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Avant Gardens

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"It was beautiful here once. Before the Maelstrom, I mean."- Crash Helmut

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Avant Gardens
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Major Characters in Location Wisp Lee, Epsilon Starcracker, Beck Strongheart, Rusty Steele, Sky Lane
Main Location of Spider Queen
Enemies Stromlings, Stromling Mechs, Dark Spiderlings
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Avant Gardens is the second world in LEGO Universe. It introduces combat, the four Factions of the Nexus Force, and several other game concepts to players.

Upon escaping the Venture Explorer, players make a landing in Avant Gardens, but quickly find that conditions there aren't much better than where they came from. The elevated highway that would normally allow for easy travel across the world has been broken in several places, leaving players with only one option, to continue on to the nearby Paradox Research Facility, which is also in ruins. There, the player meets Wisp Lee, the head researcher of the facility, who directs them to Epsilon Starcracker for protection from the Stromlings and Stromling Mechs who are roaming the ruins. Epsilon gives players their first weapon, and are then directed to Beck Strongheart at the Sentinel Base Camp.

Beck teaches the player about Armor and item abilities, then challenges them to last a minute in Avant Gardens Survival using their new skills and items. After succeeding this challenge, Beck gives the player approval from the Sentinel faction. Players then face getting approval from the next faction, Paradox.

Wisp asks players to bring him fifteen Maelstrom Infected Bricks from the Maelstrom enemies, then reveals the cause of the outbreak: Paradox had been experimenting with Maelstrom energies, and had created another Maelstrom Spider, the Spider Queen. The Spider Queen then broke out of its cage and attacked, destroying everything nearby and releasing Maelstrom gases from the pipes in the facility, allowing the Darkitect to make corrupted copies of the Paradox researchers and infect their security mechs. The Spider Queen then escaped, leaving destruction in its path.

Wisp sends players to follow the trail of Maelstrom the Spider Queen left and collect samples of it, which he then makes into a Maelstrom Cube. He then directs players to use the Maelstom Cube on a pile of bricks in an intact cage in the facility. Upon doing so, the Maelstrom uses the bricks to create a Dark Spiderling. Wisp comments that, so far, they can only create spiders, which is "probably a good thing".

Having now received approval from Sentinel and Paradox, Epsilon officially welcomes players to the Nexus Force. Players are then sent to the Maelstrom Mine, where the Spider Queen escaped to. There, they meet Melodie Foxtrot, who lends them trial faction gear, and asks them to look for clues as to where the Spider Queen went. Players then enter the mine, to find swarms of Dark Spiderlings, more ruins of Paradox equipment, and a half broken launchpad leading to Block Yard, where the Spider Queen is clearly visible. Players return this information to Melodie, who then asks them to forward it to Beck, but not before taking back their trial faction gear.

Beck gives the players permission to pass through the tunnel behind the Sentinel Base Camp, where they arrive at the Assembly Monument. After helping Rusty Steele on the monument's construction, players climb to the top and use a bouncer to get to the Launch Area. There, they find that the Spider Queen has created a large Maelstrom cloud over the picnic area, and are sent by Crash Helmut to Block Yard to confront the spider.

There, they are greeted by Vance Bulwark, who once again lends them trial faction gear to take down the spider. The player then fights and smashes the Spider Queen, destroying the Maelstrom cloud. After a brief building tutorial, players are free to build their own creations on Block Yard, and then continue on to the next world, Nimbus Station.

Locations

Paradox Research Facility

The Paradox Research Facility pumps Maelstrom from deep inside the planet chunk to the surface, where it is used by Paradox in their experiments. One such experiment lead to the creation of the Spider Queen, and subsequent destruction of nearly half of Avant Gardens. The main building contained two cells, one of which used to hold the Spider Queen. Ruins of other buildings are nearby, as well as inside the Maelstrom Mine. After the Spider Queen destroyed the Paradox Research Facility and the landscape around it became a battleground, its role was taken over by the Paradox Refinery in Forbidden Valley.

Sentinel Base Camp

The Sentinel Base Camp is the headquarters of the Sentinel faction on Avant Gardens, who were brought in to try to contain the Maelstrom outbreak. It is constructed entirely from ruins, with a broken down bus being used as a gate. Inside, players can play Avant Gardens Survival, and purchase items from the gear vendor, Klaus Zett.

