Wyvern Quest and Area Guidelines


IMPORTANT: Read the section on Zoos and Prisons before you start on your area!


Before you create areas using the Map Editor, please review our Usage Policy.


This section will undoubtedly be expanded over time. You are responsible for keeping up to date with the rules as you make additions to your area.


  1. Weapons, armor and magic items have certain limits on how powerful (or cursed/dangerous) they can be. Don't make overly-powerful items unless you get special permission.

  2. Every map has to have an exit that will (eventually) get you back to town. You should never create maps that are dead-ends and require you to teleport out.

  3. Your area cannot use, or be based on, any copyrighted material.


You have to make sure the following things are all done or we won't take your maps:

  1. Don't put more than 40 monsters in a map. Otherwise it introduces too much load/lag on the server. As of Map Editor version 0.3.3, it warns you if you try to save a map with more than 40 monsters.

  2. In general, don't create really large maps — maps shouldn't be bigger than 25x25.

  3. Don't ever put random amulets or rods in maps, even if the player had to "work really hard" for it. We will just take them out.

  4. Fill in the Map Properties dialog for every map. You have to set the start (x, y) location, the map name, and the danger level (1-20). The Map Name is the name you want players to see when they enter the map (as in something like "Monster Bash").

  5. Use 'relative' links for all your teleporters within the same directory. That means to go from wiz/yourname/newarea/start.map to cave1.map, you'd just put cave1 for the destination of the teleporter. This way the links will work before you're made a wizard, or if you end up with a different wizard name.

  6. Organize your files! Most areas are going to have a lot of maps, and if there are any custom images or objects, there will be even more files. Your submission has at least 40 maps and if you're made wizard you may add to that over time. This all adds up to a lot of files. So put the maps for your area into a directory (or two or three, if it's really big), and put the .arch and .gif files for custom objects into a directory called arch. So you'd have something like:
    wiz/yourname/newarea — contains maps for your area
    wiz/yourname/arch — contains your custom objects and art

  7. Make the starting map of your area called "start.map". That way we'll know where to begin reviewing.

  8. Double-check that ALL of your teleporters go to the correct place in the destination map. Then triple-check.

  9. Zip all your maps up into a single zip file. If you have maps in subdirectories, keep the directory structure in your zip file. Make sure all your maps have the ".map" extension on the file.

Then email us your zip file and we'll test your area out.


This section contains important guidelines to follow, or we'll send your maps back and tell you to fix them.

We'll outline some other specific guidelines in the next few sections.

Map Size

Try to make lots of small maps, rather than large ones. Large maps eat CPU, especially if you put animated objects in them such as fountains, fire walls, small fires, and so on. Large maps are also harder for players to navigate — they get lost.

It know it's very tempting to make large maps, but resist the urge. All your maps should be bounded maps, and you should keep the size to 40x30 or smaller.


Don't put too many monsters in your maps. Monsters eat CPU and cause lag. The map editor warns you if you try to save a map with more than 40 monsters in it.

Try not to put too many spellcasting monsters together in a single map — if you're using dragons, floating eyes, liches, skulls, or other heavy spellcasters, keep it down to 10-20 monsters, at most, per map.


Ah, treasure. Everyone wants to put tons of treasure in their maps. Don't do it, though — it's bad for the economy.

First, some hard-and-fast rules:

If you don't follow these rules, your map submission will be rejected. If you upload a map that breaks these rules, we will fix it and remove your uploading privileges.

Generally speaking, your best bet for placing treasures is to use random/random and random/treasure/ *.

Believe it or not, random/random will actually generate rods, amulets and artifacts occasionally — just very rarely. We're considering removing the other random object types altogether except in shops, since people tend to abuse them.

