Original Link (now dead) -http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/jan04_teaser.htm
January '04 Teaser
The cold black walls were home. There was no other explanation for the warmth that spread through him. Since Kaedrix had made him aware that the Virindi were leaving the home of his Lord, the Mirror had wanted to see the halls, the halls of Bael'Zharon, the Hopeslayer, the most fearsome entity that this world had ever known. His Lord.
A thin black smile stretched across his shadowy face, and his children began leaving him. They pulled themselves from his body and swarmed along the walls, into the shadows and along the floor. The children giggled and danced and played, as all good children should. Finally, he was home.
The Virindi had not been to this depth. They had not violated the sanctity of the deepest temple. Here he had stood so long ago with his Lord and the other chosen, performing rites to call the black breath to scourge the world and bring about the destruction of it all.
The children suddenly stopped dancing and giggling. Playtime was done; now the air grew colder as the Mirror's eyes blazed and spilled red across the ebon floor. The thin smile turned to a dark scowl and the crown atop his head spilled shadowy fumes about him. The children gathered into a circle on the floor, sitting in silence—no, not silence, reverence. The Mirror made his way to an altar set into the wall. A basin filled with bubbling black blood was set within the stone and lit from above by some spectral form of crimson light. Here was the place it would begin again.
The children waited expectantly. The Mirror dipped a shadowy hand into the blood and lifted it to his lips. As he drank, strength flowed through him once more. Power flooded into his arms and his eyes burned brighter, flooding the cavern with radiant light he looked up to the ceiling…there, gathered and huddled in the darkness, were thousands of sleeping forms. The Mirror turned his attention to the children who waited, so patiently, such good children. They deserved a reward. They deserved a story.
"Such precious children, obedient and silent. You have earned a story, children. But this story is unlike any other I have told you, for you shall live it." His hand dipped into the blood again, but this time his fingers extended, etching symbols onto the wall behind the altar. "It begins before the coming of our new Lord, when the world was dark with rain and the Black Breath reached to cleanse the Lightbringer's blight. It was then that our Lord, our First Lord, asked me of children."
"Such a painful wound on the mind, heart and soul of our Lord, as his own son had been taken from him. But still he spoke to me of children, asking how to teach them and speak to them as I had done. How to love children as I did, and how to mold them in his own image." The Mirror drew the face of his master in the blood and then a smaller form beside him. The images took on a ghostly white sheen and began to move about one another. "My master could not have the children he wanted, so I made children from him and for him." The images danced and combined, then parted, splitting into several small winged outlines. The Mirror smiled. "Now it is time for Ler Rhan to revisit his master's children and wake them from their slumber. Would you children like to help?"
The small shadow forms nodded their heads in unison and Ler Rhan, the Mirror, smiled once again. Tendrils of darkness began pouring from his mouth and from the top of his crown. A web-work stretched over his children, reaching to the top of the giant cavern and touching the motionless forms.
"Such good children. Take his blood, take the blood of my master, and feed his children. We shall wake them and then we shall take what is ours."
The children clamored one by one, by the tens, the hundreds, then by the thousands to carry the black blood through the webs to the cavern's ceiling. There, they dripped the viscous liquid into sleeping mouths and fled to the safety of the floor below. Ler Rhan cast his red gaze toward the ceiling and marveled as the forms started moving.
"Good children, good." The tendrils retreated into his form and the children began clapping, leaping, dancing and playing again. The first Margul descended and landed before Ler Rhan. He bowed his head to the little creature and it spoke.
"Where is father?" It tilted its head to the side. "We awake and do not feel his call."
"Father is…resting." Ler Rhan responded and the children hushed. The little creature looked to the ceiling and his brethren. It looked back to Ler Rhan.
"We remember you. You are the Creator. You are the teacher, and despoiler. We shall serve as father wishes." It bowed low, pulling its wings about it as it did. Ler Rhan nodded.
"We have much to do." His shadowy children, staring in awe, began crawling toward him, toward the little creature. "These are my children. There are many others coming, children of the new master. They will arrive soon and then we take the land above and claim it once again."
The little creature bowed its head again. It let out a call and above Ler Rhan thousands of wings began flapping and cries echoed through the cavernous halls.
Lord Aerbax, the children of the Hopeslayer are wakened.
Excellent. Continue with your efforts and rend the land asunder, drive out those who cling to the ideals of the Quiddity, and loose my children on the world. Take back the home of your former master. Let me rest, the transformation is far from complete.
As you wish, Lord Aerbax.
"Go!" Ler Rhan commanded.
Through twisting tunnels and marred underworld, through darkness and dampness they flew. To the surface, spreading like plague. Seeking a singular prey with efficient cruelty unseen to this world in millennia. Claw, tooth, spell and breath ripped and shredded the remaining forces of the Quiddity. They delved into strongholds built over long silenced geysers and tunnels of flame. As the purge neared its end, Ler Rhan gathered his children close and brought them all back within his body, one by one.
