April 2004 - Patch Page

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A New Threat

Posted on 08-Apr-2004

As Antius entered the room he removed his helm and shook his head in disbelief.

"Our fears are confirmed. Something new has arrived here on Dereth." He placed the helm on the table across from Elysa and Fadsahil. "Any news from Shoyanen and Celdiseth?"

"None," Elysa answered. "I expect that they'll be contacting us soon. They've found nothing that would indicate that there is a barrier around the islands, though." Elysa rapped her knuckles on the table and kicked her chair back onto two legs. "Are they violent?"

Antius dragged a chair away from the table and sat down hard. "I would say yes, but we don't speak their language. The mosswart that found his way into Sawato was certainly scared of them though. Yet, I cannot find any indication that it was these new creatures that massacred his people. In fact, I think that something else is responsible for the deaths of the mosswarts."

Elysa arched a brow and looked at Fadsahil. "Fadsahil, tell Antius your news." Antius looked to the man and waited expectantly.

"You'll recall that I've been complaining of a strange sound that has been coming from beneath the floor of my shop?" Antius nodded and leaned closer. "It hasn't ceased, in fact it has increased in persistence. Further, I have noticed that the sclavus in the desert have begun moving closer to my shop. I've chased most of them away but they seem drawn there." Antius didn't look surprised in the least. "Now, at night I hear scratching. Like something is trying to burrow through the stone." Fadsahil took up a small goblet and drank deeply.

"Move," Antius stated and lifted his hands from the table. Elysa smirked across from him. "Don't take the chance. Whatever overwhelmed the mosswarts in the Blackmire worked swiftly and let the blood from their bodies without leaving any physical marks. Best you don't rely on magic to save you. Don't take the chance."

Fadsahil nodded as Antius concluded. Elysa lowered her chair to the floor. "Antius," she began, "if we try to make contact with them what do you think will happen?"

"They'll be violent, I am sure of that." He shook his head. "So far the beings that we've encountered have been diminutive and ineffective but possessed of great speed and tenacity." He paused. "They are not of this world&"

"Portals?" asked Fadsahil.

"We believe so," Elysa said as Antius nodded his head in agreement. "Without Asheron here we cannot be sure if he's ever seen them before, but Shoyanen was in Linvak Tukal assisting Lord Kresovus with a lifestone crystal when the magic was released across Dereth. She was certain that it was tied to portal space in some respect. What were her exact words, Antius?"

"It felt like a ward to keep something out, a place to store bad memories, a spell to seal them away," Antius said and poured a glass of water for himself.

Elysa nodded then continued. "If it was a spell that had been a ward to seal something away, it is simple to deduce that the arrival of these new creatures was triggered by the very wave that washed over Dereth." She paused and knocked on the table. "We'll need to keep watch over the area. Something tells me that this is not done." She stood and looked at Fadsahil. "Move your shop, requisition a tent and I'll see about getting builders for you when time allows." Fadsahil bowed his head. "Antius, we need to go talk with Aun Hareltah. He offered the services of one of his Drumspeakers to act as an intermediary with the anima of Dereth. Perhaps this Drumspeaker can decipher the language of these new arrivals. Let's meet these new creatures and find out if they are friend or foe."

She turned and started for the door, Antius stood and followed.

Rollout Article

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Rollout Article - April

posted on 14-Apr-2004

"I'd never have believed it if I hadn't done it myself." Celdiseth folded his arms across his chest. "It's like the ley lines changed, shifted, flooded magic up through the world and into our beings. Who knows where the possibilities will end." He looked to Ciandra, "It might also explain why Shoyanen was able to start working with lifestones."

Ciandra chuckled and continued studying the rings on the strange object recovered from the Blackmire Swamp.

"Whatever the cause of this shift in the ley lines, and I've got my theories mind you, it isn't as new as we all think." He shook his head. "I seem to remember a certain person mentioning something to you not all that long ago about changes and using things that we didn't wholly understand."

Ciandra clearly understood the barb, but showed no signs of letting it affect her.

"I think that whatever was done to the ley lines may have facilitated that wave of magic. That's my take on things." Celdiseth walked up behind Ciandra. "All these spells casting so fast& it's just not right."

Ciandra turned, "Celdiseth, while I appreciate your position I cannot help but wonder why you're here. If you mean to help me, then please help. Do not yammer to me in thinly veiled nuances that this might all be my fault." She stared him down.

Celdiseth unfolded his hands and held them palms open. "All right, what can I do?"

