Announcements - 2007/02 - Rekindling the Light

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February 2007 - Patch Page

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Maggie the Jackcat
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Teaser

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=515

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Rekindling the Light


Change had once more arrived in the settlement of Kor-Gursha, borne through the currents of portal space. As Tmauruk sauntered into his home village, he absorbed the new sights and sounds of these warriors, these 'Derethians'. Tmauruk enjoyed watching the new folk - he had always embraced change more readily than his fellows. That was one reason, perhaps, that he'd fallen in with the brothers Morgluuk and Torgluuk in the first place. Certainly, becoming part of their movement had inspired more change in the Ruuk than anything else in Tmauruk's life.

He regretted not passing through the portal to the new world that had been found two years ago, as had Morgluuk, Torgluuk, and many of this tribe. He had remained behind to help the less-experienced tribesfolk in case the Kukuur attacked, and ever since he had felt trapped - not just in the literal sense that this cavern complex was isolated from the surface after a recent earthquake, but also in the figurative sense that he felt too responsible for the well-being of the younger Burun, especially the other scouts who looked up to him for advice and leadership. Solitary by nature, Tmauruk seized every opportunity to go off alone and scout for some new cavern, or perhaps a way to the surface.

As he walked into a high-arched natural vault, one of the most central caverns of the settlement, Tmauruk raised his webbed hand in greeting to Rheegur. The green-skinned Ruuk's mucor-induced powers of recall were second only to Torgluuk's, and he was so well respected that he had been titled 'The Memory of Kor-Gursha. "Jurukka, friend!" Tmauruk called to his mystic associate, his boisterous greeting belying his subtle bearing, "What is this all this bustle?"

Rheegur grinned broadly at the black-skinned Ruuk. "Many changes, friend. More humans like Dobblar have come from that far-away world. They seek the one called Asheron," the Memory of Kor-Gursha replied. Almost as an afterthought, Rheegur added, "Go find Gruuk'lar and Drogur. They have a mission for you."

Tmauruk nodded in assent. He raised his hand in farewell to Rheegur and began to follow the faintly-glowing corridor toward the large cavern from which Gruuk'lar and his fellow guardians and hunters most often kept watch over the townsfolk. Tmauruk's thoughts, however, were not on the squirming mushroom in his hand, but rather on the past... on change.

Before this new wave of Derethians, the last great wave of change had been when Torgluuk had returned in the company of one named Asheron – tall and of the same aspect as the Fiazhat gods, yet not allied with them at all, not possessed of the same cruel nature. He and a 'follower' named Dobblar (although, by Tmauruk's estimation, Dobblar had little to do with Asheron) had come to seek a solution to the strife between the Burun and the varied inhabitants of the land beyond the portal, a land known as Dereth. However, Asheron and Torgluuk had decided to seek out the veins of the world... what Asheron called a 'ley line'. They never returned from that expedition, and even Tmauruk had not been able to track them.

Tmauruk entered the hunters' cavern and strode toward Gruuk'lar, who was just finishing a conversation with one of the Derethians. "Jurukka, Gruuk'lar. You have something for me?" he asked the village guardian.

Gruuk'lar nodded in assent. "I have been in communication with one of these Derethians, a tracker named Hasin Lin," he replied, "Lin, in turn works for someone else that he would not name, but Lin was able to give important information about the notes and medallions that the other Derethians are finding for us. Lin knew a small ritual which, when combined with our knowledge of the area, helped us find Torgluuk's location. Drogur and I have agreed that you are the one who is best suited to explore the place Torgluuk is imprisoned. Will you do this?"

"I will do this." answered Tmauruk simply, although inside his mind boiled over with the impetuous thoughts of one who embraces change and enjoys a challenge.

"Jukuur grau, Tmauruk. We shall see you afterward," Gruuk'lar intoned ritualistically, handing Tmauruk a small skin with some information written upon it.

Tmauruk simply nodded his head and hurried away to prepare for his new mission. He already had in mind how he was going to approach this place. He knew of a dangerous path through the underground labyrinth of caverns around Kor-Gursha to the hidden entrance referenced in the note – dangerous, but certainly approachable. However, to sneak past those terrible, powerful beings that the Fiazhat had called gods...

