Announcements - 2004/10 - All That They Survey

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The Shattered Coil Part 3


posted on 08-Oct-2004

Large webbed hands and feet slapped at the torpid water not far behind Ugluur. The little Ruuk's breathing was labored and his muscles burned with a fire from days without food or rest. The Moar had discovered him crossing the Kualuun Swamp three days prior and had relentlessly pursued him across the swamplands. Uglurr had left Tkoruk Guruul when the brothers Torgluuk and Morgluuk had disappeared into the violet tunnel of smoke. Morgluuk and Torgluuk were attempting to claim the destiny that was meant for the Kukuur – the Burun Elders.


Ugluur, loyal to the Kukuur, knew his duty and had run through the dangerous swamps. He lived on what bomutur he could find and evaded Moar hunting parties during his trek. His luck had held for nearly three cycles of the moon and he was fast approaching the haven of King Browerk – first amongst the Kukuur, eldest of their race and the greatest of all Burun. Ugluur had evaded the four hunters that Morgluuk had sent after him; they were killed some ten days past when the great eye stared down and exposed them to the Moar. This had given him hope that the Sleeping One was guiding his actions and ushering him closer to his ultimate destiny. But then he had stumbled into his pursuers' trap. The Moar had hounded his steps from that moment until now.


After springing the trap he had fled to the tree tops, leaping from the wide brim canopy of one feelun tree to another. He swung from the vines that hung down from the tkoruk and tried to keep his scent away from the swamp. It was to no avail; the Moar were ruthless hunters capable of scenting him on the pungent wind. He prayed to the Sleeping One that he be granted the ability to deliver his message and warn the Kukuur of what Morgluuk and Torgluuk planned.


Fate had its own design on Ugluur's life.

*****

In the brush, the hulking form of a Burun Guruk stirred and let out a deep growl. Ugluur didn't hear the sound over the gnashing of jaws and spattering of water behind him. He chanced a look back and caught his foot on the root of a tree. Faltering, he tried to catch himself with his left hand and felt the bones in his arm snap. He sprawled forward into the swamp and rank water stung his eyes and filled his mouth. He rolled hard to his right, propping himself on the spongy swamp floor, and let out a screech of defiance.


The Moar closed around him. Their jaws were open wide, dripping cold ichor, and they bore a feral fury in their eyes. Overwhelmed by fear, Ugluur whimpered and scurried back a few feet. The Moar skittered about him, toying with their meal. Ugluur tried to stand, but the sounds from the Moar drove him into to a helpless position while he tried to think of a way to escape. Nothing came into his mind. Fate it seemed would claim him before he could warn his masters.


The first Moar leapt at his throat as a hulking form emerged from the shadow of the brush. A flash of dark violet crashed into the swamp and the hulking Guruk caught the Moar and crushed its head with one hand. As the second Moar closed on Ugluur, the Guruk spun and met the beast with a powerful swat of its other hand. The Moar crashed into the side of a tree and slid beneath the fetid water. Then the Guruk turned toward the remaining four Moar and issued a guttural challenge that shook the boughs of the nearby trees. Overpowered, the Moar retreated behind leaves and sunk into the swamp, swimming away through the mire.


The Guruk watched as the Moar retreated from him and then turned his attention back to the Ruuk that lay whimpering in the muck. Ugluur lay in the water staring up at his savior with a feeling of joy that quickly gave way to dread. Without warning, the Guruk wrapped his hand around Ugluur's face and snapped the Ruuk's neck hard to the right. It didn't kill him, but Ugluur fell immediately unconscious.


The Guruk hoisted the Ruuk over his shoulder and walked toward master Reeshan's temple. There the other Elders were gathered. Another tunnel had opened, and all those that had been sent through had not returned. Mgrauleshk – the Guruk – was sweeping the area around Reeshan's temple to ensure that the Moar would not have the opportunity to attack the Kings as they met on this auspicious occasion. A meeting of this gravity occurred only when there was an absolute necessity. The last occasion was more cycles ago than Mgrauleshk could fathom. This meeting was of great importance and his liege wanted the area cleared of all danger. Finding a member of Tkoruk Guruul Clutch was a windfall he had not expected.


