I'm so sorry about my protracted absence from the boards. I've been very very busy, with all kinds of things I can't really talk about. But anyway - I'm going to start this thread by addressing the serious back log of questions at the end of the previous one. If y'all could hold off until I give the high sign, it'll be much appreciated. Note that in some cases, I've abbreviated the questions for concerns of space.
But enough talk! On with the... talk!
@Ethan the Baron: 1. Have you ever thought about adding captain jack sparrow to the game... Short answer: no. There's a few characters who resonate with him a bit, but I don't think we need Jack himself at all.
2. Is their a reason why nobody knows the female clockwork elite... Why doesn't anyone know her name? Well, it only seems that way. Lots of people know her name. They just haven't said it within earshot of your Pirate, that's all! I will admit, I derive a certain amount of glee from watching you guys speculate so much over her. Her name, ultimately, is not that important. I'm just working very hard to ensure that when you do finally meet her, it'll have been worth the anticipation. She'll show up soon enough. And when she does appear, her role within the Armada and her relationship with Kane will be front and center.
3. So Valencia is at war with marleybone and when I was reading the worlds monquista said that it was close to war with marleybone so it got me thinking Valencia and monquista don't seem to have any conflict against each other why don't since they both hate marleybone why don't they work together and take down marleybone The war between Valencia and Marleybone isn't a routine spat or squabble between powers, where they fight a bit and then move on - the Armada took a full shot at destroying Marleybone completely. I don't think anyone was expecting that. As for Monquistan involvement, the Monkeys want to keep themselves out of it - indeed, having their two rivals busy fighting each other might make it easier for them to shift things out in the colonies in their favor. Why risk Monquistan lives?
4. Will we ever be going to rajah, krokotopia, or darkmoor in the el dorado storyline
Yes on two of those. Which two? You can no doubt predict my answer.
5. When we get to el dorado our parents said to find them so why do they need us? What do they need from us? And who is going to help us find out where to get our mothers map piece Avery? Presidio companion? Or who would know where her map piece is held?
It likely isn't that your parents need something (they're dead, after all), but rather that they think you need something, and they want you to get it. As to finding your mother's piece, that's going to be tricky. The Presidio companion would be an ideal person to go to, but they haven't spoken up about it yet...
6. Is their ever going to be a twist to the story where one of our companions (possibly the presidio 5) were actually the ones who killed our parents and that's what our parents want to warn us about or will their ever be a companion that has been secretly working with the armada the whole time a traitor?
If there were, it'd sure ruin the surprise if I telegraphed it by answering this question! That said, I love the kind of twists you're talking about, but they'd be very hard to follow through with - we can't kill a Companion, or have you fire them. So you find out they betrayed you and... there's no consequence? Cool as the twist might be, without consequences it's far less satisfying.
7. Last in Aquila we don't know who our parents are anymore will this ever come back to mind in the game and will we ever remember them?
1. Presidio Companion: I have been wondering for a while, why don't we just have a sit down with our presidio companion and ask them about our parents? It seems like we have a database of our past that we are just prolonging to delve into. This would especially be useful considering the first 5 years memory wipe.
Good point. It's a perfect thing to do. Seems to me their next promotion quest would be the perfect time to do that.
2.this has been something I am dying to know but never really got around too, are the Turtle Balls a Dragon ball Parody? I am a huge fan of DBZ and I can see a lot of similar plot elements.
Absolutely. One thing we planned but that I'm not sure actually ended up being very visible is that they're named Turtleball A, B, C... and Z.
3. This may be suited better to the designers, but I was wondering if you guys over at your HQ ever planned to give the crown shop version of companions the quest reward companion's promotion quest (ex: Wu Tang getting Wing Chung's Iron Monkey promotion quest). Promotions are my favorite aspect of the game and I would rather work for them in a cool storyline than just pay a couple of gold coins for them to upgrade.
Unfortunately, adding promotion quests to a companion who never had them before isn't really possible - and if it were, I'm not sure that it'd be advisable. For every player who loved having a new quest, another would feel gypped because they already promoted them and can't do the quest, while a third wouldn't like it because promo quests take so long and are soooo boring. Also, fun as they are to play and create (and trust me, they're some of my favorite content in this game), suddenly adding another 30 of them (2 quests per variant, time 15 presidio/kraken skulls/mooshu variants) is a check we can't cash, bandwidth wide. Consider; that many quests would be bigger than Marleybone in terms of writing and implementation. You want me to put the next Book on hold for them?
