Announcements - 2003/10 - Reign of Terror

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October 2003 - Patch Page

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Teaser

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/oct_teaser_1.htm

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Reign of Terror Part 1


The climb to the surface had taken little time. Workers were hastily completing the chamber that she had willed them to create. She observed their progress, and made her way to another nest. There she was confronted by a host of the little creatures. Some of the creatures were metal-clad, while others wore foul-smelling skins and hides from even lesser creatures that lived on this fetid island.

All of the little things were hostile. She could feel their anxiety, fear and hatred as they made their way down from the top of her children's home. The water of life sizzled on the ground beneath her and guardians silently found their way to her side. She explained the reason for her arrival and told them to pull their forces back. Secluding herself in the depths of a dark crevice, she waited for the little things to come into her lair.

Things with sharp metal sticks, things with large metal heads on wooden sticks, things with sticks and strings that shot smaller sticks, and things with little glowing balls, crystals and rods made their way into her lair. At the front, clad in the shells of her children banded together with metal, was a little creature far too familiar. She knew this little thing from the cries of her children who stood born of her daughter, the daughter who once ruled this land. This little creature's stick with a string glowed the same color as the water of life, and it smelled as her children did after they were dead. She could tell that the smell was not from the metal shells draped over the creature's body. There was something else.

Her children raged in the darkness, begging to be loosed upon this horde, and as their anger grew so did hers toward the one little thing. The insignificant speck that had somehow killed her daughter and ended the life of so many more of her children was finally before her. She would have revenge against this creature for her children; she would crush the life from this little thing. She willed her children forward, knowing full well that a great many would perish on the pointed sticks, but she would see the invaders driven from her home.

Her children led the charge and the little things pulled tightly about the creature she knew. The skin-wearers began to beat wooden objects furiously. The sounds shook her children's shells and caused them discomfort. She drove those feelings from her children's minds and renewed their strength. Skin-wearers toppled and fell in heaps of life-fluid as her children's hands tore through their flesh. Hide-wearers formed a wall about the creature clad in shell-in-metal. She stormed at them and spewed forth her venom.

Hide did little to protect their flesh and it melted away before her. The familiar creature wearing shell-in-metal produced a liquid from a hide sack. It smelled like her eldest children, only dead. She watched the little thing coat a wooden stick with the liquid and place it on the string of its glowing stick. All around, her children tore into the flesh of the creatures that had come to destroy her home and slay them all. She stood over the little one wearing shell-in-metal and prepared another blast of her venom.

The little creature loosed the stick coated in the scent of death and it struck her above the eye. It stung, but little else, and her venom dropped over the little thing. It fell to one knee and was pulled away by metal-clad creatures and hide-clad creatures.

Now the little creatures fled. She recalled her children and tended to their wounds, as the little creatures ran through the tunnels of her home. She had won the day. Soon she would win this land. She would drive the little creatures into the water of life and consume them.

Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/ac1/oct_teaser2-cover.htm

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Reign of Terror Part 2


You're in for a special treat this month with this awesome comic-book style section of the teaser! Click on any of the images to see the full sized page!
Turbine:

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Original Link (now dead) - http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/oct_teaser3.htm

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Reign of Terror Part 3


The halls were silent, save for the sound of their footfalls. Rytheran glanced at his companion and delved within his memory. To recall the glory that they had once commanded, he was forced to concentrate. It was difficult to do while seeing them both as they were nowdesiccated corpses with nary a remnant of flesh, covered in ruined clothing that had once designated them as scholars and officials of their race. As he focused, the glamour wove about him and repaired centuries of decay. Flesh covered his bones, moth-eaten and timeworn robes were made whole, and his vibrant eyes returned to fill his empty sockets.

"Love, I would keep you in that form for the further eternity could I accept it as reality, but we both know truth beyond lies, and I would ask you to not cause this undue pain. Let our memories be just that, so that our tortured souls are not carved deeper still with the cold blade of time." Aerfalle brushed a lock of glamorous hair away from Rytheran's brow and the image faded, returning his features to a grim visage.

