Update 4 Jun 2019

For general discussion of the game.
ninjadyne
Implementor
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:39 am

Update 4 Jun 2019

Post by ninjadyne » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:00 am

* Racial resistances and vulnerabilities have changed as follows:
- Aelin: bash (-10), mental (-10), lightning (+20).
- Ch'taren: weapon (+10), mental (+10), negative (-20).
- Chaja: illusion (-20), fear (-10).
* A code-based task system has been implemented, which allows for characters to see visually when tasks are available and where.
- The system allows for one-off and repeatable tasks, with a variety of rewards.
- It has the capacity to retrofit existing quest content into its framework.
- A task log will display the tasks a character has completed, and how many times.
- Mobs may provide multiple tasks, which may or may not overlap, with independent cooldown timers.
* Tasks are presently available in the following areas:
- The School of Heroes
- The Sea of Lidraeu
- The Hakurah Monastery
- Var Bandor
- Jasa Lake
- The Chanisal Monastery
- The City of Gogoth
- Kzaya Ha Canyon
* A brief "new to MUDs"-style tutorial has been prepended onto the School of Heroes, for players who select new on creation.
* Added a "node" item classification, which allows characters to harvest resources from it via the harvest command. See help HARVEST.
* A number of existing bushes and plants from which characters could pick fruit have been converted to the node type.
* God touches have been reworked, giving nearly all of them new effects and/or bonuses.
* The sacrifice command has been rewritten, to supplement the changes to god touches listed above. See help SACRIFICE.
* The Tower of Aramril and surrounding grounds have received a complete overhaul.
- New and altered items for Champions, including generic, house-specific weapons and armor.
- The leader's office has been moved inside the Tower, which has subsequently grown taller.
- New guard stats based on the Corvalius Manor generics.
- Many new or altered descriptions for mobs/objects/rooms and updated lore.
- Total replacement of all in-area progging.
- House specific treasures, which offer bonuses to members on Tower grounds, have been placed in-game.
* Strength of Aramril has been reworked, allowing it to dynamically update while on Tower grounds, and greatly improving its general effectiveness.
* Characters with the strength of Aramril skill can now actually improve at it.
* The Grand Federation of Merchants has received improvements to maintain parity.
- House specific treasures, which offer bonuses to members within Corvalius Manor, have been placed in-game.
- Iterative progging improvements.
* The ruins of the Proving Grounds, home to the Lords of Conquest, have been unearthed by the followers of Dolgrael.
* Yora Vale has been discovered in the Brintor Mountains.
* The City of Gogoth has been reworked in its entirety.
* The southern portion of the Sea of Lidraeu has been transformed into an estuary.
* Undersea Lidraeu has been relocated to a more logical location: beneath the Sea of Lidraeu.
* It is now possible for characters to quit in Jaras village, located in Jasa Lake.
* Many of the nefortu fire casters in Kzaya Ha Canyon have had their encounters redesigned, no longer relying on spells like disintegration.
* Druid no longer receives: axe, kick, staves, herbal medicine, animal tongues, star glamour, calm animals, animal swarm, stampede, animal eyes, command weather, rite of the sun, sunray, moonray, bark skin, bearform, wolfform, hawkform, tangle trail.
* Druid now receives: spear, dodge, concentration, wildcraft, enhanced damage, invoke totem, third attack, tan, totemic attunement, shape timber, siphon domain, rite of infusion, rotsbane, claim aspect.
* Srryn and kankoran are now capable of creating as druids.
* Druids no longer create with the trait that allows commune with nature, nor do they immediately gain the passive bonuses of lunar influence.
* Added a new potential trait for druids, acolyte of seasons, to act as a roleplay-based alternative to the lunar influence trait.
* Claim aspect has subsumed all previous animal aspect functionality, as well as adding a new one: sharkform.
* Animal aspects no longer provide enhanced damage or third attack, as they have become part of the base class.
* Wildcraft now allows a druid to create weapons or totems when in the wild. See HELP WILDCRAFT for more details.
* Forest walk's overall duration has been increased, and its minimum duration has also been significantly lengthened.
* Forest walk now allows druids to quit in forest rooms, while the spell is active.
* Fixed a bug in eyes of the forest which made it erroneously cost no mana to cast if successful.
* Giant growth now provides a bonus to constitution, in addition to its other bonuses.
* Natural armor has had its implementation removed and replaced with one functionally identical to bark skin.
* Entwine now has new flavor, and deals damage in addition to its usual effect, while in the domain of Gamaloth.
* Oak lance now may alter its functionality based on tendril growth, current location, or rotsbane.
* Oak lance now provides bonus damage based on wielded wooden weapon level, rather than dice.
* If wielding a magic damage weapon when cast, oak lance will convert 25% of its piercing damage into the weapon's type.
* Thorn spray has an alternate effect when used in the domain of Gamaloth.
* Plant growth now has different flavor in the domain of Gamaloth.
* Shrink now incurs a penalty to constitution, in addition to its other penalties.
* Mushroom circle now alters its flavor in the oceanic or Gamalean domains, and is more effective in the latter.
* Nettles now causes a mana penalty when it triggers, and alters its flavor in the domain of Gamaloth.
* Speak with plants now operates differently in the domain of Gamaloth. See HELP SPEAK WITH PLANTS for details.
* Sticks to snakes can now have adjusted damage typing depending on the location of casting, or if the item in question was affected by siphon domain.
* Sticks to snakes no longer scales how many snakes it produces based on weight.
* Creeping curse has absorbed the functionality of tangle trail on rooms that it affects, and has had its mana cost increased.
* The duration of creeping curse is now slightly longer.
* Fixed a bug with tan that resulted in getting resistance values of 0 on generated items.
* Sunray now deals the proper amount of damage, and its checking for globe of darkness has been fixed.
* Fixed a bug in moonray which caused its AoE damage portion to sometimes fail to hit all applicable targets.
* Wind surge has been moved into natural magic, and can now limitedly function underwater.
* Tendril growth has a new implementation, disallows animal forms, gains less melee damage, and is now disease typed.
* The penalties inflicted by tendril growth now have their own affect, and apply vulnerability to disease.
* Fixed echoing issues on success on the cure poison and cure disease spells.
* Bounty of nature has a new effect when used within the domain of Gamaloth.
* Skills or spells which inflict bleeding will now uniformly attribute blood loss damage to the attacker when in melee.
* More uniform checking is in place to ensure that only proper creatures can be made to bleed over time.
* The damage dealt by bleeding effects is now calculated properly versus resistances.
* Creature lore now allows characters to learn mobs with the ACT_BADASS flag set (namely, hero ranking mobs such as Ghaunda).
* Fixed a bug in which bind wasn't applying the proper dexterity penalty.
