Announcements - 2008/12 - Sins of the Fathers

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December 2008 - Patch Page


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Sins of the Fathers

On a strangely warm late fall afternoon, Ardry opened the door to his uncle's cottage and recoiled from the smell and the gust of roiling green vapor that greeted him. It was a sharp, overwhelming reek, redolent of rotten eggs and burned hair. Trying not to gag, he called out to the cabin's inhabitant.

“Uncle Aliester! What's going on in here?”

Aliester the Loquacious, pre-eminent Isparian sage of Dereth, came out of his workshop and into the cottage's front room, trailing a cloud of fumes behind him. The old sage was dressed outlandishly: an oversized heavy leather apron and hood covered his entire body, with thick leather gloves and a mask made of wet cloth wound tightly about his nose and mouth.

“Armmph mph bmph!” he called out excitedly. After a few seconds of Ardry's uncomprehending stare, Aliester realized his mistake and unwound the thick mask from around his face.

“Sorry, Ardry my boy. I've been experimenting with some new formulae, ever since the alchemists' guild published their findings on new techniques for throwing phials…” His eyes went wide and he crinkled his nose in disgust. “My heavens, is that how it smells in here? I just put this mask on when I started working with the rock sulfur, I hadn't thought the extra variables I introduced would be quite so pungent. You have my most sincere and fulsome apologies…”

Aliester rushed around the cottage opening windows and lighting candles as Ardry trudged to the table in the middle of the room and set down his pack. The young explorer rummaged among his things and withdrew a pile of heavily marked-up papers and maps and laid them on the table. A moment later he added to the pile a bewildering contraption made of Drudge-gut twine, pyreal rods, finely crafted gears, silver mirrors, and long shards of deep blue crystal.

Aliester returned from his fumigation and exclaimed with delight when he saw the items Ardry had laid out. “Ah, wonderful, my experimental theodolite! Did it function as efficaciously as I had predicted?”

Ardry grimaced. “If by ‘work', you mean, did it give me numbers that I wrote down at every point on the map you asked me to visit, then yes, it worked. If you are asking whether or not this contraption you rigged together actually gives geomantically accurate readings of nodes and ley lines… Well, you're going to have to ask someone better trained than me, like that nice girl Hoshino Kei or Prince Borelean or Harlune himself.”

Aliester's normally cheerful face turned ugly for a moment when Harlune's name was mentioned. “That pompous and anti-intellectual curmudgeon! He sent me the most unnecessarily rude response when I inquired about the possibility of using Empyrean blood as a medium for certain mana-culturing experiments I had in mind…”

Ardry sighed. “I remember, Uncle. Maybe you've forgotten that I was the one who had to disarm the device he'd attached to the note. Or, rather, tried to disarm, only to have it literally blow up in my face.”

“Hmph. Yes, well, suffice it to say, we shall not be employing him as a technical or philosophical consultant on further refinements to the experimental theodolite. We have other resources, among my academic peers as well as your colleagues in the exploratory and military occupations, who would be much more suitable, not to mention more cooperative…”

“I'm quite sure, Uncle. But look…” Ardry picked up the sheaf of notes off the table and waved them under his uncle's nose. “Did you need these or not? Because I could just as easily have spent the last week at the new monster fight arena, watching someone else suffer for a change. You know, taking that vacation you promised I could go on after—“

“Of course, my boy, and you are certainly free to appropriate the next two or three weeks of the festive season for your leisure time, as I promised you. You have more than earned it, of course.” Aliester eagerly took the papers from Ardry's hand and spread the maps out on the table. “Please, help yourself to some mulled wine while I examine the notes…” He gestured vaguely at a kettle by the fire.

While Ardry fixed himself a cup of mulled wine that tasted only faintly of the sulfur-and-burned-hair fumes that had previously filled the room, Aliester compared Ardry's pages of recorded readings to the spots on the map where they'd been taken. After a few minutes of muttering to himself as he analyzed the data, he shuffled excitedly into his workshop and returned with another pile of papers filled with figures and diagrams. These looked to Ardry's untrained eye like star charts. He watched his uncle compare and cross-check a few dozen numbers as he sipped his mulled wine.

Finally, Aliester looked up from his work. “It is as we feared,” the elderly sage announced gravely. “The uncharacteristic warmth of the weather is tied into the geomantic anomalies of recent months, which are in turn influenced by the astrological convergence that the council of sages and I have observed… Indeed, if the accuracy of the experimental theodolite can be verified, then the readings you have taken for me would go a long way towards validating the Theory of Geomantic Subterranean Influence and Interior Metaphysical Sympathies that we've worked so long and hard to propound…”

Huh? Layman's terms, Uncle,” Ardry said. “This has something to do with that Falatacot demon that's been trying to bust out of its prison, right?”

