The Magic of Magical Holidays

The Magic of Magical Holidays

If there is something I love about MMOs, it’s holidays. (Becca can attest to how much I love holidays.) And Mystic Riders is no different. If you follow my twitter @Ginnyzero, you’ll find that I’ve been the last several months tweeting about different holidays. Astranar loves holidays as much as I do and they like to go all out with decorations, activities, and things to eat and things to collect!

There are a lot of holidays that we want to add to Mystic Riders. So many, that it may seem that holidays last all year long. All holiday quests are extras and don’t contribute to the main story line quest. They may reveal character relationships and surprises about important characters in Astranar.

Some holidays will require a little more experience and story progression than others. This is to preserve some of the story’s secrets before they’re revealed in the main story. As the year progresses, the character can jump into the holiday stories at any time as long as they have unlocked the necessary districts.

In Mystic Riders, we’ve decided to do things a little differently. Every holiday has quests, and these quests contribute to their own special holiday experience bar. Doing quests also rewards you with Holiday coupons to turn into holiday NPCs in order to get special clothes and decorations. Get enough holiday experience and there will be big rewards.

What type of holidays should you expect in Astranar?

Christmas is one of Astranar’s favorite holidays. They have lights, huge trees, and big displays. Every district has their own holiday theme and each mentor of the district has been charged with setting things up. They need the player’s help, stat! Santa also needs help. His suit has been destroyed. The Elves are revolting. And he’s lost his naughty and nice list! On top of that, his horse and the reindeer don’t want to get along. His daughter wants to date. There is far too much to do. How the player can fit this around decorating, parties, sleigh rides, and ice skating, she just doesn’t know!

After Christmas is Valentine’s and love is in the air. There are love notes and flowers to deliver. The carriage rides need to be arranged. Everyone has a special someone. But Valentine’s won’t go off as well as it could if Cupid doesn’t stop moping and make up to Psyche. Not that Psyche thinks she deserves him after hurting him so. She’s a bit silly and needs the player’s help to prove her worth.

Luck Day is all about Rainbows and parades. Too bad the rainbows aren’t as vibrant as usual. What possibly could be wrong? Headmistress Thyme has a suspicion. It may or may not involve alicorns. Luck Day also celebrates the Deer Princess who came to Astranar to marry their prince long ago. Of course, no one told her there was a wedding in the offing! There’s a merry chase before the parade can begin.

The next huge festival is the Spring Festival to celebrate all the blooms in Astranar or at least eight of them. Each district is ready to outdo the other with huge flower displays and spring time decorations. It’d be nice though if the Easter Bunny hadn’t gone missing! Mother Goose won’t stop speaking in rhyming riddles. And Little Jack Horner is causing more trouble than he’s helping. His sister Jill is enthused with kittens who have mittens who keep chasing after mice. And Queen Katherine wants your help throwing a gender reveal party, but she won’t tell you who for! Is she having a baby?

Then is the Midsummer Festival and the wall between the regular world and the Mirror World is thin. It’s a time of portents and in the heavily agricultural Astranar, the Nokk, a water sprite that can turn into a kelpie, comes to make mischief. But somehow between the feasting and the bonfires, more than one maiden has fallen in love with him. Could there be a happy ending?

The next huge festival is Harvest and Halloween. Every district is celebrating the Harvest Bounty. The player needs Pumpkin Spice Magic to decorate the district! They need to go to Pumpkin Spice Mountain to learn how to make it. There’s going to be a barn raising and old fashioned ho down too. Plus, it wouldn’t be fall without hay rides! Things are going well until the Pumpkin Queen turns up with her Squash Ladies and other minions. She’s looking for Jack the Pumpkin King and it will be mischief until he’s found or at least caught. He’s having too much fun riding around with his Turnip Footmen holding his head up high in the air. Will things ever settle down with all these magical beings?

There are a couple other holidays that depend on the game’s opening schedule. Patriotism day will celebrate the founding of Astranar and be the birthday of the game. There’s to be a huge carnival and fireworks. As usual, there has to be a parade! Perhaps there will be cake?

Lastly, there’s Fashion Week. The Stylist Secret Service is ready to induct you into their ranks as a very junior member to make sure everything goes off without a hitch! The different designers of Astranar have all submitted fashion lines that have to be previewed, photographed and of course, styled! There are so many things that can go wrong with all the huge personalities in the fashion world.

