The online Flash game AdventureQuest by Artix Entertainment is a lunch break sized RPG that takes place in the land of Lore. The game, though online, is single player, and uses online functions for updating the game easily and for wars. For a one time fee, you can unlock all the features in the game.The game has various storylines that run parallel or interconnect with each other, presented through a series of quests with the player character's interaction. Some of the storylines have deep plots and impressive characters, such as the long-spanning Devourer Saga, the journey of the Devourer and Uncreator The'Galin to uncreate Lore and your attempt to stop him, and some storylines are short, silly spoofs, such as Mogbusters. Either way, the game's writing covers a wide gamut. Even more so on the forums, where there is plenty of backstory.For a one-time fee you can become a Guardian to buy more weapons, more quests, more places, etc. Since this isn't a monthly fee, it can be worth it, but only if you have US $20 to spare, and are really into the game; otherwise, you're not paying for much. You can also buy Z-Tokens, whether you are a Guardian or free player, for strong weapons, spells, pets and other things. They add very little to the game compared to Guardianship. On the bright side, you can find Z-Tokens as a reward in some fights, but not very often, and only in small packs.The game doesn't have only its simple fighting system to keep players enticed. Wars are special events used to move plots, where you enter a series of battles and each monster you and other players kill works toward a certain number to fight the boss for rare event items. You can find mini-games, though not many, in quests. Housing is a big feature, too. You can clear your space of land, start building and even get monsters to protect your house. The downside is that most of the things for houses cost Z-Tokens.It is joined with the following sequels afterward: DragonFable (set 5 years prior to AQ in a parallel timeline), MechQuest (5000 years prior to AQ) and AdventureQuest Worlds (which is a multi-player version set ten years after AQ and in a parallel universe), and WarpForce (set at the same time as AdventureQuest but IN SPACE, just expanding on the Space Opera that was going on in the background).
Most of the backstory for the Devourer Saga is this, with several 'demicanonical' stories written by Falerin (which are somewhat retroactively applied to the game content). They're available in the aforementioned forums.
Not to mention the IIRC sessions and logs that also play an interesting role in the story.
Allegedly Free Game: Becoming a Guardian, which costs $20, is necessary to max out your level in any class in the game, get the best equipment, and access a number of quests.
Alternate Dimension / Alternate Universe: During the Bizarre Flecks Saga, we got a glimpse of some Transdimensional Realities (or TDRs), which are in essence, "like parallel worlds but where some very fundamental change happened."
Always a Bigger Fish: During the "Big Trouble in Little Granemor" quest you're attacked by a Giant Hungry Zombie after fighting off some vampires with Vampire Slayer E. The zombie makes about one attack before a scary Ribber randomly comes up and drags it away (with its mouth).
Always Chaotic Evil: The Drakel more or less started out like this, but it became increasingly subverted as the series progressed and humanity started to get to know them better.
Art Evolution: Since the game has expanded so much from the time it's existed, there's been an enormous change in the art when it stealthily shifts from western-styled to Animesque. The forum-based "encyclopedia" even has a catalogue of old monster pictures, which are still being updated.
Deliberately played with when fighting the "Iron Golem" monster: the battle starts with the old version getting CRUSHED underfoot the updated version, possibly overlapping with Always a Bigger Fish.
The Tenth Anniversary Special event showcases the art evolution by having the hero go back in time to face past threats. We even get to see both of Twilly's earlier forms. The first form, "Retro Twilly", is available as a reward in the event. He's a fairly powerful healing pet too.
Attractive Bent-Gender: All of the Genderbent NPCs are at least somewhat good-looking, and Galana (Galanoth) says that female Warlic looks cute.
Author Avatar: A lot, and maybe even the majority, of major NPCs are based on staff members.
Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Inverted. Falerin, Galrick, the Order, Agent Smith, Ryuusei Cartwright, his analogue, Gaiden, Lkeas, all of them look out of place by wearing suits (and Galrick and Lkeas's casual outfits) in a medieval-inspired Lore.
