First T2T Podcast is LIVE!
With just minutes to spare before this newsletter was due to send, the FIRST T2T Podcast is live and ready for your listening pleasure! Listen to Osse and Vildoran discuss the Crypt and Battleground: where did they come from, where will they go?
T2T Pledge Drive Results
We are thrilled to report that our first pledge drive in over thirteen years was a huge success! As you hopefully know, we re-created the classic T2T T-shirt designs from 2008 for this run of great swag, along with some new variations.
In total, just over $1550 USD was raised for the MUD during the month-long pledge drive. 171 separate orders were placed for 210 pledge drive reward items. Here were the most popular items:
Coffee Mug (classic design): 31 ordered
Pint Glass (fellowship wrap): 28 ordered
Classic 2008 T2T Logo T-Shirt: 26 ordered
Die-Cut Sticker (oval design): 24 ordered
Pint Glass (original design): 18 ordered
Classic 2008 logo Tri-Blend Shirt: 13 ordered
Also, some fun (albeit less popular) items: ONE baby onesie was ordered by a hardy and dedicated T2T fan, as well as TWO fanny packs (one sent as a gift to Mog by Rusak), three blankets, one beach towel, one face mask, and a big fat ZERO tote bags. Somewhat surprisingly, six wall tapestries were ordered… including ONE of the largest 106 in. x 84 in. versions, by Osse, which he still hasn’t told his wife about.
Check out the photos below that T2T fans posted in our Discord channel and on our Facebook group.
T2T Swag Photo Gallery
Pledge Drive Trivia Tournament Recap
The evening of Tuesday, August 31, Osse and Vingilote hosted a 100-question comm trivia tournament to celebrate the end of the pledge drive. With nearly 50 players logged on, we had nineteen of them make the scoreboard, and it was quite a fun event. Questions covered Tolkien thematic topics, mud history and general game knowledge.
In the end, Angril was victorious with 29 points, followed by Adunazon with 22 and Jumper with 9. Other scoreboard results were: [8:Auri] [7:Aranthir] [5:Minuial] [4:Falyn] [2:Baern, Esker and Lizbeth] [1:Cori, Guilt, Kanex, Lunasik, Maedhros, Nyssa, Thelia, Torzelan and Ungorane].
The top three finishers received powerful magical item prizes to use throughout the following uptime. All contestants who made the scoreboard also received a gold prize, from a purse generously donated by other players/groups. Many thanks to Merys (on behalf of the Taril Haleth guild), an anonymous donor, Jumper, Shu, Thelia, Sprotticus, Auri (on behalf of Lizbeth) and Esker for pitching in.
On Friday, September 3 the Mirkwood Battleground (Battle Under the Trees) was launched on The Two Towers, culminating a years-long effort led by Vildoran (with help from many other Ainur and playtesters) to introduce a fun new gameplay system to the MUD.
The inaugural opening of the battleground was a roaring success, with over ten free race and evil race/servant players taking part. After hard fighting, the FREE RACE side was victorious, bringing special reward buffs to all FR characters for the rest of the uptime. In the second opening of the battleground, the ERs were decisively victorious. We continue to work on making improvements and fixing bugs in this massive new system.
The Mirkwood Battleground requires no outside gear and death while playing does not impact your actual character, so log in and check it out! The Mirkwood battleground opens once per uptime, between 1 days and 2 days after reboot. You can see when it will next open in the sign-up rooms at Rhosgobel and Dol Guldur.
You can learn more about the new battleground system by reading Vildoran’s original news post about it, or by checking out the battleground help file.
As part of our efforts to market and grow the MUD, we are taking steps to improve accessibility for vision-impaired folks using screen readers.
Recently, we added a new "accessibility" setting along with changes to the 'map' command and fireworks spell. These updates will cause those features to present alternate screen reader-friendly text in place of the ASCII art, for players with the accessibility setting turned on. Newbie starting town map signs have also been updated, as well as the adventure caves map.
