Whew, what a year… Yeah okay, That’s it – See you in 2023.
Nah, I kid. Welcome to the Year in Review for Starmourn 2022! We’ve made some pretty incredible strides this year, so many that it’s almost hard to keep track. Below you’ll find a summary of new systems, major events, and noteworthy player RP that’s taken place over the past 12 months in addition to tons of bug smashing, rebalancing, skill updates, and all that behind the scenes stuff that’s taken place.
To quote Shulamit for a moment – “Hoo!”
Let’s dive in!
2023 kicked off with a huge expansion to ships: Shipmodding! An awesome follow up to the new armor and weaponmodding systems, Shipmodding has made ships truly customizable to the taste of their pilots and opened the doors for some groundbreaking ship concepts!
The market for buying and selling commodities received a major facelift, making it easier to use, with the additional benefit of allowing organizations to buy and sell on the market, too!
Syzygy’s Heist on the Citadel
Syzygy and the smartly masked Wysiwyg led Zoe and Akiko through Litharge in search of a legendary flower known as the Bleeding Angelheart. Along the way they broke into the Citadel and unearthed a long-lost romance dating back to the Angel’s Rebellion!
Who knew a hand drawn map and a dream could take someone so far, and where might their next adventure lead?
We saw the Scatterhome “create-a-bar” player design contest delivered to completion with Foxxi the (former) trophy-hunting pilot, Rilimililx the party girl plug, and some pretty serious OSHA violations in the interactive furniture.
AI PVP Arena Combat
AI PVP Bots were introduced as combatants in the arenas to allow players the chance to practice against a variety of difficulty levels in every available class. Now you can enjoy the suffering of a painful Shrapnel Ripper Forcefeed from a bot instead of your good friends! Is that better? Maybe.
In all seriousness, the roll out of this system makes PVP more accessible for all players by giving them 24/7 access to practice combat against any class of their choosing. Go get ’em!
New Incursion Difficulty
Just like the AI bots above, ships received the same treatment as we launched a new incursion difficulty: Fleet Incursions. These were the first incarnation of ships that used real weapons and modules, much like a player would! NPCs with missiles, lasers, and turrets, oh my!
Spacemap for Screenreader
We introduced a version of the spacemap which allows screenreader users to easily implement binaural perception client-side. We’re very excited to push this even further in the future and continue improving Starmourn’s accessibility for all players.
Space Trucking and Piracy Overhaul
Arggg matey! We introduced cargo contracts, an automated method of shipping commodities across space. Along the way, we introduced cargo ships, pirates, and the anti-piracy wardens, with each of the three niches having both NPC and player incarnations!
Space sectors now have piracy ratings according to the level of activity therein, so it’s up to the players to either keep their space spicy or to help thwart the pirate threats.
Introducing Nyx’s player-designed area: Paperweight! This zone is home to a host of new lore including the Twice Departed Jin of the Li’Gon and a new race of beings known as the Belaul. It also serves as the introduction to several new mechanics including: time messages, mobs that have unique behaviors based on time, weather effects, and the first instance of fishing in Starmourn.
It doesn’t end here, though – More updates to Paperweight are in the works, along with the opportunity for us to work on additional entries from that contest. Stay tuned!
Weather Effects & Time Messages
We started working with our worldbuilders to add an extra layer of depth to each planet, with custom and immersive messages for the passing of time. This is no small undertaking, but the end result is very much worth the wait.
Spend some time on Artia, Benu Wen, Bodean, Delphi, Haven, Hororeon, Imdali, Inkke IV, Ishbi, Marle, Nadru, Selubir, Suiko, and Usum Usutti and let us know what you think! (Space pub crawl when?)
We updated our in-game pathfinder to the modern age, allowing players to move globally through the interlinked network of stations and even to named NPCs easily!
The Month of Lucent
April saw the introduction of Lucent TV and Lucent promo vouchers which allow players to submit their own advertisements. Lucent RadioWavez was also released and has become a staple for all the trending music around the sector by playing beloved hits like:
Barth Muckles – We Wish You A Relatively Minor Existentialistic Dread-mas (Voidwave)
Voidwitch – I Hate Winterflame (Nanorock)
The Starmourn Cultural Conversation (THE SCC)
Player feedback is a huge part of what drives Starmourn forward. In order to proactively engage our playerbase in ongoing development work, we founded the SCC – An organization of active players who are invited to review plans for future systems and help shape the path forward.
