Nadiria

Adventurer
Royal Guardian
Platform
iOS
Last edited
For those who need/want them, I'm going to put all the livestream notes in one thread (newest at the BOTTOM). :)
This page contains notes from February 16 through February 21.
IMPORTANT: WE HAVE RUN OUT OF ROOM IN THIS POST

PAGE 2 OF LIVESTREAM NOTES (February 22 through February 25)
PAGE 3 OF LIVESTREAM NOTES (February 26 through February 27)

PAGE 4 OF LIVESTREAM NOTES (February 28 through March 1)

At Ekimie's suggestion, each day is hidden behind a "Spoiler" button, to keep things neat & tidy. Thanks, Eki!

Watch past episodes of Otter livestreams at Twitch: V&H on Twitch

FEB 16 2 pm pst LIVESTREAM NOTES:
Damon and Cameron were on camera
  • All player accounts (including characters, etc) are fully backed up
  • Email address may have been exposed
  • Change password IF used anywhere else
  • No CC/address personal data is stored by Mad Otter or the game
  • The "gold bug" was what tipped them off to the presence of the hackers
  • The entire data center was attacked. Appears to be 12 to 30 hackers simultaneously attacked the entire center. V&H did not appear to be targeted per se - just had the bad luck to be on that server at that data center.
  • Attack was very sophisticated and is being investigated. Appears to be more vandalism than theft, and no proof yet that emails were even scraped/targeted
  • Attack was from a TOR node
  • Steam players not affected at all, other than the game being down
  • Cameron (@Diet on the forums) referenced his post about Builders and Burners. Builders want to build things up and make them better. Burners want to tear them down and shred them for no purpose. These people were burners, but our community is full of builders. Let's continue to be builders - don't try to go after the burners. Don't try to avenge V&H
  • Game is backed up daily. Because of when the game went down, the last daily backup was 18 hours prior to the actual hack. Anything done during that last 18 hours is lost. Going forward, backups will be increased (possibly every 4 hours, maybe even every hour, but performance can take a hit with very frequent backups). That 18 hours is lost.
  • There will be LOTS of compensation for everyone
  • Any money spent to buy Crowms during that time or item shop purchases will be like they never happened
  • Any buffs or effects that were running should be active
  • XP can't be "refunded" that was gained during that 18 hours
  • Gold that was spent, items that were mailed/traded during that 18 hours will be like it never happened.
  • The sale that was running will be re-instated
  • Subscriptions will be comped somehow for time missed
  • There may be gifts to help offset XP lost for those who were playing during that time
  • Live-streams every day at 2pm Pacific until the servers are back up
  • Data center employees are working to fix security and bring the data center back up and online. Many other websites/businesses are affected as well. Data Center is using forensic analysis to prevent reoccurrence.
  • Until the Data center is back up, Otters are in standby mode, preparing as best they can for the data center to go live again.
  • MOG is going to “level up to 60” and try to make sure that if this should happen again the game is safe and secure. MOG doesn't want to have to play defense like this, so they are going to learn and make sure that going forward, things are as secure as possible.
  • MOG never thought they would be breached, but got taken down via collateral damage. In the future, the goal is to have a "spare tire" that will help get the game back online as quickly as possible
  • Estimated time to return live is currently 2 days - Tuesday Feb 19 is the current target. Most of this is out of the Otters control; there is little they can do until they have a live server again. Once the data center is live again, the Otters can begin to take the game live again.
  • And they are also working on a new build at the same time (see Valentine's Teaser) and they have been working hard on this. Mostly a build where things are ADDED not changed!
  • More teasers: combat charts will be on mobile & they show "one" new face (very pretty!)
  • Discussion of possible merch store (hoodies seemed popular!) & request for Otter mount
  • There will be some changes for Sugarsweet, no date announced yet for Sugarsweet
  • The game is coded in C++, Python, Torquescript, Objective C, JavaScript, PHP, and HTML. Core foundation go the game is C++, Python with Torquescript as "glue"
  • Otters love all of you and the entire community!

SUNDAY FEB 17 2 pm pst LIVESTREAM NOTES:

Sarah & Damon were on camera
Cameron (“Diet) was in chat
  • Many thanks from Otters for support - huge thanks for support from community
  • Sarah had too much coffee last night and the consensus was Bohemian Rhapsody is a great movie
  • Merch will be a thing! Hoodies, ball caps, t-shirts will be a thing! Community is going to help pick - Ivar is going to make the designs. Only question is will it be only V&H or will it be V&H + MOG; Hopefully we will all start talking about ideas in a couple of weeks
  • Server update: first of the servers is being worked on now, OS being reinstalled, then other game servers will soon follow
  • Best estimate right now is live on WEDNESDAY - Otters have not yet been able to inspect any of the machines
  • It appears that (overall) damage was not as bad as originally thought, and Otters are learning from this process so that in the future this can’t happen again.
  • More info on the attack: It was a “zero-day vulnerability” There was a vulnerability in the OS that no one on the “good side” knew about, but the hackers did, and took advantage of. Called “zero day” because it was previously unknown until the day of the hack - it had been known for “zero days”, hence the name “zero day vulnerability”
  • Data center is still offline, including their phone systems, data center employees have been working 24/7 with 3 shifts; it was the entire data center’s business + all of their customers that were all impacted. It’s been tough on everyone, not just Otters. Otters are continuing to support their data center; the data center has been impacted the most and they are working 24/7 to get this resolved
  • They do know the hackers name, but that will not be broadcast, and they will not be given any validation here. Could have been a copycat, or part of a movement. Still believed to be about 30 people total. There may have been other data centers/servers that were impacted by this same issue simultaneously. These hackers are tough to find and track because they used TOR nodes that spoof your identity and location. (TOR nodes are part of the darknet.)
  • Otters pulled the plug as soon as they knew something was wrong - The cause of the “gold glitch” was the hackers, and thanks to community for alerting Otters to the glitch, so that they could react quickly
  • A brief discussion of coffee and Dunkin Donuts ensued
  • The Zings will probably come out after the roll-back (be ready!)
  • Question: Are we going to have new hairstyles (for toons) called Sarah Hair and Damon Hair? (unanswered with a lot of laughter)
  • Please add possible topics for future livestreams on the Forums - Sarah will make a new post after the livestream to gather topics from everyone. Possible topic mentioned by Damon: history of the game and how it came to be. Otters want to continue to interact with everyone while the game is down
  • Regarding in-game lag: hopefully addressed with the next build. The big CPU hog was the effects code, and Damon has been working on that, to reduce the overhead required for the effects
  • Question: When the servers come up, will it go to Test server first? Quite possibly, it makes sense to send it to the Test Server first
  • Damon: programming can be tedious but very rewarding
  • New expansion - sneak peek of new mobile interface for chat! Chat is important in V&H and this helps bring a better experience to mobile users. Shoutout to Ivar for his amazing work on this!
  • The Book will still open on Friday as originally planned (aka Valentine’s teaser)
  • Discussion of “The Black Mirror” tv show spawned by mention of chat blocking (also, everyone encouraged to USE chat blocking instead of just complaining about another player) Chat blocking is and remains one-way (A can block B, but B can still see what A says in chat)
  • Release date on next build is currently unknown, but it will be before summer
  • Sugarsweet is still happening as well, also unknown when it will launch at this time
  • Question: what about in game voice chat? Otters have considered that, it’s a big deal
  • Question: are there still Google issues? No that should be all resolved now
  • Question: is US3 getting all the new players? Not necessarily, Otters can (and do) rotate the “default” server presented to new users
  • Question: Will we get Easter eggs this year? Answer: (from Damon) “Ask Diet” Diet/Cameron: “We will see”
  • Are the Apple redeem codes issues sorted? Apple won’t allow it, period. Solution will probably be to simply give everyone a gift that will just drop into their bag; this is not yet implemented in game. Apple makes the rules for everything available in their store, and won’t allow the game in the store if they see anything related to a redeem code. Redeem codes are gone permanently - Apple has said no more redeem codes (or similar system) because some developers were abusing the system, and so Apple has shuttered the ability to use those kinds of codes due to abuse by other developers (NOT the Otters)
  • Question: How will “thank you” gifts be distributed if no redeem codes? It will just show up automatically in everyone’s bags. Discussion will probably begin among Otters tomorrow (Monday) about what the gifts will be. Otters can’t return “time lost", but will try to help with XP losses.
  • “When we get lemons, make lemonade”
  • Question: when will we get an Otter mount? Don’t know - it would look weird. An Otter toy might be cool. Moose mount might be a thing, as possibly Polar Bear. Ivar wants a Tick mount. Bedbug mount: Sarah says “it sounds itchy” People really like mounts based on giant insects... The spider mount was all crafted from scratch by the Otters; makes it unique. All mounts are the same run speed because otherwise it can break socialization in parties . Flying mounts requested; camel mounts for Oasis as well as flying carpets all requested in chat
  • If something is kind of broken in the game, and the Otters fix it, it can cause other kinds of pain - Damon explains his theory of order & chaos. The game is stable, but if it was never changed, the players would perceive it as a dead world. The process of change and the aftereffects are discussed. The Otters learned from previous changes to the game, and handle change differently now; they don’t change just to change, but to evolve and enrich the game.
  • Discussion of VIM/energy (related to change topic above)
  • Otters are glad to hear that people have met their families again, and that some folks are doing chores! Thank everyone again for the support and understanding - the Otters love the support, and they will continue to support the community. See you again tomorrow at 2pm PST for another livestream - be sure to post your topics to the livestream topic in the forum.

