December 2002 - Patch Page
Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/Teaser_12-02.htm
The Hall of the Tusker King
The shrill sound of metal scraping on metal alerted the slumbering beast that its captor had returned. On the slab the tusker squirmed, railing against the ribbons of energy that held its arms and legs pinned to its sides. Aerbax floated toward his subject and bent his head to inspect the area that would be the focus of his work this day.
As Aerbax inspected his subject, a puppet floated into view at the end of a dark corridor that oozed a heavy red film. These new facilities were the latest of the Virindi's attempts to understand the psyche of the Isparians. And while the rooms had been constructed to mimic the interior of Isparian homes, Aerbax felt there was a flaw in the process. Even though the weak minds of the Isparians often colored their thoughts in hazy red mires, experimentation had shown that they were capable of observing visible light in ways far beyond the dulling red that enveloped their thoughts. When he had brought these observations to the attention of the Quiddity, it had thought these ideas far too irrational and turned them aside, and Aerbax accepted their will in this matter.
Even though his peers had spared Aerbax, thinking that he could be reformed, they remained ever watchful for signs of contamination, signs of individuality. He was familiar with what those deemed mentally flawed had become, rendered into mindless puppets. Yet, although almost infinitely powerful, the Quiddity still couldn't comprehend the simplest concepts Aerbax had learned from the physical world—concepts such as deception. The simple acceptance of the Quiddity's will in this matter had been all that was required to return him to its trust, and he now found himself back in Dereth.
Upon his return to Dereth, he had seen that some of his former comrades, such as Levistras, were still clinging to their concept of a new Singularity. At one time he had aided them in their quest, but now he gave no thought to their plight. He was no fool; long before Levistras had even achieved his supposed understanding of "self," Aerbax had been self-aware, and he could now see that resisting the will of the Quiddity in this way was doomed to failure. No, for now he would use this art of subterfuge he had mastered. He would not be dragged down with those rebels when their attempt failed.
He thought all this in the moment it took him to form the scalpel he would need for the experiment. He looked down at the tusker, and the large orange beast trembled in fear as much as rage. Aerbax examined the edge of the scalpel to ensure it was sharp enough, then examined the sloped brow of the creature. He focused his attention on the area where the hair had been stripped clear.
He looked into the creature's eyes and forced the mouth on his mask to curl upwards at the ends. He had seen the Isparians change the skin on their faces like this, and it seemed appropriate now. He sensed the emotion the Isparians called fear in the creature, so he tried to soothe it with the words he had heard the Isparians use on their offspring.
"Worry not my son, the pain will last only as long as the process takes."
With the scalpel, he cut effortlessly through the scalp and skull of the tusker, fusing tissue closed and leaving dollops of purple congealed blood along the incision. The tusker wailed and pulled against the restraints, but Aerbax continued. Finally a section of the tusker's skull fell onto the slab with an audible thump. The puppet watched as Aerbax shook his head and mumbled, "This will take more effort than expected."
Oolutanga grunted and stirred, the rough assemblage of bamboo he called a throne creaking under his weight. His dream had come again, but stronger and in more detail than he had yet experienced. As he sat pondering it, a guard, awakened by the creaking of the throne, made its way over to him,. The guard grunted inquisitively, asking if everything was all right. Oolutanga began grunting a reassurance to the guard that everything was fine, then cut himself short. He suddenly realized what the dreams meant—the Masked God had returned.
"Summon the hero," he grunted to the tusker, "I, who am Oolutanga, will not see us slaves of the Masked God again."
Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/devnotes-12-02.htm
December Dev Notes
Hall of the Tusker King
It is a time of reconstruction and rebuilding for the people of Dereth. Few can forget the scene of Arwic's destruction, when one of Bael'Zharon's Spires reduced it to a smoking crater. Yet even after the defeat of Bael'Zharon and the disappearance of the Spire beneath the ground, the people had refused to rebuild.
Now, after spending months surveying and erasing the craters created by the devastation, the Arcanum builders, under the direction of High Queen Elysa, have finally rebuilt the town of Arwic. Soon after the last nail is hammered in, many of the former residents of Arwic move back in, happy to move out of their makeshift "New'ic." Adding to their joy are rumors that the Arcanum has more in store for Arwic. Yet a few dissenting voices can be heard, those who question the wisdom of rebuilding the town in the same location where such a heinous attack once occurred.
