The townspeople of Tou-Tou ran for cover as the ground began to violently shake. Thunderous crashing was heard as rocks broke free from the mountain nearby and slammed into the ground below. Amid the disaster, a shape began to emerge from the crest of the rocks. Its full form was hidden through the dust cloud created from all of the dirt and rocks being shook down from the peak.
As the tremors died down, the people began reappearing from the doorways and from under the beds where they had taken refuge. Instinctively, they slowly gathered at the edge of town as they all stared silently up into the dust cloud before them, waiting to see what would emerge.
A few of the citizens went back to their homes. This was not from a lack of interest or curiosity, but from a certainty that this appearance foreshadowed the terrible events about to happen. They grabbed their armor, their weapons, their wands, and their shields and readied themselves for the inevitable battle they were sure was to come. As they returned to the edge of town, the dust finally began to clear and the screaming and running began.
A shadow spire, the shape was unmistakable. Even those who had prepared for the worst could not believe what they were seeing. Not since years before, when the spires had appeared around several towns, had the townsfolk felt such fear. Warriors had fought fiercely to destroy those spires, leaving them as piles of rubble which lay as forgotten memorials to those terrible days. The battles had been fierce with much blood spilled... and Arwic, along with Tufa, had been lost. People never even spoke of that dark time anymore. They had rebuilt. They had moved on. This couldn't be happening again.
The warriors waited. To their surprise no shadows flowed into the city ransacking and destroying everything in their path. No townspeople lay slain on the roads, no buildings were burning. After a short while the group built up the courage to scale the mountain in order to preempt any battle that might ensue. Slowly they worked their way up the steep slope, expecting to be ambushed at any moment. As the top of the spire came into view jutting out from the rocks, they discovered that only a few shadows stood guard at the entrance.
The group looked at one another and then charged at the shadows with arrows and firebolts leading the way. The shadows, caught off guard, tried in vain to fight back the adrenaline filled warriors who slashed at them with a savage, uncontrolled, manner. Clearly the sight of these creatures brought back all of the pain and hate from years ago which took control of their bodies replacing all of their finesse and dexterity with a more barbaric primal violence. The warriors wanted nothing else than to see these beasts struck down and destroyed. It didn't take long for the dark creatures to begin falling one after another. The group surrounded the last shadow, a child. With an almost crazed look in his eye, one warrior lifted his axe high into the air and smashed it into the shadowy figure, striking it down with just the single powerful blow. The evil dropped to the ground, its last bit of energy used to whisper one sentence:
"Master, I have the analysis of the Mana Field disruptions that you asked for," said the glowing light elemental.
"Thank you," replied Asheron, lost in thought, "Compare the findings to the temporal anomalies previously detected, and see if there's a pattern."
"As you wish, Master," replied the elemental, with a bow.
Asheron mused to himself, "What are you up to, Geraine... First the temporal disturbances, then all but handing over a section of our trapped people to the depredations of the Apostate Virindi, not to mention the mess with the Gear Knights, now these Bloodstones? ... There has to be a pattern behind all this..."
Asheron sat, pouring over reports, analysis, and even unrelated recent activity reports, looking for a pattern. He was so lost in thought, that he didn't notice Prince Borelean enter his sanctum until he was right next to him.
"Asheron, I've found something you might find of use," said the Prince, without preamble. Asheron all but jumped out of his skin in surprise.
"Oh, you startled me for a moment there," said Asheron, relaxing visibly once he saw that it was Prince Borelean, and that the Prince was alone.
"Sorry about that. I don't think I've ever seen you that lost in thought before," replied the Prince, somewhat concerned, "Usually, you know I'm there before I've even gotten to the door."
"This puzzle is beginning to grate on me, I think," said Asheron, sounding uncharacteristically tired, "Geraine is clearly up to something, and he's being very careful to misdirect any attempts to find out what. I'm concerned that he's meddling with the Book of Eibhil again."
"The Book of Eibhil?" asked Borelean, "I've heard rumors of a book by that name before. What makes it so dangerous?"
"The Book of Eibhil is an ancient text, written by the Dark Falatacot. It's filled with many magics and rituals that were forbidden for anyone to even look into in my time. It's one of the only tomes in existence reputed to have rites in it for altering time, raising the dead, altering the mana fields of a world, and much worse besides. Geraine has held possession of the book in the past, and I fear he may have convinced it to aid him once again."
"Convinced it?" asked Borelean, now really curious. "I take it this 'book' is a lot more than just a bundle of pages of forbidden knowledge?"
