Here are all the tiny little details of the game update that was made on June 6, 2000. This list is culled from “check-in” notes submitted by the game developers themselves. Things of greatest note are listed first.
Some changes are not in these build notes, because that would spoil the fun of finding all that has been added or changed! Some changes provide ways for players to drive our evolving story forward, and thus we don't entirely reveal them here. As usual, the Town Criers, Barkeeps, and Scribes may know the latest news! Also, the trades of crafting and selling are always in flux, so changes to prices and abilities of items are not always listed.
Detailed Notes for Builds 2350-2364:
- In rare cases where monsters slowly are being killed while they are unable to counterattack, the experience points awarded will be reduced. See the special section at the end of this article for more details.
- Added some new War Magic spells. There are some that are available for all levels of war mages as well as some that are reserved for higher-level war mages. We will be keeping an eye on their effectiveness and they may get more powerful in future updates.
- Added a few new creatures. Variations on current monsters -- expect one nice, new sparkly one.
- Specialized skills that are very advanced will take less XP than before to improve. Those with very high specialized skills may see those skills jump up a bit.
- Many new dungeons have been added, for players of all levels!
- Default keymap will no longer have “v” mapped to drop items. No more “Control-V” or “type 'vibe'” abuses with the default keymap! If you use a customized keymap, you should consider unmapping this key, as it can cause you to drop an item by accident or as the result of following unscrupulous advice.
- Spellcasting bar now has new keyboard functionality, as requested! Here's more on the UI for spellcasting bars:
Players can switch tabs by clicking on them, or by pressing Next/Previous-TAB keys. These use the SAME keys as the player's currently mapped Increase/Decrease Power/Accuracy keys.
CTRL + Prev Tab = First Tab
CTRL + Next Tab = Last Tab
Now the Low-Attack/High-Attack keys are mapped to Previous/Next Spell when in Spellcasting mode.
CTRL + Prev Spell = First Spell in List
CTRL + Next Spell = Last Spell in List
- Added a new spell component: diamond scarab.
- Long sword damage variance fixed to match that of other swords!
- The Direlands have become considerably tougher, as warned . . . Prepare to be assaulted by SWAT teams of Banderlings and Drudges!
- Most problems with missiles going through walls were fixed.
- Added patron title and name to character appraisal, under the monarch info.
- Tomes, books, and parchment are bonded to the player -- not magic scrolls, pre-written books and so on, just the blank versions players can buy in shops.
- You can no longer add yourself to your own @friends list. If you were there before, you'll be deleted.
- Instead of the message “This character is still in the world,” you will see "One of your characters is still in the world."
- Reduced the chances of breaking the Atlan stones and tool.
- Monster corpses are now locked for 30 seconds rather than 15.
- Having the “frog mating season” last two months is long enough. Reduced the volume of frogs in the swamp a good bit.
- Revenant was missing the key to high chest. This is now fixed.
- Umbris and Panumbris were suffering from a serious bug in their AI settings, and have now been fixed.
- Tutorial dungeon monsters now give 0 killing XP.
- Monsters are now smarter about when they heal/revitalize/transfer . . .
- Various problems with cliff edges -- while not all instances of problems on cliff edges were addressed, most of the obvious ones were.
- Mountain in Direlands where portal-stormed people couldn't get off now has a way down.
- An exitless pit in the Direlands was fixed.
- Some monsters were producing too many keys, upsetting the economy. Fixed.
- More jump/run/logoff exploit holes fixed
- Vase placed under floor of tavern in Ayan Baqur has been moved.
- Mana and other potion encumbrance reduced to 75 units.
- A bunch of hitherto too-heavy and inexpensive treasure has been tweaked to be more worthwhile.
- Birch trees now blooming. Smaller bush now has pink flowers. Welcome to summer in Dereth!!!
- NPC Felscuda was selectable during combat -- this is fixed now!
- In rare cases, generators such as chests would stop working. Fixed.
- Kara shopkeeper sells Sho weapons and armor.
- Removed treasure from broken fragment, fragment, and dual fragment so people can instantly find their trophies.
- Rainbow tunnels portal is level restricted.
- Lifestone protection starts after you've teleported to your lifestone, not exactly when you've died. Also, PKer's who get killed by monsters (and hence are still PK and not temporarily NPK) are protected by lifestone immunity.