Also, students of Nuhmudira have been appearing in the various towns, requesting the aid of the townspeople in their studies. Although no longer associated with the Arcanum, Nuhmudira has taken on students from the various races, including the Aun Tumeroks and Lugians of Linvak Tukal. These students say that she has been bringing their unique disciplines and abilities to bear on the objects that are currently consuming her studies: the Lifestones. Although these objects preserve the lives of all the people of Dereth, they remain a mystery to those whose lives depend on them. In light of the past year's events, her students say Nuhmudira is convinced that they must unravel the Lifestones' secret and perhaps even find means to create Lifestones themselves. Then they can be truly confident that Dereth is their land.
Elsewhere, on the island of Aphus Lassel, new mysteries have also been uncovered, as the leader of the "free" Tuskers has been reportedly found. Supposedly he will grant magnificent boons to those who approach him, but only after they prove themselves in combat. The stories tell that this challenge is not easy, so only the most skilled warriors have even a hope of facing the Tusker King's challenge.
Gifts and dangers abound…
Here are the changes made with the December event. Changes to game functionality and existing content are listed, but new content is 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
- New challenges are to be found on Aphus Lassel.
- See Arwic, in all its resplendent glory!
- Mysterious gifts are available to all.
- Snowmen grace the landscape again.
Miscellaneous Improvements and Changes
- Mansion owners can no longer swear their allegiance to anyone else. If they do want to swear allegiance to someone else, they must first abandon their mansion.
- The treasure system has been enhanced in a number of small ways to make treasure more useful and "fun." Please see the Letter to the Players for more details.
- New Maces with 325 wield requirements can now be generated with a maximum damage of 34.
- Dirks (higher base damage daggers) can now be found in the game. These dirks can be found with and without wield requirements, similar to those found on many other weapons. They can also be tinkered and imbued, but cannot be hilted.
- Multi-strike weapons have received a few slight changes. For more information, please see the Letter to the Players.
- You can no longer imbue hilted weapons. Any hilted weapons that were imbued will revert to their previous status and will no longer be imbued.
- When introducing the skill sellback quests, we applied a limit of 50 skill credits to the number of skill credits that could be spent on specializing skills. This limit included both the cost to train and specialize skills. Unfortunately, the full skill credit cost of racial skills was being applied against that limit, so many players could not specialize skills that they theoretically should have been able to. This has been corrected.
- Previously if the game tried to create a corpse in an especially tight place, the physics of the corpse might prevent it from being created. This would result in all the items on the corpse falling to the ground. We've changed this behavior so that a corpse is always created for players and monsters (with the exception of monsters that do not leave a corpse behind).
- The level restrictions on the dungeons where Tusker tusks can be found have been modified so that more characters have access to the tusks.
- The Impious Staff quest is now repeatable every 30 days. The broken Impious Staff is now spawning ever 5 minutes, as opposed to the 30-minute rate at which it was spawning previously.
- The fires are out in Yanshi, but with the Harbinger's spirit rumbling below, the townspeople are too scared to rebuild!
- The percentage chance of finding more than one enchantment on jewelry and clothing has been increased.
- Hooked singularity weapons should be hanging correctly now.
- The Rithwic Grocer buys lock picks and books once again.
- You can no longer play chess against yourself.
- The Tusker tusk used in the "The Horn of Vigilance" quest has been renamed to remove any confusion between it and the tusks found on Tuskers in the various Aphus Lassel dungeons.
- In the past, if a newly created character started with a burden over 300%, they would fail to receive their default spells. These heavily burdened characters will now receive their spells.
Letter to the Players
Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/Letter_12-02.htm
Letter to the Players
Welcome to the December edition of the Asheron's Call Letter to the Players. The AC Live team hopes that you are enjoying the winter season, both in-game and out. We are changing the date when we release the Letter to the Players. While the Dev Notes and Teasers pertain to content in the monthly release, we want to use the Letter of the Players to tell you about issues relating to the game as a whole. It'll be our way of providing more regular communication, instead of sending out a whole lot of info just once a month. We've got quite a bit to discuss this month, so let's get started.
Many of our astute players will notice a change with this month's update—you won't be downloading a new client. Normally with an update, you first download an updated client via the Zone, and then use the client to download the updated data files (such as the portal.dat). However, because of holiday scheduling difficulties, we decided to skip the client download this month. Don't worry—this doesn't impact the new content for the month in any way, and your old client will still download the updated data files as usual. Client downloads will resume in January.
Over the past two months, the worlds of Asheron's Call have experienced intermittent server issues. These issues affect players in a variety of ways, but often result in failures to teleport or extreme lag followed by a disconnect. Often, when the player attempts to log back in, she receives the message that her character is still in the world. She may be able to log in other characters, but cannot log in the one that is "stuck" until the incident is resolved.
The AC Live team takes this issue quite seriously, and we have been working around the clock to try and solve this problem. We have introduced several server optimizations that have succeeded in reducing the severity, if not the frequency, of these incidents, and we continue to do everything in our power to ensure a speedy—and permanent—resolution.
