Announcements - 2000/07 - To Raise a Banner of Flame

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July 2000 - Patch Page



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To Raise a Banner of Flame

July 7, 2000

Note: With the July update, the areas in the northern and southern mountains and the deep northern forests will be getting significantly tougher. If your character is unprepared for these battles, you should move them to a safer area before the update.

Lo Ma, Jeweler of Lin, smiled as he accepted the payment from Kouron. "Thank you," he said, with polished professional gratitude. "It's hard to make a living in a forest town - "

Lo Ma was cut short as the ground swayed; he stumbled, but Kouron, who was not only (in his own opinion) a masterful item enchanter but a fine archer as well, rode out the movement with ease. “Another one!”Lo Ma cried. “And the sky's turning colors, the air feels oppressive - ”

“And there are golems in the mountains that I haven't seen since the last time I went to the Dires,”Kouron said, with a cool hunter's smile. “And I hear of drudge lurkers in the forests to the far north - what a pleasure that will be.”

Lo Ma shook his head and muttered under his breath; Kouron's smile remained.

“Imagine!”To Za-I, Lin's Weaponsmith, stomped over, both irritation and wonder on her face. “Krau-Li! I haven't heard that name in years!”

Kouron shrugged, but Lo Ma exclaimed, “That old warrior with the fine jitte, said to be Ben Ten's rival! Has he been found?”

To Za-I shook her head. “I doubt it - I think he joined his ancestors long ago - only, some idiots are throwing the name around as if they had found him! But look at this.”She held up a tiny cloth sack. “Lo Ma, you are a jeweler. You know metals as well as I do. I was given this today. What do you make of it?”

Lo Ma carefully opened the sack. Curious, Kouron casually reached out and touched the cool, gritty powder, letting it slide across his fingertips . . . and suddenly recoiled. “Oh no,”he muttered in alarm and distaste. The others stared at him in blank surprise. “I think - I think this metal . . . never mind! Who gave it to you?”

Fulfilling our commitment to bring players a world-altering event each month, we'll be opening “To Raise a Banner of Flame” next week! These days in Dereth have grown dark indeed, the sun's light filtered through motes of ash in the air. Along with these dark skies, the orange burning sun - threat of fresh danger fills the realm. If your travels bring you to the northern and southern mountains or the deep north forests, be forewarned of increasingly powerful monsters. Adventurers unprepared for fierce battles should remove themselves from these areas at once!

Continue your role in this incredible on-going story - we'll see you in Dereth!

Rollout Article

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To Raise a Banner of Flame

July 11, 2000

Banner Flame 09.png

Fulfilling our commitment to bring players a world-altering event each month, we've opened “To Raise a Banner of Flame”. These days in Dereth have grown dark indeed, the sun's light filtering through motes of ash in the air. Along with these dark skies, the orange burning sun - threat of fresh danger fills the realm. High-level heroes have been seen staggering back to safer towns, claiming to have come from a hereto unseen land; their claims have been questioned, however, since none of these survivors seem able, or willing, to map this land's location. Instead, content to nurse soot-blackened faces and anoint searing burns, they vehemently warn all listeners against retracing their steps. Tis not a land for the novice, they warn. Tis a place sure to see bones of the mighty among us. According to their tales, new and stronger monstrous kin have surfaced in Dereth.

Whatever beasts these men allude to, true evidence of fearsome monsters has surfaced just east of the Direlands. The areas of the northern and southern mountains, as well as deep in some forests have become flooded with tougher creatures, apparently fleeing eastward from their old home, pushed out by the stronger forces appearing there last month.

Whether these stories are to be believed or not, July's event promises some prominent changes in the game. Entirely new weapons, including strong variations of maces and spears, have been discovered - some weapons comprised of elements never before seen!
Read the new State of the Code and Build Notes, July, to learn the full scope of the update. Be part of this incredible on-going story - we'll see you in Dereth!

Release Notes

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Asheron's Call Build Notes

July 11, 2000

Here are just some of the details from the July 11, 2000 game update: To Raise a Banner of Flame. This list is culled from "check-in" notes submitted by the game developers themselves. Notes of greatest importance are listed first.

Not all changes have been included with these build notes - that would spoil the fun of finding out everything that has been added or changed! Also, some changes provide ways for players to drive our evolving story forward, and thus we won't entirely reveal them here. As usual, though, the Town Criers, Barkeeps, and Scribes may know the latest news! Also, the trades of crafting and selling are always in flux, so changes to prices and abilities of items are not always listed here in their entirety.

