Announcements - 2002/11 - The Iron Coast

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November 2002 - Patch Page

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Teaser

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/teaser-nov02.htm

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November Teaser


The Iron Coast

Duke Langdon sent the call to his followers, requesting they all come to his mansion immediately to hear news of the latest discoveries in Dereth. The covenant crystal hummed with the arrival of each follower, and soon the Duke's audience chamber was filled to overflowing with people all struggling to hear this news.

Seated in his throne at the front of the chamber, the Duke addressed his messenger. "You mean to tell me that there is yet another island off the coast of Dereth?"

"Yes, Your Grace," responded his liegeman diffidently.

"What is that, the fifth island discovered?" Langdon grumbled. "How many islands are there around this accursed isle?"

"Well, Your Grace," a figure standing beside the Duke's throne began. "If you count the individual Vesayen Isles, this would be at least the twelfth such island. Likely there are quite a few more; all the records we've discovered point to Dereth being part of an archipelago."

"Thank you, Kinross," the Duke sighed. He pinched his fingers to rub the bridge of nose. "I appreciate you being studious in your duties as Vizier; however, the question was merely rhetorical."

Kinross bowed his head. "Yes, Your Grace."

Turning his attention back to the messenger who remained kneeling before him, the Duke asked, "And the name of this new island?"

"Actually it consists of two islands, Your Grace, so these would be the thirteenth and fourteenth islands discovered-"

"Yes, thank you!" the Duke cut in abruptly. "The number of the islands is not important at the moment. What is the name of this new island?"

"Aphus Lassel, Your Grace."

"Another Empyrean name," the Duke sighed. "How did you come to find this island?"

"I was exploring the northern wilds of Osteth when I came across a pack of Tuskers. Standing in the center of this group was a shrine of some sort. The Tuskers seemed unusually interested in defending it."

"I see, and what did this shrine look like?"

"A Tusker, Your Grace."

"Interesting," the Duke said. He turned to address his Vizier. "Kinross, do you think the Tuskers have developed some sort of totemic belief system? Perhaps due to the Virindi influence?"

"No."

The Duke blinked. "'No?"

"No… Your Grace."

Duke Langdon sighed and turned back to his liegeman. "Please continue your tale. You found a shrine, you said?"

"Yes, Your Grace. After defeating the Tuskers surrounding it, I approached the shrine and suddenly found myself tumbling through portalspace. Once the haze of portal magic faded, I was standing on the island. Well, one of the two islands that-"

"Yes, yes," the Duke said, beckoning the man to continue with an impatient wave of his hand.

"Well, Your Grace, I found myself in what could best be called a village, although it was unlike any village I had ever seen. The buildings all stood on stilts, and as I climbed up to the platforms, I found Isparians living in the buildings."

"People you say? What did you learn from the townsfolk?"

"Nothing, Your Grace."

"Nothing? Were they unwilling to talk?"

"No, Your Grace, they seemed unable to talk. The only sounds I ever heard from them were a few grunts. They were almost totally unresponsive, except when it came to the Tuskers around them. They seemed unusually dedicated to their Tusker masters."

"Interesting." The Duke rubbed his chin. "An island where Tuskers rule over men?"

"Your Grace, it is not unheard of for we Isparians to be dominated by another species," Kinross interrupted. "You, of course, recall the dark years when the Olthoi enslaved us, forcing us to prepare that disgusting gruel they fed to their grubs."

"Thank you for that history lesson, Kinross," the Duke said sharply. "Although, again, it was simply a rhetorical question."

Muttering under his breath, the Duke turned his attention back to the man kneeling before the dais. "What other information do you have to offer us?"

"Well Your Grace, it appears the Tuskers have a king of sorts," the man replied. "Surprisingly, some of the Tuskers' grunts were almost understandable. The ones I defeated would occasionally speak of their king as they fell."

"A king? Amazing!" the Duke exclaimed. "Kinross, what do you make of this discovery?"

"Nothing," Kinross said then quickly added "Your Grace."

The Duke muttered more noticeably this time, but then turned back to his follower and said, "Does this king have a name, or do you know how he can be found?"

The man shifted uncomfortably. "Well, Your Grace, I might have heard his name." He paused.

"And his name is…" the Duke prompted.

"Well, I'm not sure I understood them correctly, Your Grace. The Tuskers' grunts were difficult to understand."

"That's fine, just tell us what you think you heard."

"As I said though, Your Grace, the Tuskers' grunts were barely what I would call speech-"

"Just tell us the name!" the Duke bellowed.

"Bobo," the man said quietly.

The Duke blinked for a moment, opening and closing his mouth as he searched for something to say. Finally he blurted, "Bobo?"

"Yes, Your Grace. Bobo."

The Duke sat silent for a moment longer, then suddenly stood up and spoke in a loud, authoritative voice, "This audience is at an end."

As he stalked out of the room, the Duke muttered loudly under his breath, gesturing angrily in response to the discussion he was carrying out with himself. Once he was gone, the audience chamber exploded in conversation, each person wondering what to make of this island of Aphus Lassel and its mysterious king.