"For so many millennia, my love, that blade has etched into my being." Rytheran paused as they separated. "Why now? We searched for so long while the Servant walked. Why not call to us then? So many of the Firstborn scattered across the deserts and lost in the war against the dark spawn.

"We had thought Amauxi fallen during the second sending. Had His Eternal Splendor seen so far into the future to hide him even then? And what of the sacrifices made while the outlanders did our bidding without coaxing? Had he foreseen the end of the fourth sending at their hand?

"Had he expected that this horde, with the guidance of the last child of the Yalain, would succeed?" Rytheran asked as they resumed their walk down the ancient hallway. "They are whelps, barely capable of channeling the art."

"All, that is, but one." Aerfalle smirked. "She stirs the things that sleep, and I can sense your elation growing. You think her singing will stir the Old Ones."

"'Tis true. I hold hope still that their voices will rise again. But as the dark spawn grow more powerful, loosed from their deepest trenches to walk the world again, I fear for Killiakta. The singer knows little of what she does, and what knowledge we have of the entity of energy and his delving only yields supposition that one of the K"

"Nothe sendings cannot be this close." Aerfalle placed her hand on a door, crafted millennia before, and it opened without sound.

The chamber beyond housed an eclectic assembly not seen since the fourth sending, when the decision was made to join the battle against the Uvriliim and Paanuvriliim. Amauxi, one of the first Filinuvekta, was seated between representatives from the Latzimestal and the Sand Kings. Their conversation was civil, nearly hushed. Amauxi stood as the Lord and Dark Lady entered the hall.

"Eons have not washed away your grace and beauty, Aerfalle, nor have they dimmed your presence, Lord Rytheran." Amauxi bowed. As one, the assembled collection of Undead stood and greeted the pair. Aerfalle and Rytheran nodded in unison, and took their places on thrones that had been prepared for their arrival. Amauxi stepped next to the center of the gathered Undead.

"For millennia I have stood watch, and kept secret the resting place of the King. Now he begs me come to all and begin discourse. The outlanders draw too near failure, and this incursion of the Olthoi is one he had not foreseen. The heavens are confused and muddled, and singers whose voices have long been silenced are raised in a chorale that nothing hears. The last child of Yalain is paralyzed, and our eyes upon him have gone blind. Beloved Killiakta draws nearer to destruction than she has ever been before.

"Ours is an ignoble task, that beckons we send an emissary to impart a gift to the outlander horde. As it is His will, so it must be done."

Original Link (now dead) - http://www.microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/oct_teaser4.htm

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Reign of Terror Part 4


Elysa's face was pale. Her breathing was still shallow and her eyes had not opened since the attack. She lived, but no amount of magic would wake her from this cold sleep. Aun Hareltah had tried all he knew to wake the Queen, but still she lay, silent and cold. Antius brushed a stray lock of honey-colored hair from her brow and gently kissed her forehead.

"Come back to me, my love." He gently touched a hand to her cheek and smiled.

A week had passed since the assault. At night, Antius would stay by her side with Borelean, telling Elysa of the day's exploits. It mattered little if she heard them, they each needed to see her, and every once and again they swore they saw some recognition on her face. The boy was showing remarkable resilience and control by holding his sorrow within. Antius saw this as a blessing and a curse. The boy had attempted to find Asheron only once. It ended in failure as the spell to reach Asheron's Sanctum failedas though the Sanctum were no longer there.

Everything was bleak. The festival season had come to Dereth, but there was little to celebrate. The Olthoi had been driven back from the majority of the countryside, but the earth still trembled and the Ancient Queen was still out there somewhere.

During the day, Antius joined Lord Kresovus, scouring the countryside with Balor. The assailant's scent had gone dry after the second day of searching, but Balor was as stubborn as his master. He insisted that he had found the trail time and again, only to lose it on the wind. Nuhmudira worked to find the would-be assassin through mystical means, while Celdiseth, Fadsahil and Ciandra tried to formulate some manner of cure. For the moment, Antius was forced to believe that Nuhmudira was truly not responsible for the assault, as this was fell magic that none of them understood. But his bones still grew chilled when she was about.

