Announcements - 2009/05 - Secrets of the Apostates

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Teaser

Original Link - http://ac.turbine.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=477

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Secrets of the Apostates


Magaritta du Jacquette was sitting at her desk in the Arcanum's collegium of researchers, drafting a new advisory for travelers headed to Moarsman Isle, when there was a loud crash outside her door. There was the distinct sound of fragile glass breaking, and the sound of round metal things rattling around on the stone floor of the building. She sighed, put her pen down, and went to her door.

Opening it, she found her research assistant on his hands and knees, sweeping up the shattered remnants of some fabulously esoteric device. It may once have been a standard-issue theodolite that was commonly used by all the researchers in this wing of the Arcanum complex, but her assistant, the aptly named Ned the Clever, had spent the better part of the last two months modifying it with intricate, hand-tooled parts made from crystal, glass, and rare metals. The requisition forms she had had to fill out to get him all the resources he needed had been fearsome.

“What happened, Ned?” she asked him.

“Ah, I was just on my way to see you, director…” Ned replied, distracted. He had pushed all the broken glass and tangled metal rods into a rough pile, and was now collecting a bundle of scrolls that had gone flying apart in the chaos.

“Yes, Ned?”

Ned straightened up, scrolls hugged tightly to his chest. “I've made a breakthrough!” he announced proudly.

Magaritta opened the door wider and gestured for him to come inside. Ned looked uncertainly at the pile of broken theodolite in the hallway, then back at her. “We'll have one of the junior assistants clean it up.” She whistled down the hallway and gestured at one of the bright-eyed young students who poked their heads out of their shared study room. “Come on in, and tell me what you've found,” she told Ned.

After he'd settled himself in a chair and arrayed his scrolls on her desk, Ned began speaking.

“I went out into the Direlands, on a hunch, and took some readings myself with my modified theodolite. Or what once was my modified theodolite, anyway… “

Magaritta interrupted him. “I thought I'd asked you to stop risking yourself on these field excursions?”

Ned looked a little defensive. “Well the readings I needed to take were really quite complex, and I don't think any of the other assistants has had the proper training or experience with some of the variables I track with my equipment…” His gaze flicked back to the door, behind which they could hear the sounds of the theodolite being cleaned off the floor.

Magaritta nodded, smiling in spite of herself. “I know your old instincts as a tracker and mapper are hard to overcome. But really, it's gotten quite dangerous out there, and you have a research job now, a job I think you do quite admirably, so I think it's the best use of your time to stay here. But let's leave that aside for now.”

Ned nodded, happy to be done with the subject. “I think I've found where the Apostate Virindi are stockpiling Aetherium!” he said, beaming.

Magaritta rocked back in her seat. “How did you ever do that?”

Ned gestured at the scrolls on the desk. “I've documented the research there. In short, I identified some resonances between pyreal and Aetherium, and cross-compared them against data on Virindi resonances…”

Magaritta stopped him again. “But all the data we gathered on Virindi resonances was for the older Virindi, the ones who still follow the original Directive.”

Ned nodded. “Well, that's what I had to do the field research for. I had to get some readings on Apostate Virindi.”

Magaritta sighed. “Ned, we may never civilize you.” She favored him with a smile. “Nevertheless, you continue to amaze me with your resourcefulness and dedication. I've long felt that you have surpassed me in research techniques, especially in work that's relevant to the hostile parts of the island.”

Ned blushed from the compliment. “Well, I'm just trying to do what seems best. But as I said, when I factored in the resonance data from the Apostates and conducted a thorough geomantic survey of the Direlands, I found a particularly strong emanation of both Aetherium and the unique signature of the Apostates... And in the unlikeliest source, actually. In fact after I was done presenting my findings here, I thought I'd get my Mattekar coat back from the armorers and -”

“No, Ned. No more field research.” Magaritta put on her most serious expression.

“Well I've just found the stockpile, I don't know what they're doing with it yet. I need to get down there and observe it for myself before we can figure out what they're doing with all that Aetherium.”

“Ned, that's not a proper use of your time. Put the lust for adventure aside. Do what Aliester does and send some intrepid scout out to do what you need. Do you hear me? You're in research now, not field applications.”

Ned looked disappointed. “As you say, director. But can I at least go out to recruit the scouts myself?”

