Announcements - 2007/06 - Evolution

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June 2007 - Patch Page


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Ardry felt like a fool. He was standing in his Uncle Aliester's workshop, dressed in a thick suit of padded cloth armor. His uncle circled around him, tightening straps and sealing him in tight. The suit was made up of multiple layers of thick cotton. Underneath he wore two full-body layers of silk, which his uncle had insisted upon. It restricted his movement so much that he could barely bend his arms and he could only move in a waddle. Worst of all, he was sweltering in the early summer heat.

“Tell me again what this suit is supposed to be for?” he asked.

Aliester the Loquacious grinned absently as he fastened the last buckle. “Oh, it's to protect you, my boy. We're testing something truly revolutionary here. You'll be remembered far and wide for your part in scientific progress.”

“I'd like to hope that I'd already be well-remembered for my part in exploring every bloody inch of this island and leaving corpses all over most of it…” Ardry groused, but his words fell on deaf or inattentive ears as his uncle shuffled quickly into the next room.

Ardry watched in anger and some trepidation as Aliester returned with a steaming kettle and a thick paintbrush. He almost gagged when the smell hit him – it smelled like blood and rot and a terrible, repulsive musk. His uncle obviously found the smell unpleasant, too, because he'd returned with a wet cloth mask strapped over his nose and mouth.

“Pwyll's bones, uncle! What is that awful smell?”

“This?” Aliester's voice was muffled by the mask. “Oh, this is chum, my boy. Hold on a moment, I must be very precise when I apply it. Don't want to get any on the floor. Or on myself, for that matter! All your questions will be answered in time, I promise.”

Ardry was confused, as he often was when trying to catch up with his uncle's wandering attention. The word “chum” meant nothing to him. He tried to ask for clarification, but his uncle shushed him. “Please be still and be quiet, my boy. You don't want to get this on your bare flesh. It's quite difficult to wash off!”

Ardry sighed and did his best to ignore the revolting odor as his uncle liberally slopped the dark, foul-smelling muck onto the chest, arms, and legs of the thick cloth armor he was wearing. He put three coats of the pungent goop onto Ardry, taking care never to spill a drop on himself or on the floor around him.

Finally, just when Ardry was beginning to forget what anything smelled like besides the awful chum, his uncle thought to wrap a wet cloth mask around his nose and mouth so that he, too, might have some respite from the overwhelming odor.

Once that was done, Aliester the Loquacious stood back from his nephew with a critical eye. “Hrm… Looks even… looks well secured… I think we're ready for our field test!” He smiled eagerly, and he had the gleam in his eye that he got only when he was close to a true scientific breakthrough.

“Let's bring you outside for the field test, Ardry. Won't have far to walk, just twenty or thirty paces from the front door…”

Aliester stepped into the other room for a moment and came back with a belt pouch strapped to his waist. The sound of clinking bottles accompanied him as he walked. He took his nephew by the wrist, making sure not to touch any part that he'd smeared the chum onto.

“Uncle, I have to ask,” Ardry said as he slowly shuffled along under his uncle's guidance. “What is this chum stuff made from? I've never smelled such a thing.”

Aliester smiled. “My own creation. Quite an ingenious recipe, if I do say so myself. It's made from mite blood, ground-up shreth livers, scent glands from reedsharks… A lot of ingredients, actually. Very difficult to come by, and doubly difficult to make in useful quantities. Now, here we are.”

His uncle had steered him into a clearing among the trees, a stone's throw from the front door of his cabin. “Please stand here, Ardry. Stay still. I'll let you know when it's okay to move.”

With that, Aliester jogged back towards the cabin, stopping a few feet from the door. He took a glass phial from his belt pouch and held it in his hand, all the while staring intently at his nephew in the offal-smeared cloth armor.

“What is that in your hand, uncle?” Ardry's tone was desperate with worry.

Aliester brandished the phial and held it up in the air. “This is progress, Ardry! No more will our most potent armor-reducing and vulnerability effects be restricted to the hands of those who have mastered Life Magic! Because, with my expert consultation, the council of sages has found out a way to capture the essence of those magical effects in an alchemical mixture! You will be the first to test out this revolutionary advance in Derethian technology!”

The old man began to wind his arm back like he was going to throw the phial at Ardry. “All you have to do is break the phial on your target…”

Ardry's eyes went wide and he waved his arms as much as he could to stop his uncle. “Uncle, wait! What's this chum supposed to do? Your alchemical formula's not going to catch fire or something when it hits me, is it?”

“Catch fire? Heavens no, my boy. The chum is not alchemically active like the contents of this phial. No, it's just there to attract reedsharks, you see. Now please, hold still.”

“Reedsharks?” Ardry spun, looking to see if any of the vicious finned predators were on the way already. He could see the bushes rustling in the distance. In the undergrowth not too far away, he thought he saw a fin. Then another. And another.

