Announcements - 2002/03 - Persuasion

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Teaser

Original Link (now dead) - http://www.zone.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEmarch02teaser1.asp

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Persuasion


March 8, 2002

Img sword2.jpg

The collection of crystalline body parts lay jumbled together on the rocky ground. The sun was high overhead, passing its way over the west coast of Dereth, glinting sharply off the faceted edges of the slumbering golem.

The man concentrated briefly. The disparate parts rose and assembled, a hulking man-shape of crystal.

Perfect. A minor part of the plan to be sure, but as in the art of demiurgy, small things, when organized in the right fashion, can have devastating effect.

He smiled. Soon.

The stone slab, once a chalky rough white, was now streaked through with deep russet stains, haloed by lighter reds and pinks.

Nuhmudira looked around the dank, dark room. It stank of death. And yet so much good had come out of it. Thanks to these sacrifices she was able to harness the flow of magic to her desire. Every day new and potent weapons and armor and jewelry were being harvested by Isparians battling to clear Dereth of the beasts that walked their land.

Her first sacrifice not even two months ago had opened the door to items of even greater power. And this next one would set the bar even higher.

Yal ibn Rab walked into the room. Not so long ago she would not have known he had entered, but with her current power she had been aware of his presence ever since he had come through the portal to this lair.

He had been the first of the Zharalim to swear to her and her alone. He had recognized the Empyrean threat when she had explained it, promising to do whatever she deemed necessary to thwart any future invasion.

She had used him hard over the past few years, and never harder than these last few months, when she had finally discovered the road to achieve their goals. At last she could provide the Isparians with powerful tools that would help to ward off the Empyreans: blood magic.

Together they had decided that some of his renegade Zharalim comrades who had sought refuge in Marae Lassel would make the perfect sacrificial targets. Already twice-outcast, no one would miss the scattered followers of Hamud ibn Rafik's ruined Tenebrous Edge order. No one would mourn their loss.

“It is done, Mistress.” He never used her name. It was always Mistress, or Malika. Queen. In some ways so formal, and yet at other times he would come dangerously close to insouciance. He had definitely not approved of her decision to take on her new apprentice. He had even dared suggest that they would be better off were he to dispose of the man.

For the first time ever Nuhmudira had called him a fool. He had just stood there, silent, as always. She had felt no need to explain all the doors that this apprentice, both intentionally and not so intentionally, was opening for her. Ibn Rab had never questioned her orders before, back when she had only the power of persuasion. She would certainly not suffer intransigence from him now.

She nodded her head for him to continue. “The new oil has been created. Bloodhunter oil. The archers can begin applying it immediately.”

As always, he had performed his tasks successfully and efficiently. For the briefest of moments she wondered whether this was something she had to do. He had been the first supporter.

But the apprentice had been clear. The statues needed a quickening agent of great power. The sacrifice required was immense.

She walked to the small table besides the slab, and poured two cups of tea. She took one of them over to ibn Rab. “Sit and share this moment with me, my Zharalim.” He bowed slightly and took the cup and they sat opposite one another at the table.

He brought the tea to his lips. There was the faintest of pauses, his sky blue eyes resting lightly on her, and her heart began to surge with fear. She would have to move quickly to--

He took one sip, then put down the cup. He exhaled slowly, and deliberately straightened his dusky robes. The eyes, blue as robin's eggs, found hers. “Why, Malika?” he said, quietly. “I would have done this willingly. All you needed was to ask.” He said no more, but watched her mutely.

The paralysis spread quickly with this blend, and soon he wouldn't be able to talk. She was glad there would be no more words. He slumped quietly.

With a strength that would have been impossible a few weeks ago, she took his comatose body and put it on the slab. She wondered whether he truly would have volunteered. But her apprentice was right, this way was quicker. Less risk. Nothing could delay the salvation of Dereth.

__________

Analysis process unclear. Prior loci of power have been established and then overrun by human agents. Nothing has been changed in this establishment to indicate different results.

