Behind locked doors in an underground facility that fairly thrummed with geomantic power, a creature was screaming. Its screams were endless and unearthly, terrifying even to the few flesh-and-blood servants that occupied these hidden halls. They had been present for many interrogations, but the creature they held there now was something outside of their experience, and the long-jaded minions who attended these sessions heard new and terrifying notes in the song of pain that their masters played. Ancient wisdom held that the servants of powerful demons were immune to torture, because they were hardened by the torments they suffered in the normal course of their service to cruel, unforgiving masters.
Ancient wisdom had failed to account for the Virindi. They knew ways to strip away the mind's defenses, just as the sickles of their more specialized servants could flay layers of flesh. The servant of T'thuun they were questioning was an ancient soul, long inured to the abuses of demonic masters, but it had no defenses against the unique intrusions and perfectly honed techniques of the Virindi.
The pathetic thing, little more than withered flesh that was animated by a powerful, magically adept mind, was trussed to a table while grunting Hea watched over it. Directing the efforts of the Hea, a solitary Virindi Inquisitor drifted above the creature's head, keenly attuned to every shift in the thoughts and feelings of the subject, guiding and adjusting the torments they visited upon its soul in the same way a ship's captain directs his crew.
They had gleaned many useful memories from this one, which had been unfortunate enough to be in the presence of its master, T'thuun, at several important gatherings. This one had intimate knowledge of T'thuun's plans for the strangely significant world of Auberean. It knew a great deal about the ways in which the archdemon had manipulated the energy flows of the world. And the Inquisitor was very nearly done probing to the depths of this one's memories.
Above all this, in an observation chamber attached to the chamber of questions, two other Virindi watched in silence. One was superior to the other, and bore the title “Quaestor” within the Virindi hierarchy, and thus took the position of primacy, in the center and closest to the observation pane. Though most Virindi were, on first glance, identical in outward form, these two were… different. An observer with a subtle and perceptive eye would be able to notice that the Quaestor carried itself with something approaching a sense of arrogance and importance, while the other drifted diffidently like a good servant. As though one had a personality, and the other was still a partially differentiated fragment of a larger consciousness.
Finally, the Inquisitor deemed the task finished, and retreated from the room. The Quaestor in the observation room finally turned to address its companion, though it spoke no words out loud. “We are pleased with the information found on this fleshling. Your servants did well to capture it.”
The other responded: “The fourth raiding group sustained losses beyond our projections, but enough remained after such losses to bind and transport this one to our facility. Your servant took a calculated risk, as was deemed permissible within the task parameters. Does the Consul deem the cost worth the benefit, Quaestor Esbarth?”
The Quaestor affirmed, “The Consul agrees that the losses sustained, though higher than projected, were worth the benefit. The information is far more valuable and detailed than our projections indicated. When considered in concert with the information found within the Isparians your previous raid groups retrieved, the Consul has judged that we can now proceed to the second stage of the plan.”
There was a pause as the Quaestor seemed to receive more information, then it addressed its underling again. “The Consul is pleased with your performance as well. The Consul believes that the small degree of individual initiative you were afforded to retrieve this prisoner led to the superlative results, despite the high losses you incurred. The Consul has chosen to task you with the responsibility to establish a new base, and stewardship over two groups of our bonded allies.”
The other Virindi dipped lower to the ground in acknowledgement. “Your servant is prepared for its next task.”
On a small stone pedestal at the back of the room, there was a flash of violet light, and a black shard of magically resonant crystal appeared. The Quaestor gestured toward the shard with a sickle-arm. “The Consul has prepared your instructions and parameters. Your servants are being gathered now. As soon as they are ready, you are to travel to the newly located lode of quintessential ore and begin your operations. Please us again, and you will be elevated.”
There was another flash of violet light, and the Quaestor was gone. The remaining Virindi drifted back, slowly, to receive its orders. Then it, too, vanished in a flash of violet light, on its way to carry out more of its master's orders.
