- 1 Troops Update (2003)
- 2 Combat Free Week (2004)
- 3 New Class (2005)
- 4 Death in BattleMaster (2006)
- 5 Rollback to sunday (2007)
- 6 New War Island (2008)
- 7 Meta Jokes (2009)
- 8 Domain Suspended (2010)
- 9 Item Shop (2011)
- 10 Netherworld Invasion (2012)
- 11 Google Glass Integration (2013)
- 12 Daimon Adventurer creation (2014)
- 13 BattleMaster Adventures (2015)
- 14 Facebook Marketing Stunt (2018)
- 15 TwitterMaster (2020)
April Fools is a tradition of BattleMaster as well, and every year at least some of the players fall for it...
Unfortunately, not all april fools mails have survived. If by some chance you are in posession of an older one, please add it.
Please For the coming years, please don't spoil the fun. If you don't fall for it, then don't tip of the others who do, ok? That includes not updating this page until April 2nd.
Troops Update (2003)
[BM-Discuss] troops update Tom <[email protected]> Tue Apr 1 10:43:56 CEST 2003 The combat system is still very much unsatisfactory, so I have decided to implement a major change that I've been working on for quite a while now: * Infantry Grunts are not exactly known for their intelligence, a factor that desperately needs to be included in the game. Under the new system, all infantry units have a 10% chance per turn of getting lost during travel (20% in woodlands, 25% in cities with 3 or more bars). * Archers Everyone knows that archers really are wimps, too afraid to face the enemy in real combat. Archer units engaged in close combat have a random chance of doing either of the below: - fight - immediately surrender - attempt to bury a hole to hide in - offer themselves to the enemy as sex slaves if only they are spared (they will then act much like a baggage train) * Cavalry Horses really aren't well represented in the game. Cavalry units will get a random combatstrength increase to simulate horses kicking and biting, but they will eat twice as much food. However, large cavalry units will also create dung, which will increase harvest in a region. * Mixed Infantry Does anyone else think these guys are sissies? Trying to do both, doing neither well. Mixed infantry will be booed at when entering any city or townsland, which will immediately lower morale. However, they will get another orders option: "Find someone to beat up" which will restore morale if successful (there is a 25% chance that they will meet someone who has friends and get beaten up themselves, however). * Special Forces Every special force unit will automatically create a lobbyist back in the capital, who as a representative of the military-industrial complex can affect diplomacy and other ruler actions. Specifically, 5 lobbyists are capable of declaring war on a random enemy once per week with or without the rulers consent.
Combat Free Week (2004)
[BM-Discuss] Combat Free Week Tom <[email protected]> Thu Apr 1 14:56:54 CEST 2004 You may have noticed that the server had some slowdowns, and was even down for about 10 minutes earlier today. There is a serious problem with the combat script, that in some instances runs one battle forever (the others work fine, just one battle hangs, about every 3-4 turns). So far, it was manageable, but it is getting worse. Today, it consumed so many system resources, that I could not even remotely log in to the machine anymore and had to have it rebooted! Obviously, that is unacceptable. Until the bug is fixed, all combat is disabled. Repeat: There will be no combat until this bug is fixed. Since I am away over the weekend, this may well last until monday or tuesday. Sorry for that. Let's all use the time to do some great roleplaying instead. Oh, and if you believed any of the above, then you should seriously check your calender. April Fools! :))) (please, please! Don't post the above into the game. No need to have this run around as a rumour, ok? All in jest. No slowdowns exist. And the short downtime today was because I upgraded the Linux kernel, which requires a reboot.)