The Industrial Revolution -> Structures, Refineries, Auto-factories
May saw the introduction of the game’s very first buildable space structures along with a complete overhaul to manufacturing. This included a rewrite of autofactories, refineries, and Offices, which can be used with cargo contracts to create a fully automated supply chain transforming your raw materials into finished goods!
The Floating Market of 967 A.E.
Hatti Stasny, Ikki Nekil, Heot Mnpa-cero, Gerhart Algar, Kino Nakada, Fanuihil, and a feracht named Muff’n came together to compile the greatest, and sometimes strangest, traveling market in the sector. This market is a recurring event and boasts a wide, ever-changing variety of NPC shops and player owned stalls. Keep your eyes to the News for the next installment, or read NEWS ANNOUNCE 394 for more info!
PROJECTS System for Players and Admin
The PROJECTS system is introduced for both players, player orgs, and admin to serve as a collaborative task management tool. Now our admin team along with all Factions, Dynasties, and Clans can coordinate more efficiently in-game to tackle their projects. Argus’ paws have never pit-pat so rapidly.
Creatures in the (Wiki)Bank
One special worldbuilder completed the enormous task of adding 242, that’s TWO HUNDRED FORTY TWO, new creature pages to the Wiki. A round of applause for the mountain of effort put into making lore accessible to everyone. If you notice something missing from the wiki, reach out to the admin team to see about getting it added!
Glittering Shores and Pleasure Beach
A love-letter to the Celestine Ascendancy from Damiel, the Glittering Shores (and Dreg End Beach, its stinky cousin) were unveiled with a party, an abduction, and a raffle, introducing us to the white sands and hunky lifeguards of the Shores, the idyllic Arcadeway boardwalk and its luxe condos, and the junk dune demesne of Oskra (not Oscar!) Graach and their ongoing rivalry with the trash crabs.
The Work Begins – The Conflict Rework
A lot of time, effort, and collaboration went into crafting a vision for the Conflict Rework, and then we got to work on the backend. Shout out to Neritus for crushing these system roll outs, and shout out to all of you for all of your feedback along the way! You’ve been there with us for the brainstorming, the trial runs, the bug squashing, and more, and we’re so grateful for each and every one of you.
Nexus 3.0 Goes Live
Nexus 3.0 was rolled out in August with a new mobile-friendly version and improved functionality! This has potential to be a truly cross-platform MUD client, even compatible with tablets. Be sure to report any bugs appropriately so the IRE dev team can continue to roll out improvements for this system.
Learn more at: https://nexus.ironrealms.com/Nexus_3.0
Marra enters the chat.
A wordsmith like none other, Marra has been absolutely crucial to outlining new lore structures and creating engaging spaces around the sector. They’re also responsible for the absolutely horrifying rooms within our Vihana Facilities and the secret sluggy friend sometimes found therein. We’re glad you’re here, Marra, you sick genius!
CA Pet Shop Renovation
Part of Clover’s long-running player RP, the Pet shop in Litharge received a significant face-lift, including two new attendants, an updated list of wares, and the opportunity to train your pets. Who knows what upgrades they might get next through additional player RP?
Scare The Storytellers!
An annual occurrence, Scare the Storytellers rolled out in October with the opportunity for players to submit their darkest dreams and figments for the chance to see those stories make an appearance in SM lore for years to come. Congratulations to this year’s winner, Asteyr – “The Cabal/Katsyi, Lost to the Depths.”, for scaring the pants off us!
In case you aren’t sure how these entries are used, check out the next October highlight –
Rapa’rak Hall and the Rapadruk Ball
The Rapa’rak Hall Terror Experience rolled out this year with the opportunity for questers, PVE-ers, and puzzlers to fight their fears and earn a nifty sticker! Each of the rooms in this area were all inspired by past player submissions to the Scare the Storytellers contest and will continue to be updated each year.
The Rapadruk Ball tool place in the Rapa’rak Hall Ballroom with a costume contest, special refreshments, and a slew of fun RP through the brothers grim, Nizu and Zugub Drukula.
