Friday, October 11, 2019

P1999



Around the turn of the century, Robin and I began playing a new revolutionary computer game called Everquest. This was one of the first massive multiplayer online role playing games, and became a massive success that is still in existence twenty years later. We found it incredibly fun and played it for over three years. Robin and I had many adventures and eventually joined a guild that for a time we ran together while the guild leader was away with real-life issues.

While playing I began writing stories about the adventures and misadventures of the guild members. Believing these led to an increase in membership, I was made an officer in the guild. I then went on to write a fictional serial story using members of the game server (mostly members of our guild). The story was so well-received that I seriously began thinking about writing again after a near ten year hiatus. The result was a book about two thieves, and some of the first readers of Riyria were members of our Everquest guild. Theft of Swords is partially dedicated to them: Dragonchow.

Everquest then went on to deviate from the game creator’s original vision as Sony began tacking on expansions that broke much of the game’s original foundations. In short, they made the game easier in order to attract a wider audience. Robin and I lost interest in the early to mid-2000s. Today Everquest bears little resemblance to the original.

Why am I telling you all this? Because it is all starting over again on October 25th.

A group of volunteers with a vision created a classic version of EQ as it was when it released in the spring of 1999. They opened the server in October 2009. This server, called Blue, followed the same expansion and update track as the original game up to the point where the original development team stopped. Daybreak Games, the owners of Everquest, blessed the project that became known as P1999, (Project 1999) so long as they did not make money off the game, or allow it to advance beyond the 2001 expansions.

Now ten years later, P1999 is opening a new server called Green.

Blue was considered the 10-year beta test. Green is expected to be the most accurate re-envisioning of the original game.

P99 (as it is called) is free, but the wonderful volunteers do accept donations to help pay for the maintenance.

I thought I would mention it because I wish I had known about the opening of Blue back in 2009. So I am passing on the info to you. If you have no idea what Everquest is, allow me to quote Foghat_Vender 9 from a Reddit post he made that I feel sums up much of the game’s appeal.

“No modern conveniences at all. No group finder, no map, no minimap, when you die your shit stays on your body for a week and you lose xp and have to run to your corpse naked, no loot distribution system, money has weight and doesn't auto convert into higher denominations. The graphics are garbage, and there are zones. Mobs follow you until you zone and training players is a thing that the community has informal rules and standards about. Spells cost money and you need to memorize the spells you want to use in battle beforehand (or during if you're not under attack). Mana users spend most fights sitting to regain Mana. Etc, etc, etc”

In addition, a few of the etcs that Foghat neglects to mention is that the game is designed to cause people to group up and play together, so soloing is hard, and multi-boxing is not allowed (and they police this.) The game is slow, at times tedious, and tough. Originally it took Robin and I a year to reach level 50, and another year to reach level 60. 

It is also the most fun I’ve ever had in a computer game.

Robin and I returned to p99 Blue about two years ago and played it off an on. We reinvented our original characters and leveled to 50. Then we heard about Green. 

We’ll be playing on the 25th. I hope the names “Royce” or “Hadrian” or “Esrahaddon” will be available.

For more information: 
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZQqFRstN9Y
Official sight: https://www.project1999.com

Perhaps we will see you in Norrath.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Riyria Boxset Now Available



No, this isn't the hardcover boxset (coming early next year), and if you are interested in a notification for that release, you can sign-up for it here. This boxset is produced by Orbit and it's the paperback edition in a 4-color box. We had a pre-order for this product, and all copies have been mailed out (thanks all, for buying directly and getting early copies).

Currently, Amazon has this priced at 30% off ($28). And BookDepository has a 5% discount but ships for free worldwide ($37.44) At those prices, it's about the same price as a single hardcover, and you'll get all 6 full-length novels in a 3-volume, making it a  great holiday gift for loved ones you've been trying to hook on Riyria.

As always, we also offer signed copies directly from our store at list price ($39.99).

Here are some links to other popular stores:

Canada: Amazon | Chapters
UK: Amazon
Germany: Amazon
Worldwide (with free shipping): BookDepository

I hope you'll grab a set, if bought separate and at full price, these would cost $50.



Friday, September 27, 2019

Age of Empyre Cover Reveal


It's so satisfying when you finish up a series, especially one like Legends of the First Empire, which has taken years to write and release.  Today we debuted the cover of the last book in the series over at Fantasy-Faction. Want to see what Marc put together for the final book in the series? Well, come over and take a gander. I think it's pretty epic!


Thursday, September 19, 2019

Not to late to join the Kickstarter



I've received a number of emails from people who are bummed that they missed the Age of Death Kickstarter. Well, the good news is there is still time to join the fun. Thanks to BackerKit (a service we are using to help fulfill the Kickstarter, you can still join in on the fun. But time is limited, once the book is printed and orders start to ship, that window will be closed.

