Announcements - 2003/07 - A Swelling Tide

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July 2003 - Patch Page

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Teaser

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/AC1JulyTeaser.htm

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July Teaser


A Swelling Tide

"This discourse is at an end, Ciandra. There are no words left between us." Nuhmudira's words, laced with venom, stung Ciandra deeply.

"I only —" Nuhmudira glared at the younger woman. Ciandra felt compelled to become silent, but finished her statement. "I have only continued your work."

"You have done no such thing." The words fell like a hammer on an anvil, each word purposeful and accentuated. Nuhmudira's eyes grew dark. "You have turned to him. Time and again, you have turned to him. Why?" She stepped toward Ciandra. "He sits alone in his tower, meddling with us only when it suits his purpose. He has lied to us and used us and yet you turn to him, not your mentor, your teacher, your friend." She paused briefly. "Tell me Ciandra, can you explain why it is you turned to Asheron? Can you tell me when you first went to see him? When it was that you sought him out for understanding and enlightenment?" Ciandra searched her mind for the answer. "Yes, that is right Ciandra, he sought you first."

"How did you —" Ciandra began to ask.

"Now you wish to turn to me for answers, student?" She motioned for Ciandra to leave. "The strain of seeing you at Elysa's Council is the most I will suffer. Do not seek me out again, child."

Ciandra was taken aback. She tried to meet Nuhmudira's eyes but her old teacher was already moving across the room toward a desk. She turned, opened the cottage door, and headed out into the night.

"Is she the next one, then?" The voice came from the shadows. A man, neither tall nor broad, stood there. His deep-set eyes glinted in the candlelight.

"No. She is precious to me still." Nuhmudira sat at her desk. "She also strives toward the same goals as I. Her efforts thus far have been remarkable, and she leads the Arcanum well in my stead. I think that Ciandra shall remain, I think that she will have a use in the future."

*****

"Did you feel that?" Anton asked Gent, who sat across the table. They were in Eastham, sharing a pint, while Gent worked on fitting his armor with a myriad of salvaged goods.

"Feel what?" Gent asked, half-paying attention.

"Tremor," Anton replied and looked toward the project Gent was working on.

"Tremor, what's that?" Gent dropped a few more gems into his ust and ground them down.

"When the ground shakes, you know?" Anton smirked and took a swallow of his ale.

"The ground shook just then?" Gent shook the bag and made sure that it was full.

"You felt it too, then?" asked Anton swallowing hard.

"Felt what?" Gent retorted, looking up at his friend.

"Tremor." Anton placed the mug of ale on the table and took up a piece of bread.

"You mean like when the ground shakes?" Gent rocked back away from his armor and looked over his shoulder at his friend.

"Yeah," Anton nodded in confirmation.

"You just told me a tremor is when the ground shakes." Gent shrugged and turned back to his armor, hoisting it onto a table and taking up residence on a stool.

"Yes. Did you feel it then?" Anton asked with his mouth full.

"What? A tremor?" Gent asked as he began polishing the armor and preparing it for a most critical attempt at imbuing the fine metals.

"Yeah," Anton answered, becoming increasingly frustrated.

"Well I felt something shake, but I thought it was just me trying to get this armor imbued. It's not easy you know, one wrong move and —" His response was cut short as the ground shook again, tossing both of them to the ground. In the process the armor was left cracked and broken.

"Bollocks! I felt that one. Look at me armor." Gent bent down to pick up the pieces, and looked at Anton, whose ear was pressed firmly to the barroom floor. "What are you doing?"

"Listening," Anton responded, shushing him.

"To what?" Gent lowered himself down toward his friend.

"Don't know yet. But it sounds like something's moving; digging." He lifted his ear from the floor and looked at his friend with wide eyes. "Not something… thousands of somethings."

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Release Notes

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/july03_devnotes.htm

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July Event


She tested the walls of the tunnel, exerting pressure against the ceiling, pressing against the walls, all in an effort to ensure the safety of her children. Her workers had done well. She called to her eldest children and instructed them to organize their broods. The time to move was upon them.

The tunnels stretched endlessly into the dark, but she still felt her other children somewhere beyond. She could also sense the thing that had given her the scar. The magic of the wound was still active after all these years. Soon she would complete what she had started so long ago. The last of the things that had brought her to this world would perish, and then she would stand as the supreme ruler.

