Original Link (now dead) -http://www.zone.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEfeb02teaser1.asp
February 11, 2002
Hideki looked up at his visitor. He had seen her before. . . at a royal reception perhaps? A long time ago. She was old, but she had some streaks of red in her pale hair, and her face was mostly free of wrinkles.
He didn't bother wiping the sweat from his forehead, as the cold winter breezes traveling over the river cooled the drops for him. He had been in this river spot for a long time, the Lifestone a daily reminder of his failure. But still they came looking for the Shadowhunter Armor, even though the threat of the Shadows had seemingly long since passed.
Some lessons take long to fade. And some should never be forgotten.
"What may I do for you?" He had seen that face before, but he could not place it.
She laughed. It was not a friendly laugh, and Hideki felt ashamed, like he had done something wrong. "It is not what you can do for me, Koga Hideki. It is what I can do for you. It is time for you to be healed. For all of Hamud's victims to be healed. Prepare yourself, armorer. The process is not free of pain," she said, smiling all the while.
Before he had time to respond, she reached out her hand to his head. Hideki's screams entwined with the chill wind, as they wove their way together down the river.
He was running. He dashed along, nearly blind, through dark stone corridors only visible when the occasional flash of energy sparked along the wall. He couldn't remember where he was running to, but he knew what he was running from.
The Atua Ngamaru glided a few paces behind him.
More running. Sweat trailing down his matted brow. Something was wrong. He couldn't see these twisty corridors, yet not once did he collide with the solid stone. There was only the running, feet pounding like the flat, calloused palms of a shaman on his buadren, the cold lightning-scented air scraping the water from his eyes
Sister Wind, are you here? Please hear me!
The moan that rolled down the corridors was hollow and strange. The anima were silent. They did not speak here, but remained monoliths of light and shadow, motion and shattering. Old were these anima, older than the council fires. The Sisters had never touched the face of this world, if there was a face within the endless falling. . .
Lightning flashed, sizzling bolts of fiery light arcing up the walls. He had come to a chamber, a tall dome of glistening stone. There were no visible entrances. No exits. The Ngamaru hovered in a loose circle around him, their sharp metal claws click-clacking against one another.
He whirled from one to the next, lips curling back, the blood of Aun pounding out the rhythm of battle. He was a warrior, strong and mighty. He reached to his belt for the familiar curves of his Taiaha, eager to meet Death and hear her whispers. He would not be the only one to hear her final words in this hell.
His hand came up with empty air. His Taiaha was gone. They had taken his weapon. He screamed, plunging to the ground. There was no escape. There was no escape. There was no escape.
He was running...
Observation: Subject has been in stasis period for one hundred eighty four Race 67a circadian cycles. Query: Yet exertion moisture still is evidenced on his forehead. Causation: Analysis needed.
Response: Energy analysis indicates high-intensity mental activity. Local nomenclature: Fever dreams.
The body of the Aun warrior continued to stay still within its energy prison. It had not moved in a very long time. An occasional drop of sweat made a small plink as it fell against the stone floor. No one was there to hear it.
"You were responsible for them? Those. . . mockeries? I confess I can see no reason why you think such admission would gain you favor here."
"Ahh, milady, the "candy-canes," as some of the townspeople so cunningly referred to them, were merely the beginning. A demonstration of potential. I could do more. So much more. But I need help, help from a person with power. Your puissance shines brightly around you, milady. There is so much we could do. . ."
"Tell me more."
He stood there, cloaked and cloaked, for no eyes or ley-sense to see. He was disturbed by the beauty of the room. Even more disturbed that he noticed the beauty. That it appealed to him. He was. . . beyond such things, yes? Logos. Concepts. Words. Do you feel? Yes, I feel. What is your name? Candeth Martine. I feel the hammer breaking. Are you Martine? Yes. Ankle shattering. Are you Martine? Yes! Magnify receptors for lower upper limbs. Left lower arm cracking. Are you Martine? Please, yes, please. Mercy. Right lower arm breaking. Are you Martine? Please. Please.
He looked down at the sleeping form on the bed. She is so beautiful.
"Melanay?" he whispers. "Melanay. I am broken. They have broken me, Melanay." He is crying. Real tears leaking from fake eyes. He reaches out a hand to stroke her long blonde hair. Blonde? Illogical. Melanay's hair was a deep russet brown. The figure below stirs.