"I love you," he said as he took Elysa's hand into his. He looked to the fireplace and noticed the embers there, sparks popping from a small pocket of water in the wood. He saw life in that red glow, and he refused to let that fire die.

"Where are you, Asheron?" he asked of no one.

Antius' reverie was abruptly broken by the shuffle of leather boots moving hurriedly. The sound of metal-clad boots followed behind. The doors burst open as he turned toward the hall. His left hand still held Elysa's gently, but his right now gripped his sword hilt, relaxing only when he saw the intruders were Hendac and Jenavere. He let Elysa's hand drop back to her side and walked to them. Two royal guards stood behind the pair.

"Sorry Lord Antius, they pushed by us too quickly," one guard apologized.

"They are friends, and are welcome here," Antius replied. He dismissed the guards and brought Hendac and Jenavere into the room. Hendac made his way to Elysa's bedside and fell to one knee, while Jenavere took a rolled sheet of paper to the table near the balustrade.

"If she saw you doing that, Hendac, she'd cuss you and likely give you a swift kick." Antius managed a weak smile, and the mute man smiled in return as he glanced back and got to his feet.

"Antius, no time for talk. We've found her." Jenavere was pointing to the scroll, a crudely drawn map showing the borders of the Lost Wish Mountains. "We tracked a small encampment of Gotrok Lugians through the mountains. We were forced to slow our pace to match theirs, or risk being seen. After a day of no movement, Hendac and I followed the ridge here." She pointed to an area of the mountains that Antius barely recalled. "Along this ridge, we saw a marked increase in Renegade activity, but we also found something else." Antius glanced back to Hendac, who happily pointed at his nose.

"Hendac smelled it firsta hive, a big hive. We looked for the entrance and found only a pocket of acrid air that seeped from within the bowels of the earth, north of the mountains. We couldn't find a way inbut that is where she is roosting. I know it." She poked her finger at a spot on scroll.

"How deep?" Antius asked. Hendac sat in the chair beside Elysa's bed.

"Hard to say," Jenavere replied, looking at Antius' face. "How long has it been since you've slept?"

"Long enough. How many Olthoi?" Antius responded.

"Thousands, I'm sure of that. And she's breeding...quickly," Jenavere stated plainly.

Antius nodded and called for a guard. The door opened and a guard walked into the room. "Assemble the council. We have the location of the Queen's lair." The guard nodded and left the room.

"The council, Antius?" Jenavere protested. "They'll discuss this into the ground before anything is done, and then it will be too late."

"No, Jenavere. The council is very different now."

"Different? The only ones that were ever worth their lot were Elysa and Celdiseth. The rest be damned. Scholars and fools! Nuhmudira was one of the Zaikhal scholars that refused to provide us with the munitions necessary to crush the remaining Olthoi hives. We know how that ended. I'm sure you've heard about the colony of humans beneath the Catacombs where Elysa slew the first queen. They're not to be trusted," Jenavere continued.

"I don't trust them, Jenavere, but they're all we have Nuhmudira included. Nuhmudira is arguably the most powerful of us. She very well might be our only hope. I wish I could convey to you how much it pains me to say that," Antius conceded blandly as he returned to the table. "We can't do this alone. We need all the help we can muster, and if that means that we need to deal with those we cannot trust to ensure the safety of this world and our way of life, so be it. I will not go back to a slave pit."

"Nor will I." Nuhmudira opened the door, flanked by a guard. "The others are coming post-haste. What news do you have for us, Antius?"

Jenavere looked to Hendac. He knelt and kissed Elysa's hand. Jenavere took a step toward Antius and whispered, "We'll be around, Antiusbut we won't fight with her." She smiled and clasped the man in a brief embrace. Hendac approached Antius and clapped him on the back. Then the two pushed past Nuhmudira into the hallway.

Nuhmudira waited until they disappeared into the darkness and then asked, "What was that all about?"

"They found the Queen."