This is just a short overview of the ideas we have for extra holiday fun in Astranar to make the magic last a bit longer and the world feel more real. Don’t mind the fairies!

 

Everyone is Talking About Astranar!

Everyone is Talking About Astranar!

Late to the Global Stage. Hanging onto a Victorian Edge. This new Horse and Equestrian Capital of the World feels enough like Europe to make most tourists from that area feel right at home but at the same time defies expectations. And nowhere is this more exemplified than the Astranar royal family.

Ruling from the Diamond District, a massive city that feels like several sprawling interconnected towns, King Edward and Queen Katherine set the tone. He is a bit reserved and proud, a statesman from birth with a charming smile if quiet in words; she is passionate and stubborn, the backbone of the family that wants what’s best for her children, even if they don’t know it yet. The eldest prince, Sebastian, is in self-exile in Sapphire District, removed from the line of the throne and glad for it. He is content to raise horses at the family estate. His younger brother, William, is the Crown Prince by default. He still manages to sneak off into the city, despite an upcoming visit by his betrothed from Zablana (or perhaps because of). The trick for the younger Prince Elowen and Princess Rowan is telling them apart! (This family sounds like a whole lot of trouble…)

While the nobility answers to a Parliament, most of the remaining maintain enforcement of the government in their eight districts and serve the populace as needed for the areas around their estates. Knighthood in Astranar indicates battle prowess and honor in these modern times, and it is gender-blind. You are as likely to meet a female knight as you are a male.

While you’ll never mistake Amethyst’s sharp mountains for Ruby’s steep tree covered hills and lake country or Morganite’s marshes or Citrine’s mossy groves and heather covered moors, every district has its quirks and their people are proud of them. Each of the districts does have things in common. Mild weather during the spring and summer months, and a tendency for gentle frosts and snow dustings in the autumn and winter, Astranar is abundant with wildlife outside of horses. Several species of deer and owls call the woods home, and swans and ducks grace lakes and ponds. Wild turkeys make menaces of themselves, and river otters steal melons from gardens to munch on. Farmers keep more than cows and chickens, even if Citrine’s cows are rather shaggy looking, but also stately buffalo and bison, cute and fuzzy alpacas, and there seems to be an over fondness for goats in pajamas or hats.

From small hamlets to the massive capital city in the Diamond District, there are many sizes of towns and many types of people to meet. From farmers and horse breeders, to smiths and other craftsmen, the people of Astranar come from many walks of life and have several different types of lessons to teach, if you seek them out. They all love pets! Besides the usual dogs, cats, rabbits, and ferrets, riders will sometimes travel with chickens, piglets, badgers, and otters, with special education programs occasionally having wolf cubs and wild cat kittens for fostering. If carrying a real animal with you isn’t your (or your horse’s!) cup of tea, there are several types of stuffed toys and flower bouquets to brighten up saddle bags.

When not traveling by horse or cart, the best way to get around Astranar has to be by train. The cars are carefully set up to insure not only your comfort but that of your horse, with most of the horses in Astranar being used to such travel by now. How to identify whether a platform is next to a cargo track or a passenger one? Keep your eye out for the conductor cat! These little rascals are dressed to impress, matching the district they are in but each with a bit of a difference, so you can recognize the station. They will see to your comfort—after all, a conductor is both friendly and particular, which sounds like most cats we know.

Scattered across seven of Astranar’s eight districts are Royal Summer Equestrian Camps for Girls, which sends out invitations every year to lucky girls between the ages of twelve to thirteen. How they are selected, no one knows. Some are sent to complete novices, others are sent to well-known rising stars in equestrian riding. Once invited, they can then attend each year in hopes of improving their riding ability enough to win one of the district’s championships for a full scholarship to the Royal Riding Academy.

At the camps, there is more than just riding and basic crafts to attend to, there are fun basic camp things like swimming, hiking, fishing, boating, and even archery. Every week, each camp holds a dance in their dining hall and campers are asked to help with the open house where they can meet the different clubs of Astranar. There are twenty-four original mother clubs in Astranar, and every year new campers are invited to create new sister clubs to these original clubs. And not all of these clubs get along.

But would they band together if all of Astranar and the world was threatened?

One word of advice if you ever visit Astranar, keep your eyes open. You never know what secrets and wonders may be hiding behind the next tree or through the arch of branches and flowers. What will you discover?