"Like most powerful things the Dark Falatacot made in their prime, they bound dark spirits into the book. The thing is possessed of an evil sentience. One of the things that makes it so dangerous is that it tends to defy being hidden away. It's been known to escape the bonds placed upon it on the few times it has been seized and bound away."
"Why hasn't anyone just destroyed it then?"
"It's been remarkably resilient to that as well. Trust me, I've tried," muttered Asheron, "I can think of few entities that could completely seal away the book, and none of them have been seen on Auberean in ages." Asheron waved his hand like banishing dark thoughts, "Now, a lecture on the Book isn't why you came here. What is it you've found?"
Borelean pulled out a scroll and a book and handed them to Asheron. "These were found by adventurers aiding my research into the Bloodstones. Most of the text goes into the creation process for the Bloodstones, but there's mention in the report of a ritual site that is guarded by these newly created creatures. Could this be the ritual you've been hunting for?"
Asheron quickly flipped through the book and looked over the scroll. "It is possible. I have some theories on how Geraine could be hiding a ritual on the magnitude of altering time, but I haven't had a means to narrow the field. If this ritual site is filled with these new Bloodstones, however, I may be able to use them to help track down the site." Asheron looked thoughtful for a moment. "Here, send one of your Knight Mages to locate the information outlined in this list," he said, while plucking a parchment off of a pile on the table and handing it to Borelean.
"To hide that much mana flow, Geraine will have had to have made an array of anchor points," Asheron continued, "It's the only way a manipulation of that magnitude wouldn't echo over all the mana streams of this world. If we can figure out what was used for the array, and extract some of the enchantment information out of the anchor points, then we can use that knowledge, as well as the signature of the Bloodstones, which are still in limited, known locations, to locate this ritual site." Asheron considered something for a moment, and then added, "Geraine may have finally slipped up."
The Prince bowed to Asheron and said, "I'll set one of my personal guard on this, right away. We'll have the information you need soon."
"I hope so, Borelean. I fear we're running out of time, and I hope we're not already too late."
Greetings and welcome to the March 2011 release notes!
Spring is slowing approaching and this month the changing season will be reflected throughout Dereth. The team has worked tirelessly to make sure March contains new content and the return of established content in need of minor adjustments. There is a wide variety of things available in this release, let's check out what's new in Asheron's Call!
Quests of the Month
Week: Ricardo's Blood Gem
BiWeekly: The Search for Gareth Dain
Monthly: Haleatan Beach Camps
Changed the March Kill Tasks.
Normal non-plugin gameplay should not be adversely impacted by the message spam counter-measures. Please let us know if you experience negative effects to gameplay. Note: in terms of message spam, we are referring to all the game inputs sending messages to the server.
The following winter seasonal changes have ended; snowy weather effects have ceased, snow and snowmen have melted from landscape, trees are beginning to revive.
Spring seasonal changes beginning: Baby Bunnies.
A little springtime bird suggests that you talk with Sir Learth.
A new type of loot armor called Sedgemail has been added to the game.
A rare Void Magic Orb has been added!
Fixed the Portalling Device used in the Soul Stone Quest.
New monster agro scream behavior: fighting monsters in interior locations should no longer attract monsters from exterior locations but fighting monsters outside should still attract monsters from interior locations.
Olthoi Soldiers no longer play an animation twice while eating or drinking.
Fixed the following olthoi spitter animations: side step speed discrepancy which affects slide-casting, fixed the backstep movement at the end of all forward motions while in combat, new combat mode change animation.
Fixed the displayed string during craft interactions for those who have Aura of the Craftsman.
Edited Aura of Craftsman description to inform players that it affects all crafting as well as tinkering.
Quests that reward skill experience should now be broadcast to players again.
Hardened Obsidian Golems now drop Obsidian hearts instead of Iron hearts.
The Crystalline Crag dungeon has returned.
Added 20 Crystalline shards per day cap.
Alteration of physics to Burun Guruk to better fit in the small dungeon spaces where he can be found.
So these 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.
Recently we started a thread where everyone could make one request that would take a day or less. The team has had a chance to go through all the requests. After throwing out the suggestions that were way too involved for a day we chose a list to implement in a Player Request Update. Although we are not ready to say whether the player update release will be part of the big May update or come later, we wanted to follow up with players to tell people which ideas we picked!
~ Shadowfire Wand with a Life Magic requirement? We will be looking at a Life Magic version of this wand.
