A new patch for the open beta for PotBS was released last weekend. There are tons of changes that have been made which is a great thing to hear for the beta community.
This patch includes a lot of great stuff. Highlights include improvements in server lag in towns and in boarding combat, improvements to the invisible-avatar problem, the revamped version of the Red Tide level 6 group mission, many many mission and text bug fixes, the latest foreign-language translations, and a lot more.
We slowed the port conquest unrest rate to what we thought was appropriate due to the higher server population. Then we found out we did it wrong and it was way too slow. It's set correctly now. Among other things, this means that the unrest missions (such as delivering gunpowder to the rebel agent) now contribute significant amounts of unrest, as intended.
Surrendering in PvP puts the "Recently Killed" effect on you. It shouldn't.
We had to wipe your keybindings in this build. If you'd set keybindings other than the defaults, you'll need to set them up again. But now you can set them separately for each language.
We did some work to make battle markers color coded based on whether you could enter them, whether they had groupmates, etc. but we're not done yet. Ignore the coloring in this build and continue to rely on the old solution of mousing over them to see what the text says. We are still working on getting this cleaned up so it's easy to see at a glance the status of all nearby battle markers.
Differences between 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124 include but aren't limited to:
The tutorial was trying to set the firing arcs and wind indicator on or off as needed, which didn't work reliably since those preferences are preserved across all characters and servers. We stopped trying to do this so you can use your own settings in the tutorial.
There was a lengthy pause in the tutorial when you clicked the ship in distress before you'd end up in the captain's cabin. We fixed this pause so the transition happens right away.
Sometimes, NPCs in missions would have no names. We fixed this.
PvE Pirate Bounty missions offered no rewards. Fixed that.
Changed the rewards for the Magistrate Commendation missions. They now give out refit packages and a low-rank writ instead of all types of writs.
No Loitering: Tweaked your allies so they'll actually attack your enemies instead of standing around annoyed w/ them.
Increased the level of the opponents in the Fighting School mission chains to make them a little more challenging.
Drake's Ghost: Fixed the magistrate so he advances the mission properly.
Las Ferias de Portobelo: This mission is no longer repeatable. It shouldn't have been to start with.
Like a Cure for Chocolate: It wasn't possible to complete this mission. Fixed that.
The Out-of-Towners: If you failed the encounter, the mission would cancel itself. Fixed that.
Patients Zero: Anastas Danre had no sword and so was unable to attack. Fixed that.
Seventeen Bones: There was no entrance to the encounter. Fixed that.
Shoorai's Antipathy: There was no entrance to the encounter. Fixed that.
The Gunner's Mate: Muenda Audoire had no weapon and so couldn't attack. Fixed that.
30 Royal Encomiums: This Freetrader mission was offering a nonexistent item as a reward. Fixed that.
Citation of Conquest: This mission was awarding the wrong writ. Fixed that.
Red Tide! This level 6 group mission has been revamped and is now a repeatable group instance that should need four players to play effectively. It now includes both avatar and ship combat. You can play it as often as you want and the boss ship at the end of the fight drops a variety of loot only available in Red Tide. We hope you enjoy this first taste of our new repeatable group content and let us know if it's too easy!
Ship bounty missions could sometimes fail to progress if you killed more than the required number of a target, and would also display erroneous messages like Killed 4 of 2 Ships. They now work correctly.
Some ship bounty missions would accept avatar kills. We fixed this so they only accept ship kills.
Past the Point of Subtlety: This roleplaying story arc mission had a bug where if you boarded an enemy ship, the fire ship you were escorting would stop following you. We fixed that bug so the fireship does follow you as intended even if you do board an enemy ship. We also adjusted its goal position so the AI has an easier time getting there. We believe this mission should now play as it should.
A Man of Wealth and Taste: If you left in the middle of the mission, it could break your ability to play it at all. We've fixed this bug.
A Riot Is an Ugly Thing: Joachim Dequoy wasn't fighting because he had no sword. Fixed that.
End of the Millennium: Blasco le Vallon wasn't fighting because he had no sword. Fixed that.
Tortuga has two taverns, an indoor one and an outdoor one. Missions that referenced a tavern in Tortuga needed to be updated to use the right ones. Fixed that.
Does He Not Bleed: It was possible to kill the Thief of Pride, breaking the mission. Fixed that.
40 Royal Encomiums: Now requires you to turn in 40 Royal Encomiums instead of 30.
Cleaned up many places in many missions where there was code instead of text. Keep these bug reports coming.
Lady Arsenault: If you died without smelling salts you had to wait 5 minutes to give up. Fixed that.