MONDAY FEB 18 2 pm pst LIVESTREAM NOTES:
Cameron was on camera
Damon, Sarah & Ivar were in chat
  • Livestream was from Cameron’s office today!
  • We were able to admire the poster art on his walls, and his trash can :)
  • No real update unfortunately. Things *are* progressing, and moving forward, but no real news/update to report today. Otters are bummed that the game is down just like the community
  • Today is just a laid back, hang out livestream
  • Maybe some spoilers!
  • Otters have been talking a lot about livestreams - to intro new stuff, but also just in general. Would everyone be interested in regular livestreams? Maybe even (for example) Diet is in-game and live-streaming at the same time?
  • Most of today’s livestream is about questions gathered in the forum

  • Forum Question: Much discussion about Otters as a mount, toy, or pet. Interesting, but it will take time to see if it’s even feasible - discussion of 3d gaming art, re: skinning, wire frame/mesh and animating. Kind of a major undertaking to create a mount from scratch.
  • Forum Question: 3rd shared vault - lots of interest in it, now and in the past, so it can go on the list to be discussed
  • Forum Question: Will the zog purple set reward ever return to crowns? Not in the foreseeable future because of bots. Its important that players can earn crowns in-game, and the Otters are continuing to try to address that
  • Forum Question: Diet’s fave thing in the game: the vibrancy and artwork style used in-game, and the serene vibe. Diet loves the community, and Fan Fridays are also cool and it’s great to see everyones creativity. It’s also been great to see how genuinely nice everyone has been, and the goodwill and patience shown to the Otters during this time.
  • Forum Question: Pets & Mounts offering XP in-game: it’s tricky to make sure that gameplay doesn’t override cosmetics and vice versa. Don’t want someone to have to (for example) pick between a pet they really want for cosmetics, and a pet they really need for gameplay. (Also applies to mounts)
  • Forum Question: 2 specializations per toon? Lots of people want this. At the heart of it, one per toon helps you work with other players to accomplish things. No plans to change this at the time.

Discussion about how Sarah actually decorated the offices at first just by printing in-game pictures and hanging on the walls.

  • Forum Question: Lots of comments about flying - flying is hard because the game isn’t built for flying, and all the zones would have to be refurbished to allow for it. It’s possible there might be zones in the future that could be built specifically for it, but for now, it won’t happen. For now, we have the broom, and the dragon (which don’t really fly, but look like they do). More dragons on the way!
  • Forum Question: If you could rollback and change anything what would it be? The medallion system when Traven first launched but when Pyrrus came out it didn’t work as well, and so it’s kind just these two areas where there is this weird system. When they can go back through and rework quests for Traven and possibly begin to eliminate them until then we are stuck with them. Further discussion re: medallion extract tool, and bounty badge, but the general feeling is that medallions aren’t that great. If possible, should’ve added keys + a key bag…
  • Chat Question: Why was the game changed from V&H to A Mystical Land and then back to V&H? Otters felt like “A Mystical Land” sounded more like a storybook/fantasy type game, and Villagers and Heroes addresses more of what the gameplay is all about
  • Forum Question: What would you say is the biggest improvement to the game? Hard to say… Sarah says “instancing” (re: interactions with NPCs) Diet says Starfall and it’s gear tech was huge, and helps set up the game well for future expansions
  • Forum Question: Which build do you regret trying the most? The initial part 1 of Pyrrus was very challenging, it was a lot of work, and when it went to Test everyone said it looked the same and was depressing. There used to be a bug in the system where you would be working on a zone and it wouldn’t save. One time Diet was working on Sapphira’s Lament, saved every 5 minutes and… it was gone.
  • Chat Question: Value of Golden Sheep? You can make 700 to 800 gold per batch of Golden Sheep, and if you give them everything they want, you could possibly level them all up within a month even logging in once per day
  • Chat question: I noticed that there is no difference in threat generation between thunderbird strike and charge and the fury feats for warriors. Was this an intended thing? Yes. Threat works by Each point of damage = one point of threat, however lightning warriors makes it so that every threat they generate is multipled which makes it so that thunderbird strike is always increased threat because of Stormpower.
  • Forum Question: What are you addicted to? Used to be coffee, but no longer, now it’s only tea mostly. Being a homebody mostly - love having a quiet night at home with my family.

PREVIEWS!
  • Previews! The new face that previewed the other day is just the beginning of improvements to both male and female characters cosmetically, and so there is a large focus on the ability to make your character more attractive. Look for more previews of this in the near future. (Side note: new underwear for both males and females and the appearance of male back door incontinence has been “fixed”…)
  • Talent points changing: There will be new talents, more points and more class changes coming. More info on this will be in future livestreams

  • Chat question: Will there be more Rebirths? Maybe, but one of the reasons to expand the talents was because of the number of rebirths
  • Chat question: Lots of people want house interiors. If Otters do it, they want to do it right. One of the things is that house interiors are personal. It separates everyone, and we want everyone to be social in this game. What if others could go in to your house? Many challenges to be overcome with house interiors.
  • Chat question: Most classes right now are competing fairly well, with the exception of Shadow Priest - solo running or dungeon running they aren’t quite as strong.
  • Chat question: Threat is a game mechanic (explanation of how/why)
  • Chat question: What happened to Scruffles? Scruffles quest was removed from the Royal Grove, and his quest was removed during the rework for Black Thrush
Thanks again to the community for being so awesome during all of this! One of us will be back here every day at 2pm pst until we are live again!

TUESDAY FEB 19 2 pm pst LIVESTREAM NOTES:
Cameron & Damon were on camera
Sarah & Ivar were in chat

  • Blue Mad Otter Hoodies were styled today by Damon & Cameron! They don’t want to be the “Techie Black Hoodie company” :) Very sharp looking!
  • UPDATE ON SERVERS: Progress is being made working with the data center. Machines are in place and set up now. Otters can start looking at them and putting software on the. Definite progress is being made! Otters are working with the data center, machines are up, and Otters can see them (NOT LIVE TO THE INTERNET YET) Everything is being made more secure. All the basic software is being installed now and all of the software packages, next they will be configured, then they will get partitions done correctly, get provisioned with all the libraries, load the game and restore all the databases of characters and players.
  • Basically, Otters are trying very hard to be live this week. Damon’s goal is to get live sometime this week - Thursday or Friday or possibly some time later this week.
  • Some people have said that their information was leaked during hack. Cameron and Damon stressed that MOG uses 3rd party payment providers that are extremely secure, and specialize in security at a very high level, and NONE of that data is stored on MOG servers anywhere. MOG does NOT store that kind of data, even in encrypted form.
  • If a new player created a character during the 18 hour “window” between the last backup and the hack, that character WILL be gone, it won’t exist anymore, and they will have to start over again. If a new player bought a special perk from the item shop during that 18 hours, the Otters WILL have a record of that, and they will work with the player on that. The player will still have to remake the character, however.
  • Were other game companies affected? Otters believe there may have been, but it’s not their job to talk about it; Otters want to focus on their customers.
  • Good news is that things were not quite as bad as they could have been! Otters are feeling a LOT more positive today. They have more hope than yesterday! Move forward! Otters appreciate everyone showing up for the livestreams - it’s been hard not having any control during this time. The data center is 9 hours ahead of the Otters, so that can make communication interesting at times.
  • “May you live in interesting times” Damon has found a positive in the situation - it’s hard, and challenging but it will make the Otters tougher and more prepared in the future!
  • Damon revisits the “spare tire” metaphor for a backup server - in the future, the Otters will have a redundant server so that if something happens again, they can flip the switch and the “spare tire” will carry us all.
  • Chat Question: Could the shield slot be used as a cape? Capes are cool, but challenging, but they have be “rigged” or animated. Cloth rendering in general is challenging.
  • And now, Cameron has some previews for everyone. But first - we get to see more posters in Cameron’s fishbowl, er, office! We also are treated to a picture of Diet Jr! Cameron is the only Otter with a child, but all of the Otters have fur babies. :)
Cameron showed off the newly refurbished Summers Hollow. (Editor’s note: This looks simply stunning, and amazing, and dingdang I can’t wait to see this in game. We all knew that the Otters are talented, but the new Summers Hollow sets a new standard for our Otters, and I predict everyone will find it to be not only more beautiful, but infinitely more interesting to play as well. Back to Notes now…)

