Announcements - 2003/09 - Groundswell

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September 2003 - Patch Page

Contents

Teaser Images

See the Rollout Article below for official teasers.

Click image for full size version.

Teaser

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

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Groundswell


Darkness concealed a man in the corner of the bar. He had arrived earlier in the evening, ordered a cask of ale, and been no more the bother. Cilla, the barmaid, had even forgotten about him. Then a tall man with lavender eyes and an odd gait came through the door and asked her for a man that fit his description. From within the shadow, he watched their interaction and knew that this was the man who wanted his help. Business was picking up, and he wasn't one to complain.

"Excuse me, sir?" Cilla was smiling, she looked young and innocent, perhaps only a child when Elysa had dealt with the Olthoi Queen. What a farce. There was another one prowling now. No, not one; that was a blatant misrepresentation, there were several more. It was becoming more likely that Elysa's miracle would need to happen a second time to stop this latest incursion. The ground was shaking with the arrival of the overgrown bugs and there was no sign of Asheron. He smiled at the girl as he mused about the old man, sitting in a sequestered room of his castle, paralyzed by fear and stricken impotent by the arrival of the Olthoi.

"Yes, Cilla." The girl blushed, abashed that he had remembered her name. He smiled and leaned into the light as he answered. It was as much an acknowledgment to the girl as it was to the tall man.

"There is a man here that wants to speak with you. I…I felt compelled to ask you if…"

"Bring him over, Cilla." He smiled and cut her off, leaning back into the darkness.

Cilla walked back to the man and motioned to the table. He pushed past her and sat across from the figure.

"Greetings. I am interested in procuring your services. I am aware that you are a man whose capabilities include the circumvention of certain defensive measures. This is an enthralling ability to me. I seek your assistance in allowing such a gift to be given freely." The tall man spoke methodically, almost mechanically, and the other noticed that the lavender glint in his eye was much more than it had appeared.

"What would you like me to do?" the first man asked, his curiosity piqued.

*****


Hendac and Jenavere waited for Antius' response. Jenavere looked impatient. Hendac merely watched as Antius glanced back and forth across the pages they had delivered. He motioned to Jena in an effort to calm her down, but it was too late.

"Antius. There's no time to review all of our findings." She held her voice in check, but her frustration came across in the venom that laced every word. "We're looking at a brood ten times the size of the one that Strathelar, Cragstone and I faced the first time. We've got to act quickly and get scouts out there now. This isn't something that will go away. This is war."

Hendac placed a hand on her shoulder and smiled lightly toward Antius. Jena looked at Hendac and sighed resignedly. He looked back to Antius, who placed the papers on the desk. A shocked look spread over his face as the color drained.

"Ten times?" he asked hoarsely.

"At least," Jena responded. Hendac nodded as well. The ground shook lightly, and Hendac motioned downwards. "Listen, Antius. All along, I've been saying that the Olthoi only recoiled after the death of the One Queen. It was fear, something that they had never known before. Scholars be damned. I mean no offense to either of you, but damn your hubris.

"For so long, scholars have been basing their findings on supposition. They've supposed wrong. The Olthoi have been breeding new queens for years. But this attack isn't being led by one of them. The queen that we faced before was hundreds of years old. Most of these newer queens are young, some immature. Their scent glands aren't even fully developed. They don't have the capacity to lead…yet the Olthoi are more organized. You can feel them moving under us now. They're burrowing faster.

"You're a wise man, Antius. You've assisted the people of Ispar in many ways through your diplomatic efforts, but there is no diplomacy here. There is kill, or be killed. We need to act before we're killed. Do you understand? We're facing an olthoi older than we can fathom, perhaps older than Asheron."

Antius nodded, "Indeed, I do understand, Jenavere." He began writing on a blank sheet of paper. He handed the paper over to Hendac. Hendac nodded and handed the sheet to Jenavere.