A good rule of thumb is that you should have 1/5 as many treasures as monsters. That is, for every 5 monsters in your map, you can place up to 1 treasure. Some maps may require less than that, if the monsters are pretty easy to kill. If you set the map's Danger Level correctly, this will result in an appropriate amount of treasure for your map. Some maps may require a bit more, for 15th-level monsters or higher — dragons may have slightly more treasure, but not much!

Another good rule of thumb: areas that are good for XP should be bad for treasure, and vice-versa. As a player, you should have to make a conscious decision — I'm going for treasure, or I'm going for XP. Example: the elf houses in Minath Elion are lousy for XP but great for treasure. It may be tempting to put in lots of treasure for high-level monsters, but in reality, the XP gain you get is reward enough.

Map Danger Level

The map's Danger Level (set in the Map Properties Dialog) determines how good the randomly-generated treasure will be. You can set the danger level from 1 to 20. Anything value larger or smaller will be forced into the 1-20 range.

You should set a reasonable danger level for each map with monsters in it, based on how hard the map is. This includes a variety of factors, such as how high-level the monsters are, how many monsters there are, how many traps there are, and whether there are other difficulties such as lava or mazes.

Zoos and Prisons

DON'T MAKE A ZOO! Everyone who submits an area these days is spending a bunch of time on elaborate zoos and prisons. I'm getting more and more hard-nosed about this. I'll make you delete the zoo maps and start over from scratch.

A Zoo is any map that has a long hallway with gates on both sides, where you pull levers to release monsters from their cages. It doesn't have to be called a "zoo" in order to be a zoo.

So just do yourself a favor and don't make a zoo!

Why No Zoos?

The first Zoos appeared just before Christmas 2001. The basic idea is that you have a bunch of powerful monsters locked in little cages, with levers you can pull to dispense the monsters. Players love this kind of map, because it makes it easy to get lots of XP quickly.

Over time, it's become apparent that Zoos (and Prisons, which are just Zoos with jail guards instead of zookeepers) are a bad idea, for various reasons:

Once we had Zoos, players were forced to go to them - once one player is getting XP in a zoo, the only way to keep up is to go to a zoo yourself. Anyone who wanted to climb the high score list was forced to spend all his or her time in a zoo or prison.

We're making a dramatic move to remove all the zoos in the game. We've closed the two biggest ones, and we're making changes to the other ones as well. No more zoos, prisons, or similar maps will be allowed in the game going forward.

Be careful: it's possible to make zoo-like areas by configuring the walls to make little "cells" from which powerful monsters can't escape. In general, powerful monsters should have lots of free space to roam around. They're worth a lot of experience, so they should be hard to kill.

If you can't kill the monsters in a zoo, and they're really just there for display, then it's probably OK.

It's perfectly OK to have prisons that actually have prisoners in them, especially if they're designed more or less like a prison (with prison guards, a cafeteria, beds, and so on). The prisoners can be monsters, and you can even make them XP areas for low-level players. You should probably never stick anything higher than 7th or 8th level in a zoo or prison.

Note: you can create a zoo with lower-level monsters in it (up to level 8 or so) if it makes sense for your area. It has to have a logical reason for existing, which pretty much means you have to have a very full, complete city like Minath Elion. If you choose to make a zoo or prison, follow these rules:

For the zoos and/or prisons that we leave in for historical reasons, we'll be removing the treasures from them. If you make an area where it's easy to gain XP, it shouldn't also be easy to gain treasure there. This rule applies to all maps, not just zoos and prisons.


Generators are tricky to get right — if you use too many of them, you'll go over the 40-monster per-map limit, and it'll put unnecessary strain on the server.

You should think of each generator as 5 monsters, so if you put in 5 generators, it's 25 monsters for that map. That means you can only put in 15 more monsters or you'll go over the limit.

That means you shouldn't put more than 8 generators in a single map. We'll be working to clean up old maps that have too many generators in them. We'll also add a warning to the Map Editor if you go over the limit.


Don't make gigantic shops. Items should be hard to find. It adds an element of strategy to the game if players are always hunting around for good items.