Release Notes

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/Devnotes-Nov02.htm

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November Dev Notes


Dereth reveals her secrets slowly, yet each day yields new discoveries. Occasionally the discovery may be just a few ruins uncovered by desert winds, at other times something larger, such as previously unknown lands. At the dawn of the month of Leafcull, bruised and battered explorers returned to tell of a newly discovered island called Aphus Lassel and ruled by Tuskers. Any foolish enough to attempt the exploration of this new land, these adventurers warned, would have to find and kneel before a Tusker shrine to gain passage to the island.

Aphus Lassel was not the only discovery. The Archmage Celdiseth told of a soul who stumbled into his cottage, a beatific smile gracing her face. He said that after mumbling a few words about finally being able to set things right, she collapsed. After hearing this report, explorers have set off to the northwest of Celdiseth's cabin, following the trail the woman left behind her. Others, hunting in the wilds of the lands, told of valuable treasure being found in guarded camps throughout Dereth.

New dangers and new rewards await the people of Dereth, if they are brave enough to face them…

Below are the changes made in the November event. We list changes to game functionality and existing content, but there is also new content up for you to find! Speak to town criers, barkeeps, and scribes for the latest happenings in Dereth. For more information on this month's event, please see this month's Letter to the Players. Please submit any bugs you come across to http://bugs.zone.com.

New Functionality and Content

Tuskers! It's a madhouse! A madhouse!
Skill sell-back makes its debut!
Chests containing valuable treasure are rumored to be dotting the landscape.
Six new chessboards are to be found in the world.
Although defeated, the Harbinger's spirit does not rest in peace.


Miscellaneous Improvements and Changes

The treasure found on monsters will now decay when the monster's corpse decays. However, monster corpses will now last 5 minutes to offset this, instead of the 90 seconds they previously lasted. Players or fellowships sharing looting rights still have exclusive rights to a monster's corpse for 30 seconds; after that, any player may loot the corpse. The handling of player corpses and items dropped on the ground by players has not changed. These still decay at the same rate they have in the past. Please see November's Letter to the Players for more details.
The chance for causing a critical hit with magic, both with and without a Critical Strike wand, has been increased.
A number of creatures have been modified slightly in terms of level, power, and experience. In general, these changes have made the creatures worthier opponents with correspondingly better rewards.
You can no longer be recruited into a fellowship on the sly. Whenever someone invites you to join a fellowship, you will now receive a confirmation dialog asking you if you'd like to join the fellowship. This confirmation works just like the confirmation dialog on swearing allegiance.
Ivory can now be applied to a few more items:
  • Palenqual weapons.
  • Composite Bows and Crossbows.
  • Sifili of Crimson Stars.
  • Upgraded Singularity Weapons.
  • Crystal Shields.
  • Siraluun clothing.
Instead of being forever lost, unspent skill credits are carried over from character creation.
Existing characters that may have lost a racial skill due to a bug will find they now have these missing skills.
Characters that completed the Aun Ralirea quest but did not receive the skill point reward will finally receive the skill points they deserved.
You must now be reasonably close to a chessboard before you can successfully join a game.
A player's chess ranking can now never change more than 50 points per game.
Many exploits that would allow players to interrupt a chess game have been fixed.
In the past, creatures did not react to magic damage in the same way they reacted to melee or missile damage, which led to unfortunate issues with players not receiving the quest flags necessary for certain quest rewards. This has been addressed, and creatures are now responding to all forms of damage in the same way and are flagging accordingly.


Minor Details

After a long discussion with your corpse, we finally got it to agree to lie down instead of standing up and scaring the children.
We've corrected a long-standing bug that caused more randomization than intended in the selection of items to be left behind on your corpse.
Weapon damage is no longer displaying extraneous zeros in the examination panel.
Chests no longer snap shut in your face.
The profit margins on many common crafting interactions have been examined and reduced.
All Crystalline arrows and bolts can be fired from Crystal bows and crossbows once again.
The treasure profiles for the Hea Raider's Cache, the Directive Caches, and Master Troves have been brought in line with the changes made to Sturdy Iron Chests in September.
Eviscerators and Mosswarts are now losing their heads.
The Dark Sarcophagus has been tweaked so that players should have an easier time affecting it, as originally intended.
Terese, horticulturist and mistress of the Swamp Gardens, has mended her ways and no longer takes seeds from players without giving them at least some sort of response… although it may not be the response they are looking for.
The White Rabbit's AI has been slightly tweaked so that he shouldn't be so easy to distract. However, we suggest you test this for yourself, just to make sure…
Etheric Seals are no longer needed to unlock the various statue pedestals.
The preservatives found in Marshmallow Eeps keep them fresh, even when they are on a hook in your home!
The bats have flown off.

Letter to the Players

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/lttp-nov02.htm

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November Letter to the Players


November 11, 2002

Hello to all. This letter contains information about some upcoming changes, both in the November update and in future updates. These are important changes, so please read this entire letter.

