Saturday, May 8, 2010

Debriefing: Battleblood Monthly Challenge #1

....and the winner is:


What a turn out!  It does nothing more than please me to know how persistent our community is!  Not one contestant gave up, despite the twenty-five-or-so times they fell off the course.  Without any guidance, all players still in the running managed to scale up the tricky initial slope, which was mildly littered with inkwells to instantly halt those who tried running through.  Then they each realized where to go after hitting the dead end, very well done by everyone!

I have to point out some key things I noticed about Michael Owleyes's superb performance.  Every time he fell, he was back up on his feet and running up the slope again, keeping his mind focused on the goals at hand, without distractions.  He smoothly transitioned from Spotter to Spotter in the questing segment.  What impressed me the most was how he handled the quest (explained later) Sierra Starsong gave him, and that was with endless patience and determination.  Outstanding work, Michael!

I want to personally thank the following people who helped me administer the event successfully by screening for any potential cheating, keeping the contestants motivated, and for putting up with me, the "complexity" of the "questing" part of the course, and the viral random ports from friends of a disqualified player:

Allan Spiritrider
Paul Sandbreeze
Cheryl Fire
Ronan Dawn

In all honesty, we couldn't have had this event without each of them.  The event did have a little awkward moment from some last minute misunderstanding, but we were able to smooth it out via effective communication and prompt replies.  If anything, I would be happy to have each person back for next month's BMC.

For those who are interested in trying out the course without a guide, please skip past the black text, which will go into the Challenge in detail:

The main objective is to enter the Ice quarters and present to me a sequence of emotes.  In order to find that sequence, players have to scale the entire course successfully, where they will meet Heather Emeraldflame.  The obstacle course includes a small maze at the very beginning with a few visual illusions to deceive contestants on where the real path lies.  Once through, players would "use" a rowboat to travel through the freezing moat.  Wizards are met with a tricky, slippery slope with minuscule inkwells, arbitrarily blocking their path.  

As they enter a Dragonspyre platform, Boris Blackrock presents them with a long, devious path to take, while hiding a shorter, simpler path to the right.  There is also a tablet blocking the view of that shortcut, with a Snowflake symbol on it.  Autumn Duskhunter holds her post here.  After accessing the next platform, players would climb the residence mountain up to the hollow statue of the Frost Giant, to be met with another platform, occupied by Allan Spiritrider.  Behind him stands two tall tablets; one with an icon of a Windswept Tree, and the other, hieroglyphics.

A path is visible from here, leading straight into "Santa," and exits his eye, only to present an ominous skull, symbolizing a "dead end." (the Zoom feature of the game is required to see anything inside)  Directly above the dead end is another path, with an indirect clue that players would have to backtrack to find the entrance to the trail above.  Upon returning to Allan's platform, contestants would discover another path that is initially hidden by the two tall tablets.  This path leads past the forehead of the Frost Giant onto yet another DS platform, this time occupied by Paul Sandbreeze, later joined by Ronan Dawn and Cheryl Fire.

From here, the path splits into two, both hovering dangerously high over the ice cave with the frozen Gobbler beneath.  One slip would send the player back to the bottom.  On the left path, which is placed very low compared to the right (thereby hiding it from view), there is a very small chance of falling off, which is the innate reward for players who take the time to use their pet to aim for a short drop.  The right path, though straight, contains many obstacles, ranging from a woodpile to feline dummies to hidden inkwells.  Both trails lead over to the statue of the Dragon, where they meet at a Large Watcher Rug platform.

On this floor, there is a minuscule maze of tin cans, red stools, and balloons.  Past this is a path following closely to the Dragon's wings, requiring players to change their camera angle by holding down the left-click button, and sliding their mouse around.  Steadily, the course leads to a platform occupied by Sierra Starsong.

Further along the journey, contestants meet with Heather Emeraldflame at the bottom, by some pine trees and the side of the house.  Heather notifies players to run back and speak with Autumn, as she has a quest(ion) for them.  When players directly inquire her for their question, Autumn asks, "How many red stools are by the Dragon?"  When the correct answer ("3") is given, they are told to find
Allan and must use the emote DANCE in front of him.  As soon as the contestant is breaking down some moves, Allan will ask, "What is the symbol next to Autumn?"  A correct answer will send the player over to Paul with the instruction to use the emote BEG.

Paul's question is, "How many balloons are next to the Dragon?"  When the contestant answers "2," they are sent to Sierra with the order to CRY.  Sierra asks the player to tell her what symbol is next to Allan.  Once they pass her test, they are sent to Heather again, this time with the command to SWOON.  As soon as Heather sees this, she will reveal the correct sequence that the player must show me:  CHEER, FLEX, JUMP (spacebar).  However, there is no obvious path after Heather's spot, so players must explore to find some steps leading to an elevated glacier, where there is a single path trailing over the pine trees, and towards the house.  Players must jump down from the path and enter the house, where they show Kevin the correct emotes to win.

Initially, I wasn't going to incorporate the small questing segment, but I realized that rules could potentially be broken, and the overall difficulty of the course would collapse into a joke of a challenge.  By adding the questions and giving my Spotters significant roles in the Challenge, I was able to prevent a player--whom I will not mention--from ruining the game for others when they decided to abandon policies explained at the beginning of the contest.

After Michael's victory was announced to everyone, Spotters and Contestants ported over to me, where they were greeted by a fountain surrounded by dragon heads, a Colossus, a Marleybonian, and Triton.  Above the fountain was a shimmering trophy.  From here, players were given a chance to find the "easter egg," which was stashed inside "outer space" around the Ice house.  Jessica Fairyheart and Heather Raven are the two that will be receiving "Headstart Hints" for the next Battleblood Monthly Challenge.

If anyone wants a go at the course, I'll be leaving the house the way it is, forever, so don't worry about missing an opportunity; there are plenty!

Again, congratulations to Michael!  Your patience and dedication truly paid off in the end. 

Happy Hunting!


  1. I would love to try out the course and learn how I can enter in the next one. I made a stariway at my house shortly after I got my house, but this one sounds far more complex. I would be honored to see it and take a go at it. I give you a huge hats off for making such a creative contest. I can't wait to try it out.

    ~Blaze Silverfist

    The Awesome Sauce-erer

    Son of Elik Silverfist, Master Merchant

  2. Okay! Now I get it! We were supposed to go all the way through the course then back to Amber for the first question. Oh. Well. I, uh, didn't end up doing it that way.

  3. @ Autumn: Couldn't have done it without you and the others! Thank you again!

    @ Silverfist: Just send me an email whenever you're online, and if I'm around, I'd be glad to give you a go!

    @ Heather: No worries :) It's my fault for not planning the question quest out early enough to make an official poster tip, so it was a bit messy in there for almost everyone.

  4. Yay! This is the first thing I got from a contest in the Wizard101 community.


Let that thought out here: