Announcements - 2004/05 - Mired Hearts

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Mired Hearts

posted on 07-May-2004

"There's trouble," Antius said, leading Hendac into the room.

"When is there not?" Elysa responded, motioning to a set of chairs and flashing him a meager smile. She had been looking out her window, running her fingers over the scar in the center of her chest. Even though it had healed it burned still. Often she thought that the burning was all in her mind, knowing that out there somewhere, someone had wanted her dead. She put the thought from her mind and turned toward the table and chairs where Antius and Hendac now waited.

"What is it?" she asked, sitting in a chair beside Antius.

Hendac pushed a small leather scrollcase toward the High Queen. She reached across and took the case up. It was too large to be made by Isparians and the leather was tanned to be softer. It bore a resemblance to the hunting bags carried by the Tonk of Marae Lassel. Elysa recalled seeing the bags only recently; hunters from Marae Lassel had asked to hunt on Dereth and issue challenges to the Ispar tribe. They had set up a few camps across Osteth, and even near Ayan Baqur.

She undid the clasp, a stone buckle. The buckle was heavy and shaped squarely, Lugian-made. Lord Kresovus had expressed some anger over the continued slaughter of his warriors by some Isparians, but there had been fewer skirmishes in recent weeks and the matter seemed to be at rest. The only other group that could have made this was the renegade force that had splintered away from the Virindi.

"Renegades," she read the first few lines. "They mean to join with these new creatures?"

"Apparently," Antius said. Beside him Hendac bobbed his head, the furrow of his brow displaying his displeasure. "There's more."

Elysa finished reading and Hendac produced a folded scrap of parchment from within the folds of his leathers. He rose and walked to Elysa's other side and placed the parchment on the table. He pointed two fingers to his eyes and then tapped the parchment. Elysa knew what he meant.

"How did they build this?" Elysa asked as she stared at the drawing. It was done in Hendac's hand and showed a fortress of some kind. It was set against the side of a plateau with two mammoth stone sentinels towering on the forward edges of the flat land above.

"It's unclear, but Hendac has assured me that the structures appear to be identical to those at Candeth Keep. We visited the keep and found that one of the guards had gone missing recently. A Lugian, Okret." Antius paused. "He'd been stationed there since the work was first started on the outpost. His departure, and the discovery of this fortress well, they seem to be more than coincidence."

Elysa nodded.

"The Blackmire Swamp is being overrun by the Burun, Elysa. This new race has already driven most of the Mosswarts from there. I've no love for the Mosswarts, but they're being slaughtered." He paused. "That missive is from the fort in the Direlands. Muldaveus and Niarltah want to join forces with this new race, and if they do who knows which race they'll displace next."

"I know, Antius. We need to stop them. I'll speak with Kresovus." She paused and folded the parchment before handing it back to Hendac. "Perhaps he'll be willing to send agents of his own into the Renegade camp." It sickened her to say those words. She had prided herself on being honest and forthright throughout her life, now she was resorting to deceit. "We'll do what we can to keep the Renegades and Burun apart."

Elysa stood and walked back to her window, rubbing the wound on her chest.

Rollout Article

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Mired Hearts

posted on 11-May-2004

The sound of breaking bones and tearing flesh filled the small cavern. Okret had volunteered for this assignment because he knew that Muldaveus and Niarltah would look favorably on him should he perform the task well. As he stood in the entrance of this fetid cave, he began to think this had been an error in judgment. Cautiously he hoisted the great stone chest onto his shoulder and proceeded deeper into the grotto. Wails filled his ears and grew louder, serving as a beacon and guiding him deeper into the living cave.

The ground was moist, spongy and covered in a thin film of yellow slime. The place reeked of the swamp and something even fouler than decay. He paused to look at the peculiar sight of a phyntos wasp firmly stuck onto a small pike. He placed the stone chest on the ground and knelt to study the craft of the pike.

A set of yellow eyes blinked in the darkness of a nearby tunnel. The burun hunkered low, revealing two other sets of eyes. They moved just into the light of the wide cavern where Okret knelt and gnashed their rows of jagged teeth. In unison, the three let out a growl and screech like nothing Okret had ever heard.

Many of this month's changes have already been described in detail in the Letter to the Players. There are a few other topics that we'd like to discuss in detail.

Defender and Lure Blade

We recently discovered a bug with the spells Defender I, III and V; and Lure Blade I, III and V. The amount of the bonus or penalty that these spells granted did not match the amount listed in the spells' descriptions.

