Bonus Stage: Primeday

Well it is officially showing signs of summer here in oklahoma.  When I came in from work today there were two partially constructed “mud-dauber” nests in the overhang of the front porch.  I will have to get out my special knocking-down stick and remove them when the wasp isn’t looking.  Otherwise we will spend an entire summer of trying to keep them from flying inside the house.

Gotta Drink Blue Milk

 

I had to share this one.  For those who have been under a rock, this is an amazingly geeky parody of bane of the internet… Friday by Rebecca Black.  The video has reached a level of infamy that I have not seen since the Star Wars Kid.  I’ve seen ninja-linking it has replaced rickrolling on many forums I use.  Folks have dubbed it “black-rolling”.  Anyways, the above video is without a doubt the best of the many Friday parody videos.

Waiting Patiently In Line

rift-line-1

Syp over at BioBreak posted today about a phenomena on their server.  For the defiant, a number of the corrupted coin spawns in meridian are non-functioning.  As a result, Syp’s server has taking to queuing in a line as players patiently wait to get their 5 from one of the few working ones.  Later in the day MMO Gamer Chick, posted that the same phenomena was happening on her server as well (above image is MMO Gamer Chick’s, to illustrate the point).

While the fact that there is a bug at all, is highly frustrating, it highlights something I have noticed in the general Rift player base.  The players who appear to be staying in game, and thriving, represent a slightly higher cut of the MMO gamer crowd.  It seems like most of the players who are now populating the servers, are from the mmo-veteran camp.

They come from an experience set that has seen multiple games come and go, and as a result seem to have a wider patience than what I was used to over in wow.  In wow randoms, if anyone made a signifiant mistake the group would evaporate in a matter of moments.  However in Rift I have seen players stick through wipe after wipe as tanks and healers learn the ropes, willing to keep pushing forward until we win.

As I roam through Telara, I am constantly finding a player hopping in to help out when I have blindly charged into a pack of way more mobs than I should have.  I think that the open grouping system helps this a lot, but I also think that the average Rift player seems to be more of a community player than is true these days in wow.  It is one of the many reasons why I enjoy this game, players are genuinely helpful.

Gaming Breaking Point

shattered_glass

Over on Games and Geekery, today Stillwater posted an interesting topic entitled “My Secret Gaming Breaking Point”.  I find it especially interesting considering the number of times I have reached the point of burnout in various games.

While there is no official number of hours I would place on my breaking point, I have noticed that I tend to come back to games that I’ve spent at least two weeks in. Games that fail to capture my interest for any reason for at least two weeks are often forgotten entirely.

Basically for me, if a game doesn’t really catch my attention within an hour of playtime, I am pretty much done with it.  I have a post a brewing over the game Fallen Earth.  Basically I played it in beta, and keep hearing so many good things about it.  I really really want to like it.  The thought of a Fallout-like MMO is so appealing, considering the hundreds of hours that I have spent roaming around the wasteland.  But I just can’t get past several things with the game, so each time I try and play it I only last a little bit.

As far as burnout goes, I seem to go through these periods where I jump from game to game regularly.  Basically the games I played for really long periods of time were Everquest and World of Warcraft.  Other than that, I rarely lasted more than six months in any one game.  There would always be greener pastures on the horizon.  The period between EQ and WoW was dotted with a line of minor games.

Other games like Everquest II, I have returned to play 3 or 4 different times.  I am extremely nostalgic about the world of Norrath.  Combine that with my love of how intricate Everquest II is, keeps me returning over and over.  The key problem is, I always end up at exactly the same point.  I hate the EQ2 combat system with a passion.  During my last time playing it, I leveled a Dirge from 1-65 and I cannot honestly tell you the name of a single class ability I had.  I simply hit the heroic qualifier and mashed the next button that completed the chain, so in many ways it was pretty whack-a-mole.

Ultimately I am hoping that Rift will be my new wow, and instead of being a wow tourist going off to play other games, I will be a Rift tourist.  I cannot say with any certainty that this will be the case.  It definitely is for the time being, but in my “post-wow” era I am definitely more open minded about various games.  I am really enjoying not feeling chained to down to raid nights and leadership duties.  I am enjoying approaching gaming from a very chill perspective.

Anyways, the post is a good read, and there are several good comments afterwards.  If you don’t have Games and Geekery in your RSS reader I would highly suggest adding it.  Some great posts up there, and header image is among my favorite of all the blogs I read.  Seriously… how can you not be in love with an 8-bit inspired image that incorporates Super Mario Bros, Contra, Zelda, Castlevania, and Mega Man.  I modded my PSP entirely to be able to play these games on the go.

Have No Fear, Hartsman is Here

One of the big hot button topics for players on Role-playing servers like I am on, is the recent announcement that the name policy would be updated to omit a few key rules.

 

9. Comprised of partial or complete sentence (e.g., "Getpwned", "Luvtodance", etc);

10. Comprised of gibberish (e.g., "Qwerty", "Asdfasdf", "Xyzpdq");

11. Referring to pop culture icons or personas (e.g. "McLovin", "Kyle Broflovski", "Catwoman");

12. That utilizes "Leet" or "Dudespeak" (e.g., "Roflmao", "Roxxurboxx", "Lolzumad"); or

13. That incorporates titles. For purposes of this subsection, "titles" shall include without limitation ‘rank’ titles (e.g., "General Chow," or “Captain Kangaroo”), monarchist or fantasy titles (e.g., "KingLoko", "LordPauleyC"), and religious titles (e.g., "ThePope," or "Reverend Run").

As you can imagine this caused an uproar namely from the Roleplaying community as it basically cuts the legs out of anyone trying to report names that just should not be on the server at all.  Basically I had faith that within a few days, we would get a clarification.  Today Scott Hartsman posted a full statement to clear things up.

Original Thread

Hey, everyone.
Just got caught up and read through all of the excitement on the above subjects from the last couple days, and wanted to share some thoughts as well as let you know what we’ll be doing from here forward.
1) It’s a great idea to give people a direct line to share feedback on CS performance. That’s something we should definitely keep doing. The only way we can constantly be improving is when people let us know about their experiences, both good and bad. I’d like to repost the original request that started all of this, to make sure people still have it available:

In response to some recent postings, we have created a new e-mail address which can be used to submit GM feedback. The e-mail address is GM_Feedback@trionworlds.com. If you feel as though your issue was mis-handled or that you have received exceptional service then please let us know. Our goal is to set the standard by which other MMOs are judged. If we are falling short of that then we would like to know.

