Announcements - 2004/06 - Pillars Made of Sand

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June 2004 - Patch Page

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Teaser

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=247

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Treaties in Stone


posted on 04-Jun-2004

In a deep cavern, hidden far from the prying eyes and sharpened steel of Isparians, torchlight flickered across a stone table. Two figures stood there, bent over maps and parchments.

The larger of the two, a gray giant in black and gold armor, stepped back from the table. He stood quietly for a moment and then spoke in a voice that sounded like an avalanche. "Are we ready, then?"

His companion wore a green tunic and yellow sash which stood out in stark contrast from his black fur. His voice was not as deep but held the same note of strength.

"Patience, my friend. I have not finished going through the most recent reports."

The other made a rumbling noise and clenched his fist. "Niarltah, we know what we must do. Let us get on with it!"

"No, Muldaveus. Not yet," Niarltah replied. His eyes remained focused on the page in his hand.

Muldaveus roared with frustration and with one enormous hand swept half the table clear. He slammed his fist down onto the table's surface, took a moment to gather himself, and spoke through clenched teeth. "While you go over these documents, our time is slipping through our fingers! The Isparians have raided the valley fortress and it is almost certain that they know of our plans! We cannot waste any more time!"

Niarltah stood from the table, put down the parchment that he had been reading, smoothed his tunic and looked at Muldaveus. Although the Lugian was much more massive, they stood eye to eye.

"I am well aware of the situation in the Direlands," Niarltah said calmly. "I read it in Kamenua's report. And yes, time may not be on our side, but it would be foolish to make our move without being sure that we have all of the necessary facts."

He picked up a parchment seemingly at random from the stack at his side. He looked down at it and his eyes narrowed. "Example: There are reports that the Burun have begun attacking Isparian settlements. Question: Will this cause the Isparians to increase their counterattacks in the Blackmire and the A'mun?"

Muldaveus began to answer, but Niarltah interrupted him. "I already know the answer, my friend," he said with a malicious grin. He drew another parchment from the stack. "My spies have reported increased activity in the Isparian cities, centered on the large stone halls and the new crystals that their mages and alchemists have created. In addition, my reports state that the Isparians have found means to prepare for battle more quickly, and that they are spending less time in the shops of those who sell magical scrolls." Niarltah waited for Muldaveus to reply.

"But what does this tell us?" Muldaveus asked. "Nothing!"

Niarltah's grin grew wider. "It tells us what they are not doing, my friend. They are not, as yet, attempting to block our plans. They are not increasing their attacks on the newcomers. I believe they are still thinking that they should wait and see."

At this, Muldaveus began to grin himself, a fearsome sight to behold. "And what more do your reports tell you of the newcomers?" he asked.

"They continue to drive the Mosswarts out of the swamps, killing those that linger behind. The survivors have been migrating west and south... there are some rumors of a new cult rising in the midst of the fleeing packs. Interesting..." Niarltah paused briefly, his eyes narrowing. "Apparently a particularly bright Mosswart approached the Isparians, asking for help. According to my spies, the results were mixed. A Mosswart!" Niarltah spat. "On our world some of us hunted them for sport!"

He was reaching for another parchment when there was a knock at the door. A Lugian entered, and his deep voice betrayed his excitement when he addressed Muldaveus. "My Lord, they have all arrived. We are all ready."

The door closed and Niarltah set his pages down on the stone table. "Now. Now it is time."

Rollout Article

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=249

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Treaties in Stone


posted on 09-Jun-2004

They had assembled in the vast caverns. From across Dereth they had come. From the captured citadels in the west to the pickets around Dryreach in the east; from the deep forests of the north to the snow-capped mountains in the south; they had come.

Shoulder to shoulder they stood in ranks, Tumeroks and Lugians. Muldaveus looked out at their massed strength and remembered the day that they had broken free from their masked and cloaked masters. As they murmured among themselves, Muldaveus remembered the pride of their victory, immediately followed by humiliating defeat after defeat at the hands of the Isparians. He remembered the failure of the siege at Tethana and the disaster at the fortress in the Lost Wish Mountains.

But that was the past. He raised his mighty arms and the assembled forces quieted immediately.

"My friends!" he called out in a voice that filled the cavern and reverberated from the walls. "For too long we have sought victory over the Isparians and our foolish brothers! We have sought allies, but our travels into the dark valley brought no aid. But we did not give up! Now, we stand poised to take the victory that we deserve!" He shook one fist and the Tumeroks and Lugians cheered.

Behind him, seated and silent, Niarltah smiled, baring his fangs.

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

With the June event, we are opening a brand-new Asheron's Call world: Verdantine. This is a standard rules server, set at the same point in time as the existing eight worlds.