He felt an impact on his back and heard the soft tinkling sound of breaking glass. A grey mist washed over him as the alchemical bomb broke on his back and released its contents. He felt a familiar sinking sensation, the same kind he was used to feeling when he'd been hit with the Imperil spell by a hostile mage.

“You moved!” his uncle called out, accusingly. “I asked you not to move, Ardry! But no matter, I managed to hit you anyway, and now you can move as much as you like…”

Ardry wasn't paying attention. All he could hear was the throaty rumbling bark of reedsharks on the hunt and closing fast.

Rollout Article

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June 2007 Rollout Article

Adso crouched behind a boulder and watched the drudge scamper into the woods. In a small notebook, he noted the time of its passage and what he could observe of its equipment. Ever since the drudges had established their unusually organized assault on Cragstone, he'd been scouting the area to see what was really going on. His Master had guessed, correctly, that there was more going on with the siege than just a bunch of overambitious drudges looting as much as they could from the Aluvian capital town.

It had not taken Adso and his fellow acolytes long to find the trail of drudge couriers bringing sacks full of supplies to a mysterious location in the northern woods. Adso's responsibility was to maintain the watch on the drudges leaving Cragstone. If he'd had his way, he would have been the one tasked to follow the drudges down whatever hole they were scuttling into, to see where all those supplies were going. Instead that task had been given to Sabithra, one of the bolder junior acolytes, the “Younger Sister” whose early training had once been Adso's responsibility.

He sighed in frustration. He didn't trust Sabithra to scout underground yet. She was too unpredictable and too eager to fight. She had not yet internalized the notion that sometimes a quiet retreat was better than a kill. Obviously their Master disagreed with his opinion of Sabithra's discipline, and Adso consciously stopped that train of thought before he could spend too much more time questioning Master's judgment.

Adso was so lost in his internal debate that he almost failed to notice the very faint crackle of a dry leaf in the undergrowth behind him. He flattened himself against the ground, put one hand on the hilt of his sword, and slowly turned his head to see who, or what, was stalking behind him. To his relief, he saw Sabithra, trying unsuccessfully to sneak up on him. She shrugged insouciantly at him, apparently unashamed of her attempt to sneak up on him and unbothered by her failure to do so. He shook his head, angered by her presence and by her cavalier attitude to her duties. Wasn't she supposed to be in the drudge's dungeon, investigating the end of their apparent supply chain?

He glared at her as she came closer. Finally, when she was in whispering distance, he said, “I thought you were at the other end of this trail, scouting underground.”

Sabithra grimaced and shook her head. “I got caught.”

Adso sneered, bitterly pleased that he'd failed in her assignment. “By who? Or by what?”

She shrugged, and again Adso found the gesture infuriating. “Something large and angry. Big enough to flatten me in one hit. I didn't get a good look at it before it squashed me. I was just making my way through some huge, dark chamber in the compound where the drudges were bringing their supplies, and then there was this incredibly loud roar behind me… Next thing I knew, I was at the lifestone, with Master chuckling at me.”

“What did Master say?”

“He took my report, short as it was, laughed and said something like ‘teemon' to me, and then gave me this note and told me to bring it to you.” As she spoke, she drew a thin roll of parchment from her belt pouch. It was still tied and sealed with the plain black seal that Master favored.

Adso frowned. He knew what “teemon” meant, even if Sabithra was too young or too unschooled in the lore of humanity's early days on Dereth. He knew then that these drudges were involved in something truly dangerous and wondered if his Master was planning to get involved in a suddenly more complicated and more dangerous situation.

He took the note from Sabithra, broke the seal, and read it. When he finished reading, he laughed softly and shook his head.

“Well? What is it?” Sabithra asked. Adso noted the impatience bordering on insolence in her tone. He'd have to speak to Master about her later. For now, he only smiled enigmatically, trying his best to approximate their Master's own inscrutable smile. He put away the notebook he'd been using to record the movements of the drudges. He swallowed the note from Master, as he'd been taught to do.

Wordlessly, he stood, abandoning his stealthy perch, and started the trek to Cragstone. As he walked, Sabithra followed, dogging his heels like a pet hungry for attention.

“Come on, what did the note say?”

Adso decided to stop being coy. “All the acolytes are being called back home. We're to gather and go into the Colosseum together. It seems there's a new champion there, some kind of elder from that new Tanada clan. He calls himself ‘The Master' and our own Master wishes for all of us acolytes to test him.” He did not vocalize his suspicion that Master was more interested in testing his own acolytes than he was in testing the powers of some old Tanada. He felt sure that Sabithra could benefit greatly from having her throat slit by a true master assassin. That is, if she had the wits to learn from defeat.

Sabithra stopped walking. She stared at him in shock, and he found himself enjoying her discomfort. “We're going into the Colosseum to fight an elder of the Tanada clan because Master wants to see who the most masterful Master is?”