* Weapon-based poison effects, and poison effects from eating or drinking, now properly check for immunity.
* A weapon with the poison flag now attempts to inflict poison on many hits, rather than virtually all.
* Assassin poisons which inflict damage over time can now be cured by cure poison, assuming a successful dispel check.
* Death poison has more error-checking on when its instant kill effect can trigger.
* Shadow fist now provides a bonus to hitroll while active.
* Beguile now bases its protection effect on effective caster level, rather than a stat combination.
* Celerity's third attack percent, as well as its effectiveness at avoiding knockdowns, is now based on effective caster level.
* Seeping wounds' maximum bleeding amount is now bound by effective caster level rather than character level.
* Vanish's odds are now based on effective caster level, rather than solely skill percent.
* Psionicist no longer receives: foresight.
* Psionicist now receives: dodge, mindtap.
* Many psionic foci have had their primary attributes for practicing changed, biased toward wisdom.
* Skill progression for psionicist has changed to parallel more modern class designs.
* Activating a psionic focus will now never fail due to concentration\; instead, it will adjust its effective caster level based on character level and focus percent.
* Psionic foci now have a chance to improve each tick during its upkeep check.
* Accelerated healing now scales its bonus regeneration and hunger enhancement based on its effective caster level.
* Detect life now allows a psionicist to detect hidden or camouflaged characters and see in the dark.
* Detect life's ability to reveal characters still unseen, or those using sneak, is dependent on its effective caster level.
* Detect life's activation lag has been decreased by half, and its activation and upkeep costs have increased slightly.
* Prowess now scales its bonus damage based on its effective caster level.
* Levitation now offers an effective controlled flight percent based on its effective caster level.
* Ordered mind's effect now scales based on your effective caster level rather than a fixed value.
* Block vision has reduced activation lag.
* Leech now drains more mana from the target character than it used to.
* Deflection now bases its defensive capacity on your effective caster level rather than your character level.
* Deflection's mana cost per block now decreases as your effective caster level improves.
* Sense danger and wariness' protective odds are now based on the effective caster level at the time of focus activation.
* Conceal thoughts and Shutharka's veil now scale the chance of being targeted by specific where based on affect level.
* Mindtap has returned with some new restrictions on its use. See HELP MINDTAP for more details.
* Panoptic viewing now has a success rate based on effective caster level.
* Air templar now receives: prismatic arrow.
* Many air templar spells which were erroneously subject to unweave have been fixed.
* Lightning bolt, when cast by activating a wand, once again works\; pillar of sparks, for the moment, cannot interact with the lightning bolt spell.
* Bow bashes and shield slams have had their trigger rate reduced.
* Scarlet infection now displays a proper echo when its effect ends.
* Eased the protection tolerance on backstab slightly with regard to damage dealt to NPCs and fixed a bug related to exploit-style damage boosting.
* Flourish now allows characters to do so with water-based items, such as the Cloak of the River.
* Warpath should no longer allow you to autoattack targets in a disguise, be it magical or mundane.
* Glyph of frost will now only halt damage up to a threshold based on the character's effective CL\; above that, the damage will be incurred normally.
* Mark of winter now type changes physical unarmed damage as well as physical weapon damage, as the help file states.
* Fixed some bad echoing on field medicine when a water templar uses it on themselves.
* Holy water now always deals some drowning damage when cast, and more of its damage is now holy typed.
* Create food now allows you specify what food you'd like to create when you reach a minimum caster level of 20.
* Draught of the seas has had some minor program flow adjustments to make it consistent with its help entry.
* Communion no longer benefits undead in any form.
* Flood and wall of water will now remove smoke, smokescreen, and cloudkill if any of them are affecting a room within its radius.
* Glacier's edge now functions as expected when cast.
* Grip of Elanthemir's duration has been reduced.
* The recast delay for darkest depths has been increased.
* Smoke will no longer blind opponents if used in an underwater room\; however, it will still deal AoE damage.
* Icebreaker now properly sets immunity to cold (a la diamond skin), and has had its duration/cooldown/cost remade in its image.
* Fixed hang in the resurrection spell, and similarly adjusted logic on other related abilities.
* Rewrote how augmented strength works, giving a current strength score of +3 over normal, rather than the same in specific cases.
* Crystals created by earth scholars now gain a bonus to their activation chance instead of a second, fixed-rate check.
* Fixed bad immunity/resistance checks related to fear and defilement damage types.
* Added the general concentration skill to scholars and druids to check if any spell they cast in battle succeeds.
* Spellcasting will no longer fail concentration when the caster or their optional target aren't in combat.
* When casting concentration fails, the concentration skill is improved, rather than the spell's percent.
* The armored caster trait has been changed to "battlecaster", and allows templars to automatically pass concentration checks.
* Individual spell percents now improve or strengthen the effective caster level of that spell when it is cast, in conjunction with character level.
* Further marginalized encumbrance spell failure\; unencumbered and light encumbrance result in no penalty, and all other failure chances have been reduced.
* Adjusted spell casting logic to prevent cases in which an invalid spell attempted to use spell-modifying effects, such as bone reaper.
* Fixed numeric magnitude spells (such as implosion, heal, revitalize, and rebirth) have been altered to change based on effective caster level.
* It is no longer possible to debone or exsanguinate the remains produced by decorporealize.
* Undead bodies can no longer be bled or exsanguinated.
* Full vials of blood produced by bleed or exsanguinate are now properly considered drink containers.
* Having a percent in the inscribe skill now governs the use of the bleed, exanguinate, and debone commands.
* The description of the Crest of Khamurn has changed, and has been updated in various locations to reflect it.
* Hunger of Grmlarloth, blade of Vershak, and armor of the oppressor now scale their effect chance based on binding level.
* Fixed a bug in hunger of Grmlarloth which allowed it to be applied to improper items.
* Fixed a bug in caress of Pricina which allowed it to drain life from characters who were immune to its life drain.
* Expel demon no longer considers CL when performing an expulsion.
* Desecration is no longer barred from being cast while in the air.
* Banish should now be castable even while a ghost.
* Fixed a bug in the Gamalean sapling which caused it to never perform one of its intended functions.
* Adjusted curse of Barkja to now ascribe the proper skill type to one of its effects.
* Necromancer now receives: raise dead.
* When confirming their selection of the necromancer path, his recall altar is changed to the altar of Conquest in the City of Gogoth.
