Announcements - 2003/12 - Waking From the Abyss

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December 2003 - Patch Page

Contents

Teaser Images

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Teaser

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

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December Teaser


Waking From the Abyss

Winters touch arrived gently, ushering the festival season toward a close. As I moved through the world, watching it march toward its icy slumber, chill air gave birth to flakes of snow that landed on the earth to form a frosty blanket. The world grew darker as the winter months encroached and the sunsets came earlier. I felt the darkness closing in around me like grievvers ready to feast.

Word had come down from above that the High Queen had woken up. When she did, she was changed, eager to bring about a new era for the citizens of Dereth. She learned everything that had happened in her two-month absence and began investigations into the myriad of activities that haunted the Festival season. I was interested in helping, but wondered what my part would be. There were also other rumors that I picked up along the way.

Disappearances were becoming commonplace. People, families, friends, adventurers, were heading out to all corners of Dereth never to be heard from again. Some said that the heart of Marae Lassel held the key to the kidnappings, while others said that Oolutanga was growing too low on sacrifices. Whichever the case, the High Queen set out about seeing that the matter was straightened. She was offering rewards, and they attracted people like a ball of gunk attracts flies. I was one of them.

The winter winds whipped up another sad tale. The ground trembled and shook the icy mantle of winter side to side, like a shallows shark chewing on a fabled scroll, and the news reached me as I warmed my frozen bones over a cup of hot cocoa in Lytelthorpe. The Olthoi were leaving, but not fast enough. The Ancient Queen was hurt, not dead.

This caused a handful of nervous types to call on the High Queen to investigate. Apparently she did. Near the strongest quakes, she dispatched a guard to stand watch and offer more gifts to those brave enough to delve into the deep places. I offered my services without thought. I wasn't in it for the reward. I just wanted to see what was down there. At the lowest point, there wasn't much light left. The world became so dark, it was like the abyss never ended and consumed everything, kind of like Ulgrim downing swill.

High Queen Elysa also marked the festival by setting people like myself -- smart, intelligent, intuitive and devilishly handsome -- on a trail to find her would-be killer. As if the call of the Valley of Death and its newest residents wasn't enough, I was being offered a chance at fortune and fame. Life was looking up.

First things first. I needed to go to the south mountains, find a village and save the festival spirit from being turned into a puddle of lost dreams. The winter snow may have driven the scarecrows away, but the snowmen were grinning at me from every corner on every road. It was going to be long winter, and it had only just begun.

Rollout Article

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

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Waking from the Abyss


Lytelthorpe was a bustle of activity. In the past week, Selflora had counted five separate expeditions of Guards passing through the town. It was a good sign. It meant that Elysa was alive and well, and if the way the guards were talking was any indication of things to come, she had remembered what it was like at the start.

Selflora served ale, stout, cider and whatever else the customers wanted. It was the festival season and many people were trying to put the past behind them. She remarked on their attire, shared anecdotes, listened to their stories and laughed at their jokes. She felt invigorated by the presence of Elysa's guards. She offered to assist in directing people to Xavier's encampment outside of town, and brought warm cider to the others who had moved into the keep.

The past year was filled with so much darkness, so many bad memories for those that had been here before the lifestones. So many didn't understand how terrifying it was to have been there, in the beginning, before they had towns, settlements, before Elysa and Thorsten and Asheron. Now, in the chill winter air, it felt like Dereth was waking up from the hold of darkness that had gripped it for years. Selflora smiled brighter than ever.

Dereth had weathered the dark tide. Tumult had turned again to peace.

The Ongoing Saga

As festival season continues, the crafters and collectors of Dereth are hard at work producing new trinkets and masks. While new dangers are found in the Direlands, most of Dereth begins to breathe easily once more after the long struggle against the Olthoi.

Now we look forward, at some of the changes that are happening in this months event.

Explorer Society Quests

The Dereth Exploration Society has made some changes! They've made some changes to the rewards that they give, and when they give them. They're also clearer as to which reward you'll get for any given stamped letter. Check with an agent in one of the nine Nexus towns to find out the details.

Pouches, Backpacks and Sacks

All player-carryable containers now have 24 pack slots, just like backpacks. We made this change in order to make the smaller containers, such as sacks and belt pouches, more useful. This doesn't increase the amount of equipment that players can carry 8 sacks are the same as 8 backpacks but it does allow for more options in organizing your inventory.

The Marketplace

Due to the means in which distance from other players is calculated, it was possible to gain fellowship XP while your fellowship was in a dungeon and you were standing in the Marketplace. To prevent this behavior, we have changed the location of the Marketplace in the world.

We intend to fix the code that allows fellowship XP to be shared between players who are not in the same dungeon. This is a short-term fix for the location in which this behavior happened most frequently.

