The Starmourn Blog

Looking Forward

By Eukelade | January 6, 2020 |
Press play on the future.

The new year is here, and Starmourn feels more refined and grown up by the day. The game has advanced in leaps and bounds from its fledgling beginnings to something that we all feel truly proud of. Not bad, for something that’s barely a year old as of this writing!

We hope that 2020 will be just as jam-packed with new features and events as 2019 was. The development team is full of ideas for the future of the game, defining a path for the coming year that will lead us out of open beta and into a full release. Keep reading for some peeks at what the team is most excited about and actively planning to work on and release in the coming year.

What’s Next?

Making a wish for our favorite features to be developed first!

Classleads are the first thing on our agenda – with hundreds of entries, we have a lot of work to do! And we heard you – the B.E.A.S.T. class in particular will be getting some major TLC. A new system for continued experience gain after level 75 will be implemented, giving us all exciting new goals to strive for.

On the PVE side of things, the main questline will be revisited in 2020, taking us further along the journey with Voxxi, Cassandra, the Ishvana, and all our old friends (and enemies). For roleplay, we are planning a major overhaul in the way Storytellers can interact with players, giving them a way to directly influence the directions of play and make the world seem rich and alive. Roleplay in general will continue to be a focus, with new tools and code specifically for enriching your experience and deepening your sense of immersion in an ongoing story of your own design.

Where will you stake your claim when colonization is released?

Also in 2020, we hope for our dreams of a colonization system to come to fruition. We are still in the planning stages, and don’t want to spoil any surprises, but this is already shaping up to be the biggest project of the year. The team is enthusiastic about making this feature the one that will change the face of Starmourn – and MUDs in general – in a huge way.

Ongoing, of course, will be further refinements to existing systems, plenty of player-driven events, class balancing, and bug squashing. We’d like to see further ways to work with our unofficial Discord community. We’re kicking around ideas for a new class! We’re even talking seriously about robot battles thanks to a player suggestion (you know who you are).

The features and events we’re planning for the coming year are putting stars in our eyes. We’re hopeful that you’re as excited about the future as we are, because we can’t do it without you. The stars are waiting, space travelers. We’ll see you out there!

Our First Year in Space

By Eukelade | January 4, 2020 |
Looking back on a year of adventure in the stars.

Starmourn’s first year as a publically accessible game in open beta has come and gone, and the months since December 17th, 2018 have whirled by in a blur of new features, squashed bugs, and player-focused roleplay events. 

At least the humans of Starmourn will always have this face.

By January 2019 we’d already fixed hundreds of bugs, done a pass on classes, and enabled a myriad of quality of life improvements to tradeskills, areas, the economy, cloning, and more. We’d also figured out what sort of movies humans managed to bring with them off that penal colony on Callisto – it’s thanks to Top Gun that the alien races of Starmourn know what aviator sunglasses are. 

Remember when retirement wasn’t an option for a second?

In February 2019, we started our first round of classleads and opened retirement for all. We performed a big overhaul to how ships function, making the whole shipforging system more fun and intuitive for players to use. February also saw the introduction of the Bounty Hunters and a bunch of new content, including the spooky, ancient halls of Tranquility Deepness and the corrupt laboratories of Wundishu Biotech.

Happy trails, Tecton – thanks for everything!

March 2019 was sad for all of us as we said farewell to our star quarterback and biggest contributor to Starmourn’s success, Justin Walsh (Tecton). We didn’t let that slow us down, though, introducing new content in the form of level-scaled hacking dungeons across the main faction cities, along with an overhaul to quest rewards. The economy and pvp continued to be refined and improved as well, and our first Storytellers were introduced to the game, cementing Starmourn’s continued focus on player-driven roleplay.

The Citadel of Hordes.
A discontented faction on Hororeon caused trouble for the new Lord Commander of the Song Dominion – but she proved equal to the threat.

In April 2019, a Ry’nari tribe revolted against the new Lord Commander of the Song Dominion, resulting in a shocking kidnapping, while elsewhere in the sector, whispers of a black market began to circulate among those less inclined to legality. Also in April, we welcomed our new producer, Ioan Sima (Ilyos), with open arms. An IRE vet of over a decade, Ilyos hit the ground running with a roadmap to the game’s future, changes to the game’s economy, and a finished set of classleads. 

At last, the spaceship of your dreams is possible with ship customization.