Your area (city, village, ruins or whatever) should have at most one of each kind of shop, and most areas need not have every kind. For each shop type, you shouldn't have more than about 50-80 items in the shop, maximum. For a while we had multi-level shops with hundreds of items per level, and it was just too easy for players to find their Tiny Wizard Robe (or whatever).


Quests can be an endless source of fun for some players, and other players just hate them. The people who hate quests usually hate them because:

Our rules and guidelines are designed to help your quests be fun for players.

Quest Rules

  1. The management (Elder Wizards and above) will decide how many quest points to allocate to your quest. We will play it and make the determination based on the difficulty of the quest.

    Over time, as people solve the quest, we will reduce the number of quest points your quest is worth, unless you take steps to change the quest so it's no longer common knowledge how to solve it.

  2. Your quest has to be solvable by a single individual - there cannot be areas that *require* 2 people to solve them.

  3. Your quest cannot use, or be based on, any copyrighted material.

Quest Guidelines

Overall, you should try to make your quests, fun, fair, reasonable to solve, and hard to cheat on. Players will appreciate the game much more if it's balanced and fair.

Making Great Maps

We're gradually increasing our standards for what constitutes an acceptable map. Most of the areas currently in Wyvern don't meet our standards, including (if not especially) some of the non-Wizard areas that have been around for years. Over time, we'll be removing the areas that don't get upgraded to meet our standards for quality, balance, and playability.

Here are some tips to help you make great maps, and improve the chances that we'll accept you to be a Wizard. (Note: if you're a good programmer or artist, you can become a Wizard without making an area. Instead, Rhialto will give you a project to complete.)

Avoid Towns

If you're thinking you might like to be a Wizard, don't assume you need to make a town. We have plenty of towns. In fact, don't make one unless it's a very large, very interesting town. We need more exploration and fighting/training areas: tombs, crypts, shrines, dens, hidden grottoes, abandoned mines, caves, dungeons, nests, hives, and so on. You can create them as individual areas, each one in a different directory, each one having perhaps ten to fifty maps, depending on the complexity.

Area Themes

Areas must be themed. You need to create a back-story for your area, even if it's only a paragraph or two, and make sure there are little hints and reminders of the plotline spread through your area (including what the NPCs talk about — see below.)

For training/combat maps, don't make dungeons or other areas that have room after room of different monsters that don't get along. Try to pick a theme, and use monsters from that theme. The Minath ruins only use a handful of different monster types, all of which fit with the theme "Greek ruins" or "green monster matching the scenery". You can fill an entire area of 20 to 50 maps with all orcs, or all frost giants, if you want. Just make sure they look like they belong there.

Map Look and Feel

Maps must be as interesting, unique, and clever as you can make them. Don't make a bunch of square maps. Put water, emptiness, or scenery around the edges to make maps look non-rectangular to the players.

If you want to make great maps, DON'T just start drawing in the map editor, adding objects here and there and hoping they'll work well. Don't stare at an empty map, waiting for inspiration to strike.

Instead, think of a beautiful or intriguing place you've seen — in the real world, a picture, a game, wherever. Then try to make it into a set of Wyvern maps. You'll get much better results that way. Make sure you sketch out the rough design on a piece of paper before you start. The more planning you do, the better it will be.

Indoor maps don't have to be square, either. Think of a lobby in a five-star hotel, or an atrium in an upscale shopping mall, or a restaurant in a theme park. Square is ugly, and says: "This is a cheap, low-quality building." Feel free to use lots of terrain/empty in your map to get the look and feel just right. You don't have to fill all the space with "stuff". Thrain's Mist Temple, one of the very earliest maps in the game, has an interesting floor plan made of three overlapping rectangles, forming a Y-shape. Take a look.

