With the Search for the Deadly Toxin Quest Contest now complete, I wanted to take the time to help everyone solve it who wants to. I provided a number of hints on social media and on the pages themselves, but now I'll spell it out directly - not only to help you in future contests of this type (you'll inevitably want to win something eventually), but also so that you can see some awesome talents that went into this one!
***THIS QUEST IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE TO PLAY***
This Quest Contest really stepped it up from the first. With the first one, there were just clues you translated. It could be kind of confusing and was different. It was interesting - a few people told me they could just read the clues in that language by the end, which I thought was awfully cool. I put it together and couldn't do that. One thing I did this time was create a greater variety of clues this time, which really gave me a good idea of what works and what is a little bit too difficult. It will always be easy for some people and impossible for others, but for every time someone has said no one will get a clue, someone has, and pretty quickly, too.
This time, in addition to the variety of clues, there are a variety of quest elements. We have the character encounters, which I really liked, and the addition of the not only these active interactions there but also with some of the clues, which were great. There were more puzzles this time, which I think meant fewer people, so I may lean a little more toward the persistence and less cleverness in the future on the clues.
The story is getting interesting with this one, and is going to continue to grow in value. Looking at how much this one improved from the first one, I can't wait to see where the Quest Contest Part 3 goes. (Yes, there will be more parts for other prizes.) That's a good reason to learn the clue types - at some point down the road, you'll want some kind of prize that you'll have to compete in one of these for. And you can often pop in for one clue and snag 5,000 crowns just like that.
How long did this all take to make? I've been asked a few times. A long, long time, suffice to say, though most of it unfolded as the quest progressed. I've been so busy that it had to be that way, and a few items got cut, others moved, dialogue changed, and quest elements restructured, but it worked out pretty well. I would love to plan more in advance for the next one (probably later this year or early next year), but I'm also scared of how much time I could sink into it. Besides just what you see having to be created, there are also plenty of additional experimental items that didn't work out.
Simon on Twitter recommended I provide this guide to give you an idea of what to do in future contests and how exactly my mind works - it can get pretty weird in there. But I also wanted as many people to see the contest as possible because there are a few people who helped me out and brought some really impressive talent to the table.
DearlyAbby is an artist on Twitter known for her digital paintings and general awesomeness who frequently takes on the latest and greatest in Wizard101 and Pirate101 in her own art style. She offers commissions for those interested and is available here. With relatively little to go on (the voice work was being done at the same time), she created the character who gave all the hints in the first Quest Contest (though he was never seen) and appeared multiple times in this one.
Dr. Zeppers has been an active member of both the Wizard101 and Pirate101 communities for some time. He ran, at one point, the Skull Island TV fansite, composing and singing original songs based on Pirate101. Now, between work and performances, you can occasionally spot Dr. Zeppers on the official forums, the Central sites, or Twitter. He did the voice work (also with relatively little to go with the art being done at the same time) for all of the character encounters.
Getting Your Bearings
Trying to get a hold of exactly how these contests work at first can be challenging. For this one, there's a homepage, linked to from both the contest post and Contest pages. Take a look at that homepage.
It has the logo up top, then four documents. It is noted in the dialogue that these may be used later, and also noted that you should begin with that dialogue below. There's a cave that tells you to click to enter. That takes you to the first encounter with the mysterious mentor.
Clue #1: Translations and Maps
The end of the encounter links you to the first clue. This clue is Celestian Hieroglyphs. You need to use a translator to figure it out. Swordroll notes in the opening dialogue that Celestian Hieroglyphs was the language it was in, and that he didn't keep a translator handy. Legends of the Spiral is a good resource to use.
As with any ancient texts, not all translations are always perfect, and not every set of different characters look identical. But, translating this clue should get you pretty close to this translation:
AND SO OUR GAME BEGINS AGAIN
YOU SEEK A TREASURE THAT IS BRAND NEW
PERSISTENCE IS THE KEY MY FRIEND
AND THEN THE TREASURE WILL COME TO YOU
USE THE CHARTS AT SWORDROLL'S DESK
SHORT TRANSLATIONS POINT THE WAY
A WESTERN PATH BEGINS YOUR QUEST
AND ENDS THE RIDDLE FOR THIS DAY
So you know you're using the documents on the homepage. You're looking for short translations. The shortest things you can translate are single characters - there are single letters with the images and a compass rose on the big map. That narrows it down to two documents. Western path is a big hint there that the compass rose is the place to go. The most western dot on that path links you directly to the next clue.
