Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=337
posted on 07-Jan-2005
Tirenia shoved her blade into the Shadow's throat and watched as its corpse fell to the floor. She had no time to savor her victory. The cloaked ones were upon her.
"Soldiers of Dereth! To me!" she cried. The Queen's Royal Guard, scattered and battered by the sudden attack, converged on Tirenia. They wore a patchwork of armor and cloak. Many had been asleep when the Vault had been breached. None of them had ever expected an attack in this most secret of locations. Now they paid the price for that arrogance.
The creatures swarmed through the portal. Virindi, Drudges, and Shadows clawed their way forward, slicing through her soldiers with fearsome savagery. Her men screamed and died. Surely, they were being resurrected at the Queen's palace. The Queen must know of the assault. Surely, reinforcements were on the way.
"Fall back! To the warehouse!" Tirenia's men turned and ran. She decapitated a Drudge who had the bad sense to turn his back to her, then followed after.
But her retreat did not last long. A great boom sounded behind her. An explosion of some sort flung her to the ground. She lost her grip on her sword, and it clanged away across the stone floor.
Tirenia turned and looked back at the portal. Something else had just arrived. Something large. She could scarcely believe her eyes. What new alliance was this?
The creature reared back, and threw.
Tirenia tried to crawl out of the way, but she was simply too slow. The massive boulder dashed her brains across the Vault floor.
Cyphis Suldow stepped out of portal space and entered the chilly, northern town. He had tried his best to clear the spot of its filthy inhabitants, but he simply was not the warrior he wished he was. He had often attempted the path of the blade, but had always met with failure. His mother had told him many times that he would amount to nothing in his life, and thus far he had proved her correct.
But the time to show that damnable woman just what sort of man he was drew nigh. He had a plan. A grand, glorious plan. And if he wasn't strong enough to carry it out, then by Pwyll he would find someone who was.
Acid and bile seared his flesh. The screams of the beasts assaulted his ears. The stench of fear hung from his fetid form like a shroud.
He clawed his way past a pile of chitinous corpses with scarred, bloodied hands. The monsters raged behind him, a clash of beasts more fearsome than any he had dared imagine on Ispar. Their attentions were focused on each other for now. They did not notice one frightened man in his desperate bid for escape.
He had hidden in these tunnels for months. Fleeing from the Knights. Fleeing from the beasts. But they had found him. They had tried to kill him. Luckily, the insects had intervened.
He used the battle to his advantage. He ran. He dug. He hid.
It had been so long. So many months beneath the earth. So many months of blood and bile. He did not remember the sun. He did not remember his home. He barely remembered his name. All he did remember was her face. That face which he would never see again.
Carlo clawed past the corpses. A wall of green, hardened ooze plugged the hallway ahead of him. He pried it apart, and fled into the dark beyond. Deep within, he spied something he had not seen in months. Something beautiful. Something wonderful.
Loh-Gann Huhjj traversed the sun-baked Dires with his vassal Ghunjara bint Dulsama. The two had been hunting for hours, though they had yet to find one of the weapons Krilian Starstone had told them about earlier that morning. Weapons much deadlier than any they had found in any of their previous hunts. Krilian bragged that he was able to outpace even Loh-Gann's formidable hunting ability with these new weapons.
Loh-Gann did not take kindly to such jests. He prided himself on being the most skilled warrior in his allegiance. He knew other monarchs who were content to merely provide their allegiances with weapons, armor, and spells. But not Loh-Gann. He was a leader. He was the one at the front of the pack in every battle. He was the one with the most notches on his blade. And he would let his vassals call him a lying blue-skin before they could claim to be a better huntsman than he.
Loh-Gann unsheathed his blade and plunged into the Justicar's back before it even knew a threat was upon it. In a matter of moments, the Lugian was dead. Loh-Gann rifled through its pack and tossed aside the usual assortment of jewelry and worthless armor.
"Doesn't look like there's anything there," Ghunjara said bitterly.
Loh-Gann picked a tattered leather coat out of the creature's pack and flung it over his shoulder. He turned to leave, but a glint caught his eye.
There, beneath the scattered remains of the Lugian's inventory, gleamed a bright, silver blade.
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=341
posted on 12-Jan-2005
There was no warning. Daryam was on the way to his shop when the huge, bulbous thing floated overhead. The creatures on board pelted him with a barrage of feline screams, jolting the man out of his morning reverie. He fell to the ground, dropping his bag of precious gems. Covering his head, he cowered in fear of the death which would surely rain down upon him.
But after several moments of waiting, that death did not come. Daryam dared a peek. The flesh-covered thing floated above the desert and disappeared over the sea. Daryam had seen many strange things in his time, but this was something new entirely.
Many of this month's changes have already been described in detail in the Letter to the Players. Here is an additional topic that we'd like to discuss in detail:
As part of our ongoing work to transform Holtburg, Shoushi and Yaraq into social centers, we've taught the Healers in these three towns to cast more useful spells. You can now pay to have them cast any attribute-increasing spell from levels 1 to 4. These are intended for low-level players who can't cast these spells on their own and may be uncomfortable using a player-run buff bot.