Original Link (now dead) -http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/jan04rollout.htm
Rollout Article - January
Ayan Baqur saw it first, a black pillar billowing far to the southwest. It rose into the sky and threatened to block out the sun. The black pillar cleared and the ground shook as a wave approached the shore of the direlands. Water rose as the wave crashed just below the edge of the city and dragged the creatures on the western coast into the sea.
When the waves ceased to crash they saw them, teeth that rose toward the sky. The mountains of the island in the southwest had risen to be like knives. The island was changed and only the heartiest and most adventurous would dare travel there now.
While this transpired in the west, High Queen Elysa approved the work of the council in enhancing the methods of communications within monarchies. The work of months came to fruition as the whispers of all sworn to her could speak amongst themselves at last.
The Sho town of Shoushi saw the first of her improvements as a lifestone was anchored in the center of the town. Asheron and Nuhmudira remained apart from the endeavor. The work instead fell to Shoyanen Kenchu, Master of the Right Hand, who also completed the task of reworking the portal space beacon. The town saw an increased interest from the bestial inhabitants of Dereth, their curiosity piqued by the attention the town received.
The Ongoing Saga
The High Queen continues her work with the same intensity that she has shown since awakening from her coma. As the newly restructured High Council sits down to business, the eruption of darkness in the southwest reminds all that Dereth still has many dangers.
Now let's take a look at some of the changes coming in this month's event.
As we've hinted at all month, the Singularity Caul and many of the quests associated with it have been revised. Hopefully you took our warning and didn't leave any characters logged off on the Caul, otherwise they may be in for a nasty fall, followed by an encounter with some of its new inhabitants.
In addition, we've revised much of the content around the starter town of Shoushi, rebalancing and tweaking where we felt it was necessary. Over time, we plan on retouching all of the older towns in this manner, as well as making other changes and improvements to make them more fun and valuable to spend time in.
In the December event, we made a change to the location of the Marketplace to prevent players from gaining fellowship XP while trading or idling there. In the December Rollout Article, we said, "We intend to fix the code that allows fellowship XP to be shared between players who are not in the same dungeon." This month, we've made good on that intention.
As of this event, you will no longer receive fellowship XP from fellowship members:
If they are indoors while you are outdoors, or vice-versa.
If you are both indoors but in different landblocks.
"Indoors" means inside a dungeon, or inside a building or cave on the surface. As almost all dungeons are in different landblocks, this means that you can no longer gain fellowship XP if you are in a different dungeon than the rest of your fellowship.
In addition, we have decreased the maximum distance between fellowship members at which you can share fellowship XP. In the past, you could be about 8 map units away from each other and still receive full fellowship XP. (8 map units is the distance between 0.0N, 0.0W, and 8.0N, 0.0W.) After that, the amount that you receive would decrease slowly. For example, you could be about 48 map units away approximately the distance between Lytelthorpe and Al-Jalima and still receive 50% of fellowship XP.
Starting with this event, you must be within a little less than 2.5 map units to receive 100% of fellowship XP. After that it will drop off quickly when you are more than 5 map units away from your fellows, your fellowship XP will be at 0%.
These changes are intended to reinforce the design of fellowships as groups of allied players, working together either in hunting or questing.
PK/L Radar Blips
We listened to the negative feedback that we received regarding the PK/L radar blip changes that were made in the November 2003 event. To improve the ability to correctly identify friend from foe, as well as determine the number of possible opponents, we're making the following tweaks:
Threat blips the X's have been made smaller so that they no longer overlap in confusing ways. They are now the same size as the standard blips.
Allegiance threat blips the X's on top of squares have been removed as they did not have the intended effect. Allegiance members are squares, no matter what their PK/L status may be.
Max Mana Spells
There are several spells in the game that either increase or decrease a player's maximum mana. Many of these spells did not stack properly. This has now been fixed. Spells that increase or decrease your maximum mana should now stack based on the amount of their effect.
Here's an example of how things should work now: If you have two spells cast on you, one which increases your maximum mana by 50 and one which decreases your maximum mana by 20, your total increase should be 30. If you then had another spell cast on you which increased your maximum mana by 80, it would override the increase of 50, and you would have a total increase of 60.
Original Link (now dead) -http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/jan04_devnotes.htm
Developer's Notes - January
New Functionality and Content
Allegiance chat! See the Letter to the Players for details. Please note that the old allegiance broadcasts can still be done with the /allegiance command, just type /allegiance, . Don't forget the comma!
The Singularity Caul has been revised. Please see the Rollout Article for details.
Shoushi and its surrounding content has seen some revisions. Please see the Rollout Article for details.
Fellowship XP across distances, and between dungeons, has been adjusted. Please see the Rollout Article for details.
Miscellaneous Improvements and Changes
Radar blips for PK and PKL players have been changed. Please see the Rollout Articlefor details.
The color of direct tells has been adjusted. Tells that you receive are still bright yellow, but tells that you send are now a dull yellow.
The spells that increase or decrease your maximum mana now stack in a more logical manner. Please see the Rollout Article for details.