Magaritta laughed. “As you will. Clearly I can't keep you cooped up in the collegium too long, can I? Just… wear Arcanum robes, eh? Your Mattekar coat and that dented purple helm must remain in the armory. I don't want you tempted to go haring off into the wilderness after any more Virindi.”

“As you say, director,” Ned repeated with a mischievous smile.

Rollout Article

Original Link - http://ac.turbine.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=478

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May 2009 Rollout Fiction


Hiding behind a stack of crates, Adso cursed and wiped his blade off. Around him lay three dead Hea Tumeroks, who'd jumped him in the tunnel leading to this room. He'd been surprised by this last rush. Either he was losing his touch with sneaking and skulking in monster-clogged dungeons, or the denizens of this particular complex were especially paranoid.

He was willing to bet it was the latter option. The Tumeroks and their Virindi masters here were evidently on high alert. Even finding this place had been a challenge. He had scoured the length and breadth of the Direlands with only vague notes about resonances and mineral deposits to guide him. It was work he was unused to. He was well accustomed to sneaking and killing. He was a past master of stalking a target through hostile terrain, or setting up lethal ambushes for a dangerous foe. He was very good at infiltrating a secured location and either stealing something or killing someone in the midst of fanatically well-prepared guards.

Adso was less experienced in investigation, especially following the clues and notes of often clueless academics who expected him to know what they were talking about when they suggested that he seek cave openings in “predominantly sedimentary” rocky terrain. Master had told him it was time for him to learn new tradecraft, and had assigned him to work with some famously distracted and notoriously flaky geomancers.

He was especially irritated by being forced to use small, tricky devices rigged out of glass and charged hunks of metal to track whatever mystical emanations the scholars thought they were after. He'd been following the guidance of a small “crystal aetheriometer” for the last hour, making his way slowly down tunnels patrolled by Apostate Virindi and their newly re-acquired allies, Hea Tumeroks. Wherever the small, glowing needle pointed, he was supposed to go, and report on what he saw. Indeed, Adso was most annoyed by having to carry paper and a quill with him, as if he were supposed to record his experience even while dodging the spears of Tumeroks and the spells of Virindi.

Sighing, he proceeded down the tunnel. He made it a few dozen strides before encountering another pair of Tumeroks, out patrolling the tunnels. From the sounds nearby, he must have been near some barracks. He could smell the foul meat they had spitted up for dinner, could hear crackle of cookfires and the grunts of Tumeroks engaged in ritual sparring.

The tunnel was bereft of cover to hide behind, and the patrol noticed him easily. They bellowed an alert before charging him, and another half-dozen Tumeroks in blue armor came boiling into the tunnel behind them. A Virindi drifted almost lackadaisically into the tunnel behind all of them, flinging spells at him even as he dodged and parried the assaults of multiple warriors.

Adso gave himself completely to his fighting instincts. He trusted in the enchantments protecting his armor to ward off truly lethal blows, and concentrated on killing his enemies as quickly and efficiently as possible. He danced into the fray, blades in both hands whipping out with lethal strikes. He jabbed his left blade up into a Tumerok's throat even as his right blade swung low to gut another, slashing through a gap in the beast's heavy breastplate. He felt multiple spear and blade impacts on his armor, but the enchantments held. There would be bruises, but he would survive.

He rolled to his knees as he disemboweled another Tumerok, and took refuge beneath its falling body to shield himself from the whirling blades hurled at him by the Virindi's magic. He shrugged off the corpse, dodged another streaking spell as it shrieked down the hallway at him, and leaped to stab through the Virindi's mostly-insubstantial form with both hands. He ripped the blades up through the Virindi's cloak, then crossed his blades through the Virindi's masked face, and the thing imploded. The empty cloak fluttered to the ground.

He stopped to take inventory of himself. He was bleeding in half a dozen places, but most of them were shallow wounds. He drew a potion from his belt pouch and gulped it down quickly, gritting his teeth as the enchantment of the potion knitted his wounds together and revitalized him. That done, he reached into another pouch to consult the crystal aetheriometer. His fingers closed on splintered glass and loose metal.

He cursed. The device was broken. It must have absorbed a blow from a Tumerok weapon during the melee. Or perhaps took a glancing shot from one of the Virindi's concussive War spells. Or maybe he'd simply crushed it as he rolled and dove through the fight.

