Design Notes

June 10, 2011

The Tower of Necromancy

Do YOU have what it takes to get to the top?

It’s your wits versus the Tower in 10 levels of perilous puzzles and losing is the pits, literally! (Rumor has it that all failing challengers end up as new Tower minions or in… the INFERNAL PIT OF ENDLESS DOOM!) But you shouldn’t worry about that. You’re a hero with brawn AND brains, so making it to the top will be dead-easy. Right?

You’ll need to pull levers, navigate traps, and open doors. Sounds simple, but thanks to Cysero thinking outside the box and inside the coffin, you’ve got a real challenge to overcome! Thankfully, you’ll also have a kind, compassionate voice spurring you on to success as you ascend the levels. We consider the voice-acting (done by Kimberly of One-Eyed Doll), a triumph. Make a note of her huge success.

When- or should I say IF- you get to the top, you’ll meet the Master of the Necropolis. This twisted teacher will have a bonus cutscene, a shop full of ebilly-skullicious necro-gear, and the merge shop to make the Necromancer class!

Calling all Necromancer Wanna-be’s!

Are YOU ready to take the final step into Darkness? Do you have what it takes to become… a Necromancer?  I thought so, excellent! There are TWO paths to get the Necromancer Class, and it’s your call which to take:

  • The Tower: Purchase the NUE Necronomicon from the Rep Shop in Lightguard (requires rank 10 DoomWood Rep); find the Creature Shard (drops off the Creature Creation in the Maul); and talk to the Master at the top of the Tower to buy it for 50,000 gold.
  • The Hideout: Purchase the Necromancer Class for 2,000 ACs by talking to Zorbak.

Be sure to check out the Necromancer Class skill write-up that Cysero put out yesterday for details! Also, the AC version will also be purchasable through Quibble in BattleOn, but not for long! Once he’s gone, only Zorbak will have the AC version. And remember what Cysero said yesterday:

Other than the price (and the fact that you can store the AC version for free because it is an AC item) there is NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL between these two versions of the class. They have the same appearance, they have the same skills.

Sneaking in to Necro U

But Alina, you ask, what if I don’t WANT to become a Necromancer? I still need to get into Necro U to save DoomWood. What do I do?

Simple! If you have the know-how to counterfeit and the will to trespass – and we know you do, because you are a very resourceful Hero – then just complete the eyeCom Cam Unit’s quests! There are 3 to finish in order to create a believably authentic Necro U Student ID. The eyeCom will assist you as needed. (Like keeping an eye out for invading Paladins, or watching your back. Or just staring really, really hard at you.)

PariahCon 2011! (So lonely in the Lab)

Most of the AE team at the Secret Underground Lab are taking the day to meet players and swap swag at PariahCon in Lakeland, Florida. Secrets will be shared, swag will be signed, and round after round of the card game will be played!  Check Twitter for pictures from the event! (Stories from E3 and PariahCon might be shared on Monday, if you’ve been suitably heroic over the weekend. Hint: Get to rank 10!)

While Artix and Cysero are having a blast at the Con, Samba, Yorumi, Zhoom, and I have been having an equally explosive time here at the Lab. (Bugs do not respond well to TnT. Neither do laptops, unfortunately.) I’ve got a checked list as long as my forearm, and it’s all cleared off, which means it’s time for YOU guys to get your game on!


June 09, 2011

Necromancer Breakdown!

Unraveling The Mystery Of Necromancer

The Necromancer Class comes out TOMORROW. Somehow people are still confused about the EARNED & AC versions of the class so I will try and break it down.

There will be 2 paths to get that lead to obtaining the non-member Necromancer class.

PATH 1, The Earned Path: You can EARN the Necromancer through hard work and dedication. Once you reach the top of the Tower of Necromancy in DoomWood the master of the tower will offer you the class if you are able to deliver 2 items. The first is the Necropolis University Expanded edition of the Necromonicon which can ONLY be found for Rank 10 DOOMWOOD REPUTATION from the DoomWood Rep Shop in LightGuard Keep. The second item a Creature Shard that will be a 5% drop from the Creature Creation in the Chopping Maul.