New Summers Hollow (!) A “fairly large” overhaul of Summers Hollow and “touch up” of Dagmar Strand.
  • Otters wanted to update it, and make it so that the progression of the first quest would speak more to the Malicious Miscreant quest line.
  • Damon: You lose the most players in the first hour of gameplay - so it’s important.
  • The tutorial zones will always be refreshed and updated; it’s important for new players to see that the game is interesting and engaging.
  • Shout out to Sarah Otter - she completely revamped the writing as well for the starting quest line.
  • Summers Hollow looks very different - entirely new map: Village portal moved and Event Zone portal has moved as well. All the portals have moved. There are several new entrances to the town, but it is walled off all the way around.
  • There is a reason for the entrances being the way it is - the frame rate is improved if you can “wall off” sections that don’t have to be rendered. So now, characters will enter and leave through a “zig zag” portal (similar to how the backstage entrance is currently at the theater in Summers Hollow, or the Borough in the Villages) which means that the game doesn’t have to render the entire zone content at once. It makes the render faster.
  • Next we see the travel pad is right in the center of town. If you go to the Buckles & Hobnail vendor, he is actually selling buckles and hobnails. If you visit the Grips & Thread vendor, she is actually selling grips and thread on a table. Little details like this everywhere.
  • In the central part of the town, the Village portal is now on the right side, and the Event Zone portal will be on the left, next to the ticket booth and theater entrance. Buildings are all updated.
  • New Crafters District, with a “bank” area (two vaults) Otto and Elta are in the new Crafters area.
  • Chauncey the stable master has a new stable, and gives you the quest for your horse.
  • There’s an outdoor bar for Tybalt the barkeep!
  • Ticket booth is next to the theater, but NO MORE TRANSPORTING TO THE THEATER - you just walk in. New theatre is beautiful! Back stage is not much changed. Exit to backstage is still a jump off a wall.
  • Dagmar Strands “refreshed” as well - a lot of the colors were retweeked to render better on all kinds of displays and the stones were color matched better to Ardent. A lot of the farms and buildings were updated, including the addition of green fog in Crawsons Fen, and really spooky purple fog and spiderwebs everywhere at the Infested Farmstead.
  • Now the changes to Summers Hollow will be much more noticeable as you progress through the quest - it will be darker, nighttime, it will feel more creepy… the horses are all gone from the stables, people are missing, the vendors have left and closed their tents... The music will change as well, to reflect the part of the quest line you are in. (After the quest is complete, Summers Hollow will be its normal daytime sunny self). Little tiny things will change throughout the stages of the quest.
  • After the Cronk Island segment, it’s very creepy, the lights are all blue, and the fog is purple. Everyone is gone, there is garbage and trash everywhere, very sinister and creepy. After Briny Caverns it’s even worse. Once the entire Miscreant quest line completes, then Summers Hollow “comes back” to life for you.
  • The music will constantly change throughout the quest line; sunny daytime, then darker night time, all the way to a sinister shadow music.
And that's the end of the preview of the new and improved Summers Hollow!
  • Chat Question: Whats going on with Black Fury Gorge? Nothing. Originally it was an EZ to celebrate the launch of Pyrrus. Players liked it so much that it stayed, and became a pre-cursor to the Dungeons. Currently it’s a weird step-child zone. I would remove it but every time we talk about it, players get upset.
  • Livestream again tomorrow, just like before until we are live again. When the servers come back, we have a super exciting build on the horizon to look forward to! Things are moving forward!
  • Damon: Someone asked earlier: are you talking to the data center? Yes. We have an open messaging chat room with them and are communicating with them. Progress is being made.
  • Cameron: Looking forward to Friday with the opening of The Book! That is still going forward.
  • Based on feedback from yesterday regarding regularly scheduled livestreams (in general) that will be something we will be moving forward with, looking like once a week (at least), scheduled.
  • Damon: We will DEFINITELY do a Twitch when we get the servers up - that will be a party!
  • We will check in again with you guys tomorrow, same time, same channel

WEDNESDAY FEB 20 2 pm pst LIVESTREAM NOTES:
Damon, followed by Cameron & Sarah were on camera
Sarah & Ivar were in chat

We started with Damon welcoming us to Eugene, OR - where it was hailing!
Damon gave us an overview of the progress being made on getting the game restored.

When the data center went down, they thought initially it would be back up in a few hours. Little did they know…. Damon shared the “Action Plan” that they created on Feb 14th when the extent of the hack became obvious. Green check marks means it’s DONE or IN PROGRESS! (Damon is going to post this list separately to the Forums so that we can all follow the progress and see things checked off)
  • 1. ✅ Secure everything. Backup accounts - especially making sure the player accounts were backed up, and secured offsite.
  • 2. ✅ Alert players. Done via Discord, the Forums, Facebook, even a press release, and then they began the Twitch livestreams daily. Luckily the Forums had been moved to a separate website/provider.
  • 3. ✅ Get the data center back online. Completely out of Otter control. Came back up 2 or 3 days later, at which time they were finally able to asses the extend of the damage
  • 4. ✅Set up the game machines and servers. That was something that had to be done by/at the data center, and that is now done. HUGE beautiful machines - more than 100 CPUs total
  • 5. ✅Provision the servers: The data center is mostly doing this This is where you install all the basic things to make the game run-the OS, the databases, the name servers, etc. The data center is doing this, and Damon thinks this is *mostly* done, and has checked it off as a result.
  • 6. ✅Assess where were are. What was lost? What wasn’t lost? This was completed yesterday. This was one of the things the Otters were most worried about. There were certain things they were worried about that might have been deleted; things like weird little ancillary scripts that were NOT deleted. Good news here.
  • 7. Install all scripts to servers & confirming machines. This is where we are now. We aren’t sure how long this will take, this is one of the bigger tasks left. This is mostly Otters, not the data center doing the work. Of all these things, this was the one they were most worried about, but everything is there!
  • 8. Resorting saved player accounts and characters to the servers. This actually fairly easy. Not many unknowns here
  • 9. Deploying the game to the servers. Also very easy; it’s mostly automated. Not many unknowns here, either
  • 10. Testing & Fixing. This is the biggest unknown. Test & fix until it runs
  • 11. GO LIVE - that’s dancing and champagne!!!
  • 12. Player compensations - Cameron & Sarah are coming up with a plan for that
  • After all of this, is VIGILANCE - keep an eye on everything very carefully to make sure that no one gets in again. And, increasing the backup times to at least once every hour.
Everyone is REALLY looking forward to #11! And progress is being made. Damon will share progress on the action plan every day.

Damon wants to address some stuff the Otters saw in the Forums; a player asked some questions, and Damon wants to answer them here

1. Why can’t I play on the US server where I have my toon if it the hack was on the Europe server?
The reason is because the data center is in Europe and all of our servers are hosted there, so all the servers were hit

2a. Why is there no talk of you switching servers since this server appears to be hacked twice in three months?
This is the first time we were hacked. The other time was a hardware failure.

2b. You say you have a build at T-minus 18, why don’t you load it on another server?
The problem isn’t about the backup of the game; it’s not a cost issue - it’s a time issue. It’s not just a matter of turning on a database and turning on the game. The backend of a large MMO like this is fairly complex and the deploy process from scratch is not a push button process. Some of the scripts were not written by Mad Otter, so MOG had no idea how to reconstitute those scripts, and they had to stop and assess what was going on. If it had just been a cost issue to go live right away, MOG would have done it. Being live is the most important thing

2c. Regarding the question of a backup server, Damon discusses the “spare tire” analogy again with redundant systems in the future.

3. Why aren’t you unhappy that your “cash cow” is off the air for so long?
Our game is not a “cash cow”, if it was an animal, it would be an Otter, and not a “cash Otter” or a greedy Otter! We are sad that it’s down, for us and for the players too - we feel disconnected from all of you and that’s why we are doing the livestreams every day. We were shell shocked at first when it happened, we were crazy, pulling our hair out at first, but you have to reset yourself.

(/insert Damon’s Story Time® here: Today’s story is from “The Hustler” (IMDB the movie) The story today is from the viewpoint of Minnesota Fats, and the moment when he goes in the bathroom at the pool hall after playing for 12 hours straight, and washes his hands, looks in the mirror, takes a deep breath, and comes back out ready to work, and goes back out to face Eddie.) The moral of the story is that the Otters are refreshed, they are going to stay strong, they aren’t going to pull their hair out, and they are going to get this job done. They are ready to execute, just like when Fats came out of the bathroom. “We’re staying fresh & strong!” /end Damon’s Story Time®)​

The part we are saddest about is that the game is down for all of you. We want to keep the game live for the players. We feel like we are providing a gathering place for all of you.

4. Why shouldn’t I look at another game?
You shouldn’t because you won’t find another game like V&H, and this game is going to be here, it’s not going anywhere. We aren’t just a money grab. We love it, and you will see that.

Damon then talks about how he likes hard questions, tough questions because he would rather answer those than have silence, and then someone just disappears, and they don’t know why. We *hope* we will be live this week, not today, not tomorrow, but *maybe* Friday , but we will have the list that you can see on the Forums. Thanks, everyone, and next Sarah & Cameron are up.

Cameron & Sarah come in, and Damon leaves the livestream to go back to work.

Compensation package: Sarah & Cameron have been working on a compensation package, and they are brainstorming ways that will be the most fair to everyone, trying to address every level - memberships, time involved, calendars, XP, etc. and they have been, and continue to work on making sure that they will be compensating everyone. We won’t see the compensation until after the servers are up, and are working well, because the initial focus will be on making sure that the game is stable. They will post everything in advance and look at the community feedback prior to sending out compensation.

After everyone saw Cameron’s office the other day, they wanted to see the rest of the Otter offices, so Sarah shot a home video for us! It’s a 3-½ minute tour of the Otter offices. It starts outside the office, and we see the doors to MOG; when we go in, we see a small lobby area with a couch, and The Red Bucket because the roof leaks! There is a small kitchen and a meeting area. And a storage closet, where at one point a homeless man was living in the walls… Security has been improved in the building since then! We can see the art on the walls, and a hookah (that does’t get used, but it looks cool). Next is the conference room, where they stick the interns, and where they take phone calls because it has a door that closes! There’s a window into Damon’s office where he is working away. We visit Damon in his office, and hear a story about how Damon “chased windmills” and so there is a picture that Sarah got for Damon of Don Quixote :) Cameron stares into Damon’s office all day because of all of the windows. We see more of Cameron’s office, and lots of mobile devices charging. Next is Ivar’s office, and then the office that Sarah shares with Liam. The end! The walls don’t go all the way up to the ceilings, so they can talk over the walls, and there is lots of nice natural light.