Rollout Article

Original Link (now dead) - Original Link (now dead) - http://acdm.turbinegames.com/monthlyevents/?action=view&article_id=249

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Reign of Terror


Asheron sat in a high-backed chair. His attendants lay in crumpled heaps upon the floor. The magic to bind their limbs together and power their minds had been washed away. He could no longer leave this room. He had neither the means nor the strength. Food was plentiful enough to last him for another passing of the seasons at the most. The only light came from a single candle resting on a simple wooden table at his side.

On his lap, the writings of his father and the brightest scholars of his age lay open to pages that explained the processes for alchemically crafting poisons. He was incapable of frustration; it had only been two full cycles of Albarel and Rezarel. Though he feared that Elysa was gone, as well as her dear boy, he hoped that there were still Isparians left who fought against the Olthoi. For their sake he would not cease his study.

Nuhmudira was the last Isparian he had seen. She had come nearly two months prior espousing her willingness to assist him. He agreed and furnished Nuhmudira with the details of his studies to that point, sending her back to Elysa with a message that they would work together to find a way to drive the Olthoi back.

Asheron did not know if Nuhmudira had delivered the message. She had never returned, and shortly after her departure the higher magics within his tower had failed. This left him blind to the outside world and, after the failure of the conveyance systems, stranded within the confines of this room. Portal magic was rent asunder and he relegated himself to waiting for a sign that the Isparians were alive.

Only two months had passed without word, a far shorter time than he had been alone before, but the area about him was devoid of mana and magic. This brought a heavy weight to his heart. The old mage rose and placed the books upon the table beside him. Taking up the candle from the table, he moved across the room and sat at a table covered in clean sheaves of paper and simple quills.

There, he began to write of the last days of Auberean. The Ongoing Saga

Last month, the olthoi swarmed over Dereth. From coast to coast, from the mountains to the forests, the Olthoi ruled the land. But the heroes of Dereth learned how to enter their nests and drive them back into their underground dens.

The greatest battles took place in the Direlands. As many fought their way down into one strongly-defended nest, High Queen Elysa Strathelar took a contingent of allies and guards into yet another. While the assault on the first nest was a success and the Direlands were freed of the Olthoi menace, Elysas assault met with dismal failure. They were met by an ancient olthoi queen, more powerful than any that had been seen before by Isparians, and her battle cadre failed to damage or hinder her. Firing an arrow, enchanted and poisoned by Nuhmudira and Asheron, Elysa had hoped to topple the reign of this olthoi queen. As warriors fell around her, she was forced to retreat.

After returning to thank the efforts of the Isparians who had assisted with the removal of the Olthoi across Dereth, Elysa plead with her council to join together to rid Dereth of the Olthoi. As the council departed, a lone assassin Oswald made his way into the room and struck Elysa a mortal blow. Now the High Queen lays comatose, the victim of a poison that threatens to snuff out her life, regardless of Asherons protection. The Olthoi have surged forth once again, and the people of Dereth look for leadership. Who will rise to the role?

Fellowship Changes

Following up last months improvements to the Fellowship Changes, were pleased to introduce two new features for Fellowships fellowship leadership transfers, and open fellowships.

Leadership Transfers:

In the past, if the leader of your fellowship had to leave the game, it was necessary to disband and reform your fellowship. No longer! One of the two new buttons on the Fellowship Panel is the Leader button. The leader of any fellowship can click on the Leader button, then click a fellowship member in the Fellowship Panel. The member selected becomes the new leader of the fellowship instantly.

In addition, if the leader of a Fellowship leaves the game for any reason, leadership of the Fellowship will be passed to another member, randomly. The Fellowship will no longer automatically disband.

Open Fellowships:

At any time, the leader of a fellowship can change the fellowship into an open fellowship by clicking on the new Open button on the Fellowship Panel. The button will change to a Close button and all members Recruit buttons will light up.

Open fellowships work exactly like normal fellowships except for one difference: In an open fellowship, any fellowship member may recruit new members by clicking on the Recruit button.

At any time, the leader can close the fellowship by clicking on the Close button. An open fellowship can be closed by the leader. Just click on the Close button. When the fellowship is closed, only the leader will be able to recruit new members.