He vanishes from the room. The woman has a groggy recollection the next morning of a few wispy purple bubbles dissipating in the middle of the night. She dismisses it as a dream. She can only worry about so much.
He gathered up all his power and hurled it at the wall of energy before him. It had no discernible effect. He screamed in rage. There had to be a weak link somewhere. He had gotten through. More power, rage fueling him to a depth of power he did not know he had, churning and seething, a roiling reservoir of fury.
The explosion knocked him back, almost taking his consciousness away. Fear made him fight off the fatigue. Fool. So dangerous to lose one's awareness in this place. The barriers remained, glowing and resolute.
He probed them once more, knowing that there wouldn't be anything different, but desperate all the same. It was a wall of knots, tendrils of energy tied round and round each other. If only there was some way to cut or slip through the knot. But he had tried, Martine had tried. . . if Martine wasn't the answer. . . well maybe the other was. And additional resources were finally reopening. Soon. It could be soon.
Where did the Flammas come from? So you have been keeping up with your studies, Borelean, even in the wake of all this madness. Good.
It is an interesting question. There are scattered Dericost text fragments that refer to. . . well, I am getting too far afield.
Have patience, son. Yes, that is a fearsome scowl. I'm sure one day when you are King you will have courtiers truly shaking at the knees.
Ahh, a smile. A good sense of humor is one of the most important things you need when walking in the circles that lie ahead of you. Do not forget that.
Here is what I know for sure. There are no references to Elementals appearing during the reign of the Seaborne Empire. There was speculation, in regards to the fragments I mentioned, but most credible scholars dismissed them as ancient tribal superstitions. There were some experiments, anyway, and some of those experiments actually furthered our demiurgy. . . the making of Golems. But most of the studies ended in abject failure, and some with a horrible demise.
That did not stop some from creating a set of lore and rituals and passing it down from generation to generation. It was supposed that the learning of these rituals would empower one to be an "Elemental Mage."
Yes! That's exactly the right question. What could an Elemental Mage do, that a Hieromancer, or a follower of the School of the Arm, could not? For most of my lifetime, I believed the answer was nothing. They made claims about being able to control the elements, to give them body and intent, and make them subject to their will. These "Elementals," though, were never seen, and the Elementalist Cabals had mostly died out during the later half of the Seaborne reign.
But as you, or anyone in Dereth could now inform me, the Elementals do exist. Flammas and worse in the caldera of Mount Tenkarrdun. Scintillas on the plateau of our reserve, Marae Lassel. I do not know where they come from. I have. . . guesses, but I have had far too many other pressing problems to investigate fully.
You chastised me earlier because you thought I was hiding something from you. And it is true that in order to do your duty you must have all the knowledge that you can at your disposal. Even if that knowledge is no more than a seed of concern to be planted now, to later grow into a tree of a solution. So before we conclude this session, I will leave you with this.
According to your people, to the School of the Arm masters, the elemental magics are agents of change. I know Celdiseth has tutored you in the Four Cardinal Paths often enough. Flame consumes, Acid decays, yes, yes, you know it, good.
But my people have long had a much different view of the elemental expressions of mana, Borelean. This view explains much of our reluctance to pursue further studies in the area. In my next lesson, I will show you the prism, and how it relates to the mana. But for now, this is what you need to know.
Fire, frost, acid, lightning. What do they all have in common?
They burn, Borelean, they all burn.
Unlike any other gaming experience, the world of Asheron's Call continues to evolve. Last month, enemies advanced against Dereth, while High Queen Elysa Strathelar fortified the land's defense. Yet there remains much work to be done...on both sides. Join us, as the Fever Dreams event opens soon!
Be sure to continue your part in this incredible ongoing story, and we'll see you in Dereth!
Original Link (now dead) -http://www.zone.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEfeb02rollout.asp
February 14, 2002
As winter recedes and lets her grasp slip free of Dereth and the Isparians, a new hand takes her place. Candeth Martine was rebuffed in his attempt to infiltrate the High Queen's Royal Guard in the dark month of Snowreap but his anger is not yet sated. His vengeance, directed at Elysa Strathelar's child Borelean, seems to know no bounds, and though he falls into silence now, his presence looms over the Isparians and in the night, dreams take on an eerie quality, one that is becoming all too real.
In the north rumors of a Tumerok Xuta spread as the Aun take their first tentative steps across the western sea. They are peaceful for the moment, but the length of that peace may rely on the extent to which adventurers are willing to go to assist them.