Nine hundred years ago, Erimus was a normal human who got married to Cara, who had dated Constantin (Erimus' best friend) many years ago. Then, Constantin was turned into a werewolf and began antagonizing Erimus, partly flueled by frustration. Years later, the two friends having grown further apart, Erimus and Cara have had two children, Balius and Katarina. When the children were in their teens, Erimus was tainted by a coerced Constantin, something that someone thoroughly hid from Safiria who turned Erimus thinkig he could be of use. Expecting Erimus to die because of both infections, she abandoned him in the forest's edge, where he was found by Katarina. Erimus killed her, while mentally unstable and in the process of becoming the first ever Werepyre, who managed to become Wolfwing thanks to Dewlok. Then, Cara, influenced by Drageth, accepted Dhows' offer and time travelled to the future, to protect Balius from his father, whom they thought was dangerous. Safiria and Constantine kept fighting each other for centuries, while Erimus became a leader on his own and was confined to an outcast's solitude. All grown-up, Balius (who had become the Avatar of Death at some point) got married to Evina, with whom he had two children, Edward (to whom the Annunaki was passed onto) and Cenara. This resulted in Balius becoming aForsaken and, subsequently, NightBane just to be able to (un-)live on (...and get madwith power, later). Due to his newfound obsession, Evina left him and married another man, a farmer, with whom she had anothed son, Donovan. Donovan deeply resented his step-siblings for the attention Evina paid to them and grew ever more jealous. And JUST THEN, the Devourer Saga kicks in, with Balius turning againstthe Devourer because of Cenara's plea (and, indirectly, Wolfwing's request) and, then, realizing he's been an idiot to his children after he fails to kill E to become the Avatar of Death once againnote Though it's impossible, but, well, Balius crearly isn't the most thoughtful character by this point... due to Cenara's intervention, who reveals she's the Avatar now (yup, E has beenForsaken, too). And then, NightBane gets killed by Omega in The Final Battle, trying to redeem himself. Afterwards, Donovan starts a four-way war between humans, vampires, werewolves and werepyres, during which Cenara is infected with her father's blood and becomes a Dracopyre herself (Gracefang) with Dewlok's help (thankfully, without becoming Forsaken), just as Donovan becomes one himself and takes the name of NightReign. An Action Girl now, Cenara vows to become Darkovia's protector in her brother's stead and fightDonovan, while also learning the messed-up history of her messed-up family and the role an Eldritch Abomination had in it. Damn.
Death's Hourglass: The favor for being revived countless times is finding his lost hourglass in a secret quest.
Degraded Boss: The fate of many a war boss, like Elder Vampires, Undead Paladins, Undead Skull Apes, and the Herd Boss is to be stuck on the random encounter list. Lampshaded when, after your character has to defeat Drakath the dracolich as part of a quest, they wonder, "Who keeps reanimating that dragon?"
Draconic Humanoid: Although Drakels are often believed to be related to dragons or even believed to be that, the Vartai fit the description much better.
The Vartai are dragon and human hybrids that can shapeshift into human form with varying degrees of success, some of them able to pass for normal humans easily, while others have horns, wings, tails, very varied skinand hair colors, marks, etc. Some (i.e. Cyrus and siblings) possess, at least, three forms: human (either fully or with draconic traits), humanoid (human-shaped/sized dragon) and dragon (full dragon).
The Chosen, as a Dracomancer, is able to take the humanoid-dragon form with one of the class's skills.
The dragons themselves are able to take human and humanoid form through magic (allowing them to seemingly avert Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action).
Subverted. Carnax regrets what his master makes him do and The'Galin knows full well what he's doing.
A lesser example, but the Grabbi most likely counts.
Seth Cay Dhows is a major one. being able to exist in many places at once and can see through time, he even manages to split the mind of Falerin (who is a GOD!) and avoid nasty side effects of such an act. he was also recently reveled to be a man made god known by the name Epsilon who has gone insane and wishes to destroy everything and recreate it all in his own image (What he wishes to do is similar to uncreation which means he is a bigger bad then The'Galin)
Elemental Embodiment: The updated wizard class is able to summon these as guests. One for each of the 8 element.
Elemental Powers: The updated wizard class. There is one specialist armor for each of the 8 element.
Everything Trying to Kill You: Some of the random enemies are quite...unusual. Including things that really shouldn't be attacking you, like Paladins. Not to mention that one of the random encounters is a bush.
Killer Ice Cweam.
Evolving Weapon: A few of the weapons in stores. Generally explained as either vampiric or enchanted.
Fission Mailed: In one quest that you have to do as the form of a ninja cat, Death sends you back to the quest when you die because you are too cute to be taken. This is also used a few times in the main storyline.
Game-Breaking Bug: The updated Darkshifter had the offensive stats of a Lightning Bruiser and the HP of a Tank. its attack power was 5 times that of the updated version with twice the HP. now add on to this already Boss in Mook Clothing with the power bonus for magic use and you get a monster with 20 times the attack and twice the HP of its updated release of it.