We are looking at expanding the range and power of the spells that Healers have for sale, but it is dependent on player reaction to these new abilities as well as resource scheduling issues.
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=342
posted on 12-Jan-2005
New Content and Functionality
New weapons with higher wield requirements have been added to the treasure system.
A new hunting area has been created specifically for high-level characters that do not use offensive Life Magic.
Snowmen have begun appearing on landscape again, despite a sudden warm snap that has melted snow in some areas.
Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements
Arcanum agents will award level 126 characters a one-time experience award in exchange for a Western Forge Essence. This must be done before the February event.
Mansions can now have up to 7 portal devices hooked and 2 miscellaneous mansion-only hookable items.
Healers in Holtburg, Shoushi and Yaraq can now cast attribute buffs up to level 4 on characters.
Rather than spamming you with text, Arcanum agents will now hand you a note listing the items that they will accept in return for writs.
If you turn in an Iasparailaun and have less than two open slots in your main pack, you will still receive the experience award and the appropriate quest flag.
Arenura now provides the correct reward for Tidal Siraluun feathers.
The Blind Snowman can now be found in a less hazardous part of Dereth.
Greater Hieromancer's Ward has been removed from all worn pieces of Noble Armor.
The Noble Weapon enhancement gems now correctly indicate that the resulting weapon has a crafter-only wield requirement.
The Noble Armor enhancement gems and enhancement craft interactions no longer incorrectly indicate that the resulting armor will have a crafter-only wield requirement.
A bug causing the Phantom Atlatl to do much more damage than intended has been fixed.
Anniversary dolls are now set to never rot when left on the ground, so long as the landblock stays occupied.
New language has been added to the Holiday Lights description stating that they will rot quickly when inside into a backpack that is placed on the ground.
A Modified Left Peg Leg will now disappear after being used on a Right Peg Leg to create Peg Legs.
The upper level limits have been removed from the Northern and Southern Power Forge dungeons.
Some spawns that were too close to housing settlements have been removed.
The Burun Kukurr Floatee now faces outward when hooked.
The guises and body parts introduced last month are now hookable.
A typo in the description of the Black Spawn Den Portal Device has been corrected.
All Noble Armor and Noble Robes now state that they are dyeable when identified.
The description of the Scarecrow Guise now explains why it does not provide head protection despite appearing to cover your head.
The Armored Skeleton Torso with Leg now has a correct name.
Letter to the Players
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=336
Letter to the Players
posted on 06-Jan-2005
Welcome to the January Letter to the Players! A new year is dawning, both in Dereth and in the real world, and we're thrilled to have you with us for it. We hope that you've all had a healthy and happy holidays and that you're ready for 2005! This year will bring the completion of our ongoing migration of billing accounts away from Microsoft as well as the next expansion pack: Throne of Destiny, and we're very excited about both.
On a more somber note, we would like to pass on our condolences to all those who were affected by the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean. We encourage all who can to give to the charitable organization of their choice in order to help with aid to the region.
Last month in Dereth, a sigh of relief was breathed as the Burun threat came to a halt. The Council was able to continue its work in renovating several towns, focusing on Holtburg, Shoushi and Yaraq. Lugians crafted new forges in these towns to enhance the abilities of crafters and salvagers. As soft snow fell on Dereth, Isparians went ahead with their delayed festival celebrations, crafting new whimsical masks and costumes for amusement.
Now, let us look ahead to the January event.
(These are items that we plan to implement in the January event. Many of these items were mentioned in prior articles. These changes are in addition to the new quests, dungeons, and items that we'll be introducing in the January event.)
Higher Wield-Req Weapons
January will see the introduction of melee and missile weapons with higher wield requirements as well as new war casters with wield requirements. For more information on this please see the article on this topic.
For some time now we've been discussing the issue of Life Magic at the highest levels of hunting. Many players of melee or missile characters that do not have Life Magic are disappointed by the ability of their characters to advance in the Valley of Death or Singularity Caul. They feel that without a mage assisting them by Imperiling their targets, their ability to kill creatures and earn XP at an acceptable rate is reduced.
For January, we are introducing a new option for these characters – Withered Creatures. A small area in the Direlands has been repopulated with creatures that are completely invulnerable to non-projectile magic, but have lower stats than typical VoD and Caul creatures. You can think of them as "pre-Imperiled". Some of their other stats may be "pre-debuffed" as well.
It is not expected that all players will find this to be a perfect solution to the Life Magic balance issues at high levels. However many players of characters without Life Magic should find this to be a viable alternative to their existing hunting options.
You'll note that this went straight from In Concept to Coming Soon. We felt that this was a large enough issue that it should be put on a development fast track.
In the January event, the number of portal devices that can be hooked on mansions will be increased to 7. We are looking at the possibility of removing the limit altogether in February, although these will still be mansion-only items, although this may not be feasible due to technical restrictions.
The Carved Mosswart Statue is being moved into a new group of mansion-only items. This group will initially have a limit of two items per mansion. If you currently have a Carved Mosswart Statue hooked on your mansion, it will continue to be counted towards the portal devices group unless you remove it and re-hook it after the January event.