A discussion of Mad Otter Ale - and how the Otters would appreciate a delivery of said Ale; the last few bottles they have WILL be opened in celebration when the game goes live again!

Cameron talked about his love of games, and how it all began; he showed us a picture of all of his board games in a cabinet - he got his start in gaming and game design by making his own games. There is also a (former) real BEAR (now in rug form) on top of the cabinet, as well as a truck that Camerons Grandpa made him when he was a child. :) Cameron also played card games and made some of his own card games as well.

(Side note from chat: Ivar loves old PC games and still plays them regularly!)

And now a sneak peek thing to show you: Another little teaser from the next new build!

This is part of a larger discussion, and a few different changes are coming. One of the changes is when talking about the “fairness” of classes especially when dealing with group monsters, and the ability to manage your own personal aggro

Currently, there are two feats: Mindspark & Retreat - One is for marksman hunter, one is for fire wizard, and they reduce aggro in combat. One thing coming in the new build is EVERY class has an option for this. It will come on Tokens, and it will be players choice as to which one they will take. De-aggro/anti-aggro -or- Mastery Boosting will be the new choices.

Each one will match your specialization and it will work just like Retreat and Mindspark for everyone.

Cameron demo’ed “Veil of Anger” (all of the aggro management is called “Veil of …” different for each class) Lightning warriors might not want to take this, but they could for certain cases. Because of this change, Mindspark and Retreat are going to change into different, interesting spells (more in the future on this)

Trinkets will have a new feat that will start appearing on them as well. It’s called “Grave Bolt” and deals Void Damage (there’s no way for the bounty to defend against Void Damage). Also forces the enemy to engage in SOLO BATTLE and blocks the enemy ability to call for aid. Grave Bolt will be classless ability - everyone will have access to this feat!

More sneak peeks about the new build will be coming!

Sarah elaborated on the Don Quixote story that she alluded to during the office tour, and how Damon preserved to create V&H!

Shoutouts to the entire community for being so amazing during this time!

Another livestream again tomorrow at 2pm - and every day until the game is live again! Continue to post your questions on the Forum!

THURSDAY FEB 21 2 pm pst LIVESTREAM NOTES:
Cameron & Damon were on camera
Sarah & Ivar were in chat

Damon starts us off: Here we are on Thursday, and we are not live *yet*. It’s just typical software stuff; things always take longer than you think, we are still working on everything. Will it be tomorrow? I don’t think so, but that’s just to be straight and honest. There’s still more work to do, but we are making progress, looking through files and getting things set up.

We look at the Action Plan again - we are now at #7! “Install all scripts to servers and confirming machines”. This is what we are working on right now. It’s not done - This is what we knew would be the hardest and we know the rest of the steps after this are more straightforward, but this is the one where the most of the unknowns exist and the most things are out of our control. #10 (Testing & Fixing) will also possibly be a little difficult because any problems from #7 may not be evident until #10. That’s the update on that

There was a post on the Forums where someone was asking about getting notified about the data breach. I posted something on the Forums already, and you guys can see what I responded to. Basically they said “Why did I have to find out about this through a news media outlet instead of getting an email right away?”

First of all we share everyone’s concerns about letting you know, as you saw on the Action Plan, our #2 item was to let everyone know what was going on. Our #1 thing was to secure the data center.
The things that we did: We used the following channels to let everyone know what was leaked (email addresses) and the things that weren’t leaked (Name, address, credit card info, unencrypted passwords) Encrypted passwords were leaked but they were hashed and salted (Editors Note: “Hashed and salted” refers to the encryption process. From Wikipedia: “In cryptography, a salt is random data that is used as an additional input to a one-way function that "hashes" data, a password or passphrase.” Sadly, it does not refer to a breakfast food as Damon had hoped! :))
We notified everyone through the following channels: The official Game Forums, notifications to mobile players, the Facebook page, the player run Discord channel, the Twitch livestreams like these (although not immediately) and we even hired a PR firm, which is an accepted method of notification in cases like this.

Why didn’t we send out an email? There’s a very specific reason. We have tried to use email before, to notify our players about things like updates, and they all hit the spam filters. 99% hit the spam filters or go straight to players trash. It’s very hard to get direct email to work. It felt like these other channels were far more effective to let you know right away what was going on. Frankly the only reason to send email was so we could pretend like we did a good job. We actually wanted to effectively communicate the message. That’s why we didn’t send emails. It’s also a lot of work to do that, and it’s work we could spend actually letting you know through effective means. So why do that work if it’s wasted? It would have been pointless.

The one thing we did forget to do was send out a Twitter post. We don’t use Twitter a lot, we don’t have a lot of Twitter followers. But we should have, because it was easy, and we sent out a Tweet today letting everyone know.

The first post we sent out was one that said “Change your password anywhere else it’s the same as the one you use for Villagers & Heroes” and the second thing we want to say now is “Hey, if you do get an email that says “Hey, this is Matt Otter, or Neonga, or this is Villagers and Heroes, and we want you to tell us your password to fix it, or you will lose your character”, or asking you to click on a weird link to fill out a form - that’s not us, because we aren’t going to do anything like that. We are going to restore your account and you are going to log in.

A brief discussion between Damon and Cameron on the origin of the word “phishing” ensued. (Editors Note: From Wikipedia: “The word itself is a homophone of fishing, due to the similarity of using a bait in an attempt to catch a victim.”)

Question: “Are you talking to the data center?” Yes, every day we are talking to the data center and working with the engineers there.

Question: “Should I change my password?” If you have re-used your password from another account with your V&H account, you definitely should, just to be safe. (Editors Note & opinion: never re-use the same password anywhere, and always use a unique password for every website and program. Additionally, use a good, secure, open source password manager like Keepass https://keepass.info - works on all platforms and does not rely upon the cloud unless you want to store a copy of your database there)

Tomorrow Damon will discuss the origins of V&H with us! For now, he has to go do some work; Cameron will take over.

Cameron shows us the skylight over his desk - yesterday it was hailing, but today it’s bright blue skies and sunshine!

Cameron is going to talk more about his board games and card games - first he shows us his board game wall (the same picture from yesterday) He likes to play cooperative board games, where everyone who is playing is on the same team, rather than playing as enemy teams; an example is games like Pandemic.

The discussion had led Cameron to think a lot about how and why he came to love games so much and he brought in some things to share as well. He had video games, but he also loved “Choose your own adventure” books (and shows an example book) because it was almost like a game inside a book. When he and his wife were dating, they wrote a “Choose your own adventure” book together! He also loved/ still loves card games - but his mom was worried about them. So he had to find other games to play, but he also made his own cards & games! Cameron showed us examples of some of his cards (including Star Wars, Star Trek & Pokemon’. Later, he started collecting LOTR cards after the movies started coming out.), and some of the cards he actually made! He continues to make cards today, and prototypes cards quicker using sleeves with a printed pieces of paper. Pogs were also popular when he was growing up. He also paints minis for himself and his friends. Cameron had one older brother, and one younger brother, no sisters.

Cameron used to go to LAN parties, where he and all of his friends (about a dozen of them) every Friday night would lug all of their huge CRTs and giant computers to someone’s house, connect to a switch and they would all play together. (Editors Note: This is how we played video games cooperatively before there was modern internet) Highlight of his LAN years was PBX-LAN when there were 500 gamers all connected into a giant LAN party in Portland. Cameron also made a TON of maps on Warcraft3 for himself and his friends.

Let’s talk about a few questions from the Forums:
There have been a few questions about Threat and some confusion about Stormpower and Shocking Strikes. Someone was comparing a Fury Feat and a Lightning Feat and they were talking about having Stormpower and Shocking Strikes and it didn’t make the difference that they thought it would. Stormpower increases your Threat generation and that’s not Lightning Threat generation that’s ALL threat generation and Shocking Strike behaves the same way. All the things you do generate the extra Threat.

There’s currently a bug with “It’s Alive” that the new Intern helped to diagnose - it only heals to about 30% and sometimes it’s won’t trigger when it’s supposed to and that is definitely on the list to be fixed.

What does Magic Find do? There is some confusion about Magic Find. It only works on dropped gear that pops out of monsters and lands on the ground. It does NOT work on quest rewards or dungeon rewards or crafting. Basically what it does is it has a chance to upgrade an item to the next tier of rarity. You know it’s working because you see the magic sparkles which means that Magic Find had an influence on that item. Rare drops will never go to Legendary - there are currently no Epic drops, so there is no way to go to Legendary

Does Fleetarinda work in the dungeons? Yes, it should work in the dungeons.

