group that, as it looks now, will stay here. There were extended talks before ascending with a lot of them, so we had no real surprises there. The people that wanted to stay in Bohemia already moved before we ascended. Even ascending should be a group venture in my view.

Vulpine Eldrich: That almost seems obvious... do you know of others who viewed ascending solely as a personal move, and not a group one?

snowy Sidran smiles. "I tend to hope not, but I am not sure everyone took 3 months of talks and going through doubts before eventually doing so ;)"

Vulpine Eldrich: So have any doubts persisted? It sounds like the last week has been pure fun!

snowy Sidran smiles. "They have been, certainly. I think that once decided after such a long period of thinking, it does give you room to simply enjoy. Although leaving behind a lot of our friends and people we have come to love is hard, too, still."

Vulpine Eldrich: So, as you look to the future, you've obviously got your hands full right now- titles, free acres, and other benefits. What other plans do you have, or hope to have?

snowy Sidran: Mostly to keep this group together and keep enjoying it as much as we are now. To me, the benefit of a smaller group so far has been mostly that it draws out the more silent group members again and shows everyone to its rights. The group seems to be working together a lot, and new contacts are being made here at the Homeland. So I expect this to be a Monarchy of friends, and see it as my job to provide all it needs to keep it that way.

Vulpine Eldrich: So do you have any ambitions as to kingdom size or rank?

snowy Sidran: Honestly, no. I cannot say that seeing the rank go up does not make my heart jump some. But it is not what I find the most important thing at all. I’d rather see people enjoy and be happy in a small Monarchy than have a large one where people get lost and are anonymous.

Vulpine Eldrich: So if the day comes that you feel it is getting too large, what would you do then?

snowy Sidran: I am not sure really Vulpine, although I do think I have the right set of people here to even make that work. Now, I love knowing everyone myself, but I think there will be a size that will make that impossible. The fact that I have very enthusiastic "large line lieges" that are in close contact with their downline will hopefully prevent us from becoming too large to be a friends group more than a Monarchy with a distant Queen.

Vulpine Eldrich: So what sort of real life skills and assets have you found helpful in putting all of this together?

snowy Sidran chuckles. "Loving people and being able to let them be who they are....and some perfectionism and always wanting to be on top of everything myself does help, too, I guess."

Vulpine Eldrich: And which of those qualities- or would it be another- do you feel is the most important for a monarch?

snowy Sidran: The first, definitely. The latter might even backfire in the end. I can imagine there are people I will drive insane with my enthusiasm at some point.

Vulpine Eldrich: lol, has that happened, or are you merely speculating?

snowy Sidran smiles and looks around. "Well, no one has run yet, so I guess speculating and knowing your own pitfalls....and when to back off, too."

Vulpine Eldrich: Well, let's hope no one runs screaming into the wilderness! So the game's options seemed too limited for you and you became a monarch. Are there changes to the game that you think would be nice- more options or rules changes?

snowy Sidran: I think the game eventually will die if there are no better options for especially the larger Lieges to do something for their downlines or Monarchy. The Viceroy and Grand Viceroy jobs tend to help some in that, but I am not sure it will do enough to not make more and more people ascend over time, leaving a bundle of small Monarchies behind and no real large ones. I would love to see more use of the Alliances, yet to say I really have a clear idea on how to picture that, I do not.

Vulpine Eldrich: So you're predicting a thousand kingdoms with an average size of 25,000 acres?

snowy Sidran: Well, if I look at the past week with having seen eight ascensions, I wonder truly what lies ahead there.

Vulpine Eldrich: One thing that lies ahead is the new universe/game of TE3000. Granted, you've been busy in this game, but I'm sure you've not been oblivious to the news. How has it affected you and your kingdom?

snowy Sidran smiles. "I know some people have tried on the new HUD, like I did. Yet I have not heard anyone scream that they would leave Tiny Empires for it. To me, it looks like the same game, just with a different scene, and although I am all for a change of scenery (look where we are now), I doubt it will really change the current game a lot."

Vulpine Eldrich: So are you actively pursuing two games, or just letting the new one idle while you tend to the Kingdom of Misterioso?

snowy Sidran: Oh no, I am curious of mind simply, so have tried on the TE3000 trial hud to see what it was about.....and honestly deleted it after reaching the end of the trial period. I have my hands full here, and loving every minute of it.

Vulpine Eldrich: It sounds like you've definitely got a lot to live and love :) So do you have any words of wisdom for someone seeking to succeed in Tiny Empires?

snowy Sidran smiles. "Oh, geesh. Tend for people and not acres."