~ Add red garnet, black garnet, jet, and sandstone into the tier 6 and 7 treasure tables for wealth? We decided that modifying and diluting those treasure tables might cause problems, so we decided to offer these treasures on various alt currency vendors.
~ Remove augmentation timers? While we didn't feel that simply removing the timer was appropriate, we did decide to lower the length of the timers so new characters can gather augmentations more quickly. Of the three augmentation quests, we are lowering all three to two weeks instead of a month. In addition, once every two weeks players will be able to obtain an augmentation gem for 100k Luminance. That will increase the potential Augmentations to 8 in a month if someone takes advantage of all possible opportunities.
~ Turn in extra Augmentation gems for a reward? We are looking to add a turn in for unused Augmentation gems that will provide a character who is 200+ a reward of 10k Luminance. If players are curious, we are planning on adding only one more augmentation to the game that uses this mechanic. Human characters will get this augmentation for free, and other races can purchase the augmentation. No other additions to the use of augmentation gems is planned for the future.
~ Top tier craftable arrows for the missing damage types? We will be adding a way to make the missing arrow types with Fletching. We are also considering a special type of arrow that will require a high level of Fletching to equip.
~ Log Out Timer for PK? We are looking into adding a log out timer that will not allow someone to log out for 10 seconds if they have recently been struck in combat.
~ Clean Up the Inside of the Town Network? While we don't want to remove all the obstacles inside, we do plan on straighting the halls inside the town network so there is no loading pause as players run into the different areas.
~ Allow Armor Upgrade Kits on Relic Armor? Yes, we will be looking into providing an upgrade path for this type of armor.
~ Add Void Magic versions of Stone Fist Gauntlets and the WB/RM chapter rings? Yes, we will be adding Void Magic to these items. (If these items need a Two Handed Combat version that also will be updated.)
~ Remove Gearcraft and Tinkering skills to free up skill credits? We will be adding an additional Empyrean Seer who can, in one fell swoop, clear out all skill purchases including the skills that have been specialized with an augmentation such as those mentioned above. This process will have a one month timer. The Seer will do this for each character once for free. After that, the Seer will demand an ever increasing cost to perform this service. The second time you use the Seer it will cost 10 MMDs and 100k Luminance. The costs will rise each time you change your skills in this manner. This will be an alternate to using the Temples of Enlightenment.
If you have one of the augmentations that specializes a skill and you change your skills in this manner the skill augmentation will remain but will become inert while the skill is untrained. If you train the skill it will automatically become specialized . (It works in the same manner as the racial skill swap.)
~ Ability to change elemental protection augmentations? While we don't have the tech to remove the augmentation and return the experience points used to purchase it, we are going to look into making an NPC that will swap one elemental protection augmentation for another as an even swap. Although this will cost no additional experience, there will be a 50k Luminance charge.
~ Santa Sclavus? Maybe when the holidays roll around. We'll see then.
~ Housing Items provide 3 hour buffs? Our hope is to update the spells these items provide to last 3 hours.
~ Add an exchanger for alternate currency coins? We are looking into providing this. Since the various alternate currencies are not equally valuable we are looking to create an exchange rate that is fair. Once we decide on that, the exchange rate will be inefficient so you only gain half the value of the return in alternate currency.
~ Reduce the burden of Alchemical Throwing Vials? We are looking at cutting the burden in half.
~ Allow jester cards to stack? If we don't encounter problems with the crafting tables for this, yes up to 20.
~ Make Moonstone more effective? We are looking at increasing the amount of mana moonstone adds to make it more desirable. We aren't planning on making it a free tinker.
~ Make Alabaster Art Work different than Marble? Yes we will try to get a more unique look for the alabaster art.
~ Ability to dye Society Armor? We will instead look at provided society armor with alternate looks that can be tailored onto existing pieces.
~ Allow players to turn in the green bracelet in Castle Mhoire without having to talk to the shade? There are two issues; one is that you have to talk to the shade to before you do the quest and another is that everyone has to click on the throne to get credit. We will look at making both of those easier.
~ Add a command to tell if you stronghold owns anything? We won't have the cycles for this tech, but we will try to add NPCs into the strongholds that will say if your society currently owns anything.
~ Robes in loot? Yes, our plan is to eventually add robes to loot. This is a lot of work and may not make it into the player request update. We are still working out the details about how many slots these robes will take and how they will cover other armor pieces, but our current thought is they count as the chest piece and visually cover other armor pieces.
