Announcements - 2004/09 - A Small Victory

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Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=271

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A Small Victory


posted on 03-Sept-2004

This was not his home. He had been ordered to T'Gru Kookur to wait and to watch for the phenomenon of the Eye to begin. When it did, he was to send word to Reeshan, his liege. Then he was to walk through the portal, round up Morgluuk and Torgluuk, and find a way to force the eye open at T'Kuruul Reeshan. Reeshan would then enter the new portal and find the way to bring the other Kukuur Masters to the world of the Fiazhat Gods. There the Burun would complete their destinies and become the rulers of both their own world and the world of these would-be usurpers. That had been the plan.

But plans change.

Blood-stained and battered, the Guruk, Mgrauleshk, stared his attackers down. Around him the fresh corpses of fifteen Ruuk Savages floated in the shallow part of a fetid swamp, not unlike those found on Bur. Already the feelun trees were spouting from beneath the thick water and the scent of the mucor and koru mixed together with the pungent scent of this world's swamps. Mgrauleshk watched Morgluuk carefully. The Ruuk was of exceptional skill and possessed a keen intellect that Mgrauleshk could not hope to match. But Mgrauleshk was far from an typical Guruk. Now he put the mucor gift of his liege to good use, calculating the Ruuk's next movement. Morgluuk had yet to enter the fray, and the savages whose corpses littered the swamp around him began to return to the fight. Fell magic ruled here and the Ruuk possessed it. Torgluuk was the only shaman capable of such things.

Twenty savages descended as one upon Mgrauleshk. They tore at his flesh with their claws, weapons and teeth in an effort to kill the Guruk. He swatted a handful of the savages away with a powerful blow; three struck the shallow mire and bounced along its surface before coming to rest several feet away, motionless. Six of them tore at the flesh on his back, spilling more blood and causing the giant to reel in pain. He struggled to maintain his footing as five spears were shoved into his gut and driven out his back. Fortune smiled grimly as two savages were impaled on the spears as well. The remaining six savages beat his legs until they collapsed under the strain of his weight. He let out a loud roar as he collapsed onto the spear that now propped his broken body out of the swamp.

Morgluuk approached. The scent of the mucor growing on his flesh was strong; it made him different -- stronger that most other Ruuk and with a life much longer than any Burun save the Kukuur. Mgrauleshk felt the bone sword tap his gullet and draw across it gently. A new stream of blood began to pour from his ruined form. He would die at the hands of the Ruuk. His mission would fail and Reeshan and the other masters would be kept away from their destiny. The sword tapped his chin and lifted his head upward. Mgrauleshk stared into the toothy grin as Morgluuk began to speak.

"Serve my brother and I. Give us your allegiance and we shall return to Bur as rulers! We shall be the masters and the Sleeping One shall gift us with the glory of this retribution." Morgluuk finished and waited for Mgrauleshk's reply. Mgrauleshk could not win this fight and death would serve no purpose for Reeshan and the other masters. He croaked acceptance and saw the shamans emerge from the reeds bearing ointment and spells of healing. Deep within his being Mgrauleshk knew that he was the strongest Burun on this world. This fight had been staged to win control over the Guruk. He had already failed his masters once. He would not fail them again.

*****

Grevik Mar returned to Linvak Tukal with haste. The council meeting had been both informative and disconcerting. The Lugians of Linvak would soon need to make their role on the council felt.

He passed the guards at the gate and began his search for the spymaster in earnest. It was night; dark shadows danced in every corner of the massive Lugian stronghold and finding K'rank would be an effort—if he was even here.

As Grevik made his way past the tavern, he heard a terrible sound, like granite grinding against obsidian as a mine was dug too deeply. It reverberated off of the stone walls and into Grevik's bones.

K'rank.

Grevik walked through the doorway and acknowledged Kilbrik, the tavern keeper. Kilbrik offered a weak smile while plugging his ears as best he could.

"How long has he been asleep?" Grevik asked.

"About an hour, the hoktor has driven off all of my business tonight! I've thrown a few boulders at him but to no avail." Kilbrik replied without a morsel of mirth in his words. "Drunk, too! He spent the night downing ale until he passed out. He kept going on about losing one of his men and needing to send him properly to the Gods."

Grevik nodded, told Kilbrik he would take care of the situation and then walked to K'rank's side. He knelt beside the Captain and hefted the slumbering Lugian upward. The Captain reacted instinctively and struck Grevik hard across the jaw. K'rank stumbled away from Grevik and stood there fuming in the flickering torchlight.