To resolve this issue, we made the numbers match and we always used the greater value. For example, if the description listed a greater change than the spell actually granted, the spell was changed. If the spell caused a change greater than the listed description, the description was changed.

The table below shows the spells with their new values.

Defender / Lure Blade I ± 3%
Defender / Lure Blade III ± 7.5%
Defender / Lure Blade V ± 13%

Imbue Underlays

There is now a visible difference between imbued and unimbued weapons. Imbued weapons have a colored background, with the color representing the specific type of imbue.

The following chart shows the different colors for imbues:

200405 Rollout.jpg

Unopened Corpse Keys

From the Configure Keyboard option, you can now bind keys to two new commands: Closest Unopened Corpse and Next Unopened Corpse. These keys target unopened corpses in a manner similar to that used by the Next Monster and Closest Monster commands.

These new commands will not only select the unopened corpse, they will also attempt to open the corpse, just as if you'd double-clicked it. This will make your character walk to the corpse if you are not within usable distance of it.

Please note that these new keyboard commands do not currently track whether or not you have permission to open the corpse or whether or not the corpse is currently being looted by another player. For example, if you hit the key bound to Next Unopened Corpse and you may not loot the corpse for some reason, the game will behave just as if you had double-clicked on the corpse. You will walk over to the corpse, if necessary, and then receive an error message in the upper left-hand corner of your screen.

Configurable Timestamping

There is a new option in the Character Options panel: Display Timestamps. The option is followed by some symbols and text in green.

When this option is checked, the text in green will be displayed before each new entry in your chat box. The symbols represent various replacement filters so you can customize the timestamp display.

For more information on configuring this option, as well as examples, visit the Timestamp Options page in Asheron's Handbook.

Stackable Gems

The following types of Portal Gems are now stackable to a maximum of 25: Town Portal Gems, Archmage Portal Gems, and Tusker Island Portal Gems.

Some players use these gems particularly the Archmage Portal Gems as death items, so it's important to note how stackable items work with the death system. When you die, a stack is considered to be one item for the purposes of death items. However if that stack is selected, only one item off the stack will drop.

For example, let's say you can currently cover all of your items with five Portal Gems. After the event, if you do not stack these gems there will be no change. However, if you combine the five gems into a single stack, you would drop one gem and four other items on death.

Release Notes

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Developer's Notes

posted on 10-May-2004

New Functionality and Content

  • We've added a number of new allegiance tools such as allegiance officers and allegiance account bans.
  • We've introduced part four of our ongoing treasure revisions.
  • The ranged attack slider now has a 40% penalty at maximum speed.
  • The Palenqual's Living Weapons quest has been revised.
  • We've revised the following features of a number of towns: Lifestone locations, portal drop locations, Meeting Hall locations, the spells sold by Scriveners, and mundane items sold by vendors.
  • Allegiance bindstones can be found in towns, but are not yet active.

Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements

  • Artwork for the sixth character slot has been added.
  • The paperdoll in the Inventory Panel has two new slots for your character's pants and shirt.
  • The icons of imbued weapons now have unique backgrounds.
  • The durations of most negative spells have been changed.
  • The Heal and Revitalize spells have been improved.
  • The Defender and Lure Blade spells have been tweaked to resolve a discrepancy between their effects and their descriptions.
  • Two new commands can be mapped to keys: Closest Unopened Corpse and Next Unopened Corpse.
  • Several types of Portal Gems are now stackable.
  • The Spring Cleaner title is now granted by Arcanum agents instead of Town Criers. If you have any of these tokens and wish to receive the title, do not hand it to a Town Crier! The Crier will keep the token and you will not receive the title.
  • You can now map Toggle Crafting Confirmation to a key.
  • Crafting chance of success no longer displays if there is no skill check involved.
  • The Target Next/Closest Monster command will no longer select PK/L players who are in your fellowship.
  • We've added a new option to the Character Options panel: Display Timestamp.
  • Your trade window will no longer automatically close if your trading partner recalls away or walks out of range.
  • The /r command is no longer case-sensitive.
  • You can now use @allegiance broadcast [text] instead of @allegiance, [text] for allegiance broadcast messages.
  • Two bugs with emotes have been fixed you can now use < > instead of * * for emotes, and colons display properly in emotes again.
  • Items that can be dyed or tinkered with Ivory now explicitly state this when they are examined.
  • We've resolved an issue that could cause Zone ticket timeout errors when trying to log in to the game.
  • Always Drop on Death items would not drop on death for characters under level 10. This has been fixed.
  • We've fixed a bug that could cause a character's number of deaths to display incorrectly if that character had never died.
  • Bowyers will now buy back wrapped fletching supplies.
  • Some landscape spawns that were too near settlements or on the sides of mountains have been moved.
  • Some landscape locations that were inescapable have been fixed.
  • All of the melee and missile weapons from the Ixir Zi and Liazk Itzi temple quests have been improved, with the exception of the Lance of the Bloodletter.
  • Many other quest weapons have been improved to increase their average damage over time.
  • The Slithis hallways in the Liazk Itzi temple are now more difficult to run through.
  • Fadsahil no longer advises characters that are under level 40 to start the Liazk Itzi quest.
  • The Ward of Rebirth spells no longer surpass Indomitability.
  • The range on Infected Blood, Infirmed Mana, and Enervation has been increased.
  • Ulgrim's robe no longer covers your feet. If you are wearing one when you first log in to the game after this event, you will need to take it off and put it back on.
  • The value and burden of the Realaidain Raiment has been reduced.
  • It is no longer possible to perch on the kilns in the Knorr Forge.
  • Some graphics and physics issues with lava pits and statues in the Tusker Holding and Tusker Abode have been resolved.