That is the company that we have a whole lot of people working incredibly hard to try to be.
2) On naming policies and Roleplay servers. The conversation really went south here. On behalf of all of us, I apologize for that. That definitely shouldn’t have happened.
I don’t want to take up your time recapping what’s in plenty of other threads, instead let’s talk goals and what we’ll do from here.
Naming policy is a tricky subject for any MMO company — Our end goal is to apply sanity and reason, as best as we can, to this inherently subjective topic that’s as much about opinions as it is about facts.
Companies create policies to make sure that our end goals are expressed as objectively and consistently as they possibly can be. Names are one of the trickiest topics around. With many different expectations even inside of individual communities, and many billions of potential names, there’s always going to be room for interpretation.
More potential for interpretation increases the time it takes to resolve issues, as well as increases the potential for inconsistent applications of the rules. That’s much of why people try to avoid it.
Along with consistency, so comes expediency. The trick is, as you all know, issues need to be responded to in a satisfactory way, otherwise the better speed isn’t a win for anyone.
We understand that 100% consistency and the corresponding ultra-speed efficiency isn’t ever going to be possible with some types of reports (those that involve subjective calls – like names), but at the same time we understand that we need to have something in place that serves the needs of the communities they’re supposed to.
All that said – Where to from here?
We will be implementing a modified version of the original rules to the naming policy for Roleplay Servers only.
The goal is to keep the rules in line with the intent of what a roleplay server is supposed to feel like, while trying to improve the amount of clarity they provide.
For example: A person reporting a bad name every now and again – Thank you. We love it, and we truly do want to help. People who report batches of actual violations — Again, great, and we’re truly thankful when dedicated players do this.
On the other hand – Reporting dozens or hundreds of perfectly fine names a person just doesn’t care for, when there are only a handful of actual violations — that ends up hurting everyone. The people receiving those reports are GMs who are having to spend time on non-violations, when they should be helping customers.
Here’s the intent: Names should fit in this world in some explainable way, while individual creativity is still being fostered.
We want to make sure people are able to be clever and express themselves. If they’ve taken reasonable steps to create a name that does fit the world, they shouldn’t need to worry about having it taken from them.
Here are the rules that will be returning for RP servers, with some extra clarification:
9. Comprised of partial or complete sentences that are obviously out of place (e.g., "Getpwned", "Luvtodance", etc), though compound names that are fitting of RIFT, its people, the actions taken therein, and its setting are acceptable. Compound names are an important and valid part of every fiction, and ours is no different.
11. Names that refer to pop culture icons or personas (e.g. "McLovin", "Kylebroflovski", "Catwoman") may be found in violation if they do not also have a corresponding basis in RIFT, its people, its history, its characters, or its setting. While we would strongly like the RP experience in RIFT to be more fictionally pure than not, the fictional purity of Rift is not entirely humorless, and we do not expect every customer to have perfect knowledge of every fiction that exists outside of the game.
12. That utilizes "Leet" or "Dudespeak" (e.g., "Roflmao", "Roxxurboxx", "Lolzumad"); or
13. That incorporates titles in a way that is obviously out of place in Telara. For purposes of this subsection, "titles" shall include without limitation ‘rank’ titles (e.g., "Generalchow," or “Captkangaroo”), monarchist or fantasy titles (e.g., "Kingloko", "Lordpauleyc"), and religious titles (e.g., "Thepope," or "Reverendrun").
We definitely are interested in hearing your continued feedback on this, as we try to find the right balance between speed/quality of report handling, and the desire to provide a quality RP server experience.
Please do feel free to let us know your thoughts here – Thanks very much,
– Scott Hartsman
Exec Producer, RIFT

So basically… all is safe for role-players.  A revised version of the rules will be out there for RP environments only.  This is a step in the right direction, and in the grand scheme of things should be business as usual.  Here is hoping that no longer restricting names on non-rp servers will free up resources to do other things.

Loving the Spoils

As I previewed last night, the a prelude event for the upcoming Spoils of War 1.2 patch went in last night.  Like a shot in the arm, it has whipped my server into a fury once more.  I know personally I have been sick a good deal lately, so as a result I have been playing minecraft or other games that did not involve me having to interact much with other players.  This event is exactly what I needed to relight my fire.

Prince of Earth

 

As soon as I got home last night I patched up my client, and found the daily quests.  This time they are out in the outer courtyard area, near the mount vendors (sorry was lead to believe they were where the shade guys were set up).  Once again Gaarawarr over at Gaarawarrgabs has a far better guide the to the quests that I would write, so I am linking to him.  The name of the game…  collect Ancient Golden Dragon Egg Shells from Earth or Fire rifts.

So putting on my thinking hat, I thought about which zones natively have earth and fire rifts.  In my level range, the big one was Shimmersand, so off I went to one of my favorite places in Telara… Fortune Shore.  A few minutes into the zone the new world event started up.  Tons of Earth Footholds spawned INSIDE of Fortune Shore…  so from the moment the event starts the players are trying to push back the forces of earth from what normally should be safe territory.

When the players have destroyed 50 footholds, and 12 mini-bosses a Colossus spawns, which the above video shows.  The giant hits really hard, as is the norm for Epic Colossi, however we had a truly ridiculous amount of players gathered at Fortune Shore.  Normally in an event like this, when you down the big boss it is over.  This event breaks that mold.

But Wait… There’s Much More

After the big giant drops, a number of slightly smaller Colossi spawn all around the map.  To end the event the players need to kill 5 of them.  Thing is… there are WAY more than 5 in the zone.  So for 30 minutes after the event, players are still cleaning up the remnants of leftover footholds, colossi, and invasion forces.  Doing this one event I managed to get over 30 shells.

When you finish the event, you get the holy of spoils of war holies.  In this event, there are very cool epic drops called a Chest of Riches.  Inside these are many wondrous prizes..  but what you get are completely random.  In theory you can pull gear, artifacts, and even plaques of achievement as well as between 1-2 platinum.  I have a sneaking suspicion that the dev mentioned “Gritty Kitty” pet will come from these coffers.

Why I Am Loving This Event

This event is devoted to the Golden Maw, the dragon cult devoted to the element of earth, and aspect of greed.  This event is completely about random mass consumption.  Three of the daily quests reward you random good stuff, as well as a decent amount of money.  So the rewards, to me feel like the match up to the lore of the Golden Maw itself.

If you are like me, and want to do all the possible daily quests each day it will involve doing the easy quest in your capitol city for 10 shells, and then collecting 70 more shells from Earth or Fire rifts.  What do you get for this carnal ballet of rift grinding?  For 15 Golden Shells, you can get a Crafter’s Glowing Pouch.  This gives the player a random selection of crafting items for their tradeskill.  Last night I got an assortment of 3 kinds of planar dust, but I have seen players get artisan marks and plaques.  For only 15 shells this is well worth doing for crafters as it basically doubles your chance of getting plaques for the day.

Moving up to the next tier, for 25 shells you have the Mysterious Artifact.  Contained within it is a random artifact.  Based on the incidental data I have seen from players in game, it appears that this artifact will always be green or rarer.  This is a spiffy way of getting those rare artifacts to complete your sets.  You also get a few gold for your trouble.

Last and most definitely not least for 40 shells you get the fabled Chest of Riches.  These are the same things that drop from the epic zone invasions, and pretty much give you the best chance of getting something cool.  Guaranteed are between 1 and 2 platinum, but after that you get a random assortment of cool stuff.  I have seen players get artifacts, plaques of achievement, armor and weapons, and essences.  Like I said above, I believe this is probably the place that gives you your best chance of finding the Gritty Kitty pet.

If This Is Just a Prelude…

Honestly if this is just the prelude it has me intrigued as to what the event proper will look like.  All I know is that so far I am having a blast.  It combines my two favorite things to do in an MMO.  Mindlessly killing everything that crosses my path, and getting random loot.  Seriously I am a fool for Diablo style random loot, and I find myself grinding endlessly just to see what is going to come out of the candy machine next.  So giving me an event, where that is the entire purpose…  I am supremely pleased.  This might not be the thing for everyone, but for me, combine the lore of the Golden Maw with the mindless fun, it is pure addiction.

Rift 1.12 Prelude to “Spoils of War”

This one completely caught me off guard.  I was not expecting anything to happen really until the 1.2 patch next Tuesday (May 10th).  However it looks like tonight we will all have fun stuff to play through, as there is a prelude event to the big patch.