"Hoktor! I was sleeping," K'rank spat.

"On the job," Grevik responded. "Your man is not dead. We'd know if he was."

K'rank brought a hand to his head and rubbed his scalp. "I know that. But it was a great reason to drink." K'rank paused and cocked his head to the left. "You need a new hauberk, gray and gold are for someone far beneath your station. I'll have one requisitioned at once."

Grevik shook his head. "K'rank. We need information from your men. Has there been any word?"

"Sit with me, Grevik. We shall talk of this." He smiled and sat at the table, motioning for another ale.

Rollout Article

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=270

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A Small Victory


posted on 08-Sept-2004

"Digging?" Antius asked Jenavere.

"Excavating is more the case." Hendac nodded in affirmation of Jenavere's words. "They have the top of the structure unearthed and are working non-stop to find a way to breach the walls. The little Burun seem to have the larger ones under their control. I am not certain how that works out."

Elysa slid forward in her chair and looked over the area of the map that they surveyed. "This spot is the destination of the first portal, the one Rage Lao found, isn't it?"

After a moment of study they all agreed. Jenavere spoke next. "Do the Burun know where these temples lay?"

"It's a possibility," Antius answered, tapping the map. "The second portal that was found in those ancient structures leads here." He put his finger on the map. "It's landlocked, no true access to a swamp, so they would likely have a hard time getting there."

"Antius, they've proven that they can change the world by their very presence. Look at the Blackmire or the swamp in the A'mun." Elysa slid her finger from the locations on the map. "They'll find a way if that is their next goal." There was a long, awkward pause. Then Hendac slid his hand onto the table and placed his finger on a spot that marked a solitary location, nearly inaccessible to uninitiated explorers.

"No. Not yet, Hendac," Elysa spoke firmly. "I have faith that Ciandra and the Arcanum will discover how to craft the gem we need to complete the weapons. I will not turn to her yet." She tapped the location that the Burun and Renegades now inhabited. "We need something, anything that will give us an edge against these creatures. We need Kresovus' men to come through. We need the information from his spies."

Somewhere K'rank took another swig of ale.

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.

Rollback Recompense

As we'd previously announced, all characters on Frostfell, Solclaim, Thistledown and Leafcull will have the opportunity to obtain one free level's worth of experience this month as an apology for a server outage in late July.

After the August 31st server outage affecting the other five worlds, we have decided that the free level will be for all characters on all worlds.

Starting today, each of your characters on all nine game worlds will have the opportunity to obtain one free level's worth of experience. Please note that if this XP award is not claimed before the October event, it will be lost. Salvage and the Crafting Confirmation

Since the introduction of the Crafting Confirmation dialog box, we've seen several reports from players who claim that they failed their crafting interaction despite the crafting confirmation dialog claiming they had 100% chance of success.

We've investigated the code thoroughly and have found no bugs that could cause this, we've even added additional logging that will trigger if this occurs – and it hasn't.

One possibility is that folks who are tinkering and have the Crafting Confirmation option turned off are seeing the message, "Are you sure you want to apply the Salvaged [Material] (100) to the [Item]? The [Item] may be destroyed," and mistaking the (100) in the salvage bag name for a 100% chance of success. This could possibly account for some of the reports.

To prevent the possibility of such mistakes, we are removing the (100) from the dialog that you see if you are tinkering and have the Crafting Confirmation dialog turned off.

Release Notes

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=273

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Developer's Notes


posted on 08-Sept-2004

New Functionality and Content

  • War Magic damage has been improved for bolts and arcs at levels 1 through 6, and for all levels of streaks.
  • The Three Crystals quests have been revised.
  • Content surrounding the city of Al-Jalima has been revised.
  • Projectile speeds on the Weeping, Hollow and Phantom missile weapons have been increased.
  • All characters have the opportunity to obtain one free level's worth of experience, as recompense for recent server rollbacks. This award will only be available this month.


Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements

  • Fall is here, with changes to the landscape and the character selection screen!
  • The Singularity Scepters have been adjusted for balance.
  • All Singularity missile weapons have had their damage modifiers increased.
  • Gromnie trophy weapons have had their wield requirements changed to base skill instead of buffed skill.
  • Agents of the Arcanum will now accept a Thick Gromnie Hide and exchange it for a Gromnie Hide Shirt.
  • Many generators on Aerlinthe were spawning too many creatures. This has been resolved.
  • New spawns have been added to the undead town on Aerlinthe.
  • Some White Wasp generators on landscape were only creating one Wasp instead of three. This has been fixed.
  • Some creature spawns have been moved farther away from housing, and from the town of Hebian-To.
  • Some high particle-effect objects have been removed from the center of the Singularity Caul in order to improve graphical performance.
  • Some emotes have been removed from Ivory Crafters in order to make it easier to give them items.
  • The Frozen Fury dais has returned to Glenden Wood.
  • The Alchemists, Cooks, and Fletchers of the new crafting quests will now return your item if your quest timer hasn't expired.
  • It's no longer possible to lure Bleeargh away from his initial spot in Yanshi.
  • The (100) in the name of a bag of Salvage now no longer appears in the dialog box if Crafting Confirmation is disabled.
  • Houses now have better internal tracking for limited-hook items such as chalkboards.
  • We've resolved a bug that, in rare situations, could cause a house covenant crystal to forget which house it belonged to.
  • If a monarch character is deleted the new allegiance(s) created will properly get allegiance chat room(s).
  • The text displayed when a gagged character tries to speak in allegiance chat has been clarified.
  • War Magic scrolls now have unique icons.
  • The Hand of Vagurat is now correctly Bonded and not Attuned.
  • All Canescent Mattekar robes are no longer Attuned.
  • Gromnie Coats no longer have a white abdomen section when dropped on the ground.
  • The Silken Wrap no longer makes your feet disappear when worn with lower leg armor and no shoes.
  • The Refulgent Bracelet is now Ivoryable.
  • The Spear of Kreerg is now destroy-on-sell.
  • The Eye of Drageerg is closer to the edge of the dais on which it rests, so it should be easier to pick up.
  • Ancient armor is no longer sellable.
  • The crafter-only restriction on the original Crops, Exquisite Elari Bows, and Virindi Scalpels has been removed.
  • All Sanctifier of the Clutch spells now correctly state that they affect Magic Defense.
  • The Lifestone Sending spell is now self-targeted.
  • Some Newbie and Low level treasure chests have been rebalanced to better fit the revised treasure system.
  • Ancient Coral Golems now have a chance of dropping Coral Golem Hearts.
  • Pyreal Target Drudges are now green.
  • Some creatures tweaked for balance.
  • "Turbine Chat enabled" has been removed from text at login.


Minor Details

  • The Aphus Sun Guard looks better when hooked.
  • The Ebon Tooth Katar now hooks properly.
  • If you selected an Olthoi Acid Katar in the world, the selection reticule was to the left of the object. This has been fixed.
  • A black line at the bottom of the icon of the Wooden Tablet has been removed.
  • The icons on the untranslated Burun spell rewards have been corrected.
  • Typos in Leikotha's speech, Galaeral's speech, and the translated Aerlinthe Record have been fixed.
  • The descriptions of the fellowship spell reward statues in Hizk Ri and the resulting scrolls have been clarified.
  • The description of the Academy Quartermaster's door in the Training Academy was incorrect and has been fixed.
  • Some text in the character creation screen regarding skill credits has been clarified.

Letter to the Players

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=268

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September Letter to the Players


posted on 07-Sept-2004

Welcome to the September Letter to the Players!

Last month in Dereth, we discovered more details of the Burun-Renegade alliance, as well as the fact that the Burun have plans of their own. The appearance of the hulking Guruk may have more ominous implications than we first thought... what is the idol in the Direland swamps supposed to represent?

High Queen Elysa's representatives are investigating, and we have received valuable information from our unexpected Mosswart allies, but will it be enough? Are the Burun too entrenched in Dereth to be defeated?

As we ponder that question, we'd like to take a moment to say thanks!

Turbine Nation

We'd like to thank all of you who made Turbine Nation 2004 such an amazing day. The turnout was fantastic – the Asheron's Call Player Luncheon sold out and both Asheron's Call sessions were standing-room-only. All of us on the Live and Throne of Destiny teams had a great time and we hope you did too.

Coming Soon

(These are items that we plan to implement in the September event. Many of these items were mentioned in prior articles. These changes are in addition to the new quests, dungeons, and items that we'll be introducing in the September event.)

