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Release 18

May 28, 2015[1][edit]

  • Maps: Our goal is to get the Grunvald Region near completion and begin work on the Quel Region which includes scenes like the Etceter Mines.
  • Grunvald and Quel Expansions Delayed: We decided to focus mostly on iterating and improving existing scenes, including dynamic spawning, instead of creating more new scenes (although we did add 1 new scene in the Perennial Coast: Spectral Foothills). We did finish the world building for the Etceter Mines but they won’t be spawned until R19.
  • Dynamic Creature & Resource Spawning: Starting with this release, we have begun implementing a new spawning methodology. Our hope is this new method will result in a more immersive and dynamic play experience. The scenes below represent our first initial pass, but we will periodically come back to these scenes as new features come online (escorts, complex idles, sophisticated patrols, etc.). Additionally, each new scene that comes online will be spawned this way. This will also allow for balanced tiers of difficulty within regions, commensurate with the tiers of resources found within the areas. The goals and methodology for dynamic spawning include:
  • Each full exploration of an area should feel different than the last full exploration of the same area. As you travel around a map, you may see skeletons near some ruins in one pass. The next pass, you may see kobolds near the ruins. Additionally, the next pass you may see both, and they are fighting each other.
  • Areas should always feel well/thickly spawned for ample opportunities of hunting creatures and gathering resources. This does not mean edge to edge critters and resources, just that they are not hard to find when looking. In fact, many areas may have overlapping groups of spawners, allowing players to encounter active battles between factions.
  • You should not be rewarded for camping a spawn location. When you deplete a Dynamic Resource Spawner, it will not magically reappear in the same place, but rather in a new location. Thus forcing you to keep going and continue to explore further.
  • When a map “spins up,” only about ⅓ of the “potential spawns” will spawn, and can be delayed to allow for specific situations. As spawned items are destroyed or removed, new spawns will fire off, to sustain the general ⅓ density of total spawns.
  • Creatures of a group can manage spawns internally, that way a pack of wolves will either spawn or be absent, not individual by individual.
  • Spawn groups may also contain “leaders” which can allow for individual spawns within the group, while managing the group as a whole under the leader. For instance, you may encounter a liche surrounded by his death minions and have to continually destroy them as you fight the liche.
  • Resources also spawn in the same ⅓ always available method. That way, there are always many to be mined, but you must continually explore, and thus continually be exposed to danger in order to find new resources. It would be very rare for the resource spawner you just harvested to respawn quickly in the exact same spot you are standing.
  • 16 Improved Scenes: We polished the creature and resource spawning in several Perennial Coast and Grunvald scenes.
  • Spectral Foothills: This is a new scene in the Perennial Coast that is the foothills of the Spectral Peaks and includes the entrance to the Spectral Mines. It also has the new Dynamic Spawns, and is quite difficult!
  • Creatures: Our creature list will continue to expand with Chaos Demons and Wisps.
  • New Creatures Delayed: Due to the work on armor, we had to delay creature work.
  • Undead Resurrection Tweaks: In R16 we added the behavior to undead creatures that they would resurrect at least once upon death. This was a very rough first iteration and in R18 we have finalized this feature with the following:
  • Higher Level Only: Higher-level undead are the only undead that have a chance to resurrect. The lowest level undead (such as the skeletons you fight in most of the early maps) only need to be slain once.
  • Multiple Resurrections: Stronger undead have a chance to resurrect multiple times. For example Elite Skeletons might resurrect as many as three times, while Skeleton Archers only have a single chance to resurrect.
  • Magic Killing Blows: Undead killed with conventional weapons have a high (but not 100%) chance to resurrect. If the killing blow comes from magic they have a much lower resurrection chance.
  • Banish Undead: If the killing blow to an undead is from the “Banish Undead” spell then they will not resurrect. Banish Undead also does far more damage to undead creatures now.
  • Group Spawning: As noted above in Dynamic Spawning, we now have the ability to spawn creatures in groups versus just individuals. This will assist us to make more believable and strategic groups like wolf packs, combat patrols, bandit gangs, etc.
  • Crafting: Crafting skills will start to come online, and be used during crafting to modify results.
  • Crafting Skills Delayed: In order to focus on combat balance, we pushed this to a future release.
  • New Armor Variation Recipes: We have 4 new recipes for Basic Plate and Augmented Chain for the partial to full variations (see below for more details)
  • Meticulous Collection: This is back in the game with new improved functionality.
  • Player Owned Towns: We plan to start the official submission process and begin implementing more towns.
  • Beta Submission Form: The submission form has gone live, and we have received a lot of very valuable feedback. We will do another improvement/clarification pass on the form in the future, but for now it is lower priority than security tasks. We are also getting a lot of great submissions which are helping us designate what kinds of templates to build and also how to distribute the towns across the map.
