With the very first event for the newly opened Test of Festivals having just hit calendars with a Festival for Isis scheduled for early October, it seemed like a good time to talk Festivals. The Daily Scarab sat down over a cup of ambrosia with Peacefulness, a Sage of Worship and elder in Festivals Guild, to discuss this complex group test and what goes into it.
TDS: So what is Test of Festivals?
Peacefulness: For Festivals, our main goal is to please seven Egyptian gods and goddesses. Each has its own favorite items. To prepare for the test, two players perform a specific ritual at a common altar, and receive instructions about what that god requires from them. When it is time for the festival, each player follows their instructions to satisfy that particular god. When a large number of players (or at least three) please a god in a short timeframe (within an hour of one another) they all make progress in the test.
TDS: To anyone who hasn’t explored it or just looked at the test requirements, it seems difficult, complicated and like it will take forever. What are the positives and what do you enjoy about it?
Peacefulness: The Test of Festivals, in my opinion, is the ultimate cooperative test. I love the fact that it provides complex goals for experienced players. It IS complicated, and it does take the extended efforts of many people and guilds to provide the perfumes, aromatic honeys, dyed silk ribbons, beers, wines, spirits and flowers needed to please each god.
TDS: Roses! It seemed like for weeks all we heard about was roses this, Xenobotany that, Tech this, fertilize that. What is so important about roses for Festivals?
Peacefulness: Like many tests, in order to demonstrate that Egypt was ready, we had to gather together a bit of everything needed for the test. A 3x giant Rose of Ra happened to be the final item needed to open the test of festivals. Many thanks to Ariella for her hard work and persistent posts to Egypt Today! We Egyptians need a lot of reminders to keep working toward big goals.
TDS: What is the role of the Festivals Guild and what do people need to do to take part?
Peacefulness: Festivals Guild is one of several guilds whose goal is to coordinate this test and provide the materials and encouragement needed to enable players to succeed at the Test of Festivals. The test also encourages players to gather in one place at a scheduled time and is an excellent opportunity to collect signatures and trade acro moves. It gets us out of our home camps and reminds us that this is a social game!
To participate in the Test of Festivals, a player needs to be at least level 9 and have completed the Worship Initiation. All players are encouraged to join the Festivals Guild. The guild hall is in River Plains 1373, 2942, across the road from zFree. Membership is open: the approval of an elder is not required to join, and you can start chatting with guild members right away.
This week the Daily Scarab interviewed Smurf, who is known for his glass products and is frequently seen on Egypt Today promoting various civic projects run by the SeedQuests guild. We sat down over a hookah to talk about herbs, aqueducts and the efforts to grow them both.
TDS: How long have you been playing and do you remember how you first came to play ATITD?
Smurf: I first started in Tale 1 when my brother showed me the game. We settled way out in the middle of the desert and immediately regretted it after having to walk 2 hours to get to schools. I returned for part of Tale 2 only to walk away again; the game was fun but I was so lost in it. I returned yet again a third time at the beginning of Tale 3 and discovered the wonders of having a mentor and a welcoming guild and quickly became engrossed. I wanted to learn everything about ATITD and played through Tale 3 and the first part of Tale 4. Now I have returned to Tale 7 with my fiancé and I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon.
TDS: You’re heavily involved in SeedQuests. Can you explain what that is and why you’re so interested in the propagation of seeds?
Smurf: SeedQuests is a guild dedicated to finding new herbing spots. Anyone with foraging can grow herbs they have the seeds for, just like we all grow vegetables, but herbs can only be grown in specific spots. A herb spot will only grow all of one group of herbs, and herbs are grouped by their foragaing method. So a spot will only grow the “Scrape the leaf hairs…” herbs or grow the “Harvest the Root Pith…” herbs, but it will grow all of them.
We find those spots and then bring aqueducts to them to make them viable.
Herbs are such a big part of Egypt for so many things like research, cooking, incense and spirits. The hard part is finding those really rare herbs; some you only have a 1/2028 chance to find and you still may only get 1 deben when you do finally find it. But with even a single seed, in a seed spot you can grow 7 more of these herbs. SeedQuests’ last project unlocked the ability to grow all of the “Scrape away the leaf hair” herbs, which allowed us to grow the very rare King’s Coin that is relied on in cooking and is needed to research Molecular Balance.
TDS: SeedQuests has discovered an area of Egypt with three adjoining seed spots that will support the growing of three of these groups of herbs with just one aqueduct pump, and that is exceedingly rare. Can you talk about the project you’ve formed around this discovery?