Martine ignored the voice. There had been a time when he could make it shut up. Why couldn't he make it stop anymore? No, don't think of that, concentrate on the work.

Query: That is the intention? Query: You desire failure? My brethren were similarly afflicted. They labored to create the new Singularity. But I think they were afraid of success. Change is safe when it occupies the realm of the mind only. But to actually change. . . Back in the Singularity there were no distinctions between mind and body. To think was to be. Here. . . very scary.

He found himself thinking of the woman more and more. He could not stop thinking about her. Maybe he should introduce himself. Maybe she actually was his wife, but just dressed up to look different. There was the power to do that over here. He certainly looked different than when he had lived on Ispar. Maybe if he opened her up, he would find his wife underneath. She was so beautiful. He had visited her almost every night.

Illogical. She is not your wife. Query: You wish to place the creature there? Interesting choice. Perhaps if you placed it nearer the wall, it would kill more of the humans as they came through the door.

Martine growled.

I am just attempting to help. You seem more distracted than usual. Perhaps attempts to assist at this moment are not efficient use of time. I will try again later.

The voice was blessedly silent. Martine resumed finalizing his plans for this new dungeon structure. And thinking about flaxen-blonde tresses draped softly over silken pillows.

Unlike any other gaming experience, the world of Asheron's Call continues to evolve. Last month saw the return of the Hoary Mattekar and Shadowhunter Armor. For March, the changes and additions taking place will all soon be revealed. Join us when the Persuasion event opens. Be sure to continue your part in this incredible ongoing story, and we'll see you in Dereth!

Rollout Article

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

Click to return to Microsoft Zone Archive

Persuasion


March 13, 2002

Img swords.jpg

Winter begins to give way to spring, the ground swells with fresh drops of rain, and the first signs of rebirth begin to spread across the land. But darkness ever looms over Dereth, a dark shadow cast by a man with revenge foremost in his mind. He will stop at nothing to see his vengeance complete.

Yet there are beacons of hope.

The Arcanum, under guidance of Nuhmudira, has constructed towering structures to represent the heroes and foes deserving of respect in towns throughout Dereth. They act as a reminder of the efforts that all Isparians put forth in the defense of Dereth their home. They assist those adventurers as well, another gift given over by the good graces of Nuhmudira and the Arcanum.

Rumors persist that the High Queen is planning a new festival when the snows are clear and the spring rains cease. Her guards continue to patrol the fringes of the outposts and defend hapless towns from incursion. She has remained undaunted by Martine's attempted assault upon her and her son.

Despite these beacons the darkness grows. In the desert Nuhmudira's mansion lies barren and empty. The Aracanum does not speak on the matter at great length and the presence of the Zharalim defending her home make investigation difficult. Some have entered the place and not returned and others are so aghast at the things that they have seen they cannot speak.

The Isparians have proven to be a formidable foe to any who stand against them in the past, and so it remains even now. Martine's forces have yet to penetrate and create any type of fortified position on the mainland of Dereth. His efforts having been rebuffed by contingents of warriors intent on seeing his evil thwarted, and the peace that had comforted the land, returned. But now in the Direlands, Martine, after months of failure and frustration, has placed his sword into the earth and created a foothold for his forces. Terrifying new creatures roam the hallways of these strongholds, defending a prize worthy of only the strongest warriors.

There are precious few lights of resistance that waver and tremble in the encroaching darkness. The Isparians struggle against this new spreading shadow. Shall they prove triumphant before the last ray of hope is snuffed?

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:

  • Statues of creatures of Dereth and heroes of the Isparian people have been added to the center of all towns. These new gifts make the hunting and crafting process easier.
  • Three new dungeons link together in a new quest with a highly coveted reward for upper mid-level players and beyond.
  • New housing is opened across Dereth.
  • New weapons provide devastating damage.
  • Fletchers and archers now have the capability to make arrows that are more useful at higher levels.
  • Items found by way of the treasure system now have a greater chance of being better quality overall.