We were all about ship customization in May 2019 – with our new system, players were able to personalize their vessels for the first time, pimping them out with snazzy colors, patterns, hull shapes, and more.  We took another look at Cosmpiercers. We introduced the vehicle system for hoverbikes and speeders of all kinds. Let’s not forget the Cerebral Augment Chambers and faction missions, either – those were also new, as of May.

Kuda Shayato and his hostile Chrome Skulls were quickly dealt with thanks to the decisive actions of the playerbase.

In June 2019, the Bushraki living in Scatterhome’s Oldtown came under threat by a charismatic but unstable interloper. Players were heavily involved in influencing the direction of a plot which ended with the death of Chrome Skulls ganglord Kuda Shayato and the formation of a Bushraki colony on an Iota system asteroid. New Dikamazi swiftly became known for its odd fusion of organic and cybernetic plantlife.

Get your gear! There's a whole lot of worlds in our world...
Unveiling the joy of exploration and xenozoology.

Exploration was the name of the game in July of 2019. From the new xenozoology system cataloguing the animal life in the sector to the new wilderness zones filled with resources located throughout the game, players roamed everywhere this month. Not only were these new features introduced, we also ran the game’s first auction and finished up the player-driven plotline in New Dikamazi with the defeat of Tsake Shayato. Phew! It was a busy month!

Don’t get stage fright – just picture everyone in their underwear.

Everyone was a star in August of 2019 as the PERFORMANCE system was introduced, allowing players to sing, play instruments, form bands, and put on concerts. Naturally, this system was quickly taken advantage of by the game’s first music festival. Song on the Verge had a lineup of rockstars a lightyear long, with the Song City Hippies arriving as surprise, last minute guests. Pirate refineries were released in August, adding a new layer of depth and combat to space. We had our first Discord-hosted staff/player discussion in August, something our wonderful Discord moderator has continued to host for us every month or two.

We had a lot to learn in September!

September 2019 was the month we all went back to school. Along with two new tradeskills for players to learn – Mixology and Furnishings – we also introduced multiclassing.

Identities were hidden as the cultists of T’rath ran rampant through Litharge.

In October of 2019, a strange dynasty rose to prominence, aggressively recruiting members. The Congregation of T’rath, led by the fanatic, mysterious Shoko T’rath, began to spread a message throughout Litharge, urging citizens to take a stand against life extension technology which they saw as immoral. A violent terrorist attack saw the temporary closure of the cloning bay in the Celestine Crossings, and an appearance by H.E.T.E. representatives. Thanks to player actions, the leadership of the cult was soon rooted out, and the cult of death chased back to the shadows.

Hack the planet, Morty!

November 2019 was all about hacking. We increased the level cap for the skill, introduced the new HACKING CONTRACTS ability, and revealed FRAY Outsourcing, a mysterious enterprise hiring players to retrieve items of worth from corporations and businesses across the sector. Also in November was our much-talked-about Cosmpiercer revamp, and it lived up to the hype, deeply enriching the PVP element of Starmourn and giving all of us something to fight about.

Player enthusiasm was the fuel for our winter’s flame.

Hearts were warmed in December 2019 with our first Winterflame, a month-long event filled with winter-themed festivities. Players traveled to the festival grounds on Uycheon III, where they assisted with icehorn slaying, marshmallow roasting, ice skating, akbaz grooming, gift-giving, dung collecting, and more. The first Winterfest music festival was also a smashing success, headlined by Talking Tukkav. Another round of classleads was opened, netting us hundreds of responses to sort through and implement.

Looking Forward

See that? 2020 is dead ahead.

We hope you enjoyed this look back at 2019. Starmourn’s first year was a fantastic voyage of adventure and discovery. Together with the playerbase, we navigated uncharted space, and at the end of the year, we feel a lot more confident about what we’re able to accomplish as a team and where we’re headed next. It’s astonishing how far we’ve travelled, and we’re excited that the coming months look to be even more exciting and filled with fun! Stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll take a dive into our plans for the coming year. See you soon!

Discuss this post in our forums!

Celebrate Winterflame!

By Eukelade | December 1, 2019 |
The skies over Uycheon III’s Tosmar Mountains are especially crisp during Winterflame

Uycheon III is a cold and overcrowded place. The native Tukkav population has, by necessity, been forced into close contact with both each other and with other races, as their overpopulated planet has forced many of them to migrate off world. Many rituals and traditions have been created among Tukkav tribes related to growing closer and keeping the icy weather of their homeworld at bay. Most of these traditions revolve around sharing music, warmth, and companionship.