“Ah, sorry, lad. What I mean to say is that the stars are aligning to make it easier for those terrible Patriarchs to break their master's ancient bonds… And that because he is so close to freedom, his nearness to the surface and influence on the ley lines is actually affecting our weather.”

“And that means…”

“Well, that means that our traditional winter may never come and the demon's due to breach the surface any day,” Aliester announced, seeming to surprise himself with his own directness.

“That's terrible,” Ardry groaned, as he set down his mug of mulled wine. “What can we do about it?”

Aliester gave him a regretful smile. “Well, Ardry, to answer that question, I'd need you to travel to a few more spots and take some more readings…”

Rollout Article

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December 2008 Rollout Article

The Summoner hissed and lashed out his serpentine tongue to taste the air. It was a delicious smell, ripe with the rich scent of the Blood of the World. In the weeks since his Master had first raised him and sent him to this world, he had been almost drunk with the saturated power of this island that the human cultists had once named Killiakta. He could taste his own Master's influence upon this world, could almost see the dark streams of power flowing into the world from the fonts that T'thuun's other servants had consecrated. He could tell from the taste of the air that this world's cold season was upon it, and only his Master's considerable influence kept the hated snow and ice from encroaching upon the land.

He looked over his armored shoulder at the half-Moar beasts milling around behind him. They were clustered fearfully about the ziggurat as they watched him. These things had been raised as beasts of war, fearless and brutal fodder for the Master's coming conquest, but even these creatures feared to come close to him. No doubt his presence evoked several thousand years' worth of racial memories for the brutes, memories of their kin and fellow spawnlings being hunted and enslaved by the snake-man servants of the Falatacot Matriarchs. In the long memories of his own kind, these Moarsmen were nothing more than smelly beasts that were only suitable as victims for warrior training or experimental subjects for students of magic. No matter. Such divisions were the Old Way, a way that led only to obscurity and irrelevance and powerlessness, before the Master had stirred himself from his dark dreams of eternal eclipse and upraised the new Patriarchs to remake the world.

The Summoner looked up into the night sky and saw that the stars had reached the proper position. Realms that were far distant had come closer in this convergence, and the time was right to rip away the barrier between this realm and the hateful prison where his Master howled and thrashed against the bonds of the Light.

The Summoner turned around to face the Moarsmen, grunting fearfully at each other, and approached them. He took sadistic pleasure in their fear. It filled him with a sense of rightness and propriety that these creatures would cower from him. After millennia of desperate obscurity under the weak and vacillating Matriarchs that were loyal to a timid god, the Patriarchs and the servants of T'thuun would reclaim their sacred island from the servants of the Yalain, these humans who were nothing more than softer, feebler versions of their own war beasts.

He hissed an order in the harsh tongue of the Moarsmen. They took up their proper positions around him, forming a circle with him at the center. He inspected each of the Moarsmen as they stood there, relishing their tremors as he confronted each of them, and corrected the positioning of their feet to make sure they made a properly spaced circle.

Finally, the motley spell circle was prepared. He drew his casting sickle from his side and held it aloft in the cool night air. One of the Moarsmen in the circle cried out in fear and retreated a couple of steps. The Summoner turned and fixed his cold gaze upon the fool. He stepped towards the cowering brute and hissed in displeasure. “You stay here,” he told the thing in its beastly tongue, pointing at the spot where he'd previously positioned it. He waited for the Moarsman to sheepishly take his position again before elaborating. “Blade not for you. Blade for song to Master. But if you displease Master's Summoner again, Master's Summoner will feed you to the black fires forever.”

A shiver went around the circle as he said that. The message delivered, and with no further signs of Moarsmen breaking out of formation, he stalked back to the center and began his chants, gesticulating at the stars, the moon, and the land all around as he danced to summon his Master's totem.

Soon enough, as he weaved the dark tendrils of T'thuun's power around this consecrated font of the Blood of the World, he felt the rumbling beneath the earth that meant the summoning had been successful.

The Summoner cut his own palm with the blade and let his dark blood drip onto the ground at the center of the circle. The blood formed a black stain on the sand, bubbling and swirling like something alive. The world around them dimmed as the light of the stars and the moon seemed flow into the swirling vortex of blood and dirt. Finally, with a deafening roar and a shaking of the earth that knocked most of the Moarsmen to the ground, the ground split open and a giant black pillar, inscribed with the mark of T'thuun, began to rise from underground.

