Announcements - 2001/10 - The Widening Gyre

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October 2001 - Patch Page

Contents


Teaser

Original Link (now dead) - http://zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/octoberteaser.asp

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The Widening Gyre


September 28, 2001

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Martine smiled with satisfaction as the electric flows meshed from the three prongs of the transport base, and the portal flared into being. This was the final one. Twelve in all, his personal invitations to the Isparians to come visit Marae Lassel. And the Virindi thought themselves safe there? The fun would soon begin.

And that was only one front of his crusade against the alien beings. How easy it was to magnify Ecorto's desire for order into something more radical. And now the Director stood there in Zaikhal, sending hordes of Isparians nipping at the heels of his former tormentors. They would know pain and fear. They would come to know it well.

But Martine wondered whether he was winning the battle at the expense of the war. He trembled with anger as he thought of that meddling witch, Nuhmudira. Housing, of all things! She and her Agents of the Arcanum would need to be dealt with. But Dereth had taught Martine to be flexible, to be patient. Good things were coming. Let the humans play with their new toys, their masks and their elixirs. Let them acquire their "Writs" and think themselves safe and secure in their new homes.

The mouse is never easier to catch than when stuffed with cheese.

The thing once known as Candeth Martine raised his hands and teleported himself back to his stronghold on Marae. After all, he had visitors to prepare for.

Unlike any other gaming experience, the world of Asheron's Call continues to evolve. As autumn fully settles over the land, what further tricks can be expected from Dereth's mortal enemies? Join us, as the The Widening Gyre event opens soon.

Be sure to continue your part in this incredible ongoing story, and we'll see you in Dereth!

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Rollout Article

Original Link (now dead) - http://zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/octoberrollout.asp

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The Widening Gyre


October 9, 2001

Side virindi.jpg

As the nights deepen and grow ever more sinister, the autumn moons rise over a troubled landscape. The fall season has arrived in full, many would attest, with the same baleful chill as the Virindi who haunt the isle.

These twilight days have seen the Virindi make their next, and most terrifying, play to gain ultimate control of Dereth. Rumors speak of hidden installations, carefully stockpiled resources, and efforts to construct a New Singularity. If not more dangerous, than far more random, the Virindi's countryside raids also continue. The next waves, however, have been composed of Simulacra, cleverly disguised as the very heroes they hunt. As the Virindi strengthen their foothold in the world, the hum of a New Singularity grows ever louder, ever clearer. . .

Against these invading forces the true citizens of Dereth cannot be swayed from grand autumnal celebrations--and discoveries. Ever the experimenters, alchemists have hit upon the means to create valued elixirs, replenishing both physical and mystic vigor. Along with a host of sweet dishes added to the already encyclopedic knowledge of cooking, these will serve well to bolster Dereth's heroic forces. And continuing a popular, if gruesome, tradition, the severed remains of certain creatures can again be crafted into masks terrifying to behold--proving the Virindi are not the only ones to don such wear. . . or perhaps their efforts to corrupt humanity have truly begun to succeed.

Yet even as the Virindi attempt to conquer all, humanity looks to better house its own occupation of Dereth. Archmages of the Zaikhal Arcanum have completed research on ancient geomancy texts, allowing for the lawful division of housing, and already vendors with bright entrepreneurial spirits have appeared, offering the finest in home furnishings. Of course, safe habitation on this troubled isle must come at some tremendous price. . .

Following is a list of the most interesting additions made to the game this update. However, please note that not everything has been included--that would spoil the fun of finding out all manner of things added or changed! 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 features are not always listed here in their entirety.

Highlights include:

  • The Virindi redefine ruthlessness as they complete the last stages necessary to build their New Singularity.
  • Writs of Refuge can be found, offering the chance for household ownership.
  • Furniture vendors have also appeared, hawking everything from tables and chairs to art and candelabras.
  • Alchemists can now develop Health and Mana elixirs.
  • New cooking ingredients lead to new and tasty recipes. Autumn treats for everyone.
  • Holiday masks return! The doomed creatures of Dereth have already begun to hide their hunted heads in terror.


With the deepening of fall and celebration of the autumn season, the Virindi have renewed their campaign to wipe Dereth clean of all humanity. Be sure to check the Developer's Notes for October, the Event Highlights, as well as the State of the Network, to learn more details of “The Widening Gyre” event. Join us as we continue the ongoing saga of Asheron's Call, and we'll see you in Dereth!