New Class (2005)
[Discuss] New Class Tom <[email protected]> Fri Apr 1 11:05:38 CEST 2005 For a long time, I've mentioned that internal politics and the occasional power-strife within a realm make the game more interesting. So I've worked on it, and created a new class: Courtier A courtier is a kind of merge between bureaucrat and infiltrator. He travels without a unit and at higher skill levels invisible. He can engage in intrigue and gossip. Gossip allows him to learn details about regions and troop leaders, many of which are unavailable to other classes. Through gossip, he can also "intercept" fragments of private messages anyone in the same region sends or receives. Intrigue gives him manipulative powers. They are not as disruptive as those of the infiltrator, but more difficult to spot. For example, he can spread rumours about troop leaders, impacting their honour and/or prestige values temporarily (they will recover over a span of one month). He can talk region stewards into handing him gold from the tax collection (very high skill levels required to do that in enemy regions). His most important intrigue power is the ability to manipulate elections. To give the courtiers some action, they can attend tournaments and they can fight the - requested before - duels. They can even force other troop leaders into duels by insulting their honour publicly, giving the victim the choice to fight the duel or lose tremendous amounts of honour. As a final step, there will be a realm-wide "intrigue level" large determined by the number of courtiers in the realm regions, regardless of which realm they actually belong to (courtiers can be used as a kind of ambassadors and live in other realms). At high intrigue levels, as in real life, only courtiers can survive the deadly politics and all government members are forced to either become courtiers themselves or step down from their positions. Should be in testing with the next update.
Death in BattleMaster (2006)
I have decided to reverse my stance on death in BattleMaster. Let me explain before you cry out in anguish: One, there is too little overturn in the government position. In the real world, politics often change because someone new gets in charge. We don't have that in BattleMaster and it's a shame. Two, the fact that you can't die makes roleplaying a lot less realistic. Characters in BM take chances no sane person ever would. Three, actually *killing* the other guy is just a lot more rewarding. Four, it allows an extension to the family system where you can now play consecutive generations. So, without further ado, the changes that'll go online after the weekend are roughly as follows: While serious wounds remain, there is now a considerable chance that you'll die because of them, either immediately or after a few days of suffering. In addition, starvation in a region will cause famine which might affect nobles as well, but that is a minor risk only to add some flavour. Duels to the death can not be refused anymore without a massive loss of honour/prestige, unless the challenger was below your status (i.e. not every pesky noble can challenge a king). But, death is boring to those subject to it, so I've made a couple of changes there. When you die, it's not immediately game over. If you were a member of a religion, you'll stay around as a ghost for a little while. If a priest of your religion finds your corpse during those few days, you can not only talk to him, he can pray for your soul, recovering parts of your experience for your next character, i.e. your "son" will start with slightly better values and the loss isn't as serious for you. In addition, ghosts can interact with each other, so that we have a small afterlife. This is all very primitive right now, being a ghost is just a status like being wounded, except that you're gone from all messaging of the living and can only message other ghosts (and priests) yourself. On the worlds where religion is not yet activated, the "a priest found you" thing is currently a simple random test. That's it, in short. As usual, there's a plethora of nice details, hidden features, etc. - but you're invited to discover those yourself. I hope the afterlife won't get too crowded.
Rollback to sunday (2007)
What you need to know to appreciate this one: April 1st was on sunday. Nothing happened on sunday. Well, at least not on the first one...
[Discuss] Rollback to sunday Tom tom at lemuria.org Wed Apr 4 13:47:01 CEST 2007 Due to a massive problem with the disk cache on the battlemaster.org server, there will be a massive rollback to sunday morning status. Apparently a disk in the RAID setup failed in some odd way I haven't yet been able to decipher. All changes were cached on the second disk, but never applied to the actual database or filesystem. All sorts of weird failures on the backend side kept me wondering for the past few days what the heck was going on. Since at the current rate of incoming data, the cache capacity would be filled up by this evening, there is not enough time left to properly address the problem. I have no idea what would happen when the cache bursts, and I don't intend to find out. Therefore, I will shut the machine down, revive the failed drive, and power the machine up again. Which means that one of two things is going to happen: a) We find ourselves in the state of sunday, as if nothing inbetween happened. For all intents and purposes, it'll be sunday. b) Everything that's in the cache (on the _second_ drive, remember!) is properly applied to the database and filesystem, which means everything will happen _again_. Like in Groundhog Day, you'll get all messages again, both in-game and on the mailing lists. All battles will be fought again, with the same results. Everything will happen a second time, but after that we're in the clear. My apologies in advance for any inconveniences, especially those subscribed to the unmoderated mailing list will probably be hit by a large amount of duplicate messages. Don't bother to unsubscribe to avoid it - since in the cached data you are subscribed, changing that now wouldn't change a thing.