MMORPG.com seems to have gotten an exclusive preview of this prelude event.  In a recent article they talk to Design Producer Hal Hanlin and Lore Lead Morgan Lockhart about the impending changes coming from the 1.2 patch.  Based on the article it appears that this prelude event will run from May 4th through May 9th.  It looks like we will be getting limited time Daily Quest and the ability to earn a unique limited time cosmetic pet.

Synopsis of the Event from MMORPG.com

In the first instance, golden coins have been raining on Sanctum and Meridian but when city folk pick them up, they are corrupted by a strange taint. Because the Ascended are a bit more resistant to such corruption, the Mendicant Order and the College of Planar Studies are anxious to have these tainted coins collected and returned for further study. The collection of coins is a once daily quest that takes place only in the capital city of each faction.

If coins falling from the sky aren’t enough to give pause for thought, players will face an increase in Earth and Fire rifts that are exploding across Telara even in places they had not been previously seen.  Interest will undoubtedly be piqued, however, by the fragments of ancient dragon eggshells being dropped by invaders and Rift monsters. Again, the College of Planar Studies and the Mendicant Order are both interested in having these dragon eggshells rounded up for further study. There are three daily requests sending the Ascended all over Telara in search of these rare but mysterious items.

When returning with either gold coins or ancient dragon eggshells, players will be rewarded in impressive ways as the “Spoils of War” name implies. On turning in the quest items, players will receive a container that may hold, for instance, a limited-time companion pet called the Gritty Kitty. No, this isn’t a dirty cat but is one that has been rescued from the Plane of Earth. Other rewards might include rare hard-to-find artifacts, crafting currency and even plaques of achievement.

1.12 Patch Notes

Official Thread Here

SPOILS OF WAR – PRELUDE

* The Planes of Earth and Fire are suddenly showing an increase in activity, expanding their reach into zones previously left to other planar forces. Their Rifts and Invasions grow more numerous – but why?
* Look for new daily quests to appear in the cities of Sanctum and Meridian. Investigate the recent appearance of shells belonging to ancient golden dragon eggs, and mysterious coins showing up in Guardian and Defiant economies alike.
* Special reward packs for completing these new quests offer chances for uncommonly seen artifacts, rare and useful crafting materials, platinum and more. Reward packs also have a chance at containing a limited-time companion pet!

GENERAL

* Warfront-related guild quests now only progress on their proper maps.
* Multiple other quests requiring wins in Warfronts were fixed as well.
* Abandoning any variant of the Tools of Destruction quest will no longer remove Shadetouched Scepters, Blades, or Executors from your inventory. Additionally, Shadetouched Caches are no longer unique, so more than one can be held in your inventory at a time.
* Fixed a problem where some characters were not getting locked to the River of Souls raid properly.
* Shimmersand: Permanent Slumber: Fixed an issue that would sometimes prevent this quest from resetting correctly.
* Auto-AFK detection is now a bit less aggressive, so you won’t get flagged AFK just for stepping away briefly.

Rift PTS 1.2 Addition #2

Fighting off some kind of a lung thing so not really feeling terribly verbose.  As a result you guys are kinda getting cheated out of a real post today.  Many apologies ahead of time.

A new patch seems to have landed on the PTS with a bunch of changes.  As per my usual posting them for your perusal.

PTS Notes

Original Thread

PTS 1.2 Addition #2 – 5/2/11

GENERAL
* Added weekly quests to Meridian and Sanctum to obtain a random Expert Rift lure.
* Currency caps are now shown on the character sheet.
* Potentially fixed player armors randomly changing color!
* Daily quest on offer for a particular day now stay the same before and after a shard restart.
* If the last leader-ranked member of a guild is removed due to trial player restrictions, a new leader will automatically be selected.

LOOKING FOR GROUP
* Dungeon Daily quests are now obtained via the Quest tab in the Looking for Group tool.
* Votekick. You can has it.

RIFTS AND INVASIONS
* Zone events now show on the main map which Wardstones need to be defended.
* Defender Achievements for each zone no longer list Rift events that do not occur in those zones.

COMBAT
* Diminishing Returns changes:
* Abilities are now consolidated into two groups for diminishing returns.
– Movement abilities [Root, Knockback, Snare] which were not previously set up with diminishing returns.
– Control abilities [Banish, Disarm, Silence, Fear, Confuse, Mesmerize, Stun]
* In PvP, being hit with a crowd control effect starts a diminishing returns timer. (We are currently testing this value at 30 seconds.) If you are hit with a second effect from the same group (Movement or Control) during that time, the effect is reduced by 50%. You are then immune to additional effects from the same group until the initial timer has expired.
* Crowd control-breaking effects have also been updated with the new Diminishing Returns groups:
* Breaks all effects:
– PvP Souls: Break Free
– Bladedancer: Untangle
– Elementalist: Sever Bonds
– Pyromancer: Flicker
– Ranger: Escape Artist – Escape Artist no longer grants immunities.
– Riftblade: Rift Walk
– Riftstalker: Flashback
* Breaks Control effects:
– Paladin: Devotion
– Reaver: Tempered Will
* Breaks Movement effects:
– Bladedancer: Flash of Steel
– Champion: Ruthless Pursuit
– Marksman: Getaway
– Riftstalker: Shadow Stalk
– Shaman: Battle Charge
– Vindicator: Unrestrained
– Warden: Dissolution
* Damage Reduction updates:
* The following powerful short-duration damage reduction buffs will no longer be overwritten by weaker effects:
– Nightblade: Twilight Shelter
– Riftstalker: Planar Refuge
– Vindicator: Phalanx
– Warlock: Neddra’s Essence
* The following abilities no longer stack with other powerful short-duration damage reduction buffs:
– Druid: Strength of the Fae
– Infiltrator: Ignore Pain
– Sentinel: Healer’s Covenant
– Void Knight: Singularity
* NPCs will prefer unstealthed targets when picking between targets they’re equally mad at.
* You should no longer see NPCs targeting ‘invisible man’ or other un-targetable phantoms.
* Falling damage no longer triggers abilities and other effects that react to damage taken.
* Fixed an issue causing ability effect tooltips on others to often show incorrect values.

SOULS
* Taunts can now be used three times before diminishing returns affects NPCs [previously 2 times].
* Fixed an issue with the use of Rogue tracking abilities while mounted that would cause the Rogue to ‘fall through’ their mount.
* Also fixed a bug with Feign Death and Slip Away abilities that sometimes didn’t keep you from gaining aggro right after use.
* Cleric snares now list the movement speed reduction on the effect tooltip.

CLERIC
INQUISITOR
* Nysyr’s Rebuke: Now shares the same diminishing returns group as other Control abilities.
* PTS bug fix: Life and Death Concord: The cooldown given to Bolt of Depravity when this procs will now show properly in the UI.
SHAMAN
* Vengeance of the Frozen Earth: No longer applies a snare to the target if they are already snared.
TEMPLAR [PvP]
* Barb of Shackles: Now shares the same diminishing returns group as other Movement abilities. No longer applies a snare to the target if they are already snared.
* Blessing of the Martyr: Now gives your damaging abilities a 20% chance to remove 1 buff effect from enemy players. Once triggered, this cannot happen again for 2 seconds.
* Ethereal Shell: Once triggered, cannot happen again for 15 seconds. Reduced duration to 5 seconds; damage reduction reduced to 3% per point spent.
* Arcane Defenses: Spell damage reduction has been reduced to 1% per point spent.