In summary, to earn the EARNED version you need to get to Doomwood Rep Rank 10, Farm the Creature Creation and overcome all of the tests and puzzles on your way to the top of the tower.

PATH 2, The AC Path: You can BUY the Necromancer for 2000 ACs from Zorbak in his hut in the Chopping Maul map. You will have to have completed all of the doomwood quests neccessary to enter Zorbak's hut but hopefully you have aleady done that.

the AC version will also be able to be purchased through Quibble until he leaves town, then you will have to buy it from Zorbak if you want that version. It will NOT be going Rare when Quibble leaves.

Other than the price (and the fact that you can store the AC version for free because it is an AC item) there is NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL between these two versions of the class. They have the same appearance, they have the same skills.

Necromantic Skill Set

Now let me tell you what to expect from Necromancer.

You need to understand the Necromancer to really master it. Necromancers are all about stealing life energy from the living and even sacrificing their own life energy to become more powerful. If you are unwise, you can eaisly kill yourself with this class.

The class balances on the razor's edge between life and death. Using your own life force to power your pet and stealing your enemies life force to keep you alive. It needs you to pay attention and use your brain.

Watch your HP bar, find the happy place between sacrifice and power... then DESTROY! 


2 second cooldown.

A basic attack, taught to all adventurers. 


45 mana, 16 second cooldown.

Summon an undead minion to your side or sends it into a frenzy, doubleing all damage at the cost of health.

This is a very necessary skill to understand.

FIRST, if you do not summon your minion, your attacks will do next to nothing to your foe.This should the first skill you use, unless the Skeletal Minion is already standing right in front of you.

SECOND, if you have another pet equipped, UNequip it. Your minion cannot be summoned if you already have a pet equipped.

THIRD, once your minion has been summoned this becomes a POWERFUL attack buff for your pet. You watch as your pet goes into overdrive doing slightly more than DOUBLE DAMAGE for the duration of the effect, but you also watch a portion of your life energy tick away.  


15 Mana, 5 second cooldown.

Weakens the target, lowering damage while stealing some of its life and healing you.

You will be using this skill a LOT. Not only does it do a small amount of damage and return some HP to you, it also lowers your foe's damage output by 40% for the duration of the effect. As nice as this is, between your pet's Frenzy skill and the Infect skill, you will be giving up a lot of your life.

Use this to keep you going.


3 second cooldown.

Infect yourself, damaginf yourself tor estore MP.

THIS SKILL is the dangerous one. You can get away without using it, but if you learn how to use it wisely, it basicaly opens up a world of infinite power to you. Use this skill to convert a good portion of your HP directly into MP.

Master this skill and you master the class.



Increase Damage Output by 20%

Increase Haste by 20%

Pretty standard fare here. Ranking up the class unlocks the ability to do more damage and do it faster than ever before.


20 Mana, 6 second cooldown.

Order your pet to attack doing increased damage.

Here is your mini-nuke. It's a very handy power to unlock as it buffs your pet for a beefy single strike against your foe which only costs mana, without eating any of your life. Use in conjunction with Summon Frenzy skill and apply liberally to foe for best results. 

Just spam this sucker. It's not like you're running out of mana anytime soon, right?

SO there you have it. Necromancer in a nutshell. If I were you I'd use Wizard Enhancements since Necro gets its power mainly from INT and slightly from WIS like Magi do.

Right now the Skeletal Mintion pet that you summon to stand before you, shield you and attack your enemies is the ONLY Battle Pet in AQW. We plan on adding several more in coming weeks which will be REAL pets (not temp pets) and nearly all of which are planned to be member only.


In addition to the Necromancer Class to be found at the top of the Tower of Necromancy and the AC version in Zorbak's Hut, we have also spent all week working on the devilishly constructed Tower of Necromancy. The original plan for the tower was set down on paper by Artix and it goes from pretty simple to nearly impossible in only 10 floors!

If you are able to make it to the top, not only will you get a bonus cutscene where you meet the Master of the Tower but you will ALSO gain access to the MEMBER ONLY Necromancer Shop in which you will find a treasure trove of necrotic weapons and a few alternate armors for the necromancer. 

Quibble is also getting a buff this week, vastly increasing the number of items he is offering. This round will be more Pali themed and less skull-i-fied but there are a few putrid additions all provided by AE artist Mennace.

