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  1. That’s right, it’s time! As you may be aware, we previously published a blog announcing our partnership with Immutable X to ensure we are laying the best possible foundations for Ember Sword and our community. We have many great reasons for this partnership — massive speed and responsiveness for transactions, increased accessibility, improved security, the ability to pay with a credit card, and more. Additionally, upon migration, badge holders will benefit from changing their ERC-1155 to non-fungible ERC-721, making each of them fully unique. All in all, this is another step towards making Ember Sword secure and, more importantly, accessible to as many people as possible. One of the main points of the previous announcement was that our current land and/or badge holders would need to migrate their NFTs from Polygon to Immutable X. After a lot of optimizing and setting up processes, as you can probably guess by the title, it’s time for you to learn how to do just that! To give our invested community time to prepare for the transfer process, we are posting this guide in advance. The migration process will become available on June 8th. Reward Program DetailsWe here at Ember Sword, alongside Immutable X, have created a rewards program as a way to give you a little token of our appreciation. Here’s how this is going to work — we have set aside a pool of 20,000 IMX tokens. Users will be rewarded with 1 IMX token per asset transferred. These tokens will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last. Simple, right? This method was chosen due to how uncomplicated it is, while also making sure that a broad range of people can benefit from it. To do that, we have put in place a cap of 150 IMX tokens per person in order to ensure as many people as possible get a chance to partake in the reward program. Do be aware that we would never ask for your password or keys, nor would we ever communicate with asset holders outside of our official channels. Exercise due diligence in all matters related to your Ember Sword assets. To stay up-to-date on any security concerns, consider joining our Discord, where we frequently update our community on things to watch out for. With all that said, let’s see exactly how the migration process works. The Migration ProcessTo make migrating from Polygon to Immutable X as easy as we could, we have made it possible to complete migration without ever having to leave our website. We have also created a handy video tutorial (alongside the text one below), which you can watch at this link. Step 1 — log into your Ember Sword account. If you do not have an account yet (say you’ve bought your land/badge on the secondary market), you can register here. Once you’ve successfully logged in, you will be taken to Step 2 — Connecting your digital wallet. We are using MetaMask here as an example, however please note that most Web3 compatible wallets should work. We have run tests with multiple ones to make sure of that, including the likes of Coinbase hot wallet and Nano Ledger. Step 3 — Connect Immutable X to your Web3 wallet and confirm the switch. Click on “Switch network”, which will start Step 4 — Transferring your Polygon assets to Immutable X. The process will confirm which assets you have in your wallet. You will again have a MetaMask pop-up, prompting you to allow the addition of a network to your MetaMask account (with the same example parameters as above). Click “Approve” and then “Switch network”. The transfer will incur some gas fees, which will be shown in the next pop-up. The gas fees are part of the transfer, as you’re migrating networks. Upon confirmation, the migration will begin. Your transfer is now in progress. Upon its completion (which can take between several seconds and a few minutes), you will be notified via email if the transfer has been successful. At this point, you can safely exit the transfer browser window. And that’s it! You have successfully migrated your Ember Sword NFTs to Immutable X. Once again, the process goes live on the 8th of June. To stay up-to-date on all things Ember Sword, make sure to follow us on our socials and join our Discord. Ember Sword — Immutable X Migration was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  2. https://medium.com/media/9de69e5c07a851c9b00d836d24e099e6/hrefJune is going to be quite the month! Starting on the 1st, we will be running a series of competitions on our social media platforms. We’re giving away 20 land plots in total! We didn’t want it to just be a random assortment of challenges, though, so there’s an overarching theme — Ember Sword’s World! Each competition is rooted in some aspect of the universe of our game, and a lot of them are about your interpretation of it. After all, what would Thanabus be without its citizens? As such, we have made them as accessible as possible, with a diverse array of challenges designed for every skill level. Competitions OverviewRaffleAt the core of our month-long competition sits the raffle, running from 1st to the 30th. We will have a special site set up with a whole list of tasks that you need to complete. Completing those tasks earns you tickets, which increase your chances of becoming one of the 12 winners receiving 1 land plot in Solarwood. Keep an eye on our socials for the link to that site, set to go live on the 1st of June. CompetitionsEach of the competitions listed below will have its own tickets for the raffle. This means, the more competitions you participate in, the bigger the chance to win a land plot! Each competition and its details will be announced on our socials and you can discuss it on our Discord. The competitions are as follows: Competition 1Running: June 2nd — June 9thTickets for the raffle: 202 winners winning 1 land plot eachCompetition 2Running: June 9th — June 16thTickets for the raffle: 202 winners winning 1 land plot eachCompetition 3Running: June 16th — June 23rdTickets for the raffle: 202 winners winning 1 land plot eachCompetition 4Running: June 23rd — June 30thTickets for the raffle: 202 winners winning 1 land plot eachAs mentioned, additional details on these competitions will be made available once they go live, so keep an eye on our socials for more information. In the meantime, consider listening to our Lorecasts for inspiration, catch up on our nations and short stories here and keep track of how the competition is going on our Discord. Ember Sword’s June 2022 Competition was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  3. As you might have seen on our Discord channel , we are planning on doing a series of technical tests with select members of our community starting in early April. Let’s get into it! Who is eligible to participate?Invites have been sent to our community members who currently own in-game land and/or are badge holders. If you have purchased land or badges on secondary marketplaces, please make sure you have signed up for an Ember Sword account in order to receive communications regarding the test. Basically, if you own a badge and/or land at the time of testing, you have a chance to test Ember Sword! Those eligible will be able to participate in three rounds of testing, which will run over the course of the month of April. And just so you know how much we appreciate all of you — community members who are not selected for this technical test will still get a chance to participate in testing the game at a later stage. More on this, as always, will be posted to our socials in due time. What exactly is a technical test?For those who have not participated in a technical test before, let us help you to understand what to expect, shall we? It is very important to note that the technical test is not in any way a finished version of the game. Like many other similar tests, its purpose is to examine various systems (such as online connectivity), see if there are any large scale bugs, gauge the need for further optimization, etc. There will be a limited play area and selected gameplay loops for testers to tinker around with. In other words, the test will be a small sample of what is to come over the next several stages of development for our game. What do I need to do to participate in the test?You will need a verified Ember Sword account (verified meaning activated via email after signing up).You will need to connect your digital wallet, done through the account page on our website.You need to have a badge or land plot in your wallet at the time of logging into the test.Once you have these credentials, you will be able to receive the communications necessary to enter the game. Those will take the form of a notification on our website, visible once you’ve logged into your account and are able to participate in the test. Said notification will go live close to the tech test itself.Please be aware of scams and fake accounts when purchasing land or badges. Only marketplaces with the verified marks should be trusted. Do your own research. If you do not have an Ember Sword account, you can register one on our website. We do recommend connecting your digital wallet to your Ember Sword account as well, so you are ready to go once the test starts. How will we gather feedback?As mentioned above, we will be predominantly testing systems and game foundations in this technical test. What that means is the feedback we will be collecting will mostly be derived from data generated by players during the testing sessions. However, we understand that the testers will most likely spot things that we haven’t. That’s why we will have a dedicated feedback channel on our Discord, launching close to the tests. When do the technical tests start?Testers will get three opportunities to participate in the testing. They will be placed in a queue on a first come, first serve basis. We chose that approach to ensure the stability of the test, as well as to make gathering data possible in a controlled environment. The planned testing windows are: Test 1 — April 4th-8th Test 2 — April 18–19th Test 3 — April 25th We will be conducting live streams during each round of testing. Those will be hosted by our very own team of Thor and Svetlin. The first stream will take place on April 4th at 13:00 CET over at our Twitch channel. The streams to follow will be announced on our socials. Will I be able to play the entire game?No. Technical tests are restricted to certain areas of the game and will only include a series of gameplay loops to tinker around with the ultimate goal being to gather data on the various systems underpinning Ember Sword. Will the graphics in the game be finalized?No. Typically at this pre-alpha stage in testing and development, graphics and artwork will not be their final, polished version, owing to the nature and purpose of the test. And that about wraps it up! We really appreciate everybody’s continued interest in the development of Ember Sword and we are super grateful to those among you who are going to help us test the game in these early stages. As always, to stay up-to-date on all things Ember Sword, make sure to follow us on our socials: Twitter — https://twitter.com/playembersword Instagram — https://www.instagram.com/officialembersword Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/PlayEmberSword Reddit — https://www.reddit.com/r/EmberSword About Ember Sword Ember Sword is a Free-to-Play Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game (MMORPG) taking place in a player-driven dystopian sci-fantasy universe with a classless and fast-paced combat system. You will be able to create a character, pick a home nation, and venture into the mysterious world with your weapon of choice to prove your worth in the action-packed classless combat system by defeating monsters, bosses, and other players, or explore the world as a peaceful forager of goods and rares, making a name for yourself as a talented refiner and craftsman. About Bright Star Studios Bright Star Studios is a passionate team of Award-Winning Venture Founders. Born from former pro-players, world champions, game industry veterans and MMO fanatics, Bright Star Studios is carving a new path for MMORPGs through a modern rewrite of the games industry economy, designed in favor of its empowered player community. Ember Sword’s First Pre-Alpha Technical Test — The Details was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  4. https://medium.com/media/00383b2d3ec4482849a9ab6f955a52c0/hrefThe end of the year is fast approaching and it has put me in a reflective mood. See, I’m old school — I’ve been in the gaming sphere for a long time and I’ve witnessed the culture of gaming shift multiple times. I wanted to pen this article to offer my perspective on that culture — the unique experiences, the importance of accomplishment, and the value that games can offer to the player, as well as the developer. These concepts and my background serve as one of the pillars of Ember Sword, and through this article I hope to shed light on just where I (and by extension the team), am coming from. Let’s start at the beginning. There have been many pivotal moments in gaming: evolving from text-based games to graphics, upgrading modems to broadband to high-speed internet, and even the emergence of VR technology. We’ve come a long way with all our various breakthroughs in the last 50 years — be it in game design, style, genre, or production quality. Videogames have brought us all a great deal and most of all, they have brought us together in ways none of us could have imagined when we started on this amazing life-long journey that is being a gamer. The End Of Shared Experiences?But the one thing that hasn’t changed — that won’t change no matter what technological boundaries we cross and how far we go — is the very simple, very human fact that games have inherent value to us as individuals. Each game we play shapes us in some small way, and provides us with the endless entertainment that we all seek and cherish. Then we’ve got the bigger games, which not only define us as individual gamers, but frame and define entire generations and genres. The value in games is a very personal thing, but also a universal one, as all players have their own individual experiences and take away something unique. Furthermore, these experiences also connect everyone who’s played the same games. For example, we’ve all talked to our friends about difficult levels, glorious achievements, and feats of skill; sharing individual experiences has been bringing us together all this time. And with Massively Multiplayer Online Games, that connection is amplified, it’s much more real and explicit, and the opportunities to create and manifest that inherent value and make it “real” are truly vast. But unfortunately, many games have decided to become less and less social in order to attract solo gamers. This, in turn, alienated the social players, turning MMOs into almost anti-social games, which is quite ironic given the “Massively Multiplayer’’ name. If we continue to alienate these players, we could be witnessing the death of a playstyle