Adso was crouching in the hallway, staring at the ruin of what had been a finely tuned crystal device, when he felt an explosion of pain in his ribs. He was flung several feet down the hallway by a devastating blunt impact. The force of the strike was shocking. His armor enchantments hadn't helped at all. He could tell that at least a couple of his ribs were crushed, and there was definitely some internal bleeding. He rolled to his feet, aetheriometer forgotten, and sized up his newest opponent. The hallway was dimly lit, but he could make out a tall, humanoid shape that walked with a lurching gait, and wore an incongruously floppy straw hat atop a blank, yet malevolent face. What really captured his attention, though, were the heavy, glowing fists attached to its gangly arms.

“Oh, Pwyll's bloody bones,” he muttered through bloody lips. “Not more of these guys, too…”

Release Notes

Original Link - http://ac.turbine.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=474

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May 2009 Release Notes


Hello there and welcome to the Release Notes for the May 2009 event, Secrets of the Apostates! This month we see some changes to existing quest experience and some new quests have appeared as always. An old friend has put up his tent in Zaikhal, who players will want to go speak with. So lets see what's new and exciting this month in Asheron's Call!


  • The Core Jester has had his interactions reorganized so that the gives are the first action, this should help reduce the number of people losing cores from dragging monsters through the GY and then needing to heal while trying to turn in the core.


  • The xp reward for the following quests has been increased:
Fiun Healing Machine
Abayar's Laboratory
Gaerlan
Prodigal Mosswart
Prodigal Olthoi Egg Turn In


  • Pookie should work as before, where he won't agro unless attacked or ID'ed.


  • The Fiun Spellcasting Gloves are now enchantable.


  • A new PK dungeon has been added to the game, head over to Baishi to check it out. Just make sure you are a Player Killer before you try to enter!


  • The NPC for the Dreams of the Hopeslayer quest now makes you wait 13 days on turn ins. Also the pickup has been changed from a static flag to a 13 day timer.


  • The skeleton jaws have had their drop rate increased.


  • A new level of crystalline crag has opened up.


  • The Dereth Explorers quest has been updated.


  • The Monthly kill task has been updated.


  • There is a new person in the town of Zaikhal who some might recognize. Make sure you go say hello to him.


  • Based on player feedback, Spell Component Exchangers have set up shop at the Mana Forges.


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

Developer Comments

Spell Component Exchanger

5/15/2009 - Link

The spell component exchanger was something we had been talking about since the 100th update. We had been discussing on if a system like this was necessary and how we would implement it. Strong support of this idea from our players, both on the forums and in game, led to the decision to add this feature.

This was the most requested feature when players were asked in game across all servers, I wouldn't count that as spam.


For those who asked, this will work just like the rare exchanger but without the casino key. The cost is 1 MMD per trade, and all components have essentially the same chance of showing up (due to the math a few components have a .05% difference in chance).


We do listen to the requests of players. Some we agree with some we do not. A particular player spamming the forums with his particular idea wouldn't sway our decision.

Turbine Icon.png NoWorries
AC Quality Assurance

Live Events and Hero Tokens

May 19th, 2009 - Link

Q: Is there a way that, Hero Tokens could be buyable via Colo, Olthoi, GY Vendor's, or other ways just using them in example.

IMO Live Event's should be "Live", The last time April 1, as I rember, all we had too do was kill lame moarsmans again.. What is "Live" about that?


A: Hero tokens will never be sold on vendors.

The april first event was both live and didn't involve any moarsmen. It involved a joke portal and after players showed up to check it out, k'naths were spawned around them and a battle was fought. Later some of these portals were opened into a dungeon with an uber chicken and very mad cow.

Two weeks before that a live op was run involving a special dungeon filled with monsters, with a boss monster in the bottom.

Both of these events resulted in plenty of hero tokens.

Just because you don't see a + during a live event, doesn't mean it isn't live. In fact when I run live events I normally try to give the feel that it is something happening in the world so I purposely never appear. During times like that we are still there setting up the event and adjusting the monsters during the fights to keep the difficulty level up. So when players all perch on a roof, we hop up there and spawn monsters right next to them. If players are killing the monsters too easily, we bring in some stronger mobs to up the challenge. If the turn out wasn't as large as expected and it is proving to be too difficult for the players then we weaken the mobs. Some people like to show up and be visible to the players during the event, some like to be hidden and direct the scenario.