Targeted Levels

Areas should be targeted at a particular level of player. It's tempting to make an area that starts with Kobolds and works its way up to an Arch Riagor who's just had a triple espresso. However, that's not much use to anyone. Low-level players will have to leave after just a little fighting, and high-level players will be bored until the end.

So figure out what level players the map is for. Use reasonable monsters for that level. Occasionally, put in a tougher monster, usually protected by a door or surrounded by weaker monsters, as a challenge for the player. Keep in mind that most Wyvern players are low-level players. Half your maps should be for low-levels, one quarter for mid-levels, and one quarter for high levels.

NPC Interaction

If you have NPCs, make them talk. As an absolute minimum, give them unique default responses that make sense for your area. Better, fill out the Talk pane in the Monster Editor, and give them lots of topics to talk about. Best of all, combine the Talk pane with mini-quests.

Keep Monsters Far Away

Don't put monster fighting areas in the middle of town unless it makes sense. For example, someone may have a secret door in their basement that leads down into an old underground tomb. Fine. But generally, you should have to go pretty far away from town before you start finding tough monsters. You usually should NOT have tough monsters in the middle of a town.

By "far away", we mean you should have lots of maps between the town and the monsters with just scenery, and perhaps some NPCs or minor monster encounters as appropriate.

Generally, hard monsters should be further from towns than easy ones.

You may want to have the town know about the local monster threat. Have the villagers talk about the old, crumbling mansion that nobody's been to in years, or the abandoned fortress to the South that's rumored to be haunted. It'll lend more atmosphere to your area.

Puzzles and Traps

Try to put little tricks, puzzles and challenges in your maps. For example, the top floor of the Ziggurat has a Marilith. Her treasure is down a long hallway to the south. To walk down the hall, you have to push a boulder onto a button that raises a gate behind you, so there's no easy way out. This was trivial to add (one button, one gate, and one boulder), and it gives the player pause for a second of thought before plundering the gold. Similarly, you should use illusionary walls and secret doors occasionally. Don't go overboard with them, but the treasure shouldn't always be sitting in plain sight of its owner. Smart monsters will go to great lengths to hide their loot.

Use Yucky Monsters

Don't fill your areas with your favorite monsters. That's a common mistake. Everyone wants to fill their areas with the monsters that are the most unbalanced in terms of XP awards. We won't let you.

Instead, put in some of those monsters that players try to avoid: black puddings, leprechauns and nymphs, rust monsters, or other unpleasant beasties. You can make the treasure awards proportionally higher, if the monsters are less desirable for XP awards.

Use Small Maps

Don't make your maps too large. 40x30 is a reasonable maximum size, and even those should be used sparingly. You should include lots of very small maps, such as stairwells, tunnels, and foyers, for getting from map to map. Small maps are easier to navigate and better for server performance.

It's really tempting to create a great big map in the Map Editor, so you can just lay stuff out and not have to worry about messing with Teleporters. But you're less likely to get your area approved if you do that. So take the extra time to split large maps into smaller ones.

Don't Rush It

Don't rush through your maps. Plan them out, spend time with each one, and don't make filler maps just so you don't have closed houses. Try to make your area better than the areas you've seen in the game so far.

We've been increasing the requirements for becoming a Wizard every few months. You need to make a serious effort to impress us with something new and original. Find a friend to make some custom artwork for you, or ask one of the Artisan Wizards if they have time to help you out. Write out how your quests will work, and any custom coding you'll need done. There are Mystic Wizards who can help you with the code, if you're promoted.

Make sure you don't submit your area for an initial review until it's nearing completion. If your maps are bad, we'll just point you back to this document and tell you to read it again. If your maps are promising, we'll give you tons of feedback for improvements. When they're ready, we'll promote you so you can test and finalize your maps. But we won't promote you until it's clear that you're going to be able to make great content.

Above all, make the maps because you love making maps, and not just because you want so badly to be a Wizard. Wizards are expected to build, and if you're not going to do it, you'll just get de-wizzed anyway. So take the time to do it right!