Design Notes

January 25, 2020

Australia Day 2020

Celebrate the people and land of Australia

Australia is an amazingly beautiful land, with a vibrant culture and a history that stretches back nearly 60,000 years. A few years ago, one of our contest winners requested that the team create an Australia Day shop that everyone could enjoy. We thought her request was so generous, we had to make it happen. So this weekend, log in to find non-member, spiffy prezzies for gold in your Featured Gear Shop!

Today: the AUS-some Cape and Barry the Platypus pet (update: Barry has lost his formal top hat. This will be added tomorrow).


  • the Formal Zoo Keeper armor + helm
  • the Formal Kangaroo pets
  • The Koala Companion and Formal Koala Companion Capes

And now, to get serious for just a minute. Earlier this week, the Dove and Verylrus (the heads of the DragonFable dev team) messaged with a dilemma. Their release for this weekend included a forest fire. Given that Australia is dealing with a very real emergency, they didn't want to appear insensitive. After brainstorming, we crafted the following post for the DF Design Notes:

Real World vs Videogame Worlds: Australia's Wildfires + How You Can Help

The story for this weekend's update -- which includes a forest fire as part of the plot -- was written well in advance. With the severe wildfires raging throughout Australia, the team debated changing our plans for tonight's release. We wouldn't want to come across as insensitive, or for you all to think we were capitalizing on the very real emergencies faced by the people and wildlife there. 

We had three real options:

  1. Change the actual plot of the story
  2. Leave the plot as is, but revise the release date to a point in the future
  3. Call attention to what's happening, use this as a starting point for discussion, and let you know how you can help

The choice was clear. Our game stories don't always reflect the real world, but this time, it has, and we want to use that opportunity to educate players about what's happening in the real world and environment.

How the fires have impacted Australia

  • Estimated 1 billion (with a b) animals may have been killed (due to the fires, dehydration, starvation, and habitat loss)
  • Millions of acres have been burned
  • Thousands of homes destroyed and people evacuated
  • More than two dozen lives have been lost

If you'd like to help, we've checked out the following charities, and they are legit.

  • St. Vincent de Paul society (helping evacuated families recover, providing food and clothing, etc)
  • Country Fire Authority (Managing locals providing shelter for evacuated families)
  • World Animal Protection (supporting local wildlife organizations across Australia)
  • RSPCA New South Wales (evacuating animals to safety)

This is a global emergency, and it will impact more than Australia. We don't usually get quite so serious in our game design notes posts, but this is one of those times where you can be a hero in our videogames AND in the real world.

Doing Our Part to Help: A Donation In Your Name

We've received many messages asking how to help those affected by Australia's wildfires. We're making a a $500 donation on your behalf to to the RSPCA New South Wales, a charity helping rescue animals endangered by the wildfires. Thank you for enabling us to make this donation.

Tags: Alina,
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