T5 NewsLetter Issue 1, 08/06/2010

Citizens of Egypt,

I'm writing to announce the final month of A Tale in the Desert V, the wrap-up of our experiment with ATITD shards, and the launch of A Tale in the Desert VI. We'll kick all of this off with a Welcome Back Weekend and a traditional ATITD Halloween event. The fun will start:

Friday, Oct 28, beginning at 12:00 Noon EST (GMT-0500)

Werewolves in Egypt is a version of the party game known as Werewolf/Mafia/Assassin, adapted to a massively multiplayer environment. We'll play this starting:

Saturday, Oct 29, beginning at 12:00 Noon EST (GMT-0500)

Those that sign up to play (by building a Mortuary Temple) are randomly split into Werewolves and Villagers. The game proceeds in night-day rounds of 15 minutes each. During night rounds, werewolves are active. They may:

  • Sniff a Mortuary Temple to get a fellow player's scent (3x/night)
  • Attack a player who's scent they have already gotten (1x/night)

During day rounds villagers are active. They may:

Vote to lynch a suspected werewolf. Villagers get 7 votes per day, and can place them all on one werewolf, or spread them around.

A few Villagers are also Seers. Seers have the ability to tell who is a werewolf, and they may use this special ability 4x/day. Prizes will be distributed to the winning team - if Villagers win, prizes are based on how many Werewolves each Villager helped lynch. If the Werewolves win, then prizes are based on how many Villagers each Werewolf helped kill. This event is an absolute blast - don't miss it!

We're running a number of other events this weekend as well - check the in-game calendar for Decathlon, Reflection, Tug and other "conflict" contests.

As some of you know, we tried an experiment with "shards" of A Tale in the Desert IV, based on the theory that MMORPGs have a "Dunbar's Number" - a specific number of players that they tend to cluster around, due to game design coupled with how our brains work in keeping track of friendships. If the Dunbar's Number hypothesis is true, and the effect strong, then a way to grow ATITD would be to create many shards, each of which would stabilize at the "natural" size for ATITD's design. This wasn't just blind speculation: various Tellings of ATITD have tended to stay around 1500 users for a long time, and our Bastet shard remained at about 500 users for some time.

However, subscribers to Bastet did then decline significantly, and so I think it's time to wrap up our "shard" experiment. Tale IV Bastet will conclude concurrently with Tale V, and existing accounts for both games will transition to Tale VI. Starting next week, and for the final month, Tale IV Bastet will be a free-to-play game, and any monuments that are successfully completed will become full Tests in Tale VI.

Finally, mark your calendars - A Tale in the Desert VI will begin:

Saturday, December 3, Beginning at 12:00 Noon EST (GMT-0500)

I'll have more details closer to the launch.

Evening on the Nile,
Teppy (Pharaoh)


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