Be sure to check the Developer's Notes for March, the State of the Code, and the Letter to the Players, to learn more details of the Persuasion 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://www.zone.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEeventbuild.asp

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Developer's Notes


March 13, 2002

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Here are just some of the additions made in the March 13 game update, Persuasion. 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, Persuasion.

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.




New Functionality and Content

  • New quests and new dungeons related to the ongoing storyline have been added.
  • A new creature roams the Dires.
  • There is a new command, @house available. Using this command will give you a list of Cottages, Villas, and Mansions that are both open to the public, and not yet sold. The list currently caps out at 400, although there generally should not be any situations in which more than 400 houses are available at any one time.
  • Players can now use mana stones and charges on their paper doll to charge all of their items at the same time. When players use mana stones in this fashion, the game computes which items would run out of mana first (including those items which have run out of mana), and recharges those items to maximum capacity, and then moves on to the next item, etc., until the mana stone runs through its mana and is destroyed. As in the original dynamic, excess mana is still destroyed if all your items are fully charged, and you have to re-wear items that have completely run out of mana once you recharge them in order for the item's spells to take effect.
  • You now receive a warning two minutes before an item you are wielding runs out of mana.
  • When people attempt to swear allegiance to you, you now must confirm whether you wish to accept them or not. As before, squelching the person prevents them from attempting to swear allegiance to you, or you may turn off requests to accept allegiance.