Vulpine Eldrich: That sounds like a formal motto! Is there anything else you'd like to add, anything that I missed which you'd like to tell everyone about?

snowy Sidran chuckles. "That everyone should be more awake on a Saturday morning trying to bribe Vulpine. Before you know it, you are finding yourself in an interview!"

snowy Sidran laughs. "No, seriously. I hope that everyone keeps enjoying the game and they will find it successful like I did, in meeting lovely people that you normally might never have."

Vulpine Eldrich: Touche, lol! And one last question... was that giant caterpillar sitting on the mushroom up there blue before or after he started smoking that hookah?

snowy Sidran chuckles. "I think he turned Blue after our GV Ernest Newman busted him monopolizing the bong again."

Vulpine Eldrich: ROFL that might explain a few things... what, I'm not sure, but obviously something. Well thanks so much for spending part of your Saturday morning with me, and best of fortune in the new Kingdom!

snowy Sidran smiles. "And thank you for being here, Vulpine, this was a nice surprise."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Blog announced

After consideration, I felt that the "New Tiny Empires" and "Old Tiny Empires" each deserved their own space.

As a result, this blog will continue to feature the same analysis, interviews, and other speculation regarding the old game that we have come to know and love.

However, for the fans of the new game, you can space out (pun intended) at the new Tiny Empires 3000 blog. It's up for your reading pleasure at

Brand new game, brand new adventure, that's what you find in the new blog.

Traditional game, traditional format, same commitment to quality, that's what you should still find here!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Dreams Revealed: Tiny Empires 3000

Today has been total chaos as another realm opens in the universe of Tiny Empires. Chronological shockwaves have launched players from the medieval to the far future of the year 3000. As Tiny Empires in the year 3000 opens, the instructions look much the same as the past. The basic game mechanics shift as follows:

Tiny EmpiresTiny Empires 3000
KingdomTrade Guild

There are still plenty of unanswered questions... for one, what is this thing about "colonies"?

The other big question that everyone keeps asking is, what are the ranks, and how much do we need to get them? The answers that have been given so far (and this will be subject to correction!) are:

Number of ShipsRank
2 - 9Runner
10 - 19Courier
20 - 49Merchant
50 - 99Trader
100 - 499Trade baron
500 - 999Broker
1000 +Mogul

Other Miscellaneous Notes:

  • First glance says that it is going to be harder to change loyalties in TE3k than in TE. (more credits to switch, not earning them as quickly, perhaps other requirements?)

  • The trial TE3K hud stops at 20 ships (not 10 acres)

  • The full hud costs 999L

  • Ulralite is a Chancellor now. Will that be the new King rank?


Full speed ahead, Pilot!

Reposted on the Tiny Empires 3000 blog

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Strange Dreams

Troubled nights have come to the Terra Aurean Empire. Inhabitants from the lowliest wanderer (with a Trial Hud) to the highest monarch have restless sleep, punctuated by strange dreams.

It all started on Friday March 6th... in the morning, and again that evening, the following message appeared:

On Saturday, again once in the morning and then that evening, another message appeared:

This morning, Sunday the 8th, the third message appeared. It read:

You awaken this morning from yet another unusual dream. You were harnessed in a strange sort of carriage that was moving quickly. Through the windows you saw no sky or land, only darkness. But you weren't afraid.

So what does it mean? When I was asked that, I stated the obvious "the Emperor is up to something. Outside of that, I have no idea." But speculation is flowing freely, some carrying signs of 'The End Is Near', others saying 'the sky is falling', others saying 'There will be a great pruning!' (quick, record your standings page before it all disappears....)

Ideas? Speculation? I'll try to keep this post updated with new messages as they appear- feel free to add them into the comments!

Interesting times, indeed...

Fourth Dream, March 9th

Another strang dream rousts you from bed this morning, You were flying like an owl, through a desolate, gray valley. The sky was dark. You felt like you were on a quest or mission, but you woke before you could land.

Angel Cordoso Interview

Vulpine Eldrich and King Angel Cordoso

Angel Cordoso: Greetings Vulpine, and welcome to Amber castle :)

Vulpine Eldrich: Thank you for having me!

Angel Cordoso: Have a seat :)

Vulpine Eldrich: Oh, thanks again. So, to our readers, I'm in a gray stone castle, sitting in a dark red couch, next to a very handsome and muscular King... the King of Amber. If I might start my questions, why the name of Amber? What does it mean to you and the others in your kingdom?