  • Desert Template: We have created a second template based on PaxLair which uses a Desert biome instead of a Forest biome.
  • Player Owned Town #2: Vengeance: One of the features we are most excited about is the ability for a Player Owned Town to be flagged Open PVP. We have gotten this feature online for R18 to test the functionality, and we are placing the Crossroads Village of Vengeance at the northern end of the Grunvald Desert. Duke Violation invites all PVP inclined players to come to Vengeance for nightly PVP activities, and even to petition to live there.
  • Housing: Fences and Walls will come online as new customization options for player property.
  • Fences and Walls: These originally went into R17. However, they were not easy to place. So, we spent time in R18 making them much easier to place, by allowing each piece to overlap slightly.
  • Indoor/Outdoor Decoration Surfaces: We did a polish pass on these deco surfaces to more accurately cull and count decorative objects that were inside or outside. This also fixes the issue where items on balconies or open areas would be culled improperly at a distance.
  • Increased Interior Light Limit: Now that we have interior culling working properly, we have increased the number of lights you can place per floor (based on lot size).The new limits per floor are:
  • Row: 10
  • Village: 15
  • Town: 25
  • City: 40
  • Keep: 50
  • Castle: 60
  • Item Limit Messaging: We did an improvement pass on item limit messaging. Limit messaging no longer appears red (starting with “: blahblah”… which looked strange) and the limit message now appears after a placement is made and displays the current count for the placed item type. This makes it much easier for decorators to keep up with their limits, instead of having to wait until the final 25% to get a warning. Long term, we will be providing a user interface with your running totals.
  • New Decorations: The Teletype and Wishing Well are now available as home decorations. Please note that neither has their in game functionality enabled yet.
  • Removed Lot Restrictions for PVP Scenes: Players will no longer be able to choose to block off their lots in PVP scenes.
  • Rear Doors: We added rear doors to some of our larger buildings, so that you will no longer have to go all the way to the front door, and then around your house just to get to your backyard. No redecoration will be required unless you had something on the wall where the door now is. Homes with rear doors now include the following:
  • Spells & Skills: The combat schools of Shields and Light Armor will expand, and more combos will be added to the game.
  • New Spells & Skills Delayed: Instead of adding new skills, we focused on balancing and modifying existing skills (as part of overall combat balance). See details below under Combat.
  • Combat: The cover system will be introduced that modifies attack and defense values when you (or your target) are behind cover.
  • Cover Delayed: As many of you have pointed out, our combat has been unbalanced, buggy, and almost unplayable for a few releases. Most importantly it just isn’t very fun yet. We realized that adding a new major system on top of this unwieldy mess would be counter productive. So we instead decided to focus more on balance, bug fixes, and general enjoyability before we added cover.
  • New Deck Mechanic: The most consistent complaint about our deck mechanic is that players have to spend too much time looking at the hotbar. To address this we have made a modification to the system that allows players to assign spells to a defined slot in the hotbar even though that skill will still be dealt to them randomly. Doing this allows players to categorize their skills. For instance, all their buffs appear in slot 4 while all their DoTs appear in slot 3. Feedback so far from players on the QA server has been that this does indeed address the distraction issue while still preserving all the positive aspects of the system. It also creates a large number of new strategies in deck building.
  • Player to Player Collision in PVP: Players who are flagged PVP or are in PVP zones will now collide with each other.
  • Skill Limits: We have removed the innate skill limits and replaced this with level based limits on all skills.
  • Auto Attack Animation Polish: Starting with last release, we have continued completely reworking auto attack animations (R17 was blades only). This rework focuses on holding the end frame of the animation where the strike happens and then using the length of that hold for any modifiers on attack speed versus speeding up or slowing down the animations (which looks bad).
  • Combat Sounds: Combat sounds have been updated. While the sounds are placeholder, they are at least better placeholder and now have some context. Soft hits sound different than hard hits, hitting metal sounds different than hitting leather.
  • AI Improvements: A number of issues that were making AIs easily exploitable have been addressed.
  • Balance & Bug Fixes: We spent a large amount of time addressing issues with combat that were making it unbalanced, unfun, and even unplayable.
  • Flinch Animations: Players will now play an animation when they are hit.
  • Ankhs: Ankh locations will now appear on the Compass when you are dead, to aid navigation.
  • Fizzle Changes: Now occurs almost instantly after trying to cast and no longer removes the card, but does cost focus. This allows skilled players to push the limits far more with abilities that fizzle.
  • Stuck in Combat: We fixed issues that were keeping players stuck in combat mode. No, really. We mean it this time…
  • Heal: Heal spells are approximately 10% less effective and cost 20% more focus.
  • Death Mastery Bonus: This bonus was dropped from 20% to 10% to fall in line with other mastery skills.