Is there a difference in drop rate on the different servers when it comes to Zorian Stones? No. Cameron researched the drop rates for you and here are the drop rates for Zorian items in the zones:
Regular monsters - 4% chance to drop any gem, 1% chance to drop a fossil
Bounties - 2% chance to drop a recipe, 12% chance to drop a gem, and 3 % chance to drop a fossil
Zingara 20% chance to drop a recipe, 15% chance to drop a gem, and 65% chance to drop a fossil

Housing: houses in the village no longer optically fit. Will they be adapted to fit in the game? Otters are aware. Housing is one of those things that they have discussed. If they made the change, there would only be 3 or 4 styles and maybe 3 skins - a total of 9 looks maybe, but it “matches” better. Would the community rather that it matches, but have fewer choices, or keep our current choices but and wait for new textures? Cameron thinks it would be fun to have village-wide contests for themeing, and see how the villages would look when everyone themes their houses to match

As we have discussed before, there will be a new talent and ultimate for every specialization. Cameron is going to show us ONE talent and ultimate combo - the winner of a trivia question will get to pick the combo! The winner was: Stavros_Stormcaller and they picked: Nature Hunter. We looked at the new talent, and the new ultimate. The 30 point talent: Volatile Poisons and the ultimate is PlaugueLord. (This is further improved from “Seasoned Botanist” for those who are familiar with that). Detailed discussion followed; and then…

There was a knock at the door, and Cameron asked Ivar to get the door.

Ivar answered the door.

And there was a surprise delivered for the Otters!!! Someone anonymously sent a beautiful basket of fruit and goodies (with balloons too!), with a lovely note! Ivar showed us the basket and Cameron read the note.

“To the Otter Family: Just wanted to say thank you to all of the Mad Otters for what you do for our players. I know you are going through a stressful time right now. Please try to relax and rest a little and enjoy this gift. I hope it puts a smile on your face as big as V&H does for me. Anonymous Player”

The Otters were all very touched by the gift, and everyone (except Sarah, who was still with us in chat :)) later came on camera to say “Thank you” to their benefactor.

Cameron briefly finished discussion of the new combo he was demo’ing when the basket arrived, and showed how some of the graphics look in use.

Thanks to everyone for hanging out with us - and thanks again to whoever sent the basket. We are working hard to get everything fixed and to make sure it can’t happen again, and to get everyone back in the game! Thanks again, we love all of you so much!

See you tomorrow, same time!
 

Ekimie

Hunter
Royal Guardian
Platform
Steam
Maybe it would be helpful to put the date up, and the actual information in a spoiler beneath the date. Like that it becomes a more neat list of date stamps that can be added to without it becoming too long. Something like this:

Damon and Cameron were on camera
  • All player accounts (including characters, etc) are fully backed up
  • Email address may have been exposed
  • Change password IF used anywhere else
  • No CC/address personal data is stored by Mad Otter or the game
  • The "gold bug" was what tipped them off to the presence of the hackers
  • The entire data center was attacked. Appears to be 12 to 30 hackers simultaneously attacked the entire center. V&H did not appear to be targeted per se - just had the bad luck to be on that server at that data center.
  • Attack was very sophisticated and is being investigated. Appears to be more vandalism than theft, and no proof yet that emails were even scraped/targeted
  • Attack was from a TOR node
  • Steam players not affected at all, other than the game being down
  • Cameron (@Diet on the forums) referenced his post about Builders and Burners. Builders want to build things up and make them better. Burners want to tear them down and shred them for no purpose. These people were burners, but our community is full of builders. Let's continue to be builders - don't try to go after the burners. Don't try to avenge V&H
  • Game is backed up daily. Because of when the game went down, the last daily backup was 18 hours prior to the actual hack. Anything done during that last 18 hours is lost. Going forward, backups will be increased (possibly every 4 hours, maybe even every hour, but performance can take a hit with very frequent backups). That 18 hours is lost.
  • There will be LOTS of compensation for everyone
  • Any money spent to buy Crowms during that time or item shop purchases will be like they never happened
  • Any buffs or effects that were running should be active
  • XP can't be "refunded" that was gained during that 18 hours
  • Gold that was spent, items that were mailed/traded during that 18 hours will be like it never happened.
  • The sale that was running will be re-instated
  • Subscriptions will be comped somehow for time missed
  • There may be gifts to help offset XP lost for those who were playing during that time
  • Live-streams every day at 2pm Pacific until the servers are back up
  • Data center employees are working to fix security and bring the data center back up and online. Many other websites/businesses are affected as well. Data Center is using forensic analysis to prevent reoccurrence.
  • Until the Data center is back up, Otters are in standby mode, preparing as best they can for the data center to go live again.
  • MOG is going to “level up to 60” and try to make sure that if this should happen again the game is safe and secure. MOG doesn't want to have to play defense like this, so they are going to learn and make sure that going forward, things are as secure as possible.
  • MOG never thought they would be breached, but got taken down via collateral damage. In the future, the goal is to have a "spare tire" that will help get the game back online as quickly as possible
  • Estimated time to return live is currently 2 days - Tuesday Feb 19 is the current target. Most of this is out of the Otters control; there is little they can do until they have a live server again. Once the data center is live again, the Otters can begin to take the game live again.
  • And they are also working on a new build at the same time (see Valentine's Teaser) and they have been working hard on this. Mostly a build where things are ADDED not changed!
  • More teasers: combat charts will be on mobile & they show "one" new face (very pretty!)
  • Discussion of possible merch store (hoodies seemed popular!) & request for Otter mount
  • There will be some changes for Sugarsweet, no date announced yet for Sugarsweet
  • The game is coded in C++, Python, Torquescript, Objective C, JavaScript, PHP, and HTML. Core foundation go the game is C++, Python with Torquescript as "glue"
  • Otters love all of you and the entire community!

Also if you like we could maybe make a community effort to keep this list up together. It is very difficult to find something back that you vaguely recall to have seen in "a" livestream. If you are interested I could help listen some livestreams back in the weekend. I do not always catch everything they say but the most important points could be pinned down.
 

Zazie

BRA Member
Royal Guardian
Characters
Zazie, Shiny, Skip, Auntie
Platform
PC
Also if you like we could maybe make a community effort to keep this list up together. It is very difficult to find something back that you vaguely recall to have seen in "a" livestream.
What a wonderful idea, Eki! So true!! As a matter of fact, I often have a harder time remembering whether the info I vaguely recall was something I read somewhere or if I heard it in a livestream. Happened just the other week, as a matter of fact. (I was thinking I had read it somewhere on the old forums, at some point over the past few years, but someone with better memory nailed it: It had been mentioned during a livestream!)
 

Nadiria

Adventurer
Royal Guardian
Platform
iOS
Maybe it would be helpful to put the date up, and the actual information in a spoiler beneath the date. Like that it becomes a more neat list of date stamps that can be added to without it becoming too long. Something like this:

Damon and Cameron were on camera
  • All player accounts (including characters, etc) are fully backed up
  • Email address may have been exposed
  • Change password IF used anywhere else
  • No CC/address personal data is stored by Mad Otter or the game
  • The "gold bug" was what tipped them off to the presence of the hackers
  • The entire data center was attacked. Appears to be 12 to 30 hackers simultaneously attacked the entire center. V&H did not appear to be targeted per se - just had the bad luck to be on that server at that data center.
  • Attack was very sophisticated and is being investigated. Appears to be more vandalism than theft, and no proof yet that emails were even scraped/targeted
  • Attack was from a TOR node
  • Steam players not affected at all, other than the game being down
  • Cameron (@Diet on the forums) referenced his post about Builders and Burners. Builders want to build things up and make them better. Burners want to tear them down and shred them for no purpose. These people were burners, but our community is full of builders. Let's continue to be builders - don't try to go after the burners. Don't try to avenge V&H
  • Game is backed up daily. Because of when the game went down, the last daily backup was 18 hours prior to the actual hack. Anything done during that last 18 hours is lost. Going forward, backups will be increased (possibly every 4 hours, maybe even every hour, but performance can take a hit with very frequent backups). That 18 hours is lost.
  • There will be LOTS of compensation for everyone
  • Any money spent to buy Crowms during that time or item shop purchases will be like they never happened
  • Any buffs or effects that were running should be active
  • XP can't be "refunded" that was gained during that 18 hours
  • Gold that was spent, items that were mailed/traded during that 18 hours will be like it never happened.
  • The sale that was running will be re-instated
  • Subscriptions will be comped somehow for time missed
  • There may be gifts to help offset XP lost for those who were playing during that time
  • Live-streams every day at 2pm Pacific until the servers are back up
  • Data center employees are working to fix security and bring the data center back up and online. Many other websites/businesses are affected as well. Data Center is using forensic analysis to prevent reoccurrence.
  • Until the Data center is back up, Otters are in standby mode, preparing as best they can for the data center to go live again.
  • MOG is going to “level up to 60” and try to make sure that if this should happen again the game is safe and secure. MOG doesn't want to have to play defense like this, so they are going to learn and make sure that going forward, things are as secure as possible.
  • MOG never thought they would be breached, but got taken down via collateral damage. In the future, the goal is to have a "spare tire" that will help get the game back online as quickly as possible
  • Estimated time to return live is currently 2 days - Tuesday Feb 19 is the current target. Most of this is out of the Otters control; there is little they can do until they have a live server again. Once the data center is live again, the Otters can begin to take the game live again.
  • And they are also working on a new build at the same time (see Valentine's Teaser) and they have been working hard on this. Mostly a build where things are ADDED not changed!
  • More teasers: combat charts will be on mobile & they show "one" new face (very pretty!)
  • Discussion of possible merch store (hoodies seemed popular!) & request for Otter mount
  • There will be some changes for Sugarsweet, no date announced yet for Sugarsweet
  • The game is coded in C++, Python, Torquescript, Objective C, JavaScript, PHP, and HTML. Core foundation go the game is C++, Python with Torquescript as "glue"
  • Otters love all of you and the entire community!