Her forces already covered all livable locations, and though her contact with the hive she had sent to destroy the thing had been severed hundred of years ago, she could feel them now. They were without direction and lost, save for a small collection that was held under the control of another lesser Queen. She had already exerted her control over that brood and commanded their construction of tunnels to the new mainland. The two broods would meet in the middle and bring this land under her sway as well.

But there was something else that needed to be done first. She watched as her children marched in columns behind her eldest. She watched as they spread along the tunnels that stretched off into unknown darkness. She watched and directed them to the thing. It would whimper before her, it would make the noises that others like it had made, and she would finally be content.

New Functionality and Content

  • The new stronghold in the Dires, Candeth Keep, has begun construction!
  • A number of new tinkering effects are now available. Players can choose from three new imbues--Resistance Rending for weapons, armor imbues, and cantrip imbues for jewelry--as well as the ability to tinker some skill requirements on equipment or prevent an item from being sold or salvaged. Please see the Letter to the Players for the details of these new effects.
  • New keys and chests are being found in the western Direlands.
  • The @day command is now available for players with dark monitors. This command will toggle your outdoor world view to a brighter state and back to normal.
  • Two new features show up when you ID an object. When you ID armor, you will now see the exact numeric value of armor protection to the various elements in addition to the traditional descriptive phrase. Also, all items will now display a number of additional properties such as Bonded and Attuned. Please see the Letter to the Players for more information.
  • Has that digging noise gotten louder?


Miscellaneous Improvements and Changes

  • Many town criers have been awfully surly of late! It can be difficult to find one who will give out information for free. But all of them are still more than happy to chat for a few pyreals!
  • Due to an issue with Zbuffering on some systems, ACD3Dsetup now defaults everyone to Zbuffering off. If you wish to turn Zbuffering on you will need to run the setup program and select it. For more information, please see the State of the Code.
  • Natural resistance no longer affects the mana that you lose when casting spells, or the stamina that you lose when jumping, attacking, being attacked, or healing.
  • The damage modifiers on the Weeping Bow, Crossbow, and Atlatl have been adjusted, as has the slayer bonus on the Weeping Wand.
  • Thrown weapons have seen some changes, including changes to the damage done by spikes and atlatl darts. In addition, treasure-generated atlatls and some quest atlatls have had their damage modifiers changed. See the Letter to the Players for details.
  • The Barbed Fletching Tool can be used on wrapped arrowheads and deadly arrowheads (and even wrapped deadly arrowheads). In addition, barbed arrowheads of all sorts can be used to make atlatl darts.
  • Light bows and crossbows are now more useful, with the potential to do more damage.
  • Some creatures on the landscape were spawning faster than intended. This could cause problems for players while hunting, as well as cause problems for the servers. We've slowed these creatures down a bit.
  • Similarly, the rate at which some creatures summon their minions has been slowed down.
  • A few recent creatures have had their health, armor, and attacks tweaked slightly in order to bring them more in line with their intended difficulty.
  • Runed chests with a lockpick resistance of 400 are once again spawning on the landscape.
  • The Golden Chests at the casinos now give better treasure.
  • The randomly spawning hive dungeons on Marae Lassel have been upgraded. In addition, the restrictions preventing you from logging into the game inside the dungeons have been removed.
  • Wands with slayer qualities do somewhat better damage against their proper enemy. Try them out!
  • Heart of Oak now stacks with Minor Willpower.
  • A bug that allowed mansion owners to swear allegiance to others in some circumstances has been fixed.
  • You can now squelch characters and the accounts of characters who are currently offline.


Minor Details

  • Isparian bows and crossbows once again wield correctly.
  • Isparian wands now change appearance depending on which stone is in them.
  • The riddle logic in Oswald's Lair has been corrected.
  • The coded message on the Wooden Tablet is now spelled correctly.
  • Some of the Wai Jhou collectors' speech was not correct at times. It is now fixed.
  • The Wai Jhou sign now welcomes you to Wai Jhou.
  • A number of objects now have the correct plural forms when stacked. No more "Bunch of Nannerses"!

Letter to the Players

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

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July Letter to the Players


Welcome to the July 2003 edition of the Asheron's Call Letter to the Players. We have an awful lot to discuss this month, so let's get right to it.

A Groundbreaking Opportunity

The contest to name the new town has gone smashingly so far! After receiving more than 900 suggestions, our elite panel of monkey judges laboriously picked their favorite five entries. It was a tough choice! As I write this, the players are voting—and campaigning strenuously—for their personal pick. Remember, the final winner will be announced at the ACPL on July 12th. Don't miss it!