and a possible end of an era — not to mention taking away the chance for a new and potentially even greater era to take off. We cannot let this inherent value that lays at the heart of the gaming experience die. For at the end of the day, it’s one of the core reasons and motivations drawing us to games time and time again. It’s the fabric that underpins gaming and social experiences — and it must and should be protected. The Power Of Real Accomplishment“Effort in games isn’t something that should be shunned. Appealing to the lowest common denominator shouldn’t be your strategy…”Time and effort used to be valued differently in video games. Where in the past players paid a one-time fee for a game they could “get lost in” and spend countless hours exploring and building out their own legend… This slowly turned into our time being broken down and monetized by the second. Some of these games have become “pay to play” or even worse, “pay to win”, more akin to the experience of a slot machine than an actual game. Effort in games isn’t something that should be shunned or exploited. Appealing to the lowest common denominator shouldn’t be your strategy, it should be to nurture and mold the effort players want to put into your game. To put it simply: players should be left with something they feel rewarded and fulfilled by: an accomplishment. A real accomplishment. NOT some silly text popping up to inform you that you just reached level 20 — because everyone does that, it’s not a real achievement, it’s a simple and archaic way of trying to trick players into feeling that sense of accomplishment. Why do players love to sit and play Dungeons and Dragons for hours and hours? Or First Person Shooters like Counter-Strike, or any type of MMORPG where players have been known to sit and play for more hours than is healthy? It’s the sense of accomplishment in a field where you are not judged for who you are as a person, how you look, what you think — that whole part of the ego is taken out of it, and instead only a pure sense of accomplishment and competitiveness becomes the driving factor. We all like to do well, we all want to succeed and learn to be better. Games give us that option, to dive into a world where you can be anyone and anything — no matter who you are, what your social standing is, or even which disability you may have, you can become a legend in the history books of gaming. “It’s the sense of accomplishment in a field where you are not judged for who you are as a person, how you look, what you think…”The Value And Pitfalls Of CollectiblesGames have inherent value. They’ve always had it. It comes from the effort and time put in by the players themselves. It can be compared to collecting art or Pokémon cards — the value attributed to the art piece or the cards is whatever the people interested in these decide it is. You can trade your Pokémon cards with your friends, give them away, sell them, get more by buying some or by playing tournaments, or whatever the case may be. The art collector loves art and collects the type they like, sells it and trades it, exhibits it for the others to enjoy. The intent and demand are the same for games — the only difference is that there’s a lot more gamers willing to spend money on their hobby than there’ll ever be art collectors and similar. “Games build culture, it’s a crucial part of the inherent value they possess, stemming from the fact that games are a shared social experience.”See NFTs as Pokémon cards and Cryptocurrencies as Jewels in a Mobile Game, or whichever premium currency a game uses. Now, the only difference here is that blockchain technology enables us, the users, to easily trade these jewels and Pokémon cards. We could already trade them before on black markets, but now we can trade them freely through a technology that severely hinders fraud. Many have been oblivious to the fact that games possess an inherent value, mostly because almost all of these digital item trades happen on underground black markets, ripe with fraud and unregulated behavior. Most gamers who have indulged in trading items have probably experienced being scammed. It’s currently a major issue in all digital item trading that doesn’t happen on a blockchain. Now, on the blockchain, a trade or purchase doesn’t need a middle man. In a trustless system, this part is secure and as a buyer you just have to make sure that what you’re buying is actually what you want. However, this isn’t to say that blockchain technology is free of scammers either — wherever there’s money to be made, people will try to game the system. It’s just less likely to happen because the blockchain itself is secure. Games build culture — it’s a crucial part of the inherent value they possess and stems from the fact that games are a shared social experience. A culture arises and is built from it, and more importantly, plays a part in shaping your culture as an individual. All the different genres of games ebb and flow between and around one another, building out a shared existential landscape that transcends their existence as “just” games. That landscape is in danger of losing its value if we continue on the path of combining gambling and gaming by using predatory monetization, aggressive microtransactions, or gated content through cash shops and slot-machine loot boxes. And even worse, some companies have gone as far as to invest millions in creating systems whose only goal is to trick you into spending, by giving you an artificial experience specifically designed to manipulate you into purchasing one or more of their products. In the past, games were a novelty to gather around and celebrate, that was their core value. And although they’re not news anymore, we have the chance to recapture what’s lost. For what lies at the center of that value? The community. The culture. With play to earn and blockchain, we’re witnessing a renaissance in gaming, recovering what we once had: a community sharing cultural values, something that many of us have been wanting for a long time now. This is something that should be celebrated, not undervalued. Because there is a real chance to revive a feeling that has almost become a myth and legend by this point. Cash Grabs vs. Sharing ValueWhy haven’t publishers and developers embraced item trading earlier? The number one reason has always been money. The developers and publishers don’t profit from secondary market transactions. Therefore, their mission will always be to grab a bigger slice through some form of cash-shop, something where they can keep selling and you can keep buying things you won’t truly own. Things they can always duplicate and have duplicated in the past, devaluating not just your experience but also your purchases. And once purchased, if you try to trade these things, you could very well be severely sanctioned. Companies have gone as far as disabling, banning and outright deleting accounts and people’s items, time, and effort. This is one of the core tenants that blockchain fixes: the ability to monetize trades after a sale, a realization that gives companies a way to earn without having to push DLCs, new releases, gated content, or cash-shop packages all the time. Instead, it enables them to focus truly and exclusively on making their game as fun as possible. In a decentralized system, there’s no physical middleman, no central component, no one that has to go first in a peer-to-peer trade. You can safely and securely trade any NFT item through various marketplaces, and the blockchain takes care of the verification and transfer process. Older, more archaic systems that are filled with scams, fraud, chargebacks, disputes, etc., can now be replaced and boosted with blockchain secured technologies. A milestone in combating online fraud. Said fraud is a big problem in video games specifically, and another reason developers and publishers have not empowered their users with free item trading. Unfortunately, with the continuous rise of video games, ID theft has concurrently been rising since 2015 as well. And we’re not talking mere millions of dollars here, it’s hundreds of millions to billions — that’s how much value lies in the power of game economies. And this isn’t just today either, it was yesterday, last year, a decade ago. But if you’ve never looked at it closely, you’ve never been able to see the countless communities, forums and local gamer clubs where loved ones, families, friends, and like-minded people band together to buy, sell, or trade within their favorite games — despite the dangers and risk of losing everything. There are plenty of headline fairytale stories of hard-working couples earning enough money through trading digital items to buy themselves a house. How is this a bad thing? How would it ever be a bad thing to have the actual users participate in the profit? The actual players — the ones who help generate the buzz, help generate the hype, help build the communities, and mold the metagame. Why aren’t they allowed to also participate in the economy? Why should it only be the big behemoth companies, the towering goliath entities that sit on top of everything and everyone — why should they be the ones raking in all the value when a lot of that value belongs to the players to begin with. Why not share it, build on it, democratize the game economy in favor of the user, in order for us all, together, to gain something from the effort we put into doing what we love. Allowing players to participate in a game economy directly increases their “buy-in” and investment into that game. This also fosters a more deeply felt loyalty and commitment towards a game. It becomes whole, rather than half-hearted, and as we know “a rising tide lifts all boats” — a saying that beautifully paints the concept of play-to-earn. When we enable blockchain technology and smart contracts to act as the ‘middleman’ and build an economic construct with a focus on driving value to its users, even the big goliaths, the huge behemoth corporations, will see their opportunity. Because they’re then no longer limited to the revenues from the primary sale of an asset and instead gain access to the royalties accrued on secondary markets. This can be further cycled through the player base, turning it into a perpetual revenue system. It’s a model where everyone wins, no one has to cheat, and where all our boats rise with the tide. Video Games Are Transcending, The Future Is Now.The nature of trading digital items — whether it’s trading gold coins or taking out your harddrive to give your favorite game avatar to a friend — is the very notion of play-to-earn, a concept recently coined with the rise of blockchain games such as Axie Infinity. This concept allows developers to harness the power of what were previously considered negative issues in games such as gold farming — a notorious problem, especially in MMORPGs. In World of Warcraft, for example, billions of dollars have been made and bankers have left their cozy jobs to make sweatshops in third world countries, where the workers are grinding and toiling away for a fraction of the earnings. “We have a real chance to introduce a new system which transcends gaming…”There are many realizations to be had here. First off, these sweatshop workers, surprisingly, receive a higher percentage of sale revenue from farming gold than farmers of fair trade coffee. Furthermore, the prospect of gold farming as a tool for socio-economic development has already been raised by the United Kingdom’s department of International Development, in a report discussing how to convert the virtual economies into development potential. Among the games that harness the potential of play-to-earn is, of course, Ember Sword. Our plan, as we’ve stated before, is to release digital cosmetic collectibles in-game every month, which players then find while gaming their way through fun adventures and experiences. By allowing players to earn actually valuable collectibles through gameplay, you reduce the need and desire to partake in exploitative ventures such as ‘’gold farming’’, as simply playing the game and having fun would prove a lot more profitable in the long run. There’s so much potential in games, and blockchain technology is the perfect match made in heaven to realize this potential. And not just to drive forward the industry in ways we’ve never seen before, but also to truly make a difference across the globe — a difference that matters, in the comfort of a fair, transparent and open system. We have a real chance to introduce a system that transcends gaming, a system that captures and expresses the inherent value we, as old-school gamers, always knew existed and meant something… special. The value of friendship, the value of love, the value of sharing something you enjoy with others who feel the same, the act of being together, to express oneself in the purest form there is. And we’re almost there. The Inherent Value of Games and Where It’s All Heading. was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  5. Well, the cat’s out of the bag. As you can see from the title and our joint press release with Immutable, we’re moving to Immutable X, an important and exciting step for the future of Ember Sword, which will allow us to continue to scale smoothly as we reach the next stage of our journey. That means this post is a bit more technical than usual, owing to the nature of the topic, but we’ve made it as accessible as we can. Strap in. Our journey thus farOver the past three years we’ve watched Ember Sword grow from just a concept to one of the most hotly anticipated releases in the blockchain gaming space. It has taken a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this point. Dedication both from us and you — our lovely and awesome community who continue to surpass our expectations at every turn thus far. The most recent, record-breaking success achieved by you guys were our land sales, which we conducted on Polygon. Polygon (MATIC) has, thus far, served us valiantly, however the ride hasn’t always been a perfectly smooth one, and given what we know is yet to come, we felt the need to take some radical decisions to ensure we can continue to build out Ember Sword to its maximum potential. Introducing Immutable XWe’ve chosen to move from Polygon to Immutable X for a variety of reasons, chief among them being a need for scalability and a desire to tie into the Ethereum ecosystem more tightly. After a lot of research, Immutable X was identified as the solution best suited to our needs. Immutable X is the leading Layer 2 scaling solution for NFTs which enables gas-free minting and trading, while not compromising the security of the most used blockchain globally for NFTs — Ethereum. Powered by StarkWare’s innovative technology, it offers instant trade confirmation, massive scalability, and a streamlined user experience. Let’s take a look at what this means for our community. Why we are partnering with Immutable XBy making the switch over to Immutable we’ll be able to offer a broad range of new features and capabilities, some immediately and