4. Eagilles: He seems Like an Arnold Shwartzenager reference. I mean, Lapsed Action Hero, I'll be back, I get them all but I don't see the reasoning on combining Achilles, Eagles, AND Shwartzenager.
Well, we named him Eagilles because he's an eagle, and he's based on Homer's Achilles. As for Schwarzenegger, yes, he's totally Arnold. That actually arose from the read through (we read through all the dialogue out loud before we go to the studio to record the VO - helps us catch errors, and the sound guys get a feel for the characters), when on the spur of the moment somebody read him as Arnold. It was hilarious! In fact, all the movies quotes ("I'll be back" etc.), got written into Eagilles' dialogue after that, because the first bit was so funny. Why Arnold? Because Eagilles is the ultimate warrior, and there's something about his extreme (and clueless) attitude that made the voice just seem perfect. He never failed to make me laugh.
5. I know that you will give me the famous, "That would be telling", but I see Kane's goal is something besides trying to control or destroy something. I am kind of an expert on robot sci-fi, and would like to think that Kane and the armada rebelled because of some deep seated reason. It could be that they are taking programing to the extreme, (I, Robot) to find salvation and truth (Cylons from BSG) or to provoke warfare between others, leaving themselves as the only survivors (Terminator). No mater what the reasoning is, I bet it will leave us all looking back and going, "whoa, that's deep".
That would indeed be telling - but I like where you're going. Something that always separates good stories from bad is "why." Why does the bad guy want what they want - why are they doing this? If the answer is just "cuz he's evil" it's not a strong story. Kane definitely has motivations, and there may even be a twist or two involved - I'm hoping that they will indeed resonate as deep once we get to reveal them.
@Dead Eye Luke A question about Phule.. We haven't really gotten to know Phule can you tell us what book he will make a major role in? I can't give numbers, but he'll be back.
Question about our parents. Don't they have a map piece? How will we get that (just a little hint?) What book do you think we'll see some secrets about our parents revealed? Mom did. You'll get it through a lot of hard work. I'd say it's still going to be a while before we get to the good stuff.
Question about Aquila story. We lost the first 5 years of memory in Aquila. It barely had any impact on the Aquila story. What impact do you think this will have later. See your previous question. Not remembering anything about your parents might make it really hard to find Mom's piece of the Map.
@Elemutation I was wondering, about what book should the Aquila companions promote? I know that it should be book 17 at the soonest...
You took the words right out of my mouth. That's as straight an answer as I can give you for now.
@Captain Lawrence Voss Shouldn't I be getting a badge for completing all sidequests in Book 8?
Yes you should - talk to One-Eyed Jack. If some glitch is keeping you prom getting it, he'll help you sort it out.
@Highlander Fox of Avalon 6. Was it you who wrote Monkey King's "don't feed the trolls!" line? However... Well played, Mew, well played.
Glad you liked it! Don't recall where that one arose (I had some help writing Aquila), but it really played well of the Lulz and other jokes in that quest.
@Anne Radcliffe ... Does the name 'Desdemona' link in with the Shakespearean character of the same name?...
That was definitely the inspiration for the name. After that, though, all similarities may end (let's hope so, for her sake!). And, as always, you flatter me. The code in the mechanical birds wasn't an idea I can take full credit for - we came up with that a LONG time ago - I've been waiting almost 3 years to see how it would be received.
@CaptainFlint193 (the numbers reference a post a looooong time ago) 1. In regards to number 7, we went through the Stormgate from Monquista to Aquila, not through Valencia, so it hasn't been used. I was wondering if that might be the way we could sneak in back to Valencia....
The pirate's path back into Valencia will be very... interesting.
2. In regards to number 4, there are TWO reasons. 1) Old Scratch cries out 'Oh, Sister Snake, forgive I!' after destroying the Fire Dancer temple. 2) Old Scratch mentioned the material world and the spirit world are out of balance after our first encounters with the harpies in the main storyline. I figured both of these points kind of implied the seeds of chaos in the spirit world being sowed once more....
Good eye! I can count on you not to miss a detail.