T'Kuruul Reeshan stood five hundred steps above the floor of the swamp and was comprised of Burun and Fiazhat architecture. The temple had been built in a time when his caste, the Guruk, and the Kukuur as well were forced beneath the surface of Bur. There were thirteen like it scattered across the world. They had been built by the Fiazhat to honor their false gods and were constructed of dark green stone that Mgrauleshk had never seen within the bounds of the great swamps.


During his life Mgrauleshk had visited six of the thirteen temples and it was unlikely that he would visit many more. As Mgrauleshk pushed his way through the ferns and trees that covered the T'Kuruul Reeshan temple, he was gripped by the enormity of the situation that they faced. Around the base of the temple, thousands of camps of Ruuk and Guruk were busy preparing food, carving weaponry and preaching the stories of the Sleeping One and the vengeance that was close at hand. Each step of the temple was one hundred feet deep and thirty feet high, with a ramp that allowed access to the next step placed at the center on each of the faces. This progression continued until the top fifty steps, where the dimensions dropped in half, then at five steps dropped in half again.


Currently, the lower hundred steps were cluttered with troops preparing for the coming battle. The next hundred steps were littered with Elite Guards, all of them Guruk, bearing the symbols of the twelve Elders. Beyond that level the voices of hundreds of individuals, some slaves, some warriors and some elders amongst the outer fringes of the Clutches milled and conversed in hushed tones. Flags sewn from the hides of hundreds of creatures including the Fiazhat and Moar, twelve in all, flew from the temple's ramparts. Above these flags flew the largest and grandest, King Browerk's flag.


Browerk was the most ancient of their race. Rumors persisted that he had been present for the first wars against the Fiazhat, that he was the mind that first linked the other Kukuur and it was he who had lead the Burun from the darkness of the under realm. It was his birthright to revisit upon the Fiazhat's false gods the full force of the Burun. He was unquestionably the leader of the Burun and he was a fair and just ruler.


Mgrauleshk had never seen Browerk, but he knew of the king's life. Browerk had been betrayed by his offspring Tkrowerk. Tkrowerk had given great secrets to the Ruuk of Tkoruk Guruul and for that Browerk had killed his offspring, ending the line of his throne. It was unlikely that he would gestate another egg after so many thousands of years of life. Mgrauleshk was unclear as to why the King had permitted the Ruuk to live, but he had never broached the subject with his liege Reeshan. It was a matter for the elders, not the small minds of the Guruk. Mgrauleshk had been granted a small boon; he was greater than his Guruk brothers in that he knew a smattering of magic, a gift for a lifetime of service. This boon was given only to those who would one day become Jurrugar, the most elite of the Guruk Gorefiends, it mark him as honor bound and trusted above all others. As was his duty, Mgrauleshk knew that his king would want to see the prisoner that he carried over his shoulder, so he began to walk toward the pyramid.


The air around the temple was foul, thick with the scent of bomotur roasted on spits turned over fires lit by burning koruu. Ruuk were filthy creatures that would often cover their hides in a thick coating of the mire. They reeked of the more vile part of the swamp and were at best savage without strength. Mgrauleshk reviled his smaller cousins. The existence of the Ruuk caste was a blight on the Burun and he longed to slaughter them and sup on their flesh. But after the last civil war the kings had pronounced that cannibalism was wrong. Now, as he walked through the teeming mass of Ruuk, he wanted nothing more than to strike out and devour the heart of one of the little things raw.


As he walked through the throng the Ruuk parted and allowed him through. He was well known amongst the Ruuk and the Guruk of this area. They knew his cruel intentions and they also knew that he would violate the edicts of the kings if he were given leave. Some, outlanders, were more defiant, wondering why he carried what appeared to be a Ruuk corpse over his shoulder. They approached and prodded at the unconscious form until Mgrauleshk uttered a growl that sent chills through their spines. He approached the base of the temple and began the long climb.