Miscellaneous Improvements and Changes

  • 150 Cottages, 40 Villas, and 10 Mansions have been added to the world. We are not currently planning on adding any more Mansions to the world after this Event.
  • House Settlement Portals for those settlements added in February have been added to the world.
  • Fletchers are now able to fletch new high damage arrows and quarrels, named Deadly Arrows/Quarrels. There is a skill requirement of 230 in one's Bow or Crossbow skill to use these weapons. This is a raw skill requirement. Buffs or debuffs to either the skill or attributes feeding the skill or vitae penalty will not factor into whether a player can wield the weapon. There are currently no Deadly Atlatl Darts, although that may change in an update soon.
  • At the high levels of treasure, it is now possible to find swords with a range of max. damage up to 32, axes with a range of max. damage up to 30, maces with a range of max. damage up to 28, spears with a range of max. damage up to 26, and unarmed weapons with a range of max. damage up to 10 (although a 10-damage unarmed weapon is extremely rare). Further, there is also the possibility of the treasure system at the high levels generating swords, axes, maces, and spears with a tighter damage variance (so a higher minimum damage). For axes and swords, the tightest damage variance possible is .4 (previously .5), for maces it is .35 (previously .5), and tridents and swordstaffs .5 (previously.6 and .66 relatively), and for yaris and budiaqs it is .6 (previously .75).
  • All weapons generated with either a damage bonus or a variance bonus will have a wield requirement in that weapon's skill of 250. If the weapon has both a variance and damage bonus, the skill requirement is 260. This is a raw skill requirement. Buffs or debuffs to either the skill or attributes feeding the skill or vitae penalty will not factor into whether a player can wield the weapon.
  • There is now roughly double the chance of finding magical jewelry with either 2 or 3 spells on it compared to the old rate.
  • The chances of Focus or Willpower cantrips landing on weapons have been reduced to almost nil, while Weapon Masteries and the 4 Item spells (BD, HS, D, SK) have been increased slightly.
  • Shields no longer have a chance of generating: Bow, Crossbow, Mana Conversion, or the 4 magic school masteries cantrips.
  • Alchemy now costs only 6 skill credits to train, and 12 total skill credits to specialize. Those characters with trained or specialized Alchemy will have received 2 or 4 credits back.
  • Missile Defense now only costs 6 skill credits to train, and only 10 total skill credits to specialize. Those characters with trained or specialized Missile Defense have received 2 or 6 credits back.
  • The types of weapons generated at the high levels of treasure have been revamped. The rate at which unarmed weapons appear at these levels has roughly quadrupled. Staves have increased slightly. Daggers have been reduced slightly. Atlatls now appear in the high-end treasure system (though not in the low or middle ranges, this will be fixed in April). Nayins, yumis, and longbows, heavy crossbows all appear more; Yags, shortbows, shouyumis, and light crossbows all appear a lot less. Random thrown weapons now appear a lot less. The higher damage swords, axes, maces, and spears now all appear more, their lower damage counterparts appear a lot less (although hiltable swords appear only somewhat less often).
  • Gauntlets and sollerets can now be generated through the treasure system with Bow, Crossbow, and Thrown Weapons Masteries on them. These appear on the gauntlets/sollerets at roughly half the rate of the other weapons. Coordination now appears on the gauntlets/sollerets less, and UA, Dagger, and Staff masteries now appear slightly less, while Sword, Axe, Mace, and Spear appear at the same rate.
  • The chances for various spells to appear on magical jewelry has been slightly altered. Attribute Masteries (Strength, Coordination, etc.) now appear slightly more often than before. Life Protections now appear slightly more than double the rate they used to. The renewals (mana, hps, stamina) now appear less than half the rate they used to. Armor now appears at less than half the rate it used to (although it is still the most common spell). This change affects all levels of jewelry.
  • Prior to this Event, almost all creatures were only visible on radar when moving in some way. This has been changed so that they are now visible on radar always.
  • We have improved the monster selection keys slightly, such that you should be more likely to select the monster actually closest to you when you 'Select Nearest Monster,' instead of a monster on a level right above or below you.
  • Atlatls, atlatl darts, dartshafts, and wrapped dartshafts are now available for sale at various points in Dereth. Players can now also fletch atlatl darts.
  • There had been a longstanding bug where a player who had never entered a recallable portal had been able to recall to their logout spot. This bug has been fixed. Now, if players have never entered through a recallable portal, and they cast portal recall, it will recall them to their Lifestone instead.
  • There was a bug that set everyone's personal spell economy at .92 effectiveness even if the person had never cast the spell before. This has been fixed so that a person's personal spell economy begins at 1.00 effectiveness.
  • Dye vendors for the Neo Greater Shadow Armor have been added.
  • Mushrooms on the landscape now have very tall physics cylinders, such that players will no longer be able to jump on top of them.
  • Mushrooms in dungeons are now ethereal, such that players cannot perch on them.
  • The house panel now both tells you when your next maintenance date is, and when your next maintenance is actually due. If you have not paid your maintenance for the current month, these two dates will be the same. If you have paid your maintenance for the current month, your next maintenance date will be listed for your current period, and the next maintenance due date will be listed for next month's period.
  • All Nexus Armor on Darktide has been deleted.
  • Diamond Lords and Oak Golems have had both their armor and hit point regeneration rates reduced. We will be looking at the other “boss” monsters during March to see if others need to be adjusted for April.
  • The Glowing Virindi Cloak, and not the Mosswart Shroud, is now the correct item to use to acquire the first Singularity Bow, Crossbow, Dagger, Katar, and Staff.
  • In February, we fixed a bug in which players could form equal xp-sharing fellowships (including a fellowship of one), and thereby ignore xp reductions on killing monsters that had a lower level than the player.


Minor Details

  • A new cooking text has been added to the game.
  • If a player who owns a Mansion is to lose that Mansion during the next maintenance due date, due to loss of monarchy or rank, a warning message pops up each time that player logs in.
  • The Buadren is described correctly now as doing fire, not slashing, damage.
  • The portals into Aun Tanua's dungeon have had their level limits tweaked slightly.
  • There are now no tieable portals in the Aun Tanua dungeon.
  • There is now no entry restriction on the portal to the Burial Temple.
  • Regular Leather Crafters now return the Hoary Hide instead of exchanging it for a non-Hoary Robe.

Letter to the Players 1

Original Link (now dead) - http://zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEletter0302.asp

Click to return to Microsoft Zone Archive

Letter to the Players


March 13, 2002

Persuasion Oodles of changes for the March Event, so let's get started!

