Announcements - 2003/02 - That Which Is Ours

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February 2003 - Patch Page

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Teaser

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/teaser_02-03.htm

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February Teaser


That Which is Ours

There was a sharp crack as her mace struck the carapace of the Olthoi and the creature fell to one knee. As it struggled to regain its footing, Madison raised her mace to strike the Olthoi's skull. It was unable to deflect the blow with its pincers, and her mace shattered the creature's exoskeleton. The insect let out a dying wail and ceased its struggle.

Her companion, Gruvlin, glanced over from the creature he was busily looting. "Did you ever think you'd see it?" he asked.

She and Gruvlin had been dispatched by the High Queen to determine if the rumors trickling in of creature migrations were true. The number of Olthoi they'd encountered was all the proof Madison needed that at least some of the tales were true. Yet the question of why remained unanswered.

"No," Madison said wearily, her voice laden with weight. In every direction she heard chittering and saw the claws of Olthoi. "This makes no sense, Gruvlin."

"Sense or no, it's true." Gruvlin smiled as he held up a necklace fitted with a bright fire opal. He thrust the necklace into a pack, reached down to the corpse again, and pulled a key from the gullet of the creature. After wiping it clean of ichor, he clipped it to a ring he pulled from his pack.

He slowly stood and said, "Let's continue our patrol."

*****


"A raid?" Marvus gripped the strap of his shield tighter. "Good, let them come! We shall spill their blood on the field of battle this day." He snickered. "The Chorus of Mages remains unaware of our new armaments. They shall at last feel the bite of my blade whilst I wade through their hail of summoned fire and acid."

*****


As he stroked his beard, Asheron continued, "You see Ciandra, this island was once a place of rest for the ruling Yalain, although it was already steeped in history and shrouded in a great number of mysteries that your people are still discovering."

Asheron had arrived at the Temple of Forgetfulness the day before and had asked Ciandra to show him around. He was quizzical and jovial, more so than the last time she had seen him. Now, as he poked into the corners and inhaled the air heavy with pollen, it almost seemed to her that a weight had been lifted from his shoulders.

"It's been centuries since I have seen this place. Little has changed, other than the baths are shallower and the steam vents are filled with the former caretakers-turned-assailants." He paused for a moment, and turned toward her. "Some day, I mean to gather as many golems as I can and fix them." Then a wry smile crossed his face. "Though there are other concerns, I suppose."

He then turned to one of the bookcases on the wall. "Ah, the memories of this place. I don't believe that we ever found the source of the magic here. We of course had our speculations, but nothing was ever discovered. These fountains would rejuvenate my race. We'd feel younger from being here for but a few moments, as if we were bathed in the potency of the very thing that created all that there is."

He turned to Ciandra once more. "I wouldn't be surprised if your discoveries here have begun a process that will open your bodies and minds to greater knowledge and ability." His eyes turned, and he seemed to be looking into the distance. "Of course, there is never anything that does not come at a price. I wonder what that price will be."

*****


Aerbax's thoughts appeared in the mind of the Master. "Now, subject, you shall be exposed to the source of energy for a period of time. If all goes well, you shall be enhanced as Puppets before you have been. Are you prepared?" The Master's affirmative response was quick in coming.

"Puppet, let the exposure begin," Aerbax commanded.

The floating slab inched closer and closer to the inky darkness floating in one corner of the room until finally thin wisps of pure black stabbed out of the darkness. The wisps infiltrated the Master's cloak, and Aerbax could see the violet color of the cloak change. As the color shifted to deep maroon and then to the bluish purple of midnight, a shrill squeal tore through the room. Finally the squeal stopped, and Puppet pulled the slab back from the darkness and released the subject.

Aerbax nodded in satisfaction. Another success.

Release Notes

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/devnotes_02-03.htm

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February Dev Notes


That Which is Ours

Not all that happens in Dereth shakes the world, but even small events can leave mysteries behind them. One such begins in the town of Rithwic…

Delton Hardor was surprised by Tamian's sudden interest in challenging him to combat, even if that combat was only with wooden practice swords. Tamian had never shown interest in swordplay or combat before. Nor, in Delton's opinion had Tamian ever shown interest in anything that benefited the community. He did not hunt, did not farm, did not craft items of utility, and certainly did not help defend Rithwic, even from the Drudges. The look on Astara's face seemed to imply she thought his behavior was strange as well.

Although his grip on the wooden sword was unsure, Tamian seemed more determined than Delton had ever seen him. Curious to see how he would react, Delton allowed Tamian the first attack. After Delton easily parried his thrust, Tamian hesitated, almost as if he realized how out of place he was. Then the hesitation passed and Tamian swung at Delton's legs. Delton parried this one as easily as the first.