We also keep track of how many players have participated to make sure there are enough hero tokens to go around.

Live events are special occurrences, they will neither be on a regular basis nor be run just to make sure people have enough tokens to keep up a supply of power leveling wands.

Turbine Icon.png NoWorries
AC Quality Assurance

Loot Updates

May 26th, 2009 - Link

Once the new loot tier on monsters becomes available it should be easier to fill out sets, though the set pieces you find will be less likely to have majors/epics on them. We believe this will allow players to complete (as in have all the pieces they want) sets to use while waiting for a perfect piece (epic with set and AL tinkerable).

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
May 26th, 2009 - Link

Q: So the loot profile dropping off creatures will not be the same as those in MFK chests (although considering my luck, I cannot say it will not be an improvement)?

A: This was mentioned in the original post I made about this. MFK chests were created with allow fewer pulls provide more of the spells you want. Loot you have nearly limitless pulls, you can kill many creatures in seconds. The numbers mentioned were that the likelihood of pulling an epic would be about that of pulling a major in previous creature loot profiles (viss has a luck modifier so don't use gold numbers for comparison).

The key to loot on creatures will be allowing players to iterate the looting process. This will give the most assistance to finding items with maximum stats (weapons for instance) that may not have epics on them. Also it'll grant more chances at getting epics even though the odds are lower.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
May 26th, 2009 - Link

Q: Attack and defense mods should never be below 12. Damage should never be below 1 or 2 tinks below that of the previous top end loot level's maximum damage.

A: MFK chest loot is going to get a significant percentage boost to having defense/offense mods in the middle range (13-17). There is currently an over 50% chance a weapon will have a 12 or less mod, the changes will more than half this % for chests. Chances on loot drops is slated launch as the same as what chests are now with the same mods available as MFK chests.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
May 26th, 2009 - Link

Q: So if we have an item that is already 10x tinkered, we'll be able to use Silk to remove its rank requirement?

A: Yes, that is the intent. So if you have a 10 tink item with a rank req you should be able to remove the rank. That reminds me, I should remove the chance to fail...

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
May 26th, 2009 - Link

Q: In other words, any toon under level 150 wearing a piece of no-wield MFK gear better get to 150 ASAP?

A: No, those items will be pre-patch items. Anything that already exists won't change.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
May 27th, 2009 - Link

Q: I raised the specter of hyper-inflation of pre-nerf clothing/jewelry/no-wields from the MFK chests and that point still stands. I also made the point that making all new no-wield items level 150+ likely also meant giving them potential for Set attributes. Do you want players to have access to potentially THREE FULL SETS by way of allowing all 16 equipable slots to spawn with Set attributes?

A: "all existing items will pick up the Pre-Patch player naming." Is actually the end part of the statement. The part about retroactive should say "not retroactive" and was a typo. If you read the full sentence you'll notice that something there wasn't correctly stated. The way our loot system works prevents retroactive fixes of this type without a large amount of back end code work. Also it's a long time AC tradition for PP (pre-patch) items to be left in play. Once a player obtains sometime from loot we try not to take it away. There have been a variety of ways of handling quest item changes that may or may not follow this pattern but most quest items have to be handled in a case by case manner. That being said there's currently no directly design decision stating the exact manner of any possible changes. The most likely case does seem that new items obtained in the highest loot profile will all have the appropriate level requirements.

Level reqs do not mean an item will have set bonuses a level 180 req means there will be a set bonus, level 150 reqs mean it came from a profile that can produce the tier of loot intended for players above that level. All items coming out of MFK chests were intended to have a level requirement. The omission of those level requirements was a bug that was not corrected before ship.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
May 27th, 2009 - Link

Q: If I have a 10x tinked wand that I previously used a tink to remove a rank requirement, will it go down to 9x tinkered? Or is that part of the stuff that isn't retroactive?