Housing
First, for the month of February, while we had (unfortunately) a number of server crashes, we had no confirmed reports of item loss on hooks or in chests, with one important exception, which we'll discuss in a bit. We now believe storage and hooks offer secure storage for your items.

However, if you put items into your storage chest or hooks, and some time shortly thereafter (anywhere from immediately after to roughly 10 minutes) the world or specific server where your house resides crashes, there is a possibility that you would lose the items you just placed. Unfortunately, this is a risk that will always be present when storing items in your house.

The good news is that we will continue to place a strong emphasis on ensuring server stability, and aggressively investigating the causes behind any server crash and fixing those promptly.

One of the items on our checklist for future housing improvements has been implemented this month. With the @house available command, we hope that people will be able to monitor open houses more efficiently than by having to camp individual houses. While the command won't solve the problem of there being more demand for houses than supply, we think Residential Quarters will.

Residential Quarters are an implementation of housing that we plan on releasing either in the April or May Event. It will be a series of linked rooms in a shared space accessible by a portal. Each room can be purchased by a single player, and the rooms offer storage, a recall spot, and a few hooks for players to put items. One of the key advantages of these Residential Quarters is that they allow us to make thousands of these spaces available in a given month, which we hope will help alleviate all players' desires for a space to call their own. Players will be able to own either a Residential Quarter or a house, but not both. Look for more information on the Residential Quarters next month.

We will also continue to develop regular housing. This month we are releasing another 200 total units: 150 Cottages, 40 Villas, and 10 Mansions. After this month we will not be making any more mansions, and instead will be releasing 150 Cottages and 50 Villas per month.

Our future plans for housing include:

  • Adding more usable hooks in the Mansions.
  • Allowing players to be able to use pyreals and Writs to purchase additional storage space in their houses.
  • Allowing players to be able to use items while the items are on a hook, and create content that takes advantage of this ability, e.g. questing for a portal to (cool place X) to put in your house.


One final note: Certain portals to Villa dungeons were broken by a change made right before the March Event. Unfortunately, these portals will not work throughout the March Event. They will be fixed for April, however. These locations are:

  • 23.0 N, 46.4 W
  • 23.1 N, 46.6 W
  • 23.3 N, 46.4 W
  • 23.5 N, 46.6 W
  • 23.5 N, 46.1 W
  • 23.1 N, 46.1 W


Skills
As you may have already noticed this month, for the first time in over two-plus years of Asheron's Call's existence, we decided to retroactively reduce the skill cost for an existing set of skills. A few months back, we took a look at all the skills and asked whether they, in some form or fashion, were worth their skill cost.

In some of these cases over the years, we have attempted to balance perceived inequities in the advantages of skills versus their skill costs with content. For example, the Singularity Key dynamic was such an attempt, to make Lockpicking worth its 6 skill credits.

Ultimately, balancing some of these costs with content was proving to be very difficult or ran a large risk of creating other imbalances. Two skills we felt we would not be adding much additional functionality to (or even if we did, it would not change the basic cost of the skill), were Missile Defense and Alchemy.

While Missile Defense definitely has its uses in combat and in allowing one to activate certain magical items, it was certainly not an 8-credit skill. We feel that 6 points to train and 10 points total to specialize more accurately reflects Missile Defense's benefits in Asheron's Call.

We also felt that Alchemy, while having the most benefits of the craft skills, and therefore worth more than Fletching and Cooking, was never going to get the constant updating through content that might make it worth its 8 skill credits to train and 16 to specialize. So we felt that 6 and 12 brought that skill closer to its actual worth.

So what else is on our skill-balancing plate? First, we should mention that we are not planning to reduce the cost of any more skills, nor are we planning to increase the cost of any skills. That said, there are some skill dynamics that we are planning to either add new features to, or to change entirely.

Appraise Armor, Appraise Weapon, Appraise Magic Item, Appraise Item and Assess Monster are all skills that we are looking to change over the next few months. That is the extent of skill-balancing that we will be investigating over the few months. (This is a separate process from our continued efforts to both balance melee skills with each other and with alternate forms of doing damage such as archery and magic. Our efforts to improve melee skills will continue during this timeframe as well.)