* The City of Gogoth now has some additional features for necromancers, including the ability to quit within it.
* Fiends of Gamaloth now generate their level and stats based on typical caster level calculations.
* The automatic rescue rate for fiends of Gamaloth has been increased.
* Symbolic reinforcement now provides physical damage resistance to created fiends, based on the symbols the caster knows.
* The rate of improvement for symbolic reinforcement has been increased.
* Bone reaper now produces weapons with slightly higher dice than before, and the level of a bone reaper can now exceed your character level.
* A successful symbolic reinforcement check will now provide hitroll/damroll bonuses to a bone reaper upon creation, as well as the vampiric and durable flags.
* Unmake abomination now creates weaker, uncontrolled creatures when a controlled fiend is destroyed\; it can destroy said creatures as well, but they do not further subdivide.
* Fixed a bug in the AoE damage portion of unmake abomination, and can now destroy creatures spawned by deathwalk as well.
* Unmake abomination, when used on a bone fiend affected by direfeast, will also heal the caster, in addition to its other effects.
* Yithmakra's chosen now gains an additional bonus to the hitroll and damroll values it grants based on a successful symbolic reinforcement check.
* The "repossess" functionality of defiant revival no longer has a delay based on the shock of dying.
* Revenants can now exceed their max age cap, after which their maximum deaths will be adjusted to compensate.
* Revenants recover health (and possibly gain temporary bonuses) when drinking blood from drink containers or fountains.
* The revenant skill now features a passive version of the hemoplague effect, in addition to its other bonuses and penalties.
* The Sitheus sigil ability infectious aura will now also apply the hemoplague effect when activated by a non-undead character.
* Reduced the resist disease granted by hemoplague, and removed its hp penalty.
* Hemoplague will now alter what diseases it spreads depending on the origin of the effect.
* Deathwalk has a new implementation, and is now applicable in more situations.
* Uncontrolled creatures spawned by deathwalk no longer take the items from their origin corpse, nor do they completely destroy it on creation.
* The creatures spawned by deathwalk are longer-lived, but can be destroyed by unmake abomination (in additional to the usual anti-undead abilities).
* Fixed a bug in tumbling which prevented it from taking an intended penalty when affected by leg shatter.
* Parry's effectiveness for fighters has been reduced.
* Fend's overall effectiveness has been slightly reduced.
* Gash now deals less bonus damage over a regular melee attack.
* Defensive stance's protection against spells has been reduced by half, and its physical damage reduction applies only to regular melee attacks.
* Defensive stance no longer provides a defense against damage from psionic foci or bard songs.
* Defensive stance's improvement rate vs. regular melee attacks has been reduced significantly.
* The reuse delay on bandage has been increased.
* Shield bash is no longer more effective than bash against deflection.
* Bash and shield bash both have mana costs, and have been rewritten to follow the general rules of melee combat.
* Retaliation is now more effective against bash and shield bash.
* Decapitate has a new implementation, making it function more consistently and fixing some minor issues.
* Fixed a bug in offhand disarm which prevented it from properly calculating disarm chance for valid non-weapon items.
* The grace skill, as well as scaled weapons, will now display their scaled dice in identify if they supercede the base object.
* Reversal of fortune now offers some resistance to being disarmed, as was originally intended at its inception.
* The 'autoreverse' toggle has been added for characters with reversal of fortune, allowing them to turn on or off automatic counterdisarm attempts.
* Form of the rose now has the correct mana cost, as listed in the help file.
* Missing due to reach ("the fray") in combat will no longer lag the character who does so.
* Fixed a longstanding bug in reach checking which caused it to never factor in the length of a weapon, despite code dedicated to doing so.
* When a character at mercy is killed by the one holding them so, they should be processed in a less error prone way.
* Defeating a character with an in-round instant kill technique will now allow the normal looting and corpse destruction processes to occur.
* Echoing for instant kill moves has been altered for consistency.
* Melee attack skills which have no damage message should no longer erroneously cause on-trigger effects.
* Characters can only improve at skills which are higher than 1%.
* The expiry of the ghost affect will now result in death, as it was intended to.
* The recall command is now available to all characters until level 25, extended to all levels with the pious trait.
* Characters will now receive a bonus of +1 intelligence and +1 wisdom upon reaching middle-aged.
* When a character reaches advanced age, they will no longer incur skill percent penalties\; instead, they will accrue a small vulnerability to bash damage.
* The timeless trait, instead of mitigating percent penalties due to age, mitigates the above vulnerability.
* Enchant armor and enchant weapon have both been adjusted to prevent the loss of original inherent bonuses.
* You can no longer recite scrolls while gagged or transformed by an animal aspect.
* Scroll recitation now fails some of the time while deaf, in the same manner as traditional spellcasting.
* Scrolls, wands, and staves now properly respect the nomagic room flag, mirroring that of quaff.
* The pitch command no longer allows characters to target themselves.
* The fill command now searches multiple fountains in the same room by keyword, rather than always using the first one.
* The pour command will now discard containers which cannot be refilled once they are empty.
* Incorporeal characters are no longer able to use the drink command successfully.
* Fixed a bug in which items on mobs with the instant decay or illusion flags would be purged along with it upon death.
* The areas command now properly displays level ranges on individual areas.
* The tips channel is now toggled on automatically for all newly-created characters.
* Added a new toggle, 'exhelp', to enable or disable newbie-specific checks (such as additional help or instructions in-game).
* Fixed a bug with lore text display which would cause it to not show the intended lore.
* It's no longer possible to buy or sell items while you or the merchant you are dealing with are in combat.
* Fixed a bug which caused some high value items to load with no value, making them unable to be sold.
* Significantly increased the amount of time items will remain in a shop before they are purged from the vendor list.
* The amount of money generated per year by owning a stake in a business has been reduced.
* Fixed a bug in which the correct direction descriptions were not being displayed upon character movement.
* Fixed the output of the factions command, so it displays properly when used.
* Reworked the way titles are generated to prevent corner-case crashes.
* Removed a substantial amount of inert code related to server-side card games.
* Web output of rumors, characters present, and other information, should be once again enabled.
* Minor bugfixes, echo corrections, and code optimizations.
ninjadyne
Implementor
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:39 am