Gender Bender: In the 2010 April Fools' event, most of the NPCs got genderswapped. The ones seen were Artix, Galanoth, Warlic, Aquella, Robina, Saphiria, and Cenara. The Wereking was mentioned as being swapped as well, and it seems likely that Donovan changed.
Genius Loci: The shadow universe is outright stated to be a sentient entity.
Glass Cannon: Goggs pretty much exemplify it. They nearly always go first, and can, in some cases, blast you for 700 damage over the course of one turn, but can be taken out just as fast by a player who knows what they're doing.
Hope Spot: The playerbase got one during Mostly Harmful. Almost two weeks of furious fighting, and it seemed like it was going to come down to the last hour... then the fourth stage arrived and dropped the meter by a full 18% with less than a day to go. Cue Downer Ending.
Averted for those on the forums, however. It had been made clear that the war consisted of four waves.
Interspecies Romance: Several sentient species/races can interbreed, although for many cultural and physical differences some are less likely to appear. Humans alone can interbreed with dragons, elves, orcs, demons (ones from Heck, and maybe even brilhado), dwarves, drakel, moglins, etc. (without even mentioning the compatible species in other AE games). And there has been one case of a half-Moglin, half-Drakel... hybrid thing.
Kaizo Trap: Some enemies, notably Adalons and Thunderbirds, will get a surprise hit in during their death animation. The damage dealt is usually light, but it can still kill you if your health's that low.
Health draining status effects such as poison or bleeding will hit you following your turn... even after you've reduced the enemy's HP to 0. Considering that these status effects can take off quite a good chunk of HP if they're strong enough, this can result in quite a nasty surprise as the game checks for your death before the enemy's.
Knight Templar: Galanoth does not like dragons. While this is not usually a problem, they're not Always Chaotic Evil, and he occasionally gets rather... overboard. Artix is just as bad or worse for undead. Also, Nemesis just wants to enforce justice. Unfortunately, his definition of justice is "kill everyone who doesn't agree with him".
Artix's tendencies come to a boil during the 'Edge of Extinction' war, where he whips most of the Paladin Order into a fervor, sparking an all-or-nothing war with the Necromancers with the intent of stopping Necromancy forever. Comes back to bite them HARD when they are not only excommunicated by the Elemental Lady of Light for their actions, but the damage caused to Lore's "ley lines" as a result of the war robs BOTH sides of their signature abilities.Word of God says that Artix will be going through a My God, What Have I Done? phase for a while.
As it stands now, Mages specializes in Spell burst damage and special weapon effects and Warrior specializes in a long, drawn out battle with the high power of their standard attacks with higher stats bonus and MUCH more powerful weapon, in term of quality and quantity. Warriors skill cost are also MUCH more cheaper than their magical counterparts at the cost of being slightly weaker. Mages are much better at farming, especially since the elemental Wizard Robes are alvailable fairly early, while Warriors are better against bulky monsters such as bosses.
In a sense, its more of a Linear Wizards Quadrastic Warriors right now. Wizards started out strong and is capable of farming easier than Warriors while Warriors dominates late game after getting all of the neccesary equipments and stats boosts.
Living Shadow: The Shadow Universe is populated by beings made of pure shadow. Contact with the shadow universe can also turn monsters (and people) into shadows.
Lizard Folk: The Drakels are (normally) green-skinned dracomammalians against whom Dragonslayer class abilities are effective. Unlike many other workds, they're also a Higher-Tech Species, equipped with various Magitek weapons ranging from genetically engineered warbeasts to Mecha and, although depicted in the beggining as a Always Chaotic Evil race, the conception was subverted as they are as varied as humans and other races are.
Loading Screen: There are jokes on them; laggy computers can read them while faster computers cannot.
Money Spider: Explained, amazingly enough. It's somewhere between a subversion, a parody, and a justification: Robina the Hood steals from the rich and gives to "the cute little cuddly-wuddly forest creatures!" There's even the note that "How did you think level 1 spiders got so much gold on them?"
Nerf: This is decided by the staff group the Knights of Order (KoO). They appear in-game in several places: Aelthai in Battleon, Zephyros in the Azamay quest, Khold and Radagast in the '09 and '10 April Fools' events, Shii as an Assassin class trainer, and Kalanyr in several quests.
Nerf Arm: In the April Fool's Day 2008 event, a Nerf Wraith turns your sword into a foam covered version of the default warrior weapon.