A snow fox from the Tosmar wildlife preserve

Five hundred years ago, a Tukkav by the name of Laus Koldain began a new tradition, which he called Winterflame (sometimes also called Winterhearth). The holiday was modeled after traditional Toof Circles, but with a decidedly more inclusive bent. Occuring once every quarter century, Winterflame is focused around togetherness, a way for Tukkav in all corners of the galaxy to extend their natural feelings of hospitality and warmth to non-Tukkav. This multi-racial holiday has become rather popular, with gift giving, story circles, and of course, drinking, as popular mainstays and traditions. Some of the few remaining wilderness areas on Uycheon III are even opened to outsiders to come and join in the festivities, even ones that are normally reserved for only Tukkav.

Tourists enjoy the festival grounds in the Tosmar Preserve

The philosophy of a ‘chosen family’ is a central component of Winterflame, with blood bonds (which are more celebrated in traditional Toof circles, and during the Ouran) being seen as less important than the ones that are consciously built and maintained. One of the common, easily recognized cultural images of the holiday is a group of unrelated individuals sitting around a mobile camp stove or electric heater (sales of these usually spike during the holiday.)

Common Winterflame phrases:

  • “Happy Hearthday”
  • “Happy Flameday.”
  • “Warm greetings.”
  • “Different planets, same family.”
The SS Ironbeard in orbit.

The SS Ironbeard

It seems even pirates take an interest in Winterflame. Nobody knows who captains the mysterious Ironbeard, but this enormous ship that flies the flag of the Iron Corsairs emerges from the pirate fleet every twenty five years to make its stately way around the galaxy. When it falls into orbit around a planet, it is always an ominous sight – surely, such an immense vessel would pack enough firepower to obliterate a civilization. Instead, however, the SS Ironbeard does nothing but discharge ordnance in the form of harmless gifts, delivered to lucky recipients on the planet’s surface.

So, Where Is It?

How do you get to Winterflame? Head to Omni Station and speak to Rohna Guzmas in the transport hub to get directions. Arrangements for transportation (courtesy of Araxi Lamentation) have been made from Omni to Tosmar for those that are generally unwelcome on Uycheon III. They’re still setting up the festival grounds on the Tosmar tundra, but new activities, treats, quests, and prizes will be added to the area all month, which means you’ll have to keep logging in to check out the updates and celebrate the festivities. Warm hearts and warm hearths, Starmourners. Happy Flameday!

Discuss this post in our forums.

Cosmpiercers: Fighting Each Other Ta-Deth

By Eukelade | November 11, 2019 |
A scientist researches a mysterious Cosmpiercer.

Cosmpiercers. These ancient sensor stations, created by the long-extinct Ta-Deth race, have been of interest to Y’saari researchers for years, to the point where the offered bounty for their capture and activation became a contentious divide among the factions.

Recently, the Y’saari Archaeological Institute for the Study of Elder Races (YAISER), exposed the Cosmpiercer station located in zone RS-6446 to a newly discovered mineral found in the deserts of Delphi. The resulting energy surge resulted in mass evacuations of all faction squadrons and platoons currently occupying the Cosmpiercers.

In the aftermath, YAISER put out a statement explaining that the Cosmpiercer stations were able to achieve unprecedented levels of energy when fueled by these strange crystals, which the Y’saari named after the race that built the Cosmpiercers.

A Ta-Deth mineral deposit

Ta-Deth Crystals

According to YAISER, Ta-Deth crystals can be found in planetary mineral deposits throughout the galaxy. Scientists theorize that the widespread nature of these crystals makes them an elemental component distributed throughout the stars when the galaxy was formed.

Deposits of crystals, when found in the wilderness, are used to power the Cosmpiercers, and in the aftermath of the energy surge, the three factions set up storage facilities to keep the refined crystals in stasis. A surge of exploratory activity has resulted from YAISER’s research – along with a surge of inter-faction conflict, as well, as exploration teams from all three factions often come to blows with each other over the crystal deposits.

But the increased energy output of Cosmpiercers seems to make them useful for more than just surveying the zone of space they’re in, and has given rise to a few pressing questions. Just who were the Ta-Deth, anyway? How did they build such long lasting sensor stations? What else might have survived from their culture, and how can we make use of it today? These questions are slowly being answered as the new, crystal-fueled capabilities of the Cosmpiercers becomes clear.