3. I just finished the Amazon-Centaur War quest line, and I have to say - we are quite the warmongers. We've assisted in the Monquistan Civil War, started the war between Marleybone and Valencia, turned the tide at the Trojan War and now have stopped the war between the Amazon and the Centaurs which was caused by the very God of War. I have a feeling Ares is going to find another reason to love us....am I on point?
Yeah, your pirate certainly has sowed a lot of chaos... Every now and then we like to have a small reminder that some of this high adventure stuff might not be all fun and games. We did an awful lot of that in Book 13 - we may not ever hit the point that hard again, but an occasional reminder should always be effective. Of course, to be a real hero, someday your pirate might need to make Ares pretty angry...
4. You didn't answer a previous question of mine in a much earlier post - why was Colonel Smeagle's quest in the War Room added into the main storyline? I assumed it was simply because we hadn't had a proper taste of the Troubles and we hadn't done anything very Isle of Dogs-centric in helping the war effort. Thoughts?
Sorry I missed the question! The War Golem quests did indeed get stitched in to the main line very late in the game (as it were). Why? It wasn't the Troubles at all - it was all game play based. The idea of having Gracie summon a War Golem came along pretty late - once we saw how utterly awesome it was to summon them, we knew we had to do it. BUT: I didn't want Gracie to be able to do it from the start - I wanted to make sure the War Golems got a proper introduction. So, the quests got moved into the main story, and the summoning power became the reward for finishing those quests. Lengthening the MB mainline a little bit also helped us hit our play time targets. So there ya go.
5. In Apollo's Prophecy to us, that we must win the love of Desdemona to secure our fate...is it possible Desdemona is the female Elite? Or would that make her too sympathetic as an Elite of the Armada?
Many things are possible. But be warned - just because you have a female name without a face and a female face without a name, that doesn't mean the two go together.
6. Time to go all Sherlock Bones on you, Blind Mew. I deduce...that the female clockwork's role is propaganda and public relations. I figure this because in a previous post a very long time ago about the creation of the Armada as a villain, you mentioned trying to work out the elite's roles, and in it you mentioned 'public relations'. So I have deduced that the female clockwork is either a figure that the Valencian elite can relate to and trust when it comes to matters of Valencia (how the war is going, glory of the Armada). Either that or Phule is in charge of making the public happy as a court jester. Am I close on anything?
That's some shrewd deduction. Your theories will be put to the test soon enough: when you meet her, it won't be a fleeting moment. You'll get to see her in her element.
7. Can you give us a one-letter hint as to the name of the next skyway like you did with the Book 13 update (W was for Westminster....how did I not figure that out?!)?
C (in this case, not for cookie, but still good enough for me)
8. I love your in-game reasons for everything and bits of lore and history (like the origins of the Manticores and the relation between them and the Ophidians). Just here to say bravo on all the lore you've given us. Anything you can give us on Darkmoor, or is too soon?
9. Are there going to be any two-world, one book updates in the future, like Book IV? It would be a good way to say, visit our origin worlds while going through the El Dorado storyline....
Most Books will only cover one world, for budgetary reasons. Book 18, though, that's gonna be a doozy...
10. Are there going to be any more fantasy-heavy worlds like Aquila? I can imagine Darkmoor and El Dorado fitting that category though....
I don't think we'll ever have another realm as fantastical as Aquila. Darkmoor will have some elements that are pretty out there, but with a different flavor. It'll still be fairly grounded. And El Dorado? I'm hoping to go in a very new direction there.
@Thatonevalencianswash 1..if you where to kill off one compainion you personally despise writing which would you and be completly honest,how do you think it would affect the story and how would you kill said compainion
I don't despise any of them. I'll freely admit that some of them are harder to write for than others (it's a lot easier for me to slip into Ratbeard's voice, for example, than Barnabus'), but I love them all. And as I've said a few times before, I don't think it's possible or particularly advisable for me to kill off a Companion. IF someone were to die, they'd die sacrificing themselves to save the PC or the Spiral. But no, I'm not at all into the idea of killing off a Companion, especially the A List Companions (the ones who talk during quests); I love 'em too much.
2. in the first trailer of pirate101 i saw avery was a compainion or something so was i right and avery is going to be a companion in the future of p101(like after the 1st or 2nd story) or was the pirate just matching avery's clothing
That was an atmospheric shot set in Avery's office - just because he was there doesn't mean he's a Companion.