Halfway up the temple he was met by the voice of Kiree and Kreekun, two Ruuk that served as speakers for their kings in all matters. They inquired as to the being that he carried and barred his progress. Without a thought he pushed through them, listening to their cries as they tumbled down to the landing below. They sputtered curses and threatened the wrath of their kings. Mgrauleshk didn't care -- this was Reeshan's land and he was Reeshan's chief enforcer. This day he would also deliver unto the highest king a great gift; he knew this in the core of his being.


As he reached the landing where the flags flapped in a brisk wind he knelt before the Elite guards. These were the strongest of the Guruk, champions whose lives were given to the service of Browerk. They barred the way to the council of Elders.


"Jurukka, Mgrauleshk," one of the guards said as he approached. "You carry a load on your shoulder that looks most interesting. His markings are those of the Tkoruk Guruul, are they not?"


"Jurukka, Jerrugar." Mgrauleshk responded with the same greeting of honor and took a knee before the guard, Ugluur still slumped over his shoulder. "Yes, this Ruuk is from Tkoruk Guruul, or so his markings show. I happened upon him in the swamp south of the temple, pursued by a host of feeble Moar-- ice breathers that were not of this area. I bring him to the great chamber as an offering. A gift to the Elders and to King Browerk."


The Jerrguar nodded and acknowledged the effort of the gorefiend by placing a hand on his shoulder. Mgrauleshk rose when he was given leave to.


"We shall inquire whether King Browerk desires to see this gift," the guard said as he looked into Mgrauleshk's eyes. The guard's eyes became glassy and distant for a brief moment. Mgrauleshk knew what was happening. He had seen it before. Reeshan's Voice would often get that look when King Reeshan would speak with him from afar. Within ten seconds the guard's visage returned to normal and he stepped aside. The guard beside him did the same. "Enter the conclave, Mgraulesk."


"Jukuur grau, Elite One." Mgrauleshk stepped between the guards and moved toward the conclave.

*****

Power. Power flowed through the altar room of the temple. Twelve elders stood at focal points in the circular room. In the center of the room on a raised dais behind a long stone altar sat King Browerk. His girth was the same as the others, odd given his age. Most Kukuur that grew old became more engorged on the magic that flowed through their veins. In time, this magic tore them apart and they exploded in violent manner. Browerk showed no signs of reaching this size. Reeshan looked at his servant as he walked into the room and laid his gift upon the floor. Then Mgrauleshk knelt and offer up his palms to show that he meant no ill.


"Jurukka, Mgrauleshk." Browerk's commanding voice boomed through the chamber and echoed off the walls. When he spoke tendrils of blue smoke poured from the corners of his lips, magic leaking back into the air. "You bring a great gift to this conclave." Mgrauleshk felt a hand press onto his shoulder and felt something akin to a thought enter his head. He rose instinctively, having been given the right to by the presence of the hand. The voices began speaking directly into his mind.


All were present and all were able to see and hear his thoughts. Mgrauleshk cleared his mind of everything and allowed the Elders to probe through his head to find what had happened in the swamp. The sensation was oddly terrifying and exhilarating. It lasted very briefly and then he was able to see them all once again.


King Browerk hoisted his massive staff from the floor and uttered a potent string of incantations that reverberated throughout the room. Ugluur's body floated from the floor and drifted slowly toward the altar. As it passed over a seal of a great eye on the floor the little Ruuk awoke.

*****

Ugluur stared up at the Eye, bearing down upon him from high in the sky above. His neck hurt; it had been broken by the gorefiend that had saved him from death at the hands of the Moar. He felt tiny tendrils of something wrapping about his legs and arms and felt cold stone on his back. Something akin to a thought entered his head and he rebelled.


The power of the mucor in his veins would not allow the intrusion. His mind was his and would not be controlled by another. The Sleeping One's Eye disappeared from his view and he saw the forms of thirteen Kukuur around him. All of them stared upon him with slavering tongues hanging out of mouths lined with thousands of sharp teeth. The battle turned inward to his mind's eye and they fought. In the end, Ugluur relented to the will of the thirteen elders and he returned to consciousness long enough to see the Sleeping One's Eye one last time before he died.


