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Adventure Quest

AdventureQuest (also referred to by its website name BattleOn or simply as AQ) is an online single-player RPG developed by Artix Entertainment in 2002. It is implemented in Flash and uses anime-style graphics, some of which are animated.

Each account may have up to sixcharacters. The game allows characters to engage in turn-based combat against monsters to accumulate experience points (known as XP), gold and Z-Tokens, a special currency that can also be bought. Characters have a combat level and six stats to train, and some have a specific class. Players may use gold to purchase weapons, armour, shields, spells, pets and miscellaneous items to aid them in combat. There are areas to explore, and special events such as holidays and wars, for players to meet new types of monsters and complete quests. The game features weekly updates on Thursdays at 7 or 8 pm server time.

Players may play a limited version of AdventureQuest for free (free players are called Adventurers), or pay a one-time fee of US $19.95 to become Guardians and unlock extra features. An X-Boost, which costs an additional US $5.00, if bought with Guardianship, and $9.95 for existing Guardians, grants the player 10% extra XP per battle and other benefits. Guardians may also play ArchKnight, another Artix Entertainment game set a year before AdventureQuest, although it is discontinued. A third Artix Entertainment game, DragonFable, is set 5 years before AdventureQuest. A third spinoff is called MechQuest, set 5000 years in the past; the main question driving its plot is “What could cause a highly advanced civilization to fall into medieval times?” The Gamma release for MechQuest on October 1. All four of these games are set in Lore, a world whose name is a tongue-in-cheek reference to the game’s original title Lands Of Rising Evil, although the acronym no longer carries any notable meaning in game.

As of 5 April 2007, http://www.battleon.com has an Alexa ranking of 1081.

AdventureQuest was released on October 15, 2002. Guardianship was introduced on February 22, 2003 to manage the costs of running the game. Artix Entertainment, formed in 2004, introduced a server cap in May 2004, a month before AdventureQuest reached one million users.

By June 2005, the game had 5 million users, and by December 2005, 10 million. By March 2007 the game’s 30 millionth character was created, and by June 2007 the game had 35 million characters. By September 2007 the Game had over 39 Million Characters created. As AdventureQuest grew, Artix Entertainment added new methods to pay for in-game content, such as X-Guardianship (in October 2005) and Z-Tokens (in June 2006), and released other games, such as DragonFable (on July 26, 2005), ArchKnight and ZardWars.

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Game play

Combat

Much of AdventureQuest’s game play revolves around fighting monsters. On the players turn they may attack, equip a weapon shield or armour, drink a potion, cast a spell, call a pet or equip a misscellaneous item. Changing armour, weapon or shield does not use up a turn but equipping an item, changing pets or drinking a potion does. On an opponents’s turn it may attack, though some monsters have special attacks such as healing. Pack monsters and a few other monsters can summon reinforcements, which doesn’t take up a turn.

Combat mechanics

A battle in AdventureQuest.

A battle in AdventureQuest.

The most basic fights are started through random encounters (by clicking the “Battle Monsters”) button, and after winning such fights, characters return to Battleon and can be fully healed by an NPC.

Several things can affect the outcome of a battle. Both characters and monsters have a “defense modifier” for each of the eight elements; a higher defense modifier means an attack of that element does more damage. There is also a defense modifier for each of the three methods of attacks: melee, ranged and magic; a lower number means greater vulnerability to that method of attack. Players can change their character’s weapon, shield and armor according to the monster’s defense modifiers. Also, some of the stronger bosses have defence modifiers to the ElementX/Void Element.

Six stats affect the amount of damage inflicted and taken, as well as the probability of an attack being resisted. In addition, pets and guests assist the character in doing extra damage. Strategic use of spells and items will give a character an advantage in combat. The combat system also uses luck as you attack a random number based on your weapon and stats.

Once a monster’s HP drops below zero, the monster dies, and the character is awarded with experience and gold. Sometimes, they will also be rewarded with Z-Tokens. If a monster is a pack type (Junior Zard Pack, Orc Horde, Undead War Party, etc.), sometimes they may summon reinforcements until they run out. Most pack monsters have a pre-determined amount of reinforcements, and will not die until all of them are killed. If a character’s HP drops below zero, the character dies, and has to speak to the The Reaper to return to town without any penalties. The death is saved in the game’s database.