AE and PariahCon 2011!

 Several members of the Artix Entertainment STAFF including Artix, Nythera, Jemini, Korin, myself and several others are headed to the Imperial Swan Hotel Lakeland, FL on Friday, June 10th for PariahCon 2011!

It's Lakeland's first ever anime/gaming/collectible convention. Because this is the first year for this con, we expect it to be small but small cons are GREAT for getting to meet lots of new people!

Our Artix Entertainment Panel will be held on Friday, June 10th at 4:00 PM EST in the Main Events Room on the 7th Floor. We will be talking about all kinds of secret AE projects, playing round after round of the AQW Battleon Battle Card game with everyone there and just goofing off. We really hope to see you there!

Welcome Back Alina!

Glad to have you back in the lab. Thanks to everyone who wished her well onver Twitter and on the forums.



June 06, 2011

Necromancer & Conventions

The Tower Of Necromancy

This Friday, the story of DoomWood continues as we head to the Tower Of Necromancy where questions will be answered, wits will be tested, old characters will re-appear and NECROMANCER CLASS will be obtained.

As you may remember from my last post, there will be TWO ways to get your hands on the non-member Necromancer Class. The first will require a LOT of hard work. First you will need to reach RANK 10 in DoomWood Reputation to purchase some materials that will be required to unlock the class, Next you will need to farm the Creature Creation for a not-very-rare drop, and lastly you will need to reach the top of the Tower Of Necromancy in the heart of DoomWood Forest.

The maniacal master of the tower will test you, and if you are able to reach the top of the tower, you will be able to unlock and equip the powerful Necromancer Class!

The other option is to buy it with AdventureCoins. Zorbak, who is always looking to cause trouble, will offer to sell an AC version of the class for 2000 ACs. This AC version of the Necromancer Class will also be added to Quibble's shop for the duration of his stay (at least one more week). Once he leaves, you will still be able to buy it from Zorbak or earn it from the Tower. Or both,

but no reason for that since they are completely identical other than price.

The top of the tower will also sport some necrotic weapons and some member only options for Necromancer like a Color Custom version of the base armor and hood...

Or purchase the member only Necrolock robes and hood, also for gold. They are not CC but they're still quite lovely.

Meanwhile, back in the AE Underground lab... Yorumi is still hard at work building this innovative new type of class. Our aim is to allow you to command a new type of pet called Battle Pets to do your bidding. Most of the class skills are buffs to the pet's damage or haste, but other skills will allow you to regain mana or life through pet attacks.

The class SHOULD come with a very basic version of a Battle Pet built in (a skeleton in this case), but later we want to open other Battle Pets to the game for member-only purchase (there might be a few very very very rare cases where we might offer non-member or AC Battle Pets but not often). THESE Battle Pets might even come with their own signature skill, unlike the base pet that comes build into the class.

There is still a long way to go to make the class function the way we would like it to, but as soon as I have some solid skills ready for balancing I will give you guys a skills write up.

Meanwhile, back in the AE Underground lab... Artix is single-handedly planning out the levels of the tower, trying to create a unique challenge for you. You will be required to take command of several skeletal minions and move them across the room to reach a lever. Once you acomplish this task, the platform will take you one level higher in the tower. Sounds pretty simple, right?


Meanwhile, back in the AE Underground lab... Zhoom, being the clever code monkey that he is ,believes that he has found the recent source of massive lag in DoomWood. He could be wrong but he has, to my knowledge, never been wrong about anything else. Ever. We will continue trying to track down some of the pesky quest bugs in that area as well. We will be applying those fixes as the week continues.

Come See Us, Please!

AE is going to more conventions than EVER this year. Granted, we are mostly going to ones we can drive to in under an hour but still, more is more, and we would LOVE to meet you guys.

Here's what's goin down...

E3: THIS WEEK Artix and Titan will be heading to the E3 (The Electronic Entertainment Expo).

It's not really a convention but more of a big annual trade show for the computer and video games industry presented by the Entertainment Software Association.

There, they will rub elbows with some of the industry greats and also get to play with some of the worlds coolest toys. E3 runs June 7-9 and we don't have a panel or booth but if you happen to be in L.A., get a chance to visit the E3, and know what Artix or Titan look like... say hi!