More Details About the Experience Point Reduction Code
In this update, we introduced this bit of code in a final form. A somewhat different, experimental version of this code was accidentally introduced for several days in May, then subsequently removed. It has now been refined, tested, and added back in.
The general idea is to lessen, but not eliminate, the number of experience points gained when you kill a monster that has tried many, many times to harm you but had no chance of doing so. Typically this happens if you slowly wear down a monster that is hung up on or blocked by some obstacle, such as a wall, slope, rock, building, or the like.
There are a few important points we want to make clear for those who are concerned about this change. Overall, we predict that very few people will ever notice the change at all.
- If you like to strategically use the environment to fight foes that are a match for you, this should not affect you. If the monster dies rather quickly, the reduction code will not kick in. If you are fighting things that are of a level close to yours, you will likely not be affected. This code is designed to curtail only the killing of monsters that are far more powerful than you are, and that therefore take quite a long time to wear down and kill.
- XP is not reduced if the monster is successfully attacking you but still being ineffective due to your high defense skills, awesome armor, protective spells, and so on. The reduction only kicks in if the monster does not even have the slightest chance of hurting you, because either it cannot attack or its attack cannot possibly affect you -- it is hitting an obstacle or is too far away. If you see combat messages that you are resisting or evading an attack, the reduction code will not affect you.
- The reduction code does not even start “thinking of” reducing the XP a monster will give you until you attack that monster at least once. Just because it is trying to reach you, its XP will not be reduced -- you need to engage it first. This is different from the early, experimental version of the code.
- Also different from the early version, the damage a monster does to you has no effect on how much its XP is reduced. Given the above, this is no longer needed.
- While a monster is successfully running towards you, the code will not even “think of” reducing its XP. Like the archers of old, if you kill it before it reaches you, you get your full reward.
Before going into technical details, we should answer the charge of “nerfing” this code will bring. “Nerfing” is a term that is widely misused to refer to anything that seems to make a player's virtual life more challenging in any way. The more accurate, fairer definition is a change that changes the properties of a character, or something currently being used by the character, so that the character is less effective in the pursuit of wealth or experience points. Given this definition, we have stuck to our goal of not nerfing our players, with a very few badly needed exceptions. However, even by this precise definition, this code can be seen as nerfing those players who make a practice of gaining experience through slowly chipping away at monsters who are no threat to them. We admit it. We saw that some players were advancing much faster than their peers who did not exploit the . . . er, mental shortcomings of Dereth's nonhuman residents. This code is designed not to stop this practice, but to slow it to a degree that players who like this kind of play do not advance significantly faster than those who do not engage in it. Why did we do this? Because there are many players who like to compete with their peers in the advancement of their characters. These players should not have to feel obligated to stay competitive through use of a technique that most would find the antithesis of an exciting role-playing experience: staying in one spot, watching a monster grind itself uselessly against an obstacle and slowly die.
Thanks for reading this. Now, for some technical details of how the XP reduction code works. Unless you are keenly interested, you may want to stop reading here.
When a monster engages a single player, it begins to keep track of how many times it attacks the player and how many of those attacks succeed -- not how many actually do harm, but how many even have a chance of doing so. Upon the death of the monster, the system looks at a ratio of the number of successful attacks (plus a generous modifier, described below) to the total number of attacks. This ratio is then multiplied by the amount of XP a monster would have given, and then the result is given to the player. So the more a monster fails to attack you after a certain threshold, the less XP you'll receive upon its death.
A “successful” attack includes things like evasions, resists, and moderate misses with missile attacks. So if a Lugian is throwing rocks at you and you're sidestepping, those are still counted as successful attacks. If you're standing toe-to-toe with a Drudge and it keeps whiffing, those are successful attacks. If a lich is casting on you, but you're resisting, those are successful attacks. These do not affect the XP given.
The first several failures a monster makes, after you've attacked it once, are “free” -- we assume that the monster has gotten temporarily hung up, has chosen a bad attack mode, or that you are doing a bit of strategic use of the environment. The code does not count the first several failures.
Also, there is a cap on the percent of XP it's possible to lose-- you'll never get 0 XP due to this code.
That's it! We do think this is fair and largely inconsequential to the vast majority. If you still feel shafted after trying it out, we apologize. Balancing a game of this complexity is no easy task, and we have learned much along the way. We promise to serve you better in the future.