Angel Cordoso: The name Amber comes from a fantasy series written by Roger Zelazny, which I find is very relevant to Second Life. In the series, Amber is the 'real world', and all other worlds (like our Earth) are 'shadows' of Amber. The Princes and Princesses of Amber 'walk through shadow', manipulating reality as they go, very much like Second Life itself! In addition, it is also just a nice name. I wanted something simple and pretty.

Vulpine Eldrich: And you definitely chose one. So who from the series is your role model, as King of Amber?

Angel Cordoso: Actually, they are all fairly dreadful individuals :) They are in some sense my counter-role models, as they are solely interested in power at any cost. The main character, Corwin, is slightly better than the rest but not much ... it was more the concept of the place that I liked.

Vulpine Eldrich: So what sort of positive traits and role models do you follow as King?

Angel Cordoso: I have ideals for how to act. My first principal is that I believe diplomacy is the key to solving all problems. It doesn't always work, but it is always worth it to try to get people to fix their problems through mutual understanding.

Vulpine Eldrich: Has that failed for you, and if so, how did you handle it then?

Angel Cordoso: No it doesn't always work. Sometimes people just aren't getting along and there is nothing to be done about it. I don't banish in my Kingdom, so in the past, techniques I've used have included spending my vacation time trying to amicably split a line into two, and when absolutely necessary, pruning people who just can't play nicely in the Kingdom.

Vulpine Eldrich: Always a painful job, I'm sure. And what other principals have you followed?

Angel Cordoso: My second principal is to try to be as honest and straightforward as possible. I have found that many of the so-called 'dramas' in the game happen when people got caught in lies or underhanded deals.

Vulpine Eldrich: So how do you find new people for Amber? What sort of personality, or place, or thing, do you use as a guide?

Angel Cordoso: At this point, I don't actively recruit as much as manage who is around. That said, a lot of people have heard of Amber, or have been in Amber at some point, and I get more than the occasional IM asking if I'd be interested in having a line in my kingdom. At that point, depending on the size of the line, the requirements, the personalities, etc., I'll work with my directs to find the person a proper home. I used to be more 'they are acres, just take them', but now I am much more interested in getting to know the people a little better first to get an idea of whether they'd be a good fit or not.

Vulpine Eldrich: Why the change in attitude?

Angel Cordoso: Short term gains in acres at any cost invariably cause big troubles later on. Too many conflicting personalities can only co-exist for so long before you get some sort of breakdown.

Vulpine Eldrich: That sounds like the voice of experience to me. Speaking of experience, how did you get started in Tiny Empires?

Angel Cordoso: Ah, the way most people who get highly obsessed do, I think. :) My girlfriend at the time mentioned it to me in passing one day, and I expressed an interest. I instantly got addicted to it and have been playing ever since, even if at perhaps a less fevered pitch. I got my HUD February 18th of last year, so it has been a year and 10 days now.

Vulpine Eldrich: And how long did it take for you to decide you wanted to be a King?

Angel Cordoso: Not for several months. I initially wanted to support my liege and my liege's liege; I had no intention of ascending. Eventually circumstances changed and I thought I'd give it a shot myself. I ascended on the 28th of July of last year.

Vulpine Eldrich: What in particular happened to change your mind, and when you did, did you have enough to ascend immediately, or did you have to work at it?

Angel Cordoso: When I changed my mind, I don't remember if I had enough to ascend or not, but in any case I wanted to make sure I ascended with more than the bare minimum. I ascended with 37,000 acres, which was #35 at the time (there were half as many kingdoms then, of course). I think it was a gradual progress, and I had some dissatisfaction with Kingdom at the time, and no one else was ascending, so I figured it would have to be me!

Vulpine Eldrich: So did you have a group of people- friends- under you who were encouraging you to ascend?

Angel Cordoso: I did yes, a couple in particular, that were very supportive. Also, when I made my plans public, it turned out that most of the people under me were loyal and wanted to come along. We made a stop on the way to becoming Amber in Devonshire for 3 weeks, and in that time there was very little movement away. It was very rewarding to see that people were really excited about this new Kingdom.

Vulpine Eldrich: I can imagine! So you ascended, became King, and found out by experience what it was all about. Did you have any particular real life or second life talents, skills, or experience that proved useful?

Angel Cordoso: I think my strongest suits are diplomacy and an even temper. I try to understand all sides of a story when there is a conflict, and to try to resolve it as best I can that way. I also try to show my appreciation as much as possible without being an acre slave driver. These are things I try to bring from how I am in RL into the game. Aside from that, I am not royalty in RL, nor even a politician!

