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Showing posts with label Mars Bracken. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Mars Bracken. Show all posts

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Angels & Demons Arriving in SL : Interview with Bloodlines Mars Bracken- Seersha Heart Reporting…





In November 2016, I wrote about Bloodlines and sat down for a chat with Mars Bracken.  Now as Bloodlines is celebrating their ten-year anniversary I wanted to see what has happened with Bloodlines in the past two years.  Never disappointing, the Bloodlines group is readying a new release.  From my view point, this will be a very big deal in SL.  Will it surpass prior characters?  When I last spoke to Mars, Bloodlines had a fairly new school created with many classes.  Here I am talking to Mars on what is going on with Bloodlines now….

SEERSHA: Welcome back Mars, thank you for taking some time to talk to me today.  I have a few questions, I want to jump directly to the new release of Angels and Demons first….will you tell me a little bit about each new character and how they fit into the scope of Bloodlines?  When is the release date?  Will the HUDs be on marketplace on the release date?  Where is the best place to buy the new HUD on release date?

MARS:   The new races are designed to work in a fairly familiar way with the system, but obviously provide new roleplay opportunities. We've heard from several people saying they had no interest in Bloodlines until they heard they could play a really benevolent character like an Angel, so apparently that has some appeal.
The release date for these two new races is May 4th, which is also our
10 Year Anniversary event:
https://blog.slbloodlines.com/2018/04/17/bloodlines-10th-anniversary-angels-demons-release-party/

The new HUDs will not immediately be on MP, they will be in our main stores. But soon after we should have them up on the Marketplace and in the affiliate vendors.




SEERSHA:   Will any of the existing characters merge with an Angel or a Demon character [similar to the merge of Vampire and Lycan]?  Where may interested residents get more information on these today?

MARS:  Players will be able to merge or hybridize any two races (other than human), so Angel Lycans and Demon Vampires etc. will definitely be a thing. The Fury HUD will get an update not long after the initial release, and that HUD will be able to be used for any 2-race combination, so there won't be a need for another HUD in each case. At the moment our blog is the most reliable source of information, but not much will be out officially until release day.

SEERSHA:   Was the release date of Angels and Demons delayed?

MARS:  The first time we officially announced a release date was when we talked about May 4th and our anniversary on the blog. Fingers crossed we will meet the deadline!

SEERSHA:   I am not a Bloodlines player as of the writing of this article.  I visit the SIM periodically with friends.  When I saw the Angels and Demons sign I immediately thought that Angels will be full of women and the Demons full of men.  Does your group have any predictions that you may share? [I have since revised that prediction after one woman telling me woman can be bad a$$ demons too!]

MARS:  We hadn't really predicted or imagined any gender split on the races. When we do the vendor art, we of course have to choose what character will be feature most prominently, but we try to just create a balance in the representation. We definitely know a lot of male and female avatars who have expressed interest in both Angels and Demons, so we'll just have to see how it goes!

SEERSHA: That is such exciting news!  You have spoken to me about emergent behaviors that your team notices while monitoring the players.  Did the concept for Angels and Demons come from an emergent behavior or another source? Is this the new thing you referenced to me back 2016?  Do you think there will be a significant number of 1st time players to join the game?  What does your group consider a significant number?

MARS:  Angel and Demons have been requested as races for years now. I think right after we released Lycans, people asked for Zombies for a few years, and then it shifted over to Angels and Demons. Now it seems most of our requests are coming in as Dragons, so that might be next!

We're not sure how many first time players will join because of the Angels and Demons, but it sounds like there will definitely be some. And we consider any additions significant!

SEERSHA:   Oh Dragons…interesting.  Fire breathing would do awful things to my hair.  *laughs*  Now if someone has never played Bloodlines wants to become an Angel or a Demon; will they have a level playing field for exisiting BL players?  That is can a brand-new Demon shoot to the top of achievements without old BL ties?

MARS:  Yes, we are definitely creating brand new ranking pages for Angels and Demons, which should allow people a new arena to compete and achieve in.

SEERSHA: Do you have people in world using a beta HUD of either class right now?  Will there be a lot of help for users of these new HUDs?  Where?

MARS: We do have a beta HUD that just started today, and will run for a little less than a week. We kept the test group small, it's under 2 dozen. We may expand that but we're hopeful we can work out the bugs within that group.



SEERSHA:   I was able to meet and speak to a couple of players who are your Demon Beta’s inworld this past weekend.  I have included pictures of them in this article.  Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about the new release besides the date May 4, 2018?  A link for information?

MARS: Our blog is always the best source for news, and the latest post is this one:
https://blog.slbloodlines.com/2018/04/17/bloodlines-10th-anniversary-angels-demons-release-party/

SEERSHA:   You seemed quite proud last time we spoke about the school on the Bloodlines SIM.  Will you tell me who may attend the classes and a summary of what is offered?