The greatest armorers in the land have been healed of their curse. They now are willing to create their old masterworks for those that wish to wear them. Hunters from the mountains have been seen hauling trophies of immense size across the barren tundra to be crafted into comfortable robes. A foe once thought extinct has returned.
The Arcanum enlists parties to travel deep into the wilderness to assist them in the latest task given them by their enigmatic leader, Nuhmudira. They advise against making the trek alone, but many souls of stout heart have been seen returning from the journey, worse for the wear and gibbering incoherently at their Lifestones.
The High Queen has fallen silent, perhaps moved to a safer harbor in an effort to protect her son. Asheron remains hidden within his tower away from the Isparians, intent on his own works. Nuhmudira has become more reclusive, yet she maintains the pace to allow all Isparians to find a place to call their own. And the strings attached to all these players lead to the hands of a man filled with hatred and driven by revenge.
Following is a list of the most interesting additions made to the game this update. However, please note that not everything has been included--that would spoil the fun of finding out all manner of things added or changed! As usual, though, 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 features are not always listed here in their entirety.
Many new dungeons added to the world.
New recipes for cooks.
Strange new creatures of demiurgy enter the world.
New items for all to obtain and enjoy.
The return of Greater Shadow Armor and Hoary Mattekar robes.
Original Link (now dead) -http://http://www.zone.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEfeb02build.asp
February 14, 2002
Here are just some of the additions made in the February 14 game update, Fever Dreams. The following list is comprised of detailed notes straight from the developers themselves. For a summary of things of interest, be sure to consult the official event article, Fever Dreams.
We appreciate your feedback and bug reports in helping to ensure that the world of Dereth is a stable and fun place to be. Please submit any such bug reports to http://bugs.zone.com.
New Functionality and Content
Added a number of new quests and dungeons related to the ongoing storyline.
Now we're cookin'!
Miscellaneous Improvements and Changes
Members of your Allegiance now show up as squares instead of circles on radar.
Hooks that had "broken" (the hook thought it had something attached to itself, and it counted against the maximum number of useable hooks in the house even though the hook was actually empty) should be all fixed now.
People who own Villas and Mansions may need to travel to their dungeon and back before their house hooks function normally again.
The Hoary Mattekar has been spotted again in some of the wilds of Dereth. . .
Players who turn in Glimmering or Sparkling Gems will now receive the original Lesser or Medium Shadowhunter Armor. Players who have the "stoneable" or "post-patch" Lesser or Medium Shadowhunter Armor will be able to trade it for the original version, and vice-versa.
Players who turn in Scintillating Gems will now receive armor very similar to the original Greater Shadowhunter Armor. The differences between this GS Armor and the original is the new armor is a different color (and players will have more color options come March), and that these GS pieces have a Wield_Requirement of level 30 (meaning you have to be at least level 30 to use the armor at all). Other than that, all stats are the same.
Players will also be able to trade the new Greater Shadow Armor pieces for the old "stoneable" pieces and vice-versa. Currently, players with original Greater Shadow Armor are not able to trade in their original GS* for the "stoneable" versions.
400 Cottages, 90 Villas, and 10 Mansions have been added to the world.
House Settlement portals for those settlements added in January have been added to the world.
There were a number of Mansions whose Covenant Crystals were closed to interaction in January. This should be fixed now.
The snow particles that were causing many client issues in January have been removed.
Fellowship bonuses have been removed for turning in items that award experience points. People who are part of a fellowship who turn in an xp-reward item will now receive their equal share of the item with no bonus (i.e., a person in a 2-person fellowship who turns in an item worth 100 xp will now receive 50 xp (50%) instead of 75 xp (75%). See our Letter to the Players which explains more.
9-people fellowships have had their individual xp toggled slightly upward. 9-people fellowships now share xp at 31% instead of 30.
The "rubble" quest has now been changed slightly so that the rubble is easier to acquire.
Rubble pieces are now givable.
@house mansion_recall is now functioning. You may use it regardless of whether you own a house, if your monarch owns a Mansion. You must have purchased Asheron's Call Dark Majesty to use the command. It works the exact same way as @house recall.
Portals that had a quest flag requirement (meaning you had to perform some action, such as killing a certain creature, or picking up a certain object, in order to enter the portal) were not accurately determining whether or not the quest flag had expired. This has now been fixed.
Some NPCs were unable to determine whether your quest flag had expired. This behavior was limiting access to Timaru and breaking similar dynamics. This has now been fixed.