MAGE
ARCHMAGE [PvP]
* Due to the below changes, characters with Soul Points spent in Archmage will receive a free soul respec.
* Lethargy: Removed.
* Degeneration – New Ability: Channels dark energy into the enemy player, dealing Death damage over 3 seconds and removing a single buff effect from the target each second. 30 second cooldown. This ability is obtained after spending 10 points in Archmage.
* Ethereal Shell: Once triggered, cannot happen again for 15 seconds. Damage reduction has been reduced to 3% per point spent.
* Steelweave: Physical damage reduction reduced to 1% per point spent.
CHLOROMANCER
* Seed of Life, Soul Tether: Can no longer be cast on a pet.
DOMINATOR
* Durable Control: Now causes Transmogrify, Mass Exhaustion, and Disorient effects to break after the enemy receives damage equal to 1.5-3% of your max Health, plus 0.15-0.3% of your maximum health for each point spent in Dominator. This only occurs with enemies above 85% health.
ELEMENTALIST
* Water Elemental’s Ice Bolt no longer snares the target.
NECROMANCER
* Skeletal Zealot, Skeletal Horror: Readjusted their armor values, which were not previously readjusted after the cloth armor increase in 1.1. Other pets are unaffected.
PYROMANCER
* Ground of Strength: Reduced resistance bonus to 60.
* Cinder Burst and Fulminate can no longer be used within 5 seconds of each other.
* Cinder Burst/Pyromancer’s Armor: Fixed an issue where the damage from Cinder Burst would consume a Pyromancer’s Armor proc incorrectly if the proc occurred after Cinder Burst was cast but before it landed on the enemy.
STORMCALLER
* Spark of Life: Can no longer be cast on a pet.
WARLOCK
* Improved Life Leech: Updated ability description for more clarity.

ROGUE
INFILTRATOR [PvP]
* Against All Odds: Now triggers from stun, root, or disarm, reducing damage by 3-15% for 5 seconds. Once triggered, cannot be triggered again for 15 seconds.
* Evading Thoughts: Reduced duration to 2 seconds per combo point.
* Take Cover: AoE damage reduction reduced to 3% per point spent.
MARKSMAN
* PTS Bug Fix: Rapid Fire Shot: Fixed a bug where all hits for this would crit if the first hit was a crit.
SABOTEUR
* Traps will no longer follow you when zoning into an instance or using a porticulum.

WARRIOR
PARAGON
* Touch of Tranquility: Now shares the same diminishing returns group as other Control abilities.
VINDICATOR [PvP]
* Forced Recon: No longer applies a snare to the target if they are already snared.

ZONES
* Resolved some issues with major or elite Invasions not dropping loot – mostly seen in Stonefield and Iron Pine Peaks.
* Fixed a bug which could occasionally cause players to ‘pinball’ over areas of water.
SANCTUM
* Guardian players wondering how they can be knighted as a member of the Sanctuary Guard can now speak to Sir Guysun Lawless in the Lodge of the Planes to the rear of Sanctum. Sir Guysun can direct those seeking this honor to where they may have prerequisite quests incomplete. [Kain storyline quests]
SILVERWOOD
* Rift: Gedlo Supply Drop: Adjusted to prevent creatures getting stuck in stacks of crates…again.

DUNGEONS AND RAIDS
* With the upcoming addition of the Looking for Group tool, we’re also in the process of tuning our Expert Dungeons to be completable with one appropriately geared healer per group, instead of frequently requiring a second full healer on top of support heals. Additionally, the power of the items purchased from the Expert Dungeon stores has increased to assist gearing up for further challenges. With these changes we expect more dungeons to be completed more often; as a result, the cost for Expert Dungeon merchant items has increased. Overall, this should net a similar or improved gain rate of plaque-purchased items.
* Reduced the damage dealt by general Expert Dungeon NPCs.
* Dungeon Daily quests are now obtained via the Quest tab in the Looking for Group tool.
* All Raid bosses now drop 5 Plaques of Achievement for each member of the raid.
ABYSSAL PRECIPICE
* Added a portal to Calyx’s platform that activates once he is killed that allows players to exit the instance.
IRON TOMB
* Humbart the Bold no longer cleaves players behind him!

ITEMS
* Dragonslayer Covenant, Order of Mathos, and Icewatch notoriety merchants now sell only a single version of their armored mounts.
* Greater Bottle of Tricks, Exalted Bottle of Tricks, Whisker Concoction, Sheepish Concoction, Prancing Concoction, and Abyssal Modifier now share the same diminishing returns as Control abilities.
* Guise of Death and Shroud of Anti-Life now sort properly as Trinkets in the Auction House.
* Fixed Swift Desert Najmok to move at epic mount speed (110%). It was incorrectly using the rare mount speed (90%).
* Corrected an issue with the Greater Essences Rekindled Flameshard, Cinder Flamesource, Combusted Flamesource, Engulfed Flamesource, and Smoldering Flamesource which prevented them from proccing correctly in some situations.

PVP/WARFRONTS
* Diminishing Returns changes:
* Abilities are now consolidated into two groups for diminishing returns.
– Movement abilities [Root, Knockback, Snare] which were not previously set up with diminishing returns.
– Control abilities [Banish, Disarm, Silence, Fear, Confuse, Mesmerize, Stun]
* In PvP, being hit with a crowd control effect starts a diminishing returns timer. (We are currently testing this value at 30 seconds.) If you are hit with a second effect from the same group (Movement or Control) during that time, the effect is reduced by 50%. You are then immune to additional effects from the same group until the initial timer has expired.
* Elementalist: Water Elemental’s Ice Bolt no longer snares the target.
* Inquisitor: Nysyr’s Rebuke: Now shares the same diminishing returns group as other Control abilities.
* Paragon: Touch of Tranquility: Now shares the same diminishing returns group as other Control abilities.
* Templar: Barb of Shackles: Now shares the same diminishing returns group as other Movement abilities.
* Greater Bottle of Tricks, Exalted Bottle of Tricks, Whisker Concoction, Sheepish Concoction, Prancing Concoction, and Abyssal Modifier now share the same diminishing returns as Control abilities.
* Crowd control-breaking effects have also been updated with the new Diminishing Returns groups:
* Breaks all effects:
– PvP Souls: Break Free
– Bladedancer: Untangle
– Elementalist: Sever Bonds
– Pyromancer: Flicker
– Ranger: Escape Artist – Escape Artist no longer grants immunities.
– Riftblade: Rift Walk
– Riftstalker: Flashback
* Breaks Control effects:
– Paladin: Devotion
– Reaver: Tempered Will
* Breaks Movement effects:
– Bladedancer: Flash of Steel
– Champion: Ruthless Pursuit
– Marksman: Getaway
– Riftstalker: Shadow Stalk
– Shaman: Battle Charge
– Vindicator: Unrestrained
– Warden: Dissolution

CRAFTING
* Crafting daily and weekly quests now scale to match your character level and always award appropriate experience and notoriety.
* Made adjustments to sync up Runebreaking and Outfitter better. Previously, items crafted by Outfitters were too high level to be runebroken by an equal-level Runecrafter. The level ranges for Runebreaking have been updated and expanded to account for this and to be more flexible in general.
* Restricted the drop of crafting Cores to specific mob types when in Shimmersand, Iron Pine Peaks, and Stillmoor – once discovered, these can be targeted for hunting if you’re after more Cores!
* Brilliant and Blazing Life Resistance Rune recipes are now differentiated by required skill and planarite cost.
* Resistance Vial recipes now cost 2000 planarite, Heroic Warding Potion recipes now cost 2500 planarite, Brilliant Resistance Rune recipes now cost 1500 planarite, Blazing Resistance Rune recipes now cost 10,000 planarite.