Minor Details

  • The non-magic Buadren is now giveable and hookable. Its description has also been clarified.
  • The updated Sleeves of Inexhaustibility can now be dyed.
  • Thimrin Woodsetter's maximum buy value has been increased to one million pyreals.
  • A few lines of text still referred back to the Fire Shreth Hide as being a Fire Auroch Hide. These have been fixed.
  • Players can no longer identify some Burun-wielded weapons.
  • The Ancient Armored Bracer is now correctly called the Ancient Armored Bracers.
  • A small typo in the Liazk Itzi temple guardian speech has been corrected, as have some typos in tells sent by the Sarcophagus.
  • The name of the Inferior Scythe Aegis spell now displays correctly.
  • The titles of the beggars in Dryreach are now spelled correctly.
  • Typos in the Fishing Master speech and Fishing Note have been corrected.

Letter to the Players

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May Letter to the Players

posted on 27-Apr-2004

Welcome to the May Letter to the Players!

Last month in Dereth, the Burun continued to pour through the newly-opened portal in the Blackmire Swamp. They've begun to set up camps, driving out several of the other inhabitants. In addition, another Falatacot temple was discovered in the A'mun Desert beneath the stone structure previously inhabited by Archmage Fadsahil al-Tashbi.

Despite the new threat, Spring in Dereth continues. Young creatures romp across the landscape. The Lugians of Linvak Tukal have made improvements to their home to make it more welcome for travelers. New forms of armor have been found along with weapons bearing new enhancements.

Yet the question remains: With Burun now entering Dereth from two locations, what can be done about them?

Coming Soon

(These are items that we plan to implement in the May event. Many of these items were mentioned in the April Letter to the Players In Development section and the In Development Follow-Up.)

Allegiance Improvements

Allegiances will be getting a number of new tools in May. Most of these are intended to make it easier to manage an allegiance.

  • @allegiance boot –account [character]: This command will boot all characters on the same account from an allegiance. The player running this command will be informed of the number of characters booted, but not their names.

  • @allegiance ban add/remove [character]: This command will add or remove an allegiance account ban. When a monarch or allegiance officer places an allegiance account ban on a character, that character and any other characters on the same account will not be permitted to swear into the allegiance. There is a maximum of 32 allegiance account bans at one time.

This command will also boot any character on this account.

Please note that it is still technically possible for a character on a banned account to enter an allegiance. This can occur if the monarch of a banned character swears into the allegiance. For example, let's say that I am banned from Zyrca's allegiance. My monarch, Srand, swears to Zyrca. In this situation I would be in Zyrca's allegiance until the next time I log in to the game. The next time I log in, I will be automatically booted.

  • @allegiance ban list: This command will list all characters that have been banned from the allegiance.

  • @allegiance chat kick [character] (,[reason]): This command will temporarily remove a character from the allegiance chat room. If a reason is given, it will be displayed, otherwise the default reason is “No reason given.”

For example: if Zyrca were my monarch, and she typed @allegiance kick Ibn, Talks too much, I would be temporarily removed from the allegiance chat channel and I would receive the following message:

You have been booted from your allegiance chat room. Use "@allegiance chat on" to rejoin. (Zyrca: Talks too much)

We are currently working on general improvements to chat which, when implemented, will allow for better controls on the allegiance chat system. This is intended to provide some of that functionality until the larger changes go in.