[Discuss] Rollback done Tom tom at lemuria.org Wed Apr 4 17:11:47 CEST 2007 Welcome back to sunday. Sorry. The rollback (see below) has happened now. The cache didn't burst and did not get applied again as I had hoped, so for all the game knows, it is sunday and nothing inbetween has happened. Sorry again. I'm also having some troubles with the logins and sessions, but I'm sure that'll solve itself. I'm offline for a few hours now, if anything blows, I'll fix it in the evening.
For a couple of hours after this last announcement, people who logged in found themselves presented with Tom's account, or more precisely, a static page which you can see here. All links on that fake page lead to an April Fools message.
This April Fools joke was not run on April 1st, so does it count? One could argue, because due to the "rollback" (which was, of course, a fake) it "was sunday". So the joke is valid because of the joke. Geeks will (hopefully) appreciate the recursiveness.
New War Island (2008)
Subject: [Discuss] new war islands From: Tom <[email protected]> Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2008 09:30:49 +0200 When I closed down the war islands, there was some protest. From two factions, actually. One, from the strategy players who enjoyed a pure war environment, and from the roleplayers who feared the strategy players would now flood the rest of the game. So, I've taken some time and re-worked the concept. Remember that my reason was that the war islands never worked the way I intended them to. Opening later today, there will be a new war island ("South Island"). The map is slightly expanded, but mostly the same. There are now five small realms initially. Some other features have been changed: * "War only" as you're used to, all non-war features are disabled, more complete this time * Looting has been much improved, to make it a viable strategy The most important change, however, is that I've decided to finally listen to those who want a much more "active" and speedy game. On the new war island, turns will run EVERY TWO HOURS. That's 12 turns in a day, 6 half and 6 full. This will provide our strategy friends with an entirely new challenge, because you really can't expect everyone to be active all the time with that schedule. You will have to plan with inactivity, something that I hope will then migrate to the rest of the game. Day- and Night-Armies are just one of the ideas that hit me. One disadvantage to the whole thing, however. Since the rapid turns would, in theory, allow people to leech gold off the islands very quickly, the war island is a one-way road: * You can't leave once you're there (no emmigration) * To prevent overcrowing, everyone is mortal on war island (same as for heroes elsewhere) * No family gold sending I have a few final touches to finish, such as uploading the new map and resetting the database, and then later today you'll read a second announcement when it opens.
Meta Jokes (2009)
On March 31st
Three jokes happened one day early
- Due to legal concerns, all words appearing in the EAA filter had to be censored out of the game.
- New Trade goods were implemented in addition to wood, metal and stone:
In addition to these, we also add trade goods. This is totally new. These goods serve no in-game purpose except trade, which is why we use abstract,
The important part is that at all times at least two demands must be met or the people will be very, very unhappy. A region with only one demand met
The following trade goods are currently available:
- Among new treaty types that were announced on that day, the "Easter Peace" treaty was included.
Your realm declares peace and love for the upcoming holiday.
This treaty ceases all hostile activity in a one-sided peace treaty. A gesture of good will and happiness. Your former enemy will no longer be attacked, and will be granted free use of all your workshops, trading and banks, in an attempt to convince them that friendship is better than hate. Also, you will send them flowers.
On April 1st
Posting to the Discussion List
April Fool's pranks are a beloved BattleMaster tradition. Since we can't seriously expect our players to fall for pranks anymore after 8+ years, we've decided to incorporate the pranks into the game. It turns out that this does, in fact, have a historic base, e.g.:
It is said that on April 1st a 16 year old girl (name unknown) asked Heinrich IV., King of France (1589-1610), who was known for fancying young ladies, for a secret rendevous in a discrete love castle. As Heinrich showed up for the tete-a-tete, he was greeted by the entire court, headed by his wife Maria von Medici, who welcomed him to the "Fool's Ball".
On this page, you can play pranks on other characters in your realm. Of course the game will keep track of who pranked and who was pranked, and you can only prank those who did neither so far. So you have to be quick and inventive, since you must be the first to use a particular prank on a particular person, and you must use it before your target does a prank himself.