others in the near future, that we believe will be instrumental in the continued success of Ember Sword. So, let’s have a look at exactly what kind of capabilities we’re talking about. There are quite a lot, but we’ll take a look at the most major and significant additions. Massive speed and responsiveness Once we’ve migrated to Immutable X, we will immediately be able to benefit from not only its massive transaction capacity, but also its extremely rapid transactions, allowing minting and trading with confirmation times in the 100’s of milliseconds, eliminating annoying waiting time.Increased accessibility In the near future, we expect to be able to offer a custodial wallet solution on top of Immutable X for those that don’t have a crypto wallet installed in their browser yet, making it easier than ever to own Collectibles in Ember Sword.Pay with credit card In future, we want to make the purchasing process more streamlined, especially for smaller transactions, making it possible to buy Land and Collectibles using regular fiat currency (i.e. your credit card). This would also put an end to the massive gas fees associated with buying and swapping crypto on mainnet, which often exceed the cost of buying, for example, a single, regular land. Switching to Immutable X is the first step in our plan to solve this challenge for good!No need to hold tokens to pay for gas Since Immutable X is a gasless protocol, there will be no more need to stock up on MATIC before every event, sale or transaction, making life that much easier, especially for the not so experienced blockchain users.Improved security The layer-2 solution by Immutable is powered by StarkWare, who are trailblazers in this space. Without getting too technical, we will essentially be tied directly to Ethereum, with all the proof of transactions being posted to Ethereum on a continuous basis. This essentially translates to having all of the security of Ethereum, while retaining the massive speed and responsiveness we need to deliver a satisfactory game experience.Now, let’s see what kind of effect this will have on things which are already put in motion. Effects on timeline & existing NFTsTimelineFear not, this change will not bring too many significant alterations to our timeline or existing NFTs. Here is the breakdown. Due to the work necessary to properly implement Immutable X and make sure everything is working fine, we will need to push back our Pre-Alpha test to Q1 of 2022. Furthermore, similarly, the next land sale will also be taking place around the same time period. However, we don’t believe our Alpha timing, which is currently planned towards the end of Q2 2022, will be affected. Existing NFTsIf you have purchased any land or badges, this change does not affect the ownership or value of your NFTs. The only difference is that, at a later point, you will have to migrate your NFTs from Polygon to Immutable X to actually be able to use them ingame. Don’t fret, the process of doing so is straightforward and easy as can be. Expect more news & instruction and how to do so in a blogpost down the line, which will explain the process in detail. And that about covers everything. We hope you’re just as excited about the Immutable X partnership as we are. This announcement spells nothing but bigger and better things for Ember Sword and the community. We feel that we are now closer than ever to leaving a permanent mark on the MMO space in changing the status quo for the better and in-line with our core beliefs and values. Thank you for being a part of this journey! We’ll see you in the next one. Immutable X Partnership was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  6. By Samuel Horton, Narrative Designer 3214The young man scaled the final step leading to the uppermost deck and stopped to catch his breath. Growing up on a mountain gave him an affinity to climbing, though these endless staircases on cruisers tested even him. After ten hours of abusing his feet by walking on linoleum tiling with the soles of his shoes missing, the hallway’s soft red carpet was a welcoming sight. Enjoying the sensation of these new steps, he moved forward, glancing hopefully into the compartments. They appeared cozy enough — sans the territorial glances returned by their upper-class occupants. The young man’s hope for finding a reprieve from economy-class voyaging nearly ran its course, until he found one unoccupied compartment at the end of the hallway. No sooner had the young man entered through the automated sliding door that he came to a halt. Never in his nineteen years had he — a long-haired vagrant in ratty clothes — felt so out-of-place as he did in this compartment. It came loaded with a full bar featuring liquors fermented on every inhabited world across the Solar System. The seats were cream-colored and comprised of a rich leather that accentuated their curves and firmness. Most striking, however, was the navy blue carpet featuring the golden seal of Pangaea. The young man walked to a seat directly next to the window and lowered himself down. He leaned his neck against the cushion and savored the soft and chilling sensation. He looked out the window, which provided an excellent vantage of cruisers and ferries, while smaller craft maneuvered in between. “Mr. Governor! You keep looking better and better!” A booming, jovial voice sounded. Startled, the young man jumped to his feet, to see a middle-aged man, bearded and with long frizzy blond hair, grinning at him from the doorway, with a sub sandwich in hand. He was accompanied by a younger, taller companion with jet-black hair who intensely eyeballed the vagrant traveler. A guard wearing all black forced himself into the room. “Apologies, Mr. Governor. Alright, kid, fun’s over; back to economy class with you,” the guard ordered, ushering with his thumb. “Easy, Wizer!” The Governor said, motioning with his fingers. “We’ll otherwise never know what we would have missed.” Wizer licked his lips in frustration and turned halfway, reluctant to break eye contact with the young man. He stomped past by his superiors and rounded the corner. The Governor looked back and smiled at the young man while making his way into the room, with his companion following close behind. The two men seated themselves around the young man, with the Governor across from him and the other to his immediate left. With a reassuring nod from the Governor, the young man took his seat. “Our fashionable friend out there is not so much in the business of earning constituents. You, on the other hand, are our intruder of honor. This is Dr. Alastair Burkhalter, Director of the Nicholson Astronomical Foundation,” the Governor said, motioning toward his companion. “I’m Colonial Governor Beau Abel of Ganymede. Sandwich?” “I’m set, thank you,” the young man, replied. “Arch Claudius.” “I wouldn’t have guessed a name like that, hailing from Mars and all,” Abel said, nodding at a metal band lining Claudius’ collar. “I’d recognize a Tropospheric Compensator anywhere — having seen millions strapped to high-altitude passers, growing up in New Dalles, at the base of Olympus Mons… ‘Arch Claudius’ — where are all the Ks and Ys smashed together with our patchwork naming conventions? Though, who are we to talk, eh, Dr. Burkhalter?” “All Martian, yet esoteric at best,” Burkhalter mused, holding out his canteen. Abel smiled and reached his sandwich out. They tapped their food and drink in cheers, followed by the two of them eating and drinking, respectively. Burkhalter looked at Claudius and gulped. “Just prior to dinner, I reacquainted Beau here with a theory tumbling us down a rabbit hole opposite from the anodyne riddle of why there are disparities between Mars and Io,” Burkhalter proclaimed, as he took another swig from his canteen. “Alastair,” Abel spoke, holding his wrist up to hide the mouthful of food. “Doesn’t it look like the lad’s suffered enough, without you murdering him with boredom before we even reach the damned moon?” “People are concerned about being offended, when we don’t even have a beginning pinpointed deserving such nostalgic zealotry!” Burkhalter exclaimed, glaring between Abel and Claudius. “We are so perturbed by the differences between the humans from Io and the ones from Mars — once vastly different cultures, hundreds of years apart in most every regard, as if one was sired and the other was prodigal. Yet — behold — one species on two worlds, with no beginning. Yet, I believe the nature of our genesis is akin to today’s destination.” “You believe we’re from Thanabus?” Claudius asked. “I said ‘akin’, didn’t I? No; I believe we’re not from Mars, Io — or even any dot we can see in the night sky, for that matter. Like Thanabus, we’re from another place, lost to either space or time,” Burkhalter said, staring out the window. “That’s not what my father believes,” Claudius declared, monitoring Burkhalter’s visible disappointment. “He believes that because the Solar System is composed of the same 118 elements, humans arising on different worlds was inevitable — that we were maybe a little different at first, but years of breeding brought us to a middle-ground.” “Your father sounds exceptional…” Burkhalter trailed off, catching a subtle headshake from Abel. Burkhalter leaned forward and rubbed his nose and eyebrows with one hand, eager to brush away whatever I.Q.-diminishing contagions Claudius may have been carrying. He looked back at Claudius with a plastic smile. “What else?” “He also doubts the truth behind our trajectory. It does challenge credulity, doesn’t it? We direct thirty generations of effort into supposedly terraforming Ganymede, yet a measly fifteen of shooting particulates into Thanabus turns it into a jungle? You have to think!” Claudius exclaimed, pointing at his head. “Arch?” Claudius looked at Abel, who had a finger subtly pointing toward the window. Claudius followed it and his jaw dropped. At the forefront was Ganymede, partially covered in an atmosphere of gray clouds. Outstanding flashes permeated across the moon, as lightning discharged from the energy dispersed. Moving ominously through the skies — violently ejecting particulates and raking clouds with great hooklike appendages — were Skyders. From that face of Ganymede alone, Claudius could count no less than six of these great machines resembling arachnids. “That dark patch, just south of the equator? That’s Nicholson Regio,” Burkhalter sullenly pointed out. “It’s where we were will operate from. Make no mistake — Thanabus is fascinating, yet Ganymede remains the end game and we will relocate the colony there, once the process is completed.” Claudius turned toward Burkhalter, only to see his robes whip around the corner as he exited into the hallway. Claudius looked sheepishly at Abel, who smiled back at him. “A strong will may distinguish you, though it runs the risk of ruffling feathers,” Abel sighed. “Hearing your father’s beliefs is stimulating and uncomfortable. Yet, it would be remiss of me to not hear your own thoughts. You do, after all, have a functional brain, I’ve been led to believe.” “Unlike my father, who dwells on what might not be seen, I believe in only what I see,” Claudius said. “What I believe in now is Ganymede.” “You believe in the concrete,” Abel said with a nod. “It enables you to trust the things you know. Yet… you know so little, therefore you trust so little. Unlike your father, who is a conspiracy theorist — sufferable man, I’m sure — you’re a skeptic. When you see a mountain, you can’t fully believe it has another side.” Claudius shared an intense stare with Abel. He had always hated being analyzed while growing up. More so, he held those who deciphered his ethos in the highest contempt, for they made him feel vulnerable. However, from this budding respect blossoming between Abel and himself, Claudius foresaw it becoming a mutual understanding — perhaps even the beginning of a friendship. He wanted to be able to read people too, so he could know how to be unreadable himself. He wanted to learn what it meant to be led, so he too could see others in that very position. Abel looked out the window and asked, “What else do you believe in, Arch?” Claudius followed Abel’s gaze once more. A moon, noticeably smaller than Ganymede, emerged from its tidally-locked twin. Most of this world was covered in lush green, from copious amounts of flora, with serene blue seas and ample cloud coverage. A significant patch of terrain near its southern pole appeared yellow — a hot desert. Dots of lights were already scattered throughout the forest in the northern hemisphere. Never in his life had Claudius seen a world so majestic and untapped as Thanabus. “I believe in myself,” Claudius answered. 3216“Accompanying today’s ribbon-cutting, I am pleased to announce that Governor Abel has authorized the immediate utilization of Apsis Observatory, for continuing our ‘search for extraterrestrial intelligence’ efforts. Our first point of interest is KIC 846285 — or, as we like to call it, the ‘WTF star’!” Burkhalter chuckled, with a few others joining him. “I will be taking questions now.” Claudius pinched his fingers together, causing the perspective of Burkhalter’s press conference on the holographic table to zoom out. It was a humble spectacle, the squat Apsis Observatory standing behind Burkhalter, with twenty or so journalists gathered. Even with the scene being caked in a pixelated blue hue, the observatory had an overt copper luster — an archaic design, with its opulence outweighing its humility. “Dr. Burkhalter, why was eastern Ediseau designated for this project?” A red-haired journalist asked. “You mean ‘Solarwood’?” “Sure. Wouldn’t something closer to Anchorage have been more convenient? Or, perhaps a dry climate closer to the equator — say northern Duskeron?” “Thank you, Shel. Anchorage is the capital; everything’s caked in light and Pangaea has yet to withdraw the Skyder — nobody’s seeing past that beast! Though deserts are typically ideal for observatories, Duskeron’s become somewhat of a de facto trade route — we didn’t want to get bogged down by potential disruption from freighters or synthetic assistants. But, zoning’s minimal and light pollution’s non-existent here. As such, it’s where the Nicholson Astronomical Foundation makes its stand,” Burkhalter proclaimed, as he simultaneously pointed at a blond-haired young man. “About KIC 846285, don’t you feel like that well’s run dry? It’s a unique anomaly that could be anything, but it was first observed… uh… 953 years ago — with no response to date. Isn’t it time we look elsewhere?” The journalist asked. “Magnus, if it ran dry, then why does it continue onward after a thousand years?” Burkhalter retorted. Click. With the press of a button, the projection dissolved. Claudius picked up his glass of scotch and took a sip as he paced around the circular table, passing Abel who idly swished around the contents of his own glass. Claudius had come to model his appearance after his employer, from the fine maroon dress coat to the frivolous, purely ornamental gold amenities worn around