Adso ducked and tumbled, rolling just out of the way of the crashing boulder. The hurtling hunk of stone shattered into shards of jagged shrapnel behind him, raising a welter of cuts on his armor and face. Ignoring the pain, he surged to his feet, into a throwing stance. His hand flashed to the belt at his side, and in an instant he had a brace of throwing knives in his hand, lightning crackling over the blades, illuminating the dark passage with violet light. His hand flashed again, and an instant later the Lugian who'd thrown the boulder at him had a pair of coruscating knives protruding from its forehead.
The grey giant paused, blinking, seeming to realize slowly that something was wrong. Then, with a rumbling crash, it fell over in a heap, dead. Adso sighed and plucked a few of the larger and more painful stone shards from his battered armor.
“Too close, that time,” he muttered to himself, as he gingerly pulled a particularly sharp projectile from the back of his neck. “Then again, this is better than picking flowers rare flowers on that smelly island… Or continuing the ongoing survey of Geomantic Anomalies in Every Backwards Corner of Dereth…”
He smiled grimly to himself as he stalked down the dark corridor, thinking of the assignments that the Master's less senior acolytes had drawn. It had been a privilege to get this task. The world made sense when he was sneaking through tunnels and dodging hurled boulders, knifing creatures in the dark. It made less sense when he was simply following trails that someone more educated than him would have to decipher, to receive hints of metaphysical terrors threatening the very fabric of reality. He could have kissed his Master for this assignment to a good old-fashioned dungeon crawl. That is, if the consequences would not have been spectacularly fatal.
Up ahead, he saw a cluster of Hea Tumerok mages and warriors, gathered around a pair of large drums… According to the previous scout's report, this was where those strange and interesting new statues were to be found…
An hour later, skin freshly singed and a great deal of throwing knives lighter, he sat in front of his Master with a vial of oil.
“This is what they're using to fortify their weapons?” The Master was holding the vial up to the sunlight.
“Yes, I collected some likely-looking weapons from some of the Hea in the tunnels that I killed, and from the statues themselves.” Adso drew a wrapped bundle of weapons from his pack to demonstrate, some of the handles still sticky with the gore from their original owners.
The Master examined the weapons carefully, respectfully. He swung one of the blades experimentally, testing it for weight and balance. He looked back at Adso with an eager gleam in his eye. “I think this oil can be applied to other weapons… weapons more useful to us.” He grinned sharply, a look Adso knew well.
The Master put the weapons and the oil flask aside and turned serious again. “Now then… I have reports from your younger brothers and sisters in the art, but I'd like your corroboration too. The Lugians and the Tumeroks you encountered in there…”
“Gotrok and Hea,” Adso answered, before Master could finish the question.
Master's face soured, and Adso immediately regretted his lapse in master-acolyte etiquette. The older man didn't even have to say anything. The expression on his face was enough to reduce Adso to the cowering fourteen-year-old orphan he'd been when the Master first took him in and began shaping him into the confident, lethal assassin he'd become.
“As I was saying, I knew the creatures in that facility to be Hea and Gotrok, the rebels against their rulers… But how did they compare to other Gotrok and Hea you fought, from the heyday of the Virindi of the New Singularity?”
Adso nodded. “Much tougher. Their weapon crafting is far advanced, their magical skills are more deadly, and overall they just seem to be breeding tougher specimens.”
Master shook his head. “It is as I feared. The old alliance has been reborn. I'm not even sure it's the Hea or the Gotrok themselves breeding tougher specimens.”
“Then who could be doing –“ Adso's eyes widened as he realized what this development could mean.
Master nodded knowingly. “Yes. It does seem like old enemies have rallied to take advantage of the recent chaos in the ley lines. Which is why I need you to get your wounds patched up, take a quick nap, and head out to Zaikhal. There's a man there I'd like you to talk to.”