New Tinkering Effects

The July update contains a wide variety of new tinkering effects, including both tinkers and imbues. Here are in-depth explanations of each.

Resistance Rending Imbues

Resistance Rending describes a new set of weapon imbues—one for each damage type—that increases the damage the imbued weapon inflicts with that damage type. In other words, Resistance Rending is like a built-in elemental Vulnerability spell. However—and this is important!—Resistance Rending and Vulnerability spells do not stack. If, for instance, you are attacking with a Slashing Rend Tachi and the target is currently suffering under a Blade Vulnerability spell, then your attack will only receive the benefit of one effect—whichever is larger. Note that the magnitude of the Resistance Rending effect depends on the attack skill of the weapon's wielder.

Unlike previous weapon imbues, Resistance Rending materials are applied using the Weapon Tinkering skill. Resistance Rending imbues can be applied to any treasure-generated melee weapon, missile weapon, or magic caster, but remember that an item can only ever be imbued with one effect, so choose carefully.

Jewelry Cantrip Imbues

Thanks to the hard work of the Arcanum, it will soon be possible for skilled tinkers to add certain cantrip spells to magical jewelry. For now, the list of cantrips that can be added is relatively short, and these cantrips can only be applied to magical, treasure-generated jewelry, but it's a start!

The cantrips that can be imbued into jewelry in July include: Minor Strength, Minor Endurance, Minor Coordination, Minor Quickness, Minor Focus, Minor Self, Warrior's Vitality, Warrior's Vigor, Wizard's Intellect, Minor Health Gain, Minor Stamina Gain, and Minor Mana Gain. Imbuing a piece of jewelry uses the Magic Item Tinkering skill, and also raises the Arcane Lore requirement and the Spellcraft of the piece by 25 points.

Armor Defense Imbues

In July we usher in our first three armor imbues, one for each defense skill. These effects imbue a piece of treasure-generated armor with a +1 stackable defense bonus. This defense bonus, like the defense modifier on a weapon, only comes into play during an attack—it does not help you meet skill requirements nor show up on your skill panel.

Armor defense imbues can be applied with the Armor Tinkering skill to any piece of treasure-generated armor, including Covenant Armor.

Requirement Tinkering

This month also introduces six new tinkering effects that deal with the activation requirements on an item. All of them are regular tinkers—not imbues—and all use the Item Tinkering skill.

Three of the materials can be used on an item with a heritage activation requirement to change that heritage requirement to a different one. Which heritage requirement you end up with depends on which material you use.

Two of the materials can be used on an item with a Melee Defense or Missile Defense activation requirement. These materials swap the skill requirements—Melee Defense becomes Missile Defense, or vice versa—and also change the level of the requirement to account for the differences in the skills' attribute formulas. In other words, going from Melee Defense to Missile Defense lowers the requirement somewhat; going the other way raises it somewhat.

Lastly, one material can only be used on items with an allegiance rank activation requirement. This material removes the rank requirement, but in exchange sets the Arcane Lore difficulty of the item equal to the item's Spellcraft.

Leather Tinkering

The last new tinkering effect for July is a special one: you can use Salvaged Leather on an item to mark the item as 'Retained'. Retained items cannot be salvaged or sold to vendors. Like Ivory, Leather does not require any tinkering skill to apply, it does not add to the number of times the target has been tinkered, and there is no chance that applying Leather can destroy the target.

Covenant Armor Tinkering

Originally, Covenant Armor could not be tinkered at all. Later, tinkers found a way to apply Item Tinkering materials to Covenant Armor. And now, starting with the July update, Covenant Armor can be tinkered with all the materials that can normally be applied to armor except Steel. Steel remains one material that just will not apply to Covenant Armor, no matter what the poor tinkers of Dereth do.

Appraisal Panel Additions

Starting with the July update, the Item Appraisal panel displays some new information. First off, you will now be able to see exact numeric values—in addition to the existing descriptive phrase—to tell you how well your armor protects you from the various elements.

Secondly, we've added a few new types of "Special Properties" to the panel. In addition to listing imbues and slayer types, and telling you if an item is unenchantable, the "Special Properties" section will now also list the following qualities (if they are applicable):

  • Bonded: This item has no chance to drop to your corpse when you die (a.k.a. "no drop").
  • Dropped on Death: This item will always drop to your corpse when you die.
  • Destroyed on Death: This item will be destroyed when you die. The non-upgraded Singularity weapons are a good example of this.
  • Attuned: This item cannot be transferred to another player, or placed on the ground or in an external container (a.k.a. "no give").
  • Retained: This item cannot be sold to a vendor or salvaged.


