Announcements - 2006/03 - Down Twisting Paths

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March 2006 - Patch Page

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Teaser Images

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Teaser

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=450

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Down Twisting Paths


Adso stood guard, eyes alertly scanning the horizon, ready to react to anything that appeared in his peripheral vision. All around them, the ground was blackened and littered with debris. Behind him, his Master knelt over a human corpse.

"Just as I thought," said his Master, "this one has some of the markings of the Rossu Morta. He was not one of those soldiers we saw."

Adso knew better than to turn to look, or even respond. He knew that his Master was testing him to see if he would forget his discipline. He had been given the responsibility to watch his Master's back, and previous apprentices had met unfortunate fates simply from forgetting themselves for a brief moment during an assigned task. Such was the bargain made, in exchange for training that could be found nowhere else on Dereth...

Behind him, he could sense, but not see, that his Master had finished his inspection and stood up. Still, he did not turn or let down his guard. He only allowed himself to relax when the familiar voice of command spoke: "Very well, Adso, you can come off guard. I am pleased."

Adso grinned with fierce, hot pride, then quickly erased the expression from his face before turning to his Master.

His Master watched him carefully, and Adso suddenly knew that it had been a futile effort to conceal his proud reaction. A thought came unbidden to his mind, that he should not have to suffer for being proud of his abilities. This, too, his Master seemed to read in his expression, or his posture. He did not believe the whispered stories that the man could read minds.

"You are right to be proud of yourself, Adso. Your only flaw was in how you masked the set of your shoulders and the tension in your arms. We haven't gone over those techniques in formal training yet. I am not angry, but remember that every second spent congratulating yourself is a second in which you are not focused on the task at hand. Now, my precocious student... what's on your mind?"

Ridiculously relieved, the young scout allowed himself a glance at the corpse.

"Who killed him, Master? Was it the Living Shadow?"

"Not in the sense you might be thinking, Adso. This one had made his pilgrimage to the Hopeslayer's altar, and even more strangely, his armor had some splatters on it, which... smelled like the vapors of the Black Breath. But the wounds did not come from the hands of the Shadow's monsters. It was a more ordinary death – killed by another Isparian. I recognize the wounds made by Weeping Weapons."

His Master paused for a moment of thought, then went on. "His killer, however, did not stay to loot the victim. I suppose there were others fighting here, and the killer did not have the luxury of time to enjoy his killing rights. That was lucky for us... this one didn't fight with a Weeping Weapon. His weapon is much more interesting than that. The weapon had been carefully and lovingly constructed by the owner himself."

Adso did not have to ask to realize that his Master would already have taken the weapon and put it away, to be analyzed later by some of their associates. He had other questions.

"Was it a struggle between the Rossu Morta and these Whispering Blade warriors?"

At that, his Master shrugged. "Who knows why people fight now? It may well have been some kind of assassins' fight, but I don't see enough evidence of traps to really think that. Maybe it was personal. Just belonging to the Rossu Morta marks the victim as someone more likely to find himself in deadly combat."

"I don't know much about the Rossu Morta, Master."

"It's enough to know that they had a bloody reputation on Ispar, and that the reputation was well earned. Still, they're not mindless brutes. Some of them can still be useful. Especially for their access to certain archives..." His Master's smile was sharp and amused. Adso had come to know that, from time to time, the man could not help but congratulate himself on his own cunning, and he had to believe that this was just such a situation.

His Master went on: "The thing to remember about them is that they are a lot more independent than they have ever let on to the Kings they've served. I doubt that Varicci, in his unhealthy obsession, realizes just how much trouble he's bought himself by reconstituting the Ordina." Adso knew that hearing this kind of sensitive information was a sign of great trust. He could also tell that he'd been told as much as he would be told... For now.

Master and student both looked north, their attention captured by a blinking light on the horizon. It was a signal from one of Adso's fellow students, a less accomplished scout. The pattern of light flashes indicated that the other acolyte had found something of urgent interest.

"Well, your lesser brother thinks we ought to hurry." Adso nodded, and the both of them shouldered their packs.

Adso glanced at his Master's pack and noticed something extremely odd. The thick leather of the pack and its various flaps and covers could not conceal the bulbous head of a strange figurine, or the red glow projecting from its eyes.