  • @allegiance officer add/remove [character]: This command will add or remove an allegiance officer. Allegiance officers have the power to run any existing monarch command, except for the ability to add or remove other officers. This ability was removed based on player feedback.

Officers will be able to use all of the broadcast and message of the day commands, @allegiance info, and all of the boot, ban, and kick commands. They will not have the ability to change allegiance mansion or villa guest or storage lists. Allegiance officers also will not be able to boot the monarch.

Please note that it is possible for an officer to boot a character that is above them in the allegiance tree, either through @allegiance boot, @allegiance boot –account, or @allegiance ban. If this occurs, the officer will lose his or her powers as they were granted for the old allegiance, not the new one.

Allegiances will be able to have two allegiance officers. The allegiance officer position replaces the existing allegiance speaker position. For the sake of security, existing allegiance speakers will be removed during the May event.

Monarchs can also use @allegiance officer clear to remove both allegiance officers at once.

Any member of an allegiance can use @allegiance officer list (or just @allegiance officer with no other arguments) to see the list of their allegiance's officers.

We're working on expanded functionality and multiple levels of allegiance officers; see the In Development section for more details.

  • @house storage add_allegiance: This gives your entire allegiance access to your house storage. To remove this access, use @house storage remove_allegiance. Please note that this is for your own personal house storage. To give full allegiance access to the storage in an allegiance mansion or villa, this command must be run by the allegiance monarch.

Allegiance Bindstones

As we mentioned was possible, we were not able to complete the code for Bindstone functionality in May. After the May event, you will find Bindstones in towns, but using them will have no effect. This will give Allegiances the opportunity to plan where they wish to bind when the Bindstones become active, currently planned for the June event.

We will be providing more information on how Allegiance Bindstones will work in the June Letter to the Players, but we'd like to take this time to address two questions that were brought up after the In Development Follow-Up article was posted.

When determining which towns should receive Bindstones, we made the decision to give a Bindstone to any town that currently has a Meeting Hall. These towns are: Al-Arqas, Al-Jalima, Arwic, Baishi, Cragstone, Eastham, Glenden Wood, Hebian-to, Holtburg, Khayyaban, Lin, Lytlethorpe, Mayoi, Nanto, Qalaba'r, Rithwic, Sawato, Shoushi, Tou-Tou, Tufa, Uziz, Yanshi, Yaraq, and Zaikhal.

After reading your feedback on our forums regarding this idea, we have decided not to place any restrictions on which monarchs may use the Bindstone. They can be used by an allegiance whether or not the monarch owns a mansion or villa.

Treasure Changes, Part IV

In the April Letter to the Players, we stated that the Treasure work for May would be back-end and not visible to players. This is no longer true – we've found ourselves with the opportunity to improve treasure selection in several places.

Art Items and Casters

We're moving “art items” (mugs, plates, and the like) and casters into several loot tables where they previously did not exist. This will result in both being found in places where you could not find them before – for example, in May you'll be able to find casters in the casino golden chests. This will make casting items – as well as certain types of salvage – easier to find. You will also be able to find art items with spells on them, such as a bowl with Alchemy Mastery for example.

“Mundane” Items

This category covers all the “other” things found in loot – spell components, mana stones, healing kits, lockpicks, and potions. These categories of items have not changed much since the early days of Asheron's Call, and the treasure revisions have only highlighted this.

To improve the situation, we will be adding new types of mana stones and potions, and low-level healing kits are being improved and renamed. Then we'll be redistributing all mundane items across different levels of treasure.

Healing kits will also now provide more information regarding their effects. Healing kits can provide a bonus to your skill check, or a bonus to the amount you heal, or both. Now you'll be able to see which is which just by ID'ing the kit.

Just as an example, here's how the changes would affect the types of items you could find in wealth rating 5 treasure, intended for level 80+ characters.

Item Type Old Selection New Selection
Spell Components Pyreal Scarab, Iron Pea, Copper Pea, Silver Pea opper Pea, Silver Pea, Gold Pea
Mana Stones Mana Stone, Greater Mana Stone Greater Mana Stone, two new types of Mana Stone
Potions Health Elixir, Mana Elixir, Stamina Elixir Health Elixir, Mana Elixir, two new types of Health Potion, two new types of Mana Potion, three new types of Stamina Potion
Lockpicks Good Lockpick, Excellent Lockpick, Superb Lockpick, Peerless Lockpick Excellent Lockpick, Superb Lockpick, Peerless Lockpick
Healing Kits Good Healing Kit, Excellent Healing Kit, Peerless Healing Kit Excellent Healing Kit, Peerless Healing Kit, Treated Healing Kit

In general, we've made existing items show up sooner and created new items to fill the gaps at the high end. You'll note that there are no new lockpicks yet – don't worry, we're working on some ideas for interesting high-end lockpicks.