We expect that this world will be popular and under heavy load, especially for the first few days after its opening. Players may experience heavy lag as a greater than normal player load comes and goes. Deleting Characters

You may notice that there is a new field under the Delete Character button on your character selection screen. To delete a character, you must now type that character's name into this field, in addition to selecting the character from the list, prior to clicking the Delete Character button. This is intended to help prevent accidental deletion of characters.

Characters may still be restored up to an hour after deletion. Deleted character will still lose housing and allegiance ties, even if restored.

Release Notes

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=248

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Developer's Notes


posted on 09-Jun-2004

New Functionality and Content

  • The new world Verdantine opens today!
  • Allegiance Bind Stones are now active and can be found in many towns.
  • We've introduced Item Enchantment Redirection for self-cast Banes and Impenetrability.
  • Hollow, Phantom, and Weeping Weapons have been changed for balance.
  • Marae Lassel landscape hunting and several quests have been revised.
  • The Gaerlan Quest has been revised.
  • Most Creature Enchantment scrolls now have unique icons to allow for quicker identification. New icons for other scrolls will be added over time.
  • Player-craftable items can no longer be sold to vendors. This does not affect tinkered items or salvage.

Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements

  • Spring is turning to summer the landscape is different, baby animals can no longer be found, and the character selection screen background has been updated.
  • We have made it harder to accidentally delete a character at the character selection screen.
  • You can now bind a key to "Issue Slash Command". A key bound to this command will open the chat bar, type "@", and leave the chat bar open for further text.
  • Fishing has been changed to make fishing macros less profitable.
  • Some omissions in @help chatting have been corrected.
  • It is now possible to create Deadly Elemental Arrowheads by applying Elemental Oil to Deadly Arrowheads.
  • You can now use a Whittling Knife to separate Wrapped Spiketails.
  • Frost and Electric Spikes now stack to 250.
  • Allegiance officers can now use the @allegiance info command.
  • You can now use @allegiance motd as an alternative to @motd.
  • The rewards for the Golem Hunter quests have been increased.
  • Many types of armor should now generate with a lower average pyreal value.
  • The Forbidden Catacombs have been changed to make it slightly easier to get from one side of the dungeon to another.
  • The loot spawned in the Forbidden Catacombs quest chest has been slightly improved, as has the drop rate for the key to the chest.
  • The 80-99 portal-sending statue in the Liazik Itzi temple was sending players to the 40-69 dungeon. This has been fixed.
  • Parts of the Liazik Itzi temple were incorrectly set as no-logout. This has been fixed.
  • Ahurenga portal gems are now stackable to 25.
  • When purchasing gems from vendors, the default number to purchase is now 1.
  • The vendors in Martine's Retreat and the Training Academy no longer sell Handy Healing Kits.
  • The message that warns you that tinkering could destroy your item now has a red font to make it easier to distinguish from the Crafting Chance of Success dialog.
  • Items that cannot be sold to vendors now have a line indicating this when they are examined.
  • The Use Next Unopened Corpse and Use Closest Unopened Corpse keys will no longer attempt to use items other than corpses if there are no corpses nearby.
  • Two bugs that could cause strange visual results when selling stacks of items to vendors have been resolved.
  • A bug that could cause a player's spell tabs to be cleared at login should no longer occur.
  • We've resolved a bug that could make the Dryreach Rescue quest impossible to complete.
  • We've fixed an issue that was causing @die to not function as designed.
  • The spell Vigilance will no longer override Unflinching Persistence and Tenaciousness.
  • The Hunter's Acumen spells no longer incorrectly override more powerful cantrips.
  • Greater Thorns is no longer overridden by weaker Blood Drinker spells.
  • The rate of mana useage on the Drudge Championship Belt has been reduced to 1 every 40 seconds.
  • The Matron Hive North portal has been moved further away from the new Khayyaban Lifestone.
  • The old Al-Jalima and Glenden Wood meeting halls have been removed.
  • The positioning of the Shoushi meeting hall has been adjusted.
  • Several older dungeons from the Gaerlan story arc that could no longer be entered by players have been removed. If you were logged out in one of these dungeons, you will find yourself at the Lifestone at login.
  • Some creatures that were spawning in quest areas or on ledges have been moved.
  • Spawns have been increased at the center of the Singularity Caul.
  • Some Olthoi Warriors in the New Hive were getting stuck they have been replaced by Swarm Eviscerators.
  • Mosswart Idol textures have been tweaked to improve their appearance.
  • Some creatures were not using the new rebalanced loot profiles, they has been fixed.