Song Government Building: The Subrosa Palace
We saw the long-awaited unveiling of the Subrosa Palace, the Jewel of the Song atop its picturesque skyline, sporting wings for cultural and governmental affairs, and the Cabinet Hall for the highest echelon of Dominion officials to conduct their business.
RP Request System
We’ve added some clarity to the process of requesting assistance with RP events, player RP arcs, and RP related improvements to orgs, areas, and factions – The REQUEST system! All players now have the ability to submit requests directly to the admin team who can then review, assign costs as applicable, and coordinate within our team. We are all very much looking forward to what our players will come up with!
Xenomob Reign of Terror
Xenomobs gained a TON of new affixes, 36 to be precise, and we added an additional difficulty tier to Xenos: Omegas. These changes brought the challenge of Xenoslaying to new heights.
Functional Aetherscapes Added
What’s something that brings the Shen almost as much joy as their fermented vuu honey? Aetherscapes! These are immersive soundscapes that, while not always pleasant, challenge the senses for even the most discerning Shen. Explore the Tower of Ghi in Janilyn and you might discover one of these anechoic chambers, already primed with several player-submitted performances for you to enjoy.
Winterflame, Ironbeard, and GIANT GIFTS
Winterflame kicked off in December as usual with Ironbeard and his gifts making rounds across the Sector. This year, however, players had the opportunity to receive or purchase a GIANT RAINBOW GIFT which works much like the rainbow tesseracts. Nothing says Winterflame like sharing good will, right?
Snowball Arena Fights
No, screw good will. The real winner this year was SNOWBALL ARENA FIGHTS. Combat’s chilly refresh allows you to make snow forts and lob snowballs at friends and foes alike to celebrate the winter weather. Sure to be a recurring event in the coming years.
Scatterhome Newbie Kits
Newbie kits with useless radiation scanners will now be handed out to all Scatterhome citizens to help them (maybe) survive (possibly) as they scamper around the Reynolds asteroids. The Guards on Reynolds also got some much needed love and Marshals, Paperpushers, and Rookie Minders all have position-specific commands they can now use with the guards.
We introduced the first of several new systems coming online with the conflict rework: Vihana Facilities. These are roguelite-inspired, endgame PvE dungeons for 1-5 players which have truly put you all to the test. If you think you can stomach the sight, take some time to really explore the world within the Facilities and all its gruesome inhabitants.
Scatterhome Hosts ‘The Shindig’
All were invited to attend this black-tie celebration of several promotions in the ‘Home, as long as they were prepared for the Belter Brawl that must always follow. Many gathered in the Zephyr town hall to celebrate the promotions of Lain, Savvy, and Renault, as well as excellent work from Rair.
Maiden Voyage of the Huo’Zha
Holgorath V’lani was honored as an A’Kwah-Zhe by the Jin aboard the Blood Ark and offered a recovered ship called the Huo’Zha. This ship is stocked with a wealth of Jin lore artifacts and materials, plus it’s the first of its kind – piloted using Tek-Vothiam positions in a dance among the stars.
End of Year Commendations
As part of an annual tradition, we are collecting player nominations for New Years Rewards to acknowledge players who: Have the best roleplay, are notable titans of industry, bash the hardest and for the longest, and other categories including write-ins. Regardless of how long you’ve been playing, we’d love to see your responses.
For more information and the form to submit your votes, check out NEWS READ ANNOUNCEMENTS 425. Submissions should be sent to Neritus either as an in-game message with a pastebin or document link, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All submissions are due Dec 31st by sync!
It’s been a wild ride of a year, and we’re so glad you’ve all decided to come along on this journey with us. A formal post will be coming in just a little while, but we’ve got a whole lot planned for 2023.
For now, here’s a clue about the promo theme for next month:
A huge shout out to Damiel and Soren for all the love they poured into both this game and this community in their time as players, then as storytellers, and ultimately as producers. We wish them both the absolute best. <3
To Neritus who is going to roll his eyes at me for typing this, thank you for all the long nights of bug crushing and code-genius-ing that you do. Marra and I don’t know how you do it, but we’re in awe of you every day.
To the entire storytelling and volunteer coding team, both those currently with us and those who’ve moved on to other endeavors – Thank you for all the work you put into making Starmourn a rich and engaging world.
As we take our steps forward and into 2023, I’ve just got four more words for you –
We’ll see you there.