MARS: BLU [BLU = Bloodlines University] classes cover the HUDs, Potions, Tools, Metrics, Achievements, Liege Etiquette, and Turning, as well as Q&A sessions.

SEERSHA:   I have heard some discussing the financial aspects of the game.  Can members benefit financially from the game?

MARS: Currently people can benefit by opening a Blood or Soul Bank, or by selling or trading Rare Textures on the Marketplace. We are happy to be in a long tradition of games like Warcraft, Neverwinter, Guild Wars, and EverQuest which enable players to collect (and soon craft!) resources for trade or sale to other players.

SEERSHA:   I am a *huge* WOW fan and player.  I notice that some stores and some SIMS ban Bloodlines participants specifically yet not other RP groups.  What are your thoughts on members being banned from locations in SL?

MARS: We don't blame people for wanting to keep a strict type of roleplay or environment for their virtual experience or home, and excluding all else. Early on we realized we can't control who permits the system where, so we just focus on making the game better and better, and trust that most people will come to realize that having vampires and werewolves and angels and demons running around on their land can actually be a wonderful thing!

SEERSHA:  I wanted to ask you a few questions about products I found on Marketplace.  I found the Gorgon headpiece quite interesting and definitely see one in my future.  These are the products I would like to know more about; the “elf” , the Dark Disciple, the Grave Ghoul and the Tesla Coil.  What can you tell me about these products?

MARS:  All of these items you mentioned are from our original stores, which existed pre-Bloodlines. The Elf and the Dark Disciple were originally marketed to Harry Potter fans at their big RP sim at the time, in a shop we had called Elixir. The Grave Ghoul and Gorgon were in a store called Blood, and our sci-fi fantasy store Acid Rain. After Bloodlines came out, we consolidated all those non-Bloodlines items into one store, Crypt, and kept adding to the collection slowly over the years. Recently however we've actually taken the Crypt stores down in-world, until we can do proper updates on all those products. We love the Gorgon and the Brethren and the Elf and all the rest, but they all are definitely in need of modernization to fit in with the progressing virtual reality in SL.



SEERSHA:   Is there anything else you want the readers to know about Bloodlines?

MARS:  Just that we're always open to suggestions! We have several more big updates coming this year, including our massive RPG Expansion, but we welcome all ideas and have suggestion boxes on our sims for that purpose.

SEERSHA:   I am an avid reader of all kinds of supernatural lore, with Vampires and Lycans a particular favorite.  How is it that a player may be a hybrid of a vampire [undead] and a lycan [living]?  In most lore Vampires and Werewolves are enemies.  What is your involvement with the lore of each character?

MARS:  There are a fair few games and shows where you can be a hybrid of a vampire and a werewolf; the Underworld movie series comes immediately to mind. We try not to write too much mythology at all, so that people are free to roleplay whatever style they wish. And of course if they wish to ignore the existence of hybrids, that's ok too.

SEERSHA:   Bloodlines also has a battle or WAR HUD.  Is this a different identity or is it any current BL character participating in combat?

MARS:  War is tangential to Bloodlines, exists on the same site, and there are a fair few players doing both. We are currently making decisions about how / if War will be connected at all with our upcoming combat / crafting additions in the Bloodlines RPG Expansion.

SEERSHA:   Where are your stores located?  I am publishing the picture you gave me along with this questions.

MARS:  Our stores are located on our collection of 5 full Bloodlines islands. We just recently renamed and moved the sims, so that now the 4 race sims are spokes on the central "Mortal Crossroads", which is where the human store is located. The Angel and Demon stores (and RP areas) are being built at the moment, and there's going to be construction ongoing for a while, leading up to our RPG Expansion.

SEERSHA:   Thank you for answering all of my questions.  I look forward to the release of Angels and Demons.  I will follow up with you after the release.  I am curious to see what emergences about six months after the release.

MARS:  Thanks for the opportunity to speak, we really appreciate it.

Population of Bloodlines as of 5/2/2018: Vampires 34,889; Lycans 6,483; Hybrids 18,563 and Humans aka Blood Dolls 137,858


URL:  https://www.slbloodlines.com/
Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/slbloodlines/
Twitter: @slbloodlines
MP store:
https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/12144
To learn more about each character click on the name for link to the BL page.  To locate stores, click on SRUL.
Hybrids
After May 4, 2018




Thursday, November 10, 2016

Bloodlines : An RP Success Story - Seersha Heart Reporting...






            Celebrating eight years in SL, Bloodlines is the largest and the most popular of the vampire RP currently found in SL.  Bloodlines is a MMORPG played completely within the confines of Second Life.  There are people playing as Vampires, Lycans, Hybrids, Humans and Warriors all around other members of Second Life society as they go about their everyday metaverse lives.  This RP game has not only been on the grid since 2008 but has doubled it’s membership and is an ever evolving dynamic MMORPG experience.