  • Stealth: Lighting a torch or casting a light spell will now knock you out of stealth.
  • Potions: Potions were mostly useless so we spent some time making them more useful. Heal, Focus, and Explosive potions are now 50% more effective but have a 60-second cooldown instead of 30. Haste potions now last 90 seconds instead of 30.
  • Mind Lock: The cooldown was moved from 20 to 30 seconds and focus cost increased from 8 to 10.
  • Ground Pound: Now based on player weapon damage instead of having a fixed value.
  • Quad Slash: Has been changed to be more effective vs heavily armored targets.
  • Corpse Explosion: Effectiveness greatly increased and will be worth using for something other the fun nature of blowing up corpses.
  • Interruption Rate for Damage Decreased: The rate of interruptions from damage has been decreased from 4% per point to 1% per point.
  • Glyph Stacking: Glyphs stacked with other instances of the same glyph will now decrease focus cost by 20% per stacking level but only increase damage by 5% per stacking level.
  • Moon and Sun magic bonuses: Now tied to the actual sun and moon instead of to the day night cycle. This means it is possible to have both sets of bonuses at the same time. Moon magic will no longer give bonuses underground.
  • Glyph Visuals: The cases where Glyphs would appear dark when useable or light when not useable should now be addressed.
  • Deck Switching: Switching decks in combat will no longer clear all glyphs. Instead it will only remove the glyphs that don’t exist in the deck.
  • Enlightenment and Inner Strength: These Glyphs are now useable on people in your party. This allows for more party synergies.
  • Block: The Block glyph in Polearms tree should now add a bonus for up to the next 4 blocks instead of just one.
  • Berserker Stance: The focus drain over time for this has been reduced by a factor of 4.
  • Overworld: Roving encounters (patrolling creatures) will now appear on the overworld map and can be engaged (pulling you into a scene) or avoided if you wish to sneak past.
  • Roving Encounters Delayed: Our current random encounters are placeholders to prove out the functionality of the system. We have not gone back to improve them for many months and therefore they are more annoying than enjoyable. Adding more functionality via Roving would just increase annoyance. Therefore we are delaying Roving Encounters until such time that we can design better Random/Roving encounters. Instead of just the random “attack by skeletons” we want more situations like these examples:
  • Caravan being ambushed by Bandits.
  • Undead Army Unit marching down the road.
  • Wandering Merchant of rare goods.
  • Wandering Trainer of high level spells like Summon Elemental.
  • Satyrs driving Fawns to the slave markets.
  • Overworld Camera Changes: In Release 17, we modified the camera to allow viewpoints similar to when you are inside a scene. This allows you to look forward to see where you are going and allows you to look up at the sky (very important now that we have Astronomy coming online, see below). However, this change allowed camera angles that exposed a host of issues around assets that were never meant to be seen closely. It also exacerbated the scale differentials between the avatar and the scenery. To combat this we have modified the camera so that it can no longer get close to the ground when you are in the overworld.
  • English Names Option: There is now an option (that defaults to “Off”) to show English translations of the scene names on the overworld.
  • Emote “Teaching”: Emotes will now be teachable to other players. Some emotes (like the ones tied to pledges) will only be teachable by the original owner. Teaching will be done via secure trading a consumable item that adds the emote when used.
  • Emote Teaching Delayed: We chose to focus on the new deck mechanic versus implement this feature.
  • Localization: We will begin crowdsourcing the translation of the game into various languages.
  • Localization Crowdsourcing Delayed: While we continue to prepare the game for the start of localization, we are not quite ready to start crowdsourcing this because we chose to work on revamping and polishing the New User Experience (see below).
  • Player Made Books: Players will be able to write in blank books in the game, and share them with other players.
  • Player Made Books Delayed: We did make progress on the uploading process, but there were too many other issues with combat that needed addressing, so we delayed this feature until a future release.
  • Customization: Clothing and Armor will now be dyeable.
  • Dyeability and Material Colors Delayed: While we got very close to being ready to deploy this the scope of preparing the data and the art assets to properly display both material color from crafting (i.e. copper-tinted plate armor) as well as providing players the ability to dye other parts of the armor (the cloth underneath, highlight details, etc.), it proved to be bigger and more complex than we had time to address without introducing a bunch of bugs. Since we are so close though, we fully intend for this to be in R19.
  • New Armor and Armor Variations: We have created visual variations of several armor sets representing a range from partial to full coverage. Long term these visual variations will be linked to properties of the armor, but for now durability is the only difference. Over time we will be phasing out some of the older lower quality visuals for armor so that by the time Episode 1 launches all in game armor will be of this level of quality. Here are the details (unless otherwise noted these are not yet craftable):
  • New Wearables: We have added several new wearables to the game including:
  • Death Adder Cloak: This cloak bears the secret Death Adder symbol of Min Liang Tan, a respected citizen of Ardoris who is rumored to practice Necromancy. It is whispered that wearing this symbol in his presence will be rewarded. In an update later this release, we will provide information about how all backers can register on our website with their Razer ID to receive this in the game.