Recently we adjusted the colors of ship names in the UI to make them more legible. This had the side effect of applying the same color change to the ship icons in the minimap, where it was very hard to distinguish the colors. We have broken out those color values into their own set and have now adjusted the minimap ship icon colors to be distinct.
The PvP Flag once again protects you from NPC agro in the Open Sea. When we did this before it blocked agro even in ship combat, which was really bad. It now works as intended.
Evade Aggression: This skill now works better at reducing agro from Open Sea NPCs.
Tweaked ad hoc spawn distances to reduce the likelihood of spawning in gun range.
When a groupmate in the Open Sea enters an ad hoc, we now automatically pull in other groupmates who are within 10 miles. We turned this feature off for a few weeks while we fixed some issues. Now that things are better, we're turning this feature back on again. After launch, we will be adding an option to join or decline nearby ad hocs involving a groupmate, but we believe this feature is now working well enough for launch.
Now that auto-join is enabled so that you automatically get pulled into ad hocs with your group members, we're dropping the ad hoc join window back down to 60 seconds.
Whenever you enter the Open Sea, you will now be unable to attack another player for 60 seconds while the new "Preparing Ship" effect is active. We did this to solve an unfortunate PvP tactic where one player would sit outside a port to draw other players into a battle, while his groupmates stood on the dock in town ready to jump into the OS and join the battle as soon as it was underway. This hid their true numbers and made for easy ganking. This tactic won't work anymore.
Vaporing: This skill was only lasting about 5 seconds, which wasn't long enough. Now it lasts 30 seconds as it should.
Attack Target: This now-free skill was being given out at level 10 instead of level 1, which was an error. Now all new characters start with this skill, which you can use to order your NPC allies to attack the selected target.
'Provision Allies: Boarding' had no apparent effect and was lost when it shouldn't have been. Better now.
We optimized server traffic in Boarding combat and Fort combat. This should improve avatar motion lag in boarding combat and make it more responsive. How'd we do?
During avatar combat, we record data on what's happening. We tweaked this data collection so it doesn't cause as much of a performance hit on the zone server when lots of fighting is going on. This should improve avatar motion lag during boarding combat.
All players start with a free finishing move such as Cleave, Run Through, and Dagger to the Gut, but these finishing moves have been underpowered and weren't necessarily worth building up the initiative for. We've increased the minimum damage these moves inflict (from 10-20 damage to 15-20 damage) and reduced their balance cost by 10.
All three swashbuckling schools have a variety of passive skills that buff your attributes. We want passive skills to be worth the points you spend to buy them, so we have tuned their bonuses to be roughly equivalent to a level 50 piece of avatar outfitting. Almost all passive skills were affected by this improvement and you should find them to be more worthwhile.
Avatar items that gave balance increases were overpowered. Their balance buffs have been decreased by about 1/3rd overall, although the adjustments do vary per item. We also made some miscellaneous tweaks to better balance these items.
Throw Sand: We've reduced this skill's duration to 6 seconds.
Improved Flash Powder: We've reduced this skill's duration to 3 seconds. These two skills are meant to provide a brief respite for a harried captain so you can activate a defensive skill, back away quickly to use bandages to remove a Bleed effect, or use a consumable item.
It wasn't possible to receive the recipe for the Halifax, preventing creation of Mastercraft versions of it. Fixed that.
A player in the open beta created a new listing in an auction house, but it vanished and the items were lost. Thanks to his bug report and screenshot, we tracked down the incident in the logs and discovered that in some cases of database disruption a transaction could be lost instead of queued for recording. We fixed this issue.
Economy Tutorial: If you left after building something and returned later, you might be unable to continue the tutorial. Fixed that so it works as it should.
Economy Tutorial: If you started this tutorial immediately after making a new character, you wouldn't have enough money to do everything required. We now make sure you earn enough within the economy tutorial to continue without finding money elsewhere.
Economy Tutorial: We no longer require you to wait around for your labor in order to finish.
Recipe tooltips were hard to read due to font colors. Fixed that.
The Mastercraft Halifax Schooner wasn't constructable. Now it is.
Art / UI / Sound:
Several NPCs had invisible clothing items (i.e. missing forearms or coats). Fixed these NPCs.
Delivery mission UI text now has readable colors.
Increased the width of the Interact UI to better accommodate foreign translations.
Replaced a bunch of placeholder ("TD") icons with actual icons.
Added a bit more color into the character/ship pictures in the Character Info UI.
Help Window link colors were changed to mirror the Interact UI colors.
When you dragged a skill or item from your toolbar, you saw a piece of text that made no sense. Now we show you the actual name of the thing you are dragging.