Maelstrom Mine

A cave filled with Dark Spiderlings, and a sheer cliff dropping off into a sea of Maelstrom, much like the Maelstrom sea on Crux Prime. More ruins of the Paradox Research Facility can be found here, as well as the launch pad which can be used to re-play the Spider Queen Battle.

The Monument

A large scale monument being constructed by the Assembly faction, depicting a minifigure fighting a Maelstrom monster. It also serves as an obstacle course with three different paths, and is used to reach the Launch Area, as the bridge that would normally be used is broken.

Launch Area

Constructed by the Venture League, the Launch Area is home to many picnicking vendors and launchpads. Players can travel to Return to the Venture Explorer, Nimbus Station, Block Yard, and Avant Grove, or shop for items and accept daily missions from the many NPCs.

Properties

Beta Information

Avant Gardens originated early on in the development of LEGO Universe as Nimbus Park, an introductory world with aqueducts, fountains, and lush gardens. Nimbus Park was eventually redesigned into Avant Gardens, though at this point Avant Gardens still used several concepts and characters from Nimbus Park.

One early version of Avant Gardens consisted of a long highway, curving around and through a mass of dome-shaped hills surrounded by an ocean. The world did not contain faction-based locations like the finalized world, but instead focused more on teaching new players key gameplay concepts. Players entered the world by landing their Rocket at a space port, with the beginning of the highway at the end of the space port's runway. Upon following the highway, players encountered four NPCs, one representing each Faction of the Nexus Force. The Paradox and Sentinel NPCs were locked in a "kipper duel" between each other, each building an object to smash the other's creation, in the process building everything from submarines to dragons to NetDevil Angler Fish, while the Assembly and Venture League NPCs watched them. The Venture League NPC also gave a mission asking players to patrol Avant Gardens and report to the Sentinel Guard at the end of the park for him. Continuing down the path and through a tunnel, players arrived at the Monument, which was the same obstacle design as the Monument used in the final world, though with additional traps such as moving pistons armed with spikes. On a the highway in front of the Monument were a picnicking pirate and ninja, as well as several ants. As the highway was still under construction in this portion, players had to climb the Monument to proceed. Past the Monument were two more picnickers, a monkey and robot, and Friendly Felix. Following the highway around a curve, players arrived at Red Blocks. Here, the Beastie Blocks, Dwarf, and Fireman could be found, all offering missions with dance emotes as rewards. Past Red Blocks and down the highway were two more picnickers, a cowboy and astronaut. Burno was also likely located somewhere nearby, as the Fireman offered a mission to get a Burno Dog from Burno's Hot Dog cart. At the end of the highway was a garden area, though the Maelstrom had sent a large meteor crashing into the center of it, corrupting the landscape and Robot Mowers, and turning minifigures into Strombies. After players battled through the infected area, they were directed by the Sentinel Guard to go to Zorillo Plaza and report the Maelstrom activity to the Reporter there. Players then used the bricks collected from defeating Corrupted Mowers to build a mosaic portal to Zorillo Plaza.

3D models found in the LEGO Universe files indicate that another version of Avant Gardens similar to the previously described version also existed, however, it is unknown what content this version of Avant Gardens may have contained, but it is known that it also contained an elevated highway.

A third version of Avant Gardens is also confirmed to exist. While it appears to be the same in design as the final world, it uses many models and other assets from previous versions of Avant Gardens, indicating it may have been a temporary mock-up.

Avant Gardens was heavily revised in the Power of the Nexus Force update. Prior to the world's revamp, the battle against the Spider Queen was planned to be against the Spider Boss, in a Spider Cave battle instance. The Maelstrom Mine only included the small area in front of the cave entrance, which was blocked off by Maelstrom Fog that required a Maelstrom Helmet to pass. While the Maelstrom Helmet was once given to players by Numb Chuck in early versions of Forbidden Valley, and later given to players by Rad Eccles in Nimbus Station during alpha testing, there was no way to attain the item in the live game. However, even when the Maelstrom Fog was passed by means of using glitches, there was no way to enter the Spider Cave instance, and the cave entrance itself was a dead end with nothing behind it. As a result, Beck Strongheart did not send players into the Maelstrom Mine, and players were free to continue on to the Monument whenever they wanted. As the Spider Boss was underground, and not on Block Yard, the Maelstrom cloud over the Launch Area did not exist, and players were able to travel to Nimbus Station without even visiting or claiming Block Yard.

Gallery

Trivia

  • The world's name is a play on Avant-garde, a term meaning "new and unusual". The word 'Avant' also means 'Before' in French.

References


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