Smurf: So far in testing the land for herb plots we have only found three locations that are like this, and this one is the only one of those that has herb spots for three foraging methods we don’t have unlocked yet. This spot will allow us to grow Harvest the root pith, Peel back the stem base and Snip the leaf stems herbs, which we cannot currently grow. The SeedQuest aqueduct project is about reaching these herb spots and making them viable for all of Egypt to grow herbs.
TDS: So what’s in it for the average Egyptian and how can they donate, help or assist this project?
Smurf: The ability to help more with research, to cook better recipes, to give a use to those herb seeds that are rotting in your chests. We need donations of common herb seeds of all 12 harvesting methods. We use the common seeds to look for new spots to build new towers and pumps. And just like our last project, we are donating the towers to those who need the Test of Life principle; people just need to contact me. Currently the main thing holding us back is gravel; we are in great need of about 15k-20k more gravel for the new aqueduct.
The SeedQuests guild hall and donation warehouses are located right by the Chariot Stop in Seven Lakes 1378, -1203.
This week, the Daily Scarab interviews Yendor, known to many as “the paint guy.” We chatted with Yendor not about paint, but instead about his role as an Elder in the large Guild ZFree, large-scale project organisation, and the chaos of an early Tale.
TDS: How long have you been playing and do you remember how you came to first play ATITD?
Yendor: I started playing in late T2, and ended up at the Red Sea Refuge. I was extremely fortunate to have FaceAnkh and Esme as mentors. I played the last bit of T2, all of T3, and then returned in T6. I returned as soon as I learned that Pluribus had bought the game from Teppy, which was about six months after the deal was complete.
TDS: You are an Oracle of Architecture in T7 your profile notes you’ve achieved that in previous Tales, too. You led the Architecture monument in T3, which is a massive commitment. What is it that you find appealing about this discipline?
Yendor: Architecture is one with very specific goals. I don’t have to wonder about what type of relic I will dig up, or the possibility of players voting me out – complete the task to earn a pass! I also like coordinating regional projects so things like Test of Life appeal to me. Even the competitive tests like Obelisk are straightforward competition with minimal backstabby betrayals.
TDS: What are your favourite tests from other disciplines? And what aspects of ATITD do you enjoy most?
Yendor: I also like Worship tests. I have a lot of admiration for the people who organize the Festival events, and its fun getting a ritual correct.
As far as what I like about ATITD the most? Suppose I teach someone how to pass the Test of Octect’s Ghost. So they know about, for example, how to mine silver, how to make glass rods, how to prospect marble, good methods to trade for crystals, all that good stuff.
My favorite part of ATITD? The test of Safari is completely different and has nothing in common with those. And Messenger is completely different from either of those. ATITD has a wider variety of things to do than any other MMORPG I’ve played. And it needs player knowledge and skill, not just grinding out mashing buttons.
TDS: You’re an elder in zFree in RP. For those of us who joined later, how are large Guilds like zFree organised at the beginning of a tale?
Yendor: The beginning of the tale is a busy time for everyone, but it poses a special challenge to zFree because we have so many players. We need to, for example, make sure our glass-making compound is separated from the flax-growing fields so they don’t pollute them (for a single player, it’s not that bad to do glass-works for a day, herbing for a day, then come back to do flax after the pollution dies down. That doesn’t work if you have people doing all of the above all the time). So we need a *big* space for all of our buildings, access to pretty much every resource in the game, and an organized plan from day 1 about, for example, where we will put the metal tanks several months before they can be built.
Both Ruby and I had the full-tale prepaid package; that allowed us to log in early. We were a bit surprised that the map had changed so much between the beta test and live, and even worse, our old camp site had been nuked so badly the damage was visible on the minimap (check out the fuzz west of RP’s UArt — those are random sand clumps dropped in the middle of our old camp). So we frantically ran around looking for a spot with clay and silt, and flat spaces to grow flax, but also sand where we could put a glass compound, and it needed to be near the Nile for papyrus, and near a CS or expedition site for ease of travel, and an altar for Festivals, and…) We finally found a good spot just as our hour head start was out of time and the one-year prepays started logging on. So we spent the next few hours building compounds just to claim space and mark territory.
Once Ruby and I had the site picked out, actually building the guild was very expensive, but all of the zFree elders came together and it was a big group effort. We had to decide how large to become and how quickly to grow. We started at 21 people so Ruby could unlock the Leadership discipline. Then we spent an entire day making bricks and boards (remember: this is on wood planes and flimsy brick racks) to grow to 50 people — and during that time, 75 people applied to join. So we spent another full day making bricks and boards to grow to 100 people — and during this time 50 more people (total of 125) had applied. At that point we had done nothing other than make a guild hall, so we had to close membership to anyone who had not already been part of zFree or lived in the area.
