Not In This Issue: Fig Parrots, Playing Strip Bingo, Singing Tree Pruners

… do NOT play Strip Tree Pruning
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After The Change Came

Series 4


Hound Dog Tails


Roscoe here with a badly late entry to this blog. As Dad said in his last post, I’m still working for the State of California Department of Nature as a wildlife surveyor, and I still work at ManDog creating QuestWorld scenarios. In fact, since his post we have finished scenarios #97 (Return To Venus) and #98 (The Floating City Caper). #99, still awaiting a title, is about 30% finished. And that will bring us to #100, which is about halfway plotted out on paper and will be a real mindblower when we release it. More than that, I cannot say.

It just occurred to me that some of you in other realities may not know what the whole QuestWorld phenomenon is. Let me explain.

After the Change restructured our world, the internet and everything about it got way more fun and way more strange to use. This was because you could just slip on a helmet and step right into a virtual world. There would be all sorts of websites and stuff laid out before you like a huge city. To help you navigate this confusing new world, there were Computer Guides, entities based upon people who had died years before. They could get you where you needed to go and help you find what you needed. They were, and still are, pretty much indispensable.

Anyway, this new cyberspace was just crying out for games and a bunch of folks either wrote new games or ported old games. I can still remember when I was a pup and I’d play Joust with Dad. Believe me, it’s a much different game when you’re riding on the flying ostriches with all sorts of shit happening around you.

At some point in 2004, at GenCon, a group of young folks got to talking to Dad and Uncle Spike and a bunch of other Old School roleplayers and the topic turned to adventure modules and intro adventures and adventure seeds. By the time the evening was done, a young lady named Shema Oliver had an idea for an online game that used “modules”. Three weeks later, QuestWorld Inc. was a company and six months later QuestWorld the game made it’s debut.

The main concept about QuestWorld is that you, ordinary citizens, have been transported to the Multiversal Nexus and told that you must find parts of a McGuffin in several worlds, then return them, assemble them and go into yet another world and stop the big bad guy. You can go into the various worlds, all of which are small, but richly realized, by computer game standards, in any order you like. There are also many ways to get the job done, but some work better than others. Most worlds are set up for four to eight players, but you can play with smaller groups or even solo.

Another thing that is very cool is that your characters pick up skills and powers in each world. Some of those don’t port over to every world (magic is a good example), but you never lose these skills. Believe me, first things you want to learn is stealth and some sort of edged weapon. Useful anywhere.

The first QuestWorld had four initial worlds (Zombie New York, Sinking Atlantis, The Old West and Shogunate Japan) to fetch McGuffin parts from and the Boss world (Jungle of Death) to use the McGuffin in. 150,000 people signed up to play it the first week. That number tripled the second week. By the time the company celebrated their first year, they had four different adventures and 19 worlds.

And then they did their version of the Open Game License. Anyone could create adventures or just modules, but they could only be played on the official QuestWorld site. Developers got 50% of the take and prominent credit (in neon lights) for their company and everyone working on the game.

This opened as floodgate of adventures and modules. Many sucked badly, but some were great. The initial McGuffin/Big Bad concept began to get massaged into something different in some adventures. Sometimes, you might be searching for spell components or map pieces or evel lost family members. It was a chaotic and wonderful time.

After about two years, the QW folks had to start setting up minimal quality rules. That weeded out a bunch of developers. Another thing that happened, and this caught most of us by surprise, it that people who weren’t QW players started to actually pay to watch QW games. Pretty soon there were QW cons and cybershows and then the official online QuestCon, which now draws half a million people.

The big event at QuestCon is the Speed Challenge. 24 teams of 6 people go on a quest that covers 5 worlds (chosen by a panel of QW fans selected a couple of days before the event picking from a large number of excellent scenarios) and a Boss World. Fastest time wins $100,000.00. The world record was set in 2016 by Team Fluffy Kitty with 5 hours, 50 minutes, 11 seconds. As a long time Speed Challenge fan and sometimes participant, let me just say that time is fucking insane. Of course, they did finish with only 2 PCs left alive. I’ll note that as of 2018, the Speed Challenge was drawing above 4 million viewers worldwide.

This year, as we have for the last 7 years, Team ManDog will be in the running to participate in the Speed Challenge. Our team consists of me, Dad, my son Nick, Auntie Avis, my daughter May and Uncle Spike. I think we have a good shot at making it.

Okay, I took way to long writing this, so I’ll end for now.

Talk to you later,

Roscoe

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