GRAPHICS AND AUDIO
* Fixed an issue with physics which could cause players to become stuck in a ‘falling’ state on certain collision. Oh, silly gravity.
* Corrected some audio stuttering at the end of combat, specifically in Iron Pine Peaks, Shimmersands, and Droughtlands.
* Turned up the relative volume of the ready check sound.

UI/SETTINGS
* The Guild Exp contribution column on the Guild UI has been changed to show the member’s total Achievement score.
* Raidframe ready check marks should be more readable.
* Text for raid warning messages should be more visible, appear instantly, and come with a sound effect.
* The Settings option for ‘Show All Party Buffs’ is now ‘Show only my buffs on target’, which behaves the same was as the Debuff visibility options.

CLIENT
* Added alert flashing (similar to aggro flashing) to the client on the Windows taskbar for LFG popups while the game is minimized.

The Next Big Thing

It’s starting to feel like we’re gearing up for a post-Warcraft MMO scene, where the current powerhouse has settled into its paradigm and has made it clear what it’s doing (and, perhaps more importantly, NOT doing). For anyone who was surfing games during the end of the Everquest era, more and more people are starting to look for something different, or something to play “on the side”, or what have you. The last time this happened, we started to get a lot of competition, slowly eroding the base of the current leader (Everquest, at the time) and usually all trying something a little different from the norm.

It’s been interesting to see history repeat itself, or at least start to show hints that it’s going to. It’s taken a lot longer this time around; WoW has managed to stay on top for a lot longer than Everquest did, and there’s still no definitive successor to the throne.

The Last Big Thing

In 2001, Everquest had been on top for two years, having largely usurped Ultima Online and staying reasonably ahead of its competition: Asheron’s Call. That year saw the first shots across EQ’s bow, in Dark Age of Camelot and Anarchy Online. Dark Age of Camelot took the Everquest model and shaped a strong PvP environment out of it. There was a goodly amount of PvE in the game, but everything at the end came down to its Realm-vs-Realm model, in which three player factions fought over contested territory, especially Keeps. Anarchy Online took a different route, hitting the sci-fi angle rather than the fantasy angle, but keeping much of the gameplay the same. These managed to be different enough that they coexisted with EQ quite solidly, unlike a large number of the similar fantasy-style MMOs that came before and after.

Two years later, in 2003, the experimental phase was in full force. The games released four years into Everquest’s reign deviated hugely from EQ’s model, all trying new things to see what the next success would be. The foray into sci-fi games continued with EvE Online and Star Wars Galaxies, both extremely innovative games that presented the MMORPG in a new way. Shadowbane released as a massive foray into the concept of player housing and player-run content, with its player-made cities and siege-focused PvP, and A Tale In The Desert was a game unlike any other that had been released before, with an entire gameworld shaped by its players.

As with all innovation, not all of these experiments proved to have long-standing appeal, but a lot of the concepts introduced in them made their way into the big release the following year. In these games we saw the introduction of dungeon instancing, the player auction house, mounts, significantly improved chat functionality, and the beginning of quest-oriented gameplay, all of which appear in 2004’s World of Warcraft.

Today’s Big Thing

Just prior to World of Warcraft’s release in late 2004, two other games made their appearance: City of Heroes and Guild Wars. These games both moved back towards the EQ model, albeit with some notable differences. City of Heroes managed to capture the superhero genre in a game the way nothing else really had, and Guild Wars moved heavily into a quest-centric model and gathered quite a large following with its no-subscription-fee model, circumventing something that is still a sticking point for players even now.

World of Warcraft dropped in late 2004, alongside Everquest 2. The surge of popularity for WoW launched the new era of MMORPGs, and set the standard for everything that came next.

Toppling the Giant

The same cycles that we saw with Everquest are starting to make the rounds again. The process has been slower, as the bar set by World of Warcraft has made is significantly harder to make a strong showing in the market, especially for something as difficult to make as an MMO. Player tolerance for instability, lag, or a dearth of content is close to nil, and over the years WoW has made the average player much, much more skilled than they were prior to its release, as well as bringing millions of new players to the genre. It’s no longer acceptable to have punitive, “hardcore” penalties in games, and the feeling of power WoW’s PvE progression brings has proved intoxicating, leaving few players to want to go back to the harsh, unforgiving environments of previous games.

As a result, the scope of innovation has been tightened, as wild, unproven designs are simply too expensive to take the risk on, especially considering the various elements that *must* be excellent for a new MMO to compete. Games have tried and failed to release at the level of polish required of the previous generation, The Matrix Online being a notable example of this, and games like Warhammer Online struggling to compete against the WoW juggernaut. Games like Mortal Online and Vanguard: Saga of Heroes made it clear that while a certain subset of players sought the hardcore environments of the previous generation, they wouldn’t capture the kinds of players they used to. Lord of the Rings Online proved a strong contender by staying close to the WoW model, but presenting itself in subtle but numerous different ways.

Iteration, Not Innovation

We’re starting to see the next generation of MMOs start to surface– games that expand incrementally on the existing template, rather than spiralling into completely new ground. Video games are an iterative process, and while occasionally a shining success in the industry is borne of something completely out of left field (hello, Katamari Damacy), by and large the big hits in the industry are based on what has come before, but with some carefully added features and a couple of new designs, rather than a completely blank slate.

We’re starting to see those games now. Rift is the first, introducing the concept of dynamic content in a way that makes sense and actually works within the MMO framework, as well as honing the idea of character customization to a much greater degree than previous games. Star Wars: The Old Republic looks to be following suit, only emphasizing storytelling and characterization in new ways, something that WoW now struggles with. Guild Wars 2 also seeks to subtly alter the mold, by presenting content and quests to players in a different way, and building on the idea of dynamic content.

The Next Big Thing

There’s no telling what game will topple the current reign of WoW, but by looking at what WoW is and is not doing, and what its competition is focused on, it’s not difficult to get a picture of what that game will look like. Dynamic content sits high on the list of things that WoW simply cannot elegantly do (and doesn’t seem interested in doing), but the difficulties of execution present a high bar, with the best implementation to date appearing in Rift. A new quest model is almost certainly in the cards, as both Guild Wars 2 and The Old Republic seem to be pushing. Expect that up-and-coming MMOs will eschew the “quest text, accept/decline” boxes in the future. Storytelling will also be big– as technology allows the fidelity of our games and the ability to present an MMO the same way a single-player game is presented, we’re going to see the same leaps in storytelling in MMOs as we did when games like Half-Life proved that first-person shooters could tell excellent stories.

I personally hope for a game that changes the way we approach MMO endgames, and while I still think it’s a ways off, an MMO that eschews levels entirely for a whole new model of progression would be very interesting to see. As usual, though, I expect that the next game to really capture me is going to be one I’m not prepared for and that does things I don’t expect. We’ll see what that looks like when the time comes.

Trion Fighting Spam

Sitting on my server last night.  I got this server message.