Vulpine Eldrich: Yes, I did notice your commitment to honesty earlier... but be that as it may. I assume this Palace we're in is Amber's central meeting point in Second Life? What sort of facilities do you have for subjects in Amber?

Angel Cordoso: Anyone is welcome to come here at any time, although this location is still fairly new. There is a Greedy table upstairs, and the Sim is free for exploration. Most of the services I provide are virtual, though - I put together an Amber Business Directory, for advertising SL builders/clubs/shops/etc., and am about to put together a RL directory for people looking for RL jobs in these hard economic times. Also, I've created a Helper that you can wear that provides answers to riddles and a welcome pack, amongst other things.

Vulpine Eldrich: An impressive list! How busy does all of this keep you? How many hours a week go into managing Amber, in one form or another?

Angel Cordoso: Many! Most of the time I am online, I am doing something related to Amber, even if I am no longer actively recruiting. Warning to anyone wanting to ascend: being a Monarch is a full-time job (on top of your other full time jobs...) So yes, it is a busy schedule of several hours a day doing something Amber-related, most days of the week.

Vulpine Eldrich: A good warning! Have you ever found yourself wishing you could relinquish the responsibilities and go back to being a Prince?

Angel Cordoso: Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably lying :) Yes, but then I think of all the people I would disappoint if I did (although I'd probably make a lot of other people very happy! But I am not as interested in pleasing them.) Also, there is still a lot of fun to be had, so I should be around for a bit longer I'd say!

Vulpine Eldrich: Are there any particular plans in your TE and Amber's future, besides keeping things going and active?

Angel Cordoso: Well, getting back in the top 10 would be nice. It means absolutely nothing, but it's a nice goal to have. We are at #11 right now, which is a great place to be because it keeps the excitement level high and gives a great goal to achieve. But other than that, just keep on playing is all that's on the agenda :)

Vulpine Eldrich: And playing usually means having fun, which I suspect is also on the agenda! What about game development in general- any new features or changes that you'd like to see in the rules?

Angel Cordoso: One thing I'd like to see is a way to have proper treaties between Kingdoms. Many kingdoms have no bribe/no sabo treaties with other Kingdoms, but there's no way to enforce them and they cause drama when some subject breaks the treaty, willingly or by accident. It would be nice if you could have a set number of Kingdoms where their names wouldn’t show up for bribes or sabotage, similar to the way that you can't bribe in-Kingdom any more.

Vulpine Eldrich: So more ways and options to form inter-kingdom alliances.

Angel Cordoso: Yes, exactly. From there you can imagine interesting concepts of merging Kingdoms and such, but I'd be happy with that to start.

Vulpine Eldrich: A good idea, and it could open a new level of play. But before getting to the lofty peak of monarch options, you have to start at the bottom. What would your first piece of advice be to someone just starting Tiny Empires- or maybe just considering whether or not they should?

Angel Cordoso: Well, first thing is to get your friends playing early on. Getting subjects early is a real key to becoming a good player.

Angel Cordoso: Once you have your base, go out and hit the friends list! You never know who is out there. But very important - let people know exactly what the game is about. Otherwise, you are just going to get a lot of 7 acre subjects that aren't going to play anyway. So yes, tell everyone about it, but be upfront and clear too, about just what you are getting them into :)

Vulpine Eldrich: A very good idea! Well, I suppose that's most of the questions I wanted to ask. Was there anything else that I missed that you think needs to be added?

Angel Cordoso: No, you were very thorough I think ... it was a pleasure meeting you and I hope you got a good feel of what Amber is about!

Vulpine Eldrich: Thank you... one more question, though perhaps it's slightly personal... am I imagining it, or are your eyes truly colored Amber?

Angel Cordoso: They are indeed, and it is on purpose :)

Vulpine Eldrich: Very good indeed! Well thank you so much for your time, and have a great evening :)

Angel Cordoso: You too

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lazarus Rang Interview

On Sunday February 22nd, I had a chance to talk with King Lazarus Rang about his then brand-new kingdom. As you can see, the story was on-going even as we talked, and much has happened since this interview. But this is what was happening then...

King Lazarus Rang and Vulpine Eldrich

Vulpine Eldrich: Hello, everyone! I'm here today with Lazarus Rang, King of the Kingdom of White Light. Thank you, Lazarus, for inviting me into your most spacious and impressive log home. I take it this is the center of your kingdom?