Post by ninjadyne » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:01 am

In terms of general mechanics changes, there are a few, some of which are fairly significant. Racial resistances have been adjusted-- again. A new tutorial and the exhelp command have been added to assist players in various capacities. Undersea Lidraeu has been relocated to somewhere nearby, but not exactly in its previous location. Bleeding effects have changed, making them more consistent and less subject to traditional resistances. There have been changes to the reach code ("the fray") which have a few important implications. The recall command can now be used until level 25 by all characters, or any level with the pious trait. Aging is now handled differently. Skill improvement has an important adjustment. And finally, the amount of time that items remain in shops has increased significantly.

Let's take it from the top. We've lessened the vulnerability to bash damage taken by the aelin, as it's often been cited as a complaint against playing the race, due to the proclivity of ranking mobs to use punches or other unarmed strikes. To compensate for them losing some of that weakness, they've gained a slight vulnerability to mental damage, which should generally be in line with their racial history.
Along the same lines, the ch'taren resistance to weapon damage is incredibly powerful; it's effectively giving them 20 resistance to three different damage types, which is more than any other race receives. I decided to look at the 2001 revision of the code to see if it had always been that way, and in fact it wasn't-- originally they had 20 mental and 10 weapon. We've decided to split the difference, and go with 10 weapon/10 mental. Their negative vulnerability remains the same. Chaja have also been adjusted again, giving them two lesser vulnerabilities-- -20 illusion and -10 fear. Given their many other advantages, it shouldn't be a major loss in most cases.

A new tutorial has been added before reaching the School of Heroes for players who are new to MUDs. One thing that I noticed while watching new-to-the-genre players attempt to create a character is how they got stuck more or less immediately because they didn't have a full understanding of basic commands. While I don't think the changes I've made will be the end of it, or that they'll resolve every possible issue, I think it should help somewhat with the initial experience. I'll be interested in feedback on that from players who use it as we move forward. Meanwhile, I've also added a new toggle, exhelp, which turns on the functionality of the old newbie selection during creation. The reason I've opted to do this is because I (and others) use that flag in prog to offer additional OOC tips or help to new players. I want to make that functionality optionally available to older players as well if they so choose. There's no requirement to try it, of course. Its current position is visible in the toggle list in the settings command.