  • Water Magic Cloak: This Add On Store item displays the symbol for Water Magic and increases the duration of the /rain emote and increases your chance to receive an item from the Wishing Well. 50% of net purchase price will be donated to Water.org on a bi-annual basis.
  • Brown Bycocket: Add On Store version of the R18 Grand Tour Hat.
  • Cloth Doublet: This is the doublet that can be seen underneath the new modular armor sets (see above). This will be available in game for in game gold.
  • Astronomy & Calendar: The sky above is now filled with a full system of celestial mechanics, including 10 orbital bodies and a constellation-filled star field. All of these move independently and will generate phases, eclipses and multiple alignment events. These are all tied to a calendar that has a direct ratio to actual Earth time (see below). Our long term plan is to use all of this data in game play. For example, there may be certain attributes that can only be added to crafted items when Deceit is in the constellation of Chaos. Please note that for now, this new sky only appears when you are in the overworld. Over the next few releases we will propagate the sky to all the other scenes.
  • Moon & Sun Magic: Moon and Sun Magic are now tied to the celestial body being above the horizon versus time of day. This means there will be times when they are both equally effective because the sun and moon are both visible.
  • Time Indicator: Below the compass is now a time indicator that includes time of day, month, year, and moon phase. This appears automatically for now, but later it will require an astrolabe in your inventory (and the compass indicator will require a compass in your inventory).
  • Calendar: Game time is now tied in a direct ratio to real Earth time in the following ways.
  • 1 Earth Hour = 1 New Britannia Day.
  • 28 Earth Hours = 1 New Britannia Month.
  • 2 Earth Weeks = 1 New Britannia Year.
  • 1 Earth Year= ~26 New Britannia Years.
  • New Britannia Calendar Dates restarted with “The Fall” (the lunar calamity that destroyed much of the Old World).
  • Shroud of the Avatar begins 400 years after “The Fall,” also known as “Post Cataclysm” or “PC”.
  • January 1st 2013 on Earth was January 1st of the NB year 400.
  • New User Experience Revamp: While we desire to make a game that is challenging and makes the player think, we do not desire to punish the player, especially at the beginning of the game. However, that is the experience of the new player in our game: unending punishment. With Release 18, we decided to make the new user experience more forgiving and guide the player more than previously. We give the player more recipes, maps, and notes to help guide them (specifics below).
  • Solace Bridge: Various improvements including a new NPC here who gives clues about the overall story, better/clearer/more notes in the Journal, a map of Soltown from Edvard, etc.
  • Soltown: We made a lot of changes to make Soltown a better home base of operations for starting players. In addition to the visual improvements mentioned above, we did the following:
  • Added a refugee camp across the road from where you arrive with a few starting quests that send you either to Ardoris or East Perennial Trail.
  • Added tanning, tailoring, and textile crafting stations since those are the most resources you collect early on.
  • Added a crafting quest to help you learn the crafting system via making a leather helm.
  • Tuned a few recipes for cloth and leather helms and gloves to make them better starting recipes.
  • Stocked the crafting merchants with everything you need to make the starting helm and glove recipes (aside from raw materials such as hides).
  • Oracle Improvements: The Oracle’s judgments on your actions are much clearer, and the Oracle will make specific comments on any actions you take that affect your virtue (once per visit). This tracking actually began in R17, so you will get more feedback right away.
  • Double Click to Loot: Items in the world can now be picked up by double-clicking on them as long as they are not interactive. For example, you can pick up the sword on the weapon rack in the tutorial by double-clicking but you cannot pick up a candle.
  • /zone cooldown and windup: The current ability of /zone is there to facilitate testing and community events. Long term, players will not be able to freely teleport wherever and whenever they want. Current thinking is that this will be a spell that requires reagents and will have a very long windup and even longer cooldown to prevent exploits and reinforce local economies. As a first step towards that longer term goal, we have made it so that typing /zone will activate a spell (no reagents required for now) with a 30 second windup and 15 minute cool down.
  • Grand Tour 18: As with each release, we will have a grand tour that will take players through the new scenes and scenes that have changed the most. Completing this quest is the ONLY way to gain a rare reward. The hat for this release is a Bycocket (proper name for a Robin Hood hat) that we hope you will all enjoy.[2]

Additional Information[edit]

Video[edit]

See Also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. Darkstarr, Q2 2015 Schedule Update
  2. Darkstarr, Release 18 Instructions

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