Argyle Online Interview

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The world of Argyle is a truly unique world, complete with custom content, background, and players, and even has a rich, lush history to accompany it. It has also been a relatively under the radar' server, garnering only a handful of dedicated players and staff, all of which work hard to maintain the strong ethics and style that Argyle wishes to present to the community.  We recently had the opportunity to speak with the Lead Developer for Argyle Online, Xyx, who is quickly becoming deeply involved in Argyle, along with the Silver Oaks Studio team and other builders. Here's what he had to say:

GB: First, tell us about yourself and your staff.

Xyx: You know the drill, Aegis. All Argyle Online DM's and builders come directly from the player base or Silver Oak Studios. They are motivated people, dedicated to upholding the Argyle concept. For details, see Pick from that what you need.

(ed. At the time of this interview, I was told that Heed was no longer actively involved in the Argyle Online project.)

GB: What is Argyle's purpose and goals for a server?

Xyx: To be as close to the Pen & Paper version of Argyle as possible. A big table where DMs and players come and go to play D&D in the land of Argyle, as it were.

GB: What sort of content does Argyle boast over other servers?

Xyx: The unique stuff is mostly scripting, invisible to players. Most of the visual stuff has been borrowed from others, but we pride ourselves in the unique way we've woven it together and our attention to detail in doing so.

The module's areas can be roughly divided into two categories. On one side we have the regular persistent world part where PCs socialize, shop and fight spawned creatures. On the other side we have generic quest areas. These areas are specially designed to function as building blocks in DM led quests. We have, for example, an area consisting entirely of dungeon rooms and corridors. A DM taking players on a dungeon romp could link various rooms and corridors together (by jumping players around) to create a unique dungeon every time. Although Unidan and its surroundings are small, you could travel far and wide on your quests.

GB: What is Argyle's current area of progression?

Xyx: We work on it constantly and try to update weekly. Most of our updates consist of upgrades to various existing matters. Since we emphasize quality and detail over numbers and size, we don't often add entire new areas.

GB: What are some plans that the lead staff of Argyle Online have in regardes to future development?

Xyx: Short term additions include respawning treasure in containers that can be bashed open Diablo style, a number of visual tile set, creature skin and placeable upgrades and a new inventory/chat driven store interface.

GB: Argyle boasts a huge amount of lore and history, promising a rich and in-depth background. How exactly is this incorporated into Argyle Online?

Xyx: Anything published by Silver Oak Studios is absorbed by our staff. We then try to exemplify that in the module and educate our players on it. We expect our players to be aware of at least the basics of Argyle culture.

GB: How strongly enforced are the low-magic and perma-death policies in Argyle Online?

Xyx: As a result of Argyle's history with mages, they are on a par with thieves, despised and forced to practice their craft in secrecy. However, just as with thieves, some find their way into parties that grudgingly accept the skills they offer. Magic items are quite rare, and all of them are unique.

Perma-death is just regular D&D out-of-the-book perma-death. You must depend on your party members to raise you.

GB: Argyle Online has maintained the status of a 'Test Server' since Neverwinter Nights' release. How soon can it be expected to shed that title, and be considered complete?

Xyx: We've come a long way since then, but professional pride forbids me from totally dispensing with the "test" label until our module is "complete". With that, I mean that we've addressed all the annoyances and deviations we can that separate NWN from D&D, and that we have completed the town of Unidan and its surroundings. Once we have attained those goals and have "one of everything", we will have passed our self-imposed test and shift more focus from innovation to expansion.

GB: How much custom content is involved in Argyle Online?

Xyx: "A lot". We use the hardcore bits of HCR, a number of creatures (spiders), placeables (too many to mention, but especially trees) and tile set upgrades (gentle hills, alleys) gathered from the Vault. Unique Argyle-only additions include swamp tiles, spawn scripts, some AI upgrades, coloured text, core rule animal companions, the option to have one's clothing or armour customized, a substantial number of "DM assistance" scripts, a tweak that hides other PCs' and creatures' challenge ratings and many, many more minor enhancements of various types.

GB: Are there any plans for Argyle Online to become available in a manner where other builders and scripters may take advantage of its content, custom or modified?

Xyx: We're bound by Silver Oak Studios copyright, so we're not at liberty to distribute any Argyle-specific content. However, any persistent world builders interested in one of our many generic additions (spawn system, armour customizing, animal companions, coloured text and the upcoming store system) can talk to us about it.

GB: What are your personal aspirations for Argyle Online?

Xyx: To carry on in the direction we've taken. More D&D compliance, more detail, more things to do for players (like scripted quests).

GB: Are there any last remarks and comments you would like to make?

Xyx: Yes, Argyle Online has the best player crowd out there! Friendly and mature role-players dedicated to the Argyle ideals.

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We'd like to give our thanks to the Argyle team, especially Xyx, for taking the time to answer our questions!