PARIAHCON: Then, this weekend Artix, Nythera, Thyton, Jemini, Korin, me and a few other members of the AE staff will head to Lakeland, FL for PariahCon 2011. 

This one actually IS a convention claiming to be Lakeland's first anime/gaming/collectible convention. Considering that Lakeland is a wonderful but only mid-sized town with roughly 584,000 people inhabiting it, that comes as no great surprise.

We will have a panel, Artist Alley booth AND a booth at this one. The Con runs JUNE 10-11 and our panel is at Friday, 4:00 PM in the Main Events room on the 7th floor of the hotel hosting the convention.

After our panel, we'll mostly be playing (and selling) Battle Cards at our swag booth. This WILL be a small con. If you happen to make it we'll be able to hang around with you like... all day.

METROCON: This convention is a bit larger being held, as it is every year, at the Tampa Convention Center, June 17-19.

Once again, we've got a panel and swag booth. Our panel at this convention will be 2:00 PM on Saturday then several hours of trying to follow Artix through the merch room. He vanishes like a 4 year old in a department store. POOF.

DRAGONCON: This is our BIG convention that we go to every year, and I consider to be my home away from home.As always it's held the first weekend of SEPTEMBER (Sept. 2-5) in Atlanta, GA.

We will have a panel and that is it but we will ALSO be giving away our yearly DragonCon Pet (last year those who came out to see us helped us come up with the Steampunk Dragon non-member pet).

Our Panel is on Friday 2:30 - 5 PM. The room is yet to be decided but you will find us in your Con Guide under the MMO Track. I will also accept ALL Battle Card challenges offered at this con. Probably the others too. I will be fully prepared to sit down on the floor in the middle of a hall way surrounded by roughly 80,000 con-goers and begin dueling.

I can't speak for everyone but I utterly and completely LOVE running into players at conventions and at DragonCon especially! This is how I first met Stratos who is now one of the head Mods, as well as a number of other super-fans who came out just to attend our panel and many of them have also become trusted friends. A few of those guys have also become mods, come to think of it.

That doesn't mean that coming to con will make you a Mod, but if you're the kind of AE fan who makes the trip just to meet us (sometimes from as far away as New Zealand!), it's a pretty good bet that you're the kind of person that we're looking for to be a mod.

Get Well Soon

If you follow our Twitter feeds, you know that Alina had surgery last week. She considers it minor surgery but she also tried to work from home within an hour of being released from the hospital so that's how sane (or dedicated) SHE is.

Rolith (her husband to be... got enganged at DragonCon last year!) and I wouldn't let her. She eventually resigned herself to sleeping off her surgery and trying to heal.

I just want you all to know that she is well, recovering nicely, even spent 45 minutes on the phone with Artix talking over DoomWood plot this morning. With some luck she hopes to be back in the lab toward the end of this week.

Get well soon, Alina. We miss you at the AQW table and the halls of the AE lab are far too quiet without "There's a MAYUN in there!" bouncing off of them. (Inside joke. Ask her.)

Now, stop laughing, you'll pop a stitch, and get some sleep.


May 31, 2011

Zorbak, the Ebil Blue Moglin!

Visit Zorbak's House in DoomWood!

This weekend, the DoomWood story continues. Artix has discovered that there is a new undead threat in DoomWood and is racing to join you in smashing wave after wave of crunchy undead soldiers... and you HAVE to stop him.

If you don't understand WHY you should be keeping Artix from doing battle what he does best then you should go play last week's chapter of DoomWood right now!

A lot of people have been asking about Vordred the Paladin Slayer. They haven't figured out a way to defeat him.

People have said that if you have 3 Palis or a Pali and 3 healers or if you turn the sound off then you can defeat him. Those folks are either mistaken or they are yanking your chain on purpose.


You may ask, "Then why add him into the game if he can't be defeated?. Because Artix, Alina and I did not want you to take our words for it. It's one thing to say "Oh, this bad guy is an undefeatable evil. Watch out. OOOOoooOOOOooOOOOoo!" but when you get your rear handed to you over and over again by a guy who is more skulls than anything else, it's something else entirey. Vordred cannot be defeated by any known method on Lore.

