Announcements - 2004/08 - From the Darkness Born

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August 2004 - Patch Page

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Teaser

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=262

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From the Darkness Born


posted on 06-Aug-2004

Passers-by were not being very kind to the Mosswart who huddled near the branches of a fern, sitting on a stone to rest his legs. He had arrived the previous night with a small slip of parchment bearing Elysa's seal. A member of the Royal Guard had escorted him into Bai Yao Feng's tent; when the little creature assured Bai Yao in broken Roulean that he was there at the behest of the High Queen, the guard nodded her confirmation.

It didn't sit well with the barkeep or his patrons. Their town had been displaced two years ago – homes were lost, along with years of life and love, all because of a ravening madman that had wanted to take the world for himself. Arwic had been rebuilt, but Yanshi? It appeared that Yanshi was too small a town to merit the Council's attention. Now they were saddled with a creature whose race had, until recently, plagued the nearby swamps.

It sat most uneasily with Bai Yao, but he had accepted the Royal Guardswoman's word as proof and told the Mosswart that it could find a place to nestle somewhere in the town.

After it left, the Guardswoman – Ydnew – had stayed to talk to Bai Yao.

“What's this about?” Bai Yao asked as he offered forth a frothy mug of ale.

“A treaty,” Ydnew answered quietly. She took the mug into her left hand, placing her hat on her knee. “The High Queen met with this little fellow the other evening and he pleaded a rather emotional case. The Burun have been slaughtering them wherever they go... they're dying off it seems.”

“Dying off?” Bai Yao asked incredulously.

“Apparently,” Yndew replied, sipping from her mug. “The swamps are changing... or so that little Mosswart says. The land is getting spoiled and the Mosswarts are getting sick and dying. Many of them were slaughtered when the first of those temples was found. They had thought it was the Banderlings, that they had come to make war, but now they believe it was ‘ill spirits'.” Ydnew leaned back in the chair a bit. “I'm here to watch over the little fellow and make sure that no harm befalls him. I'll also be conducting a little research on behalf of the High Queen. From what I have been hearing, things are a lot worse than they appear.”

At that, Ydnew had drained the rest of the ale and slapped the mug onto the table. She stood, gave Bai Yao a smile, and went out into the night.

*****

The fort loomed in the dark night. Alb'arel and Rez'arel were obscured by thick clouds and provided only intermittent light as lightning flashed through the stormy sky. Torgluuk kicked aside a Sclavus corpse and surveyed the interior of their new home. The fortress was tall, three Guruk high, and covered in a pungent algae. The walls were timeworn and scarred. The Burun had already begun to dig beneath one post of the fortress to provide a lair. Many of them were growing heavy with eggs, and those who were not were growing increasingly uneasy about the news of the Guruk.

Torgluuk had sent Morgluuk into the west to seize control of the dullards before they tore a swath through the world and threatened the tenuous peace that they had found with the Renegades. Torgluuk had stayed behind to ensure that the treaty was upheld by their new allies. He was disappointed to learn that his fears about the Renegades were well-founded. It was a situation that he would need to remedy – quickly.

Rollout Article

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=263

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From the Darkness Born


posted on 11-Aug-2004

The Lady strode through the halls of her keep with a smile on her ageless face for the first time in countless years. Her flesh was pale, but it had the blush of youth and her hair bounced in the wind. The world was changing; the Lightbringer was gone and there was little she had to fear from the Outlanders. As she led her entourage back into the bowels of her keep, she let her mind lapse for one brief moment. That moment was long enough to allow a host of souls, bound for eternity, to slip her grasp and take residence across the surface of the island.

Nearly all had lost their minds, save one. That one waited for a shining moment of bliss. She would never be free, but she would have her revenge. The Lady would feel the pain of the death and the long years of torment. She would feel all of it.

Many of this month's changes have already been described in detail in the Letter to the Players. Here are some additional topics that we'd like to discuss in detail.

Loadfiles

There is a new command available to players this month: @loadfile [filename]. This command will load the listed filename and execute each line as if you had entered it manually into the chat bar. The file needs to be in flat text format.

Please note that for the purposes of the in-game spam filter each line is executed exactly as if you had entered it manually. For example, this means that if you create a file with 1000 lines of the word “Hi!” and load it with @loadfile, you will find yourself gagged by the spam filter.