Weeping Weapon Changes

After continued testing, and listening to your feedback, we determined that the Weeping Weapons, and particularly two of the melee weapons, needed some slight improvements. As of today, youll see the following changes:

  • All Weeping Weapons now have an Arcane Lore requirement of 50.
  • The Weeping Spear and Weeping Axe have had their damage variance improved slightly.
  • All melee Weeping Weapons have had their slayer bonus increased slightly.



As always, we will watch these changes carefully, and continue to adjust balance when necessary.

Festival Celebrations Delayed

In past years, October has been the beginning of the festival months of Dereth. The three mask makers and their apprentices usually invented new colorful masks that players could have made from the heads of monsters.

Unfortunately, the continued olthoi assaults and the attack on the High Queen have delayed their efforts. You wont see as many new masks this month as you have in past years. If the brave defenders of Dereth can find a way to defeat the olthoi, the festival celebrations including new masks should return.

Stackable Writs of Refuge

In response to numerous player requests, we have made the Writs of Refuge stackable. To do so, it was necessary to remove the lore from them. For players who would like to read the lore that was once found on the Writs, they can purchase the text from the apprentice Arcanum craftsmen in Cragstone, Zaikhal, and Hebian-To.

Release Notes

Original Link (now dead) - Original Link (now dead) - http://acdm.turbinegames.com/monthlyevents/?action=view&article_id=250

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Reign of Terror


New Functionality and Content

  • Fellowship improvements: Open Fellowships and Leadership Transfer. For more details please see the Rollout Article.
  • The corpse of a player who died a Player Killer Lite death should now decay after five minutes if it is not opened. If it is opened and closed it should decay immediately. For more details please see the Letter to the Players.
  • Several dungeons have been updated to match the level of the surrounding creatures. Be careful out there!
  • Pumpkins, scarecrows, and bats!


Miscellaneous Improvements and Changes

  • When you ID an item, you will now see its special properties immediately beneath its workmanship. In addition, the second Armor Level line in armor will now be green when enchanted.
  • If you drag an item from a house hook to a wield slot and do not meet the wield requirements, the item should no longer disappear. It should return to its hook.
  • The Virindi masks and the resulting Heritage masks have been updated. For more details please see the Letter to the Players.
  • Weeping Weapons have been adjusted, please see the Rollout Article for more details.
  • Dyed Olthoi Gauntlets and Sollerets should no longer override the color of your chest armor.
  • Writs of Refuge now stack. Please see the Rollout Article for more details.
  • Virindi troves and Tusker Shrines should no longer hover in mid-air.
  • Minor Enchantment Aptitude no longer surpasses Major Enchantment Aptitude.
  • Plaques should no longer get stuck on some hooks, and also now have a more appropriate icon.
  • Fort Neydisa and Bandit Castle are now marked on the in-game map, and the mysterious Wei Jhou has been removed.
  • Sturdy Steel Chests should provide slightly more loot.
  • Some creatures that drop Sturdy Steel Keys will no longer also drop Sturdy Iron Keys.
  • The Lugian Warlord is now correctly listed as a Gotrok Lugian, and is accompanied by other Gotroks.
  • The Lugian Citadels are no longer level-restricted.
  • The Dark Presence in the Soul Fearing quest had been casting Drain spells, despite the fact that it cannot be injured those spells had no effect. It should no longer cast them.
  • Assailers and Rampagers now do slightly more damage.
  • Olthoi Swarm Mutilators now drop the same loot as non-swarm Mutilators.
  • Some additional creatures have been adjusted for balance.
  • Visual issues with three of the Isparian bows have been corrected.
  • The portal gems sold by the Archmagi now have unique icons, as do the wedding portal gems.
  • The skeleton fishing reward should no longer face into the corner when placed on a hook.
  • The signs for the Festivus Court residential halls are now correct.