Covenant Crystals that were not indicating an owned state (spinning and floating), even though their house was owned, should now be working as normal.
There was a bug in which people were able to side-jump onto a wall and stick. This bug has been fixed.
Some of the quest logic in the Elysa's Favor quest was not working as intended. This has been fixed.
Radar coordinates as the default option have been toggled back to default on. The client crashes that this option was causing has been fixed.
There are now Singularity equivalents for Bow, Crossbow, UA, Staff, and Dagger to be found in game.
The Elysa's Favor portals are now no-tie, no-recall.
The letter that the player finds at the end of the Training Academy: "A Crumpled Note," is now no-drop/no-give.
The "Point Up" emote has been removed from the game.
When players abandon a house, the message they receive now no longer tells them that any items remaining in the house will be erased.
The gold/red letter weapons are now hook-able.
Hea Raiders' cache now casts a Lockpick Ineptitude curse that cannot be removed using Dispel Gems. You can still pick the lock, but you will no longer be able to loot it time and again by opening, dispelling, and picking again.
Auroch Pastures Estates portal now leads to the correct destination.
Numerous settlement portals had some spelling/incorrect name typos fixed.
Letter to the Players 1
Original Link (now dead) -http://www.zone.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEletterjan02.asp
Letter to the Players
February 4, 2002
As of the February event, players in fellowships will no longer get the "fellowship bonus" to the experience points they earn when they hand in quest reward trophies, such as the head of the Olthoi Queen or the Olthoi Pincers. Instead, they will split experience points normally for the reward. For example, a fellowship of 5 turning in a reward worth 100,000 experience points will get 20,000 XP each, instead of 50,000 XP each.
Players will still continue to earn the XP bonus while fellowshipped and getting experience for killing monsters.
The "pincer effect" was an unintended side effect of the combination of large XP-reward type quests along with the new fellowship bonuses to XP. We have decided to remove this effect, as it would hinder our future ability to design and implement large XP-reward style quests. We would not want to make the base award so high that factoring an almost 200% increase in the award would be upsetting to the game's balance. But we also would not want to make the award low enough so as to require one to find a fellowship of 8 people to turn in the reward to make it a compelling dynamic.
The simplest and best answer is to just implement the fellowship XP bonus dynamic as it was originally designed: an incentive for players to group while hunting.
--The AC Team
Letter to the Players 2
Original Link (now dead) -http://zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEletterfeb02-1.asp
February 14, 2002
Fever Dreams Our February Event, Fever Dreams, brings a lot of new content to Dereth: 9 new dungeons and 2 new quests, in addition to 500 new houses (400 cottages, 90 villas, and 10 mansions), and the return of the original Shadowhunter Armor and the Hoary Mattekar Robe to Asheron's Call.
Hoary Mattekar Robes and Shadowhunter Armor Here are some notes about the Shadowhunter Armor and the Hoary Mattekar Robe. The basic dynamic is explained in the Developer's Notes. Keep in mind that if you have an original Greater Shadow Armor piece, that you will not be able to trade it in for either the "stoneable" (also called "post-patch") version of GS*, or the "neo" (what we are calling the new armor--hey, maybe it will stick!) version of GS*. If players desire to lose the advantages of the original GS* (no wield requirements, unique color), then we may implement some mechanic in the future for them to trade it in permanently for the stoneable/neo versions.
We decided to put the Wield_Requirement of level 30 on the neo GS* because, having developed this new tech, we want to use it the way it should have always been used: allowing us to implement very cool weapon/armor/items for higher levels that don't have the potential of completely breaking the lower level advancement game. The original GS* was one of these items. Watch for more items soon that incorporate Wield_Requirements.
Also note that there will be 3 new color options for each piece of GS* coming in March (neo LS* and MS* are the exact same armor as their original versions). We hope that this allows players to express their individual fashion choices in ways they couldn't with the old sets of GS*.
As for the Hoary Mattekar Robe, this dynamic will be back in much the same way that it appeared during Sudden Season. The main differences will be that the Hoary Mattekars have been in training since their last appearance, and so are buff and mean. They also are making their visit to Dereth permanent this time, and so on their travels they don't carry everything on them all the time. So expect to have to kill a number of them before you find that coveted Hoary Mattekar Hide.