Clothing Bug

For some time there has been a rare bug that could cause a character to be unable to wear clothing or armor on one body location. For example, players had reported being unable to wear a helmet, or being unable to put on pants. In the past when this occurred, a Developer would need to go in-game and correct the issue through careful use of complicated diagnostics commands. Starting this month, a player who experiences this bug should be able to resolve it simply by logging out and logging back in to the game.

Dungeon Textures

One of the new dungeons introduced this month uses wall textures that will not appear in Software Rendering mode. This means that if you do not have 3D Acceleration enabled, the walls of this dungeon will appear white and featureless.

If you aren't sure if you have 3D Acceleration enabled, go into your Asheron's Call folder (typically C:Program FilesMicrosoft GamesAsheron's Call) and run ACD3DSetup.

In-Development Topics

Since the publication of the August Letter to the Players, we've made two changes to our goals for the September event.

First, the Crafting Quests that we had planned on introducing in September have been rescheduled for a later month.

Secondly, we had originally announced that we would be revising the content surrounding the town of Khayyaban for September. We have decided instead to revise the content near Al-Jalima.

Release Notes

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=264

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Developer's Notes


posted on 11-Aug-2004

New Functionality and Content

  • The content on Aerlinthe, along with the Aerfalle quest, has been revised.
  • Phyntos Wasps have had their appearance upgraded.
  • Mattakar Robes have been revised.
  • Biting Strike and Crushing Blow now scale for PvP.


Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements

  • As part of our new crafting quests and craft quest changes, the Ash Gromnie Tooth rewards have been revised.
  • A rare bug that could prevent you from wearing armor or clothing has been fixed.
  • We've added a new command for players: @loadfile.
  • The experience on several of the highest-level Marguls has been reduced.
  • The experience reward for the Gaerlan sword at level 126 is no longer shared among fellowship members.
  • Eruptions in the Mount Esper and Mount Lethe calderas have altered the landscape.
  • A bug that could cause @corpse to give the wrong location when very close to 0.0N or 0.0W has been resolved.
  • If you try to use a hook that has nothing on it and does not belong to you, you get an error message that makes sense.
  • The text on the Urgent Assistance and Report Abuse panels has been updated.
  • Life Magic scrolls now have unique icons.
  • A number of minor tweaks have been made to the Training Academies based on feedback from the Verdantine launch.
  • Mother's Blessing should now stack appropriately with other life-giving spells. More powerful spells will override it, it will override weaker spells.
  • The respawn rate for a key Hollow Minion in the Elysa's Favor quest has been increased.
  • One of the riddles in the Gaerlan quest was unsolvable. This has been fixed.
  • It is no longer possible to use a lockpick on a house hook.
  • The portal exits of the Olthoi Warrior Nest and Mutilator Tunnels have been corrected.
  • The Tusker Honeycombs portal drop now points you in the correct direction.
  • Using Infected Assailer Fur on the Loom now finishes more quickly.
  • It is no longer possible to lock the weak spot on the statue pedestal bases.
  • The Virindified Bael'Zharon statue on the Caul can no longer be used.
  • It is no longer possible to stand on the bramble trees found on Aerlinthe and the Singularity Caul.
  • Some inescapable pits have been removed from landscape.
  • It should no longer be possible to get from one level break of the Sunken Mere to another by jumping.
  • A door in the Hizk Ri boss room now stays open for a longer amount of time.
  • A bug with the statue that teleports players to the High Matriarch's crypt in the Ixir Zi temple has been fixed.
  • Additional rewards for the Hizk Ri quest have been added.
  • Several chests intended for starting players were spawning higher-level loot. Many of these chests have been fixed; others will be fixed in a later event.
  • Several static spawn points in the Direlands have been updated.
  • It is no longer possible to stand on top of Burun trees.
  • Baby Shreth are no longer spawning on landscape. (They take a little longer to mature than other creatures.)
  • Several creatures have been tweaked for balance.
  • Copper Gromnies now do lightning damage.
  • Blood Fiends should no longer be dropping shields that cannot be identified.
  • The Sublime Elari Wood Bow required you to have Bow specialized in addition to other requirements in order to activate the magic on the weapon. This was not by design and has been removed.
  • Several of the Society and Explorer weapons have been upgraded slightly.
  • The spell Enduring Coordination has been reduced to a +35 bonus.
  • Shoyanen no longer sells spell scrolls.
  • Fanzen San now returns the correct translation of the Blackened Tome.
  • Aun Ngationa now exchanges the new Marae trophy weapons for the old ones again.