Oh, and by the way, until the guild hall was built, we coordinated though private chat or even in main. Hectic times!
The Daily Scarab recently visited Robby in his compound near the River Plains Chariot. Well-known for his helpfulness, volunteerism, and Tellering at The Goods, we discussed
TDS: How long have you been playing and do you remember how you first came to join ATITD?
Robby: I’ve played ATITD since about halfway through T2. I came across it just randomly browsing for games. I came into this Welcome Island place that asked me to do these rather mundane tasks to become a “citizen”. I plugged along, not that interested, but when I got to the mainland I was blown away by its depth and all of the people I started to interact with. It should be noted that ATITD was the first Online game I ever played, mostly because it was the first one I came across that there wasn’t someone trying to kill me! 🙂
TDS: You’re a Level 72 Oracle of Four but it’s hard to tell from stalking your profile what your real interests are. What are your favourite tests and what aspects of the game keep you engaged and coming back?
Robby: There’s so much in the game that interests me! Not only the game mechanics and test challenges, but the social aspect of it. I’m most interested in the Art and Thought tests. I like to express my creative side whenever possible, and while Art tests are the most obvious, Thought tests are another way to be creative. I love Body tests, mostly for the additional stats, but they force you out into the world of ATITD. Harmony is fun because you have to participate and learn about the world here to advance. I do Arch tests because they challenge your ability to produce and manufacture all of the resources that exist in this world. Leadership and Worship have some fun tests, but I’m not as interested in them as the other disciplines.
Aside from these things, what keeps me engaged and coming back is the incredible community that is the core of this game. I’ve build some wonderful friendships over the years and have been lucky enough to actually meet some in RL. What makes this game so great. in the final analysis is the people!
TDS: You recently ran for DP and narrowly lost out to brucette. What do you think of this test and the role it plays in Egypt?
Robby: DP is and will always be a controversial test. I believe Teppy created it for the sole purpose of messing with the social aspects of the game. It’s been called a popularity contest; a lame duck test because the DPs don’t use their ban enough; and it’s been said that no matter who the candidates are, they all say the same things.
All of these things are true to some degree, but beyond that it’s a very good way to learn a lot about players we wouldn’t otherwise have an opportunity to know. At it’s core, no matter what anyone would like a DP’s role to be in the game, it is a referendum on who players trust the most to not abuse the power they have been given.
TDS: You’re a teller at The Goods, my favourite Egyptian shopping mall. I remember long queues at The Goods in T3, multiple tellers on every shift, and a very active trading marketplace. I only rejoined ATITD recently, but it seems much less heavily utilised. This is super for me, because I just parlayed 200 white Reali tiles and some dates into nearly everything I needed for a Reali Mosaic Table, but it’s sad to see it so under utilised. What’s changed?
Robby: The Goods is still a good resource for some players in ATITD. However, its profile and relevance have diminished over the tales. There are several reasons for this. There are a lot less active players now than there was in T1 through T4. There have been quite a few more places a player can seek out trades (Egyptian Exchange chat, large guilds, and long time players knowing the relative value of things). Also, in order for the Goods to provide items of use, we need players to sell us mats so that the relative price is reasonable. If we only have 5 gypsum in stock, the cost is way beyond what a player would “pay” if they traded with another player. Having said all that, we think the Goods still provides a good service to the game.
TDS: I’ve visited you recently to look at your beautiful breeding beetles. Where are you in the Test of Khefre’s Children and what do you look for when you’re breeding for show? What do you look for when you’re voting, particularly on L1 gardens?
Robby: I’ve just entered my best beetle in the Lvl 3 Garden. I hope to pass the test this round. When I breed beetles, I look to find first, a good base color. I then try to develop interesting patterns. Now, you can grind it out and eventually patterns will emerge, but the best way is to get beetles from other breeders and crossbreed with them. Its a long process, but if you’re patient, and make good choices you will eventually get some pretty cool beetles.
My criteria for judging beetles is the same at any level taking into consideration how much breeding was needed at each level. I look for good color combinations, good contrast, interesting and artful patterns. But in the end, like any good art, I look for a beetle that appeals to my aesthetic sensibilities.
TSD: Who are you in real life?
