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The Sword's Edge

Issue 57: 9th November 2021 - Forged in fire, tempered through wisdom, sharpened by resolve.

Not sure on what you all think, but I have a feeling that these months could be entered into Nine Swords history as the most things won / given away ever throughout the entire existence of the cabal. We are still giving out prizes from the Anniversary events in the summer (Yes, I know.. stupid idea we had there, but yay giving things away) and we are currently handing out the prizes for our Halloween competitions. And.. apparently, we still want to give away more things, because the ideas have already started flowing for our Holiday events before the end of the year.

It has been great to see so many new members joining us recently, and to see that so many of you have settled in so quickly into our cabal. Recruitment efforts have definitely stepped up a notch, and it has had a massively positive impact on the cabal in terms of more people to team with.. and lower level members who are willing to accept owls and trainers (Just what I heard *winks*). 

As we reach November, it seems more than appropriate to share thanks with you all for being just the way you are. Thank you all for being fun to spend time with, for your patience and generosity to our members with the things you give away and most importantly the time you invest in our cabal. 

Image from the 9S Archives, By Hollopoint. 

All we can ask of you all is that you keep being helpful, together with making sure all our members each feel welcomed and seen when they log in.  

See you all in game,

~ Katelin

The Curious Traveller Visits… Scorched Desert 

By Waspstar

I’ve faced death many times, dear reader, but I never imagined I’d face it in the dimly-lit, crud-caked restroom of The Crusades club, London.

Funcom’s caretaker must have gone AWOL; this place hadn’t seen Dettol, Lysol, or Cillit Bang since Dame Julia last cracked a smile. But I had a life or death appointment to keep.


My commissioning editor [name redacted] stood by the cracked handbasin with a murderous glint in her eye.

‘I ordered a glowing account of Kingsmouth—something to attract new visitors,’ she snapped. ‘Instead, you delivered two pages of crap.’

‘How can I atone?’

‘Run the Dusty Dark mission five times in a row without a bio break.’

‘I’d never survive. Is there any other way?’

‘Actually, yes.’ A sardonic smile played on her lips. She toyed with her tiara. ‘You know I collect nice things? Find me a nice thing.’

‘I’ve got a container full of blooded sneakers in Kaidan. You can have the lot.’

‘No! I want something rare, something…Egyptian. And write a report while you’re over there.’

I made to leave but she hinted she hadn’t finished by pinning my sleeve to the wall with a flick-knife.

‘One more thing,’ she said. ‘Fail again, and I’ll dump your corpse right here, next to the urinal. Now, get out!’

 




Day One

And so I left London and landed in the sun-kissed outskirts of Scorched Desert, where travelling light is a must. You won’t need your Carpathian fleeces and thermals here—sunshine is guaranteed. And if you like it extra hot, pull up a friendly Flame Spirit and feel the burn. Just be sure to go heavy on the Factor 5000.

From the desert outskirts, I headed to al-Merayah on my mission to find the life-saving gift. Before venturing into town, I wanted to ditch my London garb and blend in, but I hadn’t packed a change of clothes. No matter; locals looked the other way while I stripped a corpse of its gear near the entrance to their secret hideout.

Such a disguise may not be the last word in Paris fashion,
but it’ll save you from a nasty ritual sacrifice
as you infiltrate places you’ve no business to be.

Onwards to al-Merayah town centre where the market, shops, and storehouses offer myriad delights. Scents of cinnamon, mint, and the perfume of jasmine oil, wafted on the balmy breeze around me as I searched for a gift.

I haggled for donkeys, camels, ornate rugs, and a leather-bound Kama Sutra, before choosing a fragile artefact of dubious provenance. It left me close to broke.

Mission accomplished, I stopped for coffee at Café Giza and sampled some of the local dates.

Always check the
‘best before’ info
on al-Merayah dates.

The decades-old dates had a swift and powerful purgative effect. At this point, dear reader, my report becomes less a travel guide and more a cautionary tale.

I called a taxi to rush me to the Hotel Wahid International, where I’d booked a room with excellent bathroom facilities. My driver, Nassir, took us off-road over the golden dunes. We experienced only one near fatal crash before screeching to a halt outside the hotel.

Thanks to the date-fuelled nuclear detox, I enjoyed the excellent bathroom facilities throughout the night. Little did I realise the disaster that awaited me the next morning.