Chests and Fishing Holes

One effect of the treasure changes is that a number of newbie and low-level chests had their treasure bumped up considerably. This resulted in many newbie chests generating treasure that no newbie could possibly use. We've adjusted the loot in many of these chests, and will continue tweaking additional chests in the coming months.

We've also adjusted the magical jewelry that could be generated by fishing holes in rare cases. After the treasure revisions, fishing holes were generating jewelry that was much better than intended. We'll be bringing them back into line in May.

Ranged Attack Changes

We had originally planned two ranged attack changes for May. After extensive testing, we found that the projectile physics changes did not have the desired results. That change is being held In Development until we've finished a working solution.

Speed / Accuracy Slider

Currently, the Speed / Accuracy slider for Bow, Crossbow, and Thrown Weapons allows the player to decide whether to attack more quickly at the expense of accuracy, or more accurately at the expense of speed. At the far left of the slider, the attack is fastest but incurs a 50% penalty to the player's attack skill. At the far right, the attack is slowest but gives a 50% bonus to skill.

We will be decreasing the penalty at the far left side of the slider from 50% to only 40%. The entire slider would then scale evenly from -40% to +50%. This will allow players to fire at maximum speed with a better chance to hit their target.

This change is primarily intended for PvP combat, but it may be beneficial in certain PvM situations as well.

Negative Spell Timers

Currently there is a disparity in the length of negative spells across different levels. Level VI negative spells last for 8 minutes, while level VII negative spells only last for 4 minutes. In May we will be changing all negative spells to the following times:

Spell Level Current duration of negative spell (minutes) New duration for negative spells
I 2:00 1:00
II 3:00 1:30
III 4:00 2:00
IV 5:00 2:30
V 6:00 3:00
VI 8:00 3:30
VII 4:00 4:00

We had originally considered further decreasing the length of all negative Creature Enchantment spells. Based on your feedback, we have decided not to do so. Negative Creature Enchantment spells will have the timers listed above.

Healing Spells

Currently the Heal Self/Other and Revitalize Self/Other spells are in our opinion slightly weaker than they should be for their levels. We will be tweaking them upwards in May.

When we initially proposed these changes in the In Development Follow-Up, many players expressed their concern that the increase wasn't significant enough to make a difference. Based on this feedback we are increasing the return by a greater amount at some levels than we had previously planned.

The initial and new values are listed in the tables below.

Heal Other / Heal Self – Amount Restored

Spell Level Current Amount of Health Restored Current Average Health Restored New Amount of Health Restored New Average Health Restored
I 8 – 15 11.5 10 – 25 17.5
II 11 – 20 15.5 15 – 35 25
III 16 – 30 23 20 – 45 32.5
IV 26 – 50 38 30 – 60 45
V 38 – 75 56.5 45 - 90 67.5
VI 51 – 100 75.5 55 – 120 87.5
VII 75 – 125 100 80 – 150 115

Revitalize Other / Revitalize Self – Amount Restored

Spell Level Current Amount of Stamina Restored Current Average Stamina Restored New Amount of Stamina Restored New Average Stamina Restored
I 11 – 20 15.5 15 – 35 25
II 16 – 30 23 20 – 45 32.5
III 26 – 50 38 30 – 60 45
IV 38 – 75 56.5 40 – 80 60
V 51 – 100 75.5 60 – 120 90
VI 76 – 150 113 80 – 160 120
VII 100 – 175 137.5 100 – 200 150

Please note that these changes are only for these four spells, not for any other Life Magic spells.

Temple Quest Weapons

Since the introduction of the Ixir Zi and Liazk Itzi Temple quests in March and April, we've received feedback indicating that several of the reward weapons were underpowered for their intended level.

After going back and rechecking our calculations, we discovered that many of these weapons were, in fact, not as powerful as we had wanted them to be. Of the melee and missile weapons, only one – the Lance of the Bloodletter – was as powerful as we had intended. In May, all other melee and missile weapons from these two quests, at all levels, will receive improvements.

Ulgrim's Bathrobe

We received a lot of feedback asking that Ulgrim's bathrobe no longer cover your feet. A lot of people – a lot of people – wanted to be able to wear bunny slippers with their bathrobe.