Also if you like we could maybe make a community effort to keep this list up together. It is very difficult to find something back that you vaguely recall to have seen in "a" livestream. If you are interested I could help listen some livestreams back in the weekend. I do not always catch everything they say but the most important points could be pinned down.
What a wonderful idea, Eki! So true!! As a matter of fact, I often have a harder time remembering whether the info I vaguely recall was something I read somewhere or if I heard it in a livestream. Happened just the other week, as a matter of fact. (I was thinking I had read it somewhere on the old forums, at some point over the past few years, but someone with better memory nailed it: It had been mentioned during a livestream!)
Thanks to both of you! :) I took your suggestion, @Ekimie - and you were right - it looks SO much better now! :)

And I would LOVE any help that anyone can offer! I have honestly been surprised by how many people have been reading them because they can't do Twitch for one reason or another (language differences, hearing impairment, bandwidth, etc.)

What an awesome community we have! :)
 

Panthera

Grand Priestess
Platform
Android, PC, Steam
Maybe it would be helpful to put the date up, and the actual information in a spoiler beneath the date. Like that it becomes a more neat list of date stamps that can be added to without it becoming too long. Something like this:

Damon and Cameron were on camera
  • All player accounts (including characters, etc) are fully backed up
  • Email address may have been exposed
  • Change password IF used anywhere else
  • No CC/address personal data is stored by Mad Otter or the game
  • The "gold bug" was what tipped them off to the presence of the hackers
  • The entire data center was attacked. Appears to be 12 to 30 hackers simultaneously attacked the entire center. V&H did not appear to be targeted per se - just had the bad luck to be on that server at that data center.
  • Attack was very sophisticated and is being investigated. Appears to be more vandalism than theft, and no proof yet that emails were even scraped/targeted
  • Attack was from a TOR node
  • Steam players not affected at all, other than the game being down
  • Cameron (@Diet on the forums) referenced his post about Builders and Burners. Builders want to build things up and make them better. Burners want to tear them down and shred them for no purpose. These people were burners, but our community is full of builders. Let's continue to be builders - don't try to go after the burners. Don't try to avenge V&H
  • Game is backed up daily. Because of when the game went down, the last daily backup was 18 hours prior to the actual hack. Anything done during that last 18 hours is lost. Going forward, backups will be increased (possibly every 4 hours, maybe even every hour, but performance can take a hit with very frequent backups). That 18 hours is lost.
  • There will be LOTS of compensation for everyone
  • Any money spent to buy Crowms during that time or item shop purchases will be like they never happened
  • Any buffs or effects that were running should be active
  • XP can't be "refunded" that was gained during that 18 hours
  • Gold that was spent, items that were mailed/traded during that 18 hours will be like it never happened.
  • The sale that was running will be re-instated
  • Subscriptions will be comped somehow for time missed
  • There may be gifts to help offset XP lost for those who were playing during that time
  • Live-streams every day at 2pm Pacific until the servers are back up
  • Data center employees are working to fix security and bring the data center back up and online. Many other websites/businesses are affected as well. Data Center is using forensic analysis to prevent reoccurrence.
  • Until the Data center is back up, Otters are in standby mode, preparing as best they can for the data center to go live again.
  • MOG is going to “level up to 60” and try to make sure that if this should happen again the game is safe and secure. MOG doesn't want to have to play defense like this, so they are going to learn and make sure that going forward, things are as secure as possible.
  • MOG never thought they would be breached, but got taken down via collateral damage. In the future, the goal is to have a "spare tire" that will help get the game back online as quickly as possible
  • Estimated time to return live is currently 2 days - Tuesday Feb 19 is the current target. Most of this is out of the Otters control; there is little they can do until they have a live server again. Once the data center is live again, the Otters can begin to take the game live again.
  • And they are also working on a new build at the same time (see Valentine's Teaser) and they have been working hard on this. Mostly a build where things are ADDED not changed!
  • More teasers: combat charts will be on mobile & they show "one" new face (very pretty!)
  • Discussion of possible merch store (hoodies seemed popular!) & request for Otter mount
  • There will be some changes for Sugarsweet, no date announced yet for Sugarsweet
  • The game is coded in C++, Python, Torquescript, Objective C, JavaScript, PHP, and HTML. Core foundation go the game is C++, Python with Torquescript as "glue"
  • Otters love all of you and the entire community!

Also if you like we could maybe make a community effort to keep this list up together. It is very difficult to find something back that you vaguely recall to have seen in "a" livestream. If you are interested I could help listen some livestreams back in the weekend. I do not always catch everything they say but the most important points could be pinned down.
Smart Idea Ekimie
 

Aife

Wizard
Platform
PC
For those who need/want them, I'm going to put all the livestream notes in one thread chronologically (newest at the BOTTOM). :)
At @Ekimie's suggestion, every day is hidden behind a "Spoiler" button, to keep things neat and tidy. Thanks, @Ekimie!

If you want to watch past episodes of the Otters livestreams at Twitch: V&H on Twitch

FEB 16 2 pm pst LIVESTREAM NOTES:
Damon and Cameron were on camera
  • All player accounts (including characters, etc) are fully backed up
  • Email address may have been exposed
  • Change password IF used anywhere else
  • No CC/address personal data is stored by Mad Otter or the game
  • The "gold bug" was what tipped them off to the presence of the hackers
  • The entire data center was attacked. Appears to be 12 to 30 hackers simultaneously attacked the entire center. V&H did not appear to be targeted per se - just had the bad luck to be on that server at that data center.
  • Attack was very sophisticated and is being investigated. Appears to be more vandalism than theft, and no proof yet that emails were even scraped/targeted
  • Attack was from a TOR node
  • Steam players not affected at all, other than the game being down
  • Cameron (@Diet on the forums) referenced his post about Builders and Burners. Builders want to build things up and make them better. Burners want to tear them down and shred them for no purpose. These people were burners, but our community is full of builders. Let's continue to be builders - don't try to go after the burners. Don't try to avenge V&H
  • Game is backed up daily. Because of when the game went down, the last daily backup was 18 hours prior to the actual hack. Anything done during that last 18 hours is lost. Going forward, backups will be increased (possibly every 4 hours, maybe even every hour, but performance can take a hit with very frequent backups). That 18 hours is lost.
  • There will be LOTS of compensation for everyone
  • Any money spent to buy Crowms during that time or item shop purchases will be like they never happened
  • Any buffs or effects that were running should be active
  • XP can't be "refunded" that was gained during that 18 hours
  • Gold that was spent, items that were mailed/traded during that 18 hours will be like it never happened.
  • The sale that was running will be re-instated
  • Subscriptions will be comped somehow for time missed
  • There may be gifts to help offset XP lost for those who were playing during that time
  • Live-streams every day at 2pm Pacific until the servers are back up
  • Data center employees are working to fix security and bring the data center back up and online. Many other websites/businesses are affected as well. Data Center is using forensic analysis to prevent reoccurrence.
  • Until the Data center is back up, Otters are in standby mode, preparing as best they can for the data center to go live again.
  • MOG is going to “level up to 60” and try to make sure that if this should happen again the game is safe and secure. MOG doesn't want to have to play defense like this, so they are going to learn and make sure that going forward, things are as secure as possible.
  • MOG never thought they would be breached, but got taken down via collateral damage. In the future, the goal is to have a "spare tire" that will help get the game back online as quickly as possible
  • Estimated time to return live is currently 2 days - Tuesday Feb 19 is the current target. Most of this is out of the Otters control; there is little they can do until they have a live server again. Once the data center is live again, the Otters can begin to take the game live again.
  • And they are also working on a new build at the same time (see Valentine's Teaser) and they have been working hard on this. Mostly a build where things are ADDED not changed!
  • More teasers: combat charts will be on mobile & they show "one" new face (very pretty!)
  • Discussion of possible merch store (hoodies seemed popular!) & request for Otter mount
  • There will be some changes for Sugarsweet, no date announced yet for Sugarsweet
  • The game is coded in C++, Python, Torquescript, Objective C, JavaScript, PHP, and HTML. Core foundation go the game is C++, Python with Torquescript as "glue"
  • Otters love all of you and the entire community!