We appreciate your patience with us while we work on this. We also understand that it's frustrating to not be able to log into the game with your favorite character. This is a frustrating issue for us as well. When you begin to experience problems, we encourage you to use Urgent Assistance to let the Admins know, but please understand that there are likely many other players who are also experiencing the same problems, so you may not receive a personal answer. Be assured, however, that the Admins are working to get you and the other players fixed up and able to play again as quickly as possible, and to get us as much information as possible to help us fix this issue.
It came to our attention last month that some players were using the mechanics of mansions in order to maintain a mansion even when they were not the monarch of an allegiance. This is not intended behavior—buying a mansion is quite specifically limited to monarchs—and because mansions are a fairly limited resource, we want to make sure mansions are not being held by non-monarchs. So this month we are introducing a small change to the process of swearing allegiance: If you own a mansion, you will be unable to swear allegiance to another character until you abandon your mansion.
December has several bits of news involving multi-strike weapons.
First, we discovered a bug last month that allowed players to imbue bandit-hilted weapons with the magic item tinkering effects Critical Strike, Crippling Blow, and Armor Rending. This wasn't intended behavior, and we have fixed this problem with the December update. In December, it is once again true that hilted weapons can't be tinkered or imbued, and that imbued or tinkered weapons can't be hilted. Any hilted weapons that have been imbued as a result of the bug will revert to an unimbued status with the December update. For example, if you have a Critical Strike Bandit Yaoji in November, then after the December update you will have a plain Bandit Yaoji.
The second bit of news in December for multi-strike weapons involves the skill levels you need to multi-strike. In order to bring multi-strike weapons more in line with the wield requirement system, the requirements for double- and triple-strike are changing slightly, as outlined in the following table.
Table 1: Changes to Multi-strike Requirements
| Number of Strikes
|| Previous Requirement
|| New Requirement
|| 250 (enchanted)
|| 250 (base)
|| 350 (enchanted)
|| 325 (base)
And finally, the quest timer for obtaining a bandit weapon has been reduced. After the December update, you will be able to obtain a bandit hilt once per month, instead of once every four months.
The December update contains the addition of a new type of dagger: the dirk. Dirks have a higher base damage than previous types of daggers, and the highest levels of damage come paired with wield requirements. The variance of dirks found in treasure may also vary. Dirks can be tinkered and imbued as normal, but they cannot be bandit hilted.
In last month's Letter to the Players, we mentioned that we would soon be evaluating the treasure tables in order to reduce the amount of, well, useless junk is all we can call it, that is created by the system. The December update includes the first of these changes. The only item that was completely removed from the treasure tables was parchment (yes, you scribes are going to have to buy your parchment from shops now), but we did shape up the treasure tables in several other ways:
- Parchment no longer drops as loot.
- Creatures no longer drop their pitiful unmutated weapons.
- Missile weapon ammunition (i.e., arrows, crossbow bolts, and atlatl darts) no longer drops as loot.
- Foods now only drop at low treasure levels. At higher levels, food has been replaced with potions. This does not affect special food drops, like fire auroch meat or spices.
- More types of scarabs (e.g., lead, iron, copper) drop at lower levels of loot. At higher levels of loot, scarabs have been replaced with scarab peas.
- Weapon damage, variance, offense and defense modifiers, and speed now mutate more often. In addition, weapon burden can now mutate as well.
- The armor level and burden on armor mutates more often. In addition, the elemental protection of shields can mutate.
- Jewelry now has a chance to be generated with heritage requirements.
Many players have written to tell us that they really enjoyed the update to the Lethe quest, and to ask if we have any other quest updates in mind for the future. As it happens, we do, and you'll see the first of them in the December update. (Here's a hint: if you have low level characters near Holtburg, you may want to be careful where you log them out before the update.)
We also get many questions about additional tinkering effects, including more items that can be used with ivory. Although the December update does not include these things, rest assured that we have plans for the future for more tinkering effects, more imbued effects, and more ivory targets.
You'll notice that this Letter does not include details about the upcoming tweaks to Life Magic. We haven't given up on Life Magic! But we feel that this is one area in which being conservative, and play-testing our changes extensively, is especially important. So we are taking our time and making sure that we understand the implications of our changes for all types of characters. And that means that these tweaks are not yet ready for the live worlds. We will give you more information on the planned changes as it becomes available.
Of course, that's not all that we have in store for you in the future, but for the any updates on content, you'll just have to wait and see… As always, enjoy the game, and thank you for playing Asheron's Call.
Asheron's Call Team