Ciandra motioned to a stack of papers. "Review the findings I have written out so far." Celdiseth nodded and walked toward the stack. As Ciandra turned back to the device a wide smile spread across her face. She had stood up to him and it felt good.

The Ongoing Saga
The investigations of Antius Blackmoor and the archmagi of the Council have yet to conclusively determine exactly what happened deep within the Blackmire temple last month. One thing is certain the Burun have arrived, and they don't appear to be friendly.

The fluctuations in the ley lines have had even more far-reaching effects the Arcanum has discovered how to cast many enchantments more quickly, allowing the heroes of Dereth to prepare for combat faster. They have also made improvements to dispel spells and potions, allowing for greater ease in ridding oneself of negative spells.

But will these increased powers be enough to face this new threat?

Many of this month's changes have been already described in detail in the Letter to the Players. There are two additional changes that we'd like to mention in detail.

Scattershot Fix
For some time it's been possible, at very low levels of Bow, Crossbow and Thrown Weapons skill, to have a "critical failure". In these cases, your shot would go "wild" and veer far off target. These days it's only seen frequently on low-level Drudges that use Thrown Weapons.

This code only impacted very low-level characters and creatures, but it was checked on each and every missile attack. This was a small but non-negligible impact on server performance, so we've removed it. This should not impact the vast majority of ranged weapons players.

Skill Gems and Experience
It has been possible for some time to get into a difficult state with regards to your unspent experience pool and a skill sellback gem. If the experience that you would gain from untraining or unspecializing a skill would put you above the maximum amount of unspent experience, the game would not allow you to use the sellback gem. For very high-level characters, this could result in situations in which they needed to spend a small amount of XP to get under the cap, but had no skills in which they could spend that amount of XP.

Starting this month, if the experience that you would gain from untraining or unspecializing a skill would put you above the cap, you will be informed of this in the warning dialog box that you receive when using the gem. At that point, you can choose not to use the gem. If you choose to proceed, you will lose any experience beyond the maximum unspent of 4,294,967,295.

The benefit to this change is that if an untrain or unspecialization would put you only 10 experience points over the cap, you can choose to lose those 10 points and continue with the action. In the past, those 10 points would prevent you from using the gem.

One other note about this change to fit all the necessary text on the screen for this situation, we have reduced the font size used in the gem confirmation dialogs.

Release Notes

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Developer's Notes

Posted on 14-Apr-2004

New Functionality and Content

  • We've introduced part three of our ongoing Treasure Revisions.
  • Three new types of armor can be found in loot.
  • Secondary weapons in each weapon class have been improved.
  • Many Life and Creature spells now cast more quickly: All self Creature spells, and Life armor, elemental protection, and regeneration spells.
  • Dispel spells and potions have been revised. All dispels are also now tied to the PK/L timer.
  • Mites have received an art update.
  • We've introduced a 30 day timer on purchasing new cottages, villas and mansions.
  • We've made several content revisions to Holtburg, Linvak Tukal, the Arm, Heart, Mind quest and the Little Green Seeds quest.
  • Players are now asked to move to stalls in the outlying rooms of the Marketplace. Envoys will be enforcing this policy.

Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements

  • The chance for a very rare type of critical missile attack failure has been removed.
  • It is now possible to use a Skill Sellback gem even if doing so would put you above the cap in spendable XP. Please read the Rollout Article regarding this change as it is possible for you to lose XP by using a gem.
  • The price of potions and applesauce has been adjusted.
  • You will now receive a message if a player casts a spell on an item that you are wielding.
  • The descriptions of the @day and crafting confirmation options have been clarified on the Character Options panel.
  • Crafting confirmation will now let you attempt the crafting interaction even if you have a 0% chance of success. It will also allow you to cancel the attempt even if you have a 100% chance of success.
  • Players using @die near you will no longer cause a blank line to appear in your chat bar.
  • Several landscape features in which players could become stuck have been fixed.
  • A place where you could get stuck in the Decrepit Tower has been fixed, and a lever has been added to prevent players from being trapped in one room.
  • The spawn of small golems on the island west of Ulgrim's has been decreased.
  • Burun death animations had their speed increased.
  • The higher-level Drudge Slaves are now called Drudge Servants.
  • Drudges will no longer race to the defense of Target Drudges. (Someone finally explained to them that they're just dummies.)
  • Helcan, Hellion and Graal Marguls have had their XP reward increased, as has Biaka.
  • The creatures in the Mannikin Foundry have been rebalanced for characters from levels 8 to 12.
  • Oak chests have had their wealth rating increased. Both Oak and Mahogany chests should generate loot more quickly.
  • Sturdy Steel Chests will now generate more loot.
  • It should no longer be possible to lock doors open in the Blackmire Temple, nor should it be possible to trigger them through walls.
  • Kreavon in Wai Jhou no longer collects Ebony. Ebony salvage is now collected by Caelis Renning.
  • The Gredaline Consulate exit portal is now restricted to 25+.
  • The locked door before the exit portal on the Drudge side of the Hidden Cavern has been removed.
  • There is no longer a quest restriction on entering the Portal Space dungeon.
  • Picking up the Sanctuary Recall scroll is now on a 30 day quest timer, instead of being one time only.
  • The Hollow Minions in the Academy Quest no longer drop loot.
  • The chests in the Academy now spawn loot that is more appropriate for starting characters.
  • Ma'yad in Yaraq now gives a slightly increased pyreal reward.
  • Ferns across Dereth have received an art update.
  • Both the old and new Invokers are now giveable and hookable, as is the Buadren.
  • The Tusker Island Emporium shirt no longer covers the abdomen.
  • Bunny slippers now always get a failure color if you fail to dye them successfully, as all other items do.
  • The spells on the Periapt of Endless Sight no longer override moderates and majors.
  • Gelidite Robes are no longer attuned.
  • The Ensorceled Falchion and the Sickle of Writhing Fury should now look correct when hooked on a wall.

Minor Details

  • Typos in the Red Rat Lair rumor and the Undercove Crypt note have been fixed.
  • The rumors sold by the barkeep in Yaraq should no longer have a strange outline in his inventory.
  • The description on the Chess Stamp is now more accurate.
  • Scuttling Grievvers are now correct identified as Grievvers.
  • Rumors regarding Frore can now be found in Stonehold and Plateau Village.
  • Ulgrim's Bathrobe will now display an inscription when examined.
  • A typo in the text of both Woodsmen has been fixed.
  • Balls of Gunk can now be wielded.

Letter to the Players

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=223

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Letter to the Players

Posted on 29-Mar-2004

Welcome to the April Letter to the Players! Don't worry, we know it's technically still March. We're still working out our communication timetable to take into account changes to our schedule.

Last month in Dereth, a strange temple was discovered deep in the Blackmire Swamp. Those adventurers who dared explore its depths found relics and artifacts from the Falatacot witches... and something more. An ancient ritual was completed. A portal was opened. Something came through.


How will these new creatures impact the balance of power in Dereth? Will more come through? Are there more temples like this scattered throughout the landscape?

And where the heck is Ulgrim?

Now let's take a look at some of the changes coming in April and beyond.

Coming Soon
(These are items that we plan to implement in the April event. Many of these items were mentioned in last month's In Development section.)

Darktide Recompense
The Darktide Recompense will end as of the April event. The Town Criers will not give you a token after the April event and, more importantly, will not reward you if you give them your token. They'll just keep it, as Town Criers normally do.

New Armor
In April, we will be introducing three new types of loot armor Aluvian Lorica armor, Gharu'n Nariyid armor, and Sho Chiran armor. You'll see the first glimpses of these new armor suites in the April Teaser, and you can find more information on their appearance in loot in our in-depth Treasure article.

Treasure Changes, Phase 3
The treasure changes are described in great detail in our in-depth Treasure article. Here's a quick summary of the changes that are coming in April:

  • Creatures that were within 5 levels of a higher difficulty band will have the wealth level of their loot increased. Some creatures have had the "quality" property added to their loot, and some group-oriented creatures will drop more loot.
  • In addition to the three new types of armor, the spread of all armor in loot will be adjusted.
  • The wield requirements on Covenant armor will be in bands similar to the wield requirements on weapons, and Covenant armor with magic defense requirements may be found.
  • Attack and Defense modifiers will appear more frequently on weapons.
  • Mana Conversion modifiers will also appear more frequently on casters, and the average Mana Conversion modifier will be adjusted upwards.
  • You will be able to find Melee Defense modifiers on casting items, and Missile Defense and Magic Defense modifiers on all weapons and casting items.
  • Casting items will have the ability to generate with Defender due to the above change, and will also have the ability to generate with the Hermetic Link spell or cantrips for any of the spells that can be found on them.