Undersea Lidraeu was in, well, let's call it an awkward position. Geographically it created an artificial edge to the south of Gaald, which was more or less impassable for builders. Given that there are landscape features of some importance which it precluded-- like, say, an actual, legitimate coastline on the western side of the continent, or a potential pass through the Yagashes into Shargob, and so on-- we've decided to transplant the area to beneath the Sea of Lidraeu. This seemed like a logical place to move it, and also opens up other future building options that we think have potential. Secondarily, it also demonstrates a willingness on our part to adjust existing content; just because something exists a certain way now doesn't mean we have to keep it that way forever if it doesn't work. While we don't have plans to make any massive changes to the map at this time, we hope that you will keep an open mind should it come up in the future.

Bleeding effects have been adjusted to respond to resistance differently. In the past, bleeding would be considered magic damage and treated as such. However, that not only doesn't make logical sense, it also makes skills which inflict bleeding significantly less useful, especially when fighting powerful enemies with high resistance. In light of some of the other changes included in this update, bleeding now ignores most resistance when it is calculating its damage. It does not, however, ignore damage reduction abilities such as sanctuary. As a secondary aside, undead creatures are no longer affected by bleeding, including PC revenants. While this may impact certain encounters (such as Gogoth or Ksathan), by and large its impact on classes who rely on bleeding as a method should be negligible, and more than offset by the increase in power bleeding will have against living beings.

Reach code. Goodness, what a pain. There are two major changes to how reach works. The first is the resolution of a five-or-more year old bug which was causing the weapon vs. weapon checking done in that function to fail every single time. As a result, all of that code was effectively inert. With the bug resolved, now the length of the weapon being used should factor into a character's ability to resolve attacks when they would be affected by the fray. Since this code has essentially never worked since its inception, we're curious to see what sort of difference this makes. Second, and probably more importantly, I've removed the lag that fray was causing characters who failed to attempt their attacks. At some point between 2010 and 2014, someone altered the reach function to cause one round of stacking lag each time an attack missed due to reach. This is not only hugely detrimental to large group fights, but it also makes no sense; when iterative attacks fail per round, they don't incur lag, so logically this just seemed gratuitous. This lag has been removed, reverting the function to the design methodology it used in 2001.

Use of the recall command has been expanded for all characters to level 25, and pious characters to 51. In part, this is because the pious trait itself simply wasn't very useful. But, the main reason for the change is generalized player convenience. It doesn't replace using a potion of recall or the word of recall spell, in that those can be used in combat and generic recall cannot. But, for players who are generally doing things, or especially are alone, it should be helpful to allow them to recall until 25 in all cases. For most characters, level 11ish is a bit too early to lose that ability unless the intent is to ground low level characters to specific areas, which we don't, particularly. Having access to it even at hero should make the pious trait, in addition to the bonuses it gives when sacrificing items, a bit more punch, and maybe make it something players actually want to use.

Aging is one of my pet peeves in Avendar-- not for the concept of characters getting older, or even dying, both of which I am fine with-- but because of how it caused skill penalties which were unable to be compensated for during the final twilight of a given character's lifetime. It had the effect of making an older hero essentially impossible to play, as even fundamentals like weapon percents or defense skills just sucked and were unable to be improved. Having played a few characters myself in that realm, I know all too well how much it means you basically stand around talking and then quit, because fighting has become all but impossible. This has been changed, in that now you no longer have your percents penalized. Instead, you have losses to some of your ability scores (which could then be retrained, or covered over by spells or equipment) and incur an additional penalty to bash damage. This should do well to make older heroes more fragile without making them unplayable. The timeless trait can help offset these penalties even further.

This is probably the most potentially controversial change in this update-- it is no longer possible to improve at a skill while it is at 1%. I can already imagine some of the immediate response to this, but it's in the service of an important long-term function as well as a short-term one. In the long term, I hope to be able to simplify the way character construction is done. The practice system, in particular, is pretty arcane to people not familiar with MUDs, in addition to being counter intuitive. The way I envision it, one day it should be possible to just practice a skill at your guildmaster... without using points of any kind to do so. I think that will improve quality of life significantly; but to do so, we need to stop tacitly supporting a metagame which encourages seeing practices as merely a gateway to more trains. Ultimately, general hp gain and train acquisition will be adjusted to facilitate the simplification I have in mind-- this is the beginning of that process.

Finally, the amount of time that items are in shops has been extended. This is to prevent rapidly farming items like the daggers from the shuddeni weaponsmith, and also make available items that have been sold for a longer period of time. I think that together, it should make grinding money a bit less cheesy (and lopsided toward the one person who is farming it) and also make it more likely that characters who save money to buy things are actually able to
Last edited by ninjadyne on Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
ninjadyne
Implementor
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:39 am

Post by ninjadyne » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:03 am

One of the major features of this update is the task system. It has been developed from scratch to manage quest content-- both to develop new things for players to do, and to absorb the antiquated manually developed quests which preceded it. As a result, it's a pretty complex machine, having its own OLC editor and numerous hooks into the prog system. It has taken a significant amount of programming and debugging time to reach its current state, which, while not entirely finished, should be ready for production. Most of the major bugs have already been addressed, but there may be one or two corner cases out there still lurking.