Finally, a number of players have asked why we are bringing these back after we had removed them from the game in the first place. It's a good question. The primary reason is, as we discussed in last month's Letter to the Players, Asheron's Call is continually evolving. What was once considered "uber" and the ultimate in choices of weapons and armor quickly becomes commonplace. We had been discussing often over these last few months about whether to bring back the original Shadow Armor and the Hoary Mattekar Rbe, and the conversation quickly turned to "how" and not "if". After the duping issues that we faced two months ago, we realized it was a good idea to speed up the process of allowing all of our players in Dereth to have access to these items once again. We think that over the next few months, players will regard these armor items as a potential choice amongst a spectrum of possibilities, rather than the only desired option.
Housing Our number one focus with housing continues to be storage. In January, we made some changes that would fix the underlying problems that caused item loss, except in those situations in which landblock rollbacks could occur as a result of a server crash. Our theoretical model was that we would occasionally see server crashes that resulted in players reporting partial item loss if they had recently placed some of their items, and total item loss if they had recently placed all of their items. In 90% of reports this is exactly what occurred. Our January changes represent a significant advancement in finding a permanent solution to this problem. However, there are still a few reports that do not fit into this pattern. We are still investigating to determine what the true cause of item loss was in these cases.
Until we finish this investigation, however, we can still not recommend that players entrust important or valuable items in their housing hooks or storage chests until such time that we can be 100% sure of their security.
There were a number of more minor bugs that we fixed for February. Players who had item loss found that their hooks were no longer usable in the vast majority of cases. Those item hooks should now be free to use. Players in Villas and Mansions may need to walk through both their houses and dungeons to make sure all their hooks reset.
We also fixed the state in which the Covenant Crystals were not indicating a house was owned, even though it was. Furthermore, there were 10 Covenant Crystals linked with Mansions which were not usable in January. They should be fixed now. Finally, there were a number of dungeon portals for both Villas and Mansions which were not working correctly. This is now also fixed.
If you notice any problems with any of the dynamics mentioned above, please report it immediately, either in-game, or through http://bugs.zone.com.
The Singularity Bow, Crossbow, Katar, Staff, and Dagger are now in the game. Martine's ways and methods are sometimes hard to fathom, however. Instead of requiring the Glowing Virindi Cloak like the Singularity Sword, Mace, Axe, and Spear do, these require the Glowing Mosswart Shroud. This will be changed in March so that the Hollow Minions require the Glowing Virindi Cloak.
"Wall-jumping." We fixed the bug that allowed players to side-jump and stick onto a wall. We did this with the intention of making it harder to gain experience from monsters with no risk involved. We will continue to address "perch" situations over the next few months.
One issue that we have received a lot of feedback from players about recently is the allegiance experience dynamics. "XP Chains", as they are commonly referred to, have elicited many varied responses from players in terms of whether this dynamic should continue as is or be changed. We will be looking at this dynamic closely over this next month, and if we decide that a change is called for, we will share this information with the general player base some time before we implement it in the following Event (the earliest this change would occur would be April's).
The Future The many different threads in our storyline are beginning to intersect with one another. Some mysteries will be resolved, new ones will be revealed, and the overall story will become clearer as we advance into the middle of our new epic. After a few months of focusing on game mechanics and bug fixes, this month starts a series of more content-heavy Events, with new quests, dungeons, and creatures coming your way.
But there are still a number of overall game systems issues that need to be addressed. Issues such as intra-melee balance, melee vs. magic vs. missile balance, usefulness of all skills such as the Appraisals. And, like last year around this time, when we discussed ways in which AC could be more fun and less tedious, we are planning on implementing changes to existing dynamics so that more people have more fun with their day-to-day AC experience. As we get closer to specific implementations of these features, we are excited to share our plans and ideas with you.
So our basic focus over these next 4-6 months will be wrapping up some of our more egregious "balance" issues. While things will never be static in an ever-changing game such as Asheron's Call, we think we have a set of systems being worked on that, at the end, will make every class excited and happy to play. Perfect? Probably not, but a couple of huge steps in the right direction. Hand-in-hand with these balance changes, we will also be changing and tweaking some of the basic aspects of Asheron's Call, ranging from magic to melee/missile to transportation and many other areas. Our changes in these regards are meant to make people enjoy their Asheron's Call experience now more than ever.
After we get done with these goals, we will return to focusing almost exclusively on new content, as well as updating old quests that have become a little stale, and some of our more minor bug fixes. But first we want to even the playing field, and make the playing as fun as possible.