"Antius…I'll do what I can. Just see that Elysa gets those reports. It won't matter how many men you give me if we can't find out what is calling the olthoi here." The ground shook again. "We're running out of time."

Jenavere and Hendac turned to go.

*****


"…allowing for Asheron's magic to be circumvented by anyone, without the need of pledging themselves directly to the service of Bael'zharon," the man finished.

"Obviously you told this fool that no such thing would happen," Nuhmudira stated. The silence with which her response was met quickly drove her to anger. "You're not considering this, are you? I forbid it! You are my retainer!"

The man sat comfortably and retorted in a cool manner, "I am on retainer to you, Magess. I am not your retainer. I do jobs for you when you pay me." He paused as she seethed. "This man is paying me handsomely to see that this is done. I've come to you to see how precious these people are to you, how abhorrent seeing their very souls manipulated in such a way is to you, and to see what you would offer me to alter the results."

"Extortion does not suit you, Oswald."

"Murder suits you, mistress, but you needed to wash your hands of that. You came to me to keep your hands clean. I'm not above the lowest of the low." He smiled, unmoving.

"You say that what you will do to each shrine will alter the magic so that neither Bael'zharon nor Asheron are tied to the souls of our people; instead, it will go to this man?" Nuhmudira had made her way to her cottage window, looking out into the desert night.

"That is what he says. Apparently he is much like you and I, Magess, far beyond the meager existence of the chaff. His goal is power, I've been paid for a job and I will do it, but I'd like to see what you'd like done in response." Oswald was full of confidence. Nuhmudira could feel the change that had come over him—he was something more than he had been. She had seen to that, and now he was working for another. She had underestimated the strength of his will and would not do so again.

"If I cannot stop you, then I will offer you the same price as this other employer for a small concession to be made in the implementation of his device. I will not see my people suffer, so I will make sure that they are protected by Asheron's spell…but their souls will be their own. This power will not go to that other person. I cannot allow it. What say you to that?" Nuhmudira remained staring out the window, already knowing the response.

"Double."

She turned slowly. "Done." Suddenly, Nuhmudira was tossed from her feet as the ground shook and the floor of her cottage bucked. Oswald slipped into the shadows and a glinting blade slipped silently from a sheath. Through the center of the room poured a host of olthoi. Soldiers, Eviscerators and Warriors thundered into the room. Nuhmudira lost sight of Oswald as she summoned the will to shatter the encroaching horde.

All across Dereth the chittering could be heard. The night air became foul and the land split asunder as the Olthoi Horde clambered through the earth.

Dereth was now lost in a tide of darkness.

Rollout Article

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

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Groundswell


The news had stymied her. She sat alone, looking over all the documents that had been given to her. The Tumeroks and Lugians still held their ground in Fort Tethana; though the fort had provided a reliable bulwark, the people who defended it were growing tired and the Renegade forces were beginning to take their toll. If Elysa could not find the Renegade leaders and defeat them, or find a diplomatic solution, it was only a matter of time before the fort fell.

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Do not speak to me of ruling.

Aerbax had grown silent, but his machinations could be felt across the world. Drudges had become more intelligent. Regardless of proof, Elysa saw his hand in the new slaughter that broke out in city streets across Dereth. The marketplace was stained with the blood of the people, and though they saw it as a welcome distraction from the chaos around them, she could not help but think there was something more deleterious to this newfound "freedom".

There are many direful plagues...

And now the Olthoi had returned. A massive wave had started under the ground, and burst through the floors of canyons and the tops of mountainsuprooting trees, toppling stones, and finally producing a horde of olthoi larger than any she had ever seen. But much had happened in fifteen years. The people were stronger, they were prepared for this; they needed to be. She hoped beyond hope that the people were prepared for this.

...That rot the heart of mankind.