Minor Details

  • The Coin of Attachment can no longer be sold.
  • The Shadow Stone Necklace is now hookable.
  • The Tauraloi now looks correct when hooked.
  • The value of all Knorr coats has been reduced slightly.
  • The old style Leather Shirts did not correctly change their icon color when dyed, this has been fixed.
  • Asmolum's Dagger and the Sacrificial Dagger are now explicitly unenchantable.
  • The size of Tanae's Okane of the Forests has been increased to match the other Living Daggers.
  • The Consumed Wraith is now more resistant to electric damage.
  • A typo in one of the Martine's Mask messages has been corrected.
  • Typos in @help allegiance and @allegiance ban have been corrected.
  • A typo in one of Ulgrim's tells has been fixed.
  • Harlune the Misanthrope no longer refers to "Ceclynd."
  • The name and description of the Head of the Painbringer have been corrected.
  • The Forbidden Catacombs chest now has a proper description.
  • The text on the Gems of Forgetfulness and Gems of Enlightenment are now more descriptive.
  • Holtburg's Tacklemaster now stands a little closer to the tackle shop's window.
  • Typos in the Fellowship recruitment text have been fixed.

Letter to the Players

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=246

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June Letter to the Players


posted on 26-May-2004

Welcome to the June Letter to the Players!

Last month in Dereth, a new factor was added to the Burun threat – the Lugian and Tumerok Renegades. The Renegades, having failed to capture Fort Tethana several months ago, appear to be trying to parley with these new creatures. A unified front could be disastrous for Isparian life in Dereth.

The Burun continue to impact Dereth in new ways. Emboldened packs have begun attacking southern Sho towns in lightning raids. Small bands of Mosswarts have been reported migrating away from the Blackmire, and rarely Isparians have been approached by lone Mosswarts seeking aid.

The Council continues to investigate, even as they maintain their work on improvements to towns and research into more efficient magic. But as they work, the new threat of an alliance among our enemies hangs ominous over the land.

Coming Soon

(These are items that we plan to implement in the June event. Many of these items were mentioned in prior articles.)

Crafting Changes

In June, we will be making all player-craftable items unsellable. We will also begin introducing new craft skill miniquests. These will be similar to the Glenden Wood pacifists and they will reward players for crafting items from store-bought components.

For more information, please read the full article on Crafting Changes.

PvP Weapon Changes

We plan on adjusting the weapons in the three PvP weapon suites – Weeping Weapons, Hollow and Deadly Hollow Weapons, and Phantom Weapons. The most powerful weapons will see their abilities slightly decreased, whereas the weaker weapons will be made more powerful to improve their usefulness in PvP combat.

For more information, please read the full article on PvP Weapon Changes.

Allegiance Bind Stones

As of the May event, Bind Stones have been seen next to Meeting Halls in many towns. In June, these Stones will become active.

Any monarch will be able to tie to a Bind Stone simply by double-clicking on it. All monarchs will have this ability; we chose not to put restrictions on it. Once that has been done, any member of the monarch's Allegiance will be able to recall to the Bind Stone location by typing @allegiance hometown.

Monarchs will be able to change their Allegiance's hometown simply by double-clicking on a different Bind Stone. This can be done at any time.

Buffing Improvements – Item Magic

We've made two important changes to the improvements that we proposed in the May Letter to the Players. The first is that we will not be introducing new spells – existing Item spells will be changed to affect multiple pieces of armor. The second is that these spells will target your clothing as well.

Starting in June, if you target yourself with Impenetrability or a Bane spell, it will automatically cast itself on any piece of armor or clothing you are wearing. The mana cost of the spell will increase by 20% of the base spell cost for each enchanted piece of armor.

For example, let's say I am wearing an amuli coat, amuli leggings, gauntlets, sollerets, a helm and a raiment, and I wish to cast Brogard's Defiance on all six pieces. Previously, I would need to cast it six times, with a total mana cost of 420. Starting in June I will be able to target myself and cast the spell once – it will affect all six pieces and cost 154 points. That's 70 + (14 * 6) points.

Note that these spells will only redirect to armor and clothing when they are self-targeted. If you cast one of these spells on another player, they will redirect to the shield as they have for several months.

The spell will not attempt to cast on items that are Unenchantable.

It is also important to keep in mind that this is not the sole planned improvement to Item Magic buffing. We'll be presenting ideas on additional improvements in later months.

Fishing Changes

In addition to the changes to crafting mentioned above, we also have some small changes to fishing in order to make fishing macros less useful.

Starting in June, we will be making the following changes:

  • Most fish will have a value of 0.
  • Junk items will have a value of 0 and a workmanship of 3.
  • The chance of finding jewelry is being decreased, and jewelry will be created from the lowest wealth rating.
  • The Tacklemaster only rewards you with pyreals 25% of the time. The rest of the time he will reward you with 0 value potions.
  • Rusted Shouken will no longer be stackable. If you currently have a stack of Rusted Shouken, on the day of the event the stack will become one Rusted Shouken. Please unstack these items prior to the event.