his person. “You wear tension well, kid. But, sometimes you’re all knots,” Abel said. His chuckle echoed in his glass as he took a swig of scotch. “Surprised?” Claudius bitterly retorted, as he made his way toward the Governor’s bookshelf. “Nobody surprises me anymore. When you reach fifty-five and your life is politicking, those seemingly novel ticks and eccentricities you look for in your subordinates become as mundane as the sound of the sky,” Abel said. “I do note — and have taken into account — your perspective on Alastair’s initiative.” “Then my words are falling trees in an empty forest,” Claudius spoke coldly. “It’s not a part of the unknown; it’s the epitome of it. When Io made contact with Mars over a thousand years ago, the red planet was puritanical — a stone age nightmare of superstitions, eons behind. Who do you think we’ll be when it’s our turn?” “Would you mind talking to my face and not to my tax law manuals?” Abel sardonically insisted, prompting Claudius to sluggishly turn back toward him. “Let’s pretend like I’m the Colonial Governor. I would patriotically understand that the reason the government works is because it follows a stable system of inclusivity and globalism. Despite tens of millions of miles between us, our worlds have no boundaries — no dissent and no limit to what can be achieved. This tradition brought the first worlds together and it’s what we are doing now, with Apsis Observatory.” “That’s what history books say, indeed, Governor — the widest interpretation. But, look closer, to that space in between the letters and you begin see something else entirely. You see the family life, which…” Claudius trailed off. A disheveled home, little more than a shack. A man in his briefs, making a crack in the screen. “It, uh… Humans are natural warriors, no matter how frilly we make ourselves. Under a one-world government, with not even the inkling of a threat to entice our true calling, our spears start pointing inward.” One fist to the eye socket. One bottle to the scalp. “The cracks form at the smallest, most delicate level: the f-family.” Warm blood, making the carpet sticky. “Cracks are appearing before my very eyes,” Abel worriedly spoke as he eyeballed his protégé from head to toe. “This pathos lies before me and behind you… So, how would you save us?” Claudius walked up to the table and pressed the button. The hologram of Burkhalter’s press conference covered the surface once more. Claudius held out a hand and pinched his fingers causing the image to zoom out further and further. He repeated this process until the entire moon hung over the table, with specks representing ships moving around it. Claudius leaned onto the table and nodded. “This moon is a blessed one, unlike any other and with the ingredients of its own lifeblood embedded in the very crust. It became in fifteen years what Ganymede could not in almost a thousand. We have a healthy society here, with just enough technology and connection with the rest of humankind — plus, we have a Skyder, which can produce all the ore under the Sun,” Claudius nodded as he looked at Abel. “We have everything we need.” Abel lifted his scotch glass to his lips and slipped an ice cube into his mouth. Chewing furiously, he sat the glass down and walked around the table, until he was directly next to Claudius. He continued chewing and silently challenging Claudius, until the younger man’s discomfort peaked and caused him to look away like an insolent pup. Abel swallowed and let out an exasperated exhale. “Thanabus isn’t your birthright, Archie. This world didn’t just happen; it was only thanks to Pangaean research and the efforts of men like Alastair — whom you have regularly disrespected — that we are here. It is because of the efforts of myself that you have a job, a home and colleagues who treat you like family, in the stead of whatever warped disaffected military brat upbringing you simultaneously dangle in my face, while dodging around!” Abel shouted. He slammed his hand onto the control console, causing the hologram to dissipate with an unappealing whir. “I swear on your life, poison these grounds with your unhinged rhetoric again and I’ll have you scraping brown ice off outhouses on Pluto!” 3220“It’s now crossed Saturn’s orbital path and is headed straight for us!” Burkhalter wailed over the transmission. Abel slammed his spotted, calloused fist down on the edge of the table, causing the various holograms to waver. “You’re our eyes, not our mouth. Forward me the damned feeds!” Burkhalter’s pixelated image nodded, followed by a dozen camera feeds from Thanabus’ high orbit populating the space above the holographic table. Abel craned his head as he stepped back. While the orbital images above focused in on a bright white point, another two dozen muted portraits of talking heads angrily shouted over one another. Abel took another step back, bumping into Claudius. He turned around and stared at him. “Arch, I… could use my heart medication. Oh, and could you… you, know?” Abel nervously asked. Claudius stiffly made his way past the holographic table and slapped the console, causing the room to be filled with loud shouts including the phrases “unprofessional”, “impeachment” and “WTF star”. As Abel feebly attempted to address his political lion’s pit, Claudius squeezed past two of dozens of fellow staffers packed into the room like sardines. He reached Abel’s ornate desk and opened the top right top drawer, revealing a stash of brandy and cigars — along with heart medication. “It’s almost to Jupiter now? First of all, what the bloody hell is it and why didn’t I hear about it until fifteen minutes ago?” “Pluto Command here. Prime Minister, we initially detected the interstellar object eighteen minutes ago. We believe we captured its image, though… it’s unclear. It resembles neither an artificial object nor a meteor. Its size… it… it was estimated to be a quarter the size of Thanabus.” “Admiral, the fleet?!” The Prime Minister demanded. “Deployed, Mr. Prime Minister. Unfortunately, interception is… two hours away,” a gruff voice spoke out. “I, uh… don’t think it will be interstellar for long,” Burkhalter’s familiar voice squeaked. “It’s slowing down and has entered Galilean orbit.” With Abel’s pills in hand, Claudius turned back toward the table. Abel and the staff converged on it, as one orbital perspective aimed at Jupiter’s horizon was maximized. Claudius walked toward the group and pushed his way to Abel. He held his hand out in front of his face, but Abel opted to stare dumbly at the image. Claudius turned his attention back toward the hologram. A massive onyx-colored planetoid emerged from beyond Jupiter’s horizon. The entire surface was covered in an organized formation of yellow lights — an enveloping metropolitan civilization. Lacking discernable engines, the planetoid moved in a fluid, sentient manner — uninterrupted by Jupiter’s gravity well. It headed toward the holographic table’s perspective, gradually engulfing the entire viewport. The holographic table made a ghastly error noise, prompting a nearby aide to smack the power button. The electricity to the entire Governor’s Mansion went out. As the staff murmured in fear and confusion, Claudius noticed the vanishing of the golden late afternoon light through the terrace window. He walked to the window and stared out, to see all the lights of Anchorage out — and the planetoid eclipsing the Sun. It was a haunting and awe-inspiring sight, seeing Jupiter and the mere ring of the blacked-out Sun, while the silhouette of Skyder hung over the unpowered capital. Claudius grabbed the handle of the door leading outside and turned it. He led a procession of staff, who silently filled up the terrace. Abel slid in between staffers who paid no special attention to him. He made his way to Claudius near the front. Reaching the edge of the terrace, Abel grabbed the handrail and looked up at his young protégé, who remained transfixed on this monumental event. “Look skyward.” A deep, melodious voice filled the atmosphere, sending tremors everywhere. People on the terrace and down below screamed, as they flinched and brought their hands up toward their heads. The voice was a godlike shout that permeated all, yet still had the unsettling sensation from an autonomous sensory meridian response — like an insect buzzing around the ear canal. “I am Starzhen, a protector of existence, ascended through the course of eternity. For millennia, I have sought to sequester a rising threat — an unmitigated madness whose thirst for power is matched only by its disregard for the fabric of the universe. A scent lost an age ago, I found it again when I heard your negligent transmissions. Alas, you are answered. I come here as the harbinger of the danger you face, wielding the might of the Ember Sword — a weapon channeling the energies of the deepest pits in space-time itself. Here, I shall remain, until the threat is unmade.” The voice went silent and the rumbling stopped. People across the Solar System stood up and stared in horror. People everywhere staggered and clutched at their bodies, suddenly uncomfortable in their skins and burdened by existential crises. Claudius noticed Abel from the corner of his eye putting his old hands over his eyes and beginning to weep in guilt-ridden moans. This senior citizen had opened the door and called for sheep, blindly ignorant to the wolves he had invited for dinner. Never in his life — not even while under the belt and boot of his father — had he hated a man so dearly. 3225The perfume from the freshly baked bread protruding from the paper bag, mixed with the moist forest air of Ediseau, was delightful for Claudius. The grade leading to the Governor’s Mansion was not steep enough to make the mile-long journey from his apartment strenuous, yet it did make his newer added stop to the artisan bakery all the more rewarding. Mundane details like arriving at work half an hour early, flirting with the attractive young baker and enjoying her fresh breads distracted Claudius enough that he could overlook the impotency he felt in the face of humanity’s jaded relations with existence itself. The few other people up at the early hour murmured and pointed at the starry morning sky. Claudius followed suit, to see Starzhen crossing in front of Ganymede — something was different this time. The array of lights across Starzhen’s planetoid-body lit up in designated formations, as if he were signaling a challenge. Never had Starzhen communicated in such a manner; he had largely been silent as he ominously wandering world-to-world. Starzhen halted and his lights went dark. People dressed in bathrobes and pajamas opened their doors and windows, to see the phenomenon. They wandered into the street around Claudius, to get a better view. The lights on one end of Starzhen’s planetoid began glowing blue, intensifying and spreading. The colossal image of a featureless humanoid made of pure light rose from this section of the planetoid, wielding a sword. An array of glyphs appeared around Starzhen, orbiting the planetoid. “Is that what Starzhen looks like?” “I thought he was the whole planet, with all the creatures on it.” “Is that the Ember Sword?” The figure pointed the sword above its head and the planetoid accelerated forward. Starzhen picked up speed as he moved past Ganymede’s horizon and came into the same field of vision as the Great Red Spot of Jupiter. The figure swung its sword around and pointed it at the Great Red Spot. A horrific beam of yellow energy blasted from the sword and penetrated the clouds of Jupiter. A gargantuan shockwave spread across the planet, wiping the Great Red Spot away. Hundreds of thousands of other beams shot from the lights across Starzhen’s surface — all converging on the same location, burning the planet’s atmosphere. “Starzhen’s attacking!” “He’s going to kill us all!” The crowd went berserk and broke off, with people screaming and fleeing in every direction. Claudius gazed around, with a scarce few remaining grounded. Starzhen shuttered, as his beams impaling the planet appeared to produce blowback, in the form of nebulous bursts traveling back toward him. A wayward burst of energy grazed his planetoid, sending a mountain-sized chunk into space. “Five years! We had five years to prepare! Where the hell are our defenses?” A man in a hardhat bellowed. “Above us!” A woman holding a toddler pointed at the sky. A disappointed Claudius recognized her as being Tomasyn, the baker behind his favorite morning breads. A conglomerate of warships — frigates, cutters, carriers — crossed above Thanabus’ upper atmosphere, en route toward Jupiter. This was no mere convoy; this was the sum total of the Pangaean Space Force, strategically positioned between the Galilean Moons, specifically for this special kind of day. Many of the panicking people noticed the fleet and came to a halt. Screams became supportive cheers, as the ships closed in on Starzhen. “Those cutters are the new Mountain Buster freighters, made for busting planet-sized terrorists’ balls! Those are monsters, I tell you — monsters, baby!” A bespectacled young man shouted excitedly, as he took his place next to Tomasyn, wrapping his arm around her shoulder. Fighters poured out of the carriers like a swarm of locusts and descended upon Starzhen, firing energy bolts en masse, lighting up his planetoid’s surface. The warships unleashed their own barrage, a cacophony of beams and hydrogen-tipped missiles. The impacts were horrific; Starzhen jerked around in agony, as mushroom clouds formed everywhere and cracks formed across his world’s surface, exposing magma. The crowd cheered, as the images of the figure and glyphs flickered. “Stop!” Starzhen’s horrible, invasive voice bellowed everywhere. “You do not understand anything!” “Yeah, we’re just too stupid, us plebeian sheep! Pangaea lives! Send him back to hell, boys!” The man in the hardhat shouted. The barrage continued and soon the lights across Starzhen’s surface flickered out of existence. The cracks in the planetoid fractured wider and wider, causing magma to erupt from the mantle, into the cold of space. The beams leaving Starzhen faltered, though the kickback from Jupiter’s impact point grew more intense. Something phenomenal caught Claudius’ eye — six white lights flew in a line from beyond the Hills of Creation and zeroed in on Starzhen. “Did anyone else see that?” Claudius asked — neither nobody heard him nor cared. All the beams leaving and entering Starzhen’s body ceased. His planetoid shuttered and splintered, with great swaths being ejected in every direction. The fleet continued its bombardment, showing no quarter. “Take it!” Starzhen screamed. Starzhen’s planetoid exploded in a horrible nebulous blast. The people of Anchorage let out their most triumphant cheers yet. Fragments of the slain Starzhen burned white indents into the clouds of Jupiter as they penetrated the planet’s upper layers. Chunks impacted the surrounding moons, causing shockwaves — Ganymede’s partial atmosphere appeared to be blown away, with the many