... he just hoped that this latest wave of change didn't kill him

Rollout Article

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=517

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Rollout Article


It had taken Tmauruk all of his skill to sneak as far as he had into the lair of the Fiazhat gods. While the dark ones were inattentive once the canny Ruuk had penetrated their outer perimeter, the sheer number of Falatacot, Sclavus, and even Guruk who roved the halls on various errands caused Tmauruk no account of trouble. Twice he had almost been noticed, but in one instance he'd been able to throw a rock which distracted a passing Guruk, and in the other the Falatacot matriarch had decided that she was above investigating strange sounds in a hall.

His stealth had yielded results, however. He had been fortunate enough to overhear a conversation between a Falatacot and her Sclavus servant. The Falatacot had kept referring to how important it was to guard something in a cavern below their current location, and how it must be kept safe from any incursions from the newcomers - no doubt a reference to the Derethians. Most importantly, however, the Falatacot had mentioned that there were two statues of importance - one to the north, and one to the south. What each statue did, however, he had not yet learned.

He passed room after room containing hoards of treasure and other goods. While he had recently become aware of the worth of the items in those reliquaries, he had a more important task to accomplish. Besides, he dared not remain still for too long - all those Falatacot and servants were bound to stumble upon him if he stopped to loot. Treasure would have to wait for another raid, or perhaps another raider.

Tmauruk decided to go to the northern statue first. He poked his head into a small greenish room with two sarcophagi on opposite walls. An eerie red light cast shadows over the room. At the end of the room stood a large granite statue carved in the Falatacot style, its face grim and menacing. Tmauruk circumvented a chest that sat in the middle of the room and approached the statue.

Tmauruk knew, from listening to the conversation in the hall, that the statue could be activated to transport the user somewhere. Moreover, he had heard from many of the 'Derethians' that simply touching such statue often transported the user to a new place. He reached out to the statue, braced himself to be transported, and...

...nothing happened.

Tmauruk did not know what to do. He did not know how to operate these strange Falatacot devices, nor was he sage enough to divine how to operate them. He prodded at the statue. He examined the eyes and the hands for triggers. He spoke a variety of words at it. Still, the statue daunted him with its stony stillness.

Finally, his patience gone, he focused his anger and rage upon the obstinate statue and smashed his black hand into it. As his hand touched the cool stone, it immediately warmed, and the eyes of the statue began to glow a deep red. He felt himself being drawn into the purple void called portal space, spiraling and unable to control himself.

After a moment of this spinning sensation, Tmauruk landed roughly on a stone floor very unlike the polished architecture of the Falatacot. He stood up slowly and looked around, still shaky on his feet, at a plain stone cavern.

Somehow, he decided, his anger had somehow been the key to activating the statue

- a brutal key designed by a harsh people. Resolving to avoid any more interaction with those harsh, dark people than was necessary, Tmauruk slowly crept his way down the tunnel.

He slunk through the caverns, once again avoiding the Falatacot and their minions. He saw Sclavus and Guruk standing side by side as guardians - unthinkable, if he had not seen it himself. Yet the Falatacot had yoked both the mutated Fiazhat snake beings to servitude with no compassion, and the Guruk dared not resist, perhaps in fear of being changed in the same way. The Falatacot truly wielded their power with a cruel and constricting grip.

As he rounded a corner leading into a large cavern, a bright light blinded Tmauruk. He tilted his head down, so he would not be directly looking at the bright object. Suddenly he tucked his head down and rolled into the chamber, barely aware through his other senses that something was trying to assault him with its mighty fists.

The agile vagabond quickly regained his feet and, his back now to the glow, turned to look at his opponent. He kept looking up...and up...and up, until he finally saw its head. While its body seemed amorphously crystalline, an opaque blue fluid flowed around it, occasionally splashing on and scorching the floor of the cavern with a hiss. Tmauruk recognized the form of the infused blood golems which roamed the halls, but those golems contained the red blood that the 'Derethians' shed, not this blue substance...

Tmauruk's thoughts were interrupted by the fight, and he instinctively dodged out of the way of the golem's mighty swing. As his momentum carried him away from the blow, he stumbled upon a rocky outcropping. Lying sprawled on the floor, he tried to spring up, but knew that it would be far too late to avoid the next blow of his opponent...

"Directive to all servitors: Damage the ley line in order to lower the mana barrier and free Lord Asheron," echoed through the chambers, interrupting the fight. Tmauruk sat up to perceive many diamond-like beings marching into the chamber. They were shaped very much like the form of the stranger Asheron.