Players may also inflict status effects on monsters such as Freezing and Paralysis using different weapons and other methods.

Element X damage

Symbol representing Void/Element X

Symbol representing Void/Element X

While there are 8 primary elements (Earth, Wind, Water, Energy, Ice, Fire, Light, and Darkness.), there is also Element X, or at other times, Void. Element X, and void, is essentially none of these, and thus hits all monsters (or most of them) regardless of their stats. Some weapons, when triggered, deal Element X damage (such as the Dragon Blade), or in their special attacks (such as the Gauntlet of The’Galin). Element X Damage is always 100% against any monster, except in rare cases such as a Void Dragon where Element X heals it. Its symbol is a question mark. There also is an element called death that kills the enemy.

Guests and pets

The position in which battles take place, including guests.

The position in which battles take place, including guests.

Pets are the second party member a player can have. Pets are obtained by buying them from shops, except for Cudgel, who joins you temporarily during the Drakel vs. Elf saga. Pets can cause status effects like Paralysis, can attack, and some can heal you such as the Fairy Godmother. Pets do not always attack though.

Guests are the third party member a player can have. Guests are obtained during quests, wars, and can be summoned using Summon Spells, completing the “beasts of legend” challenge in the guardian tower and class skills. Some guests can inflict status effects, and a few can even trigger against some enemies. Guests attack rates are also affected by Charisma. The player attacks first, then the guest, then the pet.

Stats

Characters have six statistics which affect their success in combat:

A character at Sir Lanceler the stat trainer.

A character at Sir Lanceler the stat trainer.

  • Strength (STR) increases the random damage of melee and ranged attacks, and the accuracy of melee attacks.
  • Dexterity (DEX) increases the random damage of melee and ranged attacks, the accuracy of all types of attacks, and the ability to block attacks.
  • Intellect (INT) increases the random damage of magic attacks, the accuracy of magic attacks, and the character’s maximum MP.
  • Endurance (END) increases the character’s maximum HP.
  • Charisma (CHA) increases the damage and attack frequency of pets and guests.
  • Luck (LUK) increases a character’s chance of going first in a battle, finding a treasure chest, and dodging monster attacks, as well as affecting accuracy for all attack types, though it does not affect them as much as the other stats.

When characters level up, they are given 5 stat points. They may use these stat points to train their stats by paying a stat trainer and defeating them in combat.

If a player regrets training a stat, they may un-train their character’s stats by doing the “Death’s Domain” quest and losing to Sir Pwnsalot in combat. However, the money spent in training the stat will not be refunded and therefore will be lost forever. Once Pwnsalot is found, Guardians and X-Guardians may visit him freely in the Guardian Tower by selecting the Un-Trainer in the teleporter room.

Classes

In AdventureQuest, players may become a certain class. This is achieved by speaking to the trainer of a class. 1st tier classes and Special classes require no other class levels to begin. 2nd and 3rd tier classes require levels in other classes to begin.

Once a player does tasks for the trainer, such as defeating dragons, collecting scrolls, or protecting dragon eggs, he or she will be taught another skill. If you’re a guardian, all classes can be leveled up to lvl 10, if not, they can only be leveled up to 5. However, a new update in mid-September, 2007 allowed adventurers to go up to Level 10 on the Tier 1 classes (Fighter, Mage, and Rogue), though they cannot use the level 6 to 10 abilities.

With each level, a class unlocks its next skill, which can be an attack, a summon, a boost in power, and so forth. Class skills cost MP,HP or SP to use. Class skills can only be used when wearing that class’ armor. Class skills can still be used once your class is changed. At higher class levels, armors have a low chance to perform a class skill for no cost.

List of Classes in Order Released: Dragon Slayer, VampireSlayer, Mage, Fighter, Rogue, Ninja, Knight, Wizard, Dracomancer, Paladin, Necromancer, Beastmaster, Pirate, Berserker and Scholar.