"Master, forgive my indiscretion, but what is that thing with the glowing eyes?"

His Master stopped and let out a soft sigh, then turned and opened the pack. Inside, on top of the rest of his Master's meticulously organized belongings, Adso saw a small doll, shaped like the magically animated Mosswart idols of the coastal jungles, with a glowing sigil on its chest. It was stuffed like a child's toy. Despite the glowing red eyes, it looked... cute. Like a child's toy. Adso would have been less shocked if he'd seen Asheron's severed head peeking out from his Master's pack.

"The victim also carried this," his Master explained, almost sheepishly. "It is unusual enough that I took it for examination. Who knows what strange secrets it holds? And it reminds me of the stuffed cloth bears that were a common toy among Aluvian children. You probably don't even know what a bear looks like, Adso. Come on, now. We have a summons to answer."

Adso followed after his Master in a run, covering blasted ground with silent, efficient strides. Try as he might, he had just learned that there was something of a sentimental spirit in his ruthless and efficient Master, after all. It made him admire the man more... and made him wary that this knowledge, this unexpected encounter with his Master's softer side, had probably reduced the chances that he would survive this apprenticeship.

Rollout Article

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=452

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Rollout Article


A dusty, travel-stained man with the brawny build of a smith stopped, sighing, in front of the Smoking Axe tavern of Ayan Baqur. He wiped a thick layer of sweat from the flushed blue skin of his brow. He turned and noticed an old man, standing quietly in the shade of the tavern and nursing a cool mug of beer.

"Pardon me, sir," the smith said, stepping over to introduce himself. The old man turned, looked around, then turned back to the smith with a vaguely confused look.

"Sir? Who? What? You mean me?"

"Uh, well, yes. It is a common form of address here, is it not?"

"Polite, yes. Common, no." The old man took a sip from his mug, wiped some foam from his lips, and gave a short, if wobbly, bow. "I'm Ulgrim. I'm the man to know around these parts."

The smith bowed back. "A pleasure to meet you, sir. Ulgrim. Sir. I do seek knowledgeable locals. My name is Iian di Alduressa, and I am newly arrived to this realm."

"Well, welcome to Ayan Baqur then, Iian. Viamontian, are you? We don't get many Viamontians in these parts."

Iian nodded slowly. "I understand that there is a war going on between my King and the Queen of the people of the mainland... Is it unsafe for me here?"

"Unsafe? No... Well, no more unsafe for you than it is for anyone else around here. No, we just don't get many Viamontians in Ayan Baqur because the desert sun turns your skin a most unfashionable shade of purple. Makes you look like Tumeroks, especially if you're not in the habit of shaving."

"I see... That is useful information..." Iian shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. "I was wondering if you could tell me how to find some people..."

"Well, I can tell you about some people you shouldn't be looking for! There are these people, you see, who have sworn their souls to a dark power, and get their jollies from killing other people for fun and profit. You can tell by the faint reddish aura around them, and all the jewelry and expensive things they like to carry around with them. Like they're looking to leave behind a fancy-looking corpse. Those folks have been going Mite-squeak crazy lately. It's like mating season for murderers!" Ulgrim waved his mug around for emphasis, sloshing dark, foamy stout on Iian's dusty boots.

"Ah, yes, I see. That, too, is a valuable insight. But you see, on Ispar I was a royal armorsmith, and I am looking for some armorsmiths of some renown in this realm, who have mastered the art of fusing crystals to metal..."

Ulgrim interrupted again, to point at a woman lounging near the tavern entrance, on the other side of the door. "Speaking of people... You see her? Lydda? She tells people she's a plumber, but I know she's not. The reason I know is that some of Berkholt's taps have broken, and she hasn't done a thing to help fix them. She's up to something shady, I can tell. But does anyone believe old Ulgrim, no matter how many times I've been proven right? No ho ho! And then the Virindi take over and their brains get turned to applesauce! Applesauce, I tell you!" More stout sloshed from the wildly swung mug, this time splattering on Ulgrim's robe. The old man had a wild look in his eyes, and this time the foam around his mouth was not from his beer.