Their crystalline bodies refracted the light of the chamber into thousands of little rainbows that sparkled over every rock and patch of dirt. Each golem had a symbol on its chest - the Eye (what the 'Derethians' called a sun) superimposed on two moons. They moved in unison, with purpose - an army on the march, ready to overcome whatever obstacles came before them. Tmauruk would not have wanted to engage any single one in combat, never mind a whole tribe of them.

The gigantic blood golem turned to confront its new adversaries with no hesitation. Tmauruk took advantage of its distraction to scurry to what little shadow was present in the cavern and hopefully evade the interest of any of the titans involved in this fight. Safely ensconced, he observed the battle with a scout's attentive eye to detail.

The first blow was struck by the diamond golems. One reared back with an elegantly carved fist and delivered a powerful punch. Shards of crystal splintered from the blood golem, but the dripping blue substance kept its shape.

The diamond golem did not even pull its arm back, assuming that the blow should have destroyed its opponent, allowing the blood golem to retaliate.

The blood golem swung its huge, clubbing fist at the diamond golem which had hit it. Although the fist looked like it should be less deadly against diamond than against Burun flesh, its impact blasted a huge chunk out of the servitor, which collapsed to the ground in an utterly ruined heap.

The blue giant turned its attention to the next diamond golem, and this time thrust both arms out at its enemy. The sparkling automaton could only wave its own arms and legs helplessly as its fluid opponent picked it up bodily and hurled it at the wall, crushing the servitor and shaking the chamber. The blue blood golem battered and destroyed its foes one after another, its arms dealing untold amounts of damage with each earth-shattering impact.

Tmauruk suddenly heard the deep rumble of stone grinding against stone, a sound he had heard a few times before. "An earthquake!" he quickly muttered to himself. He sprinted toward the entrance of the cavern. At the mouth of the cavern, he turned back to look, despite the blinding light.

The giant had dispatched all but one of its foes. The last diamond golem kept saying the same thing, over and over; "Directive to all servitors: Damage the ley line in order to lower the mana barrier." It was clear, however, that the directive would remain unfulfilled; this huge creation had apparently been enchanted to fight these diamond golems, perhaps in anticipation of some assault by these servants of Asheron.

As Tmauruk reflected upon this, two things happened. The blood golem snapped the head off of its last foe, and began to look around its cavern for that one last being it had been trying to kill. At the same time, the cavern shook again, spraying rock everywhere. The crafty scout looked up, and narrowly dodged a falling stalactite.

Tmauruk knew he could not stay there. He began to retreat the way he had entered, but as he did so, he noticed that another piece of the stony ceiling was coming loose above him. He only had one chance - he grasped quickly at a pouch on his belt. Inside, he touched a small purple gem and focused his will on it as he crushed it to dust. As the ceiling pluumeted toward him, he felt once again pulled into portal space.

Tmauruk looked around. Rheegur stood over him, grinning manically as usual.

"Used it, did you?" he asked, cackling a little.

Tmauruk nodded as he regained his feet. "Yes, it worked. I had no choice. I am surprised it worked, but it seems safe," he replied wearily.

Rheegur returned the nod and said, "It may take time, but I will make more, then. Not yet. But soon."

Tmauruk nodded and said nothing else. Instead, he began his plodding trek toward Gruuk'lar. He had much to report, and much on his mind. "If only Torgluuk were here," he thought, "He would know what to do."

Release Notes

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=516

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Developer's Notes


New Content and Functionality

  • The Colosseum.
This is pretty much what it sounds like. The Colosseum is a dungeon of sorts with repeatable content. The premise is very simple. Players will enter the Colosseum and fight their way through increasingly difficult stages. There is no timer on repeating, so players will be able to enter The Colosseum as often as they would like, as long as their initial 60 minute timer is up.


Players of any level will be able to participate, but The Colosseum is geared towards fellowships. In order to go through, you must be part of a fellowship. When players enter, they will be in a staging area which will be used by everyone. This is a great place to get your fellowships together, or to find a group to tag along with. Once in a fellowship, one person will need to purchase a ticket at a reasonable cost from a nearby NPC. That person will then give the ticket to the starter NPC who will lock the fellowship and let them know they can enter The Colosseum.