Rollback Recompense

As we stated in the August Letter to the Players, in September we will be allowing all characters on Frostfell, Leafcull, Solclaim, and Thistledown to obtain one free level. At some point during the event, simply go to Al-Arqas and speak to Jalina al-Hajj. She will give each character the amount of experience required to get from the current level to the next. For example, it takes approximately 5 million experience points to get from level 49 to level 50. If I am level 49 when I talk to Jalina, she will award me 5 million experience points, no matter how close I am to reaching level 50. Characters who are level 126 will receive 165 million experience points.

We do remind players that they will need to do this sometime during the September event. It will be removed in the October event.

As we announced in our Hardware Upgrades article, we have invested in a new database cluster to replace the backup hardware that these worlds are currently using. We expect to be able to post more information, including when we will be moving the worlds to the new hardware, very soon.

War Damage Improvements

As we wrote in previous articles, in September we will be slightly increasing the damage on some War Magic spells. Bolts and Arcs at levels 1 through 6 will have their damage increased, as will Streaks at all levels. It is important to note that level 7 Bolts and Arcs are not being changed.

You can see the old and new numbers below:

Bolts and Arcs

Spell Level Old Damage New Damage
1 8 – 15 15 – 30
2 13 – 25 25 – 50
3 18 – 35 40 – 80
4 31 – 60 50 – 100
5 46 – 90 65 – 130
6 61 – 120 80 – 160


Streaks

Spell Level Old Damage New Damage
1 6 – 12 15 – 30
2 7 – 14 16 – 32
3 9 – 18 18 – 36
4 12 – 24 20 – 40
5 15 – 30 22 – 44
6 20 – 40 26 – 52
7 26 – 52 30 – 60


As you can see, the largest increases are for War Magic spells at the lower levels, where currently it is underpowered.

PvP Missile Speed Increase

After a great deal of research, we've made a change to the Weeping, Phantom and Hollow Bow, Crossbow and Atlatl that should improve the effectiveness of these weapons in PK and PKL combat.

Starting in September, the flight speed of projectiles (bolts, arrows and darts) fired from these weapons will be increased by 80% to 100%. The increased flight speed will make it more challenging – although not impossible – for players to physically dodge incoming missile attacks from these weapons. The Missile Defense check does not change in any way, nor does the maximum range on the weapons.

We'll be watching the use of these weapons very closely in September. Depending on their effectiveness, we are considering giving players the ability to increase the flight speed on other missile weapons.

Lifestone Sending Spell

This spell, which players can learn through quests introduced in August, was never intended to be added to the game. However after players asked us not to remove it, we decided to leave it in. In September this spell will change to self-targeted, and players can use it as a faster alternative to the @lifestone command.

Content Revision: Three Crystals

In September we'll be revising the Fenmalain, Caulnalain and Shendolain Crystal quests. Fenmalain is being revised for characters around level 20, Caulnalain for level 40, and Shendolain for level 60. The creatures and quest rewards are being revised accordingly, as has been done with other older quests of late.

Content Revision: Al-Jalima

As we said in the August Rollout Article, we chose to revise the town of Al-Jalima instead of Khayyaban as we'd originally announced. The quests and content surrounding this town will be revised and balanced for characters from levels 20 to 40.

Gromnie Weapons

Several of the new Gromnie trophy weapons, specifically the Brass Knuckles, Copper Cutlass, Sable Tooth Dirk and Ebon Tooth Katar, were introduced with incorrect wield requirements. The numbers on the wield requirements are correct, but currently they check against a character's buffed skill level as opposed to the base skill level. This is a bug and is being fixed for September.

If you are currently wielding one of these weapons and your base skill is lower than the number in the description, we recommend that you unwield the weapon before logging off for the last time before the September event. If you log in after September and are wielding a weapon whose wield requirements you cannot meet, the game will attempt to move this weapon to your main pack. If your main pack is full, the weapon will drop to the ground.

Singularity Scepters and Quest Weapons

After changing the scale of Biting Strike and Crushing Blow in PvP, we have continued to closely watch these weapons and listen to players' feedback regarding them. After much investigation and discussion, we have decided that these weapons are, unfortunately, overpowered – particularly when used by very high-level characters against Virindi.

In September we will be making the following changes: All Singularity Scepters will have their Virindi Slayer quality reduced by 22% and their Crushing Blow ability will be removed. The Biting Strike ability on the Ultimate Singularity Scepters will be reduced by 6%. As the standard Singularity Scepters and Bound Singularity Scepters do not need as great a reduction as the Ultimates, their Biting Strike abilities will be increased considerably to compensate for the lack of Crushing Blow. The Biting Strike on the Ultimate Scepters will still be higher than that on the standard and Bound Scepters.