It was Nuhmudira who had first come to her with the news. Of course, Elysa was already all too aware what had transpired. The Olthoi were not subtle. But Nuhmudira came with the news and surprised Elysa. She offered to help. She offered to work with Asheron. Now, as Elysa stood looking out over her troops and their preparations for the coming battlesraising tents, practicing their war craft, sharpening bladesshe could not help but wonderwhy?

Power is the greatest of all.

Yasif ibn Salayyar "Why I will not be Malik."

The Ongoing Saga

Last month, the people of Dereth fought back fiercely against the forces that continue to press on all sides. The use of new alchemy gems and a new bastion in the Direlands accompanied the discovery of an updated Sword of Lost Light, and new Olthoi Armor.

But in spite of these advancements, the threats to Derethian life continued to multiply. Renegade Gotrok Lugian and Tumerok champions joined the attacks on Fort Tethana and other settlements. Even the discovery of Olthoi Armor was tempered by the knowledge that new hives were being dug in the Olthoi North. And in Yanshi, Aerbax and Nuhmudira fought for control over the mighty Harbinger.

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As the threats have grown, the civilized races of Dereth have strengthened their alliances. The Linvak Lugians and Aun Tumeroks have sworn not to attack humans on sight. They will, of course, defend themselves and their fellows, but only if provoked. In addition, the Linvak Lugians have called for human assistance in reclaiming a number of their citadels and outposts, which have recently fallen to the Gotrok Renegades.

Now the Olthoi hold the land in their pincers and clawscan anyone find a way to drive them from the surface of Dereth?



PK Lite

This month, we're excited to introduce a new dynamic for player-versus-player gameplayPlayer Killer Lite. PK Lite allows you to challenge other players in an informal fashion, without many of the risks commonly associated with PK combat. Here's a quick rundown of how PK Lite works:

  • To enter PK Lite, type @pklite. You will begin an emote sequence similar to the @house_recall and @lifestone commands, and there will be a local text broadcast: " is looking for a fight!" For those who wish to ignore these messages, the broadcast can be filtered with @filter recall.
  • Only NPKs can enter PK Lite. PKs cannot enter PK Lite, not even during the brief period after death when they are not attackable.
  • There are two ways to leave PK Lite: dying in a PKL fight and exiting the game. To avoid possible exploits, @pklite will not allow you to leave PK Lite. Likewise, exiting the game will always change you back to NPK status.
  • Killing a player in a PKL fight does not earn any experience.
  • When you die in a PKL fight, you do not drop any items or accrue any vitae. You do, however, leave an empty corpse. A PKL death will increase your death count.
  • PKL players cannot share the same space as other PKL players, but are ethereal to NPKs and PKs.
  • PKL players cannot help or harm PKs, nor can they help or be harmed by them. (By "help," we mean healing or beneficial enchantments.) PKL players cannot harm NPKs, but can help them. PKL players cannot be helped by NPKs.
  • PKL players are affected by all of the timers and restrictions on PK players, such as the timers on recalling and the restrictions on moving while healing or casting a spell.
  • To see a brief summary of these rules, type @help pklite.


The decisions on the above rules were based on the feedback that we received on the Turbine ACDM forums. Over half of you were in favor of going into PK Lite status via a command. In addition, over half of you were in favor of the PK Lite rules that we initially proposed, with one exception: your feedback was strongly in favor of leaving a corpse. With this in mind, we re-examined the server load aspect of this and decided that we could implement corpses for PK Lite.

Item ID Changes

As a continuation of the ID changes that began in July, we have made two additional updates. The first is another pass at the ID panel. You will now see the properties of your items in a more organized format. One immediately noticeable change is that the protection levels of armor are listed numerically, with the base armor level taken into account.

For example: If your breastplate is AL 100 with Unparalleled protection to Slashing damage, instead of seeing "Unparalleled (2.0)" you will see "Unparalleled: 200". This should make it much easier to determine the final protection levels of your armor.

In addition, the icons used for many gems have changed to reflect the icons used in their salvage material. It should now be easier to tell at a glance which gems are which.