Also, the 3 upcoming classes (Archmage, Assassin, and Martial Artist) have been announced.

SubRaces

In AdventureQuest, players may visit the ruler of a subrace to become part of it. Once a player has become a subrace, it can be removed (if desired) by using the quest “The Cure” in Darkrovia. The subraces are:

Safiria, Queen of the vampires.

Safiria, Queen of the vampires.

  • Vampire – Visit Queen Safiria in the Vampire’s castle to gain this subrace. The guest is a Vampire Firebat. Vampires can Steal HP. The only way to cure your avatar of vampirism is to seek out a remedy in Darkovia, near the Vampire Castle, you may also fight her in Epic Quest 14 by clicking right until you see two doors, click the one on the right, you must fail the DEX Stat Roll to fight her.
  • Werewolf – Visit the Werewolf King in the Werewolf Lair to gain this subrace. The guest is the Brightwolf. Werewolves can regenerate HP. It is also possible to be a temporary werewolf. When fighting a werewolf (not a werewolf warrior or alpha werewolf), the notice Lycanthropy may come up. Your armor is set to werewolf, and you become a werewolf, until you change your default armor. You can still cast spells, change shields and weapons.
  • WerePyre – Visit Wolfwing in The Secret to gain this subrace. There is no guest in this subrace and this subrace is available to guardian only, you may choose 1 of 2 options: Become a WerePyre or fight Wolfwing, and although the new version of Wolfwing was deamed to be impossible there have been many people who did not use cheat engines to beat him.

Each SubRace has its own armor (Vamp, Lycan, and WerePyre Form respectively), and if you are a Vampire or Werewolf, you may carry out tasks against the other race for your leader to gain levels. Each level increases the chance of using your powers in Vamp or Lycan armor. You can reach up to lvl 10 in Vampire and Werewolf.

Clans

In AdventureQuest, players may join a Clan on the island of Paxia, and participate in Clan activities such as wars and challenges.

Joining a Clan

There are 8 clans to join, and each is one of the 8 elements. The current clans are Geoto, Aerodu, Nautica, Dynami, Igneus, Glacius, Lucian, and Nocturu . To join, you simply enter Paxia, then click on the location of a clan’s base. Then, speak to the leader, and ask to join. They will add you to their ranks. As long as there are no clan wars going on, you may join. If you are not in a clan during a clan war, you will have to wait until the war ends to join.

The 8 clan leaders, Paxus and Negatus, Paxia on the Travel Map and Paxus Arena.

The 8 clan leaders, Paxus and Negatus, Paxia on the Travel Map and Paxus Arena.

Monolith Island

Once you have joined a clan, if no clan wars are currently taking place, you may leave the clan by speaking with the Negatus Statue on Monolith Island, which is off the shore of Paxia. Also on Monolith Island is Paxus, who tells you about the 8 Paxian clans and how they were created.

Clan mechanics

If you have joined a clan, you may enter their base. Every clan has its own shop which sells items of a particular element, and sometimes armor and weapons of the clan. Some items are stronger when used by a member of that clan, such as the Gong of the Wind series of Pets.

Clan wars and challenges

Every so often, Paxia has challenges and wars. During these wars, players will fight random battles against opposing forces on Paxia, battling things such as Airships and other clan members in PvP and can repair their bases to help keep ahead in the war. Eventually, the clans with the best health at the end of the war is awarded war spoils.

Challenges are given by Paxus, and happen in his personal arena which floats above Paxia. They can vary from guessing things to winning battles and so forth. Clans with the highest score gain prizes for this.

These challenges are done in the Octo-Paxi Arena which is the on a little island on the south of Paxia. Most of the time it is a question mark because there aren’t any current. events. The latest event was the Gong with the Wind! Event, and the reward was the Gong of the Wind! pet (won by Aerodu, Nocturu, and Igneus).