Those who have been watching carefully may have noticed that we've been making a number of adjustments recently to the damage on high-level quest weapons. You may be wondering, Why all the changes? As was mentioned in a much earlier In-Concept article, we are continuing to do preliminary work on higher wield-req melee weapons, missile weapons and casters in loot. We don't want our high-level quest weapons to be immediately useless the month that these new weapons begin dropping. But at the same time, we don't want to make these quest weapons the must-have always-best weapons for the time until the new loot weapons appear. Thus there has been more balance “juggling” than usual.

So when are the new loot weapons coming? Our very tentative plans call for them to begin showing up in loot in the December event. However these plans may very well change between now and then.

In Development

(These are the game changes that we are working on for the October event. None of these items are guaranteed to be added for October as scheduling and priorities can change. These changes are in addition to the new quests, dungeons, and items that we'll be introducing in the October event. Your feedback on these topics is particularly valuable.)

Salvaging Skill

In October we are working on a new skill for all characters – Salvaging. All existing characters would have this skill as soon as they log in after the October event, and all new characters would start with it.

When using an Ust to salvage items, the Salvaging skill would be considered along with the Tinkering skills when determining how much salvage the player receives. If Salvaging were higher than all the player's Tinkering skills, it would be used for the skill check; otherwise the highest Tinkering skill would be used.

Other aspects of the skill – such as which attributes, if any, it will be tied to – are still being worked on.

Ust Improvements

We are working on improvements to the Ust to allow players to salvage items of different material types all at once. For example if you put an Ivory Tankard, a Brass Breastplate, and a Fire Opal Ring into the ust and hit the Salvage button, you would receive an Ivory bag, a Brass bag, and a Fire Opal bag.

One other aspect of usts that we are working to change is the advantage to salvaging items one at a time. Currently, due to the way the salvaging calculations work, it is often possible to get more salvage by salvaging items one at a time; rather than all at once. This is a time-consuming process, but many players salvage this way to maximize their return. Once we've made these changes, you will get the larger amount even if you salvage all the items at once.

Faster Missile Projectiles

As we mentioned above, based on the feedback from the PvP Missile Weapon changes we are considering creating some method for players to apply this improvement to loot weapons. As the September event falls in the middle of our October development cycle, it is quite likely that this may not be ready for the October event.

Gromnie Teeth Rewardsw

Since the introduction of the percentage-based Ash Tooth crafting reward, some players have used this and the skill sellback quest as a way to “launder” experience into a non-craft skill. The introduction of additional percentage-based rewards only exacerbated this behavior. These percentage-based rewards were intended to benefit tradeskill characters, not to benefit players who only train a trade skill so that they can eventually move the experience into a combat skill.

In October, we are looking at setting a cap for each of the percentage-based rewards. If your skill is greater than this cap, you will receive a flat reward for the crafted item instead of a percentage-based reward.

As “laundering” experience through these quests is most effective for characters who have maxed or nearly maxed one or more skills, we can set the cap at a point where it does not harm true tradeskill characters. These characters will still be able to get their skills up to a point where they have a high degree of success at even the most difficult crafting interactions, but those who only use the tradeskills as a means to move experience into other skills will find that it is no longer as worthwhile.

In Concept

(These are the game changes that we are thinking about for November 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. These changes are in addition to the new quests, dungeons, and items that we'll be introducing in each monthly event. 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.)

Siraluun Trophy Rewards

We are looking at revising and improving the Siraluun trophy rewards in much the same way that the Gromnie trophy rewards were revised in August. As part of our continuing goals of introducing more crafting rewards, we are considering creating tradeskill quests and rewards for Tinkering skills, tied to the Siraluun trophies.

Starter Town Portals

We are continuing our work on making towns more worthwhile for players to congregate in. We will be starting to pay particular attention to the three starter towns of Shoushi, Yaraq and Holtburg. The first step is to add additional portals to these towns to make it easier for players to quickly travel from one to another. This will also improve the experience for new players, allowing them to more easily see the varied landscape of Dereth.

There you have it – some of our plans for September, October and beyond. Keep your eyes open for further information on the Billing Migration, the database cluster upgrades, and the API that we have in development. Articles on all of these are in the works and will be posted on our website soon. We'll also begin posting regular updates on the status of Throne of Destiny as well as screenshots, concept art, and more! It's an exciting time to be an Asheron's Call player!

See you in Dereth!

- Ibn
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