As of the May event, the bathrobe will leave the feet slot open. We recommend that folks not wear the bathrobe during the patch. If you do so, you will have to relog to be able to put any items on your feet.

Content Revisions

As we stated in the April Letter to the Players, in May we will be revising the Palenqual's Living Weapons quest. One note in advance – any already-created Living Weapons will receive an upgrade, but this upgrade will include a wield requirement of 250 base skill.

We recommend that any character with an existing Living Weapon not be wielding the weapon during the event if the character does not meet the new wield requirement. If you do log in wielding a weapon and you do not meet the requirements, the weapon will be unwielded. It will be moved to your backpack if you have an open slot, otherwise it will drop on the ground.

Town Revisions

We'll be making the following changes to towns across Dereth in May:

  • The portal drops for many towns will be moved to more convenient locations, similar to the changes that have already been made to Shoushi, Yaraq, and Holtburg.
  • Many towns will be receiving more convenient Lifestones.
  • Most Meeting Halls have been moved to more convenient locations.
  • Distribution of mundane items – see Treasure Revisions above – will be based on the level of the town's surrounding content. The greater the level of the town's surrounding content, the better the items that the vendors will sell.
  • Scriveners have been added to several towns. Also, the scriveners in Uziz and Sawato now sell level 4 spells instead of level 5 spells, as the surrounding content is intended for low-level characters.

In Development

(These are the game changes that we are working on for the June event. None of these items are guaranteed to be added for June, as scheduling and priorities can change. Your feedback on these topics is particularly valuable.)

Allegiance Bindstones

In June the Allegiance Bindstones should become active. Please see the section above on this topic.

Improved Allegiance Officers

The Allegiance Officer feature introduced in May is only the first part of a larger Allegiance Officer plan. We would like to introduce the following features in June:

  • Three tiers of allegiance officer levels, not including the monarch.

Allegiances would be allowed to have a total of 12 officers in addition to the monarch. These officers could be assigned to any of the three tiers.

  • The lowest tier of officer would be the Speaker. The Speaker could use the allegiance broadcast, allegiance chat kick, and message of the day commands.
  • The second tier of officer is currently nicknamed the Executor. The Executor would have all the powers of the Officers introduced in May – all of the Speaker powers as well as boot, ban, and info. Executors could appoint and remove Speakers.
  • The highest tier of officer is nicknamed the Right Hand. A Right Hand would have all the powers of the Executor and the Speaker and could appoint and remove both Executors and Speakers.

Buffing Improvements – Item Magic

After accelerating the casting time of Creature and Life buffs, we've begun work on the most frequently requested Buffing improvement: Item buffs.

Currently, our plans call for the development of new Item Magic spells which, when cast, will redirect to each piece of armor that you are wearing. Only Self versions of these spells would be introduced. These spells also would not redirect to your clothes.

We will be providing more information on these spells as we continue development.

PvP Weapon Changes

In June we are looking at rebalancing the Weeping Weapons. We would also like to introduce an Aegis-like ability that can be added to loot missile weapons and casters. More details on these ideas can be found in our Future of PvP article and we will be presenting more specific information in the June Letter to the Players or sooner if possible.

Content Revisions

In June we plan on several major content revisions:

  • We plan to revise the Gaerlan quest. We'd like to simplify some aspects of the quest, remove many of the existing shortcuts and exploits, adjust the rewards and if possible add a new tier of reward.
  • We will also be making major revisions to Marae Lassel. We will be targeting the island for a range of characters from newbie to high, with the possibility of some extreme quests, and we'll be changing the landscape spawns and quests to match. In addition, the towns on Marae Lassel will be retouched in a manner similar to the recent revisions to Yaraq, Holtburg, and Shoushi.

In Concept

(These are the game changes that we are thinking about for July and beyond. We cannot guarantee when – or even if – any of these changes will be added to the game, as scheduling and priorities can change. Your feedback on these topics is particularly valuable.

If not mentioned elsewhere in this Letter, topics listed as In Concept in prior articles have not changed status.)

Character Starting Skills

For some time there has been a perceived imbalance in character racial skills. Currently:

  • Sho characters start with Unarmed Combat trained.
  • Aluvian characters start with Dagger and Assess Person trained.
  • Gharu'ndim characters start with Staff and Item Tinkering trained.