The Summoner managed to stay on his feet as the totem burst from the surface. He called out the blessings and invocations of T'thuun, and marveled as the totem grew to a height many times that of a Moarsman or a Sclavus. When the shaking subsided, the Moarsmen in the circle fell to their knees and began to worship the totem in their guttural tongue. The same old prayers, dedicated to a new god and to new patriarchs…

The Summoner walked to the top of the ziggurat and dedicated one final prayer of consecration to T'thuun. As he concluded the prayer he could feel the Blood of the World flowing through this node, coalescing around the totem. The worship and veneration of this totem, one of many that he intended to raise on this island, would provide power to T'thuun and the Patriarchs as they fought the human and Yalaini interlopers on Killiakta. The Summoner hissed in pleasure, certain of his reward when T'thuun rose in all his ancient glory to reclaim the sacred island.

Release Notes

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December 2008 Release Notes

Hello there and welcome to the December Release Notes. It is the winter once again in Dereth. And of course the town of Frosthaven is once again full of activity. It is however strange that the snow is not coating the ground like it has in previous years...

Lets see what is new in Dereth this month!

  • Live events are coming this month. Stay tuned to the official Asheron's Call Forums for more details!
  • Monster fights are now up and live! Make sure you go check them out and pick your favorite today!
  • Level eight spell components now can be stacked up to 1000.
  • Dark Isle Mukkir, Ruschk, Remoran and Sleech have had a rebalance. Mukkir Ruschk and Remorans should be friendlier to melee and archer characters now.
  • A Mana Forge Key has been added to the hero token vendor.
  • Presents have been placed around Dereth, with an extra special reward for finding them all.
  • Using our previously introduced rare monster spawn tech, new rare monsters are spawning around Moarsman City and Freebooter Keep.
  • Society armor has had its base Armor Level increased.
  • The drop rate on Horrid Remoran has been readjusted to be more in line with the way we had intended it to be.
  • Xana Bin-Xara in Wai Jhou has had a typo fixed.
  • The Siraluun Feather Bag's description has been changed to reflect the updates that were made to the quest.
  • The Sawato Bandit Mask has been changed to start with 300 mana.
  • A new tier of Grenades have been added to the game.
  • Several more spell fixes have been made to fix issues with some spells overriding other more powerful ones.

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

Developer Comments

Level VIII War Spell Damage

Dec 8th, 2008 - Link

I've double and triple-checked the numbers now. The spells are correctly set to have a base damage, as listed in their descriptions.

Without going into the actual numbers in the code, there is a modifier to your spell damage based on the difficulty of the spell vs. your skill in the school of magic. The greater your skill over the spell's difficulty, the more damage you do with the spell. In our tests, this is the factor that's giving you less damage than expected.

That being said, the spells will not be changing for the [Sins of the Fathers] update. I will be running further tests to see if the actual damages need to be updated in January's update.

My apologies to those of you who have been waiting for information on this, the testing and datamining for it isn't a short process. As soon as I know more, I'll post again.

Turbine Icon.png Kintani
AC Content Designer

Alchemy Grenades

Dec 9th, 2008 - Link

The new tier of Alchemy Grenades have a spellcraft as high as they do because they pose several other disadvantages to use. High cost, chance to fail when crafting, time to target missile, chance to miss when thrown (yes, I know the miss chance is very small), smaller spell effect, and the need to swap weapons.

Also, the difficulty in using the final tier of grenades is designed to be similar to the difficulty for a mage to cast level 8 spells. You need maxed skills and an extreme template to be able to use them.

Lastly, in the projected max spellcasting skill, you are factoring in level 8 spells and Epic cantrips, but there's something, rather substantial, that you are missing in your math.

Turbine Icon.png Kintani
AC Content Designer

Dark Isle Changes

Dec 9th, 2008 - Link

To the Dark Isle changes:

The Dark Isle was originally designed so that certain creatures would be advantageous to hunt as a Mage, some as a Melee, and some as an Archer. This seperation was mostly built using the defense skills as the mitigating factor. This method usually meant you could kill the ones designed to be weak to the attack method you use, and not touch the ones not designed for you to kill.

Now, some people finally managed to surpass the defenses on the majority of the creatures, using extreme templates, maxed skills, etc. But, for the majority of people attempting to hunt the isle, it was death or glory.

To make the isle more manageable for the masses, the mitigating factor was changed from defenses to damage done. Now, instead of death and glory, it's more fast fight vs. slow fight.