Adso looked apprehensive. “Should I bring my geomancy primer so I can follow what he's telling me?”
Master laughed. “Whatever he has to say about geomancy is immaterial to our concerns. No, just pack more of those lightning knives. This will be another wet assignment.”
Hello there and welcome the March Release Notes! Unlike in the past, the snow seems to be staying in Dereth longer than normal this year. Some older weapons get some much needed love, and it appears that Some Virindi may be up to something. Let's see what else is new in the March event, Who watches the Virindi?
Level 8 Bolt Spells can now do slightly more damage to bring them more into line with what they should be doing.
The Tower Defense has had more tweaks to help improve game play experience.
Dagger Gem of Forgetfulness' description now indicates it gives you 4 credits for un-specing as instead of 2.
You can no longer walk through the back of the Igloo containing the minor shivering stone.
Typo in The Hopeslayer mask has been fixed.
Typo in Dayla's speech has been fixed.
The quest Lunnum's Return will now grant permanent access to the dungeon, eliminating the situation of the NPC telling you to go to the dungeon but not being able to enter due to an expired quest flag.
Made the invisible bonfires that appear at the Drudge fort visible.
NPC for the Prodigal Mosswart now informs you when he bestows his title.
Forges in Yaraq are no longer able to be walked through.
A shadow that thought it was an Aluvian now thinks it's a shadow.
Pathwarden armor is now ivoryable.
Fixed a couple interactions on society NPC's that could cause them to not react.
The lens on the adept gateway quest now starts with a new timer when Benedino is killed.
Monster Fights and Carenzi Races are now every 15 minutes, and go off 7 1/2 minutes apart.
K'nath mother now drops many cores.
Fist of Enlightenment has been adjusted in response to balance concerns.
Lord gateway quest now has a timer on the staff to make it clearer that your quest timer has been cleared.
Demon Swarm Matron fight has been shortened and the xp for the sword turn in increased.
The Tanada Scrolls quest will no longer prevent you from picking up a scroll if you go through the portal.
Faction Introduction quests now require you to interact with Jondor Torgren before you can pick up the Scepter of Menilesh or Blight Lictor's Head.
Some Living Weapons can now be upgraded via a new quest.
Some Living Weapon spells have been upgraded.
Armor Upgrade kits have been added to the primary Alternate Currency Vendors. Crafters have prepared these for use with the Noble Robes and may be able to adapt them for other armors in the future.
The Explorer quest and Monthly Kill Task have been updated.
So there are just some of the things we have in store for Asheron's Call in March. Please remember that along with everything listed here, there are several new quests and exciting things going into the game for the March event.
Q: Don't bother buying an armor upgrade kit unless you want a useless item made worse.
A: As far as I am aware the robe posted in the OP is the quickest way to reach the high magic skills though it'll cost you a few slots.
It contains both of your epics as well as a high level skill buff similar to that of an armor set. Throw on an epic war magic jewelry piece on and your skill's doing well.
Really let me know if you don't think this is reasonable for an item obtained from a quest easily completable by level 80 then upgradable for a moderate price to what they are. I think this seems like a very solid option for armor on secondary characters and characters who are just hitting the 150 level range and don't have many keys yet.
Q: I urge you and the rest of the team to consider creating fewer items and more imbues.
A: We actually do not have a feature that allows us to add spells to existing items. What we do is create a new item with different spells on it then the craft interaction destroys the existing item and the tool then makes the new item.
Also, being able to customize items with a spell of that sort, even if it was very pricey, would be a slight balance concern. Being able to tinker Epics onto items is working towards invalidating a large portion of our loot. Even if you're adding an epic to an item with 1-2 epics on it already you're still going to finish a set very quickly.
I could see something like this as a very long timer (3 months?) on obtaining or a once only possibly if we did have the tech to allow it.
ps. The robes are the intro item for the Armor Upgrade Kits. You very well may be seeing a variety of quest items that you can upgrade with them in the coming months.