A human woman finds fascination in this powered Ta-Deth artifact.

Ta-Deth Artifacts and Cosmpiercer Powers

The Ta-Deth people valued permanence in their technology. In this long-lost culture, devices were not meant to have a limited lifespan, but survive for aeons, passed down from generation to generation. Though following this path logically meant a necessary sacrifice in the speed of upgrades and research advancements, the ‘technological arms race’ mentality so common to the modern world was not something that the Ta-Deth society indulged in.

Such is the quality of their legacy that there are plentiful amounts of Ta-Deth artifacts still in existence today, of which the Cosmpiercers are simply the largest and most visible example. Though Ta-Deth artifacts are beautiful, strange, and often made from precious metals and gems, they have long been considered useless, little better than collector’s items. Now, however, research is revealing that Ta-Deth artifacts are able to be activated when a Cosmpiercer has enough energy stored, resulting in advanced technological abilities long thought to be lost to time.

The factions have been quick to take advantage of this fact, and faction members can unlock access to Ta-Deth artifacts when they capture Cosmpiercers and keep them powered.

Stop right there, Celestine scum. This is Scatterhome territory!

On Your Mark, Get Set, Fight!

With the discovery of Ta-Deth crystals and their interaction with Cosmpiercers, factions have more reason than ever to do battle amongst each other for control of the ancient stations. The mineral deposits found in the wild places of the planets are a hot commodity, while the stations themselves are ripe for takeover from the occupying Ishvana forces.

Rest assured that the Y’saari are keeping a close eye on the use of the Cosmpiercers and artifacts, and will likely have fresh discoveries to reveal in the future as their research continues. In the meantime, good luck, Starmourners – may the best faction win!

Discuss Ta-Deth crystals on our forums.
Discuss the Cosmpiercer changes on our forums.
Learn more about the Ta-Deth race on our Wiki!

A Terminally Cool November

By Eukelade | November 1, 2019 |
Will you be the ghost in the machine?

October is over. The Congregation of T’rath has been chased back to the shadows – for now. It’s a new month, and the citizens of Starmourn have new things to pay attention to. For the development team, a new month means a new theme! 

Hey Starmourn, question for you: Who among you is mindlessly staring into space, doing nothing but breathing softly? Answer: All of us, because November’s theme is HACKING. That’s right, the hacking skill has been expanded. Hacking now has more levels, new ways to gain experience, a chance for you to get a limited-edition new minipet, new abilities, and a new, mysterious organization lurking in the background.

While we normally like bragging about every little detail of our new features, this month, we’re going to leave most of the changes to hacking a surprise for you to discover on your own. That said, there’s a few things you should probably know right now:

  • Hacking can now go up to level 21 (instead of being capped at Guru (19))
  • The ONLY way to gain hacking experience past 19 is to complete contracts. Completing contracts grants hacking xp anyway (and quite a lot of it at that) but to level past 19 nothing else will grant you hacking XP.
  • There is now a top hackers honors

Still, the best way to learn everything that’s new will be to log in and check out your hacking skill – maybe give a few of those new abilities a try, just to see what happens.

Maybe you’ll be pointed in the direction of someone in game who might know more?

The Worldbreaker’s Wheel

A new month means a new promotion, too. The Worldbreaker’s Wheel has new hacking-related prizes for you to collect – so get spinning! Remember, if you log in and play for at least an hour every day, you’ll get a free spin. For more spins and better chance at awesome rewards, we have star-stamped gaming tokens available here, under “Artifact Packages”. 100 credits gets you a spin token, too!

Among the prizes on offer, information specialists such as yourself might be particularly interested in:

  • FRAYSys Spiders – These mechanical, spider-like devices allow you to DOORJAM and completely lock a targeted door for 5 minutes. Think of the possibilities!
  • FRAY_OS Priority Contracts – Reduces the cooldown on CONTRACTS by 4 hours. What are contracts? Remember to check AB HACKING…
  • a modified IdentTech holoprojector – Ever had someone you were -really- interested in? The IdentTech holoprojector scrapes the commsphere with a sophisticated, smartsearch algorithm keyed to your target, collecting personal details and creating a lifelike projection of them so you can look at them all day long.
  • DRONE KILLER DELUXE – This bulky signal jammer was developed to stop synthetic life dead in its tracks. If you run into problems out there and need an emergency solution to a malfunctioning bot, or just want to deal with a pesky security drone giving you grief for some (totally unjustified!) reason, point this thing at them and see what happens.