"Second-class" Weapon Upgrades
In the past, some weapons within a weapon class were just plain undesirable. For example, if you were a Mace user and you wanted maximum damage, there was no reason to look at anything other than a Morningstar. You turned up your nose at a Kasrullah.

In April, we'll be making changes to bring the low-end damage weapons closer to par with the maximum damage weapons in each class. This is similar to the changes we made to bows and crossbows last year; however we are not necessarily giving all weapons within a class the same maximum damage. In many weapon classes there will still be weapons that have a lower maximum than others, but the difference will be much smaller.

No weapon class is having its maximum damage increased, and some classes are being changed more than others. For example, all three types of Unarmed Combat weapons had the same maximum damage, so they will not be touched. Weapons that are considered to be a "secondary damage type" Rapiers, Spiked Clubs, Naginatas, and Warhammers are not being changed, and we are taking into account the differences between hiltable and non-hiltable Swords and Daggers.

Buffing Improvements
The Buffing Changes article provides information on all of our planned buffing improvements and how they fit together. The first of these, faster self-buffs, is planned for April.

In April, all Creature and Life Self buffs will cast at the same speed as a level I spell, no matter what their level. This should cut down on the amount of time spent preparing for battle for players who cast their own buffs.

Fellowship Spells

As we have hinted in the past, we are introducing spells that can be cast on all members of a fellowship simultaneously. The first of these spells that can be cast by players are planned for April. We are taking it slow with these they are only attribute buffs, and no more powerful than existing spells.

Vendor Buy-Sell Rates
Ever since the creature spawn changes, there have been some disparities between the difficulty of hunting around certain towns and the buy-sell rates of the vendors inside those towns. In April, we will be adjusting the vendor buy-sell rates in several towns.

The new buy-sell rates will be based on the difficulty of the surrounding content. You can see the difficulty breakdown in our Creature Distribution Map. The three capital cities Cragstone, Hebian-To, and Zaikhal were given special consideration.

In addition, to give each town some unique flavor, each town will have at least one vendor who has better buy/sell rates than the rest of the town.

These tables show each town's new values along with its old values.

Newbie Towns (1-20)
Town Name Old Buy Rate Old Sell Rate Old Max Buy New Buy Rate New Sell Rate New Max Buy
Al-Arqas 90% 135% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Bluespire 40% 200% 100,000 90% 135% 25,000
Greenspire 40% 200% 100,000 90% 135% 25,000
Holtburg 90% 135% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Lytelthorpe 90% 135% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Martine's Retreat 70% 190% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Nanto 90% 135% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Redspire 40% 200% 100,000 90% 135% 25,000
Rithwic 90% 135% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Samsur 90% 135% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Shoushi 90% 135% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Tufa 90% 155% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Underground City 90% 155% 100,000 90% 135% 25,000
Xarabydun 90% 155% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Yanshi 90% 135% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000
Yaraq 90% 135% 10,000 90% 135% 25,000

Capital Cities
Town Name Old Buy Rate Old Sell Rate Old Max Buy New Buy Rate New Sell Rate New Max Buy
Cragstone 90% 155% 100,000 90% 145% 100,000
Hebian-To 90% 155% 100,000 90% 145% 100,000
Zaikhal 80% 170% 100,000 90% 145% 100,000

Low Towns (20-40)
Town Name Old Buy Rate Old Sell Rate Old Max Buy New Buy Rate New Sell Rate New Max Buy
Al-Jalima 90% 155% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Ahurenga 40% 200% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Arwic 90% 155% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Baishi 80% 170% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Eastham 90% 155% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Glenden Wood 80% 170% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Khayyaban 90% 155% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Kryst 80% 170% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Lin 90% 155% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Mayoi 80% 170% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Oolutanga's Refuge 90% 155% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Sawato 90% 155% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Tou-Tou 90% 155% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000
Uziz 90% 170% 100,000 90% 155% 100,000

Mid Towns (40-60)
Town Name Old Buy Rate Old Sell Rate Old Max Buy New Buy Rate New Sell Rate New Max Buy
Bandit Castle 80% 170% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000
Crater Lake 90% 155% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000
Dryreach 80% 170% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000
Danby's Outpost 80% 170% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000
Kara 80% 170% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000
Linvak Tukal 80% 170% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000
MacNiall's Freehold 90% 155% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000
Neydisa Castle 80% 170% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000
Plateau Village 80% 170% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000
Qalaba'r 90% 155% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000
Timaru 40% 200% 100,000 80% 170% 100,000