Detailed Notes for Builds 2370-2389:

  • Squelch has been updated. There is now a new set of commands to enable a user to take more control over their gaming experience. The improved functionality will allow you to squelch all characters from a single player. You can also filter out unwanted messages, such as assessment. All other previous functionality of squelch remains the same. For a complete list of all commands, try the in-game help by typing: /help squelch, /help filter, /help advancedsquelch and /help messagetypes.
  • All wands, whether new or previously owned, fire more slowly.
  • All quest-item wands, whether new or previously owned, use half as much mana.
  • Only new non-quest-item wands will use half as much mana - we were unable to change old non-quest-item wands.
  • Certain monsters, such as Olthoi, Lugians, Zefirs, and Phyntos Wasps, are more likely to switch their targets than before, and attack those who are hurting them the most.
  • It less likely that you will pop off the edge of a mountain and slide down the slope.
  • Strange new weapons with properties unseen before in Dereth have been added.
  • More powerful spears and maces have been introduced.
  • The maximum stacking size for spell components has been increased to 100 and for craft items to 50.
  • New spells to discover have been added!
  • New extremely powerful monsters, residing in a place yet to be discovered by powerful adventurers, have been added . . . be careful where you tread!
  • The problems with players receiving " You are not a Player Killer " error, or (if PK) hurting themselves while firing arrows, have been fixed.
  • Using mana stones on Compound Bows now brings up a confirmation panel.
  • Monsters in some dungeons now regenerate a bit more slowly, to prevent the dungeons from getting too overloaded.
  • New and exciting dungeons have been added for all to enjoy.
  • Added alchemy/fletching/cooking mastery to the treasure system - magic hats now have a 5% chance of having one of these spells on it.
  • Chances that a Diamond Golem will drop a heart have been increased.
  • The odds of getting a trophy from certain banderlings have been increased.
  • Corpses no longer float! Gravity has sucked them back down to earth.
  • Ambient sound upgrade project has begun. The center of the Obsidian Plain and volcanic regions have received love in this update. More to come.

Letter to the Players

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The Spin From Turbine

July (2000) Edition

If you're only interested in the Shadow Hunter armor issue, scan down to the bottom . . .


Sometimes we love it, other times we hate it. But we all agree that it's one of the most important factors in determining what we do. Right now there are a couple of ways that we communicate with you:

1) Through the monthly spin from Turbine articles. Basically, this is a one-sided conversation, where I (or another member of the dev team) respond to what we've been reading on message boards, fan sites, and hearing in the game. Trying to wrap up every outstanding issue into one brief article does help you get an idea what we're thinking, and why, but also skimps on facts concerning some of the “real issues” that are being discussed.

2) The monthly development chats. In the past, we've had as many as 6 or 7 dev team members answering your questions (is that too many of us, or does it help you in getting the info you want?). While not the best way for us to respond to all the major questions you have, it does have the benefit of allowing individuals to post specific questions and get a response directly from us. Unfortunately, a number of questions seem to come up month after month which have been addressed in previous chats, or the questions are so specific that we'd need to have all the design specs in front of us to calculate the correct answers. Probably the worst situation is when we get a question about something that is definitely going to happen in a certain time frame: these we really cannot answer with specifics, although we want to.

3) Reading and posting to the fan sites. Normally, we hit the top two or three fan sites and post responses occasionally to message threads that are burning out of control (granted, we start a lot of those fires!). This method seems to work because we can see what the general consensus of the crowd is, post a few questions or comments, and get a lot of feedback from all of you. In a sense, we push and pull the conversation in certain directions and see where the thread goes from there. The arguments between posts - as long as they're kept insightful and not simply diatribes - are invaluable to us in shaping future changes to the game. Unfortunately, a lot of our audience are very casual players, or lurkers, and never post.

4) Individual email, IRC, in-game conversations, and feedback from the online team. These are probably the most focused ways for us to answer questions - virtually one-on-one. Unfortunately, the ratio of players to Turbine employees is so incredibly high, that we'd never get any work done if we relied on this method more than we currently do. The online team (advocates & sentinels) are a great way for you to communicate, as they let us know general trends and the “mood” of the community.

5) Face-to-face meetings. We loved meeting a bunch of fans over the weekend, and I think we got some great feedback from many who attended. Unfortunately, to get through the entire AC player base, we'd have to hold hundreds of these gatherings in different locations around the world almost non-stop! Obviously not a practical solution (but fun to imagine!).