Shops and equipment

Yulgar's shop in AdventureQuest

Yulgar’s shop in AdventureQuest

There are six types of equipment which increase a character’s effectiveness in combat:

  • Weapons are used to deal damage with the “Attack” command. Many have triggers, which activate on monsters of a certain type, causing the weapon to either deal more damage, seek the monster’s weakness, weaken a monster, or so on. Also, many weapons have special attacks which will hit harder than the normal attack. This is usually frowned upon by higher levels who wish to utilize the full power of their multi-hit armors. They are classified to eight groups fire, water, wind, ice, earth, energy, light, and darkness
  • Shields affect a character’s defense modifiers. Some have rewind abilities, which can heal you once. Some also have a trigger, which gives you an attack boost when you are fighting a certain type of monster.
  • Armor, like shields, affect a character’s defense modifier and also can give extra attacks. Some armors allow the use of class skills or subrace attacks, which get added to with each level of class/subrace.
  • Spells are an alternative method of attack, can summon things, and a few can heal.
  • Pets offer a bonus attack(s), or may do other things such as heal or cause status effects.
  • Miscellaneous can offer defenses against any kind of attack, a temporary stat boost, or extra attack power when attacking with certain elements. Miscellaneous items must be activated before their effects happen. This might take up some MP and/or a turn. Muse type miscellaneous items unlock music. It also includes potions, which heal MP and HP. However, potions take up their own slot in the misc menu, without taking space from accessories.

AdventureQuest has many shops where players may purchase equipment using gold. Every piece of equipment has a level requirement which the character must meet to be able to buy it. If a player regrets buying any equipment, they may sell the equipment at a loss. A character may hold up to eight of each type of equipment at a time in battle, while they may purchase storage space with Z-Tokens to hold items outside of battle. Most equipment specializes in one of the eight elements (fire, ice, water, wind, earth, energy, light and darkness), but some specialize in more than one element or have no element at all.

Quests, events and challenges

 

Fan splicing of the current AdventureQuest world map.

Besides random encounters, players can embark on quests. Quests are generally more challenging than random encounters because the character has to fight several monsters, and usually is not given the opportunity to heal in between battles. Some quests entail additional challenges, such as rolling a die and continuing only if a high number is rolled.

Many quests are started by speaking to non-player characters or exploring regions on the map. Events are quests which are available for a limited period of time. There are annual events during AdventureQuest “holidays” such as Mogloween and Frostval, and one-time events, such as wars. In challenges, characters have to defeat as many monsters as possible, but unlike quests, there is no reward or storyline. Some challenges like the Water Battle Chamber and the Haunted House have bosses though.

Guardianship

Guardianship is a “premium” version of AdventureQuest, which players can buy for a one-time fee. As AdventureQuest has grown, Artix Entertainment has raised the fee several times; as of 22 October 2006, Guardianship costs $19.95, which can be paid for using credit card, PayPal, or PayByCash. Players who have bought this premium version are called “Guardians,” while those playing the free version are called “Adventurers.”

This premium version offers players many benefits. It grants access to additional quests, events, wars and locations. Many weapons, armors, shields, pets and other items in the game are only available to Guardians. Besides starting with two health and mana potions (instead of one of each type for Adventurers), as well as being able to receive five potions at strategic points during quests from a potion bag. Guardians also have more powerful starting weapons, and can train up to level 10 in each class (instead of 5 for Adventurers). In addition, they can log in at any time, despite the server cap which limits the number of Adventurers that may play simultaneously.[1]

Z-Tokens

Introduced in June 2006 to replace the former system of donating money for items, Z-Tokens are rare coins in AdventureQuest, which players (both Adventurers and Guardians) will occasionally find after winning battles. Guardians may also purchase Z-Tokens with real money, with various exchange rates:

2000 Z-Tokens for $9.90

5000 Z-Tokens for $19.95

7500 Z-Tokens for $29.95

10000 Z-Tokens for $39.90

15000 Z-Tokens for $59.90

Players may use Z-Tokens to buy weapons, shields, armour, player-owned housing, guards for that housing, and pets which are generally more powerful than those bought with in-game gold. They may also purchase inventory slots with Z-Tokens (at the rate of 200 Z-Tokens per slot).[2]

Criticism

Server cap

There is a limit on the number of free players which can play simultaneously. The limit was fixed at 4,000 during the early days of AdventureQuest, but it currently fluctuates from 7,000 to 30,000 according to time of day and server load. Once the limit is reached, only Guardians may log in, until sufficient players log out or the limit increases.