Minor Details

  • Several bartenders now sell directions to the Lugian Citadels
  • The Manniken Foundry exit portal now drops you closer to Nanto.
  • The weapon rewards from the Hizk Ri temple quest are now all hookable.
  • Several rumors in Lin have been given new icons.
  • The Yaraq vendor has always been female with a male avatar. This has been fixed.
  • A typo in the description of Burning Coal has been fixed.
  • Some typos in the Singularity Weapons have been fixed.
  • The health regeneration spell on the Adjanite Crown has been renamed to “Adja's Benefaction.”
  • Brikta's note on “Gems” is now properly signed.
  • Non-text ASCII symbols in several NPC strings have been removed.
  • The Baishi settlement portals statue now has the correct appearance.

Letter to the Players

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=259

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July Letter to the Players


posted on 27-Jul-2004

Welcome to the August Letter to the Players!

Last month in Dereth, a third Falatacot temple was discovered. A new portal was opened – whether intentionally or accidentally – allowing a previously unseen species of Burun to come through. It seems likely that these hulking Guruk will add a new level of threat to the Burun/Renegade alliance.

Meanwhile, on the Vesayen Islands new evidence was discovered linking the Moarsmen to the Burun and to the meddling of the Falatacot priestesses.

Will the legacy of these ancient cultists prove to be the undoing of Isparian society on Dereth?

Before we look at the changes coming in the August event, I'd like to provide some information on the recent Frostfell, Leafcull, Solclaim, and Thistledown extended downtime.

Recent Server Issues

Early Monday morning, the database cluster that supports these four worlds suffered a hardware failure. Operations was able to recover data from 7AM EDT Monday and start all four worlds back up early Monday evening. The only reported data loss were the items stored in one housing community on Solclaim.

However, late Monday night the database cluster suffered another failure. Multiple players were unable to login and received error messages. It was necessary to bring all four worlds back down and begin an emergency migration of these four worlds to new hardware.

Unfortunately the old hardware was too unstable to allow us to successfully complete this migration. We made the difficult decision to roll back all four worlds to the last good backup: 7AM EDT Sunday, July 25. This would allow us to restore from the backup tapes directly, bypassing the old hardware altogether.

Operations completed this task much more quickly than expected and began bringing the four worlds up at 4:00PM EDT on Tuesday. As of Tuesday evening the worlds appear to be stable. There have been reports of houses becoming available due to the expiration of the timer on maintenance, but there appear to be no further major issues.

While we can't directly replace any experience or items lost due to these hardware issues, we can provide the following as a form of reimbursement: During the September event, characters on the four affected worlds will have the option of receiving one free level's worth of experience from a Town Crier. Please watch for the September Letter to the Players for more details.

Please accept our apologies for this unplanned downtime.

Now let's take a look at what's coming in the next monthly event.

Coming Soon

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

Crafting Quests

As we've said in previous articles, we will be adding additional quests for crafting characters to use in gaining experience and other rewards. Several of these quests will be added in this month's event.

One change that we want to warn you about ahead of time is that the Ash Gromnie Tooth rewards from the Glenden Woods crafting quests are being reduced. They are currently worth 25% of the experience needed to get 1 point in the appropriate craft skill; this is being reduced to 10%, and the difficulty of the craft skill interaction is being reduced from 250 to 200. However we're adding new craft interactions with rewards equal to – and greater than – the Ash Tooth rewards.

Iasparailaun

When we revised the Gaerlan Quest in June, we changed the Gaerlan sword turn in to better reward players at level 126. Unfortunately, the experience reward at 126 was being shared among fellowship members.

We had always intended that players could complete the quest with one character and then have a different character receive the reward. This is why the sword is giveable, and why you don't need to have completed the quest to receive the experience reward. However the ability to fellow with a 126 and receive half of that flat reward was not intended.

After some discussion, we have decided to change this experience reward so that it is not shared among fellows – the character who turns in the sword will receive the entire reward.

Biting Strike and Crushing Blow and War Magic in PK and PKL

In last month's revision of the Singularity Weapons quest, we added Biting Strike and Crushing Blow to the Singularity Scepters. However on the Ultimate Singularity Scepter, these modifiers were higher than the maximum effectiveness of the Critical Strike and Crippling Blow imbues in PK and PKL (player-vs.-player or PvP) combat. With these modifiers, the Singularity Scepter was arguably better than the Weeping Wand, which was never our intent.

We needed to find a way to keep these items from being unbalancing in PvP combat, but we wanted to do this without nerfing them in player-vs.-monster (PvM) combat.