Q: You didn't forget that minors can be added via imbues did you? Why can't the same be done with majors? 38% chance is a large chance of failure...
A: Hrm, that is interesting now that you mention it. I'll look at how exactly that's being done. I'm figuring that's something that one of the Engineers hooked up... Should have really thought of that, I have a half dozen pieces of jewelry with imbues on them just sitting on my character...
A: Guard damage went up (you should have someone keeping their attention and killing them).
Guard Resistances went down (this allows mages to do better at killing them).
Guard AL shifted to work with new resistances (this should add to total of being easier to kill.)
Matron health went down about 70% (should be quicker to kill).
Matron hits for more damage (no longer a wet noodle. Sorry making it a fight as opposed to simply sitting there without worrying while taking forever to kill her).
I can look into backing off the spawn rate on the guards a little if they're detrimental to the experience. I can also make them quicker kills as they're not intended to be difficult.
Over all it should be a more enjoyable fight. The old strategy of sit and shoot her for X amount of time while not doing anything else shouldn't really work, sorry. Give it a couple tries and try bringing a friend. If you're a high level with melee d you should also be able to avoid a lot of the attacks.
Q: I haven't done the Matron in many months. I assume many others gave up on it way back when as well. This isn't gonna help.
A: This response would be more helpful if you indicated what about the fight is causing it to be "boycotted, avoided, ignored or whatever." Please try the fight before you say this though. The fight really should be quicker to complete and more enjoyable instead of just a time consuming push against 1 million HP.
If there are any strategic issues with the game play in this fight feel free to narrate those and I can use that feedback for further balance in this fight as well as any future changes.
Q: Well. with a coord mage, with 10x armor and 506 melee defense i was beaten to death before i could even finish a recall spell. i understand a little harder, but that's a bit rediculous. make it a fight, sure... this is a massacre
A: Really? With my 10 100 60 10 100 100 I pushed the matron down to 3/4 HP before recalling out. Figured I'd give her a shot on my live character
Try a different tactic if you're soloing her. Fighting in the middle of the room will be very difficult.
Also I'm looking at lowering the breath damage as I recalled out thanks to a crit on my foot for 198. Ouch! Outside that crit I was taking 5-9 damage on about 30% of attacks then the occasional breath crit for 50 from the guards which was manageable but nasty and the very difficult to handle breath crit from the matron!
Q: Standing in a corner tanking a mob that can either melee me or breath on me, with hyper inflated damge in order to try to make it interesting = boring.
A: This is why I tend to fight on DI. The spell casting creatures are much more interesting to fight and dodge. Olthoi have traditionally been very 1D which makes it a bit more difficult to turn this into an interesting fight for those who like to bob and weave. Also the matron is huge causing bobbing and weaving to become fairly useless. The damage is mainly to encourage killing the minions while you fight (though that's not too helpful seeing they respawned too quickly). Should hopefully work out better next time we update.
A: It's a bug, it's already fixed for next update.
We added a robe for those puny characters who couldn't pick up the armor but didn't increase the total number of items the chest could hold thus pushing the first item (the hauberk) right out of the chest.
Missing level 8 spells (incantation of...armor self, bd, defender) http://forums.ac.turbine.com/showthread.php?t=41890 The system was originally designed by a member of the team who is no longer with us. We are now doing our best to ensure that all spells and related issues are resolved as we discover them.
I would like to take the opportunity to address some of the things brought up in this thread. I am going to be open and honest here and it may not make everyone happy but the time has come to set some things straight. So lets get right to it.
The Team: The team that works on AC works on it exclusively. They do not do part time stuff and they are not borrowed from another team. Yes, the team is small. As a matter of fact, it is probably the smallest team that has worked on AC over its many years.