Other items and artifacts available for winning from the Wheel:

  • ADH Enzyme Boosters
  • Digestion Regulators
  • Hacking Damage lvl 3
  • Hacking Ops lvl 3
  • Hacking Movement
  • No Rankings
  • Any of our already existing minipets
  • RoamTek tents
  • Novelty holocameras
  • Matter articulators

And more!

Starmourn’s got a lot of cities and they’re ALL filled with computers.

We hope you enjoy the new abilities, items, and treats we’ve prepared for you this month. This is an update that’s near and dear to the hearts of the devs, since we’ve all been hacking fans from the beginning.

Again, to learn more about the new changes to our wildly popular hacking minigame, you really need to log in and try them out yourself – we don’t want you to miss it! So get out there, everyone, and start interpreting galactic law in creative ways.

01010011 01100101 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110011 01101111 01101111 01101110 00100001 – <3

Discuss this post in our forums

Starmourn: On the Horizon

By Eukelade | October 18, 2019 |
What’s next for the Celestine Ascendancy, and for the galaxy as a whole?

Over the next month or two, you can expect big changes to come to the internet’s favorite science fiction text-based game. From roleplay events to PVP overhauls to new enhancements and talents to earn for play after level 75, we’re working hard to deliver new and better content to our playerbase. Keep reading to learn the details of what’s coming up in Starmourn!

The Congregation of T’rath

Hidden identities in an endless city.

Events are unfolding this October, and the cult of T’rath continues to spread its passionate message across the Sector. While players have been participating throughout the month, we will occasionally plan to run things on a larger scale to provide more grist for your roleplay.

As such, there is a recommended playing time scheduled for this coming Saturday, October 19th, at 4pm Server Time (eastern time). We won’t spoil any surprises, but if you log in around then, you’ll probably see or hear something!

Cosmpiercers and PVP Overhaul

Let Cosmpiercer conflict enrich your game experience…

We make no secret about the fact that we like conflict in our games – it can be fun to use your skills, hone your abilities, be competitive, and feel the adrenaline rush of a good fight – winning or losing. That’s why we’re spending a good chunk of our development time on Cosmpiercers, along with a new system for encouraging “land based” pvp to get people exploring and encountering one another out in the world.

Cosmpiercers will soon require a resource obtained from various planets in the game to maintain an active charge. Active Cosmpiercers allow factions who control them to unlock faction-wide bonuses and abilities.

Here’s a little preview of the various abilities you can look forward to playing with when this system finally drops! Please note that these features are in development, and subject to change as we continue testing!

  • SHIP ABILITIES
    • Gain the existing ‘cosmpiercer survey’ in any zone.
    • Random gatewarp from anywhere.
    • Temporary weapon boosts.
    • New ship maneuvers.
  • PERSONAL (ROOM CONTROL)
    • A short term room effect that turns all damage and subsys damage into healing.
    • A short term room effect that reflects all damage and subsys damage to the attacker.
    • Movement impairing effects
    • Healing abilities that affect everyone in the room.
  • PERSONAL (COMBAT/HUNTING)
    • Heals and subsystem heals
    • Cosmpiercer ability sapping for other players
  • PERSONAL (INFO/UTILITY)
    • Full diagnose
    • Mob sense
    • Check another player’s cosmpiercer ability status

Play after Level 75

The possibilities for post-75 play are as unlimited as space itself.

We’ve been in beta for awhile, and that means quite a lot of you are at your level cap already. While we love what that says about your passion for the game, we also know we want to keep giving you things to do in Starmourn to infinity and beyond.

We’re currently working on developing a system which will allow you to keep gaining experience after hitting the level cap. After hitting level 75, you’ll be able to accumulate experience which you can spend on a brand new talent tree.

The new talent tree features critical hit increases, a bartering skill that increases your junk value, a Galactic Diplomat talent which will decrease your quest cooldowns, and more! You’re sure to find something of value in it that will keep you interested and invested in play after level 75. To get a full preview of everything that will be available when development is complete, check out this forum post!

We’re shooting for the stars

The features and events we’ve described in this post only scratch the surface of what we’re talking about on the development team. We’re excited to start unveiling these things, and more, to you over the next couple of months. Stick around, because the fun is just beginning. See you all in space!

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