Over the next few months, we will release more information about these changes and what they mean for the world of AC.

Melee Changes
This month contains the first step we are taking to making the warrior and archer classes of Asheron's Call feel like they are able to compete at the higher levels of AC content with their mage brethren.

One advantage that mages have over the other templates is their ability to “unlock” higher and higher damage potentials as they increase in skill. As they increase their War Magic skill, they are eventually able to cast differing levels of War spells, with each level at a higher damage range than before.

Warriors and archers have not had that ability, until now. With Wield Requirements, we are now able to offer melee and missile players an ability to do higher damage as their skill level progresses. Ultimately, we would like to eventually offer an even higher level of damage potential for players, but we will first be monitoring and evaluating how effective this stage is.

A few notes about this specific stage: We have intentionally not improved either staves or daggers at this time. This is because of our desire, once all the weapons' changes are made, to have a weapon's true power be based roughly on their skill costs to specialize. In this manner a person who paid 16 credits to specialize sword will be able to out-damage a person who spent 4 credits to specialize dagger (for the purposes of this balancing we have to assume the optimal heritage group for a racial weapon, e.g. an Aluvian dagger character).

Given the power of the hilt dynamic, we will not be making any changes to dagger until we make our ultimate melee changes. And since staff is only a 4-credit cost to specialize, we are leery of making too many changes to staff until we have a better sense of what the ultimate effectiveness of these changes are.

Also, we did not add these changes to any hiltable swords. Generally, we did not add these changes to any of the lower damage versions of weapons.

Our next step in our plans for melee improvements will take 2-4 months to implement (sometime between May and July). We will share more details about the system as we get closer to implementation.

Treasure Changes
Hand in hand with the weapon changes comes our second set of changes to our treasure generation system. Since we were tinkering with certain systems anyway (such as weapon and jewelry generation), now seemed to be the best time to look at the parameters of what was being generated, and tweak those parameters so that they more accurately reflected the current state of the higher level game in AC.

Hence, our changes to the percentages of how often certain weapons spawn at the higher levels of treasure in the game, and the changes in percentages to how often certain spells appear on jewelry.

First, the weapons. While I know many of you will miss the acid javelins being spawned so often from SIK chests and Singularity Troves, our goal was to make sure that the weapons people are most likely to use at the high levels for a given skill are indeed the weapons actually being spawned. This meant fewer shou-onos and light crossbows, and more longbows and morningstars.

We also seized this opportunity to balance out which types of weapons were being spawned. One of the more egregious imbalances of the system was the rate at which unarmed weapons were spawned at the high levels--roughly 2% of the time. This has been boosted to 8%. The snippet in the developers' notes covers the high level issues, but the basic idea is that the availability of the weapons are loosely tied to their skill costs.

As for jewelry, we noticed that the rate at which useful multiple-spell jewelry was being found and used was a little low. To address this, we both upped the chance that multi-spell jewelry would be found, and made it more likely for “useful” spells to be found on the jewelry. While it may have made sense initially for Armor to appear 30% of the time as the spell on a piece of jewelry, it no longer makes quite as much sense some 2 years into the game. We expect to make a change in the next couple of months that will make this dynamic available to even more players, at all levels.

Finally, a couple of design fixes to problems, one old and one new: The old one is the lack of missile masteries (TW, Xbow, Bow) on gauntlets/sollerets. Ultimately we decided that there was no real reason in today's AC to allow the melee skills to have all the fun with these armor pieces. The new one is when we implemented cantrips on armor, we didn't make shields a separate category from armor, which resulted in some useless items (shields with Bow Mastery cantrip, etc.). This has been all fixed now.

Fun
Sometimes, having played or been involved with Asheron's Call since its inception, it's easy for us over here at Turbine and Microsoft to accept that the game is the way it is, and focus on adapting instead of thinking about what can and should be changed.