High Towns (60-80)
Town Name Old Buy Rate Old Sell Rate Old Max Buy New Buy Rate New Sell Rate New Max Buy
Candeth Keep 80% 170% 100,000 80% 180% 100,000
Fort Tethana 90% 155% 100,000 80% 180% 100,000
Stonehold 80% 170% 100,000 80% 180% 100,000

Extreme Towns (80+)
Town Name Old Buy Rate Old Sell Rate Old Max Buy New Buy Rate New Sell Rate New Max Buy
Ayan Baqur 70% 190% 1,000,000 70% 190% 1,000,000
Wai Jhou 90% 120% 1,000,000 70% 190% 1,000,000

At the moment, there are no 90+ or 100+ towns.

Applesauce and Potion Changes
In response to player issues regarding money macros, we will be adjusting the value of some items to decrease the effectiveness of these macros. These changes will also make it cheaper for players to purchase Mana Draughts, Mana Potions, Health Draughts, and Health Potions.

Dispel Spells
For information on the Dispel changes in April, please see the full-length Dispel Spells article.

The feedback on the suggested dispel timer for PK/L was very mixed. There was no clear majority either for or against. With that in mind, we've gone ahead with the changes that we feel best improve majority of PK/L combat: we've decided to implement the PK/L timer on dispels. If you have been in a PK/L action within the last 20 seconds, you will not be able to:

  • Use a dispel gem.
  • Use a dispel potion.
  • Use the Awakener or Attenuated Awakener on someone else.
  • Cast any dispel spell on yourself.
  • Cast any dispel spell on someone else.

Once these changes are in place we will be monitoring them and their impact on PvP play.

House Purchase Timer
An issue that has resulted in a great deal of feedback is that of players camping houses solely for the purpose of resale and a profit. We've discussed two possible solutions in feedback threads within the last few weeks, and chosen to implement this one.

In April we will be introducing a one month timer on purchasing cottages, villas, and mansions. Residential Quarters will be exempt from this timer. This timer is per account, not per character. The timer does not extend across worlds. After reading through your feedback and discussing the engineering and social aspects of all of your suggestions, we've decided that this is the best solution currently available to us.

What does this mean? Once you purchase a house, you must wait 30 days before you can purchase a new one. If you own a house, your housing panel will tell you when you purchased it and when you can purchase a new one. If you do not own a house, your housing panel will tell you when you can purchase a new one.

It is important to note that this has nothing to do with when you lose a house, either through @house abandon or failure to pay maintenance. If you have owned a house for several months and abandon it, you will be able to purchase another house immediately. What you cannot do is purchase a house, abandon it less than 30 days later, and then purchase another house immediately.

Apartments in the Residential Quarters are completely unaffected by this timer. Buying an apartment neither checks the timer nor sets it.

Live Lore Events
Recently Morningthaw saw a live lore event, in which Antius sought out several players who had completed the Blackmire Temple quest. This was the first of a new type of live event. While we will rotate through the worlds for these events, each individual event will take place on only one world. These events will be described in lore articles on our website.

Content Revisions
We are revising two towns and two quests in April. Holtburg will be revised in the same way that Shoushi and Yaraq were previously. The portal drops and Lifestone locations will be made more convenient, and the surrounding content will be adjusted for balance.

The second town that we are revising is the Lugian fortress of Linvak Tukal. It will be getting a Lifestone and direct portal access, without the need to fight through the entryway.

Along with Linvak Tukal, we are revising the Arm, Heart, Mind quest. Confusing aspects of the quest timing will be fixed, and the quest rewards will be adjusted.

The second quest to be revised is the Little Green Seeds quest. Terese's interactions and the Swamp Garden will be revised, and new types of seeds for higher-level creatures will be introduced. This doesn't mean new colors of dye, however.

Envoy Policy Changes
The Inscription and Name Change policy changes will go into effect immediately. The Marketplace policy change will go into effect as of the April event.