SUNDAY FEB 17 2 pm pst LIVESTREAM NOTES:

Sarah & Damon were on camera
Cameron (“Diet) was in chat
  • Many thanks from Otters for support - huge thanks for support from community
  • Sarah had too much coffee last night and the consensus was Bohemian Rhapsody is a great movie
  • Merch will be a thing! Hoodies, ball caps, t-shirts will be a thing! Community is going to help pick - Ivar is going to make the designs. Only question is will it be only V&H or will it be V&H + MOG; Hopefully we will all start talking about ideas in a couple of weeks
  • Server update: first of the servers is being worked on now, OS being reinstalled, then other game servers will soon follow
  • Best estimate right now is live on WEDNESDAY - Otters have not yet been able to inspect any of the machines
  • It appears that (overall) damage was not as bad as originally thought, and Otters are learning from this process so that in the future this can’t happen again.
  • More info on the attack: It was a “zero-day vulnerability” There was a vulnerability in the OS that no one on the “good side” knew about, but the hackers did, and took advantage of. Called “zero day” because it was previously unknown until the day of the hack - it had been known for “zero days”, hence the name “zero day vulnerability”
  • Data center is still offline, including their phone systems, data center employees have been working 24/7 with 3 shifts; it was the entire data center’s business + all of their customers that were all impacted. It’s been tough on everyone, not just Otters. Otters are continuing to support their data center; the data center has been impacted the most and they are working 24/7 to get this resolved
  • They do know the hackers name, but that will not be broadcast, and they will not be given any validation here. Could have been a copycat, or part of a movement. Still believed to be about 30 people total. There may have been other data centers/servers that were impacted by this same issue simultaneously. These hackers are tough to find and track because they used TOR nodes that spoof your identity and location. (TOR nodes are part of the darknet.)
  • Otters pulled the plug as soon as they knew something was wrong - The cause of the “gold glitch” was the hackers, and thanks to community for alerting Otters to the glitch, so that they could react quickly
  • A brief discussion of coffee and Dunkin Donuts ensued
  • The Zings will probably come out after the roll-back (be ready!)
  • Question: Are we going to have new hairstyles (for toons) called Sarah Hair and Damon Hair? (unanswered with a lot of laughter)
  • Please add possible topics for future livestreams on the Forums - Sarah will make a new post after the livestream to gather topics from everyone. Possible topic mentioned by Damon: history of the game and how it came to be. Otters want to continue to interact with everyone while the game is down
  • Regarding in-game lag: hopefully addressed with the next build. The big CPU hog was the effects code, and Damon has been working on that, to reduce the overhead required for the effects
  • Question: When the servers come up, will it go to Test server first? Quite possibly, it makes sense to send it to the Test Server first
  • Damon: programming can be tedious but very rewarding
  • New expansion - sneak peek of new mobile interface for chat! Chat is important in V&H and this helps bring a better experience to mobile users. Shoutout to Ivar for his amazing work on this!
  • The Book will still open on Friday as originally planned (aka Valentine’s teaser)
  • Discussion of “The Black Mirror” tv show spawned by mention of chat blocking (also, everyone encouraged to USE chat blocking instead of just complaining about another player) Chat blocking is and remains one-way (A can block B, but B can still see what A says in chat)
  • Release date on next build is currently unknown, but it will be before summer
  • Sugarsweet is still happening as well, also unknown when it will launch at this time
  • Question: what about in game voice chat? Otters have considered that, it’s a big deal
  • Question: are there still Google issues? No that should be all resolved now
  • Question: is US3 getting all the new players? Not necessarily, Otters can (and do) rotate the “default” server presented to new users
  • Question: Will we get Easter eggs this year? Answer: (from Damon) “Ask Diet” Diet/Cameron: “We will see”
  • Are the Apple redeem codes issues sorted? Apple won’t allow it, period. Solution will probably be to simply give everyone a gift that will just drop into their bag; this is not yet implemented in game. Apple makes the rules for everything available in their store, and won’t allow the game in the store if they see anything related to a redeem code. Redeem codes are gone permanently - Apple has said no more redeem codes (or similar system) because some developers were abusing the system, and so Apple has shuttered the ability to use those kinds of codes due to abuse by other developers (NOT the Otters)
  • Question: How will “thank you” gifts be distributed if no redeem codes? It will just show up automatically in everyone’s bags. Discussion will probably begin among Otters tomorrow (Monday) about what the gifts will be. Otters can’t return “time lost", but will try to help with XP losses.
  • “When we get lemons, make lemonade”
  • Question: when will we get an Otter mount? Don’t know - it would look weird. An Otter toy might be cool. Moose mount might be a thing, as possibly Polar Bear. Ivar wants a Tick mount. Bedbug mount: Sarah says “it sounds itchy” People really like mounts based on giant insects... The spider mount was all crafted from scratch by the Otters; makes it unique. All mounts are the same run speed because otherwise it can break socialization in parties . Flying mounts requested; camel mounts for Oasis as well as flying carpets all requested in chat
  • If something is kind of broken in the game, and the Otters fix it, it can cause other kinds of pain - Damon explains his theory of order & chaos. The game is stable, but if it was never changed, the players would perceive it as a dead world. The process of change and the aftereffects are discussed. The Otters learned from previous changes to the game, and handle change differently now; they don’t change just to change, but to evolve and enrich the game.
  • Discussion of VIM/energy (related to change topic above)
  • Otters are glad to hear that people have met their families again, and that some folks are doing chores! Thank everyone again for the support and understanding - the Otters love the support, and they will continue to support the community. See you again tomorrow at 2pm PST for another livestream - be sure to post your topics to the livestream topic in the forum.

MONDAY FEB 18 2 pm pst LIVESTREAM NOTES:
Cameron was on camera
Damon, Sarah & Ivar were in chat
  • Livestream was from Cameron’s office today!
  • We were able to admire the poster art on his walls, and his trash can :)
  • No real update unfortunately. Things *are* progressing, and moving forward, but no real news/update to report today. Otters are bummed that the game is down just like the community
  • Today is just a laid back, hang out livestream
  • Maybe some spoilers!
  • Otters have been talking a lot about livestreams - to intro new stuff, but also just in general. Would everyone be interested in regular livestreams? Maybe even (for example) Diet is in-game and live-streaming at the same time?
  • Most of today’s livestream is about questions gathered in the forum
Forum Question: Much discussion about Otters as a mount, toy, or pet. Interesting, but it will take time to see if it’s even feasible - discussion of 3d gaming art, re: skinning, wire frame/mesh and animating. Kind of a major undertaking to create a mount from scratch.

Forum Question: 3rd shared vault - lots of interest in it, now and in the past, so it can go on the list to be discussed

Forum Question: Will the zog purple set reward ever return to crowns? Not in the foreseeable future because of bots. Its important that players can earn crowns in-game, and the Otters are continuing to try to address that

Forum Question: Diet’s fave thing in the game: the vibrancy and artwork style used in-game, and the serene vibe. Diet loves the community, and Fan Fridays are also cool and it’s great to see everyones creativity. It’s also been great to see how genuinely nice everyone has been, and the goodwill and patience shown to the Otters during this time.

Forum Question: Pets & Mounts offering XP in-game: it’s tricky to make sure that gameplay doesn’t override cosmetics and vice versa. Don’t want someone to have to (for example) pick between a pet they really want for cosmetics, and a pet they really need for gameplay. (Also applies to mounts)

Forum Question: 2 specializations per toon? Lots of people want this. At the heart of it, one per toon helps you work with other players to accomplish things. No plans to change this at the time.

Discussion about how Sarah actually decorated the offices at first just by printing in-game pictures and hanging on the walls.

Forum Question: Lots of comments about flying - flying is hard because the game isn’t built for flying, and all the zones would have to be refurbished to allow for it. It’s possible there might be zones in the future that could be built specifically for it, but for now, it won’t happen. For now, we have the broom, and the dragon (which don’t really fly, but look like they do). More dragons on the way!

Forum Question: If you could rollback and change anything what would it be? The medallion system when Traven first launched but when Pyrrus came out it didn’t work as well, and so it’s kind just these two areas where there is this weird system. When they can go back through and rework quests for Traven and possibly begin to eliminate them until then we are stuck with them. Further discussion re: medallion extract tool, and bounty badge, but the general feeling is that medallions aren’t that great. If possible, should’ve added keys + a key bag…

Chat Question: Why was the game changed from V&H to A Mystical Land and then back to V&H? Otters felt like “A Mystical Land” sounded more like a storybook/fantasy type game, and Villagers and Heroes addresses more of what the gameplay is all about

Forum Question: What would you say is the biggest improvement to the game? Hard to say… Sarah says “instancing” (re: interactions with NPCs) Diet says Starfall and it’s gear tech was huge, and helps set up the game well for future expansions

Forum Question: Which build do you regret trying the most? The initial part 1 of Pyrrus was very challenging, it was a lot of work, and when it went to Test everyone said it looked the same and was depressing. There used to be a bug in the system where you would be working on a zone and it wouldn’t save. One time Diet was working on Sapphira’s Lament, saved every 5 minutes and… it was gone.

Chat Question: Value of Golden Sheep? You can make 700 to 800 gold per batch of Golden Sheep, and if you give them everything they want, you could possibly level them all up within a month even logging in once per day

Chat question: I noticed that there is no difference in threat generation between thunderbird strike and charge and the fury feats for warriors. Was this an intended thing? Yes. Threat works by Each point of damage = one point of threat, however lightning warriors makes it so that every threat they generate is multipled which makes it so that thunderbird strike is always increased threat because of Stormpower.

Forum Question: What are you addicted to? Used to be coffee, but no longer, now it’s only tea mostly. Being a homebody mostly - love having a quiet night at home with my family.

PREVIEWS!
  • Previews! The new face that previewed the other day is just the beginning of improvements to both male and female characters cosmetically, and so there is a large focus on the ability to make your character more attractive. Look for more previews of this in the near future. (Side note: new underwear for both males and females and the appearance of male back door incontinence has been “fixed”…)
  • Talent points changing: There will be new talents, more points and more class changes coming. More info on this will be in future livestreams
Chat question: Will there be more Rebirths? Maybe, but one of the reasons to expand the talents was because of the number of rebirths

Chat question: Lots of people want house interiors. If Otters do it, they want to do it right. One of the things is that house interiors are personal. It separates everyone, and we want everyone to be social in this game. What if others could go in to your house? Many challenges to be overcome with house interiors.