Fellowship Changes

We've made two changes to the way Fellowships can recruit:

  • When you recruit a new fellowship member, you will no longer walk over to them once they accept. You will still bow, but you will remain at your existing location.
  • There is a new option in the Character Options panel: Automatically Accept Fellowship Requests. If this option and Accept Fellowship Requests are both checked, you will not be prompted to accept when you receive a fellowship requestinstead, you will automatically join the fellowship.


Item Magic Targeting Changes

In the past, if you wanted to cast a positive or negative enchantment on any weapon or shield that was being wielded by a player or creature, you needed to target it specifically. This could be challenging in the heat of combat.

We have made a change to Item Magic to improve this. Characters and monsters are now acceptable targets for Item Magic spells, and the spells will affect a shield, weapon, or casting item wielded by the target. For example, casting Blood Drinker on a player will affect his or her weapon. Casting Hermetic Link will affect his or her orb, staff, or wand. Casting Brittlemail on a creature will affect its shield.

Please note that this does not allow you to cast spells on the armor or clothing worn by a player or creature, nor does it change the existing NPK/PK/PKL rules for casting on wielded items.

Olthoi Armor Coloration

As many of you noticed last month, a new bug can cause the color of Olthoi Gauntlets or Olthoi Sollerets to override some of the color on whatever you are wearing on your chest. We had intended to fix that bug this month, but it proved to be trickier than we had expected. It should be resolved in the October event. We apologize for the delay.

Lugians and Tumeroks

Linvak Lugians (those that ID as type "Lugian") and Aun Tumeroks will no longer attack on sight, although they will defend themselves and others of their race. Hea Tumeroks, the Renegade Tumeroks on Dereth (those that ID as simply "Tumerok") and Gotrok Lugians will continue to attack as soon as they spot you.

In addition, the Gotrok Lugians have raided and seized a number of outposts and citadels formerly held by the Linvak Lugians. The entrance portal restrictions for several of these dungeons have been changed to reflect the increased danger.

Release Notes

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

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Developer's Notes


New Functionality and Content

  • A new form of player-versus-player combat, Player Killer Lite, has been introduced! Please see the Rollout Article for more details.
  • The item ID panel has been rearranged. Armor now shows the calculated protection values for each type of attack, and in general, it should be easier to quickly find the qualities that you are looking for. In addition, gems that can provide useful salvage now have unique icons.
  • Players and creatures are now acceptable targets for Item Magic spells. Those spells that affect weapons will automatically target any weapon wielded by the player or creature; likewise for shields. Please see the Rollout Article for more details.
  • Aun Tumeroks and Linvak Lugians will no longer attack players on sight, although they will defend themselves and their allies. Many dungeons that were once controlled by Linvak Lugians have been taken over by Renegade Gotrok Lugians. Please see the Rollout Article for more details.
  • After many years, chickens have recently begun to survive the trip through portal space into Dereth!


Miscellaneous Improvements and Changes

  • There is a new checkbox in the Character Options panel: Automatically Accept Fellowship Requests. Please see the Rollout Article for more details.
  • When recruiting a new fellowship member, you will no longer walk towards them once they accept.
  • The in-game map has been updated.
  • Candeth Keep has seen a number of improvements.
  • Tunlok Weapons Master will now purchase items worth more than ten thousand pyreals.
  • The Direlands Midland Portal that exits east of Candeth Keep can now be summoned.
  • You must now explicitly use @house hooks on in order to remove an item from a house hook.
  • Olthoi Resurgent can now be read while it is on a hook, as can Plaques.
  • You can now get a point in Healing from the Harbinger quest.
  • If you hand the Harbinger's Arm to the Emissary of Asheron in Yanshi, he will give you a token instead of immediately changing your title.
  • The Olthoi Brood Matrons in the 40+ Hives have the correct health.
  • The Superior Shield and the Miner's Cap can be correctly dyed all colors.
  • The Helm of the Crag, Lugian Hauberk, Bastion of Tukal, and Sleeves of Inexhaustibility can now be dyed.
  • Doors in the Caul Athenaeum now require the appropriate keys.
  • The two-second delay on portal sending spells for Player Killers and Player Killer Lites has been removed, as it is surpassed by the twenty second delay on portal use after combat.
  • Some creatures have been tweaked for balance.
  • The email address listed in the Report Abuse panel has been updated. It is now accmty@microsoft.com.This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it