Thrown Weapons Changes

The July update includes several small tweaks to thrown weapons, including changes to the damage done by spikes and atlatl darts. But a more important change for thrown weapons involves the damage modifiers on treasure-generated atlatls. The following chart illustrates these changes.

Wield Requirement Previous Damage Modifier Range New Damage Modifier Range
None 0% to 100% 0% to 120%
250 110% 130%
270 120% 140%
290 130% 150%


In conjunction with the new damage modifier ranges on treasure-generated atlatls, we have also updated the damage modifiers on some quest atlatls. Note that we only updated newer quest atlatls and those that had been upgraded recently; atlatls that are part of older quests will be updated when we upgrade their respective quests.

The Ongoing Saga

Last month, it became abundantly clear that the appearance of increased Olthoi activity is no illusion. The Olthoi on both Marae Lassel and Dereth itself are on the move, digging ever deeper towards some unfathomable goal. Asheron, holed up in his island tower, has no answer for us yet, and Queen Elysa, alarmed by the growing threats—from the Olthoi, the Renegade Lugian and Tumeroks, and now the murder of a member of her Council—is left wondering whom she can trust.

State of the Code

Original Link (now dead) - http://www.accmty.com/ASHEnewscodestate1.htm

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State of the Code


July 24, 2003

This is the latest installment of a frequently updated series of reports on The State of the Code for Asheron's Call. In this report, we keep players informed as to the state of some of the more technical aspects of AC, particularly bugs we are working on and technical limitations of which you should be aware. Look at the News page on the Zone for other articles about recent additions and changes to Asheron's Call.

RECENT ADDITIONS

Asheron's Invasion Quest
While monitoring the progress of the Olthoi invasion of Asheron's Island, we discovered that the Olthoi Brood Matrons were taking much too long to respawn --ten hours. This was not our intent, and we were very concerned that this would remove the possibility of fighting these creatures from many players, as well as negatively impact other elements of the Asheron's Invasion quest.

With Microsoft's consent, we have decided to bring the worlds down to hotfix this issue. This also gives us the opportunity to fix other known issues with the July event--the missing wield requirements on the Renegade Bow and Crossbow, and the "stickiness" of Ulgrim's golden gromnies.

The worlds will be brought down at 9:00AM PST/12:00PM EST on Monday, July 28 for approximately two hours. When the worlds come back up:

  • The Olthoi Brood Matrons on Asheron's Island will have the correct respawn timer.
  • The Renegade Bow and Crossbow will have the correct wield requirements.
  • Golden Gromnies in your chests and hooks will be able to be picked up again.
  • The timing on the Fort Tethana renegade raids will be adjusted.

We apologize for this unplanned downtime, and we assure you that there will be no rollback due to these issues. We are confident that you will agree with us that the corrected dynamic was worth this outage in availability.

What's going on with this ACD3DSetup thing?!

ACD3DSetup.exe is a utility that runs when you start up Asheron's Call, before the AC client does. It helps you to configure your 3D settings for AC. During development for the June update, we found a bug with this utility that was causing it to crash on certain modern processors. We corrected the issue, and the June update included a new version of ACD3DSetup.exe with this bug fixed.

However, as soon as the June update went live, we found an issue with the new version. In certain circumstances, the utility reset the ZBuffer toggle. (ZBuffering is one method by which 3D software or hardware can handle sorting--that is, what draws in front and what draws behind.) Unfortunately, ZBuffering in AC can interact badly with certain video cards, so resetting the ZBuffer toggle to 'on' causes graphics issues for many players. The most widespread issue involves the screen turning mostly black. The quick solution for this problem is to run the ACD3DSetup.exe again and turn ZBuffering off.

Of course, changing the utility so that players do not need to fix the problem themselves is a much better solution, and so that is what we have done. The newest version of the ACD3DSetup.exe utility will be downloaded automatically in the July update. This version includes the fix for the original crashing bug, but it also resets the ZBuffer toggle to 'off' for *everyone*. This means that if you actually want ZBuffering on, you'll need to turn it on explicitly after you download the July update. But it also means that you should no longer need to fiddle with your video settings just to be able to log in and play.

Video

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