This weekend you will journey deeper into DoomWood past the undead Chopping Maul (get it?) to the home of the one and only ebil, blue moglin... Zorbak.

The first time you entered the DoonWood Necropolis (in DragonFable) you couldn't have done it without Zorbak's... uh..."help". Maybe he has some information on Vordred and whomever created him to defeat the Paladin Order.

Oh Yeah...

We are also finally raising the level cap to 40 this weekend!

Quibble Coinbiter's DoomWood Shop!

Once again, Quibble Coinbiter is heading back to Battleon this weekend to set up shop.

He's fully restocked with a bunch of DoomWood, undead and other themed (never-before-seen, slightly used) rares and items. As usual, MOST (or possibly ALL) of his items will be AC items so now is the time to renew your supply if you are running low.

Normally Quibble's arrivals seem to line up with the arrival of a new Chaos Lord or Chaos Beast... but on rare occassions, like this Friday, he's just in the neighborhood and has the goods to sell.


Tonight at 11:59 PM EST is the last chance you will EVER HAVE to become a HeroSmash Founder!

Remember that once the clock strikes midnight here on (or in this case, several stories below) the east coast of the United States... you will never again have the chance to become a HeroSmash Founder. Do not miss this oppritunity.

Or if you do miss out, Please don't ask me over Twitter if it will be coming back. Cause it won't.

THE NPC's CD Is Back In Stock!

Faith has just told me that after nearly 2 month, we finally have more of the NPC's Critical Hits CD featuring music from a lot of our games is back in stock!

The CD comes with special musical themed items in AQW, AQ Classic, DF, MQ, ED and WarpForce! If you want one of these, head to HEROMART and grab one before they are gone!




It was one of the favorite parts of the PTR experience for most of those who helped us test. The Necromancer!

NEXT WEEK, it will be returning to AQW with a whole new set of powers... the Tower of Necromancy.Here's the bet part... it will be usable by ANYONE. That's right, Necromancer is for both Members and Non-Members!

We've decided to try an few interesting things with this class. First off it will be a PET class. That means that you will be able to summon a base skeleton pet who will do your fighting for you. You will cast necromantic spells on your pet to deal more damage to your opponent, return mana to you or even steal your foe's lifeforce.

This means that we will also be (eventually, not next week) adding a new type of Item to AQW, Battle Pets. Pet classes like Necromancer (and future pet classes) will be able to equip these pets to attack for them, and use their skills to help their companions or undead slaves fight. Equippable Battle Pets might even have special skills that only that pet can use.

As they are Pets, almost all Battle Pets will be MEMBER ONLY, however the base pet that comes with the class will be usable by anyone. Next week, however, you should be able to summon the Basic Skeleton to fight for you using Necromancer.

Something else that we are trying... 2 different ways to get the Necromancer Class.

The first way will require a LOT of hard work. You will need to reach DoomWood Reputation Rank 10 to get one of the items that you require to obtain this class... THEN you will have to battle your way through the Tower of Necromancy. If you survive the trials you will be awarded the class.

The second way to obtain the class is buying it with ACs. No muss, no fuss, no rank, no nearly-impossible tasks to compplete... just slip the Tower Necromancers their asking price and POOF... the class is yours.

We've never done an AC class before, and I didn't think we ever would due to some complications in the AQW engine but our amazing coding team has broken down that barrier and it has become possible. We know that a LOT of people would rather pay ACS and save the time and effort so we are giving them that option.

Other than the AC/NON-AC nature of the classes they will not be different in any way. In fact, you can even get both if you want to but you will need to rank each class up seperately.

NOTE: All of this could change at any moment. It's currently in production so we could encounter some game crashing bug that sets us back a week or more, and we don't know the AC price for the AC version of the class yet.

Sadly, if you DID test the class in PTR you will NOT be able to keep the ranks that you earned there.

The only reason I'm telling you guys about this is that it's pretty exciting and Yorumi has not encountered any massive roadblocks so far. Fingers crossed!

Keep in mind that DoomWood will ALSO have another MEMBER-ONLY class coming as the zone progresses. Keep reading the Design Notes for more details on that!

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