Skyders exploding. Mountain-sized debris slammed into the fleet, turning the glorious ships into metallic vapor. Now, they came barreling for Thanabus. Nobody was cheering. “Oh, no! It’s going to hit us!” A single voice shouted. Everyone was running and screaming. Claudius sprinted as hard as he could down the hill, away from the Governor’s Mansion. He heard horrific noises from above, as rocks met the upper atmosphere. Thousands of meteorites began raining down, decimating swaths of city and forest alike. Craters opened everywhere, eviscerating all in their paths. Claudius looked up, as an unimaginably large fragment slowly crossed the sky and headed southward, toward the untouched jungle of Sevrend. A screeching sound bellowed from behind Claudius. He turned, to see holes punched into the Skyder in short succession. The once-dormant device started shooting gravity-distorting beams and mad particulates everywhere. With its stabilizers malfunctioning, it swung to and fro, turning the cityscape beneath it to dust. The pressure changes were unbearable; Claudius clawed at his head, fearing it may explode. He stared at the Skyder, as it lost what little remained of its faculties and plummeted upside-down, toward the remnants of the city below. The impact sent a great shockwave that reached upward, beyond the atmosphere. Dizzy and resigned to his fate, Claudius’ eyes rolled into his head, as he fell backwards, into a great hot pit. He slid downward, with the last of what he saw being a curious little white light crossing his vision, before it was lost in the expanding impact cloud. Inhaling ash and dust, Claudius gagged hysterically and came to. He opened his eyes to see his artisan bread toasted beyond edibility. There was a third degree burn across his face and breathing was like putting his mouth to a car’s tailpipe. Ediseau, which had always been a wet, mild ecosystem was now utterly bone-chilling. Coming to his senses, Claudius could hear pained bellows reminiscent of animals being eaten alive — but no, these were human, anguished and beyond cognizance. Hacking and wheezing, Claudius brought his handkerchief to his face as he struggled to rise to his feet. Rickety at every joint, he staggered up the incline, as he used his handkerchief to wipe away the blood and particles caking his face. It was a struggle to identify the world, as a mixture of snow, ash and dust had supplanted almost every identifiable landmark. The once-pristine sky was now a hideous mixture of gray and brown, illuminated by violent bursts of lightning in the upper atmosphere. The few Edisean trees were charred beyond burnability — skeletons of the once-wondrous Edisean forest. Anchorage’s skyline was non-existent; the colonial city was replaced by the crashed Skyder — its terraforming core bombastically spitting out particulates, though it was breathing its last breath. Then, there was the Governor’s Mansion… Upon seeing the caved-in remains of the r esidence, Claudius broke into the best hobbled sprint he could muster. He refused to process the visuals of his countrymen wandering the streets with arms missing, the charcoal-like skeletons lying on the sidewalks — the utter apocalypse the survivors were doomed to exist in. If Abel had survived, there was still a chance the colony could persevere and be rescued by Pangaea, before anarchy would set in. The automated front door Claudius had entered through thousands of times was obstructed by a great pile of rocks. He took the scenic route by haphazardly crawling over the edge of the giant gash that vivisected the great structure. Inside, he found himself in an utter quagmire of rubble, with smashed masonry and boards splintered around Abel’s prized art collection. Claudius squinted as he wiggled his way through the maze, doing his best to be undeterred by the sewage water spilling down from what remained of the second floor. “Governor, it’s Arch! If you’re here, please say something. Beau!” Claudius shouted. He spotted Abel lying in between several great rocks, smiling warmly at him. “Thank your architect, who I told you was ripping you off on this joint!” Claudius scrambled his way toward Abel. Claudius took a hold of Abel’s hand, smiling at his mentor. He nodded at the Governor as he grabbed his other hand, maintaining eye contact all the while. He began pulling — Abel’s body moved very easily. “We’re getting out of here, Beau. We’re getting out of — OH MY GOD!” Claudius screamed, as gore spilled out of from the bottom of Abel’s body — now directly beneath the ribcage. Claudius released his deceased boss’ upper half and fell backward, into a shallow puddle of graywater. He kicked as he scooted himself away and to the wall. He stared wide-eyed at Abel’s remains, tears filling his eyes. “B-Beau…” Claudius gasped. “I wasn’t right about everything. We won’t last without you, because… I’m not ready to be you. Please don’t leave me alone.” Kack. An electric sound emanated from the darkness. Claudius frowned as he tried to make out the source. Kack! Kack! Kack! Between these mysterious bursts of energetic noise, Claudius heard a board drop. Narrowing his eyes, he spotted shadowy movement among the refuse. “Is someone there?” Hunched over and dressed in no more than emergency blankets from their homes, people converged on the Governor’s Mansion. Not once during the past eleven years on Thanabus had the colonists needed winter clothing in Ediseau, for the humidity made unusual weather a non sequitur. Apart from the terrible noises trademarked by destroyed lungs, nobody could form words and were left mute. The best they could do was to look to the familiar, the authority — the government — in the face of having all that they knew stripped away. The automatic door jammed behind the rubble creaked, startling the crowd. The thick metal bent and contorted, with bolts tearing in half and falling out. The door crumpled as it was pulled inward, off its track and tossed aside. Emerging from the darkness was Claudius — a rugged, composed man in his prime. Claudius swiftly made his way up the pile of rock, shoving the great stones aside with ease. He stopped and stared down at his compatriots. The crowd was pitiful; people were either in the throes of anguish or traumatized beyond cognition. Many of the survivors grasped at injuries that ranged from broken limbs to shrapnel protruding from their tattered clothes. Claudius spotted Tomasyn — she was in perfect health, yet she may as well have been dead with how vacant her face was. “Never before, in the history of this universe, have ears been so thoroughly wrought with trauma! But, lend me yours now!” Claudius shouted, his voice full of resolve. “Survivors of Thanabus, I am Arch Claudius, Aide to Governor Beau Abel, who is no longer of this world — or any other. He is dead… dead, because, like the rest of Pangaea, he looked up at the stars… so much that he forgot to keep his eyes on the ground, where his feet were. So, he fell, bringing Thanabus down with him!” “Let’s test our Governor’s advice. Look up. What do you see?” Claudius asked, as he held his hands behind his back and began walking down the pile of rubble. The crowd looked upward. “Do you see ships? Friends? Life? Is there even a sky? Where are your stars?” Claudius stopped in the middle of crowd and turned, taking extra care to linger with eye contact. The gathering continued to grow, with the tips of rifles emerging, as stragglers from the Pangaean Armed Forces arrived. Claudius smiled warmly at a soldier standing near the forefront and patted him on the shoulder. “What happened this morning may only be described as a… ‘Catastrophe’,” Claudius said, eliciting agreeing murmurs from the crowd. “We saw it all, the way our fleet crumbled. We have suffered tremendously… but we are still here! Until we know the truth, we must fend for ourselves. But, what we do know is… we can do anything, for we survived the mighty Starzhen!” The crowd cheered. “We are alive and we are free from his tyranny! Never again will we suffer a stranger telling us what we cannot do! We will rebuild our society, with an interim government, adapted to repel the thoughtlessness that led us astray!” The crowd’s intermittent cheers became an ongoing affair, as their spirits lifted. “Follow me and we will take refuge in our Skyder, as it brings warmth to Ediseau once more — not as our tool, but as our home! Our people will rise once more, not damned to rub shoulders with criminals ever again! As for our dear little ‘free-thinkers’ to the east, surely with stars circling their heads,” Claudius said with an eyeroll, prompting jeers, “I say, let’s give them a hand! Even Burkhalter’s observatory is ours… for all of Thanabus is ours!” The shouts of support were now deafening. “Believe in yourself! Believe in me!” The people began shooting their rifles into the air. “Believe in the Republic!” I Believe in Myself was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  7. Ember Sword x Token Trove — a Digital Collectible Marketplace PartnershipWe’re excited to announce a new partnership with Token Trove, an NFT Marketplace dedicated to games that makes it easy to find, buy, and sell digital collectibles. As part of the new partnership, Token Trove will support and maintain a section on their marketplace dedicated to current and future Ember Sword NFTs, such as land, badges, and cosmetics. So whether you’re looking to buy an Ember Sword NFT or want to sell a cosmetic collectible you’ve received when defeating an open-world boss, Token Trove is one of the primary third-party marketplaces to browse. Why we’re partnering with Token TroveOne of the advantages of Token Trove is their commitment to the games they work with, and their laser-focus on creating a secure and user-friendly experience. The Ember Sword page on Token Trove is unique and custom built to support the NFTs we release, and you can already now browse their digital Ember Sword land map and use their advanced filters to find precisely the NFTs you are interested in. Listings on Token Trove are entirely decentralized, which means your NFTs never leave your wallet until they are sold, and you can even have them listed on several marketplaces at the same time or bundle multiple plots of land to sell them at once. Since Token Trove manually approves every project before it gets added to their platform, their marketplace is safe from scam look-alike projects, and we hope you will all enjoy using it either as a buyer or seller. Ember Sword x Token Trove — a Digital Collectible Marketplace Partnership was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  8. It’s time to finally shed further light on the second iteration for THE premiere Ember Sword event — the Thanabus Cup. Those of you who were around for the first Thanabus Cup will no doubt remember the shenanigans and communal revelry induced by that event. Since then, our awesome community has grown by about 50,000 members. That’s a lot of fresh faces and boy are we excited to see how the second Thanabus Cup plays out with all these new and amazing people. So, for the benefit of the, as-of-yet, uninitiated, let’s take some time to explain the whys and the whats of the Thanabus Cup. For a more detailed look at the actual structure and mechanics of the Thanabus Cup, you can read our previous blog post “Introduction to the Thanabus Cup” What is the Thanabus Cup?The Thanabus Cup is a bi-annual event hosted on the Ember Sword Discord server, which pits all four nations against each other in a fierce, if at times unconventional, competition. The Cup is designed to strike a healthy balance between events which let an individual’s talent shine through and those that require every member of a nation to band together and work towards achieving that week’s goal. An event as epic as the Thanabus Cup requires some equally exciting prizes. We’ve got you covered on that front. At the end of every competition, a community member will win a plot of land, either because they have won an individual challenge or because they have been selected by a random draw to be that week’s winner. Furthermore, they will receive the unique “Competition Winner 🏆” role and, most importantly, the glory and admiration that comes with it! The main prize of the whole competition is the actual, physical Thanabus Cup, which is proudly displayed in our head office in Aarhus, Denmark, adorned with the name of the winning nation. And although that is a pretty epic prize, we would like to think that the real prize is the friends and experiences we pick up along the way. The Goal of the Thanabus CupWith the Thanabus Cup, we want to celebrate our strong community, as well as the four nations of Thanabus; Solarwood, Duskeron, Sevrend, and Ediseau. We initially set out to build a community event that would cultivate an environment where you, the citizens of Thanabus, could meet fellow adventurers and build meaningful relationships, even before you’re able to play the game. Throughout the first cup, we saw this happening more than we could have ever hoped, and we’re really looking forward to seeing where the next cup will take us! Thanabus Cup 2What’s new this time around?We’ve really taken our time this year to prepare some top-tier competitions for you! Fans of the previous Thanabus Cup can look forward to some returning events, as well as a fresh spin on some tried and true concepts. But that’s not all. Here are some teasers — we’ll be gunning for a world record and partaking in the largest and most intricate live event we’ve had so far on the Ember Sword Discord server, as well as just having a greater emphasis on live events in general. Know that we’ve tried to build Thanabus Cup II to be bigger and more ambitious in every way, so as to reflect our considerably larger player base. Of course, we don’t want to give too much away just yet, so stay tuned! So, when are we starting?Thanabus Cup II is set to kick off on the 6th of October, 18:00 CEST with our first event, which will be shared in the this-weeks-competition channel on our Discord server. You can expect a new competition to be shared in the same channel for the next 10 weeks, after which we will have our second-ever nation winning the Thanabus Cup! See you soon.We’re all extremely excited about what’s to come and we hope you are too! We’ve come a long way since the first competition and we hope that in the future we’ll be able to look back on this upcoming Thanabus Cup just as fondly as we do now upon the previous one. Good luck in the upcoming competition and we hope to see you October 6th 18:00 CEST! Thanabus Cup 2.0 Announcement was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  9. Hey everybody. We’re really excited to see how many of you participated in the community land sale application and are now eager to claim your land and get your hands on some badges. Unfortunately, you will have to wait just a little bit longer before we can open them up to you. As with each new NFT that we bring to the community, our smart contract code is carefully audited to ensure maximum