Skill Sell-back

As previously announced, we are introducing a method by which players can "sell-back" or untrain skills, as well as a method to specialize skills after creation. We had two main goals for this change: first, to allow characters to change decisions that they may have made before they understood the full consequences of those decisions; and second, to allow characters to deal more flexibly with the changing world of Dereth.

In order to sell-back or specialize a skill post-creation, characters will need to complete a quest. I won't go into the details of the quest, but here is the important information you should know about how this system will work:

Each step of a skill change--that is, increasing a skill from trained to specialized, decreasing a skill from specialized or trained, or decreasing a skill from trained to untrained--requires the completion of this quest. You can still increase a skill from untrained to trained the old-fashioned way by pressing the green triangle; this does not require a quest.
This quest is restricted to characters level 25 and higher.
You will not be limited in the total number of times you can do this quest, but you can only complete the quest once every three weeks. This is a change from our original concept, but we felt that being able to complete the quest twice during each monthly event was too liberal. We may decrease this wait time in the future.
You will be able to untrain the free skills (Run, Jump, Loyalty, and Magic Defense), but you will not be refunded the skill credits for those skills nor will the skills actually become untrained. You will be refunded all the experience you invested into those skills, however.
You will be able to untrain your racial skills, but you will not be refunded the skill credits for those skills nor will the skills actually become untrained. You will be refunded all the experience you invested into those skills, however.
You will not be able to specialize in any of the Tinkering skills.
You will not be able to spend more than 50 credits in specialized skills. These 50 credits include both the credits invested to train and to specialize the skill. This limits players to the same sets of skills that are possible at character creation. We may lift this restriction in the future.
You will not be able to alter a skill in such a way as to cause you to no longer meet a wield requirement for some item that you are currently wielding. You will be asked to remove that item, and then you can attempt to alter your skill again. (Note that you don't have to do the quest again, however.)
For new characters: Any skill points unused in creation will now carry over with you when you first enter the world, instead of being lost forever as they were previously.


Treasure and Corpse Changes

In our ongoing effort to improve the performance of our servers, we are making several changes to the treasure system, in particular as it operates with monster corpses.

Currently when a monster dies, its corpse lies there for 90 seconds and then decays, leaving behind any loot that hasn't yet been claimed. This loot remains on the ground until it is either picked up by a player, or cleaned up by the housekeeping system. Unfortunately, as long as the loot sits on the ground it eats server resources, resources related to keeping track of each item and telling all the players in the area about it. In addition, a large number of items on the ground contribute to client lag, both by increasing the amount of messaging between server and client, and by straining the graphics capabilities of the client.

So in order to reduce these performance hits, we are changing the behavior of monster corpses slightly. In November, monster corpses will remain on the ground for five minutes--a much longer period than they currently do--but when they decay, any unclaimed loot that remains on the corpse will also decay. This will reduce the number of items on the ground and thus reduce the load on the game servers. Note that this change does not affect player corpses in any way. Also note that this does not change the period of time in which a monster corpse is "protected" (i.e., the period of time in which only the monster's killer--or the killer's fellowship, if the killer is sharing kill loot rights--can access it).

In the future, we will also be re-evaluating our treasure tables to reduce the amount of absolutely useless junk that creatures drop. This change, however, is not part of the November update.

Life Magic Tweaks

Last month, we discussed some possible tweaks to Life Magic to address the continuing difficulties faced by some life mages. Unfortunately, at this time we are satisfied with neither the design nor the gameplay effects of those changes. We want to take more time to study the problem and consider your feedback so that we can make the best decisions we can about what tweaks are necessary. For this reason, there are no changes being made to Life Magic in the November update. We will keep you posted on our progress with these changes in the future.

These are the issues we wanted to communicate to you as soon as possible. Thanks for reading, and if you have any questions, please post them at http://www.accmty.com/idealbb.

Rollback Details

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/rollback-nov02.htm

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November 12, 2002


Unfortunately two issues surfaced in today’s “The Iron Coast” event, and due to the severity of one of these errors, a hot fix was required. Along with this, a database rollback to right before the worlds were brought down for the event was required as well.

The error that required this hot fix appeared in the newly introduced skill sellback quest. When untraining a skill, Asheron’s Call checks if you are wielding any items that have wield requirements for that skill. If you are, the untraining action fails and the skill gem is not destroyed. While this error checking was working, the game was still refunding the skill credits and experience spent on that skill to the character. Since the gem was not destroyed, characters could fail to untrain and receive the skill credit and experience refunds repeatedly.

The other issue that was corrected in this hot fix involved the Critical Strike imbuement. Unfortunately the percentage of receiving a critical hit while using this imbuement was changed to the percentage used by projectile spells. As this percentage for projectile spell is noticeably lower than melee and missile attacks, players were noticing a significant reduction in the number of critical hits they were dealing out.

We regret that these errors appeared in this month’s event and want to thank you for your patience as we confirmed and resolved these issues.

Video

A narrated introduction to the new island of Aphus Lassel.

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