The task system can produce either radiant-style tasks, tasks of predetermined types, or a free-form version which relies more heavily on prog. This should allow a lot of flexibility on the development side; it is possible to create tasks which, for example, select targets within certain parameters arbitrarily, or to follow a more rigid and specific script. Tasks have a variety of rewards, which can be easily adjusted if they are too good or not good enough. All in all, I think it should more than address one of the longest-standing issues with Avendar-- the difficulty of actually producing dense quest content outside of extremely labor-intensive single efforts.

Some of the player-facing features of the task system include an active task display, which will show what tasks a player is currently working on; a task log of which tasks in a given area a player has completed (and how many times, if repeatable); a task cooldown display to help players know when a repeatable task will again be available; and various echoes and messages if someone has completed or failed a task they are working on. A lot of these features will be pretty self-explanatory upon use, but for further information on the specific syntax of the commands, I ask that you refer to HELP TASK for further information.

Since I want to show off how tasks work and what kinds of things they can do, I've reworked virtually all of the quest content which had been included in the School of Heroes, and in some other select areas such as Hakurah Monastery, Chanisal Monastery, etc. Other builders have added some of their own tasks for characters to play with as well, in areas such as the Sea of Lidraeu. This is not the end of task content, but merely the beginning; our goal is to retrofit old content and flesh out areas with new content as well. My hope in the long run is that doing so will adequately supplement the leveling experience, to keep it a bit more fresh than an endless grind of mobs, punctuated by a handful of quests that everyone has done before.
ninjadyne
Implementor
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:39 am

Post by ninjadyne » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:03 am

Necromancer has had a bit of a journey from its first incarnation to the current one. When I last looked into this code, my major goal was to transition them from being reliant on pre-existing undead to fashioning their own-- and as a result, a lot of my development and testing time went to that end. However, one thing I'm not sure I counted on was how difficult it was in actuality to obtain the Tetragon of the Dead; this was in part because of an issue related to reach hamstringing large groups of players, and in part because of the inherent difficulty of the encounter. As a result, necromancer characters weren't able to fully capitalize on the intended scale of their abominations. This, combined with some of the other enhancements that other void specializations received, put necromancer in a tough spot comparatively.

My first order of business with this class involved loosening some of the restrictions on bone fiend levels. They are now produced using the same caster level calculations as other scholar spells, which I think should make where their levels are coming from less opaque. Secondarily, the fiends themselves are slightly more useful, in that their automatic rescue percentage has been increased. Symbolic reinforcement, now that it's been untethered from fiend level, now applies physical damage reduction to created undead. This should have a similar net effect to what I originally intended the skill to do, without making the fiends too weak if you don't have the appropriate symbols (or indeed, many symbols at all). In addition to the above, I've fixed a number of lingering issues which could prevent a necromancer from creating undead at all-- by altering how corpses are flagged as usable or not, many creatures which were erroneously unable to be used as fiend-fodder now can be. Necromancers can also bring a corpse into being without a kill by way of the raise dead spell.

Meanwhile, the destruction of undead was a bit lackluster overall. Now, when an undead creature is destroyed by the unmake abomination spell, in addition to the area of effect damage that it produces, the fiend will subdivide into two uncontrolled undead creatures. These iterative undead will attack players within the appropriate level range, as well as NPCs. I hope this creates some interesting opportunities for necromancers for more burst-style damage; I'll see how that handles in actual play. Somewhat relatedly, bone reapers weren't terribly effective as weapons overall, compared to the high end weapons a necromancer might obtain. I've adjusted them so they can now exceed the creator's level, letting them benefit from the caster level gain a staff would provide. Their damage type has also been changed to make them more useful overall. I suppose I should also mention that because of their increased level, their base dice will also potentially improve. Finally, invalid spell attempts won't drain the energy stored in a bone reaper when it shouldn't, which will likely refine their utility a bit further.

The revenant skill has also changed, adding a number of new features to its umbrella. For one, it has absorbed the hemoplague effect from the former skill of that name. This means that when struck, a revenant will have automatic opportunities to disease characters who are attacking them. For most revenants, their disease of choice will be pox. In addition, in light of the changes to blood vials now being drink containers, the revenant affinity for blood has been similarly enhanced. Now they won't simply get drunk from the blood; now they will also recover health and potentially gain bonuses based on what manner of blood they are drinking. It should be noted that for blood fountains or generalized drink containers full of blood, only healing is provided; when drinking from a vial made from an exsanguinated corpse, bonuses are possible. A revenant will also no longer die of old age. Instead, once they reach their max age, they will only have 10 deaths remaining, irrespective of their prior total. This means that while technically they could live forever, it also means there's a strong likelihood that they could be destroyed, either by poor decisions or other players. Finally, the repossess command, which was absorbed into defiant revival, no longer requires a character to wait before using it. This should give some specific advantage to that mode of use, in a similar vein to that of resurrection.