Adso walked back to stand right in front of her. He got up close and stood toe-to-toe with her, which he hadn't done since her earliest training sessions. He looked into her eyes and tried to summon up the force of his will to intimidate her, just as he'd learned from their Master. “Yes we are. Master has commanded this of us, and we will do as he says. Do you have a problem, Younger Sister Sabithra?”

She smiled wickedly and stared right back into his eyes. “Not at all, Elder Brother Adso. It sounds like fun. I can't wait to fight a master assassin right at your side.” That said, she started walking again, but with a very pronounced spring in her step.

Release Notes

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June 2007 Release Notes

Hello there and welcome to the Release Notes for the June event, Evolution. There have been many strange things happening around Dereth lately and this month is no different. The Monouga's have been showing up more and more lately, and those darn Drudges seem to be gathering with a purpose. What creatures could be next? We have also seen some changes that favor those learned in the skill of Alchemy. Those folks never cease to amaze us. Let's see what else is new and exciting this month in Dereth!

New Content and Updated Functionality

  • Alchemy Grenades are being introduced this month. Alchemists meeting the requirements will be able to craft and use these new grenades to aid in hunting. As of right now these new grenades will offer a way for those trained in the art of Alchemy the ability to debuff creatures with spells like Imperil and damage type debuffs. There will be some cost associated with creating these new grenades based on the power of the grenade the person is trying to craft. In addition, once the grenades are wielded they will grant the user a substantial bonus to their thrown weapon skill. To learn more about these new found skill, players are encouraged to travel to Xarabydun.
  • Colosseum boss fights have been added this month! Players who have achieved certain goals in the Colosseum will be able to enter these fights for fame and fortune! Ok well maybe not fame and fortune, but there will certainly be some nice rewards including bragging rights for completing certain tasks in the Colosseum. Players may enter these fights by using the proper Champion Statue in the main hallway of the Colosseum staging area.
  • The Saving Asheron boss fights have been updated, the phases should now run in a more user friendly order.
  • Jarvis Hammerstone would overwrite the Drudge kill task if a player took more than fourteen days to complete it. This has been fixed and he will no longer overwrite the task.
  • Spectral Arrows, Bolts and Atlatl Darts now have a burden of 1 per piece. They previously had no burden.
  • The Spectral Bolts and Darts now show their proper name, instead of all being called arrows.
  • The pickup timer on the Pages of Salt and Ash has been reduced to 24 hours.
  • A bug that was causing the Salvaging Forges in the towns to not work has been fixed and they should now work properly.
  • Players will now be informed of what and how many items are taken from them when an NPC uses a take item command.
  • Monsters/NPCs are now able to cast spells on themselves in response to player actions (critical hit, upon hitting a specific level of health, on resisting a spell, etc.) so be careful!
  • You may now ivory your Baby Bunny Booty orb
  • The Plan (Drudge Painting) is now a wall hookable item instead of a floor hookable item.
  • Ulgrim, in a drunken haze, sometimes thought he'd given a Mystical Mug to players he hadn't. His memory has cleared a bit and he should now remember who he has and hasn't given a Mystical Mug to from now on. If you should have received a Mystical Mug and didn't in the past he'll still not give you one, please contact in game support about this issue.
  • Due to issues in Drudge mass production methods Drudge Balloons are no longer as sturdy or maneuverable as they once were. They're now easier to hit with Magic and Missile weapons and have less health.
  • Farmer Kao is no longer certain that he wants his chewed up shovel, so he'll ask you if you want to keep it… maybe someone else can make use of it.
  • You are now able to gain access to the portal in the Drudge Fort outside of Cragstone, it's time to take it to the Drudges!

Game Discussion

We would like to take this opportunity to discuss a new Live Event feature that was brought up not too long ago. During a large portion of our Live Events the person running the event will place a large number of rewards on the ground. In theory, if everyone was nice, this would not be an issue and everyone would happily pick up their reward and move on. We of course know this is not the case and sometimes certain people will try to pick up as many as they can with no regard for others. This leads to bad feelings for most involved and may even discourage some from participating in these events in the future.

The idea we have proposed is for live event rewards to become tokens. Depending on the event, the person running the event would place these tokens on the ground for players to pick up just as events were done before. The change this time would be the tokens will have a timer on being picked up. That means each player would get one reward per event instead of a few fast players hoarding as many as they can pick up. This way we can ensure that everyone gets a reward and the greedy people do not get more than they should. Once players have their tokens they would then go to a special NPC and use the token as currency to buy one of the many rewards that NPC would have on them. We feel this will help out everyone in the long run and make the live event experience more enjoyable for all those involved.

This is still in the loose development stage right now, but we think this is definitely a step in the right direction.

So there are just some of the things we have in store for Asheron's Call in June and beyond. Please remember that along with everything listed here, there are several new quests and exciting things going into the game for the June event.
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