The initial download time upon entering is a bit longer than most places. The drop is not hot so players are safe upon entrance and should only have to go through this download once. Once you hand in your ticket, your fellowship will have 1 hour to finish the Arena from the time that they start. After this time is up they will all be teleported out of the arena and will be able to speak to the NPC to get their reward. The rewards will depend on how far the fellowship has made it in The Colosseum. If you die in the arena you will be able to re-enter through the first door and then go through all the doors that you have passed through, they will remain open and the creatures will remain dead in previous stages as long as you are within the 1 hour time limit allotted to your fellowship. We have made The Colosseum an area in the game where you will not drop death items, due to very high possibility of people not being able to recover their corpses.


There will be 5 branches of The Colosseum so 5 fellowships full of players may do The Colosseum every hour. Once a fellowship is inside a branch of The Colosseum, that branch is locked from letting other players in. In the coming months we have plans to further update The Colosseum with things such as Boss fights, which can be unlocked by completing various stages in The Colosseum. We have also made it possible for higher level players to skip the first few low levels if they so choose.


  • Squelch Panel
The Squelch Panel has been added to the game. Players will be able to locate the Squelch Panel on their social tab. In order to add a player to your squelch list, simply add the players name to the space provided in the panel and hit the Squelch Character button. If you want to squelch the account associated with that character, just hit the squelch account button after putting the character name in the space provided. The display will tell players if it is an account or character squelch.


  • Craft Buffing Pets
Craft Buffing Pets have been added to the game. These pets will provide buffs to Cooking, Alchemy, Fletching, and Lockpick. These buffs are stackable with all other similar spells.


  • NPC Interactions
Once again the team has been hard at work trying to discover ways we can continue to improve the tech and functionality of Asheron's Call. One of the things that is being developed is the ability for NPC's to determine what a player has in their packs. For example, if Player A has 10 diamond powders in their pack and they talk to a certain NPC, that NPC will be able to see that and decide what message to send to Player A. This will give us the ability to start offering questing choices. So a player who has a particular item or items in their pack may get a different response then the player next to him who doesn't. While this may not seem overly exciting, it will give us the opportunity to do some things with player, NPC interactions that we had not been able to do in the past.


Miscellaneous Changes and Improvements

  • The Pallid and Squallid Moars were not able to be hit by melee attacks. This has been fixed and these creatures can now be hit by our melee friends
  • Based on player feedback Bosh Bosh will now drop tokens that players can turn in to the kill task NPC for the title and the xp.
  • The Regal Quarterstaff had the display name of Noble Quarterstaff. This has been fixed and it should now have the proper name
  • Falatacot created portals on Bur now have the correct artwork

Letter to the Players

Original Link (now dead) - http://ac.turbine.com/?page_id=513

Archive Turbine 2005 center image.jpg

February 2007 Letter to the Players


Hello there and welcome to the February 2007 Letter to the Players. The people of Dereth have been diligent in their search for Asheron. A new fighting area has been discovered. Will anyone be able to discover the secrets of this new Colosseum?

The Colosseum.
This is pretty much what it sounds like. The Colosseum is a dungeon of sorts with repeatable content. The premise is very simple. Players will enter the Colosseum and fight their way through increasingly difficult stages. There is no timer on repeating, so players will be able to enter The Colosseum as often as they would like, as long as their initial 60 minute timer is up.

Players of any level will be able to participate, but The Colosseum is geared towards fellowships. In order to go through, you must be part of a fellowship. When players enter, they will be in a staging area which will be used by everyone. This is a great place to get your fellowships together, or to find a group to tag along with. Once in a fellowship, one person will need to purchase a ticket at a reasonable cost from a nearby NPC. That person will then give the ticket to the starter NPC who will lock the fellowship and let them know they can enter The Colosseum.

The initial download time upon entering is a bit longer than most places. The drop is not hot so players are safe upon entrance and should only have to go through this download once. Once you hand in your ticket, your fellowship will have 1 hour to finish the Arena from the time that they start. After this time is up they will all be teleported out of the arena and will be able to speak to the NPC to get their reward. The rewards will depend on how far the fellowship has made it in The Colosseum. If you die in the arena you will be able to re-enter through the first door and then go through all the doors that you have passed through, they will remain open and the creatures will remain dead in previous stages as long as you are within the 1 hour time limit allotted to your fellowship. We have made The Colosseum an area in the game where you will not drop death items, due to very high possibility of people not being able to recover their corpses.