"Honestly," Delton thought as he moved in closer to Tamian. "Tamian handles that sword like a farmer swinging a hoe."

Delton delivered a swift blow to Tamian's sword arm, throwing him off balance and spinning him around. He followed this with a blow to Tamian's backside. Delton could not help but laugh at how ridiculous all this was. Did Tamian actually think he stood a chance?

Tamian's face turned red. He leaped at Delton, swinging wildly. Delton's well-practiced parries blocked the blows, and he swatted Tamian again and again. This worthless cur would learn a lesson today.

Listed below are the changes introduced in our February event. We've spelled out specifc changes to game functionality and existing content, but the details on new content are up to you to discover! 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

  • A mysterious tower has been spotted…
  • Monsters have migrated back to more hospitable climes!
  • Those skilled with lock picks can now help everyone organize their keys.
  • Strap on some additional protection from those fire bolts and acid blasts!


Miscellaneous Improvements and Changes

  • Characters may now devote 64 skill credits, increased from the previous limit of 50, toward specializing skills using specialization gems found in the "Temple of Enlightenment."
  • As part of our redistribution of monsters, we've tried to define more level-centric hunting grounds. This will give players looking for landscape hunting a specific area in which to hunt. The character level ranges we have defined for these hunting grounds are:
o Newbie: 1 - 20
o Low: 20 - 40
o Mid: 40 - 60
o High: 60 - 80
o Extreme: 80+
o Uber: 100+
ACDM Redist Map.jpg
For example, creatures found in a Low level hunting ground should be those that are appealing (in both their experience reward and treasure they provide) to a character between levels 1 and 20. The only exception to this would be creatures that protect special treasure chests. These creatures may still seem out of place for the area in which they are found.
  • In addition to redistributing monsters along character level lines, we've begun the process of rebalancing monsters along those same lines. Depending on the creature, this may involve tweaks to the monster's melee, missile, and magic defenses. It may also involve revising the level of spell it casts and the experience reward it provides. Due to the amount of time involved, for February we were only able to balance creatures found in the Newbie areas of the world. In March we'll complete this rebalancing process, but for now players may come across a monster that seems tougher or easier than those surrounding it.
  • The resistance to Drain provided by a character's Endurance was not being applied correctly when some spells were draining health. We have corrected this. The target character's drain resistance is now applied during any health-draining spell attacks.
  • As discussed in the Letter to the Players, we've tweaked the Olthoi Queen quest slightly:
o The Olthoi Eviscerators that spray you, thus allowing you to enter the Royal Hive, are spraying you more often.
o Aun Hareltah no longer changes your title without asking you. Instead, he hands you a token. If you'd like your title changed to "Queenslayer," just hand him the token back.
o Aun Hareltah's logic has been changed slightly. He shouldn't stamp you as having completed the quest unless you've actually received the reward.
o The quest can now be repeated every three months.
  • Ivory may now be applied to Bandit Weapons so that they can be taken out of a character's inventory and stored.
  • We've implemented some fixes to help address duplicate hooks and storage chests. Please see this month's Letter to the Players for more details.
  • On very rare occasions, a hook could become unlinked from its house. This could, in turn, cause any items in those hooks to be lost. Therefore, we've changed the behavior of houses when they are loaded by the server. As it loads, a house essentially verifies that its hooks "know" which house they belong to. It should no longer be possible for a hook to become unlinked from the house that owns it.
  • It was sometimes possible for a house to mistakenly register that more of its hooks were being used than was really the case. Houses now do a more accurate inventory of the hooks they own, so this mistake shouldn't occur in the future.
  • When we gave mansions more hooks, we said that the update gave the mansions 100 hooks and that players could use all 100 of these hooks. However, in reality mansions each had 100 above-ground hooks and 41 below-ground hooks. We've updated mansions so that you can now use all 141 hooks.


Minor Details

  • We've corrected a situation that could cause the Player Killer portal use restrictions to be triggered accidentally by the use of some recall and dispel spells.
  • The chests found scattered throughout the "Valley of Death" have a much longer regeneration cycle, allowing more people to loot each chest before it locks again.
  • The Neydisa Hauberk got a bit more useful.
  • We've spoken to Larry the Bunny Master again, and he says he'll try to be around his cottage a bit more.

Letter to the Players

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/lttp_0203.htm

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February Letter to the Players


Welcome to the February edition of the Asheron's Call Letter to the Players. The AC Live team has been extremely busy this past month, and February will bring some interesting changes to Dereth.

Monster Redistribution
Have you ever seen a Snowy Mattekar in the middle of the desert? Or a swamp-dwelling Mosswart hanging out in the snow on a tall mountain? Well, when the Virindi story arc ended, the creatures of Dereth went through a shift from their old homes to new ones based off of a more consistent level structure. While this created more definable areas for players to hunt in, it also placed creatures in previously non-native areas. For February, we are revamping the monster generators to create hunting areas that are based on a more consistent leveling structure but adhere to the history, background and nature of the creatures that will be used in these areas.