Lazarus Rang: Aye, here and our Garden.

Vulpine Eldrich: So tell me about how a Kingdom gets the name of White Light, and what sort of Garden does it take to host such a kingdom?

Lazarus Rang: I can show you our Garden if you like. It is adjacent to the "Log Palace"

Lazarus Rang: Come, and I will tell you the tale.

We left the house and walked into the garden...

Lazarus Rang: This is our Garden we are working on as our Public area. My dear old friend Luna McMillan made this tree & swing system for me.

Vulpine Eldrich: I see an impressive building of marble. It seems to glow with... white light?

Lazarus Rang: Our bath gazebo (still a work in progress.)

Lazarus Rang: I rezzed March 1, 2007, and worked to learn building my first three weeks in SL. I’ve never stopped since.

Vulpine Eldrich: But eventually you began building more than bath houses and began building a kingdom in Tiny Empires. How did that come about?

Lazarus Rang: I met my partner Aurora Llewellyn September 7, 2007 and she really is the pivot in most of my story here, including TE. We were not together as partners for the first five months, but friends. I was married in SL, and it broke up. I needed a distraction while the hurt healed.

Lazarus Rang: A lady I was dating introduced me to TE, but it lasted much longer than that relationship. Aurora joined me very early on in TE, one my first three subjects. We built our relationship while we played, but TE was never our focus.

Vulpine Eldrich: So you played Tiny Empires as more of a sideline, while you pursued other interests?

Lazarus Rang: I moved VERY quickly in TE. I joined under Egypt, and made Prince in 10 days, but it was a sideline. I owned and ran a club & rental area called Lovers Hideaway.

Vulpine Eldrich: So you were a Prince in TE, almost by accident, but mostly a club owner. But eventually, you became King. What changed?

Lazarus Rang: Time changed. The club was never successful, so after a year I gave up. RL finances determined that I needed to sell the land. This is where the story gets personal but bears heavily on what happened.

Lazarus Rang: Aurora had a RL stroke while we were online last spring. When she recovered, I asked her to partner and marry. We lived our life at an accelerated pace, not knowing if any day would be our last together. We wanted to have SL babes as well.

Lazarus Rang: In RL, she is my best friend, and I wanted her to have the best experiences possible. I promised I would make her my Queen in every way, but her health declined soon after we married May, 30, 2008, and her laptop broke. I ended up with a lot of time alone, so TE became my focus. I followed my liege, Lodi McMillan thru several kingdoms as we grew.

Vulpine Eldrich: You were still a Prince, then?

Lazarus Rang: Oh, yes, I never fell below Prince since the day I made it. In Aurora's absence a young woman joined us, as a submissive, but eventually it evolved. Aurora became healthier and returned, so she asked us to be in a poly-marriage. It seemed wonderful, we really grew and were popular in our Kingdom of that time.

Vulpine Eldrich: Which kingdom was this?

Lazarus Rang: Home, under King BackHome Soon. He was best man when Aurora & I married, and is still a good friend.

Vulpine Eldrich: So you were at Home, with Aurora and your other wife. What happened next?

Lazarus Rang: This young woman was a drama magnet. She was with someone else a week after the marriage, and it turned very ugly in 2 weeks. I posted something she said in group chat out of anger, and to keep order BackHome sent me to TE prison.

Lazarus Rang: I accepted it as a price for my foolishness. Several people IM'ed me in prison LOL. One sent a cake with a file in it.

Vulpine Eldrich: I trust you didn't break a tooth on it.

Lazarus Rang: After I was out, I met the person. It turned out she was a daughter of King Angel Cordoso of Amber. She and her sister befriended me and Aurora.

Lazarus Rang: Then Aurora's health declined again. In real life, she has Lupus, and it is getting worse, life threatening. I have not had a week with my SL wife since the 1st week of November.

Lazarus Rang: The second sister in Amber was dumped by her partner, and you can see where the story is going... Two lonely, high ranking people in TE. We bonded, and I was at a point I felt I was a liability to Home after my outburst.

Lazarus Rang: I had a princess there move under me, cause a big drama, then when I warned her that BackHome was considering banishing her if she did not stop, she left me while BackHome and his Queen Lodi were trying to set up my ascension.

Vulpine Eldrich: So you had less than twenty thousand in total acres then?

Lazarus Rang: I had 25,000 acres, but I felt trapped. 5000 said they would return Home if I left. I had about 200 people under me.