~ Higher AL Robes? This would be addressed by adding robes in loot.
~ Feedback on Damage Over Time effects? We are looking to have damage over time ticks to be broadcast locally with an option to suppress damage over time messaging for people who don't want the extra messaging cluttering their chat.
~ Surface portal at the bottom of Evis? Yes we can look into adding this.
~ Thin out hunting areas? The Gearknight hunting area, yes. The Ice hunting area, maybe.
~ Shield Tailoring? We are looking into doing this. If there are no major tech problems we will try to get it in, at least for loot shields.
~ Turn in the Sceptre of the Portal Currents for a spell scroll? Yes, we will try to add a way to do this.
~ Buff useless Aetheria? We will be looking into buffing Growth Aetheria. We haven't decided how this will be done.
~ Apostate Excavation and Apostate Citadel drop more reward items? We will be looking at boosting this.
~ Some way to convert the Candeth Keep recall wand to a spell? We will be looking to add a way to do this.
As a closing, I cannot promise that all of these will definitely be in. We could run into tech problems with any of these that force us to reconsider our options or even abandon the feature entirely. But these are the items, based on your suggestions, that we will be working on for the Player Request Update in the coming updates.
Here is what we are looking at now. This is subject to change.
Fletching will be able to create top tier piercing arrows with materials purchased from vendors. These arrows can be used by high level archers so you can log in a Fletching alt, make there arrows, and give them to your archer.
Other damage types will continue to be on alt currency vendors.
In addition, Fletching will also be able to make special Prismatic arrows. These arrows will require a high level Fletching to use so having an alt make them isn't useful if you don't have Fletching. Not only will these arrows do top tier damage, but Prismatic arrows actually inherit the damage type of the bow you are wielding (or use piercing if your bow has no elemental damage bonus.) This means you don't have to carry multiple types of arrows. You can simply switch bows and your arrows with just work. Of course the price you pay is that your main will have to have Fletching to wield these arrows so templates that save points by relying on Fletching alts will still use alt currency for top tier arrows of alternate damage types.
The materials to make Prismatic arrows with be found on normal fletching vendors. There will be three tiers of arrows so leveling archers with fletching get some love too. It also means that if you have Fletching trained rather than spec'd you should be able to use the previous tier of Prismatic arrows for normal play and rely on top tier arrows from alt currency vendors for special encounters.
Trained Fletching should be able to be raised high enough to create and use the deadly equivalent (ie. arrows that aren't quite as good as alt currency) of the prismatic arrows. To use the alt-currency equivalent you'll need to spec.
If you only train you should be able to run around with Deadly equivalent of Prismatic Arrows for general hunting needs (ie. the arrows lower than the alt currency versions), and trade with a Fletcher for Piercing arrows as good as the alt-currency versions. In this set up if you need to use the highest tier arrows in a different element because you just need the best (like a Colo run for example) you'd need to grab some from alt currency.
The update also includes a way to trade alt currencies, though this won't be as efficient as going directly to the source.
Missile weapon skills and the damage over time they provide is balanced (with respect to its point cost) in our spreadsheets assuming deadly arrows. Alt currency ammunition is actually a way for missile weapons to exceed the balance formula, and these are the only attack skills with a way to earn a sustained damage boost through game play. The system is balanced with the assumption that you can't use alt-currency arrows all the time. The game play decision archers are presented is since they can't use alt currency arrows all the time they need to decide when they need the burst those arrows provide and when they can use deadly arrows.
Players asked for a reason to train and spec fletching on their main. With fletching added in, the invested cost is great enough to warrant the full time damage boost of the greater arrows.
Allowing crafted piercing arrows off the alt-currency system is love for fletching alts and might be too good as it breaks the main limitation preventing archers from doing too much damage for the cost.
Q: The other option is to break current templates by requiring fletching for access to top damage. I'm not sure what they could give it besides convenience or combat advantage, and I would rather not see fletching become a required skill for archers.
Q: I'm undecided what I'll choose for my own 250+ archer.
A: This is ultimately what we want. Players looking at the system could go either way. Taking Fletching should be an interesting choice. It might even be, to some with ultra-streamlined specs, a hard choice.
If Fletching love provided a hard increase in potential damage, all archers would feel compelled to take it. That is ultimately just as undesirable as all archers foregoing Fletching. If we made Fletching free then all archers would have it and once again the decision to take the skill would be meaningless.
Our goal with this change is not to simply give love to archers. It is to make the decision to take Fletching on an Archer meaningful.