  • Inscriptions. The Envoys will continue to remove inscriptions which violate the Code of Conduct. Please use the Urgent Assistance button in your options panel to report these inscriptions. These requests will be low priority, so please be patient. Urgent Assistance should not be used to report inscriptions that do not violate Code of Conduct requests reported in this way will be refused.
    Removal of other inscriptions will be done by Envoys when they are visiting a world. You will know that an Envoy is "visiting" if the Envoy is not wearing a helm and has a particle effect around him or her. If you see an Envoy visiting, feel free to ask him or her to uninscribe any of your items. In addition, the Envoys may schedule "Uninscription Parties" to be held in town Meeting Halls. These parties will be announced in advance on the Asheron's Call forums.
    At these times, any inscription will be erased on request the inscriptions will not be reviewed for content. We have read your concerns regarding this process but in the end have decided that the good outweighs the potential harm.
    In all cases, uninscribing items will be a lower priority than other Envoy tasks.
  • Name Changes. Players of any level who feel that their name is in violation of the Code of Conduct can request a one-time name change at our Customer Service site. Only names that violate Code of Conduct will be changed. This program will last until June 1, 2004.
    After June 1, characters with offensive names will be investigated. Characters that are level 20 or greater will be referred to the Customer Service link above. Characters that are level 19 or below may be required to be deleted.
  • Marketplace. Starting with the April event, we ask that all players move to a vendor stall in one of the outlying rooms. Players offering buffs or tinkers should move to a vendor stall or to the second floor of one of the outlying rooms. This is intended to improve Marketplace visual performance for all players. Envoys will have the authority to move players that do not follow these guidelines. This can include moving them out of the Marketplace into special rooms where they cannot interact with others.
    It is important to remember that the speech of all characters must abide by the Code of Conduct. This includes any text messages displayed by any unattended characters Tradebots, Buffbots, and the like.

In Development
(These are the game changes that we are working on for the May event. None of these items are guaranteed to be added for May, as scheduling and priorities can change. Your feedback on these topics is particularly valuable.)

Content Focus
In recent months we have made a number of game systems and game balance changes. Now that we've finished many of these changes, May will see an increased focus on new game content dungeons, quests, and items!

Allegiance Improvements
We're investigating a number of improvements to Allegiances in general. Some of these include better controls on who can and cannot enter an allegiance (such as account bans) and allegiance officers with ban, boot, and message of the day abilities. Expect to see more information on this after the April event.

Treasure Changes, Phase 4
Very little of phase 4 will be visible to players it is primarily back-end work in preparation for higher wield-req weapons. Please see the Treasure article for details.

Content Revisions
In May we plan to revise town portal drop and Lifestone locations across Dereth. These changes will be similar to the changes you've seen in Yaraq and Shoushi so far.

We also plan to revise the Palenqual's Living Weapons quest. This quest will be revised for balance and fun.

In Concept
(These are the game changes that we are thinking about for June and beyond. We cannot guarantee when or even if any of these changes will be added to the game, as scheduling and priorities can change. Your feedback on these topics is particularly valuable.

If not mentioned elsewhere in this Letter, topics listed as In Concept in the March Letter to the Players Follow-Up have not changed status.)

Spell Stacking and Dispels
The feedback that we've received on our previous articles about Dispel changes has convinced us that we should look at changing the way multiple instances of the same spell "stack" on players. Should we and can we change this system?

If this system is changed, we may revisit the Dispel changes implemented in April.

Settlement Portals
After discussing several proposed changes, we have decided not to make any change to the Settlement Portals in May. We will still consider changes for the future, but will ask for your feedback before any implementation.

Content Revisions
In addition to the content revisions mentioned in the March Follow-Up, we have added the Gaerlan quest to our list of quests that we would like to revise. We added this to our list primarily due to player feedback and questions regarding various aspects of this quest.

There you have it details on our plans for April and beyond. As always, we value your feedback on these topics.

In Development Follow-Up

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=223

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In Development Follow-Up

Posted on 07-Apr-2004

In our April Letter to the Players, the In Development section listed a number of changes that we are working on for May. We'd like to take this time to provide further details as well as describe some additional changes that we're working on. We know you haven't even had a chance to see the April event yet, but we'd like to start getting feedback on these topics while we're still early in the May development cycle.

It's important to remember that these topics are currently in development and not guaranteed for the May event. It's quite possible that, based on your feedback or other factors, some or all of these topics could be delayed or removed altogether.