security. Although the contracts for this sale passed this audit with flying colors, recently a security issue was found in the standard, open source (OpenZeppelin) contract which we base some of our smart contracts on. We immediately fixed this issue in our contracts, but to ensure a safe sale, we will have to go through our security testing process once again. As this is quite an intensive process, we’ve taken a safe margin and moved the opening date up by two weeks, to October 14th at 19:00 CET. We understand this decision might be inconvenient to those of you who have your money ready in your wallet and are raring to go, but our first priority is always making sure our NFTs are deployed in a safe and secure way for the entire community. An additional complicating factor for this sale has been the legal concerns surrounding the sale of badges in the US, as well as recent developments in China. This also led to a lot of questions within the community. By now, we’ve had the opportunity to delve deeper into the legal issues and we have to unfortunately conclude that, at present, we cannot offer the badges to people from the US, nor can we currently offer land or badges to buyers from China. It is important to note that the only badges are not available to our US audience and we expect them to be able to continue participating in the sale of land and collectables, as well as the game, just like all our other community members. Naturally, these limitations are as frustrating to us as they are to you, the community. Rest assured, we will continue monitoring the situation and working with regulators to bring the full Ember Sword experience to players, wherever they may be in the world. Now, onto the good stuff. In a previous post, we introduced you to the concept of badges and shed some further light on the Ember token, among other things. We promised you some further information, so in this post, we’d like to take some time to break down the nitty gritty of the badges and the Ember tokens. Community BadgesLast time around, we mentioned that badges are unique NFTs sporting some pretty epic perks and benefits. With that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper and learn a little bit more about them. What are badges?Badges are unique Ember Sword NFTs, which, if you qualified for the community land sale, can be viewed here. With badges, we want to offer every qualified community member certain perks and benefits as recognition of their wonderfully worded entries. What are the perks of owning a badge?Badges are jam-packed with all kinds of exciting benefits: Owning a badge nets you a spot in the upcoming alpha/pre-alpha tests, just like the landowners.Furthermore, through the badge system, we will be distributing some of the first Ember tokens to the community, more on that in a little bit.Last, but not least, badge ownership is proudly displayed on your Ember Sword profile, so there can be no dispute that you have been here with Ember Sword since day one.How do I acquire a badge?Currently, badges are offered only to community members who have submitted a qualifying entry to the community land sale. The sale of badges will begin in tandem with the sale of allotted land on October 14th at 19:00 CET, and can be found here. Note — you do not need to have been allotted land in order to be able to purchase a badge. Being qualified is currently the only prerequisite to badge ownership. Although qualifying accounts will have first dibs at these badges, should there be any left after the first 7 days, the remainder will be made available for purchase to all community members with an embersword.com account. There are some things to keep in mind about the badges. Badges are not reserved for you the same way your allotted land is. They are provided on a first come, first served basisThere is a finite amount of them, and there will never be more than there are today. The distribution is as follows:  — 100 Platinum Badges  — 1000 Gold Badges  — 2500 Silver Badges  — 5000 Bronze BadgesCurrently, you can only purchase one badge per account, so pick wiselyMore information about the perks and benefits of each individual tier can be found here. Ember token distributionAs mentioned above, we are using the badge system to distribute some of the first Ember tokens to the community. This is done in the following way. Each tier of badge has a certain amount of Ember allotted to it. The distribution per badge is as follows: The Bronze tier includes 2,500 pieces of Ember The Silver tier includes 5,000 pieces of Ember The Gold tier includes 25,000 pieces of Ember The Platinum tier includes 250,000 pieces of Ember At a later point in 2022, you’ll be able to activate your badge to begin the release of Ember tokens. Once you’ve done that, you will begin to receive a steady monthly feed of tokens amounting to 10% of the total tokens allotted to your badge, until you’ve received all your tokens in 10 months time. This way, the amount of Ember entering circulation is spread out enough to not cause serious fluctuations in supply, as this would be bad for the game and the community. Speaking of Ember, let’s take a look at the token itself. Ember TokenEmber is our custom-built token designed to sit at the heart of Ember Sword and can be used for a vast array of in-game activities. For example, one of the many uses of Ember is to forge special materials you can find in-game into rare cosmetic collectables. Additionally, if you have a significant amount of cosmetic collectables from a lower tier, you can use Ember to fire up the forge and smelt them all down to produce a one of a higher tier, e.g. turning 4 common collectables into a rare. The common ones are burned in the process, but the upside is that they become even rarer and you get a higher tier collectable out of the process. Win-win-win, really. Pretty cool, eh? Alternatively, Ember can be used to breed new pets or mounts, as well as fuse them, essentially taking mounts of a lesser rarity in order to produce one of a higher rarity, analogous to the example given above. The examples given here barely scratch the surface on how players will be able to use Ember, but we hope that they are helpful in giving you context for the types of things Ember will be used for. That’s about it for this postWe would like to take this moment to once again express our immense appreciation for the enthusiasm and patience you have all displayed. We hope that we have managed to answer some of your questions about Badges and the Ember token, however, if by chance we’ve left something out, you can always consult our FAQ sections in the Ember Sword Discord server. Until next time! Community Land Sale Timing, Badges and Tokens was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  10. Hey there, you wonderful people! So, community land sale, eh? You’ve been very patient with us, so in this blog post, we’re opening the floodgates. Below you’ll find out how to check whether you’ve qualified, what the land purchasing process is like and what additional goodies you get out of the whole deal. Let’s dive in! Community Land Sale — The Finish LineIn our land sale update, we laid out the foundation on how we’re going to approach allotting land to the most deserving entries. And the philosophy behind the process hasn’t changed. As a refresher — since we had such a staggering amount of submissions (35,000+ by the end!), we wanted to make sure that as many people as possible got land. Therefore, those among you who requested large amounts of land would only be allotted part of the land you requested. That still holds true, as we wanted to allocate land to as many deserving entries as possible. You might’ve noticed the number of entries above differs from the one in the aforementioned article. It does — by a margin of 10,000. Rest assured, we have combed through and ranked every single one. Where the process will differ is in how those selected will go about claiming their land. What that means is that we’ve worked out an elegant way to allow everyone to see if they qualified and which land has been reserved for them if they have. Those who qualified will also receive an email, but either way, you can head to embersword.com right now, where a new addition to the website awaits you. Log in and, if you have qualified, you should see a notification in the top right corner. Click that and you will be taken to the land purchasing page, which looks like this: Here, you can see your allotted land and a countdown to when the purchasing process goes live. You will be shown which type of land has been reserved for you — it will be the first type of land you asked for that you are eligible to buy. For example, if you wanted a town and a settlement, you were placed in the ranking list for both. If you then ranked high enough to get a town, your land selection page would reflect that. Simply put, everyone who has some land reserved for them has exactly one thing available to purchase — either a full city, full town, settlement plot or regular plot. A cool thing to note — because we are taking this approach, the land owning population of Ember Sword will welcome some 5000 or so new members to their ranks! You will have plenty of time to make your purchase — your land has been reserved for you, so you don’t have to worry about somebody yoinking, say, your settlement away from under your nose. Once you’re able to purchase it, you will have two full weeks to do so — from the 30th of September to the 14th of October. Do note that if you do not purchase it by the end of that period, your land will go back into rotation and will be made available for purchase to other qualified land owners or be included in the next land sale. Once you buy your land, you will receive it in your wallet immediately. You know us, we can’t really leave you with just one thing. For everyone who qualified, regardless of if they ranked for land or not, we got something special. Introducing Community BadgesRemember when we mentioned unique NFTs in our previous community land sale post? Well, wonder what they are no longer! As mentioned, if you wrote a qualifying entry, you will have the chance to purchase a Community Badge. Badges are a limited edition NFT that give you access to a bunch of perks. Even if you didn’t rank high enough to acquire land, you could still have qualified for the community badges. You can see if your entry has qualified here. Owning a badge gets you access to our upcoming pre-alpha and alpha tests. You also get a cool in-game representation of the badge that will be shown next to your name, an enduring symbol of how you were among the first to support Ember Sword. That by itself makes the badge a really cool collectible, but we’ve included something extra. An additional benefit is that you can use your badge at a later point in 2022 to claim its dollar value in Ember tokens at the same valuation as our upcoming private token sale. Normally, only large investors would get this preferential pricing, but we wanted to break the mould and extend you, the community, the same courtesy. As stated above, badges will be limited edition, meaning that we will not be making more of them once they are sold out. For legal reasons, citizens of the US, will currently not be able to claim the tokens owning a badge will unlock during 2022. We do not know how national legislation will evolve over time but will try our best to keep you informed of impactful changes. Naturally this does not limit your ability to benefit from the other perks of our badges. The process of acquiring a Community Badge is the same as getting your hands on land — log into your embersword.com account and check your notifications. If you’re eligible, you will be taken to the badge purchasing page: There are four types of badges — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The different tiers allow large guilds, for example, to acquire a Platinum badge, so they can have an amazing war chest of tokens to start with, alongside the other benefits. At the same time, we wanted the badges to be accessible to as many people as possible, which is why Bronze badges exist — to give those most dedicated among you the opportunity to participate in Ember Sword early without breaking the bank. Do keep in mind that the badges are limited to one per qualifying account and, unlike allotted land, are not reserved — they will be sold on a first-come, first serve basis while supply lasts, from the 30th of September. They will remain exclusive for qualifying accounts until the 14th of October, after this the remaining ones (if any) will be made available for purchase to anyone with an embersword.com account. As with land, when you buy a badge, you will receive it in your wallet immediately. We will be releasing final details on the badges before the 30th of September. To close out this section, we would like to note that this new addition to the website will not just be used for the community land sale. In future, more cool opportunities will be made available through this new page. We will be announcing those as they approach, so stay tuned! Another thing to note is that the purchasing page will be accessible even if you haven’t qualified. In that case, the land and badges will be greyed out. Still, we worked really hard on it and we wanted everyone to be familiar with the interface, as we will be using it again going forward. That’s the juicy info. We have a bit of housekeeping to get to before we end this post. Let’s talk smart contracts. Upgrading smart contractsWith the changes in the way we’re delivering land to you being implemented, there is a necessity to upgrade our smart contracts as well, so that we are better prepared to handle future changes/upgrades to our NFTs. This means that the contract address, the unique identifier for the NFTs, is going to change, meaning that third party services, such as OpenSea and TokenTrove, have to be updated. If you’re using the contract address anywhere, you’ll have to update it to the new address. The new address will be automatically changed on OpenSea and TokenTrove. We will also be listing it in our Discord and website FAQs and announcing as much, as well as adding it to this article once the contract is live. And that’s all for this blog post, everybody. Thank you once again for your incredible enthusiasm for this community land sale. It has been a blast getting to do this and reading all your awesome submissions. If you have any further questions, our Discord has an FAQ channel dedicated specifically to the most frequently asked community land sale questions — #community-sale-faq. That, alongside our regular FAQs and our socials, are your best sources of up-to-date information about the game. Until next time! Community Land Sale — Final Stage was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  11. The Thanabus Cup is THE Ember Sword event of the year. It pits the four nations of Thanabus against each other for a large 10-week digital challenge that runs twice per year on the Ember Sword Discord server, drawing in thousands of community members.