3.do you plan on making any compainion based rouge's gallery's
4.What is the scariest thing you have wrote in pirate101(Geez scary already it sounds like i was talking about death note or necromancy)
Captain Blood was pretty scary I thought - he pushes the limits of what we like to do with horror (and the version you see is after a few polish passes to tone him down). I also try to be as creepy with the Armada as I can - the first encounter with Phule was meant to be a little disconcerting.
5.i know this will likley be a that would be TELLING but can you give me one hint on subodai's next promo and at least make it two words so it's not so spoiler worthy
Well, when looking at Age of Sail and Pirate fiction, Australia doesn't come up very much (having not been founded yet). Admittedly, we do go anachronistic here and there, but we owe a lot of that to Wizard. Ultimately, when brainstorming it didn't come up, and we simply haven't gotten to it yet. Wizard might have to do Australia first.
7.Do you plan on adding any new factions on the pirate faction section?
Oooo, it's been a while since that section was on my radar. That'd be a good idea. I'll get One-Eyed Jack to remind me.
8.Why is there no dutch people in p101 seriously why no fifth kingdom dont get me wrong i dont mind marleybone, monquista, valencia and polaris too much but there were a lot of dutch pirates back in the days so wynaut kingsile(lol pokemon pun)
There were indeed, but we didn't want to make the situation in the Spiral too complex - the 4 major historical players you mention PLUS Grizzleheim Vikings (an anachronism, sure, but a huge part of Wizard and simply irresistible) makes 5 right there. Admittedly, we haven't seen much of Griz yet. That's partly oversight on my part, and partly how the Spiral is laid out - Grizzleheim and Skull Island are pretty much on the opposite edges of the Spiral. But we'll be getting our first taste of Grizzleheim before too long.
9.how do i write a fanfic on the website here because personally i love the fanfics on this site and they are a lot better than the typical fanfic with the "cringes" very creepily suggestive themes(seriously who wants to hear about mario falling in love with wreck it ralph?) anyways i think the fanfics here on the p101 site are very good but question how do i make one for myself
I'm not sure about that, honestly - One-Eyed Jack is the fellow to ask.
10.i realized something...KANE IS RUNNING OUT OF ELITES seriously not counting kane and as the fans call her "Queen" we got 2.5. down 3 TO GO!? Do you think kane should build more elites?
Yes, the losses are certainly startling to Kane. They might account for one reason he's been holding back and not confronting the PC full bore - he's inclined to minimize risk and play the long game, especially since this pesky pirate has proved so full of surprises. As for building more, that's not a bad idea, but it's no easy undertaking. The elites are far more complex than a standard clockwork - it would require a lot of time and resources. And as I've said before, Kane is very busy right now. With what? You'll find out... 11. i realized rouge's gallery is kinda like tf2's meet the videos did you guys get inspired by it? well thats it with my questions...for now.
That whole initiative came to me from our Marketing and Web group - I think this is another question for One-Eyed Jack.
@Domriunseen 1. You stated that the Mag 7 quests would focus more on fish out of water style quests rather than backstory. My question is: involving the Silk One or Rooster Cogburn (assuming promotion quests for them are still in the works), will they follow this sort of pattern, or will we get backstory?
Their first promo did, yes. The thing to remember about those quests was context: they just happened to fall in Aquila, which was about the goofiest place I could imagine for an Old West legend to be when they promoted. So we had a lot of fun with that. That said, we're always looking to find more to say about these characters, or to look at them different ways (Bonnie Anne's third promo was as much about seeing her in a dark, hurt place as it was about revealing her origins). But context is a big factor - the world we happen to be in at that point will play a huge role in plotting the quest. Regarding backstory in these quests, some characters have much more to reveal than others - the Silk One, for instance: her origin is pretty well covered. Rooster, though...
2. Gortez is a gorilla in Monquista, and we've seen gorillas in Zafaria. So which came first: did some Zafarian gorillas leave their homeworld, settle in Monquista, and evolve into a different species, or did Zafarian gorillas come from Monquista? And speaking of Gortez, is he from Zafaria or Monquista?
Good question. I hadn't really thought that through. Gortez is prominent enough in Monquistan culture that I doubt they would have conferred such honors on anybody not native born - if I had to wager, I'd bet he's from Monquista. As to the origins of Zafarian vs. Monquistan Gorillas, I'm content to leave that vague. Migration is definitely one possibility, though there could just have been apes in two places when the First World shattered.