We strongly recommend logging out in a safe area before the February prop-and by "safe," we don't mean your favorite muling spot in the Dires!-Try inside your house or a city. This is going be a multi-prop process; this month you'll see monsters redistributed, and next month they will be going through a rebalancing phase.

Housing Issues
Several months ago, we posted an article about duplicated housing objects and how they affect you. We have continued our quest to eliminate duplicated housing objects, and although we have not yet completely solved this problem, we have made significant progress.

In addition, this month we have made several small changes that should help the owners of houses with duplicated hooks or storage resolve their situations more easily. Starting with the February update, duplicated housing objects will attempt to synchronize with the house that owns them so that when the house is loaded, the duplicate object has the current owner information. This will fix the problem in which a new owner does not have access to hooks or storage duplicated before he or she purchased the house. It is important that you can access any duplicated housing objects in order to clean them out. Starting in February, duplicated objects will automatically delete themselves, but only if they are empty. The February event will also see some new code that better synchronizes the number of hooks that you have in use at any one time.

A few months ago we released information on how to determine if you had duplicate hooks and storage in your house. That information is now obsolete. The information below explains how to tell if you have duplicate housing objects and what you can do if your housing objects have been duplicated.

How do I tell if I have duplicated hooks/chests?

You can determine if you have duplicated housing objects by using the [ and ] keys on your keyboard to select the items near you. If you have two or more storage chests, for instance, you will be able to flip between both chests using the [ and ] keys, even though you can only see one chest and select one chest with the mouse. Once you have selected one of the duplicated housing objects with the keyboard, use the R key to open the object so that you can remove the contents.

How do I get rid of the duplicated hooks/chests?

Once you have identified a duplicated hook or chest, empty both instances. When you empty the "fake" copy of the hook/chest, you will see a message explaining that the hook/chest was a duplicate and that it will now be deleted. The hook or chest will disappear a few seconds later. Please note that the duplicated hook/chest will NOT disappear until it is empty, so you must remove all objects-including empty backpacks-from the chest. Once the duplicate hook/chest has disappeared, it will be safe once again to use the "real" instance of your hook or chest that remains.

What if I'm not around when my hooks and storage duplicate? Will I lose everything?

The primary risk of item loss from duplicated housing objects occurs when you are transferring items to and from your hooks or storage, since you may unknowingly place an item in a duplicated storage object. As a result of the February fix, you can no longer add items to a duplicated hook or chest-if you attempt to do so, you will see a message explaining that this is a duplicated object and that you should empty it immediately. So the risk of losing items due to duplicated housing objects is very small.

A special note for villa owners: One model of villa has two hooks located in the same place (in the corner of the room that contains the portal into the dungeon). This is not actually a duplicated hook situation; both of these hooks are legitimate hooks correctly linked to your house. Therefore, one of these hooks will not delete itself when empty. Because these two hooks overlap, there is some potential for strange interactions between the physics of hooked objects. Therefore, we recommend that you only use one of these hooks at a time.

Changes to the Queen's Quest
We've modified the Queen's Quest slightly to help those who may have been flagged as having finished the quest but never got the quest reward. To address this issue, we've adjusted the Queen's Quest so that it can be repeated every three months. If you completed the quest more than three months ago-even if you completed it successfully-you will now be able to repeat the quest and receive the reward. How do you tell if your timer has expired and you are allowed to repeat the quest? You can find out by speaking to one of the Tumeroks in Timaru. If they no longer greet you as "Queenslayer" or talk about your brave exploits defeating the Olthoi Queen, you can complete the quest again.

Post-Creation Specialization Limit
When post-character creation skill untraining and specialization were introduced, we instituted a limit of 50 skill credits that could be invested in specializing skills. This was the same limit newly created characters had. Further discussion of the system led us to decide that at some point we'd want to increase that limit; however, we wanted to evaluate what changes this might have on the game before we did so. We wanted to give ourselves time to observe the effects of the skill specialization system since it would be nearly impossible to revert unbalanced characters, and we wanted to be careful of going overboard. Now that we understand the effects of the system, we feel that our previous concerns have been addressed. We have raised the limit to what we'd originally proposed; i.e., to 64 skill credits. Some of you got to take advantage of this a bit early because some of the code snuck through in January, but in February everyone will be able to spend 64 skill credits in specializing skills.

That's it for the big changes in February. Of course, that's not all that we have in store for you in the future, but for further updates on content, you'll just have to wait and see… As always, enjoy the game, and thank you for playing Asheron's Call.

-The Asheron's Call Team
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