Finally, because of the changes to the city of Gogoth, a necromancer's recall has been changed to be within it. This is largely for thematic reasons; by choosing the necromancer path, a character has entwined their fate with that of Tzakmeqiel, and by extension, Gamaloth. Typical altars of resurrection, which rely in-character on the providence of Lielqan, are no longer welcoming-- making a character return to an altar which shuns them seems like an oddly punitive choice. To help compensate for some of the potential inconvenience of having their altar changed, new features have been added to the city of Gogoth to make it more accommodating to necromancers. I hope that with these changes, it will make the necromancer experience more of a unique one, in addition to being more mechanically sound when compared to the summoner and nightfall specializations.
ninjadyne
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Post by ninjadyne » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:04 am

One of the biggest issues with Avendar's deities has, maybe ironically, been their general irrelevance. For at least the last ten or so years, active gods have been relatively rare. Generally speaking, I think that's significantly limited the ability of players to connect with the pantheon as an important, or even fundamental, element of their characters' individual growth. It's not to say that I want people to play pre-canned roles; I don't. We always enjoy people providing novel, interesting takes on in-game worship. But much like in actual life, the influence of religions or cultures can be present even if the person themselves isn't among the faithful.

This gets a little trickier when dealing with a polytheistic world like Avendar, because I'm not sure most of our players personally see religion through a similar lens. Polytheism can be transactional; it can be a method of appeasement in the hope of a favorable outcome for themselves. That idea is more or less the root from which this patch's adjustments spring. Sacrifices have been entirely overhauled, and the god selection and/or boons one can receive at creation have been reworked. This is more than fixing minor bugs or text output-- the actual functionality of the god marks have been almost entirely replaced. These two systems also interact with one another.

Making a sacrifice works like this: you drop an item, and use the sacrifice command to offer it to a specified deity of your choosing. When you do so, irrespective of item quality, you have a reasonable chance of that deity noticing and rewarding your sacrifice. That chance improves if you routinely sacrifice to them, how powerful the sacrificed item is, and so on; it improves further if you make that sacrifice at an altar associated with them, to the point that you will nearly always receive something. Characters who choose the pious trait at creation have a similarly high chance of response. This response usually includes a bonus affect which lasts for about one game day. If your sacrifice fails, you have a short wait before you can try again to prevent spamming.

However, the affect is not the only reward you can receive. In addition to that, based on different criteria depending on the deity, you may also gain a supplemental effect. For example, if one were to sacrifice an item to Fenthira, they would receive in return an edible egg which grants the sustenance spell. The level of the spell effect is based on your character's level, and the level of the item you sacrificed. It goes without saying, I think, that higher level items will return more powerful supplemental effects. Given the same example, that sacrifice would also give a bonus of +3 to constitution for roughly one game day; the magnitude of this bonus, however, is not affected by the item sacrificed, and would be the same if the item were level 1 or level 60.

Generally speaking, when you choose a deity at creation (and possibly accept their boon), you aren't necessarily stating your only god you believe in forever. It's more choosing which god most clearly represents your character's interest, proclivity, or direction; their favorite, if you want to think of it that way. It is still possible-- even expected!-- that your character might consider making sacrifices to other gods should the situation warrant it. That said, having a favored deity means if your sacrifice is noticed, the magnitude of the bonus affect will increase. Using the previous Fenthira example, the +3 constitution bonus would increase to +4 (you chose Fenthira as your favored deity) or +6 (you chose Fenthira's boon). In addition to that, having the boon also ensures in many cases that you get the supplemental effect as well as the bonus modifier.

Which boons or sacrifices are most beneficial to your character changes depending on what character type you're playing, what level you are, or other factors along those lines. I trust that players will figure out which ones are best for them, and hopefully take that opportunity to read some of the deity documentation and work elements of those religions into their roleplay if possible. While this isn't intended to be a replacement for sigils and other in-game rewards, I think it should make religious roleplay a lot more accessible to everyone, and maybe also make it easier to find a character's footing as their role develops over time. While I don't anticipate any issues with this, it should be noted that staff does reserve the right to intervene if there's a question of roleplay with regard to sacrifices (for example, if your Calaera-marked character is most often sacrificing to Arkhural).
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Post by ninjadyne » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:05 am

The Champion house is one of my favorites, but it had a lot of problems. Some of its issues were design problems, such as the layout of the tower itself; some of them had to do with faulty progging; and some of them had to do with poor aesthetic choices. It's hard to say which of its issues were actually the worst, but taken as a whole, it really failed to be compelling as a house to pursue. I've spent a fair bit of time reworking the design and descriptions of the house in question, and I hope that makes it a more fun and interesting organization to join.

First, I've changed the layout of the Tower itself somewhat. It never made sense that the Champion leader's office was actually physically outside the Tower; that made it absolutely unsafe to actually spend time in, as the house guards wouldn't even slow down someone approaching the door (and ranged attacks would allow people to strike you even without killing the guard). The office is now inside the Tower as it ought to be, and I've added an additional level to the Tower interior to facilitate this. I think that should make the office much more attractive for a mortal leader of the house to want to use. Meanwhile, I've also reworked the interior guards to be on par with those in the Merchant house, because the Champion ones were almost notoriously useless. Some of that can be attributed to their strange scripting, which was replaced.

Second, I've rewritten all of the Champion items. This will offer Champion characters the opportunity to have house-flavored equipment should they want to (and namely, for the cases in which they've died and need stuff). Many of these items existed already, in some form or other; however, they've got a fresh coat of paint, a lot of new descriptions, and in some cases, mechanical improvements to make them more worthwhile. It should be noted that Champion items, like Merchant ones, are keyed to characters in the house, so one Champion isn't going to be able to kit out a bunch of unhoused helpers in their gear. I hope this ends up feeling like a cool perk of being in a house that doesn't always appeal to most players, role-wise.