Minor Details

  • Flying Olthoi can now be hit when players swing high.
  • There is no longer a timer on getting a chisel from Ecorto the Lost Director.
  • Ripper now correctly identifies as Aluvian.
  • Heart of Oak now correctly states that other spells can be layered over it.
  • All Hermetic Void spells now have the correct difficulties.
  • All flower, vase, and pedestal combinations no longer impede movement.
  • The Ball of Gunk and the Old Boot should no longer float in mid-air when dropped from a height.

Letter to the Players

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

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October Letter to the Players


Welcome to the October 2003 Letter to the Players. As the forces of Dereth focus on ridding the land of the Olthoi, we can't help but wonder what lies on the horizon.

PK Lite Corpse Timer

Starting with the October event, PK Lite corpses will follow the same rules as monster corpses. If they are opened and closed, they will decay immediately. If they are never opened, they will decay in five minutes. This should help cut down on the graphics impact caused by PK Lite combat in high-traffic areas.

When we initially proposed PK Lite and asked for feedback on our forums, the majority of players responded that they did want corpses. Unfortunately, since PK Lite has been so popular, there's been a problem with too many corpses. We could take them out of the game, but as they were included by request, we would prefer to leave them. In addition, leaving them as they are gives us the option to create some form of PK Lite death trophy in the future.

We thank you all for helping to clean up your corpses in the meantime, and ask that you continue to do so even after these changes.

Masks

We've traditionally added new masks each October. This year, in addition to any other content we might add, we'll be tweaking the existing Virindi and heritage masks. We're bringing all masks into line with the current creature difficulty breakdowns, and some are being made more useful. These changes may include how you obtain and repair the masks.

The most important change, and the one we feel is necessary to mention in advance, will be to the requirements of Pwyll's Guard, the Shroud of Night, and the higher-level Koji's Beast. These three masks previously had wield requirements of 300 base skill in Dagger, Staff, and Unarmed, respectively. These are being changed to activation requirements of 350 buffed skill.

We felt that players like to wear the heritage masks for decoration and fun, and that the wield requirements of the high-level masks prevented them from being used in this fashion. While the change should not impact many players, we wanted to let you know ahead of time so that it doesn't take you by surprise.

Fellowship Improvements

Last month, we made some changes to the fellowship system. You no longer need to walk over to someone to recruit them into your fellowship, and we gave you an option to automatically accept fellowship requests.

This month you'll be seeing additional fellowship improvements, plus two new features:

  • Fellowships will no longer automatically disband if the leader quits or is disconnected. Fellowship leaders can also assign leadership to a different character.


  • Players can create Open Fellowships, which allow any member to recruit new members.


We also believe we have fixed the bug that could, in certain situations, change your target to a fellowship member. You'll find more details regarding these changes in the Rollout Article!

The October Event

Judging by our schedule in past months, you would expect the October event to take place a week and a half after this Letter is posted. This month, however, the event will be roughly a week later than normal. Our current target for the event is the last week in October.

The Zone has plans for annual maintenance in late October, and asked us if we would be willing to push our event back a week. This was to ensure that none of their maintenance would impact our event in any way.

To get you through the extra week, the teaser will be a little longer than usual, and spread out over a few days.

In other event news, the October download will be larger than usual. (If you watch the splash screens after the download is complete, you'll see one of the reasons why.)

The AC:DM Website

We're planning a number of changes for the Turbine AC:DM website, including a total revamp of the AC:DM forums. We mention it here because we may need to take the entire site down for a week or more as we make these updates. Current plans have this downtime happening just after the October event, but it may be shifted earlier or later as necessary. We'll be posting more information on the site and on the forums as it becomes available.

Looking Forward

In previous years, October has been the beginning of the winter festival months, a "break" from the more intense action of previous months. As you can see by the continued Olthoi attacks, however, this October will be anything but a break!

As a result, November and December will be our festival months. They may feel a little different from the past few months of story-driven content. In these two months, we'll be focusing on fixing bugs, cleaning up existing content, and trying to implement a few pieces of content that didn't quite fit with the most recent story arc. So there will be interesting new content, but not epic storyline content.

That's all we've got for today! Remember that a number of details that you used to see in the Letter to the Players can now be found in the Rollout Article, which is posted on the day of the event.

See you in Dereth!

- Ibn
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