If you were in the Marketplace when you logged off prior to the December event, you should find yourself at your Lifestone when you log back in. You'll see the message, The currents of portal space cannot return you from whence you came. Your previous location forbids login. A quick @marketplace and you'll be right back at your trading post!

Avoiding Stamina Loss

In the April 2002 event, Betrayal, the Endurance attribute was given new functionality. If you had Melee Defense trained, you would have a chance to avoid losing any stamina when you successfully evaded a melee attack. The same was true for Missile Defense and missile attacks. This chance increased as your base Endurance increased.

We recently discovered a small bug in this system: it was possible to avoid losing stamina even if you did not have the proper Defense skill trained. This bug has been fixed in the December event.

Crafter Stamping

There are a number of quest items that, when created, stamp the item with the name of their creator. These include Nuhmudiras Gorgets, the Imbued Simulacra Helm and Shield, and the Focusing Stone, among many, many others.

Previously, the description of the finished item included the phrase, Created by and then the name of the creator. And this character name controlled whether or not a character could activate the magical enchantments of the item the creator (or a character with the same name as the creator, if the creator had been deleted) could activate the magic, but no other characters could.

Starting with this event, items that use a crafter name in this way to restrict activation now say so explicitly. Instead of Created by Ibn, for instance, my Focusing Stone reads, This item can only be activated by Ibn. In addition, the check for whether or not a character can activate the item now depends on the characters unique ID number, not just on the characters name. This means that you can no longer craft your Elari with one character, delete him, make a new character with the same name, and activate the Elari with your new character. These changes affect all pre-existing items as well as newly created items.

Incidentally, it is important to note that we did not make this change just to prevent the behavior described above. Rather, we are working on long-term plans for some exciting new functionality and we need to standardize how character names are used.

@Deaths

We recently discovered that the @deaths command was working rather inefficiently. Even though your client knew how often it had died and displayed this information on the Character Information screen, each use of @deaths required it to contact the server. As there was really no need to have this information in two different places, the @deaths command was removed.

Ding-Dong!

There are a handful of house-hookable items that you might reasonably expect to make noise. Previously these items were silent, but as of this month, some of them may prove quite noisy! Remember, before you use an item on a hook you may need to type @house hooks off. And if you already have these items hooked, they may need to be rehooked.

Release Notes

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

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Waking from the Abyss


New Functionality and Content

  • Autumn has turned to winter! Snow has fallen on Dereth, and the scarecrows have been replaced with snowmen.
  • The Dereth Exploration Society quests have been updated. See the Rollout Article for details.
  • New types of leather armor can now be found in loot, such as leather long gauntlets and leather pants.
  • All types of packs now have 24 inventory slots. See the Rollout Article for details.
  • The Furniture Craftsmen and Woodsmen have created several new items for your home.


Miscellaneous Improvements and Changes

  • The in-game location of the Marketplace has been changed. Characters who logged off in the Marketplace before the patch should log in at their lifestones. See the Rollout Article for details.
  • Items that stamped the name of their crafter upon creation and used this as an activation requirement now state the activation requirement explicitly. See the Rollout Article for details.
  • The Melee Defense Armor Imbue is now multiplied by any defense modifier on your weapon. See the Letter to the Players for details.
  • You must now have Melee or Missile Defense trained to have a chance at avoiding stamina loss after a successful evade. See the Rollout Article for details.
  • Creatures with missile attacks no longer vary the speed and accuracy of their attacks. See the Letter to the Players for details.
  • Some changes to housing notification and storage permissions have been made, please see the Letter to the Players for details.
  • Dirks now have a small chance to generate with up to a 0.3 variance.
  • Weeping Weapons are now enchantable and ivoryable. See the Letter to the Players for details.
  • Chalk Boards have new unique art. You may need to rehook them for this to take effect. Also, they should no longer close unexpectedly
  • Some housing items now make noise. See the Rollout Article for details.
  • The following items are now hookable: the Ornate Seal, the Skill Puzzle Base Piece, Ecortos Chisel, and all Phyntos Wasp Wings.
  • Players may now re-enter the Harbinger dungeons after completing the quest. See the Letter to the Players for details.
  • The @deaths command has been removed. See the Rollout Article for details.
  • The loot dropped by Lugians and Banderlings found in the Valley of Death has been increased slightly.
  • Several Olthoi Brood Queens and Olthoi Brood Matrons should no longer inflict type-less damage.