Finally, and maybe most excitingly, I've added a new feature to houses in general, and adjusted one Champion house power as well. We'll start with the latter-- the biggest change is to strength of Aramril, which was arguably the worst house passive ability. It's now significantly better, providing higher bonuses when on Tower grounds (presumably, to defend the Tower from attack). The second is a new concept for houses in general: the concept of house treasures. These are specific items that characters within each house will want to obtain and store in their vault. While within the vault, housed characters gain either bonuses to what they do, or new passive abilities to assist them. This should make it more possible to actually defend a house as a housed character, and also give something for housed characters to do in addition to their usual. My intent, of course, is for all houses to have this functionality, but I want to see how this first outing is received.

Unrelated to the above, perhaps the most significant change to Champions is lore-related. In the past, we've traditionally looked at the structure of the house as being a Lord General, optionally a Chancellor, optionally a Paladin, and then the rank-and-file members of the Order. One of the things we are trying to move away from is the faux-Catholicism of some of the Champion aesthetic. The concept of saints, for example, isn't well-articulated within Avendar as a setting, and not a particularly necessary one, when we have extraplanar divine entities such as seraphim or just general appreciation for various gods and great heroes. The paladin concept, as well, is one that simply doesn't belong in Avendar as it is; the general role(s) traditionally played by those characters are mostly divided between templars of spirit and water, and the code of conduct idea is far looser for Champions than it is for D&D-style paladins. The Chancellor position was only seen as required because the Lord General title suggests a military styling that not all Champion leaders would have-- and that, too, isn't necessarily consistent with the Champion mission. While Champions do fight, it's a bit like casting the Jedi as a primarily military order rather than a religious one.

The result of all of this is that the leader of the Champions is now referred to as the Exemplar. This individual represents some facet(s) of the Champion credo-- justice, courage, mercy-- beyond all others of their generation. With our refocus on the original Champion tenets over the artifice surrounding the house the past ten or so years, Aeolis is no longer a house patron. Instead, Alajial has become part of the Champion deific trinity in his place. This is not to say that Aeolis followers can't be Champions; they absolutely can. It is instead to make more explicit that dove roles for Champions are not out of the realm of possibility and in fact endorsed, and that Alajian characters are not necessarily completely pacifistic (see the Alajial deity write-up for more details). Beyond the Exemplar, there are no other pseudo-leadership positions. House membership is intended to be more or less equal until someone has done something to distinguish themselves as the Exemplar. We think this will encourage some more diverse Champion roles, and hopefully break the stagnation the house has suffered for some time.
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Post by ninjadyne » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:10 am

I've put a lot of text in this thread already, so I'm not sure if I've properly addressed concentration. Essentially it's a skill for scholars (and succeeds automatically due to the templar 'battlecaster' trait) and druids which handles all in-combat concentration checking. Now, instead of casting a spell and having it succeed or fail based on that spell's percent, it now succeeds or fails based on 1) if you are in combat or not, and if you are 2) if you succeed at a concentration check. This should mean that through routine spellcasting in battle, it should perfect fairly quickly, and also keep from requiring lots of spamming or other workarounds for scholars to function effectively in battle. I've written code to have a percent automatically determined for characters who will gain the skill automatically on their login. Spell percent, then, is essentially your proficiency with the spell; that it helps determine your effective caster level, in conjunction with your character level.

Meanwhile, psionic foci also use a similar method, except they have no need for a concentration skill; they're masters of concentration, it's what they do. The net effect of this is that foci, too, scale based on their effective caster level, and use percent to that end rather than if you succeed at activating the focus. Upkeep foci can now improve during their upkeep phase, instead of only improving on activation. This should make psionic classes much less frustrating to play, particularly psioncist.
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Post by ninjadyne » Tue Jun 04, 2019 6:11 am

One thing I realized in the course of building for Avendar was the lack of resource nodes. I know that the concept of it sounds a bit game-y; but I was struck by how often I saw the idea of "item prog which produces other items" or "room prog which produces items" and knew there had to be a better way to handle those cases. The result is a new item type, which is far more uniform and configurable than dozens of individual implementations produced by people who had little (if any) knowledge of other builders' methodology.

This new type of item is the subject of the HARVEST command, which allows a player to extract whatever resource the node has available. Each player has their own independent cooldown timers for this extraction; gone are the days of one player taking all of the easy-to-gather food in, say, Chanisal Monastery, and other players being forced to wait for an area reset for them to reappear. Reuse timers are set per node, so some will be shorter and others will be longer. However, these timers are not stored on your character, but rather, on the item itself; therefore, if the node requires twenty RL minutes before it can be reused, it will be available in that time if you are logged on or not.

In addition to the resources you can extract from a node, you also gain a fixed amount of experience for doing harvesting it. This allows us as builders to give some additional sources of experience to players who need help gaining levels, especially at the lower end. Now, for example, if one were to visit Hakurah Monastery, they could harvest the nodes in the garden, and in total gain approximately 300 experience points for doing so (in addition to the food they would receive). While this isn't a massive boon in and of itself, in conjunction with other nodes in other areas, killing mobs, exploring, and tasks, it should be a nice supplement to help diversify the leveling experience more than it has been in the past.
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Post by neongrey » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:26 am

this was supposed to be a halloween update roflolmao

i'll add more commentary to this later but pasting helps is brilliant at aggravating an RSI
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Post by Tritone » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:04 am

:o :shock: :P
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