Minor Details

  • Dakila bint Ma'liz no longer talks about the Shadow Spires as if they are still active.
  • The Broken Impious Staff no longer states that it will be Gharu'n only when it is repaired.
  • Changes were made to all Isparian missile weapons so that their elemental-stoned versions display the correct stone.
  • If you make a Sword of Lost Hope out of a Sword of Lost Light that has never been infused, it will display correctly. Any existing Sword of Lost Hope that was made using this process will not receive an art upgrade, unfortunately.
  • Jaleh's items can no longer be sold.
  • The correct message is displayed when you create a Luminescent Helm.
  • Wedding Raiments are spelled correctly.
  • Typos with the Olthoi Armor have been corrected.

Letter to the Players

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/ac1-lttp9-03.htm

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September Letter to the Players


Welcome to the September 2003 Letter to the Players. There are three main topics I’d like to address, so let’s get right to it!

Event News

For the last several months, we’ve been sending out information on upcoming events in three separate documents: the Letter to the Players, the Teaser, and the Dev Notes. Starting this month, you’ll also be seeing a return of the Rollout Article. Here’s how these four break down:

  • The Letter to the Players, which you’re reading now, will be used for hot-button topics that we want to inform you of prior to patch day.
  • The Teaser won’t change—it will still be a story progressing and teasing the ongoing plot. In addition, you’ll continue to see pictures of upcoming content.
  • In the Rollout Article, you’ll see features that we used to discuss in the Letter to the Players and the Dev Notes. Any item in the Dev Notes that deserves more in-depth explanation, but not necessarily advance notice, will go in here. This is also the new home of the story snippet that used to be at the beginning of the Dev Notes.
  • Other than moving the story paragraph to the Rollout Article, the Dev Notes won’t change. This will still be a point-by-point list of updates to the game.


In addition to these four documents, we’ll still be doing the Developer Diaries, plus other articles when we have special topics to discuss.

Dupe Bans and the Hall of Shame

As was announced, our initial sweep through the dupe logs turned up a number of names. We banned these players and shamed their characters publicly. Since then, we have continued our search through the logs, and have banned several additional players.

Some of these players contacted us and explained themselves. They stated that the duplication was unintentional, and described exactly what had happened. We compared their stories to our logs…and the stories matched. These players have since been unbanned and we would like to apologize to them. Their information will help us weed out future mistakes. However, in light of this incident, we are instituting two new policies:

  • If you experience a bug or server hiccup and accidentally duplicate items, please hand them to a Town Crier immediately. Then send an email to accmty@microsoft.com reporting what happened. Please include your account name. This will allow us to track down any remaining dupe bugs and assist us in distinguishing intentional duplication from accidental duplication.
  • We will no longer be listing account or character names on the Hall of Shame. Bans can be appealed—everyone makes mistakes sometimes. Dragging players’ names through the mud may be effective, but we feel it’s unnecessarily cruel. Therefore, the Hall of Shame will be updated with the number of accounts banned on each server, but not the specific names.


The first bullet point above will also be added to the character select screen in the September event, to ensure that players do not miss it.

Keep Your Heads Down

We couldn’t let a whole Letter go by without mentioning game content, could we? Well, here’s some advice, from me to you...

The last time you log out before the September event, make sure you log out somewhere safe. I recommend towns, mansions, housing settlements or residential quarters. Those digging noises are back... and they’re getting louder…
See you in Dereth!

- Ibn
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