Chat question: Most classes right now are competing fairly well, with the exception of Shadow Priest - solo running or dungeon running they aren’t quite as strong.

Chat question: Threat is a game mechanic (explanation of how/why)

Chat question: What happened to Scruffles? Scruffles quest was removed from the Royal Grove, and his quest was removed during the rework for Black Thrush

Thanks again to the community for being so awesome during all of this! One of us will be back here every day at 2pm pst until we are live again!

TUESDAY FEB 19 2 pm pst LIVESTREAM NOTES:
Cameron & Damon were on camera
Sarah & Ivar were in chat

  • Blue Mad Otter Hoodies were styled today by Damon & Cameron! They don’t want to be the “Techie Black Hoodie company” :) Very sharp looking!
  • UPDATE ON SERVERS: Progress is being made working with the data center. Machines are in place and set up now. Otters can start looking at them and putting software on the. Definite progress is being made! Otters are working with the data center, machines are up, and Otters can see them (NOT LIVE TO THE INTERNET YET) Everything is being made more secure. All the basic software is being installed now and all of the software packages, next they will be configured, then they will get partitions done correctly, get provisioned with all the libraries, load the game and restore all the databases of characters and players.
  • Basically, Otters are trying very hard to be live this week. Damon’s goal is to get live sometime this week - Thursday or Friday or possibly some time later this week.
  • Some people have said that their information was leaked during hack. Cameron and Damon stressed that MOG uses 3rd party payment providers that are extremely secure, and specialize in security at a very high level, and NONE of that data is stored on MOG servers anywhere. MOG does NOT store that kind of data, even in encrypted form.
  • If a new player created a character during the 18 hour “window” between the last backup and the hack, that character WILL be gone, it won’t exist anymore, and they will have to start over again. If a new player bought a special perk from the item shop during that 18 hours, the Otters WILL have a record of that, and they will work with the player on that. The player will still have to remake the character, however.
  • Were other game companies affected? Otters believe there may have been, but it’s not their job to talk about it; Otters want to focus on their customers.
  • Good news is that things were not quite as bad as they could have been! Otters are feeling a LOT more positive today. They have more hope than yesterday! Move forward! Otters appreciate everyone showing up for the livestreams - it’s been hard not having any control during this time. The data center is 9 hours ahead of the Otters, so that can make communication interesting at times.
  • “May you live in interesting times” Damon has found a positive in the situation - it’s hard, and challenging but it will make the Otters tougher and more prepared in the future!
  • Damon revisits the “spare tire” metaphor for a backup server - in the future, the Otters will have a redundant server so that if something happens again, they can flip the switch and the “spare tire” will carry us all.
  • Chat Question: Could the shield slot be used as a cape? Capes are cool, but challenging, but they have be “rigged” or animated. Cloth rendering in general is challenging.
  • And now, Cameron has some previews for everyone. But first - we get to see more posters in Cameron’s fishbowl, er, office! We also are treated to a picture of Diet Jr! Cameron is the only Otter with a child, but all of the Otters have fur babies. :)
Cameron showed off the newly refurbished Summers Hollow. (Editor’s note: This looks simply stunning, and amazing, and dingdang I can’t wait to see this in game. We all knew that the Otters are talented, but the new Summers Hollow sets a new standard for our Otters, and I predict everyone will find it to be not only more beautiful, but infinitely more interesting to play as well. Back to Notes now…)

New Summers Hollow (!) A “fairly large” overhaul of Summers Hollow and “touch up” of Dagmar Strand.
  • Otters wanted to update it, and make it so that the progression of the first quest would speak more to the Malicious Miscreant quest line.
  • Damon: You lose the most players in the first hour of gameplay - so it’s important.
  • The tutorial zones will always be refreshed and updated; it’s important for new players to see that the game is interesting and engaging.
  • Shout out to Sarah Otter - she completely revamped the writing as well for the starting quest line.
  • Summers Hollow looks very different - entirely new map: Village portal moved and Event Zone portal has moved as well. All the portals have moved. There are several new entrances to the town, but it is walled off all the way around.
  • There is a reason for the entrances being the way it is - the frame rate is improved if you can “wall off” sections that don’t have to be rendered. So now, characters will enter and leave through a “zig zag” portal (similar to how the backstage entrance is currently at the theater in Summers Hollow, or the Borough in the Villages) which means that the game doesn’t have to render the entire zone content at once. It makes the render faster.
  • Next we see the travel pad is right in the center of town. If you go to the Buckles & Hobnail vendor, he is actually selling buckles and hobnails. If you visit the Grips & Thread vendor, she is actually selling grips and thread on a table. Little details like this everywhere.
  • In the central part of the town, the Village portal is now on the right side, and the Event Zone portal will be on the left, next to the ticket booth and theater entrance. Buildings are all updated.
  • New Crafters District, with a “bank” area (two vaults) Otto and Elta are in the new Crafters area.
  • Chauncey the stable master has a new stable, and gives you the quest for your horse.
  • There’s an outdoor bar for Tybalt the barkeep!
  • Ticket booth is next to the theater, but NO MORE TRANSPORTING TO THE THEATER - you just walk in. New theatre is beautiful! Back stage is not much changed. Exit to backstage is still a jump off a wall.
  • Dagmar Strands “refreshed” as well - a lot of the colors were retweeked to render better on all kinds of displays and the stones were color matched better to Ardent. A lot of the farms and buildings were updated, including the addition of green fog in Crawsons Fen, and really spooky purple fog and spiderwebs everywhere at the Infested Farmstead.
  • Now the changes to Summers Hollow will be much more noticeable as you progress through the quest - it will be darker, nighttime, it will feel more creepy… the horses are all gone from the stables, people are missing, the vendors have left and closed their tents... The music will change as well, to reflect the part of the quest line you are in. (After the quest is complete, Summers Hollow will be its normal daytime sunny self). Little tiny things will change throughout the stages of the quest.
  • After the Cronk Island segment, it’s very creepy, the lights are all blue, and the fog is purple. Everyone is gone, there is garbage and trash everywhere, very sinister and creepy. After Briny Caverns it’s even worse. Once the entire Miscreant quest line completes, then Summers Hollow “comes back” to life for you.
  • The music will constantly change throughout the quest line; sunny daytime, then darker night time, all the way to a sinister shadow music.

  • Chat Question: Whats going on with Black Fury Gorge? Nothing. Originally it was an EZ to celebrate the launch of Pyrrus. Players liked it so much that it stayed, and became a pre-cursor to the Dungeons. Currently it’s a weird step-child zone. I would remove it but every time we talk about it, players get upset.
  • Livestream again tomorrow, just like before until we are live again. When the servers come back, we have a super exciting build on the horizon to look forward to! Things are moving forward!
  • Damon: Someone asked earlier: are you talking to the data center? Yes. We have an open messaging chat room with them and are communicating with them. Progress is being made.
  • Cameron: Looking forward to Friday with the opening of The Book! That is still going forward.
  • Based on feedback from yesterday regarding regularly scheduled livestreams (in general) that will be something we will be moving forward with, looking like once a week (at least), scheduled.
  • Damon: We will DEFINITELY do a Twitch when we get the servers up - that will be a party!
  • We will check in again with you guys tomorrow, same time, same channel
Thank you so much for this Nadiria, I rather read the essentials in 2 minutes than watch a 50 min lifestream
 
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C Star

Priestess
Characters
C Star/DocileDove/Iclyn Garnet
Platform
iOS
Thank you so much, Nadiria! This is really helpful and well put together! Thank you for making sure that we can all keep updated even if we can’t make the live stream ?
 
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Kellieann

Wizard
Characters
Kellieann, Charlie, Shelliean
Platform
Android, PC
Thank you for recapping these. I do watch the live-sreams and they do work for me but can't catch a lot of what's been said and these helps a lot! Very well put together!
 

Panthera

Grand Priestess
Platform
Android, PC, Steam
Thank you so much Nadiria! The livestreams sadly don't work on my computer.
Is it the computer or the browser? I have to have the livestream up in 2 browsers IE to view the livestream and Chrome to comment (in IE the reponse box disappears off my screen after a few comments)
 

baliner

Squirrel
Characters
Baliner
Platform
PC
bei mir geht das beides mit chromee, anschauen, chat verfolgen und wenn ich angemeldet wäre, auch antworten ;)
 
Reactions: Nadiria
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BBlue

Legendary Hero
Characters
Bulmablue, Bulla S., P.Vegeta
Platform
PC
glad someone is posting the after notes I been so busy with rl moving I haven't had time to watch the livestreams so reading the short notes here is helpful to know what is going on with game status and oh that thing about the talent for nature hunter has me excited for the future of other builds if it happens.
 

Ayotloz

Citizen
Platform
iOS, PC
Being a rather new player to V&H, started begin February with playing, I am amazed with the amount of support players show towards this game in these difficult times. It took a while for me to find out what happened, since I suddenly no longer could log in. After a while I finally found this forum and found out what happened. I already liked the game enough to spend some $, to buy the 6 months premium thing (is called different here I think, but don't remember the right name). I especially liked the dual nature of the game and the fact that there is no pvp. Being here and seeing the enormous amount of support only strengthen me to continue to play this game.
Thank you for the livestream that I unfortunately can't see on the time it is live, but always watch later; and thank you very much Nadiria for these notes that make it easier to follow everything that was important or interesting in the livestream.
 
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