Basically, the defenses were lowered on all of the Dark Isle creatures. Then, the Mukkir, Ruschk and Remorans were set to be easier to damage as a Melee or an Archer, and the Shadows and Sleech were set to be easier to damage as a Mage. I couldn't seperate Melee creatures from Archer creatures, due to both using physical damage, so both get a slight advantage, as they can effectively hunt 3/5 of the creatures on the isle, instead of 2/5. That should, however, be balanced out by having to compete with one another for spawns.

As to the Remoran Shard fix, that was a bug. The drop rates on the isle were not lowered, the one bug was simply corrected.

Turbine Icon.png Kintani
AC Content Designer

Hidden Presents May End Early

Dec 14th, 2008 - Link

We're aware of the ability to re-make characters to try to get keys. Keys have lower odds than most rewards in the chests. Higher level characters should be able to make more key pulls in less time initially by running quests. Hunting for shards should also be a fun alternative to running around from box to box for hours on end.

The boxes are on an event and will most likely be turning off before the next update (I'd expect them to be available through new years).

Anyway, it's the holiday season, have a present :).

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
Dec 21st, 2008 - Link

Just to make sure people know:

1. The event will be turning off shortly after Christmas (I don't have an exact date, we'll see when I get into the office).

2. I updated the gift boxes for next year. Next year they'll give 100% PxP to any character below level 30. Above level 30 they're still giving the same gifts but we'll see. Rewards may change for next year over all but I just wanted to make sure there was a fix in. Though this is not going to be hot fixed because of the timing and the cost.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
Jan 5th, 2009 - Link

They were a timed holiday event. The holidays are now over so the event has ended.

Turbine Icon.png Frelorn
AC Community Relations
Jan 5th, 2009 - Link

They'll be back next holiday season... who knows I may even sneak in a Christmas in July type thing... But no promises.

They've also been updated so players below level 50 get 100% of a level up to 1.5 mil xp (for the next update). So it'll be a quick way to level alts once a year for your lowbies and a source of other quality rewards for higher level players. We'll have to see what the ticket items are this year and what's in the boxes when they come back.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff

Chest Updates

Dec 16th, 2008 - Link

In my last 2 pulls I got 2 atlatls, 2 dirks, 1 ua and 1 ewer.

We're looking into taking the dinnerware out of the profile but do not have any final numbers or decisions on this yet.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
Dec 16th, 2008 - Link

I pulled the art objects out of the weapon chest profile so you should only get weapons and the one freebie spell component now.

We also reviewed all the percentages for various types of weapons. The weapon chest should be much more generous with more frequent 420 wield weapons and even the rare 400 wield req weapons with higher damage (like swords with 56+ damage) should drop a bit more often. Also, the drops aren't skewed as harshly toward the lower damages anymore.

Turbine Icon.png Severlin
Senior Game Engineer
Dec 18th, 2008 - Link

Just made some changes to armor. Armor sets will be dropping more frequently and all sets now have the same chance of dropping.

I'm going to take a quick stroll past item workmanship and see if there's anything out of line there.

EDIT: Workmanship on items is exactly the same in the top two tiers of the loot profile, so this should be fine. There's a significant chance of any item being looted being of a workmanship of 8 or less.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
Dec 18th, 2008 - Link

The way it worked was that any time you pulled the weapon chest it would have roughly a 13% chance you'd get an "ArtObject" (plate, ewer, stoup, etc.). Sev created a new row that shifted that 13% into weapons.

I looked through the other tables and you still have a smaller chance of getting "ArtObjects" in Equipment chests. There is also an extremely small chance of getting one in the magic chest as a random additional item.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
Jan 7th, 2009 - Link

The only change to armor so far is that it is more likely to have set spells appear and that set spells all have the same % chance of appearing instead of some being favored over others.

As Society armor always has a society specific set spell this will not effect the society armor chests.

We're still evaluating other possible changes. I haven't looked at society armor in specific so I can't really say if there will be any planned changes or not.

Feel free to let me know what your experience with society armor chests and if/how it could be better.


*note - any chests that you can pull general armor (not the slot specific society armor chests) and weapons from should be effected by the weapon/armor changes.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
Jan 7th, 2009 - Link

In the current implementation the appearance of major/epic banes (and other other possible "junk" spells) equate roughly to not getting a major/epic. If we were to remove the major/epic banes we'd need to lower the odds of getting a major/epic on a piece at all to compensate otherwise it'd be far too common to get the "useful" pieces due to the rate of appearance of majors/multi-majors/epics.

As noted above epics and multi-majors are very common in the new chests. It really couldn't be that way without the "junk" spells.

