0.11.4 introduced a very special Unique item, commissioned and co-designed by one of our Diamond Supporters. This unique cannot be dropped by monsters or chests, nor can it be created with an Orb of Chance. The only way to obtain one is through a vendor recipe... a secret recipe. We did give out a hint, though. In this article, I'll explain how... and why.
A long time ago, on a forsaken continent far, far away...
Our very first Diamond Supporter, CharanJaydemyr, created a sword:
Fueled by a fiery imagination and tempered by a policy of Trying To Be Reasonable About Things, so was forged the mighty Tipua Kaikohuru. Excellent for boosting low-level characters through the early game, this rare Unique could single-handedly win short-term races for those fortunate few lucky enough to find one. More recently, it became quite sought-after in the Anarchy League, where it is required for one of the Challenges.
But Charan wasn't done just yet. Some ideas are simply too big for one item. Sometimes, it takes a trilogy. The saga of the Goddess in the Sword would be continued, and to tease at this fact, Tipua Kaikohuru was renamed The Goddess Bound:
And now, as of 0.11.4, there is another: The Goddess Scorned:
Intended as a direct upgrade to The Goddess Bound, this saucy new sword converts 100% of Physical damage to Fire, in (almost) the same way as the notorious Avatar of Fire keystone from Closed Beta... which was removed from the game for being too powerful.
The most interesting quirk of this particular item, however, is that you cannot find it. No monster will ever drop it, no chest will ever spawn it, and no Orb of Chance will ever chance upon it. Instead, this Unique item can only be obtained via trading with NPCs. We carefully crafted a vendor recipe for The Goddess Scorned, and enabled it with the 0.11.4 patch. But, like all recipes, we kept it a secret - even from Charan himself. And yet, it seemed like such a wasted opportunity to just leave it at that. I figured, why not drop a hint or two?
"Three so fine, one divine, and one a matching bruise,
Two that burn, two in hand, and one that sits unused,
Two that spark confusion, one that gives, one that takes,
And one that weeps when all alone... an oath fulfilled makes.
As the patch went live, I infiltrated Charan's forum signature and planted this cryptic, clue-peppered poem, trusting that his usual prolific posting would give it the proper exposure to the public.
If you don't already know the recipe, and want to figure it out for yourself, then I suggest you stop reading, because I am going to seriously spoil it in just a moment. The only extra information Charan could provide was that it required The Goddess Bound, and that he wanted it to be an upgrade for characters wielding it.
Are you ready?
****** SPOILER TIME ******
I was counting on Charan to post a picture of his sword in the forum, so that people would know what to look for, and more, specifically, know The Goddess Scorned's base type and flavourtext. These are important clues to decyphering the poem.
First of all, the easiest part is the final phrase, "...an oath fulfilled makes." If you look at the flavourtext for The Goddess Scorned, you can see that the very first line speaks of an "oath fulfilled". Clearly, then, the rest of the poem is dedicated to devilishly defining the necessary ingredients for the recipe.
The key to solving this rhyming riddle is determining the exact number of items involved. The poem mentions several numbers, the highest of which is three, so you know it must require at least that many. The total number of things referenced is 15, which (hopefully) is obviously far too many. If you look at each line in turn, the numbers go 5, 5, 4, 1. I saw some speculation that, since those last two numbers add to five, there must be five ingredients, but that's not true. That's impossible. Those two numbers are on separate lines; you can't just add them together like that.
No, the real trick lies in the number of lines. There are four lines to the poem, hence four ingredients. With that in mind, and given that one of the four is The Goddess Bound, you can use the assorted clues to deduce the three remaining items. Note that these clues are very vague, and that there are some red herrings thrown in for good measure.
"Three so fine," refers to three items with Quality, quite possibly max quality. One of these three is the The Goddess Bound, at max quality, of course, given how common Blacksmith's Whetstones are.
"one divine," is an intentional red herring. Many people thought that this referred to a Divine Orb, (which caused me to cackle evilly for quite some time) but in fact it simply refers to The Goddess Bound itself.