Unless a player plans on using Dagger or Unarmed Combat, there is a strong incentive to choose Gharu'ndim – Item Tinkering. Putting experience into any Tinkering skill allows you to gain more salvage when using an Ust on an item. The ability to gain more salvage by putting experience into a free racial skill is very valuable. Assess Person in comparison is not very useful, and Sho characters have no additional racial skill at all.

Our proposed solution to this imbalance is the introduction of a new skill: Salvaging. This skill would count as a Tinkering skill for purposes of gaining salvage from an Ust, but would have no other use.

We could introduce this as free skill for all new characters regardless of race (similar to Run and Jump). Alternately, we could give it only to Sho and Aluvian characters as having it on a Gharu'ndim character would be redundant.

This concept is still very much in discussion. We will provide more information and request specific feedback when it enters development.

Regarding Assess Person, we would like to make both it and Deception more valuable in the future – look for more details in a later concept article.

Salvaging Improvements

In addition to the skill changes mentioned above, we are investigating additional improvements to salvaging.

One idea that we are investigating is a “Salvage Backpack”. This would take up a pack slot in inventory and could hold a single bag of each type of salvage. For example you could store a 2 unit bag of Steel and a 50 unit bag of Iron in your Salvage Backpack, or even a single 100 unit bag of each type of salvage; but you could not store a 100 unit bag of Steel and an additional 50 unit bag of Steel.

We are also investigating improvements to the Ust that would allow it to salvage items of different material types at the same time. Our goal with this is to make salvaging less tedious for players.

Both of these ideas are still in very rough draft form, we'll be providing more details as we continue development on them.

Changes to Armor Imbues

We are considering making changes to the way that the three Armor Imbues work. Currently you can imbue a piece of armor to grant +1 to your Missile Defense, Melee Defense, or Magic Defense skill.

We are looking at possibly changing this bonus from +1 skill to a 1% damage reduction. For example, using the Melee imbue on a piece of armor would cause all melee damage done to you to be reduced by 1%. This reduction would stack – if you were wearing three pieces of armor with this imbue, melee damage done to you would be reduced by 3%.

Two notes:

  • The Magic damage reduction most likely would not stack with the Sanguinary Aegis. The Aegis would always override the armor imbues.
  • We would most likely start with a conservative cap for total damage reduction, probably 5% or something close to that.


There you have it – our plans for May and beyond. As always, we value your feedback on these topics.z

Crafting Changes

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Crafting Changes

posted on 18-May-2004

Over the last several months, we have received increasing complaints regarding crafting money macros. These macros could be seen clapping their hands outside shops in many towns.

In the April event, we made changes to eliminate the usefulness of two of the most popular macroed craft items: applesauce and potions. However, new macros have sprung up in their wake. Recently the number of macroing characters – and complaints about these macros – has increased dramatically. In addition, we recently had an incident in which one player's use of multiple macroing characters on multiple accounts actually destabilized one of our game servers.

It has become clear that further action is necessary, particularly as we prepare to open the new world Verdantine. In the past, we have identified and fixed macroed tradeskill interactions as they were discovered. Unfortunately, the cycle of macro – nerf – find new macro could go on for much longer. Any changes to vendor buy/sell rates could introduce a new problem.

We have decided after much discussion to solve this issue with a larger change. Starting with the June event, it will no longer be possible to sell any crafted items to vendors. This affects all crafted items. Potions, arrowheads, food – it will no longer be possible to sell any of these items to vendors. This is true even if the item was not originally crafted by a player. For example, ordinary arrows can be crafted by players; therefore no arrows – player-crafted or otherwise – are sellable.

It is important to note that this we made this as a sweeping global change to ensure that we didn't miss anything. It is possible that specific cases will turn up that will require us to make some items sellable again. In addition, we are continuing to look for alternate solutions to the issue.

While this is a major change, we believe that it will not impact the majority of our players. Crafted items, for the most part, are created for use in the field or for trading to other players. Players who craft items for these purposes should not see any difference.

However, we do see that this can create an obstacle for new tradeskill characters, particularly those who may not have a patron to supply them at low levels. These are the type of characters we are likely to see on Verdantine. If these characters cannot sell the fruits of their labor, it will be difficult for them to purchase new raw goods for crafting.

To assist these characters, in the June event we will begin introducing new NPCs similar to the Glenden Wood pacifists. These NPCs will provide pyreal and experience rewards to characters for handing in specific crafted goods. These rewards will be on a timer so that they cannot be macroed.

The first of these NPCs will be targeted for new and low-level crafters, but we are committed to introducing new NPCs for higher-level characters in the coming months. In addition, we have increased the two lowest-level rewards on the Glenden Wood pacifists.