The Eye was framed by four pillars& no, statues, statues of the Fiazhat's gods. They stood with outstretched hands, holding the Eye high in the sky. But they reached into the sun and it turned dark and terrible. At once the eye turned blood red and wept a single tear onto the little Ruuk's forehead. Then there was nothing.

*****

King Browerk let loose a chortle and a puff of blue smoke as the Ruuk perished. It had fought valiantly against the psychic assault, but the power of the thirteen Elders was too great. Browerk looked to the sky and saw that the spires framed the Eye perfectly and he communicated to the Elders what must be done. He then turned his attention to Mgrauleshk.


"We will flay this one's soul, as it has forsaken the Burun and allowed the transgression at Tkoruk Guruul to occur. You have brought this gift to us, Mgrauleshk. Name your reward and you shall have it." Browerk nodded sagely and another trail of blue energy wafted from his mouth.


"Jukuur Grau, Elders and King Browerk. I require no reward for my service to the Sleeping One and to the Elders and your majesty." He paused briefly and watched as the Elders nodded sagely. "But if it please you that I take something for this gift, I will ask for two small tokens."


Browerk admired the Guruk's candor and courage. "Speak."


"I desire to sup on this Ruuk's flesh. If it is to be soul rent then it shall not return and there is no edict that states that a shell with no hope of return needs to be burned." Mgrauleshk stood tall and resolute.


"Granted," Browerk was quick to answer. There was no point in disputing this as it was a fair reward. He waited to hear what the second demand would be.


"My second request." Mgrauleshk did not falter, he did not stumble over himself to speak, he was speaking without his own voice, he was speaking as a hero to his people, he was asking for a great boon. He wanted a gift that would only be given to an Elite One, but he was certain that this would be his day. He felt empowered in the light of the Sleeping One's Eye. He knew that this request would be answered and so he continued. "Long have we waited for the tears of the Sleeping One to end. Long have we waited for our revenge upon the Fiazhat's false gods who gave rise to the Moar and nearly destroyed we Burun. We know that the pathways beyond the vast divide have begun to open. I know that you mean to rend this one's soul." He motioned to Ugluur's lifeless body. "I wish to bear witness to what this soul rending looses."


"Granted." Browerk did not hesitate. At once inside his head he heard the protests of the other Elders. They did not want a Guruk present to see the greatest rite they possessed, but Browerk belched once and the voices fell silent. "You shall bear witness, and then& be tasked. Do you accept this task?"


"With honor, King Browerk," Mgrauleshk replied.


"You have yet to hear what this task will be," Browerk returned.


"It will serve the Sleeping One and serve the Elders. This is my duty. All tasks commanded by this council are from the Sleeping One and I perform those deeds without hesitation," Mgrauleshk replied coolly and honestly.


"Very good." Browerk nodded once and called the others to order. "We begin."

*****

The eye was at its peak in the sky. The chanting had begun in unison as Browerk finished his sentence, and for five minutes the room was a cacophony of deep croaks and other sounds. Power welled around him and forced the walls outward in a visible distortion that made Mgrauleshk uneasy. On the altar, the still form of Ugluur twitched and became bathed in an unholy light. At once a silver shape appeared about the body and tore free with a blood-curdling scream.


The silver form, a perfect ghostly image of Ugluur, floated above the body and looked down. An expression of panic spread across the ghostly face and it tried to flee but was held in check by the same grim light that had ripped it from its body. Within seconds it ceased struggling and looked at Browerk.


"Tell us of what transpired at Tkoruk Guruul," Browerk commanded.


Then the soul began a tale that lasted until the eye closed that evening.

Rollout Article

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Rollout Article


posted on 13-Oct-2004

Antius considered the maps again. With the death of one Burun leader and the disappearance of another, the creatures had become more violent but less organized. The situation had improved... but only marginally.