The woman Ulgrim had identified as Lydda turned, looked at them, and rolled her eyes. She was obviously used to these accusatory outbursts from Ulgrim.

Iian retreated, bowing repeatedly as he stepped backwards. "Thank you for your time, sir. I shall take your wise words to heart." Once he'd gotten a few steps away, he turned and walked quickly, headed for the nearest portal. "I may as well just head back home," he muttered. "These mainland Isparians have gone crazy." He had intended to step into the tavern for a cool drink, but was beginning to think that the beer here was tainted with some kind of mind-warping solution. He didn't want to end up like the infamous Duke Raoul of Viamont.

Ulgrim watched the smith scurrying away and shook a fist at him. "Hey! You could at least buy an old man a mug of stout for all the help I gave you!" He shook his head. "What a rude and snooty young man. Just like his King. I wouldn't have wanted to introduce him to the Shadow Armor smiths anyway."

Release Notes

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=451

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Developer's Notes


New content and Functionality

  • There is a rumor floating around Dereth that a smith who can craft Viamontian Shadow Armor may be somewhere in Dereth. From what has been told, he is not quite ready to begin crafting the armor yet. His goal this month appears to be collecting information.
  • The temples of Forgetfulness and Enlightenment both now have the option for players to turn in unused tokens that may have been mistakenly picked up to an NPC. They will then be able to pick up another token in its place.
  • We have split up the timers on the attribute gems so that players can not make the mistake of picking up 18 of one type of token. Players can now only pick up 9 of thelower andraise tokens respectively. As a side effect of this change, all players will have their timers reset for changing attributes. This will not affect the timers on skill changes. Players will be able to keep all of the tokens they already have.
  • The books in the temples of Enlightenment and Forgetfulness have been updated to reflect all of the recent changes to the temples.
  • A language filter has been added into the game this month. It can be activated in the character options section of your user interface. While we know this filter won't catch everything, it will allow those people who do not want to see certain words, the ability to filter them out. We do want to be clear this is not a substitute for reporting language to customer service. If you see someone using profanity we still encourage everyone to report the offending person. This filter is simply a means to help reduce the visibility of these words to those people who do not wish to see them.
  • We have made a lot of changes to help improve PvP this month. Including damage changes and the ability to make loot generated weapons un-enchantable. You can read more about these changes here. We are really excited about these changes and we feel they are helping us move in the right direction. We will continue to take in all feedback on these improvements and make changes based on that feedback.
  • A shadowy pair of figures arrive in Dereth this month, promising the ability to help players erase any evidence of their previous service to either Elysa or Varicci. They are essentially offering to knock a player's Loyalty record back to zero, so they would be free to start over on the questing ladder and choose to serve a different monarch. Of course, this service comes at a price, and the mysterious agents will only risk interfering with royal records once per character. Any Loyalty quests introduced after this month will be beyond the power of the agents to erase, so there will be a point (coming soon!) at which a player's Loyalty will be permanent.

Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements

  • After some changes were made to rares system, we found that non Throne of Destiny players were also getting rares. There was also an issue where PK Deaths had a chance to generate a rare on Death. These have both been fixed for March.
  • Ciandra has had some typos fixed in her speech regarding the Essences of Magic quest.
  • Minor and Major Salvaging have been surpassing Alchemy spells of the same strength. This has been fixed for March.
  • Players were reporting that after they put down their Rose of Celdon ring they could not longer pick it up. This has been fixed.
  • On the Glenden Wood Invasion part II players were only getting the minimum reward they were qualified for, even though they were eligible to get the higher level reward. This has been fixed and players should now get the proper rewards for this quest.
  • All characters on the account of a character who owns a house will have greater permissions involving house management. These characters will be able to add and remove guests, add and remove storage permissions, open and close the house, boot freeloaders, and even place items on the house's hooks. There are only two things that a non-owner character on the same account can't do with a house: abandon the house, and change the allegiance permissions. In addition, other characters on your account will be automatically removed from the house guest list the first time they log in, thus making more space for legitimate guests.
  • We've also made some changes to the command @house available, which lists how many houses of each type and available for purchase and the locations of the houses (except apartments). First off, we added a shorter alias for @house available, called @hslist. Secondly, this command now takes as a parameter the type of house you'd like to list. For instance, @hslist villa will show you a list of only the available villas, while @hslist mansion will show you only mansions. Keep in mind that the list of results is still limited to 400 houses, however, so if there are more than 400 cottages available you will only see the first 400 locations.
  • Fixed a typo in the magic chat filter tool tip.
  • You can now bind a key to select (but not open) the next unopened corpse.
  • Using the @help command to lookup the definition and usage for one of the new global chat commands failed to list the alternate command names for that command. @help now lists the alternate commands for the global channels.
  • The allegiance panel previously would not show commas in the numbers it displayed. This has been fixed.
  • Previously when Viamontian players would attempt to un-spec loyalty, they would receive an odd message. Viamontian players should now receive the correct message when un-specing loyalty.
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Letter to the Players