Robby: I’m a 61 year old single, never married, heterosexual male who is quite happy in that particular lifestyle. I’m a videographer/editor by trade. I live in Northern New Jersey. I treasure my family and friends. I’m happy to have this really fun place in ATITD outside of my real life 🙂
As your extremely eligible erstwhile editor recently entered into pre-nuptual negotiations, it seems a good time to look at the conventions of Egyptian marriage. To that end, here are the views of four married players on the following questions:
Are you married to a mule or are you married to another player? Why did you make that choice and how does that choice reflect your playing style? What are the advantages and disadvantages of doing it that way?
Istwan: DaSpozz is originally a real player but quit soon after our wedding, so now he’s practically a mule. It’s handy for travel, mostly, and some tasks that require bigger groups. It would be more fun to have him actually playing though, of course!
blondie: I’m married to my RL husband whom I met in the game, actually. It’s always good to have a spousewarp, since sometimes neither of us has Travel Time. We sort of do different things; he does his thing, I do mine. I tend to do a lot of trading, he’s a lot quieter. He does the more brainy things and I cry to him when I can’t do stuff, which is a lot of time.
Yendor: I swung both ways: I do play YendorsSlave (she is a slave, not a mule), and in Tale 3 I married her. This telling I married a real player, Lukeera, and YendorsSlave married Lukeera’s mule Ion (Ion is a mule, not a slave).
The biggest advantage to marrying your own character is that you can coordinate things like Nav Points and who stands where to effectively double your manuverability. In T3, I never had to wait for a CS because the characters could alternate who paid the travel cost and who warped for free. I saved enough so that when I needed, for example, sulfuours water, I’d pay 24h of travel time to warp to one of my 14 nav points and get it.
Marrying a real player has advantages for test passes. I’m an architect. Lukeera actually is too, but she also does a lot of body tests. So I’d log in to find a bunch of pearls in my inventory, and passed Oyster Catcher for the first time ever, have an endurance point from that tattoo thingy for the firtst time ever, etc. And Lukeera logs in to a chest full of skill tuitions and mats for art and thought buildings.
I’m not sure anyone is sure on the difference between an alt, a slave, and a mule. I’d rank them by how many tests they pursue. Lukeera doesn’t put any effort into passing Ion on any tests, but I will try to help my slave pass the ones except for the very limited pass ones (so for example, she is not competing in Funerary temple, but does have an aqueduct tower). The only reason Ion has any test passes at all is that the slave will (eventally, after a long time) pass marriage.
Balthazaar: I am married to a real player, MissBarbara who has played since T1. I have played since T2. MissBarbara and I have been married in both T6 and T7. In T2 and T3 I was married to Sparkle. Both of my wives have complimented my skills and abilities rather well; I am good at things they are bad at and they are good at things I am bad at.
In both cases, I have trusted my wives completely. All thee of us have been DP, so the players seem to trust us as well.
Many thanks to these players for sharing their views on how they approach marriage.
This week, the Daily Scarab sat down with one of ATITD’s best known citizens: Demi-Pharaoh, researcher and tech donations driver Ariella. Over a cozy brazier-side chat, we covered a wide range of technical and social aspects of life in Egypt, including how she met her real-life spouse in T4!
TDS: How long have you been playing and do you remember how you first came to join ATITD?
Ariella: I started on the first day of Tale 2 because a friend from another game said I would like this one. He was right!
TDS: You are probably best know for your seeds (I would *marry* my Ariella #376 flax seeds if I could) but what aspect of the game or activities do you actually enjoy the most? What are your favourite tests?
Ariella: The social aspect of a more mature, nicer bunch of people. The non-violence is relaxing to play in. Many systems in this game require intelligence instead of reactions. Making wiki guides are great fun!
My favorite tests are the art tests because they can be an outlet for creativity. I wish there was a sculpture test since I have seen a huge diversity of art in some of the sculptures and events.
TDS: You are heavily involved in advancing tech and opening research but not all players understand why this is important and what they ultimately get out of this. Can you give us a quick rundown of why you are so committed to this?
Ariella: I found the entire genetic system to be the most fascinating after trying just about every feature of the game. Unlike the other techs, the genetic techs need to be opened in every region because each region will release unique flora or can be used separately. Concerning releases… sea lilies, roses, veggies, vines and wheat. Molecular Balance tech only needs to be opened in one region.
Mutagenics need to be opened in every region possible because at each University of Thought a unique mutagen recipe is given out. Every tale we become bottlenecked on the moss needed for certain mutagenic regions. Mutagenic recipes usually require two-three attribute mosses with 3 negative attributes (those attributes cannot be found in the moss) which complicates the moss need further.
An example is the third mutagenic recipe that we are now bottlenecked on:
Green, Spongy, Striped moss + 2 Acorn’s Cap and 5 Neferteri’s Crown shrooms.