We also have not forgotten housing, and we will continue to try and improve the housing feature over the next six months. Some of the important goals:
Residential Quarters: Cheaper storage potential that will probably not require maintenance payments.
An ability to use some items on hooks: "Gee, my life has become so much easier ever since I installed that portal to Marae Lassel in my house!"
Incremental Storage: being able to purchase additional storage in your house.
An @houses available command that allows one to see what houses are both open for sale, and not yet sold.
While we have no immediate timeframe for these, we are working hard on them, and expect to see some of them soon. We are also still committed to opening up regular houses on Dereth. However, we will not be able to put 500 houses per month on Dereth like we have for the last two months. Expect another 200 houses for March and April. This will give us close to 3000 houses per world, with an ultimate goal of somewhere between 3500-4000 domiciles per world on Dereth and the same number of Residential Quarters in the next six months.
As for next month: we will see the first step in our changes to melee and missile dynamics, as warriors of many of the melee classes and archers get to experience weapons that push the envelope of anything that has been seen before in Dereth. This is not our final solution, but merely that first step.
Our dynamic for how people use mana stones will also undergo a couple of notable change, and we think they're great!
Thank you for continuing to play and support Asheron's Call. It is your passion for Asheron's Call and the world of Dereth that make everything we do in service of this game worthwhile.
--The AC Team
Final Note: Nexus Armor Removal on Darktide
Some of you may remember that as the result of people exploiting the duping bug back in December, the Nexus armor was actually duplicated on Darktide. We stated when we confirmed this that it was our intention to delete all copies of the Nexus armor with the February update. While this remains our intention, the work to make this happen was slightly greater then we anticipated. We decided it was more important for February for us to deliver on some incredible content for all players, then to take away some content to get a fix in for just Darktide that effects just a handful of people. As such, the deletion of the Nexus armor on Darktide will happen with the March update. We apologize for the confusion.
Letter to the Players 3
Original Link (now dead) -http://classic.zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEletterfeb02-2.asp
Letter to the Players
February 15, 2002
News on the "No Logon Server" Error
Immediately after the February update on Thursday, players using Window 98 or Windows ME started to experience the following error when they hit the "play" button from the Zone lobby: "Client: There is no logon server for your account available. Please try again in a few minutes."
The error does not happen for every player using these operating systems. Teams at Microsoft and Turbine have been engaged since this error was first discovered to try to get an understanding of what is causing this problem and then plan out a course to correct it.
At this time, we still do not have an ETA on when a fix will be in place. It is likely that this error will continue through the weekend.
Players on the fansites have discovered a few workarounds that sometimes get players into the game, but none that are a guaranteed fix. Players who may have successfully entered the game one time may then see this error if they log in later.
We do apologize to those who have been affected by this problem and we hope to have a solution in place soon. We will be providing updates on the State of the Code page as we get them.
--The AC Team
Letter to the Players 4
Original Link (now dead) -http://classic.zone.msn.com/asheronscall/news/ASHEletterfeb02-3.asp
Letter to the Players
February 22, 2002
We want to explain the nature of the bug that prevented some of our players from logging into the worlds for a few days after the February Event. We have tried to make this explanation as user-friendly as possible, but it was a very difficult and complex problem. Adding to the issue is that the bug was not a direct result of something that changed in February, but rather a culmination of a number of circumstances coming together that triggered the bug.
When a player logs into Asheron's Call with their client, the client sends an authorization packet (what the server needs to verify that you are a valid player and have an active subscription) to the server. One of the variables in the packet needed its value to be set to anything but "1" in order for validation to occur. Unfortunately, there had been a bug in the code since Asheron's Call had gone live in which that variable remained uninitialized (meaning, not set to any value, including zero). So that variable was set to whatever the value happened to be in its given memory location, which, up until February, had always been a value other than 1. So the process worked, despite the bug.
But then this month, when we updated our client for the February Event (adding new icons, setups, and landscape changes), that memory location got switched around, so that on some computers running Windows 9x, that memory location always contained a "1", thereby breaking the validation process. Because other Windows operating systems handle memory differently, this situation did not effect those machines.
None of the changes that were made this month triggered this situation. It was just a matter of a combination of circumstances coming together to make this bug possible at this particular juncture.
We hope this somewhat explains what was going on without getting too technical. We are confident the fix we have in place will stop this from happening again and apologize for the length of time it took to fix.