Some of the Burun had turned on their Lugian and Tumerok allies. This meant that there was no longer a unified front. K'rank's spies had confirmed that fewer than half of the Burun that had entered the pact with the renegades remained; this was a blessing. However, the main Burun forces continued to roam across Dereth and many of the land's other inhabitants had been stirred up by their passing. Reports of large packs or warbands approaching dangerously close to towns were filtering in from guards posted in towns all across Osteth. In the Direlands, it was more difficult to tell if the increased activity was part of standard assaults or as a result of the continued Burun incursion.


It was frustrating. They had Morgluuk's head on a pike but they were no closer to eliminating the Burun as a threat to Isparian peace. Antius cast his gaze over the location that Hendac had pointed out only a month before. He closed his eyes and sighed. Antius hated the idea, but if Ciandra failed, they would have no other choice. He comforted himself with the thought that Elysa favored this course of action no more than he did. At least they weren't rushing into anything.


"We need you to figure this out, Ciandra." Antius rolled up the maps and parchments. Elysa was waiting and he was already late.

*****

Mgrauleshk had waited patiently for the moment to strike. It had come when the short pale ones felled Morgluuk and a wave of panic spread amongst the Ruuk. Their morale was shattered, but he seized control of the masses before they could turn on one another. Now, as he approached the outpost, he looked down on the excavation site. This was the temple. This was the place where he would find his way to open the well to T'Kuruul Reeshan and bring his king to this world.


The large gray-skinned humanoids worked alongside the purple-furred beings to excavate the temple. Alongside them, he saw his brothers hoisting boulders and heavy equipment. Their flesh cracked in the hot sun and he felt rage swelling within. The time had come. He bellowed a command to his brothers to rise up against the gray-skinned and purple-furred beings. As one, the Guruk turned on their allies, claws ripped through flesh and the renegade warriors crumpled beneath the weight of the assailants' blows.


Morgluuk's death and Torgluuk's disappearance had left Mgrauleshk as the only Burun who could lead. He had no interest in gathering those Burun who remained loyal to the gray-skins and purple-furs, all he needed were the group that accompanied him now.


He crouched and made ready to spring over the ridge towards the temple. He joined the one-sided battle and crushed the small resistance that the renegade force could muster. Once they were all dead, he heaved his sword into the air and bellowed a call to all those loyal to Bur. His voice echoed across the wind and called to all those that did not believe that Torgluuk would return. It was time.


His King was waiting.

*****

Torgluuk looked down at his sickle. Blood dripped from the end of the blade and spattered onto the cold floor of the meeting hall. Somewhere in the room, Niarltah gasped for air through a torn throat. The sound was wet; fluid was filling his lungs and he would soon die. Muldaveus looked up at Torgluuk with his one good eye and whimpered like a Lugian babe.


"Asheron... hides in Knorr... Olcris... Olcris... knows how to get there. Stonehold." Muldaveus spat blood from his mouth as he finished the sentence. Less than a second later the sickle came down and split his skull.


From somewhere in the darkness Niarltah sputtered and coughed out one word, "Why?"


"You let them kill my brother and the false Gods must be punished." Torgluuk left Niarltah there, bleeding, coughing, dying.


Asheron. Asheron was a pale one, an ancient one. A Fiazhat God. The reckoning was at hand.


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.


Housekeeping
"Housekeeping" means the server code that causes items to disappear after they've been left on the ground for some time. This month we've made some internal changes to allow us more flexibility in specifying how long items can stick around before they disappear. For the vast majority of items in the game, there is no change. Items such as Pack Dolls and Wedding Cake are still set to never housekeep. Items such as torches are still set to housekeep as quickly as possible.

One change that players may notice is that Holiday Lights, which were previously set to housekeep as quickly as possible, will now stay in game for at least 30 seconds before housekeeping. This means that if you accidentally drop your Holiday Lights, you have at least 30 seconds to pick them up. Previously they would disappear almost instantly.

There were a handful of items that were either set to never housekeep, or set to housekeep instantly, that are now set to housekeep normally. These include Olthoi Eggs, many title tokens, and the Statue rewards. Note that this change will not cause statues to housekeep when hooked.