Content Revisions – Marae Lassel

We will be making a number of revisions to Marae Lassel landscape hunting and quests. Here is a quick summary of the most major changes:

  • Landscape spawns across the island have been revised. There will be areas designed for New (1-20), Low (20-40), Mid (40-60), and High (60-80) level characters.
  • The generation of the Aun and Hea champions (such as Aun Ralirea and Hea Temenua) and the Virindi Collector will no longer be tied to the status of the Queen's Quest. Most of the items dropped by these creatures have been updated as well. Characters with the existing versions of these items can exchange them for the new version via an NPC if they would rather have the new version.
  • The reward on the Olthoi Eviscerator Pincer has been decreased to 2 million XP, but we've introduced higher-level Pincer quests.
  • The Aun Mariona, Aun Tanua's Taiaha, and Raeta's Necklace quests have been adjusted slightly.
  • The town criers in Bluespire, Greenspire, Redspire and Timaru now report the same news as the town criers on the mainland. The Marae-specific rumors can now be found on local barkeeps.


Quests not mentioned above – including the Queen's Quest – are not being revised at this time.

Content Revisions – Gaerlan Quest

We made a number of revisions to the Gaerlan quest for June. The majority of these changes were “under the hood”, and were made in order to fix bugs in the quest and remove aspects that either broke frequently or could be bypassed.

These are the changes that are most noticeable:

  • Gaerlan must now be killed for players to receive the quest rewards.

Handing in an Iasparilaun can be done once per day, and does not require completion of the quest. There is a new XP reward for characters who are level 126.

  • Characters with War Magic trained will no longer get four wands before they get another reward. They will randomly receive one of the four wands.
  • The rewards are giveable.
  • Once a character has received all of the possible quest rewards, the cycle of rewards will begin again.
  • We had previously mentioned the possibility of a second tier of rewards for this quest, but these will not be going into the game in June.


Baby Animals

As Spring turns to Summer, the young creatures in Dereth mature into adults. If you want to get a Spring Cleaner token, you will need to get one before the June event.

Verdantine

As we've announced previously, a new Asheron's Call world will be opening concurrently with the June event: Verdantine. This will be a standard-rules server identical to the other NPK worlds. All housing on the server will be open when it goes live.

It's quite possible that the Verdantine lobbies will be active prior to the June event, but the world should not be accessible until the day of the event.

In Development

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

Crafting Quests

We plan to introduce new quests similar to the quests described in the Crafting Changes article. These will be intended for crafters beyond New and Low levels.

Improved War Magic Critical Hits

We are working on several changes that are intended to improve War Magic damage over time in PvM, as well as improve the usefulness of Critical Strike and Crippling Blow for projectile magic. These changes include:

  • Currently when a projectile spell scores a critical hit, it adds a multiple of the base damage of the spell to a normal damage roll. We are looking at instead adding a multiple of the max damage of the spell to that normal damage roll. This will mean that magic critical hits will almost always do more damage than a non-critical hit.
  • We are considering increasing the maximum effectiveness of Critical Strike -- that is, the chance to critical -- at the highest skill levels. The minimum chance to score a critical hit will not be changed.
  • We are considering increasing the maximum effectiveness of Crippling Blow -- that is, the multiplier that is applied to the extra critical damage -- at the highest skill levels. The minimum multiplier will not be changed.


The above three changes only impact projectile spells in combat vs. monsters. Magic criticals for PvP combat will not change.

There is one additional change that we are considering that would affect both PvP and PvM combat. The effectiveness of the Critical Strike and Crippling Blow imbues scale based on the attack skill of the character. There is a miniumum skill below which the imbue has the minimum effect, and a maximum skill above which the imbue has the maximum effect. We are looking at changing the minimum and maximum skill levels for magic to bring these levels more into line with melee and missile levels.

These changes are intended to improve War Magic damage over time in PvM combat.

Aegis Effect for Loot Missile Weapons

As was mentioned in the PvP Weapon Changes article, this was not ready for the June event. We expect it to be ready for July.

More details on this can be found in the Future of PvP article.

Content Updates

We plan on making three content updates in July:

  • A town to be determined at a later point will have its surrounding content revised in a manner similar to the revisions made to the three starter towns.
  • The Singularity Weapons quest will be revised.
  • The Three Crystals quests – Fenmalain, Caulnalain, and Shendolain – will be revised.


In Concept

(These are the game changes that we are thinking about for August 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.)

Improved Allegiance Officers

This topic was previously mentioned in the In Development section of the May Letter to the Players. After initial development work on this, we have decided to hold off on implementing further Allegiance Officer ranks and tools until we have further data and feedback on how the existing Allegiance Officer tools are being used.

Conclusion

Those are our plans for June and beyond. Please note that topics that have been previously mentioned in the In Development and In Concept sections of prior articles are still being developed or considered, unless mentioned otherwise. We are working on a page on the official Asheron's Call website where you can easily reference these topics.

As always, we value your feedback on this letter. See you in Dereth!
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