Reaching level 10 in the necromancer skill lets you optionally become a lich. Since you can choose to be any one of four possible subraces, this means you can double the undead fun and become a vampire lich.
No Fourth Wall: The Guardian Dragon is especially prone to this, with lines like "Sorry I'm late, the server was lagging again."
Non-Elemental: The rare Void/Harm element can be used to bypass elemental resistances.
Non-Mammal Mammaries: Female Drakels and Pae. Though the Drakel has have hair in later renditions. The staff have stated that this was intentional and not an artistic drift.
Our Monsters Are Weird: Boy, howdy. You can fight everything from worms to the stat roller to ice cream to giant ticks to tomatoes to Sarah the Nerfkitten to leprechauns to were-seals... the list goes on and on.
Physical God: Lorithia was once said to have been a physical god at one point, which led to The'Galin's ascension to godhood. This was only told through forum backstory information. Falerin and Eldron are the gods of Evil and Good for the world of Caelestia.
Pop Quiz: When infiltrating N.O.V.A., you are asked questions, about the organization, that are never mentioned in the game. It redirects you to a link to the forums where you can ask about it before the quest starts, though.
Power-Up: Red and blue potions (used to heal) and a lot of class abilities.
Twig being the Master of Evil was also referencing a forum in-joke.
Then, of course, because this is AQ, they decided to subvert their whole joke: After the Mogbusters spend quite a while abusing him, the myth that "moglins can fly with their ears" turns out to be true. Then Twig lands in a patch of piranha-infested water. For most people this would be a problem, but Twig is a Big Eater when it comes to fish and ice cream. They never stood a chance.
The only moglin who is not ridiculously cute in some way is Zorbak, an "ebil" blue moglin necromancer, and his evil brother Kabroz.
Parenthetical note to self. I am slipping. Two uses of the same word in the same sentence. Substitute archaic or something similar. I would use "antediluvian" but I am not sure there ever was a Lorian deluge of some sort. "Old" simply lacks feeling. Hmm. "Archaic implies lack of utility that is a problematic connotation. Of course, given the contents... and I am rambling once again.
Standard Status Effects: Subverted; while there are normal ones, like burned, frozen, poisoned, and doom, there are ones like soaked, entangled, and afraid. There's a whole section of the forums encyclopedia. that list the status effects.
The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Monsters aren't bound by the same stat restrictions at the player, leading to most high level opponents breaking the player's stat caps and having loads of HP without having to pay for it using Endurance points.
The Magic Goes Away: The Paladins and Necromancers lose the ability to use their talents as a result of their actions in the 'Edge of Extinction' event.
Throw the Book at Them: An Umazen is implied to have learned magic over the internet. The "sort of" lampshade, turns out that all she knows is throwing a magic book at you. Despite the lame-appearing attack however, it does relatively high damage when you're on par level with her.
Viewers Are Geniuses: The entire Devourer plotline was nigh-impossible to follow with reading the pages and pages of explanations given on the forums. The staff swear they learned their lesson from the trouble handling it, and the next Myth Arc will make a lot more sense. Even worse was a good bit of information was released over an IRC chatroom in a chat with the staff or Role Play with one of the Staff as it's GM, giving the 20 players a distinct advantage (Information on the IRC channel is available on the forums but it's so over looked most players don't know it exists) The characters from the Roleplay are sometimes referenced in game establishing the worlds created by the players as part of the Extended Universe.
Wall of Text: Falerin, he of many words, provides one during a quest in lieu of battling. If you deny him to tell the account, he will still speak on and on as you battle on.
Wall of Weapons: You can see one when you are meeting Shii and Wallo to train the assassin class.
Weird Moon: In Darkovia, it's always night and there is always a full moon. And when the Devourer's attack was imminent, the moon changed into a weird red-eyed thing. And before the Devourer attack, Dewlok's home had a Zelda-ish moon complete with creepy face.
Wide Open Sandbox: While quests are set, you can still choose to do most of them at any time in any order.
A Wizard Did It: Used to explain away many plot inconsistencies. "It's MAGIC!"
World of Pun: The game is infamous for this, and they tend to be so spectacularly lame that they end up So Bad, It's Good. Or, as Artix described it:
Arch Knight Style Humor (adj) — A savory blend of caffeinated epic failure served with with a side of cheese. This also probably means Artix wrote it himself... it is sort of like a train wreck. You really want to look away, but for some reason, you just... have to watch.