Release Notes

Original Link (now dead) - http://classic.zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/octoberbuild.asp

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Developer's Notes


October 9, 2001

Here are just some of the additions made in the October 9 game update, “The Widening Gyre.” The following list is comprised of detailed notes straight from the developers themselves. For a summary of things of interest, be sure to consult the official event article, The Widening Gyre.

We appreciate your feedback and bug reports in helping to ensure that the world of Dereth is a stable and fun place to be. Please submit any such bug reports to http://bugs.zone.com.

Miscellaneous Improvements

  • All Mana stones now destroy themselves at a flat 10% rate, regardless of their efficiency.
  • Advanced alchemists can now craft their own versions of Health and Mana elixirs.
  • The pyreal gets an icon makeover.
  • The Olthoi have a new look. . .
  • A bug causing a situation known as “Green Link Lag,” where players' clients were receiving data but unable to output data back to the server, has been identified and fixed.
  • A bug with the @fillcomps command has been fixed so that when a player switches between characters on the same account, the correct values for that character are displayed instead of those of the previous character.
  • A bug introduced last month where the camera angle was skewed slightly has been fixed. The camera angle should be back to where it was before September's event.
  • The bug where trying to stretch the enlarged chat UI box caused a crash of the client has been fixed.
  • There was a bug where the Dread Ursuin was not dropping its trophy item at all. It is now dropping at the correct percentage.
  • Apprentice Mage Robes have had the “Inept spells” removed, their Mana burn rate reduced, and their Mana tank total boosted to 250.
  • Xarabydun gem's “Impulse spell” has had its duration boosted from twenty minutes to three hours.
  • There is now an exit portal in the Swamp Gardens.
  • Upon leveling, characters immediately replenish HP, Mana, and Stamina totals.
  • New characters now start with 500 pyreals instead of 100.
  • New characters that have the Bow or Crossbow skill now start with 250 arrows or quarrels instead of 100.
  • New characters that begin with magic skills now start with five of each starting component instead of one.
  • The Soldier template now trains Crossbow instead of Bow, and specializes in Arcane Lore instead of training in it.
  • The Bow Hunter template has new starting attribute values: 40/30/100/100/50/10, and a new set of skills, specializing in Bow, Melee Defense, and Arcane Lore, and training in Item.
  • Each template now has a set of “recommended skills” which are listed in the description for each template in character generation.


Minor Details

  • The locked gate in the subway dungeon has been removed.
  • The North Exit portal in the North Black Claw dungeon now actually leads to the North Exit instead of the South Exit.
  • The destination for the random landscape portal: “Mid Direlands Portal” is now, surprisingly enough, in the Mid Direlands instead of somewhere in Northern Osteth.
  • There was a bug where a quest flag was not working for the Laboratory Key to the Sylsfear Chest. This has been fixed. The quest flag for this key is now two weeks.
  • Players can no longer recall through portals created by the various portal gems (to the nine newbie towns and three archmages).
  • Stats have been slightly tweaked on the weaker bows in the game to make them more similar with respect to one another: Longbow, Shortbow, Yag, Nayin, and Shouyumi.
  • @help fillcomps now refers to the different types of component categories.
  • The description of the Simulacra Helm now correctly refers to itself as a "helm" instead of a "shield."
  • Fixed a bug where Gromnies were not always able to successfully attack players if the players were on uneven terrain. This has been fixed.
  • Fixed a minor typo in creating Diluted Health Infusions where text referred to “fire” instead of “health.”
  • Robe of the Tundra now covers the head.
  • The icons for the starting Soldier template during character generation now display axes instead of swords.

Letter to the Players 1

Original Link (now dead) - http://www.zone.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEletteroct.asp

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A Letter to the Players


October 8, 2001

October marks a very exciting time in the land of Dereth. Not only will Asheron's Call Dark Majesty hit the store shelves later this month, but tomorrow will be the normal monthly update. No, this update will not just be new features from the expansion. We are as dedicated now to monthly updates that impact our entire player base as we have always been.