The beauty of this clue and others is that there are multiple ways to solve it. There are paths I set forward that I think will be the easiest for you, but it's not the only way. You might just click every dot on the map and find it. You could do everything on the documents and check those posts.
The winner for this clue was Steven Deathgem.
Clue #2: Seeing is Believing
I was surprised how simple and yet how difficult this clue could be. It wasn't super complex or hard to figure out, it just required you to sit back, take it in, and not overthink the clue. You have a tilted compass rose. I have changed the orientation of a compass rose, but never had one tilted.
It's not just a compass, though. There is a part that's highlighted. Let me emphasize that none of the direction names are highlighted - only a circle and one line through. Do you see it? It's a Q. Plain and simple, it's a letter highlighted on the compass rose. Back on the main page with the documents, that Q is associated with one of the pictures when translated. That picture is on the post of the next clue.
Not everyone solved this clue the same way, though. One person actually thought the symbol just looked like an X. They searched Swordroll and X and believe it or not, it was the first result.
The winner for this clue was Iridian Willowglen.
Clue #3: Counting Stars
This clue started out with another encounter with the mysterious mentor... who doesn't seem to give you much useful information for being a mentor.
He'll link you right to the next clue. It's a star chart, with a bunch of stars connected and a compass rose. Translating the compass rose lets you know that the chart is upside down, with north pointing the wrong way.
Now it should be pretty clear - the stars make a 5. Back to the documents. (Are you getting an idea about how to use these yet?) The only place you'll find a 5 is on the middle document. Now you need to translate again. You should get AIDWRN OJYNEUR. It's scrambled, but the two words are grouped together.
This is where you can get creative. You can use unscramblers online and various tools if you aren't well-practiced in word scrambles, and then you'll find that it says INWARD JOURNEY. Even if you only get one word, you'll probably be fine. If you do a Google search for that with Swordroll or simply recall the name of the post containing those keywords, you'll find the next clue.
The winner for this clue was SimonWizard.
Clue #4: Into the Jungle
This was one of my favorite clues. The clue is not really a clue at all, it's more of a challenge. That means that anybody can finish it. It doesn't require a knowledge of posts or past content, or any special skills to figure out. All you need is persistence.
You need to find a path through the jungle, and that's pretty much via trial and error. There are a couple of tricks you can use, and you can also write down the paths you have taken so you don't duplicate things. Finishing the path links you directly to the next clue.
The winner for this clue was Logan Owlwielder.
Clue #5: Image Recognition
The fifth clue starts out with an encounter in a temple. The mysterious mentor taunts that you've done quite a few things at this point and there's no way you can't handle his little quest.
This is a clue where frequent readers really have an easy time and infrequent readers have to work a little harder. It has an image of a bookshelf or gate or something there and a word in Aquilan Linear B. That word translates to DARKMOOR.
It's not scrambled or anything. Just Googling Swordroll and Darkmoor should put you in the right place, but in case it doesn't, you'll hopefully recognize that the image is a crude ink-type outline of a piece I made for my castle block idea. Now you're ready for the final test!
The winner for this clue was Steven Firegem.
Final Test: Tiles and Teleports
Here's where things get a little tricky. For this one, you had to complete a tile puzzle using the first letter of all posts you visited during the quest. There were lots of pages but only five posts for the five clues. But there was a twist! One name changed unexpectedly.
You should have ended up with the following:
Wizard101 School Furniture Sets Go Live in China!
Wizard101: 15 Spell Cards You've Never Seen Before
An Inward Journey in Gaming
Recognizing Patterns in Wizard101 Fishing
Wizard101: Darkmoor Castle Block Idea
That gives you WWARW - War flanked by two W's (I didn't plan that). Put that correctly into the tile puzzle, and you arrive at the final encounter. This is where things get pretty cool.
You finally get to see the full image of the character, who isn't quite as on-your-side as you imagined, and teleports away, taking with him the toxin for this Quest Contest, and one of the crystals from the first part. You then continued on to the final code.
This code was very straightforward with what you needed to do. That was one thing I got feedback on last time and changed. Each prize told you exactly what to do with it. For prizes you redeemed on the website, there was a link. For prizes gifted in-game, it told you to log in and redeem it. For the last prize, it told you exactly how to email it in and translate it. It's a mix of Celestian Hieroglyphs and Aquilan Linear B. Once translated, you got the following: ALEVUY - a five-letter string with no importance other than proving that you found the code.