The Sky
In September we made a change to Dereth environment that was intended to reduce the amount of time that you spent adventuring in the rain. Unfortunately it had two unintended side-effects that were tied to older code that we brought in: Bael'Zharon began re-appearing during lightning flashes, and older and much larger moon images appeared in the sky.

For October we've resolved both these issues while keeping the reduction in "rain time". We know that many of you liked the appearance of the larger moons, and we looked at ways that we could keep the larger size with the modern images. Unfortunately we simply didn't have the resources to do so this month.


Dragging Items Out Of Your Hand
One frequent complaint that we've received is from players who have accidentally unequipped their own weapon, caster, or shield and dropped it on the ground. This can happen if you are trying to drag an item in the world and accidentally click on your wielded item in the 3D view instead. Your first instinct when this happens is to release the mouse button, and now you've dropped your item on the ground.

Starting this month, it is no longer possible to drag wielded items in the 3D view. You can still unequip these items normally from the inventory view, and you can still pick up items by dragging them from your 3D view to your pack.


Turbine Billing

This month we've spent a great deal of development and quality assurance resources on Turbine's new billing and authentication system. Look for a major announcement on this topic within the next 24-48 hours!

Release Notes

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Developer's Notes


posted on 13-Oct-2004

New Functionality and Content

  • A new free skill has been introduced: Salvaging.
  • Salvaging items via an Ust is now easier and more convenient.
  • Additional Crafting Quests for mid-level crafting characters have been introduced.


Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements

  • The experience reward for the Gromnie Tooth Crafting Quests has been capped at 10 million experience points each.
  • We've made a change to the way that items housekeep.
  • The moons and the sky now appear correctly.
  • A bug that could cause locked fellowships to become unlocked has been fixed.
  • It is no longer possible to accidentally unequip and drop an item by dragging it out of your character's hand in the 3D view.
  • Some players would receive an error message on startup if they did not have a CD in their CD-ROM drive. This has been fixed.
  • The chance of Aun Ralirea or the three Hea Raider Champions spawning on the Marae Lassel plateau has been increased.
  • The Crystal Spur, Rufous Grievver, and Sparkling Crystal Fragment now spawn in more landscape areas.
  • Several creatures have been tweaked for balance.
  • As Canescent Mattekar robes are no longer attuned, they are now also no longer ivoryable.
  • Crystal arrowheads can no longer be sold.
  • There were buttons in the boss room in the Hizk Ri Temple that did not properly open doors. They have been fixed.
  • The Carved Mosswart Statue now also teaches Lure Blade and Dispel spells.
  • The Yanshi collector now provides the same rewards as other collectors.
  • The portal summoned by the Xarabydun Portal Summoning Gem is no longer tieable.
  • Some points of interest in the Direlands have been adjusted to be appropriate for the surrounding content.
  • Some points of interest near Al-Jalima have been tweaked.
  • A treasure chest in the Water Temple has been adjusted to provide level-appropriate treasure.
  • All low-level Scriveners of Life Magic now properly accept trade notes.
  • Lesser Inferno Ward is now correctly a level 4 spell.


Minor Details

  • The icons of the new Three Crystals orbs now have blue halos.
  • The Tinkering Guide can now be found in a chest in the Training Academy.
  • The particle effect of the Superior Vitaeic Chant has been corrected.
  • Descriptive text regarding the skill check to craft the item has been corrected on the Crop, Exquisite Elari Bow and Virindi Scalpel.
  • Typos in the text of Gersan the Sureshot, Captain K'rank and MacNiall have been fixed.
  • The Cooking Gem of Forgetfulness now correctly states that it untrains Cooking.
  • The directions on the Ore given by Captain K'rank are now correct.

Letter to the Players

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=276

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Letter to the Players


posted on 01-Oct-2004

Welcome to the October Letter to the Players!

Last month in Dereth, Isparians struck a major blow against the Burun menace by killing Morgluuk, one of the two apparent leaders of these alien invaders. But the discovery of a fourth temple as well as continued attacks by the larger Guruk Burun may have complicated matters.