            When Bloodlines began in 2008 it was exclusively Vampire only RP [The Thirst].  It is brought to us by a group that was new in game development the time, Liquid Designs.  During the year prior to the release of Bloodlines, Liquid Designs had been making and selling items on Second Life Marketplace.  The most popular items they designed were their vampire accessories.  It was a natural progression for them to investigate and to design RP in this genre.   In a 2009 interview with Wagner James Au, the CEO of Liquid Designs, Mars.Bracken, told him “that the move was because his group sensed a need for goals, structure, and consequences of a RP game to be joined with their products.  He also said it would be an interesting social experiment.  Their group has learned and improved their product through observation of the emergent behavior of the players”.


            Liquid Designs has been very observant.  The Lycan component [The Rage] was released about a year after the initial Vampire release.  Then in 2010 The Human HUD was released, then most recently Bloodlines War HUD.  A player can also participate as a “Hybrid” by using both The Thirst and The Rage HUDs.  Liquid Designs maintains a dynamic website with statistics that may literally change at any time.  The top of the main page displays membership in each group, then lists several accomplishments by player and by family.  There are also Gods, Demigods, Royalty, Bloodline and Blood Wealth on display.  This RP has evolved well beyond the original The Thirst. 

            I caught up with Mars Bracken to talk about where Bloodlines is at the eight year mark to discuss Bloodlines.  I began the questioning first after seeing the statistics of the Blood Doll [The Human] population.  It is over 100 thousand, more than three times the amount of vampires listed.  I was also curious about his thoughts on the growth of the game, which is now double the population it was in 2009.  Joining me now is Mars Bracken:

Seersha Heart: I noticed that Blood Dolls are the greatest population.  What does your team think about that?

Mars Bracken: It’s an interesting development. Since the Vampires and Lycans need victims in order to sustain themselves, a healthy population of Humans or Blood Dolls seems to be a good thing to have. However, it has definitely prompted us to work on more options for the RP; we initially didn’t anticipate such a large Human population, and had originally focused on tools for making the Vampire and Lycan roles possible. It’s been fun to see the game population dynamics change over the years.


Seersha Heart: Has the level [membership] of participation hit a ceiling?  Are new players joining the game?

Mars Bracken: The population is always in flux, but generally those who bow out of the community are replaced by new players interested to join. We’ve had a rash recently of people who originally played in 2009 coming back to participate in the community again, and we still haven’t quite figured out what that’s about. We are having more and larger events now than ever before, so that might have something to do with it.

Seersha Heart:  In 2009, you remarked on the emergent behavior of soul importance becoming prominent.  What emerging behaviors has your team experienced since 2009?

Mars Bracken:  Other than the growth of the Human / Blood Doll population, we’ve definitely seen a shift of priorities. Initially the game was all about getting the most souls or bites, but once we introduced Achievements, the activity in that sector of the game quickly overwhelmed the rest. Admittedly souls and bites are included in some of the achievements, but people definitely seem excited to collect things. In general, with Gacha and Rare items becoming so popular, I’d say that a collector mentality has blossomed in Second Life in general. 

Seersha Heart: You have said that the clan structure has become very complex.  Will you share with me what you mean by complex clans?

Mars Bracken: When we first started the game, there was just Vampires, so clans were homogeneous. Then we created Lycans, then Hybrids, and finally Humans. As each population exploded and then found its equilibrium, the composition of clans changed. We’ve also added Roles which can be assigned, so in addition families becoming less homogeneous and more complex in terms of RP dynamics, they’ve also gotten more intricate in their hierarchies. 


Seersha Heart:  What would you love our readers to know about Bloodlines?  Do you feel Hunger has presented a serious competition?

Mars Bracken: We’re excited about some new releases coming up, but I can’t talk too much about those. I can say that we’re almost done updating our 5 RP sims, and we’re aiming to have a lot more community events there. Also our weekly parties have gotten kind of massive, partly due to the great DJs and our amazing theme artist AnnaMargeaux, and partly because we’re doing Rare item giveaways now. And we've got a Bloodlines University sim where people can come and take classes and learn about the nuances of the game. All of this of course can be found in notices on our blog at http://blog.slbloodlines.com


Seersha Heart:  Thank you for answering my questions and congratulations on the success of Bloodlines.   


Population statistics from the 2009 interview were at approximately 69,000 players with an estimate of 23,000 doing day to day RP.  At the eight year mark there are slightly more than 157,000 players  [Vampires 33K, Lycans 6K, Humans 102K and Hybrids 17K] assuming the same relative relationship that would be an estimated 52,000 doing day to day RP.  Liquid Designs has every right to be excited as their RP continues to evolve and be not only an aspect of Second Life but a force of Second Life nature.

IMPORTANT LINKS
SLURL:

Twitter: @slbloodlines
Additional help with Bloodlines, please send a notecard to LiquidDesigns Resident

Reporter Sources:



 
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