Day Two

…and the disaster was this. With time running out, and no cash left, the artefact I’d bought for my possibly pathological editor [name redacted] lay shattered in a hundred pieces—a victim of Nassir’s off-road odyssey. I tried reassembling the fragments, but Funcom’s flaky interface laughed in my face.

Fortunately, I am a calm and collected individual. I hate drama. Some say I have nerves of steel.


Before long, my bellowing and wailing drew the attention of another guest. A white-suited man wearing a fedora appeared in my doorway. His skeletal frame and complexion suggested centuries of cosmetic malpractice. He introduced himself as Säid. I took him to be a social media influencer, but didn’t like to ask. Säid knew a place where I could pick up Roman antiquities for nothing. Just head to the time portal, he said. Okay, a Roman antiquity wasn’t the Egyptian gift demanded, but with my life at stake what choice did I have? What would you have done?

Since this report started as a travel guide, I’m duty-bound to advise against choosing the Hotel Wahid International for getaways. Despite the excellent bathroom facilities, I noticed many people locked in cages in the lobby. This is rarely a promising sign unless you’re on a BDSM-themed city break. And if you’re after leisure amenities, forget it. The pool is full of ghouls.

I set off on foot. If I were to fail my task, better I die in the desert than in The Crusades club latrines. Let the sands shroud my corpse, I thought; don't let it be flecked with the feculence of tipsy Templars.

Soon a sandstorm kicked up and I lost my bearings. Blinded, I tumbled into a fissure and landed in what appeared to be a crypt. As I ventured further, the space opened out into a cavernous research facility, a cathedral of black iron stairs and walkways. A base worthy of a Bond villain.

A maniacal voice boomed from the PA: ‘…you will be reborn, in a fashion.'

The owner of the voice introduced himself as Dr Klein.

And so I send these pages on ahead as I cower in the gloom. This may be the last you hear from me. We must all face our fate eventually, dear reader. Perhaps my fate is to be your online friend who one day disappears so completely that it's as if I'd never existed.

But if I should survive to write again, I will reveal whatever I’m about to discover in the company of Klein. Or as much as is ever revealed, in The Secret World.

***

Memorable Missions: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

By Waspstar

Memorable missions: we’ve all got some. Remember the investigation mission that drove you nuts? How about that stealth section that took you twenty tries to finish? Is there one mission that stands above all others as the most or least loved?

I decided to begin by going back to where it all started, so I emailed renowned game designer, and producer of The Secret World, Ragnar Tørnquist, about his favourite mission. I didn’t expect an immediate reply so I fired the question at a bunch of cabal mates in the meantime.

The votes are in. Can you guess what they chose?
Let’s start with favourites (I hope they’ll excuse me if I paraphrase a bit to fit them in).

Xzreasel chose ‘Rogue Agent’ as a favourite: ‘I don't know if there are some faction differences with that mission, but the phone calls I received as illuminati in that mission are just hilarious.’

Xaoti opted for the main story mission: ‘[…] especially the part after Blue Mountain.
Besides the story, I really liked the winter holiday mission ‘Feeding Hunger’ with Famine. I managed to complete it for the first time last Christmas, and I really liked the style of the instance and the fight. Wish we could have more stuff like that.’

And so do I, Xaoti! I wasn’t around for that one last Christmas, so they’d better run it again or I’ll feel left out.
In choosing his favourite mission, Cassar was wonderfully specific about a narrative detail in The ‘Pachinko Model’:

‘Kaidan was my favourite region for story content, and where things started to get quite exciting was in the later stages of this mission. Here is (for me) where the sequence of events leading to the Kaidan bombing start to reveal themselves.

This mission also has one of my favourite moments where you see a stack of chairs leading up to the far up ceiling as soon as you enter the Fear Nothing Foundation. When I first played this mission I didn't see that as an indicator, so at the end of the mission when you look down from the glass floor and realise the truth was in plain sight the entire time was a great narrative moment.’

I’m sure whoever wrote / designed that story mission would be delighted with Cassar’s observation. Personally, I didn’t notice, but that detail has made me want to revisit the Fear Nothing Foundation.
 
Rather than a specific narrative detail, Razorgrin remembers a particular NPC fondly. Razorgrin: ‘My very favorite missions are the ones for Ricky Pagan, I used to do them daily just because I love that guy. The bike race was the best.’