Cannot have Phosphorescent, Reticulated or Slimy in this moss but it can have any other attribute. Calico, Green, Spongy, Striped would be fine or Crackly, Fuzzy, Green, Spongy, Striped would work too.
In Tale 7 we have noticed that the attribute Striped seems to be rarer than other attributes. One of the tests also calls for specific mosses.
A common question is “What do I get out of helping to donate to these genetic techs other than a warm, fuzzy feeling?. I don’t care about flowers!”
Different strains of wheat can mean more crossbreeding to make wheat better for growing.
Mutagens are a powerhouse to make ‘building’ with individual genes possible. We can switch out single genes from certain locations in the genome to ‘build’ a gene set (a series of 1-4 genes that control 1 aspect of the flora). The more mutagens, the more ability to ‘build’ the flora into what you want.
Don’t you like better flax?
For instance, Xenobotany (roses) will ask for 4 types of sea lilies. Typically three types will be easy and one will be difficult if not impossible. Without a nice toolbox of varied mutagens it will be impossible to use crossbreeding alone to ‘build’ the needed sea lily to get the rose released.
Roses are used in three tests, one of which is the beloved Test of Festivals. Another is Test of the Formal Garden and I forget the third test. They are also used in perfume or chemistry.
A large toolbox of mutagens will give the possibility of improved flax, wheat and veggies that is extremely difficult to do with only crossbreeding or impossible or too time consuming because of the generations of crossbreeding needed.
TDS: Can you give some tips on how players who are not big into research or rich in resources to contribute can best help?
Ariella: This is where helping get out techs is difficult to explain! The ability to encourage donating is a skill that improves with each tale. Players hate being nagged. I hate nagging. They want the shortest list of nagging possible. Therefore I try to keep the donation lists short and concise. List the region, the specific technology, the University, the list of materials (mats) and a donation warehouse.
Unfortunately, new players and those not having much time may think they are unable to help when the reality is that donating the materials that make the specific materials listed is as important and easier. So now I try to list some of the associated materials, such as thermometers where glass pipes (or soda & lime or limestone/wood/tinder) and quicksilver(or charcoal/red sand) are just as good. Rotten fish, cobra skins and wood to make the fertilizer to make the Lily bulbs for Cross Breeding is just as helpful.
Interestingly, I tried having a wiki page for people to look at for the associated base materials and I found people were less likely to click the link to look at that list than they were to check their chest with only a chat list given. So I have slowly started listing some base mats with the chat nag list.
TDS: You are a DP, and your spouse Pascalito also became a DP in the last round of elections. That is certainly one way to resolve the “the spouse of a Demi-Pharaoh also has access to the ban stick” issue! How did you two get together and what’s it like being an Egyptian power couple?
Ariella: We first met at the very end of Tale 4 when Pascalito handed me ribbons at the end-of-Tale wood pile burning. I didn’t know at the time who had handed me those ribbons!
In Tale 5 I needed help getting ore. I hate to mine! Someone suggested I put up a chat with Pascalito because he would find mines for me. I found out he was very helpful not only with mines, but quarries, cooking, you name it! And it was great fun chatting with him.
Then after awhile we found out that we were both single and about the same age.
Coincidentally, I had made plans to visit my college friends in England and I found out Pascalito lived in Belgium which was an easy chunnel ride to get to. His English was so good that I had never suspected he was not from the USA.
We met in person and I met his parents. He decided that he would come visit me in the USA and meet my sons. After that he got a visa to come over for longer and we were married! On Halloween! Because of visa visiting restraints it happened that we needed to set the wedding date before a certain day and family and friends could come on October 31st. At first we didn’t even realize that it was Halloween. I guess I was following in my parents footsteps by marrying on a holiday. My parents were married on April Fool’s Day!
TDS: Who are you in real life?
Ariella: I own a window cleaning business that specializes in residences. I have five employees, one of which is my youngest son. I have two sons who live just 15 minutes away and who have 4 children between them with more to come I think 🙂
I live in the country and have huge flower beds, two vegetable gardens and a small orchard of sweet cherries, pears, apples, peaches and apricots.
My hobbies are woodworking/inlay, drawing and watercolor painting. Pascal is wanting to learn how to build guitars with me (I have a Master Woodworking degree). Check out Grit Laskin in Canada; he was one of my inlay teachers and gives me tips on building guitars too.
Pets have been a big part of my life. My favorite pet was Raja a huge blue Maine Coon cat. We have two dogs, Maya a bernedoodle and Dora a goldendoodle.
Thank you, Ariella, for being willing to share so much for this interview, and for the time, expertise and leadership you share with Egypt.