Overloaded servers are a problem with AdventureQuest

Overloaded servers are a problem with AdventureQuest

Because of the server cap, it can be difficult for free players to log in, especially because the server limit may occasionally decrease by nearly 50%, and all the available slots are usually taken moments after the server limit is increased.

Free players have tried various means to bypass the server cap. A web browser script that would immediately log a player in once it detected an available slot on the server was once available. In the past, there have been bugs which could be exploited by free players bypass the server cap, but these bugs have been fixed. Some fan sites offer server stats to give players a good idea of when to log in. Some free players, after successfully logging in, leave their computer on continuously to stay logged in.

Free accounts start out with 25 free logins that are used once every time that account logs into the game. AdventureQuest provides a survey that upon completion grants users another 24 hours of unlimited free logins. Additionally, after confirming the account’s e-mail address, they get 48 hours of unlimited free login time, to help them become familiar with the game. After all free logins are used up and the server cap hinders logging in, it is suggested by staff to play another game while waiting or pay to continue playing.

Artix Entertainment defends the server cap as a way of controlling server load and covering the cost of running the game. AdventureQuest recently introduced sponsored advertising to allow more servers to be purchased. The advertising is limited to a row of icons on the side of the homepage as to not interfere with the game.

Lack of free content

Most of the content, quests and updates are only available to Guardians; therefore, the free version of AdventureQuest is very limited. Some updates, such as X-Guardianship and Z-Tokens, entirely focus on new ways to pay for in-game content. The constant reminders to buy Guardianship are often perceived as a form of nagware, and these, combined with the server cap, lead some to perceive the free version of AdventureQuest as a free demo, instead of a free web RPG as advertised.

Monotony and lack of features

AdventureQuest has been criticised for its repetitive gameplay, which primarily consists of killing monsters to gain experience and gold. There is little strategy involved in winning battles, and training takes a long time, often requiring the player to repeat tedious tasks.

In addition, AdventureQuest has also been criticised for lacking basic features present in other RPGs. Artix Entertainment rebuts by reminding players that AdventureQuest is still in the testing stage and thus lacks many features, and that the game has weekly updates and is ever-changing. Originally intended to be a simple, single-player RPG, AdventureQuest has grown much faster than Artix anticipated, and rewriting the game engine to add extra features is not feasible.

Lack of in-game interaction

Being a single-player game, AdventureQuest provides no means of in-game interaction between players. This has been cited as a reason for its small market share in the online RPG genre. Several commonly-requested in-game interaction features, which Artix Entertainment has repeatedly stated will not be implemented, include:

  • Battles between players. Some high-leveled players find the monsters too easy, boring or tedious, and wish to challenge other players. DragonFable has a system which allows one to challenge other players by traveling to the Aeris Battlespire PVP arena
  • Item trading. In the past, players were able to trade items with the approval of a staff member, but this feature was removed because the staff could not handle the backlog of requests.
  • In-game messaging and friends/block lists. The forums are an avenue for players to meet and interact with other players, but players must register for a forum account.

AdventureQuest only allows players to interact with NPCs using pre-typed choices, i.e. ???, … or What!?!?

X-Guardian Boost and Z-Tokens

The introduction of the X-Guardian Boost and Z-Tokens have been met with some controversy. The X-Boost has been criticized for offering numerical benefits (such as 10,000 gold, 200 Z-Tokens and 10% more XP per battle) instead of useful features. Some regard the X-Boost and Z-Tokens as marketing ploys by Artix Entertainment to convince players to pay for in-game benefits. It should be noted that Z-Tokens are available to Adventurers via random monster battles, though it is minimal amounts (2-8) and with a relatively low chance each fight. This has been slightly alleviated recently with the house system which allows purchace of a house that grows in Z-Token resale value over time allowing you to gain interest on your Z-Tokens even as a free player.

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