Ricky Pagan hasn’t been so kind to me. Thanks to a glitch, he refuses to lend me his boombox. Maybe Ricky feels it wouldn’t be safe hands, and who can blame him?

My own favourite mission is probably Savage Coast’s ‘The League of Monster Slayers’ for its Stephen King-esque take on the coming-of-age and nostalgic camaraderie tale—a homage to King’s novel 'It' and his novella ‘The Body’ (later filmed as 'Stand by Me').
 
To round up this selection of favourites, let’s see what Katelin voted for.

Katelin: ‘The Drăculești (Shadowy Forest).

This mission gets the top podium from me, basically because I have happy memories associated with it from TSW and SWL. In TSW, I spent a lot of time in Shadowy Forest. It is without a doubt my favourite playfield and where I did much of my daily mission repeats to help me level up, was also a great place to get lots of signets. When SWL launched, I didn’t spend quite as much time in the playfield – but whenever I still just need 1 more main, this is my go-to mission. I also run it when I am doing my monster hunting runs because it puts me in areas where my kill counts are still a bit lacking!’

Time to get those kill counts up, Katelin! Shadowy Forest is calling you (I urge all members of Nine Swords to nag her at every opportunity).

So much for fun.

Now we must turn to more sombre matters: the Bad and the Ugly missions. Personally, my ‘bad’ mission would be ‘The Kingsmouth Code’. I found its logic iffy, and its clues wilfully obscure, especially given that Kingsmouth is the starter area. If I’d wanted to spend my time studying manhole covers I’d have pursued a career in municipal drainage. But what did everyone else choose?

Xzreasel: ‘Worst was definitely ‘In the Dusty Dark’, just too long and frustrating.'

It’s hard to argue with that assessment.

Xaoti: 'The mission I like the least is ‘In the Dusty Dark’, because it's very long and very hard to complete without a guide, at least for me.'

Hmmm. Two votes out of two for Dusty Dark. But surely not everyone disliked that mission the most?

Cassar: ''In the Dusty Dark’. The reputation of this mission speaks for itself.’

Okay, let’s face it—three votes out of three—a clear winner is emerging here. But wait! Someone has other ideas…

Razorgrin: ‘I'd say the worst mission ever for me was ‘The Cost of Magic’. It's a massive jumping game and I am not nearly graceful enough for that kind of nonsense. I fell down so many times, so many curses uttered...’
 
‘The Cost of Magic’, given by Zaha in Besieged Farmlands, gets another vote…

Katelin: ‘I have never ever made a secret of how much I cannot stand this mission. When SWL launched, the idea of having to go through all that jumping again did not fill me with joy. I dislike ‘The Cost of Magic’ because I am rubbish at jumping in this game. I either lag epically, over estimate how far I have to jump, select the wrong run speed to start jumping with, or don’t manage to turn myself quite the right way. Sometimes, I jump and go nowhere but a half step in-front of me and down. Honestly, those pads to jump on to just likely have a “repel Kate” effect on them. ‘The Cost of Magic’ is one of the only repeatable missions that I have never repeated after getting the legend and the achievement.'

Wow! Strong words there. Unfair.co goes so far as to use the subtitle ‘Welcome to the Quest from Hell!’ for ‘The Cost of Magic’. And I bet you thought ‘In the Dusty Dark’ was going to be the unanimous winner of worst mission. Instead, it edges ahead of ‘The Cost of Magic’ by just a single vote.


 
 
 
 
But hold on! Stop the press! Katelin had something else to say.
‘The Cost of Magic’ was her Ugly mission, so what about her Bad mission?

Katelin: ‘’In the Dusty Dark’ […] This mission in City of the Sun God gets to be my “bad” mission for a few reasons, even though – on the first run through ... I really did enjoy it. It is an epically long mission, which is really involved and makes you jump when you get eaten alive by a wandering mummy.

The reasons I don’t like it though, are basically based on the fact we have to do this really long mission multiple times to get the legends and achievements from it. Doing it once, twice... yeah ok. However, the length of the mission combined with not falling into pits, getting all those 100 scarabs (no wonder this pedestal was the last one I had to get for my museum completion), getting the levers right for all the jumping and getting to the end while still not finding the legend that was hiding where you were sure you looked. That last achievement I need from there is taunting me. I don’t care.
 
