Hello there and welcome to the February Release Notes. This month we see what could be the culmination of what Aerbax has been working towards. Will the People of Dereth be able to stop Aerbax from completing his master plan? We are also going to take a special look at what goes into making a new Loot Tier for Asheron's Call as written by our very own Lupus Argenteus.
Let's see what else is new and exciting this month!
*Due to a bug, the XP players have been getting in this particular section of the Claude's Mind/Vision Quest is much higher than we wanted it to be. In the February event, high level players choosing to hunt in this section will now get approximately 250 million XP per hour, which is much more in line with what we originally intended it to be.
*The portal in The Black Death Catacombs which led to the Deeper Catacombs was accidentally reverted to the original unusable version from a previous month. This has now been fixed and players will once again be able to use the portal.
*In January, once a player had finished the Shadow of Bael'Zharon quest, they could not gain entry again in order to help other players complete the quest. In the February event players who have already completed the quest will now be able to gain entry to the dungeon in order to help others complete it.
*Hoshino Kei has moved into Asheron's Tower. Players may want to go speak with her to see why she has decided to change locations.
*Once again it seems the Tanada are up to something. It appears that they may have issued a challenge to other great warriors.
*Travelers have reported seeing new floating structures over the Obsidian Plains recently. Perhaps these structures have something to do with Aerbax.
*There seems to be some shady characters around some of the Ley Lines. Any players willing to investigate these reports shall be rewarded.
*The Drudge's that are a part of the Direland Champions hunting should no long one shot players. The spell that was the cause of this has been removed from their profile.
Life, Love and the New Loot Tier
One of the most fun things in Asheron's Call is the loot system. Randomly generated treasure has always been one of the cornerstones of our game, with the sheer variety of colors, statistics, and endowments which items may have leading to a sense of anticipation anytime a player is actively involved in seeking treasure. Many of us can recall the time we got that Celdon breastplate with just the right color veins, or that Major Bloodthirst max damage fire sword, or perhaps your favorite triple major crown. Treasure is, quite simply, rewarding (pardon the pun).
However, the current loot options have been available since 2004 - 4 years without a major update. There have been many forum posts lamenting the quality of loot distribution in an area where the best loot profile in the game is already available. Unfortunately, many players have mined the current treasure options to exhaustion, and are looking for better loot than what currently exists. It's time for us to introduce new loot options that will hopefully rejuvenate high level players' interest in loot.
The first question to answer would be, "How is new loot going to be available?" Currently, we have treasure profiles globally on most monsters and on most treasure chests. We're going to make a slight change to that.
We want to reward players who complete quests first and foremost. Therefore, the reward for completing a given difficult quest might be a key to a treasure chest using the new loot tier, as an example. We hope that this will improve the quality of the rewards from quests, while simultaneously maintaining our "loot items should be better than quest items" design belief.
We're probably not going to make the new loot tier available on monsters you can grind. We don't want to encourage more grind. Instead, achievement should be based on accomplishing great deeds. That's not to say that we won't ever have, say, a kill task where the reward is a key to a chest which uses the new loot tier - just that we don't want every single monster corpse dropping the new loot tier in addition to the kill task reward.
We're escalating the nature of rewards, but not necessarily in the same ways that you have become used to. For example, one radical choice we have made is not to increment armor levels that are available in loot, instead electing to increase other attributes instead.
Here's a small selection of things we are improving in the new loot tier:
- Melee, Missile, and Magic damage - We'll be introducing souped-up weapons and elevating damage potential for all three playstyles. Weapons (and casters) are designed to hurt people, and so we'll try to help them perform that role more effectively.
- Staff-variant Elemental Casters - As requested, we're going to see about adding an elemental version of these, to complement the current scepter option.
- Epic Cantrips - Players have been able to access Epic cantrips on items for a little over a year now. The next step is to get them into the loot system. All your old Major favorites will be available in Epic form.
- Armor Sets and Set Spells - In addition to Epic Cantrips, though, players will now have access to pieces of armor which grant additional bonuses (above normal spells and cantrips) if the proper set is worn. These will range in power and effect as the player wears more of a given set.
- New Armor Types - We have plans to introduce four different new types of armor into loot. I won't say what they are yet, but I'll give one hint - two are based off of pieces that you've previously seen static, non-dyeable versions of before, and two are all-new types.
- Base Armor Level Rebalance - Currently, the lower-quality material armors aren't just lower-quality - they're unusably low. We're going to set the AL spread to be much narrower than it is currently.
- Components for Level 8 spells - Sometimes we on the dev team wonder if you guys have spy cameras in the building at Turbine. We've been seriously bouncing around ideas for the level 8 spells for months, but someone made a thread about them just last week. We're not going to be introducing an entire array of level 8 spells, but we will be introducing a significant number. We'll definitely be introducing level 8 war spells to keep mage damage on par with the other archetypes, for example. When I say components...well, I'll save that for the next section.
We'd like to see the economy of the game spike in popularity. We believe that several of the changes we're putting in will stimulate growth in the adventuring sector...alright, I'm not Bernanke and you guys don't want to hear economic theory. We think a lot of the changes to the loot system will stimulate trading in a few ways.
For one, completing your armor set is going to be difficult. Previously, you were looking for the right color on the right type of armor with the right dual major (well, OK - I've seen some of your armor sets when I've run live ops and some of you definitely don't care so much for the right color). Now you'll have cantrips, set bonus, AL, type, and appearance all to factor in. You can get functional quickly, but to be perfectly where you want to be is probably going to take a lot of luck or a lot of horse trading (obligatory disclaimer - no, we're not adding horses). But it can be done, and we think the process of doing this will increase player interaction.
Assembling your magic spells will also take some economy management. Spell scrolls will no longer be found in chests. Instead, you'll get to craft them yourselves, using four different types of components. Some will be found in loot, some...well, you'll find out where those will be found soon enough. It's important to note that these tradeable components will be multi-use - you might use a Glyph of Corrosion to create an Incantation of Acid Blast or an Incantation of Acid Lure. Either way, you'll have two options on how to get these spells - looting the components yourself or trading for the components or scrolls you want. It's a way of introducing a smaller version of spell research while still making it accessible for those who don't want to bother.
We're pretty excited about the new loot system. It's a new incentive for the upper tier players to keep playing, to find that one perfect item, while still having a shot at useful items in the meantime. In fully discussing the new loot system with past and present devs, there's been an excited buzz - we think the new system catches a bit of the old spirit of the game, while still being accessible to newer players as well. We look forward to when we can unveil it to you!