Western Forge Essence Rewards
Due to a bug, Urleg did not provide an appropriate reward to level 126 characters who handed in a Western Forge Essence. We wanted to ensure that these characters did not get completely shut out of this one-time award, so during the January event Arcanum Agents will be providing an appropriate XP award to level 126 characters who hand them a Western Forge Essence. Like Urleg's award, this is one-time only. Characters who already handed in an Essence to Urleg can acquire a new Essence once their 30 day timer expires. Again, this award is only for level 126 characters.
Bug Fixes: Phantom Atlatl and Noble Armor
We've already mentioned these fixes on the official forums, but we wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of these as they have been fairly high-profile bugs.
Starting in January, any worn Noble Armor that still has the Greater Hieromancer's Ward cast on it will have that enchantment removed upon first login.
Also in January, the damage mod on the Phantom Atlatl will be reduced from its currently bugged +40% to the intended -60%.
(These are the game changes that we are working on for the February event. None of these items are guaranteed to be added for February as scheduling and priorities can change. These changes are in addition to the new quests, dungeons, and items that we'll be introducing in the January event. Your feedback on these topics is particularly valuable.)
Social Centers Buy Caps
As we continue our work to make Holtburg, Shoushi and Yaraq into more inviting towns for characters of all levels, we are increasing the buy caps on the vendors in these towns. All vendors in these three towns will buy items up to 1,000,000 pyreals in value starting in February.
In recognition of the substantially different play environment of Darktide, in February we will be implementing a set of tiered dungeons focused on providing more exciting PvP combat and quicker advancement. These dungeons will have content in them that can earn a character a great deal of experience – so long as the character isn't killed during the process!
Discussion regarding this content has been taking place on the Asheron's Call PvP Discussions forum.
(These are the game changes that we are thinking about for March 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. These changes are in addition to the new quests, dungeons and items that we'll be introducing in each monthly event. Your feedback on these topics is particularly valuable.
If not mentioned elsewhere in this Letter, topics listed as In Concept in prior articles have not changed status.)
There are no new In Concept topics this month. To see a list of previous In Concept topics, please visit our Current and Past Development Topics page.
And there you have it, the Live Team's plans for January and beyond. Again, have a Happy New Year, and thanks for being with us!
See you in Dereth!
Higher Wield-Req Weapons
Original Link (now dead) -http://ac.turbinegames.com/index.php?page_id=335
Higher Wield-Req Weapons
posted on 05-Jan-2005
As we wrote in the December Letter to the Players, January brings with it the implementation of something we've been working on for several months now higher wield-req weapons.
What Do They Do?
Currently the best melee weapons that a player can find are those with a 325 base skill wield requirement. Likewise, missile weapons go up to 290 base skill wield requirements. War mages currently have no wield-requirement casters, relying solely on the strength of their spells in order to deal more damage.
Since the introduction of wield-req weapons, we've introduced bigger and tougher creatures, and players have advanced to higher and higher levels of skill. But there's been no new equipment to strive for beyond the existing limits, and little for war mages to look for once they have gained the ability to cast level 7 spells.
In January, all this changes. We will be introducing a new tier of 350 wield-req melee weapons, 315 wield-req missile weapons, and two tiers of war casters at 290 and 310 wield-reqs.
The melee weapons are straightforward the higher the wield-req, the higher the max damage on the loot weapon.
The missile weapons have a twist to them 315 wield-req missile weapons will receive a bonus to a specific elemental type. For example you might find a 315 wield-req bow that has a damage modifier of 127% as well as a +2 to fire damage. Whenever fire arrows are used with this bow, it will do an additional 2 points of damage to the target. (And no, +2 is not the best that you can find!)
The casters also gain damage bonuses. The 290 and 310 war magic wield-req casters will be found with a bonus to damage done by a specific element. In the case of casters, the damage bonus is a small % of damage done rather than a flat damage increase. This bonus applies to any spell of the matching damage type, even the inherent spell on the caster. For instance, a 310 wield-req caster might have a bonus of 3% on slashing spells. The bonus on casters with a 310 skill requirement is higher than that on casters with a 290 skill requirement. The 290 wield-req casters are comparable to the existing 325 melee and 290 missile weapons.
Overall, these new weapons are expected to improve damage over time at high levels by around 5%.
How Do I Get One?
These new weapons will be loot-generated and found at the highest tiers of treasure, those tiers intended for players at levels 80 and above. The exception is the 290 wield-req casters, which will begin to be found in the tier intended for players at levels 60 to 80.
...PvP! Won't these new casters be overpowering? The elemental damage bonus for casters is reduced when these weapons are used against other players. The effectiveness against both creatures and players can be seen when you ID the caster. Note that the elemental damage bonus on missile weapons is not reduced in PvP combat, as the bonus on missile weapons is flat and not a percentage.
...Wield-Req casters for magic schools other than War? There aren't any plans for these at this time.
...Life magic bolts? For now, the wield req casters can only generate with the 7 normal damage types, so they do not have any effect on life bolt spells.
...Even higher wield-req weapons? Coming in the future!