Minor Details

  • No more backwards butterflies!
  • Leather helms should no longer generate with unwieldable colors.
  • A bug that could prevent the completion of the Gareth Dain quest has been fixed.
  • The Drudge Charm necklaces can now be charged with mana properly.
  • A typo in the Specialization Gems has been corrected.
  • The Callous Heart portal gem now has the correct description.
  • When you kindle Thaumaturgic Leggings or a Coat, it no longer says that you have kindled your Girth.
  • The Writ of Refuge Text is now the correct size when put down.
  • A spawn of extreme-level creatures in a low-level part of Aphus Lassel and a spawn that was too close to a mansion have been removed.

Letter to the Players

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

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Letter To The Players


Welcome to the last Letter to the Players of 2003. How quickly the year has gone by! In the last twelve months, we've seen an Olthoi Invasion, a Valley of Death, a full rebalancing of the creatures of Dereth, an assassination attempt and more changes and updates than I could possibly list in this space.

As the festival season continues in Dereth, a chill is in the air and autumn is slowly turning into winter. Lets take a look at some of the changes that are coming in the December event!

Melee Defense Imbue

When we initially introduced the Armor Imbues in July, we stated that we would be monitoring the usage and effects of these imbues and tweaking them if we felt it necessary. This month, well be slightly increasing the effect of the Melee Defense Imbue.

In the past, the bonuses to Melee Defense granted by an Armor Imbue were applied after any melee defense multiplier granted by your weapon. The formula looked something like this:

(buffed melee defense * buffed weapon modifier) + Armor Imbue

After the December event, it will look more like this:

(buffed melee defense + Armor Imbue) * buffed weapon modifier

(Note that these formulas are not exact there are other modifiers for stance and motion involved.)

We feel that this will improve the performance of this imbue slightly. This change is retroactive it will affect all previously imbued pieces of armor.

We will monitor the balance of this change, and continue to monitor the use and balance of the Armor Imbues in general. In addition, we are currently considering other changes that would improve the performance of all three Armor Imbues.

Creature Missile Attacks

Like players, creatures have always had the option to vary the speed and accuracy of their missile attacks. At the fastest attack speed, they would attack at 50% of their buffed skill. At the slowest speed, they would attack at 150%. At high levels, this is a very big range. For example, a Lugian Juggernaut has a missile attack skill around 300. Any given Juggernaut could end up attacking with an effective skill from 150 to 450!

One side-effect of this is that it has made Missile Defense feel less useful, as well as making missile-using creatures somewhat difficult to balance. If we balanced them to be able to hit players of the appropriate level, frequently they would either attack too fast and miss too often or attack too slow and hit too often.

As of Decembers update, creatures will no longer vary the speed and accuracy of their missile attacks. They will attack at a fixed 100% of their skill. We believe that this will make the Missile Defense skill feel more useful, as increasing your skill will always increase your chances of dodging a creatures missile attacks.

Just to be clear: this change does not impact player-versus-player missile combat at all.

Housing Changes

Starting in December, there will be three small changes with regard to housing:

  • In the past, only the character who actually owns a house would receive the violent pink warning messages at login. Now all characters on the account will receive the warning message if maintenance has not been paid. But as before, if the house owned is a mansion, and the monarch does not have sufficient rank to maintain the mansion, then only the monarch himself will see a warning about the rank requirement.
  • All characters on the account owning the house will have access to the house UI panel, where you can see the location of your house and the maintenance status.
  • All characters on the account owning the house will automatically be added to the guest list and storage permission list. It will no longer be necessary to manually give storage permission to characters on the house-owning account.


Weeping Weapons

Also in December, were introducing two changes to Weeping Weapons. The first and perhaps most noticeable change is that Weeping Weapons will no longer be unenchantable. The base spells on the weapons will override all positive enchantments, but they are now valid targets for debuffing. They will use their wielders Magic Defense skill to resist negative spells.

In addition, all Weeping Weapons will be able to be tinkered with Ivory and placed on wall hooks.

The Harbinger Quest

Since the reintroduction of the Harbinger quest, players have asked us for the ability to re-enter the dungeons to accompany their friends, even if their own reward timers had not yet expired. Decembers update will allow this possibility, although there will be some restrictions.

The first restriction is that you will still only be able to enter the portal near the emissary that you have chosen to aid. The second restriction is that this change will only take effect the first time you complete this quest after the December event. If you have completed the quest recently, you will not be able to re-enter the dungeon until your timer expires. After that time, you will be able to enter the dungeon at will. It should be noted that the timer on the quest reward has not been changed.

We had hoped to allow all to re-enter, regardless of when they had completed the quest, but unfortunately this turned out to not be feasible. We felt that making the change described above was better than making no change at all.

If your timer for this quest has recently expired, or will be expiring soon, you may want to wait until after the December event to run the quest again. That way youll be able to take advantage of the changed portal restrictions.

See you in Dereth!

-- Ibn
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