We recently made a code change that enabled you to hear many sound effects that were formerly being suppressed. (This was because nearby sounds were still being allowed to play even though their effective volume was 0 due to distance, so they used up sound slots that new and louder sounds couldn't use.) That change in turn meant that all looping sounds would restart the moment you reentered their radius, so you'd hear the beginning of the same sound effect repeatedly as you ran around. Now we keep track of where the loop was when we stopped playing it and resume it at the appropriate time later on. This will enable you to hear many more and diverse sounds.
It was possible to use the lock feature in Character Customization to create empty torsos or horrible interpenetrations of clothing bits. Fixed that, although there are still some other cases we are working on.
The male Seafarer coat was invisible once you were in game. Fixed that.
We made some improvements on the invisibile-avatar problem many of you are reporting. It's not fixed, but we've made some progress. Let us know how it goes.
Expanded the Loot UI a bit to accommodate foreign language translations.
Tweaked the Options UI a bit to accommodate foreign language translations.
Performance / Stability:
In towns with lots of avatars, you would get frequent frame rate drops. We made a performance improvement on the client that should make this better.
We made some improvements on the invisible-avatars problem. It is definitely still happening but we think it will happen less often. This is still a top-priority issue and work is ongoing, but we'd love to know how this first step goes.
Fixed some client crashes that could occur if you zoned while owning the wrong item.
Sometimes a bunch of players will get a meaningless loading screen again and again and again without actually going anywhere. While we still don't understand how this issue gets started, we have figured out how to prevent the symptoms from affecting anyone. You shouldn't see this recurring loading screen anymore.
When servers couldn't talk to each other for some reason, they gave up trying too quickly. We made some configuration changes to be more patient.
Fixed yet another zone server crash on shutdown. While you can't see those, there is some risk of data loss when they occur so we dig into each one we see just in case.
Fixed a database cache-server crash and a dispatch server crash that happened when they lost connection to serverdir. This was the cause of the short-term data rollback that happened last weekend and now it's fixed.
Fixed a login server problem that was caused by bad cache server behavior. We're so glad to have you guys pounding our servers this is great stuff you're enabling us to find.
Fixed a rare client crash that could occur if you had outfitting in your toolbars and tried to zone at just the wrong time.
Fixed a rare mission server crash that could occur if you somehow managed to get connected to the game twice. We're also working on preventing that getting-connected-twice thing. We think it's caused by something going wrong the first time you try and us never releasing the zombie that resulted.
Fixed a mission server crash that GMs could cause by trying to appear neutral. Also changed things so they can no longer do the thing that was causing the crash in the first place.
In some cases a player could have two characters logged in at the same time due to a bug. When this happened, the mission server would crash. We fixed this.
Adjusted load balancing on the server clusters so we don't put too many server processes on one machine.
Rollback fix! In some circumstances, the database cache server could crash and lose any changes that had not yet been written to the database. We fixed this crash. This was the source of the recent data loss/rollbacks you may have experienced.
We made a change that should improve server lag and stability in towns. When players are in towns we're frequently checking nearby NPCs to see if they have missions you can take and other things. With large numbers of players, the requests become enormous. These requests were going through the connection servers, which handle all player network traffic, and the connection servers could therefore become overloaded with these NPC requests. We now send those requests directly to the mission server, bypassing the connection servers. This should have a big impact on server lag in towns. (Note that this has no impact on framerate in towns, which is affected by hardware performance and how many avatars are being drawn.)
Made a global optimization to all of our network traffic. Every single packet we transmit is now smaller and more efficient. While the change is very small, we transmit these packets by the thousands every second. This change should provide improved network performance and reduce server lag.
Fixed some rare zone server crashes.
Added the word Captain in front of your name in Character Creation so you'd be less tempted to make that your first name. We refer to you as "Captain " all the time in the game, so players who tried to call themselves "Captain Franks" would be referred to as "Captain Captain Franks". That's bad so we try to make it clear up front that you don't need to do that.
In theory, we now have limited macro support. You can create a text file with the extension .do in the Pirates folder under your My Documents folder. In that file, list slash commands like /wave and /say Ahoy! on separate lines. In game, /do and those commands will be run. You can make as many files as you like and each one is essentially its own macro. Note that there's no pause between them so that if you list multiple emotes in a row (or any command that results in an animation being played), you likely won't see all animations because they'll trounce each other.
Keybindings are now language specific. In this way, you can have one set of shortcuts in English and another set in another language. In order to implement this, however, we had to wipe your keybindings so you'll need to re-create them.
Our mouselook speed preference was broken. It was too slow for many people and there was no good way for you to fix it yourself. Should be better now.
Increased the interact radius on ports. You can now enter ports from a distance of 8 miles.
Added a few foreign words to the profanity filter. We have more to add...
Whew! It's been a busy week here and the work continues. Thanks for playing in the open beta!