[;p Whether you’re considering participating in the hopes to grab one of the prizes, or this is your first time hearing about the Cup, this post serves as a general introduction to all-things Thanabus Cup. This is made all the more relevant by the second Thanabus Cup on the horizon (more on that soon!). The winning nation of the first-ever Thanabus Cup was Solarwood — congratulations! 👏 The Thanabus Cup BasicsHow is the event structured?The Thanabus Cup consists of 10 competitive challenges that the entire community can participate in, one for each week of the event. Players from every nation can submit individual entries into these challenges, after which their fellow citizens vote on which entry should represent their nation at the grand vote where the entire community votes to determine a winning nation. And here’s a little tease to spice things up - there will be a lot more varied competitions in the second Thanabus Cup, such as live-events. At the end of each challenge, points are awarded as follows: 1st place — 50 points2nd place — 25 points3rd place — 15 pointsThe nation with the most points after all 10 challenges are over wins the Thanabus Cup, and the players who submitted the 10 winning entries each get a coveted prize (more on the prizes below). Some of the Thanabus Cup challenges require team effort while others involve individual skill. To get an idea of the types of challenges that might be included in the next Thanabus Cup, have a look at the challenges from the first-ever Thanabus Cup: Music Quiz — A 4-round challenging music quiz Nation Pitcher — Create the most convincing and compelling pitch for your nation Funniest Meme — Submit your best memes Recruitment Frenzy — Invite the most new members to your nation within the next 48 hours Wallpaper Contest — Find or create the most impressive wallpaper Most Impressive Game Item — Grab a screenshot of your most impressive in-game item that you own in any video game MS Paint Extravaganza — Draw an Ember Sword-related piece of art using ONLY old-school MS Paint Lore Quiz — Dig deep into past podcasts, blog posts, and Discord messages to correctly answer the most difficult Ember Sword lore questions Poem Competition — Write the most inspiring, funny, or epic Ember Sword poem Movie Quote Quiz — Correctly identify which movie these famous, bit difficult, movie quotes are from Read more about the first Thanabus Cup and its winners. How to Participate in the Thanabus Cup Participating in the Thanabus Cup, even for just a few of the challenges, is super easy. Here is a step-by-step guide: Step 1: Join the Ember Sword Discord server Step 2: Join a nation through the #choose-nation channel Step 3: Check out the #announcements and #this-weeks-competition channels on Discord for more info about when the next cup starts (when it has been announced) Step 4: Follow the weekly challenges on Discord HINT: Have a peek at the #challenge-archive channel to see some of the previous Thanabus Cup entries. You know, “know your enemy” and all that ;) PrizesDuring the first Thanabus Cup, the 10 players who submitted the winning entries for each week’s challenge, won a free plot of Solarwood land and the “Competition Winner 🏆” role on Discord. The prizes may change for future Thanabus Cup challenges, but they will always make it worthwhile to participate and compete. At the end of the cup, the nation with the most points gets its name engraved in the illustrious Thanabus Cup that stands tall at the Bright Star Studios headquarter in Denmark for all visitors and staff to see. Additionally, the winners are celebrated all throughout Ember Sword, whether it be through social media, blog posts or the glorious in-game trophy that will be located in their nation’s capital. The RulesEach Thanabus Cup challenge has slightly different rules, so keep an eye out for the posts in the #about-thanabus-cup channel on Discord. The goal of the cup is to create a friendly competition that brings the whole community together to showcase their collective creativity and ingenuity. While the nations bravely compete against each other, we want to encourage everyone to stay light-hearted and supportive of every brave soul who decides to enter the Cup. Best of luck to all future participants! And keep an eye on our socials. We’re cooking something up that will be ready sooner rather than later… Introduction to the Thanabus Cup was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  12. We’re innovators here at Bright Star Studios. That goes without saying if you know anything about Ember Sword. In the spirit of that, this blog post is a break in our traditional format. We plucked our Executive Producer Loren and our Project Manager Allan away from their busy schedules to interview them about the process of producing Ember Sword. This blog sheds light on some of our chief development practices, habits and working structure. It also borrows some quotes from the two interview participants, as rephrasing wouldn’t do much justice to some of their unique views on game production. Let’s get into it! Hot take — making a game is hard frigging work. Spicy, we know. But, as far as collaborative endeavors go, game development is about as demanding as it gets. So how do we at Bright Star Studios go about creating an expansive project like Ember Sword? Well, we’re all big fans of taking a look behind-the-scenes on a project, so we decided we would shine some light on the daily goings-on here at BrightStar. We got our very own producer Allan and executive producer Loren together and asked them some hard hitting questions about game production in general and about Ember Sword specifically, so strap in. What are your roles & responsibilities?“Mostly project management. Well, being a producer on a game is a bit different from being a producer on a movie, for example. I’m more of a project manager than a money manager. Doing more stuff along the lines of getting problems out of the way so that the team can focus on their core strengths and responsibilities” — AllanLoren is also involved with the financial management, but as a Founder there’s few things he’s not involved in when it comes to Ember Sword. “The role of Executive Producer can sometimes be a little bit nebulous. Sometimes these fields overlap, although I am involved in the financial matters, my main role is building out the product and game vision itself.” — LorenHow are roles and tasks assigned?The answer to this particular question was given via the form of a few colorful analogies, namely — Hats and Lego bricks. Yes, it’s just as fun as it sounds. So, hats. If a team happens to be in excess of a hundred people, then it’s quite easy for those working on a given project to have a laser-focused job description. However, if you have a small team working on a big project, then things can get a little more interesting. In this particular case, Allan defines roles and responsibilities as “Hats” “Maybe sometimes you’re wearing like 15 different hats, but as the team grows and we find a need for more and more specialists you take off some of those hats” — AllanLoren, has a different, equally colorful analogy. Building with Lego bricks! “When you start here, I’m going to give you like 4–5 different colors of Lego bricks, and you’re going to have to build the best tower you possibly can”Okay, sounds like fun. “But what you have to realize is that we’re growing pretty fast, so pretty soon there’s going to be specializations, so I’m going to come by take away your blue bricks and expect you to continue building an even bigger tower with other colors”“This is going to go on until you’re left with just red bricks, because that’s the thing you’re most epic at. Letting go of bricks can be hard for some people, but if you can handle it, it’s extremely rewarding”What Loren is referring to here, similarly to what Allan said with his hats analogy, is the changes a team naturally undergoes as it expands. You might have started out doing a few different things, and you were spectacular at one of them, great at two of them and sort of OK at one of them. As more and more people come in, they get to specialize in the things you’re not that great at because, turns out, they’re killing it with that stuff . Meanwhile, you get to focus on the stuff you’re truly epic at, thus, the team grows, becomes more efficient and the game you’re making gets more kick-ass by the day. Working from home vs. Traditional work environmentThe IT and development space has always needed to overcome the hurdles of working with someone who might be halfway across the globe. Scheduling meetings and aligning time zones can always be a giant hassle. However, after Covid, these things became more commonplace, and this type of working environment became not only completely normal, but also something which is expected. Quick disclaimer: “We don’t like Covid, we don’t like that illness” — Allan.Overall, unsurprisingly, it is quite beneficial not having to consider the geographical particularities of each individual employee and team member. This has always been the way Bright Star has operated, only now it has become more standardized and widely-adopted, as was mandated by the lockdowns. “That being said we’re building towards having larger groups in more centralized office locations, because that way of working is sometimes beneficial” — AllanThe key theme here is finding the proper balance and moderation between these two approaches to working. Yes, working from home is convenient as all hell and you don’t have to get out of bed as early, but, sometimes, with creative projects especially, it can detract from the magic a little bit. How does building Ember Sword differ from other projects you’ve worked on?“Let’s start with the obvious, we’re building an MMORPG. That’s already a totally different beast!” — Loren“Building a ship as you’re sailing across the ocean.” — AllanThis is usually the case when going about a project like this. The large and expansive world, combined with the blockchain integration and other decentralized mechanics are almost entirely bespoke technology built for Ember Sword, and we’re building up as we’re making the game. And that process requires focus and, sometimes, sacrifices. Probably one of the hardest things about game development is killing your darlings, and, while not as crazy as the terminology employed would imply, it can still be pretty hard to get used to. Essentially, when you’re working on a big project, your mind will flood with ideas, great and brilliant ideas about features and mechanics you’re going to put in the game which will definitely make it the best game anyone has ever played. However, the harsh reality of the matter is that sometimes, even the good ideas just don’t gel well with the rest of the game, for a myriad of different reasons. The concept might be too demanding, or it might not fit with the rest of the game mechanically, or it wasn’t that great to begin with. Here’s how Loren puts it: “You might find that what you originally thought was this amazing feature is actually detracting from other parts of the game. So yeah, sometimes you have to kill your darlings”The day-to-day of developing Ember Sword“We run sort of an adapted SCRUM” — AllanNow, odds are you might not have heard of SCRUM, so here’s some context. Yes, SCRUM does sound like something a pirate might say mid cough, but it’s also an invaluable organizational tool employed by the IT Industry. Let’s hear Allan explain it. “It’s basically running sprints. A sprint is like 2 or 3 weeks, and you plan for those 2 or 3 weeks in detail. Broken down to an individual level.”As gamers, we often see the finished product and cannot fully comprehend the amount of depth and complexity even the simplest features mandate in order to be enjoyable. “Most gamers can see a character walking on a screen and see some nice armor or cool loot, but we see animations, textures, how many skins do these swords and shields have etc.. Plus once these things are built as assets, implementing them is another thing with a programmer” — Allan.With that in mind, there is definitely a lot of work that goes into producing a big game like this and, as game makers, we like to gamify stuff. And, in a sense, SCRUM does that, where tasks are laid out at the beginning of a sprint, and you have this entire visualisation of the process, be it a Trello board or other such visual aid. It can be incredibly motivating and satisfying to get all of the tasks across the board. When is a game considered done?“Never”- AllanOkay, crude. But, seriously, he has a point. Ember Sword is intended to be played for years and years. Let’s hear Loren explain it: “We want to create something that will really stand that test of time. So, when is it done? Well, we would hope — never. We want to keep creating, building, and improving”The real question here is, because we have adopted this iterative process approach, how will features be put into the hands of players? The answer to that can be found within our quarterly release model, elaborated on in “Building Ember Sword with The Community” “What if we get a few thousands people into this world? How are the servers going to respond? We want to make sure we double check this. Of course we ran it with bots, but as soon as you let real life humans in there, they’re going to find a way to mess with your code” — Loren.Iteration is a normal process when building an MMO, and as more of the game is created and made accessible to the community, proportionally, more of the team will be moved to the role of live support, where they will monitor how the game is holding up and making sure everyone is having as good of an experience as possible. That being said, there is so much more we can talk about when it comes to game development as a general topic, as well as building Ember Sword as a project, but that’s a different topic for another time. Wrapping upThank you for taking the time to read through this, rather large, post. We barely scratched the surface of what goes into making a project of the breadth and scope of Ember Sword, as well as the daily fun activities we partake in here at BrightStar while we bring Ember Sword to you. In the meantime, in case you missed it — check out our previous blog post discussing updates regarding the community land sale, and showcasing just how awesomely powerful our community is. Until next time, everybody. Game Production on Ember Sword was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  13. Well, here we are with only a few days to go. The community land sale has surpassed all of our wildest expectations and it’s all thanks to you guys’ excitement! We have received an immense amount of submissions. So many, in fact, that it necessitates some changes to our timeline. Don’t worry, we’re going to outline everything in this blog post, alongside a couple of surprises to show our appreciation. Let’s get into it! Amazing, Crazy DemandFirst and foremost, we are once again blown away by the amount of applications