A: Tinkers are applied after item mutation and your item does not keep track of which tinkers you used simply how many times it has been tinkered. There's absolutely no way we'd be able to reduce tinkers on items that have had silk applied to them in the past.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
June 11th, 2009 - Link
  • Hiltable 370-420 wield weapons on Shard Dropping Creatures.
  • Min AL increase on Covenant type (unenchantable) armor.
  • 420 Wield weapons on Shard Dropping Creatures.
  • Epics and Sets on Shard Dropping Creatures.
  • Increased number of items in weapon mana forge chests by 1.
  • Significantly reduced chances of pulling bane cantrips in highest loot tiers.

Bunch of more loot improvements/changes that I'm simply forgetting. And we bring this up because these are not 10th anniversary features, at this point in time they should be June features.

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

Q: I found Epic Life Magic on a Pyreal Olthoi Shield, perhaps it was only fixed for the old shield types?

A: While I was digging through loot tables and the like I noticed that olthoi shields were more similar to armor than they were shields and didn't seem to appear in a few certain locations. We'll look into this some more but based off this thread it seems like olthoi shields are just simulating armor instead of being recategorized into the shield spell endowment set.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
June 12th, 2009 - Link

Q: Can you clarify whether the new drops will be in addition to or in place of the chance of a creature to drop a shard?

A: It replaces the existing loot profile on these creatures. Loot profiles do not effect trophy drops. Shards are a trophy drop. So, in short: Yes you will get both loot and shards on the same monsters.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
June 12th, 2009 - Link

Off the top of my head differences between MFK and Loot:

  1. Loot - Small chance of getting an epic.
    MFK - Much better chance of getting an epic.
  2. Loot - Chance of getting a set item.
    MFK - Much better chance of getting a set item.
  3. Loot - Most chance of getting a weapon with 10-15 ATK/DEF
    MFK - Most chase of getting a weapon with 13-17 ATK/DEF
  4. Loot - Low chance of getting lower craft items
    MFK - Slightly better odds of getting lower craft items.
  5. Loot - Mundane (items without magic) items appear.
    MFK - All items have magic on them.
  6. Loot - Multi-strike weapons
    MFK - No multi-strike weapons yet (looking to add these once we get some feedback on balance)
  7. Loot - Many more junk items (plates, bowls, coinstacks, etc.)
    MFK - Much smaller chance of getting junk items
  8. Loot - Many more pulls but in specific locations.
    MFK - Fewer pulls with much better items on each pull and from an expanding variety of quests/hunting.
  9. Loot - While getting this you can get shards toward MFKs.
    MFK - Much nicer over all quality of items per pull.
  10. Loot - Weapons drop from 370-420 wield range (melee and comparable missile/magic)
    MFK - Weapons drop only in 400-420 wield range
  11. Loot - Weapons have a greater likelihood of being low to mid grade damage.
    MFK - Weapons have a greater chance of having better damage.
  12. Loot - Very small chance of getting spell components you need.
    MFK - Good chance of getting spell components in most profiles and a chest just for getting spell components.
  13. Loot - Random assortment of items based on creature killed.
    MFK - Assortment is more on the lines of what you're looking for based on chest.


Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
June 12th, 2009 - Link

Q:
Q1: So, theoretically, a max out 370 wield weapon could spawn with Epics?
Q2: All tier 8 loot from creatures will be 150+ restricted?
Q3: Are clothes/jewelry fixed to be 150+ or will now be a good time to look for Epics on loot mobs for our newbs?
Q4: Will loot make it any easier to find high al covenant with an epic and multiple banes?
Q5: Will "olthoi" armor drop in loot profiles?


A:
1. Yes. Also with level 8 spells. This is necessary to fill out the profile and also allows players who didn't min/max or have trained skills to have some lesser access to these items.

2. Weapons are not all other loot is.

3. All chest and monster loot that can have epics on it have some form of level or wield requirement.

4. Loot gives you more chances and has the same chance of normal spells occurring as chests. You'll have a far lower chance of getting a major or epic on these though.

5. Olthoi armor should drop in monster loot for the new tier.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
June 12th, 2009 - Link

Q: So we will be able to get red quills from our kills as well as chests?

A: In loot every component has the exact same very low chance of occurring.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
May 26th, 2009 - Link

Q: I thought the complaint was about bane *cantrips*, not banes. This sounds troublesome to cov/olthoi armor, which are already difficult to find in pieces good enough to tinker.

A: Cantrips only.

Turbine Icon.png Django
Turbine Staff
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