As the next step of this effort, we will be reviewing all other quests and in-game areas that currently use ASCII designs: and for this effort, we could use your help! If you know of such an area or quest that uses ASCII art, please go to it on the MUD and file an IDEA report. These reports are added to a TODO list that we will use to continue making changes.
The goal for all of this is two-fold: to improve the experience of our current players using screen readers, and also to help us market T2T to communities and the organizations that work with the vision impaired.
One more thing - if you currently use a screen reader, please let Osse know via e-mail, tell or mudmail! We are actively seeking to learn more about what we could to do make this game as accessible as possible for all of our players!
T2T Marketing Plan: Updates
As outlined above, our recently ended pledge drive raised just over $1500, and a big chunk of that has been earmarked for marketing purposes. We will be working on establishing some carefully targeted paid ads on relevant platforms in the near future, with an especial focus on Reddit. We have also begun the process of reviewing the existing T2T website with an eye towards a more modern redesign.
In related news, our Patreon pledge level has been steadily increasing, which provides both a nice financial buffer for ongoing hosting costs, as well as enabling more server upgrades to support resource-heavy new in-game systems and concepts. THANK YOU to everyone who has pitched in on Patreon!
Finally, the accessibility improvements mentioned above are preparatory for reaching out to organizations that work with vision-impaired folks, to try to directly promote The Two Towers to potential new players.
Once again, we ask that if any of you have real-life experience in these areas (web design, graphic design, online marketing, video production), please let Osse or Vingilote know, or just reply to this e-mail!
Recent Updates and Additions
Here’s all the fun stuff that’s been going on on T2T since the last newsletter.
09/10/21 - Vildoran: Battleground updates: 1) Fixed a bunch of bugs 2) Herb respawn rate increased 3) Spider initial spawn changed to 20m 4) You can now use 'stats' at the signup locations 5) 'Kills' are now broadcasted to all players 6) Each protection point now has a 'guardian' NPC associated with it. When the protection point falls, this NPC will be removed. The intent is to make it significantly harder to rush the leader towards the beginning of the game.
09/07/21 - Osse: The rune set, rage sword and Pelargir clock have all been updated to output alternate text for players with the accessibility" setting enabled.
09/05/21 - Vildoran: Battleground updates:
the 'map' command will now show where you are on the map.
you can 'info <object>' to get extra information about (some) equipment.
clear notifications should be visible when objectives are under attack.
09/04/21 - Osse: The new character creation sequence has been updated to prompt vision-impaired players using screenreaders to turn on the new 'accessibility' setting and the town map signs in all starting towns have been updated to display plain text for those with the setting enabled.
The first five players to send Osse an in-game mudmail after receiving this newsletter, with the secret code YEAHBUDDY in the subject or body, will receive a special healing item to enjoy!
09/04/21 - Osse: The output of the 'map' command and fireworks spell have been updated to output plain English text for players with the new 'accessibility' setting enabled. The paintings quest in the Grey Havens and black shield quest in Far Harad have been updated as well.
08/26/21 - Luthien: The peak of Zirak-zigil has shown strange lights as of late, as something has changed upon the mountain where wizard and balrog fatally clashed. And below, something seems to be stirring, down in the dark...
08/19/21 - Vildoran: Many shops around Arda will now regularly re-supply their stock of torches.
08/18/21 - Osse: Arda’s innkeepers now offer reduced strongbox pricing on a sliding scale up through level 14, with lower-level players getting lower prices.
Here’s a little something your industrious friends on the MUD got up to recently… making up ASCII representations of some of our favorite weapons! And yes, Osse has his main comm color set to $HIM$.
The best way to show your support for T2T on an ongoing basis is by becoming a patron via our Patreon! We count on the revenue from your monthly pledges to pay for hosting and related registration fees, server upgrades as well as paid advertising to help grow the MUD. Even $1 a month helps, so please consider joining if you haven’t already… AND THANK YOU!
The first five players to send Osse an in-game mudmail with the secret code YEAHBUDDY will get a special healing item to enjoy!