There will be 5 branches of The Colosseum so 5 fellowships full of players may do The Colosseum every hour. Once a fellowship is inside a branch of The Colosseum, that branch is locked from letting other players in. In the coming months we have plans to further update The Colosseum with things such as Boss fights, which can be unlocked by completing various stages in The Colosseum. We have also made it possible for higher level players to skip the first few low levels if they so choose.

Squelch Panel
The Squelch Panel has been added to the game. Players will be able to locate the Squelch Panel on their social tab. In order to add a player to your squelch list, simply add the players name to the space provided in the panel and hit the Squelch Character button. If you want to squelch the account associated with that character, just hit the squelch account button after putting the character name in the space provided. The display will tell players if it is an account or character squelch.

Craft Buffing Pets
Craft Buffing Pets have been added to the game. These pets will provide buffs to Cooking, Alchemy, Fletching, and Lockpick. These buffs are stackable with all other similar spells.

Spell Words and Squelching
Players who have another player squelched will now be able to see that players spell words, even though they are squelched. If a player has filtered spellcasting, they will still not be able to see the spell words.

NPC Interactions
Once again the team has been hard at work trying to discover ways we can continue to improve the tech and functionality of Asheron's Call. One of the things that has been developed is the ability for NPC's to determine what a player has in their packs. For example, if Player A has 10 diamond powders in their pack and they talk to a certain NPC, that NPC will be able to see that and decide what message to send to Player A. This will give us the ability to start offering questing choices. So a player who has a particular item or items in their pack may get a different response then the player next to him who doesn't. While this may not seem overly exciting, it will give us the opportunity to do some things with player, NPC interactions that we had not been able to do in the past.

In concept
These are game changes that we are thinking about for upcoming events. We cannot guarantee when or even if these changes will be added to the game, as scheduling and priorities can change. These changes are in addition to the new quests, dungeons, and items we will be adding to the game. Each month we will be discussing one new in concept topic, in order to give you as much information about the item that we can.

One of the end game concepts we are looking at is an invasion mechanic that will bring interest and combat into some of the towns of Asheron's Call. Although we don't want to reveal the story reasons or culprits behind such an invasion, the encounter would be designed to not only provide players an opportunity to battle in certain town layouts but to engage in competitive content as well.

The central focal point behind the invasion is a rift that summons the invading creatures. So long as the rift exists the creatures will slowly spawn around the landscape. This makes the invaded town a dangerous place to be. More importantly to players is that the rift itself can be destabilized and destroyed. The person who finally destroys the rift gets a valuable reward.

In order to destroy the rift, the players must take something from the invading creatures. This item gives the rift power and enough of these can destabilize it. In order to destroy the rift the players must kill the creatures and gather some number of these items. The first person to gather enough of these items loots the rift and takes the reward. This destroys the rift and ends the invasion, at least until the invading force can once again muster the magical power to create another rift. All of these items are drop on death, and these items will fade after an hour so you have limited time to gather them.

On PvP servers, this mechanic creates a battlefield where the players must not only kill the invading force, but they must escape other players trying to kill them for their items. The battle will carry the players street to street, fighting off invading creatures and each other for the right to loot the rift. The encounter is meant to highlight street to street combat in the complex environment of the cities. On PvE servers the players must race to kill enough creatures to earn the right to destroy the rift and claim the reward. The players can choose to cooperate to end the invasion or to compete for these items by racing to kill the required number of creatures before anyone else. Since the items fade after one hour the players not only have a time limit in which to gather these items, but they cannot save up items for future invasions.

In order to maximize the chance that players can participate either solo or in groups, the rifts won't simply appear without warning. Each rift creates a tell tale energy signature in the town some time before it goes active. The rift appears and changes color as it becomes closer to being active. This allows players to gather friends and allies before the carnage begins.

As we create and test the scenario we will be looking at the specific numbers and tweaking the details of the mechanics to create the best experience possible. We will be looking at the difficulty to kill each creature, the chance it will drop an item, the number of items needed to loot and destroy the rift, the time the rift will take from first appearance to becoming active, and of course the all important "valuable items" found in the rift.

So there are just some of the things we have in store for Asheron's Call in February and beyond. Please remember that along with everything listed here, there are several new quests and exciting things going into the game for the February event.
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