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=446

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March Letter to the Players


Welcome to the March Letter to the Players!

We have seen some exciting changes over the past few months as Dereth continues to evolve and change. We've seen the beginning of the PvP improvements that we have been discussing with the community, as well as some new character options such as the title panel. What is in store for us this month? Let's get right to it and find out!

Decisions, Decisions!

The storyline continues this month with more decision-based quests. What decisions will you make? Make sure you make the right choices when deciding which side of the war you want to be on. Every decision we make has consequences.

PvP Combat

After soliciting extensive feedback from the PvP community, this month we have made the first set of changes aimed at improving the PvP experience. You can read more about these changes here: PVP Changes. We are really excited about these changes and we can't wait to see what you think of them in action. We will of course continue to review all your feedback on these improvements and make tweaks based on that feedback.

Temple Revision

Since we revised the Temples of Forgetfulness and Enlightenment in December, they have suffered from some minor usability issues. In order to correct those issues, we have made two small changes to the temples.

First, both temples now contain an NPC who would be happy to take any unused tokens that you may have mistakenly picked up. This NPC will also decrement your quest flags so that you will then be able to pick up another hopefully correct token in its place.

In addition, we have split up the timers on the attribute gems so that players can no longer make the fatal mistake of picking up 18 of one type of token. Players can now only pick up 9 untrain tokens and 9 train tokens at once. As a side effect of this change, all players will have their attribute token timers reset with the March update. Players will also be able to keep any attribute tokens that they may have already had. This change will not affect the timers on skill tokens at all.

And finally, the books in the Temples of Enlightenment and Forgetfulness have been updated to reflect all of the recent changes to the temples.

Language Filter

In response to your requests, we have added a simple language filter this month. This filter can be activated in the character options section of your user interface. It is off by default. When the filter is on, vulgar words that appear in any kind of chat including tells, fellowship chat, global chats, and indeed every other kind of game chat will be masked with asterisks.

We want to be very clear about something: this filter is not a substitute for customer service. If you see someone using profanity, please report them and we will do our best to solve the problem. This filter is simply a means to help reduce the visibility of these words to those people who do not wish to see them in the meantime.

Housing Improvements

Starting with the March update, all characters on the account of a character who owns a house will have greater permissions involving house management. These characters will be able to add and remove guests, add and remove storage permissions, open and close the house, boot freeloaders, and even place items on the house's hooks. There are only two things that a non-owner character on the same account can't do with a house: abandon the house, and change the allegiance permissions. In addition, other characters on your account will be automatically removed from the house guest list the first time they log in, thus making more space for legitimate guests.

We've also made some changes to the command @house available, which lists how many houses of each type and available for purchase and the locations of the houses (except apartments). First off, we added a shorter alias for @house available, called @hslist. Secondly, this command now takes as a parameter the type of house you'd like to list. For instance, @hslist villa will show you a list of only the available villas, while @hslist mansion will show you only mansions. Keep in mind that the list of results is still limited to 400 houses, however, so if there are more than 400 cottages available you will only see the first 400 locations.

In-Concept

Based on feedback from players as well as members of the team, we are going to be revising this section of the Letter to the Players. Starting next month, when we list items in this section they will come with some explaination as to what each item is. So instead of just listing the things we want to do, we will list them with a description of each item.

Please remeber that along with everything that is listed here, there are several new quests and other new and exciting things going into the game for the March event.

So that's what's in store for March! We're excited about this month, and we look forward to your feedback!
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