3. Which are your favorite references: the vague ones like Kzinti Singh, or the obvious ones like the Lost Ranger?
Tough one. I think the obvious ones make me laugh loudest, but I'm proudest of the subtle ones. Even if the fewest people notice them. I think my favorite ones are the good puns.
4. Regarding the map pieces, what's with this constant theme of "they don't have it, and trick you into thinking they do to get what they want?" Egg Foo Yung and Catbeard seem to do this often....will this trend continue into the future or no?
Heh. Well, when plotting a game like this, the way you make these plots work is to tell the PC they want something, give them a taste/hint of it, and then raise roadblocks, so that the story can happen. Having you work your way to the end of a plot and then finding out the Map was never there is an easy way to achieve this (perhaps too easy). It also lets us bring back the theme that pirates are really untrustworthy. The other variant we've used more than once is "The Armada got there first." As to future pieces, there aren't that many left, and we will definitely have some new twists on getting them.
5. We've revisited worlds before and there are obvious plans to do so. Question is, do you think we will revisit every world so far at a later date (the ones being left are Cool Ranch, Mooshu, Marleybone, and Aquila, obviously)?
Definitely. I want to keep all the worlds alive in your mind, and I never wan the PC to forget they came from Skull Island. Re-using worlds we've already built makes the Art Team happy too. An interesting issue we've run into is that on a lot of our worlds, we've started to run out of places to put quest goals. We're addressing that in clever ways, and we've learned our lesson. There's a reason Aquila has so many unused caves...
6. Finally, will we see more gold promotions, or will they no longer be in design? We got so little (Tonka, Tyson, and Sanders, I believe) in this update, so can we expect to see any more, or will Private Mills or Argos and the like be left the way they are permanently (I think it's a given the Crazy Monquistador, Watermole Slingman, and other low level companions are kind of never going to promote)?
I'm pretty sure every humanoid companion will promote at least once. If they don't speak during quests, they will promote with gold. I think the apparent scarcity of promotions in the last update was a factor of there only being 2 books, not 12. A schedule for these promotions exists (for the non-talkers it's a Design thing more than a Story thing), and we'll stick to it. Now some of them (Watermole Slingman, for example) may not have as many tiers as the others - once they reach their limit, they won't promote again. At least not as things are now. With enough demand, who knows what could happen? As for Argos, he will promote - but it'll take a few Books to get there.
@Birigorpser I really love the writing in this game. Have you ever considered writing a Pirate101 novel?
I would love to. But, there are lots of things to consider - time and bandwidth are big factors here (I've got a lot to write as it is!), but the biggest is that a novel is a very different beast than constructing a plot outline and writing dialogue. In the game all the action and location descriptions are done automatically. Having to fill that stuff in with words is tricky, which makes it take a lot more effort, which loops us back tot he first concern. I would really dig the chance, though.
@ScarletFreeman Will we see Kane somewhere before we fight him, or will we meet him in a grand showdown somewhere? I'm curious and would like to know, as I find that he's a interesting villain!
That would be telling, but I will say this: it'd be kind of lame to only meet him for the final battle. He's so central to the plot, we definitely need some quality time with our Big Bad, and not just people talking to/about him. It's great for the story, so you can take a glimpse inside the enemy's mind.
That said, I hereby solemnly swear that I will not stoop to the trope EVERY recent action/genre movie uses to accomplish this by having Kane deliberately allow himself to be captured so he can play mind games with you before brilliantly escaping and unleashing his devastating plot to destroy you. If I see one more film doing this, I'm gonna scream. Okay, rant over.
... I'm wondering about the girl clockwork. Again, this may come with a "That would be telling." but around what time in the story will we see her? The end or will it be fairly soon?
Soon. Way before the end. Pretty darn soon. And it won't be a Phule style drive by either - we'll get to know her.
@CunningFinniganSharp 1. I know you're asked this question rather frequently, but would it be telling if I asked if there are any plans to expand Avernus Skyway later on to include some kind of story? If so, any obique hints? And will the Skeletal Dragons in Avernus ever come into a quest? Seems kind of a waste not to use them.