The alternative would be to further reduce or remove junk spells but decrease the appearance of majors and epics at all which would also decrease the odds of a multi-major item appearing even further.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff

Jan 8th, 2009 - Link

I actually think major/epic coord has a higher % chance of occurrence than any major bane. However you take the fact that there are 7 banes in total and add all their percentages together and suddenly you see them a lot more often than you do major coord. This is the same with things like major crafting skills. They have a fairly low rate of occurrence but there are so many crafting skills that you'll see quite a few of these.

I'll look at the exact numbers but I am fairly certain the odds of pulling banes in the new loot are roughly similar to the odds of pulling banes in comparison to other cantrips in creature dropped loot profiles.

Chests were actually more difficult than simply putting loot on monsters. Normally you'd just have a monster that drops loot. Now we have all kinds of different chests that have special profiles that drop loot. Sev wasn't responsible for making loot profiles, as I've noted before Sev just took responsibility for gathering feedback and communicating about the 100th update after it went live. The chests are completely intended as the method of loot distribution. It capably distributes loot between hunters and quests alike allowing more avenues of loot gaining play in Asheron's Call. I love looting monsters as much as anyone (I used to sit in Acid Prop while people were making 10-15x as much xp as me out on Flows just because I got to loot a lot more and had a better, though still almost nil, chance of getting majors) but chests introduce a new flavor that I have also become fond of... then again I was like the only person who'd trade for Sings who would then go use the sings to make chests pulls...

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff

Olthoi Dispels

Dec 20th, 2008 - Link

If you like hunting the olthoi area we're adding something to the vendor that should be a fair amount of assistance when gearing up for hunting those dispelling olthoi.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
Jan 11th, 2009 - Link

Q: When I first saw this I immediately thought of "greater" greater olthoi armor. maybe a set with all your basic majors and pro's worked in, but i know that might be asking a bit much.

A: Well, it's not "Greater Greater Olthoi Armor" though I do enjoy updating old stuff and may some day think about an Olthoi Armor type update (not buffable though, non-enchantable is both the flavor and balancing factor on why Olthoi Armor can have the stats it does. Though having innate spells on it may not be out of the question.).

You'll just have to wait and see what exactly it is. And yes it is in this coming patch (should be available Tuesday).

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff

Character Name Change Service

Dec 29th, 2008 - Link

When we made the announcement about this feature, there was only a couple things left to be done and folks were pretty confident about it passing all of our testing and being made available to the general public.

Unfortunately after further testing was done it was found that there were some previously unforeseen issues with the system and it was decided to but further work into this on hold so the team could work on some other things. At some point we will more than likely revisit this feature, but as for right now it is still on hold.

Turbine Icon.png Frelorn
AC Community Relations

Live Events

Date Unknown - Link

If there was to be a scheduled live event, we would have posted something about it. I am sorry that folks showed up expecting an event, but nowhere did we say these events would happen every week.

Often times, a member of the team will run random event types if they have the time, but those are not related to the events that had been taking place before. Please remember that not all events will be scheduled and not all events will happen at the exact same time. We do our best to get the word out to players about scheduled events, and will continue to do so.

Turbine Icon.png Frelorn
AC Community Relations
Date Unknown - Link

I am sorry that some of you feel I was blaming the players, as that was not the intent. There is a difference between Live events and time released in-game events. In the case of what is being discussed here the matter was a bit cloudy. That being said there could be an issue with the time released events due to the server restart we did earlier this week.

I will see what I can find out. It may just be a matter of getting someone to re-activate the event in the game.

Turbine Icon.png Frelorn
AC Community Relations

Three Eyed Snowman Quest

Jan 5th, 2009 - Link

This quest [Three Eyed Snowman] has been disabled for now, but will hopefully return when the January event goes live.

Turbine Icon.png Frelorn
AC Community Relations

PvP Wand Damage

Jan 5th, 2009 - Link

Q: I would like for Severlin to explain to me what is behind the % of damage to players on casters and how they scale with increase %. I feel there is a set damage for casters and it is not based on the % damage displayed on the wands at all, if it was, the Soul Bound Casting Staff would hit much higher. (Please note that I am not talking about the % to Monsters at all, I feel this is fine.)

A: Hidden PvP modifiers are applied to all imbued loot weapons to be specific. Outside of that all other modifiers are pretty transparent.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff

Bringing T'thuun back to Friday

Jan 9th, 2009 - Link

Starting this evening, we'll be kicking off the Patriarch Raids and T'thuun Summoning events so you can run it on Friday night instead of Monday afternoon. Summoning T'thuun will stay on a Friday night schedule from here on out. Tonight's re-run of the Patriarch Raids will be a one-time thing.

Enjoy stomping some archdemon behind!

Turbine Icon.png Crowley
AC1 Live Producer
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