To that end, we have changed the way that Biting Strike and Crushing Blow work on casters in PvP combat. They are still fixed bonuses, but the amount of the bonus will be based on the maximum effectiveness of the comparable imbues. For example, a weapon with Biting Strike, in PvP, will never be more effective than the maximum effectiveness of a loot weapon imbued with Critical Strike. The same is true for Crushing Blow and Crippling Blow.

Again, this is true only in PvP, and it only applies to casting items.

Content Revision: Aerlinthe

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As part of our ongoing goals of revising existing content to better fit today's game, for August we have revised Aerlinthe Island and the Aerfalle quest.

As you can see to the right, Aerlinthe is now designed for characters from level 40 to level 80, with specific areas for 80+ characters.

The Aerfalle quest is intended for characters from levels 40-60, but we've made some changes that will make it worthwhile for characters above that level as well. We've also streamlined the quest to remove some of the delays. For example, the respawn timer on the Repair Golem has been cut nearly in half.

One important change to the Aerfalle quest is that the Ashen Key is being changed from giveable and always-drop-on-death to Bonded and Attuned. If you have Ashen Keys on a mule, we strongly recommend that you move these Keys to a character capable of completing the quest and do so prior to the August event.

You'll also see some brand-new monsters on Aerlinthe, and we believe that we've kept the unique feel that the island has always had.

Content Revision: Mattekar Robes

In August, the Mattekar Robes will receive an update. All new and existing Canescent Mattekar Robes, Hoary Mattekar Robes, Swarthy Mattekar Robes, and Robes of the Tundra will be improved in some way. The sole exceptions are older Robes of the Tundra, those that do not have spells on them. In general, Armor Levels are being increased across the board. Plus there'll be a bit of a surprise!

Phyntos Wasps

In addition to the new monsters found on Aerlinthe, we've improved the appearance of all Phyntos Wasps. So the next time your mid-level characters are running, screaming, from a White Phyntos Wasp, be sure to turn around and admire their new look!

Biakas and the Caul

Recently we have seen a lot of player activity at the center of the Singularity Caul, where the high-level Biakas spawn. In addition to the player activity, there've been a number of posts on the various community forums – and calls to the Envoy teams. Everyone wants to camp these spawns! When we took a closer look, we saw why – these creatures were giving out much too much experience when they were killed. No wonder this was one of the most fought-over hunting grounds in Dereth!

Unfortunately, once we observed this, we realized that it would be necessary to decrease the experience granted by these creatures. Starting in August, the Hellion, Biaka, Graal Margul and Helcan Margul are having their experience decreased by 37.5%, 33%, 40% and 53% respectively. This will bring these creatures back into balance and resolve the overcrowding issues at the center of the Singularity Caul. It was never our intent for hunting in this area to be so much more profitable than hunting in other areas on the island.

In Development

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

Crafting Quests

In addition to the new quests we're adding for August, we plan to add several more crafting quests in September.

Content Revisions

In September we expect to revise the Three Crystal Quests. As we've done with other content revisions, the quests and their rewards will be revised and rebalanced.

In addition, the content surrounding the town of Khayyaban will be revised in much the same way as was recently done with the town of Lin.

War Magic Improvements

Along with the critical hit improvements that we added in July, we are looking at increasing War Magic damage on Bolts, Arcs, and Streaks at spell levels 1 through 6. The goal is to improve War Magic damage over time at lower levels, where it currently lags behind other combat skills in comparison to its skill credit cost. Level 7 Streaks may also have their damage increased, although this is still being researched. We want to ensure that any improvements we make benefit War Mages in PvM combat without unbalancing War Magic in PvP play.

PvP Missile Speed Increase

As part of our ongoing efforts to improve the effectiveness of Bow, Crossbow, and Atlatl in PvP combat, we are investigating increasing the attack speed on these three weapons in the three PvP weapon suites: Hollow, Phantom, and Weeping. We continue working on other means of improving the effectiveness of missile weapons in PvP, we feel that this will help considerably.

In Concept

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

There aren't any new In Concept topics this month. We're continuing to work on and research the topics listed in previous articles, with the goal of moving them to In Development soon!

Thanks for reading the August Letter to the Players. Don't forget, you still have time to sign up for Turbine Nation! Get the latest information on the next Asheron's Call expansion pack, meet the Live Team and your fellow players, and check out Turbine's other games: Asheron's Call 2, Middle-Earth Online, and Dungeons & Dragons Online!

See you in Dereth!

- Ibn
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