I'm not asked this nearly as frequently as I am about the female elite, so don't mention it. That said, as regards Avernus, I'll say yes - the story's not done with the place yet. There's one more rather surprising thing we'll do there, if all goes according to plan.
2. Rajah- Will there be any classical Indian themes/references included like the age of the Gupta Empire or is it all going to be Colonial India? Would Classical India better fall under Wizard101?
As we do everywhere else, I'd say we'd do both - 2 skyways would give us both options, like the China/Japan thematic divide in our version of MooShu. Classical India would be an AWESOME fit for Wizard. India of any flavor is so underused in terms of setting - what an awesome break it would be from a bajillion Medieval Western Europe analogues.
3. I'm a little confused about this Home World 5 idea. Would they be Companions from a World our Pirate was actually born and shortly raised in prior to our Parents death or would they be a mix of Companions from the World the Pirate was fostered in (Skull Island(Wharf Rat), MooShu(Ninja Pig), Grizzleheim(Bear Warrior), Marleybone(Red Coat), and Krokotopia(Krok Spearer)?
The foster worlds. The world you picked during character creation: they're from there. And I must reiterate that just because they're from a given place doesn't mean we have to go there to pick them up, so even if these companions were created, their origins don't necessarily reveal anything about our future world list.
4. Are there any other Pirates still out looking for the Map? Since we left Skull Island, outside of the Armada, I haven't seen any minor enemies that stand out trying to get the pieces of the map to El Dorado. Maybe a reusable rival to lesson the need for multiple NPC/Bosses/Mobs?
5. As we go on our quest to El Dorado, I've noticed that many of our crew members don't seem to be in-it for the gold and fortune in El Dorado, but to actually stop the Armada. Most are paying a dept we did them, or honoring our parents, or just hoping along. I can't speak for Ratbeard, but it does seem like many of our Companions take a heroic/good stance. As far as I'm concerned, the barely bring up a desire to go to El Doradoo over stoping the Aramda. Was this is intended? Also do you plan to make a speaking Companion with a greedy/"I'm-only-with-you-guys-for-the-gold" attitude? I think if you did, he/she would add a lot of funny possibilities.
You have a point - we may be overcompensating a bit for the concerns some folks raised about how heroic and uplifting our message would be. As for just in it for the gold, Ratbeard will always be the embodiment of that sentiment, and Catbeard may end up giving him a run for his money. And bear in mind, the main story of Pirate is a big arc that bends toward heroism - after a certain point, virtuous souls (El Toro, etc) are the only sorts you're picking up.
6. I haven't seen any quests exlpaining this, but how exactly did the Eagle Shades become...well...shades? Does this possibly allude to a future explaination in the story or even have more involvement than what we thought like the Mechanical Birds?
There was a LOT going on in Aquila, so we never got around to telling their story. It's something I'd love to get back to - a promo quest for Hawkules would be the perfect opportunity...
@The Admiral 1. I noticed a cave in Achaea nearby the Saytrs. Above the cave was a face that looked like an old man perhaps with some horns which could make him a Saytr. There are also some flames before the cave entrance. Is there anything you can tell us about it and will we be going in there soon?
It's left open for future use - something important and satyr related. Can't be much more specific at this time.
@The Admiral Why is Hades staff in Achaea emitting a strange fog over where the Eagle Shades are?
Because it's spooky! Something pretty bad happened there, and the place is cursed. We'll get to that...
2.How was the volcanic eruption caused in Knossos?
The Ophidian fire cult did it with big magic.
3.Will we be able to explore more of Troy in the future?
I'd certainly like to - the environments are too gorgeous to use just once.
4.I noticed we don't really have a lot of Witchdoctor companions in the game. Will we ever see anymore of these preferably for everyone?
I think I can safely say yes.
@Victor Ice Hi blind mew one thing that I don't get why is there bison ships instead of bird ships. Don't get I love the bison ships it's only like when I first started playing and when I went to Cool Ranch it was something I notice and its bugging me a little . Anyhow you guys did an awesome job on the update and I hope for more thanks
It was ultimately easier to make the equipment fit the Bison Boats - the paddleboats didn't work so well from a systems standpoint.
Thank you so very much, Blind Mew, to take so much time to answer our questions. It is always appreciated, and really, quite thrilling to read, as we merrily hope to glean some new information or perhaps shiver a bit at more hints of the menace of the Armada! (And I like that, really! )