Allegiance Tools
We're planning to give allegiances a number of new tools in May. Most of these are intended to make managing an allegiance easier. Here's what we're working on:

  • Allegiance account boot: A command to boot all characters on the same account from an allegiance. The player running this command would most likely be informed of the number of characters booted, but not their names.
  • Allegiance account ban: A command to ban all characters on the same account from swearing into your allegiance. Note that this would only ban them from swearing in, not automatically boot them. To permanently remove all characters on an account from your allegiance, you would need to do an account boot and an account ban.
  • Allegiance chat kick: A command to temporarily remove a character from the allegiance chat room. This wouldn't be a permanent removal the character could get back in simply by toggling allegiance chat back on but it would get across the point that the player's behavior isn't appropriate for your allegiance.
    We are currently working on general improvements to the chat system which, when implemented, will allow for better controls on the allegiance chat system. This is intended to provide some of that functionality until the larger changes go in.
  • Allegiance officers: Allegiance officers would be initially designated by the monarch, and would have the power to run any existing monarch command: all of the broadcast and message of the day commands, @allegiance info, the ability to designate or remove other officers, and all of the boot, ban, and kick commands. They would not have the ability to change allegiance mansion or villa guest or storage lists. Allegiance officers also will not be able to boot the monarch.
    Allegiances would be able to have two allegiance officers. The allegiance officer position would replace the existing allegiance speaker position. For the sake of security, existing allegiance speakers would have their position removed during the May event.
  • Allegiance house storage: All allegiance members would be able to open the storage in their personal homes to the members of their allegiance in one command, similar to the ability to add their entire allegiance to the house guest list.

Allegiance Bindstones
This is part of the Allegiance improvements, but deserves its own topic. There's also a feedback thread focused specifically on this idea.

The idea is very straightforward: Allegiance monarchs would have the ability to tie to a stone in town in the same way that players tie to a Lifestone. Once the monarch has tied to the Bindstone, all members of that monarch's allegiance could recall to the town through a chat command. We currently plan to place these Bindstones in or near town Meeting Halls, and we are going to move several Meeting Halls closer to the center of town. We don't expect that all towns would initially have these Bindstones most likely we will start with a small number of towns and increase them over time.

There are two goals driving this idea. We want to encourage players to gather in towns, and we want to provide monarchies that do not have a mansion or villa with a central meeting spot.

There's one aspect of this plan on which your feedback would be particularly valuable. We would like to gauge whether monarchies that currently gather at their mansions or villas would start spending more time in towns if they had an additional gathering spot. If this is not a feature that would encourage housing-owning allegiances to congregate in towns, then we are more inclined to limit this functionality to those allegiances that do not own mansions or villas.

To help us resolve this issue, we've opened up a feedback thread here. It would be most helpful if you could answer the following questions:

  • How do you decide where to socialize with your fellow allegiance members?
  • If you could choose between gathering at your mansion and gathering in town, and both were an equally easy recall, where would you gather?
  • In your opinion, how valuable is the central recall location feature of allegiance housing, in comparison to the other features of allegiance housing?

As of this writing, it is quite possible that this feature will not be ready for May. Treasure Revisions, Part IV

In the April Letter to the Players, we stated that the Treasure work for May would be back-end and not visible to players. This is no longer true we've found ourselves with the opportunity to improve treasure selection in several places.

Art Items, Casters, and Coins
We're moving "art items" (mugs, plates, and the like) and casters into several loot tables where they previously did not exist. This will result in both being found in places where you could not find them before for example, in May you'll be able to find casters in the casino golden chests. This will make casting items as well as certain types of salvage easier to find.

In addition, we are removing pyreal coins from several loot tables, and replacing them with other items from the tables.

"Mundane" Items
This category covers all the "other" things found in loot spell components, mana stones, healing kits, lockpicks, and potions. These categories of items have not changed much since the early days of Asheron's Call, and the treasure revisions have only highlighted this.

To improve the situation, we will be adding new types of mana stones and potions, and low-level healing kits are being improved and renamed. Then we'll be redistributing all mundane items across different levels of treasure.

Just as an example, here's how the changes would affect the types of items you could find in wealth rating 5 treasure, intended for level 80+ characters.

Item Type Old Selection New Selection
Spell Components Pyreal Scarab, Iron Pea, Copper Pea, Silver Pea Copper Pea, Silver Pea, Gold Pea
Mana Stones Mana Stone, Greater Mana Stone Greater Mana Stone, two new types of Mana Stone
Potions Health Elixir, Mana Elixir, Stamina Elixir Health Elixir, Mana Elixir, two new types of Health Potion, two new types of Mana Potion, three new types of Stamina Potion
Lockpicks Good Lockpick, Excellent Lockpick, Superb Lockpick, Peerless Lockpick Excellent Lockpick, Superb Lockpick, Peerless Lockpick
Healing Kits Good Healing Kit, Excellent Healing Kit, Peerless Healing Kit Excellent Healing Kit, Peerless Healing Kit, Treated Healing Kit

In general, we've made existing items show up sooner and created new items to fill the gaps at the high end. You'll note that there are no new lockpicks yet don't worry, we're working on some ideas for interesting high-end lockpicks.