Lazarus Rang: Bunny (the princess from Amber- I use her name only to keep it all straight) offered to liege under Aurora if I moved to Amber. I agreed only if King Angel and King Backhome formed an alliance to protect both kingdoms. So I moved, Bunny lieged, and my other 5000 acres moved home.

Lazarus Rang: Bunny had over 50k acres. We were half of Amber. Things were good until a month ago.

Lazarus Rang: I seem to attract people with serious health issues. Bunny found she has terminal cancer. A week later she was pushing a relationship between me and her SL sister, now our wife, Sekmet. She pulled further and further away, began to act strangely.

Lazarus Rang: At first she lived with us, then three days later she left. Then she removed most contact, but called me her best friend. A week ago, she entered a two day fishing contest at Wicked World, where she and Sekmet work.

Lazarus Rang: Anyhow, during the last week, Bunny's actions have rocked and nearly destroyed a kingdom and it came down to this. We had a malcontent that was asked to leave Amber named DeathRitual that she was talking to. He is a very nasty, foul-mouthed young man with serious hatred to the world.

Lazarus Rang: Also, just after she found she was sick, she made me promise to protect her downline and friends.

Vulpine Eldrich: Protect them from what?

Lazarus Rang: I was to care for them and keep them from being broken up or raided. We were going to ascend later, after we hit 100K and made Amber #1. At the time, we had 88,000 acres, 66,000 under Bunny.

Lazarus Rang: Last Sunday night, she had lieged DeathRitual under her, and made a bet on the fishing tourney that if she won he would stay and never ascend. If she lost, she would let him reliege and move under him. She lost. I did not know until after the bet was made.

Vulpine Eldrich: When and how did you find out?

Lazarus Rang: I found out Monday morning when Bunny told me she was ahead by 100 points. I was not happy at all. I did not like or trust this person. Neither did the upper levels of Amber, he was infamous for drama.

Vulpine Eldrich: I can imagine. So, if I understand this correctly, first you swear to protect the line from being raided or stolen, then she puts them all on the line with a fishing bet, which she then loses.

Lazarus Rang: Yes.

Vulpine Eldrich: What did you do then?

Lazarus Rang: Tuesday she was crying, needing hugs. Tuesday night and Wednesday, Death was taunting me in open chat and IM. I went to a couple of her major downline and told them that they did not have to leave Amber if she went to him. I refused to take him under me, and Aurora was not on to put him under her. (Bunny was Aurora’s only subject.)

Lazarus Rang: Thursday morning Death was no longer in Amber.

Vulpine Eldrich: Did he leave voluntarily?

Lazarus Rang: No, he was ejected from the group by the GV's request, and left.

Lazarus Rang: In the meantime, one of the downline told Bunny I said they did not have to follow. She became enraged, sent me a very nasty IM, and left Aurora. I started seeing my alts and their lines stripped, and as Viceroy I could not ascend.

Lazarus Rang: I had to leave Amber to restart my HUD as King Angel was in UK time, and I was in US EST. I made an angry outburst in group chat that Bunny had broken her Promise to Aurora, and was ejected from the group Thursday night… from the group, but still in the Kingdom.

Lazarus Rang: I lieged to a friend, Queen Angella Chesnokv in Tintagel, long enough to get my path restarted. Bunny was ripping me up all night Thursday. By 10 AM Friday, I still had 21,500 acres and 1.2 billion in gold when the path went live again. I pushed the button while I still could.

Lazarus Rang: I had no Kingdom name, no base, no plan, except to save the work of the people that stayed with me. Sekmet and I worked all night Friday to get our alts back, only to see Bunny strip all she could. We fell back to 18,500 acres, from 88,000 a day earlier. I never felt so betrayed in TE.

Lazarus Rang: I talked to Angel for 45 minutes before RL work Friday, only to hear that "Bunny was family." He did not intervene as a Monarch, so I had no reservation ascending.

Vulpine Eldrich: So there are about a hundred people and seventy thousand acres... where?

Lazarus Rang: More like 300 people, and 100 left on me. I’m now down to about 70, but they are people with me since last summer who wanted me to ascend anyhow.

Lazarus Rang: The story continues to this minute. I am getting a constant feed today of IM from conversations of people from Bunny's line.

Vulpine Eldrich: And the others are under Bunny, who is under Death, in another kingdom?

Lazarus Rang: Death went to the kingdom of Darkness ... he is so goth. Bunny left Amber and went under him around 1 AM last night. Amber dropped eight places in rank. People telephoned me to tell me.

Vulpine Eldrich: And when asked the name of your Kingdom, you told Ultralite... the Kingdom of White Light.