The Queen's forces have begun arming those who prove their worth with Noble weapons, and the spies under the Lugian Captain K'rank continue to report on the movements of the Burun and the Renegades.

As this ongoing struggle escalates, we turn to the future.


Maintenance Window
Beginning in October, we are scheduling a regular weekly server maintenance window on Tuesday mornings. This maintenance window will begin at 6AM PDT / 9AM EDT / 1PM UTC and will last for two hours.

During this time each week our Operations personnel will have the option of performing maintenance on the game servers, which may include downtime. While as always we will try to avoid downtime as much as possible, it may be necessary at times to bring the worlds down during this maintenance window without prior notice.

Scheduled maintenance outside of this window will always be announced ahead of time on the State of the Network.


Rollback Recompense
As of the October event, currently tentatively scheduled for Wednesday October 13, it will no longer be possible to obtain a free level from Jalina al-Hajj in Al-Arqas. We strongly recommend that players not wait until the last second to obtain this free level. If something were to impede a player's ability to obtain the free level just prior to the October event, we would not be able to compensate that player's characters.


Coming Soon
(These are items that we plan to implement in the October 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 October event.)


Salvaging Skill
In the October event, we will be introducing a new skill to the game: Salvaging. This skill will be added automatically to all existing characters and all new characters will start with it.

The Salvaging skill cannot be specialized and is not based on any attributes. The Salvaging skill's curve for rate of return when salvaging is considerably different from the curve used for the existing Tinkering skills.

When any player attempts to use an Ust to salvage an item or items, the game will check to see what skill will give him the greatest return – one of his Tinkering skills, or the Salvaging skill. It will then use that skill to salvage the item or items. The text displayed when salvaging will now also let the player know which skill has been used.

For example, let's say I have a Gold Mace that I want to salvage. I open up my Ust, toss it in there, and click "Salvage". If the game realizes that I will get a better return using my Salvaging skill, I'll see something like:

You obtain 3 Gold (ws 6.00) using your knowledge of Salvaging.

But if the game realizes that my Weapon Tinkering skill would give me better return, I would see:

You obtain 4 Gold (ws 6.00) using your knowledge of Weapon Tinkering.

The Salvaging skill, at very high levels, can actually have a rate of return of greater than 100%!

We know that many characters may have trained and spent experience on a Tinkering skill solely to be able to salvage more efficiently in the field. Players of these characters may wish to untrain the Tinkering skill and put the experience into Salvaging instead for a higher rate of return. To this end, all characters will receive Gems of Forgetfulness for each trained Tinkering skill upon first login after the October event. These Gems will not count against the quest timer for skill sellback.

Our goal with this new skill is to allow all characters to have the option of increasing their salvaging efficiency by spending experience. In the past, only Gharu'n characters had this option without spending skill credits. There are still balance issues with the heritage groups that we plan to address, but we felt that giving all characters access to effective salvaging was quite important. In addition, we had the resources available to deal with this issue now, whereas solving the other balance issues is considerably more complicated.


Ust Improvements
In addition to the Salvaging skill, in October we will be introducing a number of improvements to the act of salvaging itself. The three changes we are making for October are:

  • You can now salvage items of multiple material types simultaneously. See below for more details.
  • We have resolved a rounding issue that could cause you to receive more salvage from salvaging items individually than from salvaging them all at once. Salvaging multiple items at once will now provide the same amount of salvage as one-at-a-time did in the past.
  • You can no longer place full bags of salvage into an Ust. In the past, this would prevent the Ust from working.

The most significant change is the ability to salvage items made of multiple materials simultaneously. In the past, if I had a Gold Long Sword, a Teak Nabut, and a Pine Budiaq, I would have to salvage each item individually. Starting in October, I can drag all three items into my Ust and click "Salvage".

You obtain 1 Pine (ws 6.00), 2 Gold (ws 7.00) and 1 Teak (ws 6.00) using your knowledge of Item Tinkering.

If you will be doing this frequently and do not wish to see the entire text each time, you can use the command /filter –salvaging to block the display.