There you have it, folks. Did you guess correctly? Do you agree with the choices?

As I bring this discourse to a close, you may be wondering what Ragnar Tørnquist’s most memorable mission turned out to be. Well, I’m afraid we may never know. He didn’t bother to reply to me. Perhaps Ragnar’s still trapped in the dusty dark, where there’s no Wi-Fi for email and nobody can hear you scream. Serves him right.

By Jess

9S Halloween Competitions 

Thank you to everyone that took part in our 9S Halloween competitions, to the organisers and those who donated the prizes! 

With so much already scheduled throughout the community in game this year throughout Samhain, we were therefore happy to be able to come up with some really fun forum competition ideas, and enable as many members from as many time-zones as possible to participate if they wanted to!

It is a pleasure to be able to announce all the winners!

Waspstar's Forum Competition!

Congratulations to:

Cassar - 100 Elaborate Glyph Fragments
Foxon - 50 Resplendent Talisman Fragments
Katelin - 25 Elaborate Glyph Fragments
Fractalis - Geist Rider [Sprint]

9S Halloween MSPaint Mask Contest!

Poll runs till Thu Nov 11, so make sure to check the Noticeboard forum to find out who the winners are!

1st Prize: Agent Dossier Aurelie
2nd Prize: Agent Dossier: Warlawurru
3rd Prize: Agent Dossier: Dax Reagan

 

9S SWL Halloween Screenshot Competition!

Congratulations to:

XZREASEL Winner: 2x Nemain Signet + 10 Red Container Keys
WASPSTAR 1st Runner up: 1x Nemain Signet + 10 Yelow Container Keys
FRACTALIS 2nd Runner up: 1x Nemain Signet + 10 Purple Container Keys

 

9S 2021 Masquerade

Yuriksha ensured with support from DJ Drina of Happy Tentacle Radio, that Nine Swords kicked off our favourite time of the year in style!  It was fantastic to see so many of you at our 4th annual Masquerade Ball in the Albion Theatre, London.

Poster for the event created by Razorgrin

Many of you danced for hours to Drina's spooky tunes! And you all looked fantastic in your costumes.

 

 

Event Requests

If you are new to running events, or never ran one yourself - the idea of doing so can be really overwhelming. 

However, if you have a general idea that you want some feedback on or general consideration within the cabal - we have a forum area called "Event Requests". This forum area can be how you gain support, help .. or maybe even a tank, to get your event idea off the ground and happening. Each event we run adds extra fun in the cabal and could even encourage someone else to do the same - in turn therefore increasing our activity and things each of us in Nine Swords can get involved with. 

  • Ask for help, to help others in the cabal
  • Offer to help someone out with something, and ask for their help back with something you need! 
  • Encourage others to donate to a good cause! For example - when lots of cabal members need Quickness signets, we need to run more Egypt lairs!

Once you have gathered help, resources and know you are ready to move forward, nail down a date for the event you want to run and put it on the Nine Swords event calendar. Make sure to promote your event via our Nine Swords forums and definitely add it to our event calendar so everyone knows what is happening and when! Using ingame scripts to link our members to the event sign up or more information is always a good idea. 

It is always ok to ask for help, sometimes all you need is knowing someone has your back if you feel you are struggling. 

Discuss your ideas! Share new fun things for us to do together, and know the whole 9S Leadership team is behind you if you need help.. but the rest of the cabal are also there to support you too! 

Ideas for Xmas

Swords, we need your help! We are headed into the very final months of the year and a few of our members have been complaining that they have so many fun things to give away that we have to come up with some fantastic competition and event ideas for Christmas! So it is time for you to all step up with ideas!

I have already been in brainstorming sessions with Waspstar, and we have managed to convince Razorgrin to help us with an idea we had. But we need MORE! Lots and lots more.

Ingame events, forum events, voice chat events - the stage is yours, Swords! Let your imaginations run wild and help our cabal make some fantastic memories for the end of 2021. 

Please get directly in touch with me, Katelin, if you want to discuss any ideas. Alternatively, feel free to run with your idea and get it posted in our Noticeboard forum as we get closer to the holiday period! 

Issue 58 of The Sword's Edge...

Issue 58 of our cabal newsletter will be released on the 9th January 2022 - see you then!