The team strongly believes that eliminating these money macros is in the best interests of the long-term value of the game, particularly for the opening of Verdantine. We believe that this change is the best way to eliminate these macros without impacting the majority of our players, but we want to ensure that new crafters still have opportunities for advancement.

PVP Weapon Changes

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PvP Weapon Changes

posted on 19-May-2004

In June we will be making a number of changes to the PvP weapon suites – Weeping Weapons, Hollow Weapons, Deadly Hollow Weapons, and Phantom Weapons. Our goals with these changes are the improvement of PvP weapon balance and diversity. To that end many of the less-powerful weapons are being made more powerful, and a handful of the most powerful weapons are having their power decreased.

Here is a summary of the upcoming changes:

Weeping Weapons

All of the melee Weeping Weapons, including the elemental variants, will have their non-spell attack and defense modifiers removed. The special Item Enchantment spells on the Weeping Weapons that boost these modifiers by 18% will remain. The Human Slayer bonus will be decreased 14% on all melee Weeping Weapons – however, all non-sword Weeping Weapons will now have higher base damage, allowing these weapon classes to compete better with sword in terms of PvP damage.

All missile Weeping weapons will have their non-spell defense modifiers removed, but the special Item Enchantment spell on the Weeping weapons that boosts the defense modifier by 18% will remain. The base damage modifier for the Weeping bow has been increased, while the base damage modifiers for both the atlatl and the crossbow have been decreased. Weeping Bow damage is now comparable with Weeping Sword; Weeping Atlatl and Crossbow damage now more closely correlates to that of the Weeping Axe and Mace.

We are looking at decreasing the shield-hollow effects of the Weeping Weapons. Currently melee and missile Weeping Weapons ignore 100% of the AL of the target's shield. We are considering decreasing this to 90% so that there is now some reason to use a shield when fighting an opponent using these weapons.

Weeping Wands will have their non-spell Mana Conversion modifiers reduced to 1%. The special Item Enchantment spell on the Weeping Wand that boosts the Mana Conversion percentage will remain. The Hunter's Lash spell found on the Weeping Wand will have a wider damage range of 70-180 (formerly 110 – 180). The Human Slayer on the Weeping Wand is not being changed.

Hollow Weapons

All melee Hollow weapons will have a 5% attack modifier, and all melee Deadly Hollows will have an 8% attack modifier. All melee Hollow and Deadly Hollow weapons are having their damage over time improved considerably.

Also, all “Heavy” (Sword, Axe, Mace, Spear) Hollow melee weapons will now have a weapon speed of 30, while all “Light” (Staff, Dagger, Unarmed) Hollow melee weapons will now have a weapon speed of 20.

The Hollow missile weapons are gaining a 6% defense modifier, and the damage of Chorizite and Deadly Chorizite ammunition is being increased. The damage modifier of the Hollow Crossbow is being decreased, but the average damage will go up due to the increased damage on the ammunition.

As both Hollow and Phantom missile weapons use Chorizite ammunition, we found that this was the best way to balance the damage output of these weapons. We set the damage on the ammunition and then balanced the weapons accordingly.

Phantom Weapons

All melee Phantom weapons are gaining a 10% attack modifier. Several weapons are gaining a speed increase, and the damage on the Mace, Spear, Staff, and Dagger is being increased. The weapon speed changes for Phantom melee weapons are identical to those for the Hollow melee weapons (Heavy weapons use 30 speed, light weapons use 20 speed).

The Phantom missile weapons will have a 10% defense modifier, and have had their speed adjusted. The damage mod on all three weapons has decreased, but with the improved Choritize ammunition all three will see increased damage over time. As was mentioned above, both Hollow and Phantom missile weapons were balanced around the increased damage on the ammunition.


In general, we have tried to improve all Hollow, Deadly Hollow, and Phantom weapons so that they will be more useful in today's PvP combat. Although the Weeping Sword, Atlatl, and Crossbow will see a slight reduction in damage, all other Weeping Weapons will have increased damage, making them more competitive than they were previously. The difference in damage across all weapon classes in PvP combat will continue to scale from sword (the highest or most damaging) down to dagger (the lowest or least damaging), but the differences between these weapons is now greatly reduced.

Looking to the future, we have a lot in store for higher wield-requirement weapons and casters, as well as new types of imbues. The ability to find and tinker loot-generated weapons and casters that are comparable to or better than the Weeping Weapons is in-concept currently.
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