Ranged Attack Changes
We have two proposed changes for ranged attack users. One of these was previously mentioned as In Concept in the March Letter to the Players Follow-Up, the second is an idea that has been discussed but never officially added to the development schedule.

Speed / Accuracy Slider
Currently, the Speed / Accuracy slider for Bow, Crossbow, and Thrown Weapons allows the player to decide whether to attack more quickly at the expense of accuracy, or more accurately at the expense of speed. At the far left of the slider, the attack is fastest but incurs a 50% penalty to the player's attack skill. At the far right, the attack is slowest but gives a 50% bonus to skill.

We would like to improve ranged attacks, particularly in PvP combat, by decreasing the penalty at the far left side of the slider. Our current plans are to lower the 50% penalty to only 40%. The entire slider would then scale evenly from -40% to +50%. Player feedback and further playtesting may cause this to change, watch for further details.

Projectile Physics
Another issue that we've seen for ranged weapon users is that their projectiles are quite narrow. For example, the size of the physics object on an arrow is currently about the circumference of the shaft. It is fairly easy for monsters or other players to dodge incoming attacks by moving a very small distance.

We are investigating increasing the size of projectile physics objects to make these attacks hit more frequently. We do not expect this change to be very large, but it should improve the ability of Bow, Crossbow, and Thrown Weapons users to physically hit their target. For example, we are considering increasing the size of the physics object on an arrow to be about the circumference of the base of the arrowhead. This would approximately double the width of the physics object. The calculations of evading due to Missile Defense will not be changed.

Negative Spell Timers

Currently there is a disparity in the length of negative spells across different levels. Level VI negative spells last for 8 minutes, while level VII negative spells only last for 4 minutes. We'd like to change all negative spells to the following times:

Spell Level Current duration of negative spell (minutes) Proposed duration for negative spells
I 2:00 1:00
II 3:00 1:30
III 4:00 2:00
IV 5:00 2:30
V 6:00 3:00
VI 8:00 3:30
VII 4:00 4:00

We are considering using these times for Life and Item negative spells only, and making all negative Creature spells last exactly 2 minutes, regardless of level. Negative Creature spells can be particularly annoying when cast by creatures, and do not directly increase damage when cast by players. We'd like to hear your feedback on this topic. Healing Spells

Currently the Heal Self/Other and Revitalize Self/Other spells are in our opinion slightly weaker than they should be for their levels. We'd like to tweak them upwards slightly, as shown by the tables below:

Heal Other / Heal Self Amount Restored
Spell Level Current amount of Health Restored Current Average Health Restored Proposed Amount of Health Restored Proposed Average Health Restored
I 8 – 15 11.5 10 – 20 15
II 11 – 20 15.5 15 – 30 22.5
III 16 – 30 23 20 – 40 30
IV 26 – 50 38 30 – 60 45
V 38 – 75 56.5 40 – 80 60
VI 51 – 100 75.5 55 – 110 82.5
VII 75 – 125 100 80 – 135 107.5

Revitalize Other / Revitalize Self Amount Restored
Spell Level Current amount of Stamina Restored Current Average Stamina Restored Proposed amount of Stamina Restored Proposed Average Stamina Restored
I 11 – 20 15.5 15 – 30 22.5
II 16 – 30 23 20 – 40 30
III 26 – 50 38 30 – 60 45
IV 38 – 75 56.5 40 – 80 60
V 51 – 100 75.5 55 – 110 82.5
VI 76 – 150 113 85 – 160 122.5
VII 100 – 175 137.5 110 – 180 145

Please note that these changes are only for these four spells, not for any other Life Magic spells.

Town Revisions
In the April Letter to the Players, we mentioned that we would be moving Lifestones and Portal drops closer to the center of towns. We'll also be moving several Meeting Halls closer to town, as part of the Allegiance Bindstone content. In addition, we will be making the following changes to town vendors:

  • Distribution of mundane items see Treasure Revisions above will be based on the level of the town's surrounding content. The greater the level of the town's surrounding content, the better the items that the vendors will sell.
  • The scriveners in several towns will be changed such that the scroll levels that they sell are appropriate for the surrounding content.
Thanks for taking the time to read about some of our planned changes for May. As was already said, none of these changes are guaranteed for May. It's entirely possible that they could be altered or delayed.
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