Comments made about when people log in are not fair considering that you do not need to be logged in to read the forums. The team being the size that it is, spends most of its time working on content rather than posting. Working on a monthly cycle demands that they spend ALL of their time getting as much content done as they can. This includes many, if not all of them working many late nights and even in some cases into the next morning. AC is not an easy game to work with. Unless you have worked with our tools and our worldbuilder systems, you really have no frame of reference to compare to. It is a system that was designed when there was not template for how to make a game. Many things that would seem logical are not and some things just don't work like they should, and never will without completely rebuilding the game from the ground up.
Every member of this team pours their heart and soul into this game, only for people to come here and tell them they suck or they are dumb. To be honest, I don't blame them for not logging in. They are developers, and nowhere does it say that Devs have to post on a forum. Any devs who do decide to post, do it of their own choice and not because it is their job to do so. I know that I would rather have them working on content, rather than posting on the forums all day, but that's just me I guess. Comparing our team to that of any of our other games is like comparing apples to oranges. They have completely different schedules that allow them a little more time to check out the forums and such. I am sure if we changed to their content cycle, our Devs would have a little more time to be active here.
One last note before I move on to the next topic. A couple of those who have not logged in for a while are no longer with us on the AC team. I will not go into who or why, but that is something that is not really necessary information for us to convey on a forum. If they made the choice not to post something letting people know where they have gone that is up to them, not anyone else.
Does Turbine Care: In short, yes. If we did not care the game would not still be running or would be in "sunset" with no patches every month and no content team. As with most businesses, the product has to pay for itself to be sustained. AC is still a profitable game and will hopefully continue to be for a long time. We have to be realistic though, it is not nor will it ever be as population heavy as some other titles. This is just a fact that comes with a game that is almost 10 years old. Does that mean we have given up on it? Hell no!!! As a matter of fact we have some pretty damn good things coming for the 10th anniversary, that we feel will pleasantly surprised many of our players. The team is already hard at work making these changes and updates at the same time they are doing the monthly content. These guys are going well above and beyond to make this game as good as it can be, and I for one am thankful we have such a dedicated group of people working on the game that started it all for me. Just to wrap up this section I will say what I have said many, many time before but its something that bears repeating. We have NO plans to shut down AC as of now. Not one time, in any meeting I have been in, has it even been brought up as an option. And yes, we are listening to the feedback we get on all of the content. That does not mean we are going to change something right away or at all, but we do listen and appreciate all constructive feedback.
Population: Do we want the population to grow? Of course we do, I mean seriously who wouldn't? We are realistic though. We have done extensive market research, focus testing etc. and found that AC is a great game, but the MMO player of today wants something else. That does not mean we are going to stop trying, but marketing is very, very cost intensive and for a game like AC almost never returns what you invest. We still do have some plans in the works surrounding the 10th anniversary though. We have by no means given up on getting new people into the game, we are just trying to be more precise and careful about spending the budget we have at the right time. Wasting money in these times when most people don't have a lot of extra would not be a wise move on our part. So we are being careful.
Community: This place is near and dear to my heart. This community is one of the best I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. In the last year or two though, some things have changed. Many here have become downright mean to others, dismissive of opinions that don't match their own and prone to attack at the drop of a hat. This does not help promote new players wanting to come here or into the game once they read the hate that is spewed by many here. We all have a stake in wanting the game to grow and get better and we all have to do our part. We may have been a little too relaxed as of late in letting people get away with things that they would not on other forums. This is going to change. I have enlisted the help of the rest of the Community team here to help me make sure the rules are enforced. If you break the rules, you will get infractions/bans. I am all for open discussions, but enough is enough. Personal attacks against other players, Turbine staff, or anyone/anything else will not be tolerated.
So there you have it. I cannot be much clearer than that.
After a lot of player feedback we've decided to start working on creating a new loot tier that will be available on monsters and include the important portions of the Mana Forge loot.