"and one a matching bruise," is the part that tripped up everyone the most. People would scour the list of uniques looking for mentions of a bruise, or for items that looked bruised, but in fact it simply referred to the flavourtext of The Goddess Bound, which mentions an "elegant bruise". Of those who realized this, many more assumed this meant that you needed two of The Goddess Bound for the recipe. No! Instead, look to the base type of The Goddess Scorned; why, it's an Elegant Sword! But not just any Elegant Sword will do. It must be a matching one. That is, it must match in quality and sockets, both colours and links. This isn't actually that hard to find, given that you can only get three sockets on One-Handed weapons like these.
"Two that burn," tells you that two of the items deal or cause fire damage or burning. You would do well to notice that The Goddess Bound is one such item, but there is another...
"two in hand," tells you that two of the items can be equipped in the main-hand and off-hand slots. Once you know about the "matching bruise", this tells you something about what the other two items are not.
"one that sits unused," is a fairly vague term that could interpreted a number of ways. In reality, it refers to a Currency item, which hasn't been "used" and therefore consumed. In light of turning two swords into one, the pool of likely currency items is small, but this isn't the only clue...
"Two that spark confusion," is probably the toughest riddle in the poem. Not only is "spark" a minor red herring, but the term "confusion" is, well, quite confusing! It isn't an obvious reference, though many speculated it could refer to Chaos Orbs. If you enjoy cryptic crosswords, though, you'll know that this word often signifies a hidden meaning, perhaps an anagram or non-literal interpretation of a word. In this case, the very word "confusion" must be disassembled: "con fusion", i.e. "with fusion": an Orb of Fusing. This makes sense when considering we are turning two swords into one. In addition, the fact that Orbs of Fusing remove quality causes much literal confusion and leads to many "bug" reports on the forums. But what of the "sparks"? We can come back that.
"one that gives," is another very vague one. Many items "give" in some way or another, although in this case I was referring to a Support Gem.
"one that takes," is yet another frustratingly vague term. It refers to Orbs of Fusing, which take away Quality when used. And indeed, thematically speaking, we are fusing two max quality swords together into a zero-quality Unique.
"and one that weeps when all alone..." is the most poetic turn of phrase used, and indeed sent many a curious soul in search of suitable flavourtext. Notably, that of Moonsorrow, in which "The lonely Moon weeps." But no, Moonsorrow is too high-level to be used for this purpose. This phrase really is just a clever way of talking about a Support Gem, which is useless alone... from a certain point of view.
So, once you know that you need The Goddess Bound, a matching Elegant Sword, and an Orb of Fusing, the final item must therefore be: of Quality, something that gives, that weeps when alone, and that "sparks". Since neither Goddess sword is related to lightning damage, but both are related to fire damage, then the most fitting item is, of course, a quality Chance to Ignite Support Gem. Since a max quality gem is unreasonable for an upgrade at level 28, any quality will do.
And that's it! One max-quality The Goddess Bound, a max-quality Elegant Sword with matching sockets, an Orb of Fusing, and a quality Chance to Ignite gem, that's all you need to get your hands on The Goddess Scorned.
Does your brain hurt yet? The riddle certainly wasn't meant to be easy, because it's only really fun while it's unsolved. Congratulations to Aux, who was first to figure it out, and only two-and-a-bit days after the patch went live, too. His superior strategy of dumping everything plus the kitchen sink into the sell window eventually paid off. We may need to do something about that, in future...
All in all, what started out as 'just a little bit of fun' seems to have turned into the highlight of the patch, at least for some. The surge of community interest was actually quite astonishing. There have been threads in the forum, on reddit, as well as discussion in-game, where a dedicated chat channel (9451) was created!
Speaking as the author of the riddle poem, it was truly delightful to watch the rampant speculation unfold, as everyone tried to figure it out together. It seemed like each person had their own interpretation of each part of the riddle, and I saw some fascinatingly imaginative theories generated. I've been taking notes, and I've got some very interesting ideas for the next one.
Oh yes, there will be more riddles. At the very least, Charan's third sword, The Goddess Unleashed will need a recipe... and a dastardly, mind-bendingly cryptic riddle to go with it. It'll need to be a lot tougher that this first one, that's for sure.
I know I'm really looking forward to it, and I hope y'all are, too.