You can gain small amounts of honour or even prestige if you prank enough characters in creative ways. Also, pranking someone else first is the best way to prevent pranks being played on you (see above).
Pick your prank type below, then on the next pages you will design the prank details and target:
- play a political prank
- play a humorous prank
- prank religion
- play a prank on nobility
- other pranks
Domain Suspended (2010)
For the 2010 April Fool's, the front page was replaced with a page (shown on the left) alleging the domain was shut down by the USPTO until the resolution of a trademark dispute.
By clicking the contact link, you could play the game as usual.
There was also a smaller joke on the testing islands where parts of the combat texts were replaced by easter references.
Item Shop (2011)
A link advertising the "BattleMaster Item Shop" was included in the user/family page. It showed the page shown in the image, with functioning selections and totals, might still be up at the original link.
The "item shop" took up the current trend towards the 2006 business model "Fremium" and appeared to allow players to buy in-game advantages like prestige, additional troops, etc. for real-world money.
The joke was obvious to most people who've known the game for a while, but it quickly sparked two forum topics with angry outrage. Of course, getting people all upset has never stopped Tom from playing an April Fool's before.
Netherworld Invasion (2012)
Dark portals opened up on all game worlds and sons of Overlord (who had already been killed during the ongoing 5th Invasion on Beluaterra) appeared as rulers of the Netherworld realm, declaring war on all human realms (but, on Dwilight, not on the Zuma).
The portals were visible on the dynamic map for the entire day (click on the images for a larger view):
Completely unrelated, but with perfect timing, actual player activities had led to an in-game event on Dwilight (you can see the dark cloud over the inner sea in the map above).
In addition to the IC prank, the wiki, forum and account pages were also "taken over" by the Netherworld, the BM logo replaced with the same Netherworld portal image, the forum board renamed from "BattleMaster" to "Netherworld Slave Islands", the account/family page renamed from "Player Page" to "Slave Register", and so on.
Google Glass Integration (2013)
A video was posted to the login page, originally with some fake tags indicating that it was not yet meant to be shown (and would thus be a "leak"). The video explains that there is a full voice-interface for the game in the works, together with a (doctored) demo allegedly showing it running on an iPhone. The video is on YouTube:
Daimon Adventurer creation (2014)
The fake announcement was made that you could create a Daimon Adventurer with special powers.
BattleMaster Adventures (2015)
BattleMaster Adventures, with working demo downloads and a sweet video, due to the declining popularity of the game was kind of a dud.
Facebook Marketing Stunt (2018)
Maximum Character Limit for Messages Reduced
After collecting much more data upon message activity throughout BattleMaster over the last few months, Anaris and I have both spent the weekend analyzing the various metrics and considering solutions to boost the interaction between players based on the lessons learned from the data.
A key insight we've observed is that messages of fewer characters tends to generate many more replies by a wider group of players, including those who don't often write letters or roleplays, while extremely long messages tend to only generate replies from a miniscule sliver of the playerbase. In some realms, long messages get no replies at all while short, concise messages do get a few replies. Another group in which a noticeable difference was observed was new players. Of grave concern, characters less than a month old replied to a long letter less than 5% of the time while replying to shorter letters an average minimum of 23% of the time, sometimes as high as 39% in certain realms, and as high as 68% in Perdan.
It is for this reason that the first change we are immediately implementing to messages to boost interaction is reducing the maximum character limit of all messages to only 280 characters. We understand that this is a huge change from a 5,000 character limit, but we believe it is important to establish firmly the new direction of the game being short, concise messages. We suspect this may also have the advantage of encouraging more mobile-friendly play in our on-the-go modern world, without having the burden of reading and replying to lengthy messages via a mobile interface. Please, give it a day to experience before giving us your much-appreciated feedback on the forum or in discord.
The last day or so has been such a resounding success for the new reduced character limits that we will now be transitioning BattleMaster to be played exclusively on Twitter. On a larger platform, we will be able to attract many more players and grow once more. In an unrelated note, happy April Fool's Day. ;)