we have received. As of this blog post, the total number of applications we’ve been sent is closing in on 25,000 — holy moly! Even more crazy to think about — the total pledged amount is around $130 million dollars. It’s safe to say that you guys are pretty amped for Ember Sword and we massively appreciate that you are willing to make such a commitment. We would, naturally, love for each and every one of those to be a part of our world, but, alas, there is only so much land. Therein lies the issue — we have more requests for land than we have land available in this community land sale… About 170x more. That being said — have no fear! We are working tirelessly to make sure we get Ember Sword land into the hands of as many community members as possible. With that, however, come some necessary changes to the community land sale timeline. Timeline ShiftBecause of the, frankly, astronomical number of submissions, we will need to extend the review period slightly. In rudimentary terms — there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to go through all of the applications and give everyone a fair chance. Consequently, the judging process will be extended by an additional two weeks, with verdicts expected to be ready around the end of August. That means that the remainder of the community land sale process will be extended as well. The new timeline, then, looks as follows: Selection process — from 1st to 31st of AugustContacting those selected — from 1st to 14th of SeptemberLand distribution — 15th to 31st of SeptemberLand AllotmentGoing through all of those entries and then allocating all the land will be quite the job, so here is how we’re going to get it done. First, of course, we will need to comb through all 25,000+ submissions, make sure they qualify and rank them in order of eligibility, to ensure the best ones get selected. Even in this preliminary stage of reading through your applications, there are a lot of fantastically written ones that absolutely deserve land. So many, in fact, that, due to the incredible demand, those of you who have requested large amounts of land may only be allotted a part of the land that you asked for. Don’t worry, though — we will not be splitting cities or towns, so if you’re allotted one, you are guaranteed to receive a complete city or town. Of course, even with us trying as hard as we can to allot land to as many deserving entries, there’s a finite amount of land to go around. We have thought about that as well. Even if you aren’t allotted land in this community sale, we wanted to provide you with as many opportunities as possible to still own a part of Ember Sword. Additional Benefits For Qualified EntriesYour reception and general discourse surrounding the community sale has been really awesome. Honestly, it feels nice knowing that the very best of you get a chance to be part of shaping Thanabus. So, stemming from that, for each nation’s land sale, during one of the rounds, there will be an accompanying community land sale, just like this one, meaning there will be many more opportunities for stand-out members of our community to become land owners. Details for when and how these will be taking place will be announced as they approach, as always. But that’s not all. We want to give as many of you as we can the opportunity to get early access to Ember Sword and also to participate in the very first sale of our Ember token, something which for many other blockchain projects has been limited to large investors. In order to do so, we’ll be introducing some unique NFTs, which will be available only to those that made it through the community sale qualification process. These can be purchased to obtain early access to Ember Sword, some cool perks and the right to claim a portion of Ember tokens during the private sale. More details on that will be announced at a later date, so stay tuned to our socials. So, there you have it. We continue to be humbled by the unbridled passion the Ember Sword community continues to demonstrate and look forward to making Ember Sword a great experience together with all of you. And, of course, if you haven’t yet submitted your community land sale application, make sure you get it in before July 31st. Until next time, everybody! P.S If you’ve missed out on some of our recent news, be sure to check out our recent blog post and podcast delving into our approach to building the game hand in hand with the community. Community Land Sale Update was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  14. You guys have been clamoring for info on just how we envision Ember Sword development going forward. Fear not! Over the next couple of weeks, we have some blog posts and podcasts planned that delve into different aspects of creating the game. This is the first of those — a look into how we plan on incorporating our community into the dev cycle. To explain our approach, we must first take a little stroll down memory lane. Cautionary talesRemember Diablo III? After reading that some of you went: “Oh yeah, I had a lot of fun with Diablo III” Or maybe: “Yeah, that one really let me down.” But odds are that the most universal reaction is a Vietnam-style flashback to 2012 when the game was released and promptly taken to the court of public opinion. The verdict, Error 37, still faintly echoes through the recesses of our minds. For the longest time, games have been released in a way which was conducive to creating a mismatch between the vision of the developers and the expectations of the community. Thus, the past is littered with cautionary tales of unfettered community expectations colliding with the reality of a hyped-up release falling flat on its face. Remember No Man’s Sky? It’s actually a pretty deep and engaging experience now, but the memory of that disastrous launch still haunts some of us to this day. So, what does this have to do with Ember Sword? Our approach to building Ember SwordWe are excited that the relationship between game makers and their audience is becoming increasingly collaborative and symbiotic, making the whole process of producing a kick-ass game not only easier, but also interesting and fun for all parties involved. With Ember Sword, we are quite fortunate to have one of the best communities on the internet. We want to make sure that you guys feel listened to and involved every step of the way. We have a very clear vision for the type of experience we want to create, and we want to make sure that this vision is properly communicated with you, by letting you know at any point in time what we’re doing and what we intend on doing in the future. This is reflected in our recently revamped website FAQ, for example. In short - the intention is not to have a big build-up of expectations culminating with an eventual release, but instead a communal and transparent development process with incremental small-scale releases. We want to do this not because we fear that we will not meet our players’ expectations, but because, given our awesome community, it’s the only way we see the game going forward — a collaborative effort. After all, at its core, Ember Sword is about player agency and their impact on the world. The current state of thingsAs of this blog post, several fortunate community members, sitting at an undisclosed location surrounded by stacks of NDA’s 8ft. tall, are playtesting Ember Sword in a pre-alpha testing environment, making sure that all of the core technology of the game functions as intended. That includes things such as net code stability, environment rendering in different browsers, etc. We are taking our time with this process because we want to make sure that, once Ember Sword becomes available to a wider portion of the community, it has a good foundation to stand on, so that our iterative creation process can then start taking shape. Where do we go from here?Once we are sure that the fundamentals are working as intended, we will begin letting more and more community members into a larger play space to further test our tech, while controlling the influx of new players in order to keep the growth manageable. The first additional influx of players during the pre-alpha testing period will be those who are land owners. They will join our alpha testers in trying out various tech systems. More players also means more will be required of our network infrastructure, which we are very excited to stress test. All of this will happen later this year. Following this, in early 2022, our first official piece of Ember Sword content will be made available to the land owners — the capital of Solarwood. This is also when we are planning on adding more to the game over time, while letting our community interact with the very early beginnings of the game. All of this is to facilitate a manageable, iterative building process, to ensure we are consistently making the best game we possibly can. Once at this stage, we intend to gradually increase the player base, making Ember Sword accessible to more community members, while simultaneously adding new features, expanding the playable area with new locations and so on. The general flow of releases will follow this model, until all nations have been added to the world of the game. So, that is our plan for creating Ember Sword alongside you! We continue to be humbled by the support and passion of our community, and we are excited to be able to shape the world of Thanabus together. Building Ember Sword With The Community was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article
  15. This new blog post series aims to highlight some of the most active and prominent members of the Ember Sword community. Want a chance to be highlighted? Be an active part of the Discord community, participate in events like the Thanabus Cup, and help others in the community. “Bihzy” has joined the partyBihzy has been an active member of the Ember Sword community since February 2021. In a few short months, he has participated in and won one of the Thanabus Cup challenges, has created multiple pieces of fan-art, and has been a familiar face on the Ember Sword Discord server where he has sent over 6000 messages (yes, 6k, not 600!) 👏 A few days ago, we sat down with Bihzy to ask him a few questions so we can all get to know a bit more about the man behind this awesome Solarwood Sigil: What are your three favorite games of all time, and why?Ultima online — I was always gratified in how the interchangeability of skill points functioned. The option to level up a specific skill (Archery) and later be able to switch the points to another (Swordsmanship) is a convenient ability. I also enjoyed the opportunities to get deeds to land/plots through questing. Skyrim — is another one of my favorites. There is so much to do with no exact way to approach the game. You can get lost in a quest that’s within another quest or goal. The original Doom — The true origins of my interest in gaming. Heart pumping, gory, action-packed while attempting my first speed runs. I loved it. How did you first hear about Ember Sword?Through a friend/colleague (SCOPEdeez) I game, crypto/day trade, and invest with. We started in BTC/ETH/ADA and eventually moved into NFTs starting with NBA Topshot. We dabbled with a few other blockchain games and then found Ember Sword. As avid gamers/investors, we understood how true ownership of in-game assets will be the norm in the gaming industry’s future. Ember Sword has huge potential to be a pioneer in this. Which Ember Sword nation do you belong to?The dark jungle Nation that’s called Sevrend. The lore for it is amazing (Well done Sam👏) and I genuinely connected with how the Sevrendri had to cope with their situation and the toxic environment. This type of determination and “ride or die’’ mentality shows that the people will stand tall in the face of adversity. I see it like this; the Sevrendi are self-governed and too “Damned” independent to follow orders from the Republic. Deal with it. What made you excited about Ember Sword, and which parts are you particularly looking forward to?When I heard we could build a guild and own land that generates passive income through local/global fees, that’s what got me excited. I’m also looking forward to building an economy-based guild within Ember Sword that’s truly “play to earn”. So overall, owning land or at least being part of a guild that shares its earnings is something I look forward to. If you could ask the Ember Sword development team one question, what would it be? Tell us more about guilds: the possibility of renting land, co-ownership, and how guild leaders can equally distribute resources amongst the guild members? 3 questions in 1 :) Note from dev team: Renting land is something we’d love to be able to support eventually. Co-ownership gets tricky — but we’ll be looking at ways to make it easy for guild leaders to distribute resources to their guild members. Are you planning to create a guild, and if so, are you recruiting members?Yes, it’s called F8 Guild and we are on the path to establish a formidable presence throughout the Play2earn metaverse; especially in Ember Sword. Our goal is to purchase a City plot for guild members to earn, play, and fight on. F8 Guild is also offering Axie scholarships, valuable airdrops, along with a chance to earn through in-game, and discord, competitions. We are currently recruiting members, mods, and officers. Feel free to join us on the path to earning passive income, while gaming, on our Discord: https://discord.gg/3VGZwVSs6b or look for me in the Ember Sword Discord under the name Bihzy#1111 Would you mind sharing the Ember Sword fan-art you’ve made?I had a troubled youth, and art, becoming a graffiti artist, helped to keep me out of trouble (for the most part). I created my Ember Sword concept art using a few different paint apps and a special digital pinpoint pen. They took a lot of time/hours but when I zone into my artwork the daily stressors of life seem to melt away. I’m at peace then. I still need to draw the sigil for Duskeron, Edisau, and an original remake of the Ember Sword logo. I’m also going to create and submit skins, emotes, animations, etc. to Ember Swords Artist Workshop. So make sure to look out for that in the future and give me (Bihzy) a vote 🤞. You won one of the Thanabus Cup challenges. Which one was it?The Art contest, but I nearly lost to boodog’s wallpaper (iykyk). This was literally the most tedious artwork I’ve ever done, but I’m glad I was able to complete it in a timely manner. I feel accomplished to know I won 1 of the 10 Thanabus tournaments. Will there be more? Note from the dev team: Yep, there will absolutely be more Thanabus Cups in the future. The Community Spotlight seriesThanks for reading this very first Community Spotlight post. More will arrive over the next months, some of which will feature some true Ember Sword old-timers who have been part of the community ever since 2018! Stay tuned. Community Spotlight: Bihzy was originally published in EmberSword on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story. View the full article