Lazarus Rang: Hello darling

Sekmet Karu: Hi hun. Hi Vulpine.

Lazarus Rang: Vulpine, my concubine wife, Sekmet Karu

Vulpine Eldrich: Hello there! Lazarus was telling me of the ongoing drama within the kingdoms. I understand you are both having a very adventuresome time right now.

Sekmet Karu: Yes, it is adventuresome, but very sad too.

Lazarus Rang: White Light was not our first choice for a name. We submitted, in all seriousness, Ayekwitte. ("I QUIT TE")

Sekmet Karu: It was not acceptable.

Lazarus Rang: It was not allowed, the Emperor said it was a joke. We had a pretty curt first IM. I called him a pompous ass. I am less diplomatic as stress increases.

Vulpine Eldrich: And stress levels have been quite high lately, I'm sure.

Sekmet Karu: Trying to save friendships is the hardest.

Lazarus Rang: I met with Sekmet and my other main Princess, Shayri Nightfire, Friday afternoon, trying to find a name. White Light was a compromise. I wanted something to reflect Aurora. In all this, she is the heart of this kingdom, even when absent.

Sekmet Karu: Yes, I suggested it and voted against the name.

Lazarus Rang: LOL She did. But it is to reflect elements of hope and goodness. White light in most beliefs and religions is an embodiment of goodness and blessing. It holds all colors, all warmth, and it banishes darkness. Without hope, we would quit. It still hurts… the SL and even RL friendships lost on the way.

Sekmet Karu: On that note hun, I have to go to my meeting.

Lazarus Rang: Love you, hon. I will be here, whatever happens in work.

Sekhmet left us at this point

Lazarus Rang: We worry for Sekmet's work. Bunny is a manager at Wicked World. Their friendship is badly wounded. TE may not be meant to, but it seems to bring out the aggressive worst in people. I try to keep my people out of it.

Vulpine Eldrich: So you're now assembling a kingdom from the ashes, so to speak. A group of people who can come together as friends out of all of the mess?

Lazarus Rang: Yes. Let me read our charter:

Lazarus Rang: The Tiny Empires Kingdom of White Light is a kingdom to come to when you are tired of the BS and betrayal and backstabbing of the other kingdoms. We are the inactive's retirement home of TE. You park here, save your acres, and go play SL the way it was supposed to be before you got addicted to TE. No SABO, NO DRAMA, NO ROBBING YOUR FRIENDS. And we are small enough the Trader comes often. Actively seeking Viceroys and Vicereines to help keep people rewarded.

Lazarus Rang: woo hoo!

Lazarus Rang: [21:48] Shayri Nightfire: woot laz i just got a duchess! with 466 acres! let the titles flow baby wooooo!

Vulpine Eldrich: Yes, you're a major kingdom now. The Kingdom of White Light is ranked number 101 on a map showing 101 major kingdoms.

Lazarus Rang: THAT is my kind of drama!

Vulpine Eldrich: So, if your kind of drama continues, what will happen to the Kingdom of White Light in the months to come?

Lazarus Rang: We will be the retirement home of TE players tired of the BS and drama.

Vulpine Eldrich: Will they still be active? In your vision of them, that is.

Lazarus Rang: A place people can park the acres they work hard for and go live a Second Life without worry of it being taken away by a bad relationship break up or angry decision in the night ..... or a stupid, un-well-thought-out bet on a game.

Lazarus Rang: The hundreds of hours people put into TE is not a chip in a casino. I would not be willing to give it up in RL, I will not in SL. Time is the one thing we cannot replace.

Lazarus Rang: Vulpine, I love my SL partner more than my estranged wife. I am so afraid of losing her and wasting the time we have left on TE and petty BS in SL. I am leaving in a week to do a 4000 mile road trip to see her and meet her family.

Lazarus Rang: People matter, not faux acres or virtual gold or rank or kingdom names. We in TE need to stop losing that perspective. People get hurt in SL.

Lazarus Rang: December 17, 2007, the night my first SL wife ended our marriage for another woman, I had a minor RL heart attack. There are people behind the screens and keys. Actions here seem less considered and more callous many times, behind avatars.

Lazarus Rang: Then there are some of the best people you ever meet, too. TE is supposed to be a game to promote friendship and network, but somehow it grows increasingly twisted. Many Monarchs are sharing that with each other. How we stop it, I do not know.

Lazarus Rang: I took my own path. I fully expect to be attacked, sabotaged, and harassed for a while by those upset over the last few weeks. But a wise mantra: This too shall pass.