How do you do it?  It's pretty easy.
  1. Go to the Kickstarter and determine which reward level you are interested in
  2. Send an email to michael.sullivan.dc@gmail.com with the subject of ADD ME TO THE KICKSTARTER. And include in it the following pieces of information: (a) pledge level,  (b) your first and last name, and (c) if you will be receiving physical item (like a book, tote bag, or booksmarks), let me know what country I'll be shipping to.
  3. We'll take that information and add you to the Kickstarter. We'll send you an invite where you can answer important questions (such as what name you want included in the acknowledgments and shipping address if you are getting physical rewards).
And that's it! You'll be able to join in the fun and get all the bonus materials that people who buy from the retail chain won't be receiving. What kind of bonus perks?
  • Signed books
  • Set of 5 custom bookmarks (one will be signed)
  • Name included in the acknowledgments 
  • Receive the ebook 3 months before the official retail release
  • Screensavers of Marc Simonetti artwork
  • Behind the scenes video
  • Q & A video
  • 10 musical compositions by Will Musser depicting scenes from the books
  • 5 bonus short stories (Pile of Bones, The Game, Autumn Mists, Litttle Wren and the Big Forest, Burning Alexandria)


Friday, September 13, 2019

A heartfelt thanks for the amazing support



Another Kickstarter is in the history books. Robin and I want to thank all the people who helped make the Age of Death project such a huge success. With that out of the way, the final production begins. The manuscript has gone to the copyeditors and we expect to have their changes back in early October. For those that backed the Kickstarter, that means you'll get your ebooks next month. Robin has started doing the layout for the book so we can get cost estimates and schedule the print runs. Once all that is done, we'll know better about the shipping date for physical copies, but you'll certainly get them before the Feb 4, 2020 release date.

So, how did the Kickstarter go? Really well!

  • Our most successful Kickstarter to date.
  • 3,120 backers  - 567 more than Age of Legend.
  • $119,337 raised - $8,471 more than Age of Legend.
  • 2nd most-backed and 4th most-funded fiction Kickstarters of all time.
Here's some data about the past Kickstarters.



People are already asking when the Age of Empyre Kickstarter will launch, and normally I would have said 3 months. But that would land it right in the middle of the holiday season, and I'm not sure that would be a good time. So, Robin's current thought is early in January. We'll keep you posted.


Lately, Robin has been talking to a number of authors who are considering Kickstarters. We think this is great as the one-on-one interaction and special perks that Kickstarters provide make it a great experience for readers and writers. Hopefully, we'll see some other authors bumping us out of the top ranks.

Oh, and if you missed the Kickstarter, no worries. You can still participate via the BackerKit pre-order store. Robin is still setting it up, but it should be ready soon. We'll keep you posted.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Montemorcey Tote Bag added to Kickstarter


Well, it's been a fun ride, but we are getting near the end. There are 55 hours and change left for The Age of Death Kickstarter.



We've had a good run, and if we raise another $2,667, we'll surpass the Age of Legend project and become the 5th most-funded fiction Kickstarter of all time! (We've already surpassed Legend in terms of number of people supporting it, and it's currently the 2nd most-backed). Even if we don't reach that last stretch goal, we can be proud of having 2 of the 6 projects that exceeded $100,000 in funding. Thanks, so much for all the continued support of my work.

Oh, and I should mention that one of the things we added to the Kickstarter, is a Montemorcey tote bag.

This was a popular item from a Riyria Kickstarter, and we are happy to bring it back. If you are already a current Age of Death backer, just add $25 to your pledge (includes US shipping). When the Kickstarter is over, you'll be able to attribute that "excess money" to purchase the bag.

If you aren't a backer and want the tote, you can pledge $25 without a reward, and you'll be able to attribute that amount to the bag from BackerKit after the campaign is over. Or, if you'd rather, you can pledge $30, and select the SOUND ADVICE level, which will make you an official backer. Doing so will grant you other rewards like screensavers, having your name included in the acknowledgments, and free short stories.

One last thing. If we do meet that final stretch goal, Robin and I will be making a 30 - 60 minute video where we discuss the making of Age of Legend. It'll be a little behind the scenes peek at the creative process, and it'll be available to all backers. If you have any questions, please be sure to let me know.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Tracking the Kickstarter


There is a site called Kicktraq, which Robin uses to track how the Kickstarter is going. The widget shown below will be updated in realtime. So, if you've been watching the Age of Death project and anxious to see when new levels are reached, check back here. I suspect things will be calming down for a while, but hopefully, we'll get another burst toward the project's end. That's what generally happens.

Fantasy Novel: Age of Death by Michael J. Sullivan -- Kicktraq Mini