What does that leave us with? Five fairly ineffective ways to establish a meaningful dialog, except when used together! That's why we use them all.

Well, I'm turning to you for help. How can we improve the communication between the development team and you? In particular, I'm interested in hearing ideas about how we can make the monthly development chats more effective, and how we can better use the message boards to establish some kind of meaningful dialogue with you. You'll soon see a new online form that you can use to enter suggestions, which we'll begin to use in addition to combing the various fan message boards.

So, what's a solution? For now, start posting to the boards (yes, even you lurkers!), if you haven't already, with your opinion on how we can communicate more effectively back and forth about the major topics of discussion. Soon, you will be able to use our online form to send us comments and ideas. We need to know what works and doesn't work for you, and you should know what to expect of us as well. Please also feel free to suggest any other methods that we can use in addition.

We want to know what's on your minds as much as you do ours.
So, what's on your mind?

Scott Herrington
Producer, AC
Turbine Entertainment

PS - Many of you will probably notice a “new” person from Turbine posting to some of the boards. His name is James Cowgill. He's actually been at Turbine longer than I have, and he's helping to manage and schedule the ongoing content development for AC. Please treat him with the same respect that you've given myself and the other Turbinites who post, and go easy on him as he gets into the swing of all things AC.

Shadow Hunter Armor Debacle

OK, we screwed up.

Content in the game is always subject to change, since we can only speculate on how any addition we make to the game will be unbalancing, overpowered, or useless. It's only when we see the stuff in action that we can assess whether or not we made mistakes.

In the case of the Shadow Hunter armor, we made it too good. (Agree? Disagree?)

That was mistake number one.

Mistake number two was making changes to it without giving you any warning. As somebody wrote in, the people we really hurt were the more casual players who were in the middle of the quest. We made AC a game of “have and have not's”, something we did not intend.

We had debated whether or not to give some warning to you, but thought that would have encouraged massive camping (something we try to avoid) and mass hysteria. In hindsight, we would probably prefer some camping/hysteria rather than losing the trust of our players by removing the armor without warning.

We're sorry about that and will try to notify you better in the future about changes of this magnitude. Nonetheless, the nature of some changes will require us to surprise you, in order to prevent very bad camping.

On the bright side, for those of you who are still trying to get yourself a good set of Shadow Hunter armor, changes will be coming that should still make it worth your while.

There will always be some unique stuff introduced and removed from the game throughout the years to come. So you didn't get the “vintage” Shadow Hunter armor, but new stuff will be coming that you can get - and that players who start after you may never have a chance to quest for. AC is only 9 months old, and new items are being added all the time. By this time next year, you may be handing “vintage” Shadow Hunter armor to newbies because something bigger and better has come along that makes shadow armor useless to your character.

Regardless, I wanted to let all of you who have spoken out (both in our defense, and those who pointed out our mistakes) to let you know that we are listening to you and reacting to what you have to say.

State of the Code

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State of the Code

July 11th, 2000

This is the latest installment of a frequently updated series of reports on "The State of the Code" for Asheron's Call. In this report, we keep players informed as to the state of some of the more technical aspects of AC, particularly bugs we are working on and technical limitations of which you should be aware. Look on the “News”page on the Zone for other articles about recent additions and changes to AC.

Major game update on July 11
On July 11, in the early hours, we introduced another major update. Our ever-evolving storyline continued as amazing new adventures have been added to Dereth. To help in these adventures, additional weapons and spells have been introduced; the update also fixes a number of bugs. Look for news articles on the Zone that tell you of the changes made.

State of the Code Archive
Below are items from previous State of the Code articles. Some items have been retired from the archive below because we believe they have been fixed. If they turn out not to have been fixed, we will revive those items.

A member of my fellowship appears to not be able to hear me when I talk to him in fellowship chat. What is going on?
If a member of your fellowship filters out fellowship chat, you will not be informed of this when you send him messages. So it will appear as though the messages are being sent acceptably. You may want to send him a direct /tell or open chat asking him if he has fellowship chat filtered out.

My patron appears to not be able to hear chat that I am sending them with /p. -OR- My monarch appears to not be able to hear chat that I am sending them with /m. What is going on?

If the person decides to filter out allegiance only chat, the members of his/her allegiance will not be sent a message that they are not receiving that message. You should contact that person via direct tells or open chat to see if this is the case.
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