In fact, this month players with the proper training in Alchemy will actually be able to create their own Heath and Mana elixirs (Stamina elixirs are around the corner, too). There are some new cooking ingredients for the chefs of Dereth to experiment with and some exciting changes to Mana stones. We are also bringing back our October tradition of monster masks, with some new twists. And as for storyline. . . well, let's just say there are some very compelling quests this month.

Tomorrow's downtime will be slightly extended to compensate for our final preparations for Asheron's Call Dark Majesty; players should expect an extended download, much like September's. With this download comes the final pieces for Asheron's Call Dark Majesty as well as our regular monthly update.

We know there are a lot of questions about housing. One of the most important is how are we avoiding a “first come, first served” housing availability issue? This was one of our main concerns as we designed our housing system. We didn't want the sole criterion for house ownership to be who bought the expansion the fastest.

As a result, we created a number of different dynamics that will help to spread out, over time, the availability of our houses. First, the housing availability for the month of October will happen in three “waves.” The first wave will be timed to coincide with the release of Asheron's Call Dark Majesty. The second and third waves will be opened to the players at times yet to be determined in between the release and the day of the November event. It is only when the houses have been made available that players will be able to see what items they need to purchase that house, so that people will generally be unable to stockpile items in preparation beforehand. In some cases it will be downright impossible.

Most importantly, we are dedicated to adding additional housing as part of our monthly updates to ensure there will be numerous future opportunities to purchase a house.

We also have some exciting things coming in November with the mansions on the landscape. Initially, these large structures will not be available for sale. Coming in the month of November however, most will open up with a further allegiance requirement. In addition to that requirement, there will also be some allegiance-specific commands tied to it that you will only have with these allegiance houses.

This is indeed a very exciting time in Dereth and the entire AC Team would like to take this opportunity to thank all the players for making Asheron's Call the success it is today. It is because of you that we are able to give you this incredible month, and we are certain you will enjoy some of the additions to come in the following months.

--The Asheron's Call Team

Letter to the Players 2

Original Link (now dead) - http://classic.zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/asheletteroct2.asp

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A Letter to the Players


October 23, 2001

Asheron's Call Dark Majesty is now upon us. We expect that copies will start to appear at your local software stores later this week. In anticipation of the release of Asheron's Call Dark Majesty, we wanted to take a few moments to answer a few questions we've heard from you over the past few weeks.

Many of you have noticed that there are now two sets of lobbies on the AC Zone pages. The new set, labeled “Asheron's Call Dark Majesty,” is for members who have purchased the expansion. The existing set of lobbies is for those who have not purchased the expansion. Once you upgrade your account to Asheron's Call Dark Majesty or buy a brand new Asheron's Call Dark Majesty account, you will need to start going through the corresponding Asheron's Call Dark Majesty lobbies. At that point, you will no long be able to launch through the normal AC lobbies. And once you upgrade to Asheron's Call Dark Majesty, you will automatically be directed to a new set of Asheron's Call Dark Majesty lobbies. You will no longer launch through the Quicklaunch lobbies (the page you arrive at when you double-click the AC icon on your desktop).

When you open your Asheron's Call Dark Majesty boxes, you will notice a new coupon number, which is good for 30 days of free play. You can use this coupon in two ways: You can upgrade your existing AC subscription to an Asheron's Call Dark Majesty subscription. If you choose to do this, 30 days will be added to your existing subscription and you will be charged only once per month for AC. Alternately, you can use this coupon to start a new account. This account will start out with 30 days of free play and be tokenized for Asheron's Call Dark Majesty.

As most of you know, one of the biggest features in Asheron's Call Dark Majesty is player-owned housing. While initially we are placing 1,000 houses on the landscape for players to purchase, we want to reiterate our commitment to adding more houses as part of our normal monthly update. We will continue to add houses in response to player needs.

We are also committed to having a system that does not favor players who are in an earlier time zone or who buy the game before other players can. That means that right now none of the houses are for sale. Throughout the month of October and early November, the houses will come on the market at various times of the day or night--you will not know when that will be. Not all the houses will come on the market at one time either. We feel that this is one way that we can ensure everyone having an equal opportunity at purchasing a house. We will continue to open houses in a similar manner as part of our monthly updates.

We also wanted to make sure that no one had an advantage with housing by knowing the final prices before they opened up. To that end, after we ended the beta phase, we made one final change to the housing prices. When a house comes on the market, that will be the first time anyone knows the total cost of that house. Additionally, when future houses come on the market, the prices will be different. Again, this is in part our commitment to ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity at houses.