Epics on Monsters
420 Wield Weapons on Monsters
Set Items on Monsters
At this point in time we're looking at this as a change to be applied to any creature that currently drops Mana Shards.
The drop rates we're looking into should be equatable to that of Max Damage/AL items Pre-ToD. The drop rate of Majors similar to ToD and Epics similar to what majors were Pre-ToD.
This means that players should be more able to ramp up their weapons and non-epic armor from loot and augment with key pulls. Epics and Armor Sets from Mana Forge pulls would be assisted as well by the occasional drop on a monster.
While making this change we will also be looking into fixing Covenant Armor wield req drop rates on higher Luck monsters (IE Gold creatures are a high luck monster, they drop far more max wield Magic D armor than anything else).
We do not have an ETA on implementation but at this point in time we're very interested in making this happen. With time and speed on our side we'll hopefully let you know more in the next few months.
We may also look into adding a very small chance of a key dropping directly in loot on shard dropping monsters.
I am also going to evaluate the possibility of bringing multi-strike weapons into the modern era as imbueable and tinkerable items pulled form loot in the top tier only (it'd be a ton of work to re-work all of the lower level profiles). This one is less likely to occur but I'm really interested in looking into it.
New loot will only drop off creatures that are currently dropping mana shards. Also the percentages of getting good loot on a monster is going to be far lower than pulling it out of a Mana Forge Chest. Mana Forge Chests will still be the quickest way to get items with Epics on them and there should be a very strong desire to still run key dropping quests.
Anyone who has concerns about this change feel free to let me know and I'll weigh them in when setting the percentages, but they're going to be pretty low already. I'm not sure how many people remember the drop rates of Majors Pre-ToD but they were'nt nearly as common as they have been in the last few years with the loot on Viss as well as the Mana Forges popping majors very frequently.
Q: So, as someone who has played an all-trained character for a number of years, how does this benefit my playstyle?
A: 400 wield items with new stats will drop rarely but I'm not sure if that helps your "over powered" template at all. In the chests I think the odds of finding a 400 wield with 420 wield stats is about half of finding the 420 wield of the same damage.
Q: What would be the chances of getting colo coins instead of the items for some of the harder boss monsters?
A: Issue is that players tend to kill the boss on one character and then run another bunch of characters into the dungeon to pick up the tokens. Would really like to not hand out free colosseum currency to anyone who has a bunch of mules with access. There are a few possible work arounds but they may not always work correctly, could be difficult to implement or would cause problems for people running the bosses the way they currently are.
Q: or.....maybe make it so you get flagged for the reward by actually hitting the boss (whether from a physical attack, a war spell, or even a debuff of some kind). this would eliminate anyone from getting a reward if they don't belong in there and didnt help with the kill.
A: I don't like to do this because some people act as healers or vulners. It was always odd running Gaerlan and trying to make sure everyone even the mages got a crit in on the boss.
Q: was it ever confirmed as coming from invoking stones? The only mention of the title I see on asheron.info is on the seeds of corruption new titles, and it is listed outside of the T'Thuun's Marauders Quest titles, stating, "Cathedrals Champion - turn in 90 tones from all 12 raid locations? " which to me looks like it was just someone's guess.
A: That's what happens when people snoop the files to find new titles and then guess where they come from. There has never been a title for turning in 90 of all of the stones.
Q: Any word on why you removed the Raid Commander titles?
A: The kill task and commander titles were meant for those who protected the areas that were being attacked. The commander titles were only for those who killed the commander at the towns, and there was no respawn. Those titles were initially intended as a one time occurrence.
The events ended up getting extended to give more people a chance to attend the different raids and collect enough stones, but the titles were still never planned on being for a large amount of people and were to go away with the end of the events.
Since there were so many people who wanted to complete their stone collection quests, and we needed a way to have players initiate the Summoning T'thuun events on their own, the pyramids were added and the stones were brought back. The kill task and commander titles remain as a reward to those who defended the towns.