When we first announced this feature, many players requested that we make this a toggle-able option. They enjoyed being able to drag a full pack to the Ust and have it automatically filter all items of a particular material type. So, we've gone ahead and added a new option to the


Character Options panel: Salvage Multiple Materials at Once.
By default, this option is unchecked – the default behavior is unchanged. To salvage multiple materials at once, you must check this option in the Character Options panel.


Additional Salvaging Improvements remain In-Concept.

Crafting Quests
As part of our continued goal of making more content for tradeskill characters, we'll be introducing a new tier of Crafting Quests for chefs, fletchers, and alchemists in October. These will work the same way as the previous tiers have... although the NPCs administering the tests may be asking for some items you've never seen before. Gromnie Teeth

On the same topic of content for tradeskill characters, we come to the topic of the Gromnie Teeth quests. 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.

For October, we initially investigated a cap such that characters at or above a specific skill level would receive a diminished reward. This proved to be a poor solution, and here's why:

Consider two characters that have Cooking trained at character creation, with a skill of 300.

Character A is optimized for Cooking: He's got a starting Coordination and Focus of 100, has raised them both to 223, and has put about an additional 56 million into his skill.

Character B is the exact opposite: He's got a starting Coordination and Focus of 10, has put a minimum amount of experience into them, and at 300 is one point away from capping his trained Cooking.

For an Ash Tooth craft reward, Character A earns about 6 million experience into his Cooking skill. Character B earns about 420 million!

Now, obviously Character A is built for Cooking. (Although you have to wonder why he didn't specialize the skill, but I digress.) He'll be able to advance his skill to higher levels much easier than Character B. So why is it that this Cooking quest has a better reward for Character B than Character A?

This also shows why our initial idea couldn't work. Where do we cap the experience reward for each skill level, when the target characters can have such diverse stats?

Instead, we have chosen to put a flat cap on the reward of any individual Gromnie Tooth: 10 million experience. No Gromnie Tooth reward can exceed this cap.

So, how does this affect our characters above?

Character A sees no change. He earns his 6 million. Character B, on the other hand, hits the cap and earns only 10 million.

Consider Character C, who has Alchemy specialized and has optimized his character for Alchemy. He's started with 100 Coordination and 100 Focus and has always raised his attributes along with raising his Alchemy.

When does Character C start hitting the cap? Most likely he won't hit the cap until between 350 and 375 Alchemy, depending on where he's put his experience. Even at 375 experience it's possible that he'll only hit the cap on the Copper Tooth reward, the 30% reward.

The goal of this change is to eliminate the abusive behavior, with minimal impact on the tradeskill characters that these quests are intended for. We're confident that this change will still allow tradeskill character to advance to very high levels of skill through these interactions while preventing the quests from being misused by other characters.


In Development
(These are the game changes that we are working on for the November event. None of these items are guaranteed to be added for November 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 November event. Your feedback on these topics is particularly valuable.)


Rapid-Fire Bow Bug Fix
Since the early days of Asheron's Call, there has been a bug with the projectile attack system and the animation system that could allow a character to fire arrows or bolts very rapidly. Recently there's been a surge in the number of players using this bug, particularly on Darktide. For November we are working on a fix to this long-standing bug.


PvP Weapons Changes
In June of this year, we made a number of changes to the Weeping, Hollow and Phantom weapons. After watching the feedback on these changes and more internal testing, we determined that the tools and data we had used to justify the changes were flawed. For November we will be making additional changes to bring these weapons in line with our goals for them. We'll be presenting additional information regarding these changes in the November Letter to the Players as well as frequently asking for feedback in our PvP Discussions forum.


In Concept
(These are the game changes that we are thinking about for December 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.)

There are no new In-Concept topics this month.

There you have it – some of what's coming in October and beyond. We've got a lot of exciting things coming in the very near future, like the launch of Turbine's billing system and a lot more information on the coming expansion pack. It's an exciting time to be an Asheron's Call player!

See you in Dereth!

– Ibn
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