In the months to follow Asheron's Call Dark Majesty's release, you will continue to see our dedication to monthly events that impact the entire world. There are new stories to be told and new adventures to undertake. New houses will come on the market and there will be more items to customize and improve your houses. One such improvement is that in the month of November you will see Allegiance Housing become available for all Asheron's Call Dark Majesty players.

We thank everyone for making Asheron's Call the success it is today, and we look forward to some extremely exciting times ahead with Asheron's Call Dark Majesty.


--The AC Team


Letter to the Players 3

Original Link (now dead) - http://classic.zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEletteroct3.asp

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Letter to the Players


October 30, 2001

Reading through various player feedback, we'd like to take this time to explain a few of the details regarding the Writs of Refuge and the housing system.

First, the maintenance period on Villas is 30 days, the same as Cottages or Mansions, not 15 days.

Second, the dynamic for obtaining Writs this month was designed for this month only. In future months there will be different methods of obtaining the Writs, some of which will be more static, and some of which will continue to change.

Third, for the purposes of this month we made the Writs no-drop and no-give. The ultimate goal of that dynamic is to make Writs a tradable item, and players should expect to see that happen in a month or two.


--The AC Team

Recap

Original Link (now dead) - http://classic.zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/octoberhighlights.asp

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Event Highlights


November 2, 2001

Event Highlights
An outcast of the renegade faction of Virindi, Ecorto, sends brave adventurers into the bosom of the New Singularity. Armed with a chisel Ecorto provides, adventurers are tasked with the retrieval of three slivers of the New Singularity they hope to construct. These slivers are kept within repositories all across Dereth.

Within the walls of the dungeon where the Virindi are hoarding the pyreal columns that they have mined, fierce dolls await arriving assailants with a host of other Virindi servitors.

In the chorizite repository the Lugian Raiders sworn to the defense of the Singularity are aided by their Virindi masters in the defense of the stockpile.

Deep within the Obsidian Plain lies another bastion of the Virindi, where the shrouded minions command their Tusker Guards and Rampagers in the defense of pillars of obsidian.

Assembly and return of the fragment created by combining each of these slivers allows entrance into the heart of the New Singularity and a chance to strike down the Director therein. Levistras wills his forces of Rampagers, Terebrous Hollow Minions and Virindi against any and all who would bring the New Singularity to an end. They are so close to success he will not abide failure.

While the hearty attempt to purge the rebel Virindi from beneath the earth of Dereth, other adventurers have returned to their Isparian roots in collecting the scalps and heads of their fallen foes to forge into masks. New masks bearing stronger spells and tied closer to the heritage of the Isparian peoples can be found across Dereth. Also collectable are masks that reflect all light giving the appearance of being headless, and masks made from Ursuin, Sclavus, Zombies and other creature heads. Mask crafters this year have also discovered ways to affix the heads to wands, and how to turn Tusker heads into fashionable handbags, sacks and backpacks.

Alchemists rejoice as they brew potions more powerful than those previously available. Cooks also show signs of giddy laughter, as they use the thick, sugary substance dropped by the Monougas. Adventurers carry candy apples and vials of healing power crafted by master chefs and grand alchemists lightening their once hefty loads.

All across Dereth agents of the Arcanum have opened their homes to others, allowing them to see just what they will be offered in the coming weeks. Also employed by these agents are furniture designers and makers who sell adornments for the homes that will be sold to Derethian residents.

It is a time of dwindling storms and growing mirth.

Yet even in this time of victory and joy, there are questions that eat away at the Isparian people. Where is the destination of these new portals? When will they open? And who has placed them here?

Security Alert

Original Link (now dead) - http://www.zone.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEsecurity.asp

Click to return to Microsoft Zone Archive

Security Alert


October 9, 2001

Yesterday evening (Monday, October 8th) the Zone was made aware of a potential security hole in its web authentication system. This matter was investigated and it was discovered that by following a very explicit set of instructions it was possible to spoof the authentication system into allowing authentication without a password. This bug was identified and fixed very early on Tuesday morning. A player logging in using this mechanism would have been able to play games, but would not have been able to gain access to other areas of the Zone. Specifically, the player would not have been able to access the account holder's email address, change passwords or access any billing records.
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