2011-04-29_195519

The image says it all.  I have seen more work to fight gold sellers and spammers from this company than I have ever seen from another.  It is unlike me to post something short and quick like this, but seriously they need credit for this.  Now I am not sure if it was 500 accounts total or 500 from our server, but either way it is pretty cool.

All the work they have put into the chat spam filter, and mail spam filters are much appreciated.  Keep up the great work guys.

Minecraft Update: Royal Quarters

I have been trying to decide what to write today.  I have this post a brewing in my head regarding the moment I have pinned down that WoW ceased to be fun and became a job.  Problem is, I feel it is far too introspective to end the week on.  Instead I figured I would update on the progress of Belgarde in Minecraft.

javaw 2011-04-29 17-04-46-65

This week I was happy to get back on the House Stalwart Minecraft server again.  With the 1.5 patch, it broke Craftbukkit that we use to maintain our server.  The number of bugs in 1.5 lead the Bukkit team to hold off updating for a bit, so we were forced to either downgrade to 1.4 or just simply stay disconnected.  Personally I had other things going on so I didn’t go through the downgrade process.

The Farms Are Safe

javaw 2011-04-29 17-06-07-19javaw 2011-04-29 17-05-30-86javaw 2011-04-29 17-06-32-92

Last time I posted about Minecraft, I said I was working on a sheltered farmland area.  This has been completed and here are a few screenshots above of the area.  These show the fields, 2 farm houses, condos, and the completely sheltered docks.  The area is free of monster spawns and adds to the large safe zone that is contained in Belgarde city area.

Next project:  Royal Quarters

javaw 2011-04-29 17-04-33-67javaw 2011-04-29 17-03-48-00

In keeping with the flow of topics today,  I will be highlighting Belgarde’s Royalty.  Currently the dockside castle area includes a throne room, but no real living quarters.  It was my intention to build these extending below the waterline in the earth.  This was one of the features I started to flesh out and then never went back for.  So currently being out of pressing projects, I decided to start building this area out.  The above image shows the portion of the castle that extends out into the water.

javaw 2011-04-29 17-02-57-93

There is an access shaft that leads down to the royal quarters, which is several floors below ground.  The idea is, that keeping the quarters underground, would keep them safe from attack.  The above image is the central nexus that breaks out into separate hallways.  Included here are a number of chambers that have yet to be decorated, as well as an audience chamber with throne.  My thought is this is where the majority of private business would be conducted for the city of Belgarde.

javaw 2011-04-29 17-02-25-56

One floor below the royal quarters is the servant quarters.  If the royals live below ground, so would all of the servants that take care of the castle.  The idea in them being a floor below is that so visitors would never see them.  Below here I have fleshed out 12 dorm rooms, a large kitchen with a small dining room, and a workroom.  My plan is to continue downwards and build out additional levels.  The current idea is to build out a storeroom directly below the servants quarters.  Following the storeroom would be a prison to hold any criminals that have not been deemed as combatants in the arena.  Below that would be the royal vault, with all manner of traps along the way.

Minecraft Song

Just because I can, I am embedding the Minecraft Song by Bobby Yarsulik.  I seriously love this song, I am not sure why but to me it really fits this game.  He has gone on to create many other minecraft themed songs.  You can find him on facebook, or on twitter @byarsulik.  Personally I think Notch should license this song for the menu in game.  If you love the song too, you can pick up all his minecraft themed music over on itunes.

100th Post

So I just noticed that this is post number 100 for me.  It doesn’t really feel like I have done that many, but according to WordPress I have.  Just adding this in as an unimportant footnote.

On Recapturing the Magic

or “I’m New Here So I’m Going To Start By Disagreeing With Bel”

Bel’s post below, "Warcraft Broke Me" got me thinking. I’ve been in largely the same boat he is, having finally stopped playing World of Warcraft without getting heavily into any other MMOs. You should read the post, it’s a good one, but as a quick recap he’s rediscovering the joys of not being tied to a game and, as he’s put it to me a few times, is "living an actual life again".

I’m doing the same thing. In the last month I’ve started working out again, picked up painting, get out and hang out with my friends a lot more often, and largely don’t really see a massive lack in my MMO schedule. When I play (Rift, currently), I play because I want to and I have fun, and when I’m through having fun I stop and do something else. It’s probably terribly inconvenient for the hardcore in the group, but I actually legitimately enjoy every moment I spend in game, which is something of a surprising new feeling.

For me, though, it doesn’t feel like a whole new paradigm, or a huge shift in the way I play games from here on out. I remember the feeling when I left Everquest, and how I played a few games hyper-casually (and even not so casually), but without the devotion of scheduled playtime and other things. I played a handful of other games before sinking into Star Wars Galaxies and dropping down that rabbit hole… despite the feeling I had at the time that I would never get into a game as heavily as I had Everquest.

The Pendulum

It all feels like a pendulum to me. Back and forth, with one end being a total disconnect from MMO-playing and the other end being the depths of hardcore, scheduled raid leadership. It hovers at the edges of the swing, but it still feels like it’s swinging, and when I don’t expect it, it’ll come hurtling the other way and while I look around now at my "freedom", I’ll play something, blink, and then realize it’s three months later and I’m leading or helping lead a raid group.

I think the only time things have ever really not worked out has been when I’ve tried to push the pendulum one way or the other before it’s good and ready. I tried to force myself to drop out of the raiding scene in WoW at once point, stop playing the game entirely and concentrate on some important stuff (like getting a job), and while I had the discipline to stay away until I’d accomplished what I needed to, it was less than a week after that I’d come back to the game, voraciously seeking what I’d tried to be rid of. I’ve started MMOs with the plan of having a solid group, planning on hitting max level and grouping together and even raiding, and it always seems to fall apart. It feel s forced, like I’m stopping the pendulum mid-swing and trying to make it reverse.

The Priority

I’m almost certain I’ll end up back in the hardcore scene at some point in the future, sticking to a solid schedule, showing up on time (or early!), making sure everything is in order and accepting no distractions, going through all of the trouble of recruiting, helping people improve, and dealing with drama and the other issues that come up. When that happens, it’ll almost certainly be fun, and I’ll have no idea what will trigger it. It might be tomorrow, it might be years from now. At the time I went from being an egregiously casual WoW player to a hardcore raider, I would have told anyone who asked that that switch was the least likely thing that could possibly happen, but there it went.

Right now, my priority is having fun. The pendulum swings, and I have fun. Best I can ask for, yeah?

Bonus Stage: Changes

There have been various sundry changes in and involving the Tales of the Aggronaut site over the last few days/weeks.  Most of these have been fairly subtle and in the background, and have just been snuck in here and there by me.  However, with one of these changes being pretty significant, I figured today would be a good day to do one of my “Bonus Stage” posts and catch everyone up.

Chibi Bahmi Bel

bel_chibi_full This one has been in the works for a long time, since starting to play Rift.  One of the hallmarks of my website was the adorable Chibi version of ZA geared Belghast.  It was given to me by a good friend of mine Audrae, who if you follow the link has a special nack for Chibis.

For the Bahmi Belghast, she went off in a new direction for her.  She created it entirely in Adobe Illustrator using meshes for shading and such.  I really like the results and it gives a completely different feel to it than the original had.

As attached as I am to the new Chibi, I just could not bring myself to remove the original Zul’Aman Belghast from the banner.  So now you have a composite banner that includes both chibi’s back to back.  I think it works, but I am biased.  One thing is certain, the new Chibi looks amazing.