Signs in town can now be read simply by examining them no more need to double-click them.
Some NPCs in towns, particularly those tied to starter quests or the Explorer quests, no longer collect monster trophies.
The body parts for guises and masks have stopped dropping from creatures. Look for their return next Festival season!
The appearance of the sleek dress has been improved, particularly when dyed.
Poison is now house-hookable.
The translated Missives to the World Shaper are no longer droppable or giveable.
The trees on Aerlinthe have been decreased in number to improve graphics performance.
Belt pouches and baskets can now be purchased in multiple colors.
Baskets, belt pouches, and sacks now have the same value and burden as backpacks. Regular and small Tusker backpacks now have the same value and burden as the large Tusker backpack.
The new leather boots can now be tinkered and dyed properly.
The new leather gauntlets can now be dyed winter blue.
You will no longer see house guest or storage messages from characters that you have squelched.
The Tusker Obliterator and Olthoi Sentinel have been changed for balance.
Valley of Death creatures should no longer spawn in the extreme Direlands.
The Olthoi Abdomen Fragment should drop more reliably, and three of them should drop instead of just one.
The icon for Moderate Item Enchantment is now correct.
Last month's new housing tables should properly fall to the ground when dropped.
The Electric Weeping Axe now has the correct name.
The higher level of the two Koji's Beast masks is now called Koji's Fiend, and the crafter who makes them no longer refers to "Kojii".
Letter to the Players
Original Link (now dead) -http://microsoftgamesinsider.com/AC1/jan04_lttp.htm
Letter to the Players - January
Welcome to the first Letter to the Players of 2004! This will be a very exciting and challenging year for Asheron's Call. Hopefully by now you've seen the announcement that Turbine is purchasing the Asheron's Call franchise from Microsoft. If you've missed that somehow, just check out the announcements on Turbine's Asheron's Call website.
One thing that you'll be seeing more of in the next few months is information from us. In addition to updates regarding the transition of services from Microsoft to Turbine, you'll be seeing more information from the Live Team regarding where the game is and where it's going. Some of these articles will be questions that we ask you, the fans, similar to our PK Lite request for feedback. Other articles won't focus as much on questions, but will be more like informal essays on our plans and goals for various game mechanics and content. We look forward to sharing our ideas with you, and we know we'll get a lot of great feedback either way.
In Dereth, things have been equally as busy. To the surprise of many, High Queen Elysa Strathelar awoke from her coma with a new drive and determination. The High Council has been restructured, and Nuhmudira is no longer a member.
Many have sought the identity of the High Queen's assassin and have been well-rewarded for their efforts. Meanwhile, the Undead fight the Olthoi deep in the bowels of Dereth.
It is a new year both in our world and in Dereth, and this new year brings many changes. We believe you'll be very excited about them, we know we are!
In the January event, we'll be introducing a feature that many of you have been asking about for some time server-wide allegiance chat!
Our initial implementation of allegiance chat is very straightforward if I am in an allegiance, and I type @a Hi! or /a Hi!, all the members of my allegiance will see [Allegiance] Ibn says, "Hi!"
If you are in an allegiance, you will be added into your allegiance chat channel as soon as you log in. If you aren't in an allegiance, you'll be added as soon as you swear to a patron, or have someone swear to you.
If you do not wish to see Allegiance chat, type @filter allegiance, just like any other message type. When you want to see it again, type @unfilter allegiance. If you @squelch a character, you will no longer see that character's speech in Allegiance chat.
There are a number of additional features that we plan to add to Allegiance chat as time permits. For example, currently there is no way for a monarch to remove someone from the Allegiance chat channel other than removing that character from the allegiance completely. We hope to introduce that feature as well as other options shortly.
We're very excited about other possible uses for this technology. Zyrca, srand, and Gator our server engineer worked very hard to make this possible, and it creates a number of opportunities. You should see more information from us on this soon.
January Event Delayed
So, those are two bits of good news... here's the bad news. You will have to wait a little longer than expected to get these two new features, as well as the rest of the great content we have planned for the January event. We are moving our event date back in order to allow for the AC1 server datacenter move, currently planned for January 20 through January 23.
You might be thinking, "Why not just make the January event live during the move downtime?" This is something that we did consider. However, we want to make sure that the worlds are running normally after the move before we make any changes to them. To that end, the January event is now currently scheduled for Tuesday, January 27.
AC1 ACCMTY Forums
As per this post, as of February 1, we'll be moving official support from the AC1 ACCMTY forums to the Turbine AC1 forums located here. We will not be doing any live team support on the ACCMTY forums after that. Update your bookmarks!
The Singularity Caul
Recent events have hinted at some major changes in store for the Caul. With that in mind, I bring you a warning:
DO NOT leave any characters logged off ANYWHERE on the Caul when the worlds come down for the January event! Not if you value their lives and death items, that is!
That's all for now. Remember, we've still got a long road ahead of us as the transition continues. We'll provide more information whenever we can. Thanks for sticking with us. I hope you're as excited as we are!