The way we use mana stones/charges is one example. It's tedious and slow to have to be constantly checking your items to see if they're running low on mana (although the mana bars help), but hey, it's the way the game is, right? Except that we saw it really didn't have to be that way.

And that was the genesis for our two tweaks this month to the mana stone: the ability to use it on your paper doll to fill up all of your items at once, in order of their greatest need, and to receive a warning some time before the item actually runs out of mana, so you won't lose that critical Armor 6 or Bludgeon Prot 6 just as the next set of Tusker Guards respawn.

Another change we made under the vanguard of “Fun”: making nearly all creatures appear on radar. While we appreciate the design considerations that went into the initial idea, we decided that at this stage of Asheron's Call, it was a better play experience to let everyone use their radar effectively. We felt it appropriate to emphasize playability over “reality” in this case. We also recognize that while such a change does not eliminate the usage of certain 3rd party programs, that at the very least it allows those who do not use such programs some of the same gameplay advantages.

Finally, after lots of consideration of some of the dynamics of the “Boss Monsters” we introduced some months back, we decided to address part of the problem directly, rather than waiting for all these melee/missile changes we had been talking about for a long time. While these changes are currently being worked on, we realized that those future changes and the changes that we did make this month wouldn't help a melee player kill a Diamond Lord now. We feel that with the reduction in regeneration rate and armor level, the Diamond Lord is now a much more melee-possible monster to kill. Look for some changes to the other Boss Monsters next month.

Hot Topics

  • Hollow Weapons--Due to a bug at the last minute, Hollow Weapons changes have been pushed to April. Expect upgrades to Hollow Axe, Sword, Mace, and Spear for the April Event.
  • As with our changes to mushrooms this month, expect more changes to areas in the future to make it more difficult for players to gain experience by killing creatures while away from their keyboards.


Next Month and Beyond
As you saw in the March developers' notes, we fixed a longstanding bug in which players who had never entered a tieable portal could portal recall to their logout spot. Along those same lines prepare for further changes next month to many of our portal/transportation dynamics.

Some of the highlights:

  • Everyone, regardless of whether they have Item Magic, will receive the ability to recall to their Lifestone without dying.
  • Those players with Item Magic will get a host of new features:
  • The ability to “Lifestone tie” so that they will have access to two Lifestones.
  • A second portal tie, recall, and summon spell so that one can tie to two portals.
  • The ability to recall through a “last-used” portal if one hasn't learned tie will be removed. In its place will be a new item magic spell, “recall through last used portal” which will be available to everyone with Item Magic.



Also in the near future (either April or May), we unveil some changes to one of the most maligned attributes in Asheron's Call: Endurance. While we didn't want everyone to run out and start pumping out 100 100 100 10 10 10s or 10 100 10 10 100 100s characters after April, we do want people to think that having more Endurance can be a viable play style, especially if you are a melee character. Look for more information next month.

Over the longer term, we're still going to focus on melee improvements. And we will take a look at the mid-level play experience (defined as level 25-50). Is it challenging? Is it fun? Expect to see some changes there over these next few months.

Finally, just because being a mage may be the most effective way to play Asheron's Call right now, it doesn't mean it's the most fun. Once we implement some of these changes to the melee dynamic, we will then begin unveiling some radical (and fun!) changes to the way magic works in AC.
As always, thank you for playing Asheron's Call.

--The AC Team

Letter to the Players 2

Original Link (now dead) - http://zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEletter0302-2.asp

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Letter to the Players


March 14, 2002

On Wednesday, March 27th, we will be taking the worlds offline from 8 AM to 11 AM PST to do a database purge.

What this means is that any account that has not had an active subscription since March 21, 2001, will have their characters wiped from the database.

If you have an account that has not been active since then (i.e., no subscription on the account for AC Classic or Asheron's Call Dark Majesty), and you would like to preserve your characters, you will need to renew your account on or before 11:59 PM PST on March 26th, 2002.

Any account that has had an active subscription, regardless for how long, since March 21, 2001, will not be wiped.

--The AC Team
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