Website Facelift

Over the weeks since leaving WoW I have been making a series of tweaks to “unbrand” the website from being a purely WoW based one.  While doing these tweaks I have tried to give it a more “Rift” feel without making it a blatantly recognizable Rift-Only website.  I am not sure if I accomplished this, but I am overall fond of the tweaks.

One of the newest features is the blogroll.  In the past my blogroll was always out of date with what I was actually reading on a regular basis.  It was a pain to log into the dashboard and add and remove links, so it was something I did on a very irregular basis.  This lead me to start searching for an easier way to let my readers see exactly what I was reading.

Thanks to some helpful information from the interwebs… I have updated the website to pull in my actual Google Reader information.  Now you can see exactly what I am subscribing to and reading on a daily basis.  Currently the Blog Roll is divided into three categories: Rift Leaning Blogs, WoW Leaning Blogs, and General Gaming / Geek Stuff.  Of note, the last category is where I keep very obviously multi-game blogs like Spinksville or Kill Ten Rats for example.

Official Rift Fansite

You might have noticed, that I have added a logo to the bottom of the sidebar along with the Twisted Nether Blogcast ones.  I was contacted by Trion and told that they were going to add me to the Rift official fansites list.  I halfway expected a WoW Insider style bump, but overall there has been a slow trickle of people arriving at the blog from the list.  I am guessing that the majority of Rift players simply do not know about that page.

I think it is pretty cool that the Rift community support staff has been reaching out to various websites.  They definitely seem more aware of the gamer community and are making more gestures to support it than I have ever seen from another game company.  I am not exactly a major blog, so the fact that they have chosen to add me shows me that they are actually out in the trenches reading what the community has to say.

Gameography

I blatantly stole this concept from the blog “We Fly Spitfires”.  Over the last week a new link has appeared at the top of the blog, to my very own version of a Gameography page.  This was a fun little exercise as I tried to remember all of the various MMO games I have played, characters, and approximate levels.  I limited myself to only listing games that I have subscribed past the first month. 

In addition to games played, I created a list of all the various Alphas and Betas I have participated in.  After awhile this began to feel almost like a gaming resume.  I honestly didn’t realize it had been so many different Betas until I listed them out.  I knew that I had been in plenty, I am always looking for the ability to try new games as they are being developed.

Ariad The Gamer

I updated my about page, to rework it and add a significant change to this blog. Always in the past this has been solely my work, for better or worse.  However I was approached by a friend of mine, who wanted to start submitting articles.  I’ve know Ariad for going on seven years now, and had many a long winded discussion about gaming theory and application.  I am constantly amazed by his breadth of knowledge.

This is a significant paradigm shift in my blog.  No longer is Aggronaut, my personal vent platform.  Now we have actual contributors.  In the past we have had guest posts, but never a full contributor.  I am not sure if we will be adding any more, but I think this is certainly going to be a boon for my readers. 

I can’t promise that Ariad and I will always see eye to eye on issues, but I can promise that everything he posts will be as well thought as his comments always have been.  I hope you will all welcome him with open arms.  His first post should be arriving shortly.  I know I personally am looking forward to it with great anticipation.

Rift PTS 1.2 Addition 1 – LFG Tool

So as I begin the process of sifting through my google reader, I noticed that we have updated patch notes for the upcoming 1.2 update.  The biggest change is the addition of a LFG system that they completely pulled out of thin air.  You can see some screenshots on the Riftjunkies website, but overall it looks really similar to the WoW Dungeon Finder tool.

This is one of those things that could be awesome, or horribly bad for the server community.  Basically as I have stated before, the Dungeon Finder was the single greatest contributor to the downfall of the WoW player base and community.  The real question will be, how does this effect the Rift community.  Overall Rift players seem to be more drawn from the “seasoned mmo veteran” category, rather than the “wow was my first game ever” column.  As a result, I am seeing a better player ethic, because these folks have been through it all before.

The majority of my t1 and beyond dungeons, have been made up of a few guild members and a large number of pugs from the various social channels.  As a rule, Rift players seem to have more patience, and more base skill than I experienced doing randoms in WoW.  So here is hoping that the community in rift are responsible enough to take this system for what it is, and not a way to get dungeons without consequences.

 

PTS 1.2 Addition 1

full patch notes can be found here

 

PTS 1.2 ADDITION 1

As a part of the Looking for Group release, there have been a number of updates to instances and item rewards – See below for details!

LOOKING FOR GROUP

* You can now use the new Looking for Group tool to queue for Dungeons, Rifts, or group quests with other players on your server!
* The Looking for Group icon has been added to the main menu tray in the lower left corner of the screen, and can also be opened with the default shortcut key ‘I’.
* Select from the group roles available to you based on the roles you currently have saved on your character.
* Queue for specific dungeon or expert dungeon groups, or join the random dungeon queue. Once a group is formed, members will be teleported to the chosen dungeon zone.
* Rift and quest groups formed through the Looking for Group tool are not automatically teleported.
* Queue for group quests currently in your or your party members’ quest journals from anywhere in the world and find others also looking to complete these quests!
* Additional rewards are granted for completing a random dungeon through the Looking For Group tool – these can be gained up to seven times per week but are not restricted in number per day, so you can do as many or as few as you like each day of the week up to the weekly cap. Save them all up for one day or spread them out; your choice!
* Additional restrictions based on gear also apply to forming groups for tier 1 and 2 Expert Dungeons through this tool.

GENERAL – INSTANCES

* Expert Dungeon Plaque of Achievement items have all received a power upgrade. If you already have these items, they will be boosted as well!
* Expert Dungeon final bosses are now guaranteed to drop an Epic item. No more finishing the dungeon and getting nothing but Rare items for the whole run. Epic items still have a chance to drop from the rest of the bosses in the zone.
* Some items have been weeded out of the Expert Dungeon drop tables that were very similar to others so you are more likely to see a wide variety of drops. Additionally, some items now drop from different bosses in order to spread out the range of drops available per fight.
* Your instance and raid lockouts are now displayed on a new Instances tab in the Character window.

BOSSES – INSTANCES

* These updates were released in a previous update to the Test Shard. Here is a recap of what has been adjusted and released to Test already. Please let us know your feedback on the Tier1 and Tier2 Expert bosses! We’re continuing to make adjustments to these.
* The health of general population mobs in Expert Dungeons has been reduced.

ABYSSAL PRECIPICE
* Kaler Andrenos: Kaler’s Ice Geyser now deals Water damage.
* Expert: Calyx now resets if pulled off of his platform. A blocking wall is also activated at the start of the encounter.
* Expert: Renthar should be less likely to chain high damage abilities on a single target.

CHARMER’S CALDERA
* Gronik: Slightly reduced the amount of power Gronik gains over time.
* Cyclorax now uses mana.
* Expert: Adjusted the encounter space around Ryka Dharvos so the lasers can’t be so easily avoided.

DARKENING DEEPS
* Expert: Glubmuk’s Poison Bolt should not hit characters fewer than 6 meters from him.
* Expert: Scarn’s Wind Buffet no longer ignites smoldering bones.
* Scarn’s Smoldering Bones stay on fire longer.
* Incinerator Gerbik now uses mana.
* Non-boss NPCs in Darkening Deeps no longer count toward quests requiring dungeon boss kills.

DEEPSTRIKE MINES
* Kaleida: Reduced the radius of her crystals’ AoEs substantially.