Lazarus Rang: That is my story.

Vulpine Eldrich: Indeed, it shall. Wow. There's not much more to say after that. Thanks for sharing with us.

Lazarus Rang: I will answer more questions if you think of any, just much more briefly, LOL.

Vulpine Eldrich: lol, usually, I ask about experiences as a monarch, and kingdom identity, but you've pretty much answered those. As for history of the kingdom, that's obviously still in the making, and you've outlined your hopes for it.

Vulpine Eldrich: If I had anything to add, or ask, I suppose it would be, after what you've been through, would you recommend Tiny Empires as a game to someone who never played it, and what would you tell them about it, briefly?

Lazarus Rang: To someone starting out, I would say, try TE, but if it gives you sadness, stress, or effects a friendship, take off the HUD a week and think about what is important before you wear it. A kingdom is not worth one lost friend.

Vulpine Eldrich: Spoken with the voice of true experience. Thank you for your time, and best of luck to the Kingdom of White Light.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Gone Fishing!

A couple of days ago, I finally got around to doing something that I'd been putting off for some time. I contacted a friend of mine (and a subject in TE) and asked her if she could get me started in 7 Seas fishing. She could, and gladly did. Before long, I had my rod, and dipped it into her chocolate waters to catch my first fish (a blue five-eyed mutant fish...)

Since then, I've been practicing it almost constantly. Tonight, I caught Moby Dick. And unless you think that's just a fish story, I've got the picture to prove it:

That's Moby in the middle. He got an interesting looking Captain's hat from somewhere....

You can wear your fish, and they circle you. Touching them gives you options of what they can do. There's even a game within the game, in which you can catch salvage items and blueprints to make gadgets to help you fish. The picture above shows my Oceanography Database, as it sits and records all of my catches. Then, too, there's the clothing. The gold fishing hat was a gift from a friend, though I've caught plenty of other clothing...including worm and hook earrings. (You might be a redneck if...)

So, at this point, you might be wondering what all of this has to do with Tiny Empires. The answer lies in another question: what sort of person makes a good Tiny Empires player? One quick response is that it's the type of person who can get a lot of people to follow them, and keep them. Another response might be that it's the type of person who can run a hundred alts at once.

While both of those answers have their own points, I think another large part of the answer lies in the pastimes people enjoy. Perceptive readers will note that, on several occasions, I have asked monarchs if they offer fishing at their Kingdom's gathering centers. Quite often, they do.

One of the things that is said about Tiny Empires is that "you can just put the HUD on and play the game while you do other things." But WHAT other things? Granted, it's not likely to take your full attention- with action once every three minutes, that can usually be decided upon in a matter of seconds, it's not something that will demand every mental and physical resource you can bring to bear. But at the same time, you need to be in a scripts-enabled area, and- particularly if you have the Fed hud- you have to be able to devote some attention to it once every three minutes.

Shopping can be seriously impeded by this. As long as the shopping area allows scripts and it's not too laggy, you're fine. Otherwise, you either have to give up the shop, or give up TE. (Well, at least for a little bit.)

Building runs into two problems. One, a good builder is often going to be so absorbed in what they're doing that they forget the TE Hud... which can lead to disasters (literally). Two, if you are in edit mode, clicking the hud to make your turn decisions just puts the hud in edit mode- not what you want.

But there are some other activities that one can engage in, and I can think of three notable ones:

  1. Dancing

  2. Fishing

  3. Camping

All three of these activities demand that a person be present at one place for an extended period of time, and that they won't be doing anything else that requires a lot of attention. If one usually engages in couples dancing, this can be even better- you can pass land. If you're fishing, your fishing partner sitting beside you can get (or give) the land. If you're camping, this usually tends to be more of a solo project- but I've had a subject tell me, quite bluntly, that Tiny Empires helps keep her from going insane with boredom while she camps.

Which leads to the conclusion that a person who is patient, persistent, considerate, and who is able and willing to spend lots of time for rewards that come later is likely to succeed in Tiny Empires. Being a King or Queen often requires that social personality that gathers a huge crowd, but if you just want to be a Prince or Princess, and you're willing to work at it, then you may likely be the type to enjoy doing just a little something else while the TE Hud ticks away.

Oh, I heard the bird call, that means I need to start casting again. Here fishy, fishy, fishy...

(p.s. Look for the barrel above by our barn in the southeast corner of Caledon Cay... it has free fish in it for anyone who wants some.)