THE FALL OF LANTERN HOOK
* Oludare: Fixed the targeting method used by Oludare so he won’t turn to face a new target while cleaving or rear-kicking (in the face).

FOUL CASCADE
* Expert: Sparkwing learns to use his ranged abilities. It’s super-effective.

GREENSCALE’S BLIGHT [Raid]
* A number of new Relic quality weapons have been added to Greenscale.
* Prince Hylas: Slightly reduced the absorption amount of Spiritual Barrier.
* Prince Hylas: Modified the amount of damage increased by Avenging Wrath.

IRON TOMBS
* Expert: Players immune to knockback will no longer be immune to Totek’s Ancient Fury.
* Expert: Bonelord Fetlorn’s Boiling Marrow no longer affects pets.
* Guardians now respawn next to the Messenger of the Vigil.

KING’S BREACH
* Expert: General mob populations have been reduced by a few pulls.
* Expert: Immunity to knockback no longer prevents damage from Konstantin’s spikes.
* Expert: Konstantin’s Cleaving Strike now has a proper effect radius.
* Expert: Konstantin’s Mathosian Fury displays an on-screen warning before use.
* Expert: Players within 3.5 meters of Konstantin receive a 20% damage bonus.

REALM OF THE FAE
* Expert: General mob populations have been reduced by a few pulls.
* Chillblains: Fixed the targeting on the Elemental spawn, which was not working reliably.
* Luddoghan: Made some adjustments to prevent his ground goo from targeting the tank.

RUNIC DESCENT
* Rictus: Adjusted how Rictus uses his abilities and reduced some of the associated stuns and stun durations.
* Expert: There is now a text warning when Eliam gains Dark Fury.

WARDROBE SLOTS

* A wardrobe set’s icon can be dragged onto ability bars to create a shortcut for quickly changing your character’s outfit (similar to Role icons on ability bars).

RIFTS AND INVASIONS

* Zone and Colossus Events are now easier to find. Zones that have active zone events now have a special icon next to the zone name on the main map. Mousing over the icon will display a tooltip showing the current progress of the event.
* Expert and Raid Rifts now have Achievements!

COMBAT

* Fixed pets losing effects that were on them when teleporting or entering/leaving an instance.
* Toggling auto-attack no longer triggers certain cases of reactive abilities.

CLERIC

DRUID
* Crag Hammer: Increased the damage of Rank 6.

PURIFIER
* PTS BUG FIX: Ward of the Ancestors: The blocker preventing recasting on the same target can no longer be removed by removing the buff.

SENTINEL
* Word of Hope: Fixed tooltip to match the new functionality.
* PTS BUG FIX: Healer’s Covenant: The blocker preventing recasting on the same target can no longer be removed by removing the buff.

MAGE

ARCHMAGE [PvP]
* Steelweave: Now correctly reduces only Physical damage received from players instead of all damage.

CHLOROMANCER
* Nature’s Touch: Updated ability description to clarify how this works with Lifegiving Veil.
* Lifegiving Veil: Fixed an issue with heals from Livegiving Veil receiving a bonus from Spell Power twice.
* Fixed an issue preventing Corrosion from triggering healing from Livegiving Veil.

PYROMANCER
* Ground of Strength: Now increases all magical resistances by 125, armor by 70%, makes the mage immune to crowd control abilities, and reduces damage dealt by the mage by 10%. This ability no longer has a chance to proc a stun.

STORMCALLER
* Static Discharge: Fixed an issue causing the damage portion to retain the effect of buffs that were active when the ability was cast but no longer active when the damage portion triggered. Damage is now attributed to the person triggering the damage instead of the caster of the buff. Static Discharge now triggers off of damaging spells and abilities and no longer triggers off of auto-attacks.

ROGUE

ASSASSIN
* Slip Away: Should now work more consistently against NPCs.

BARD
* Anthem of Fervor: Will no longer be overwritten by lesser buffs.

MARKSMAN
* ALPHA BUG FIX: Marksman’s Pedestal, Sniper’s Pedestal: Fixed a tooltip bug where the increased damage with ranged weapons was not displayed correctly.

RIFTSTALKER
* Flashback: Can no longer be used when carrying the Fang of Regulos in Black Garden.

SABOTEUR
* Spike Charge: The Bleed effect from Spike Charge should now trigger Blood Rage on your pet if you have soul points spent in Ranger’s Blood Rage.

WARRIOR

PALADIN
* Tip the Balance: Slightly reduced the internal cooldown on Tip the Balance.

REAVER
* Shroud of Entropy: Now shares a stacking group with other damage reduction abilities to keep them from being stacked to unintended levels. It now stacks with Power from the Masses and Imbued Armor.

RIFTBLADE
* Avatar of the Rift: Fixed a bug causing this to increase the damage of Avatar of the Rift’s damage shield, Burning Blood, and Elemental Touch by more than was intended.
* Fiery Burst: The damage-over-time component from Fiery Burst will no longer overwrite the same components applied by other Riftblades.
* Burst abilities in general: The debuff component on Burst abilities no longer overwrites debuff components applied by other Riftblades.

VINDICATOR [PvP]
* Stand Off: Now properly roots the Warrior in place.
* Phalanx: Duration reduced to 10 seconds, max range reduced to 10 meters. Now applies a debuff that prevents the target from being affected by Phalanx for 60 seconds.
* Forced Recon, Furious Blades: Now only trigger against players.

VOID KNIGHT
* Fusion of Flesh: Fixed a bug causing this to trigger off of the Void Knight’s own abilities.
* Fixed a bug with Reckless Strike, Rift Tap, and Furious Rage, where they were not generating enough threat.

WARLORD
* Fixed a confusing error in the tooltip for Call to Entrench.

ZONES

DROUGHTLANDS
* Ancient Wardstone quests in Droughtlands now with 100% more actual rewards!

IRON PINE PEAKS
* Dabbling in the Forbidden: Fixed an issue that would sometimes cause the Ritual Altar to not be usable.

MERIDIAN
* Expert Dailies have been moved to Epoch Plaza and are now given out by Lord Olangdon.

SHIMMERSAND
* Whispering to the Winds: Fixed the second objective for this quest so it can be completed.

STILLMOOR
* Past is Prologue: Simplified how this quest is available – now offered by Donal Sumptor immediately after completing ‘Rise and Fall’.

PVP/WARFRONTS

* Black Garden: Riftstalkers’ Flashback can no longer be used while carrying the Fang of Regulos.
* The Battle for Port Scion: The stacking buff Sourcestone Empowerment, granted from turning in Sourcestone, no longer reduces damage taken.
* Reduced the favor cost of Cultist’s Focus to 8550 Favor. It was previously priced as a 2-handed item.

CRAFTING

* A number of new recipes have been added to the Artisan Stores.
* Blazing Resistance Runes are now Epic quality. Sharp Runes and Accurate Runes are now Rare quality. These recipes have had their ingredient cost adjusted to reflect the updated rarities.
* Minor Catalysts now only drop from Elite or dungeon mobs.
* You can now click on the Loom in Lantern Hook to open the crafting window.

UI/SETTINGS

* The Artifact pane of the Character window now has a built-in search – search for the artifacts you’re missing, or search for the collections themselves!
* You can now click on an artifact or empty artifact slot in the Artifact pane while viewing the Auction House to search for that item.

CLIENT/SERVER

* Bandwidth optimizations.