Game updates/2016-06-19

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June 19 Update

This update fixes monster visibility problems. That was the top priority, so this is considered a bug-fix update. But lots of other things were ready to go, so there's some interesting content too. There is a new main combat skill, a bunch of features aimed at making animal-form play more fun, and lots of other stuff.

Monster Visibility Fixes

This update fixes the main cause of reported problems with monster visibility. There may be more issues, but if so, we need your help to find them! Please report any scenarios where monsters are unable to see you -- even if you reported them before. Thank you!

Knife Skill

A new main-hand combat skill has been added. Lore-wise, this skill is not well known in the Council Lands. It is a starting skill for the upcoming Fairy race, but humans/elves/rakshasa will have to complete a quest to unlock it. However, right now we need people to test it out, so a new fairy NPC is temporarily visiting the Serbule region. She can be found near the :Stonehenge-like rock outcropping. She will be around for a month or two and will then go home to the fey realm, so now is the best time to learn this skill.
Knife is intended to be a mainline damaging skill. It has very powerful damage-over-time abilities, as well as "backstab" type attacks that work best if the monster is focused on an ally (or pet). It also has some throwing-knife techniques. The throwing knives must be made by blacksmiths, and are lost upon use, but they have a chance to stick in their target and show up in the corpse's loot like arrows do. (The NPC sells the relevant blacksmith recipes.)
Daggers of various types have been added to the treasure tables at all levels. (You can also buy stock knives from the usual stock-item vendors.) For enchanted daggers, there is a full range of treasure effects.
The Knife skill has been hooked up to all armor-crafting recipes. Obsidian is the crafting gem for the skill.
The skill can be raised to level 60 by befriending Lisi in Sun Vale.
This skill is not tested very well at all... that's what you guys are for! Due to time constraints, many abilities haven't been tested in their final form, and many of the daggers and treasure effects have never been tried in-game. So this should be fun! Please report all problems with abilities, knife treasure effects, or knives themselves, and we'll fix them as soon as possible.

New Skill "Survival Instincts"

Animal players have a new skill they can learn: Mittens in Kur Mountains can teach you Survival Instincts. It's easiest to think of it as a replacement for Armor Patching, since animals can't use that skill, but it has some other learnable abilities, too. You must be in an animal form to use this skill. The level cap can be raised to 60 by befriending Sanja the wolf in Kur Mountains.

Animal "Hats"

I've been experimenting with ways to give animal players more visual customization options cheaply. These experiments are still underway, but so far there's a couple of new headgear options for pigs, cows, and deer. (Other species will come in time. It's just easier to focus on a few animals during the prototyping phase.)
- Each of pig, deer, and cow has a level 60 animal-specific headgear item in the loot tables. :These items have EXTREMELY low chances of dropping unless you are in the proper form, but if you're in the right shape they should drop reasonably often.
- Pig (and only pig) also has a level 50 animal-specific headgear item in the loot tables, too
- A novelty hat for deer, cow, and pig can be bought with Guild Credits from the guild sign
- Tailoring recipes for a craftable cloth hat can be found for deer, cow, and pig. (There are level 50 and level 60 versions, but no low-level versions.)
- The level 50 versions can be found from creatures that can drop level 50 recipes. Examples include Crazed Alphas, Insane Matriarchs, Bonfire Puck etc., Skeleton Darkweavers, Visages of Demise, Autumn Healers.
- The level 60 versions can be found from creatures that can drop level 60 recipes. Examples include Skeleton Sun Priests, Cockatrices, Drakeworms.
- Note: these recipes are currently Tailoring recipes, but will eventually be Haberdashery recipes when that skill is ready
- Cloth hats require Mercury as an ingredient; this is an alchemical substance derived from Cinnabar ore. The alchemy recipe can be found among level 50 creatures that can drop recipes

Animals and the Unarmed Skill

In the original game design docs, animals were intended to have a separate set of combat abilities in the Unarmed school. This is why Headbutt and Bodyslam exist. But actually implementing a full set of 12 alternate abilities has always seemed kind of... excessively annoying for everyone involved, so it never quite got implemented. At this point we're going to abandon that idea entirely. Now all animals can use all Unarmed abilities just as every other race can.
However, for balance reasons, animals still must have "empty hands" ... err empty paws, or hooves or whatever... to use some abilities. (Or, alternatively, they can have unarmed weapons equipped in those slots.) They must follow the same restrictions that humanoid races have for using each ability. Specifically:
- the Main Hand and Off Hand slots must both be empty (or filled with unarmed weapons) to use Barrage, Cobra Strike, Hip Throw, and Mamba Strike.
- At least one of the two slots must be empty (or have an unarmed weapon in it) to use Punch, Jab, and Bruising Blow.
- Slashing Strike requires a claw weapon in the main hand slot and Claw Barrage requires a claw weapon in both slots. (But see wolf exception below.)
Other notes:
- Wolves' hand slots are considered claws when they're empty. This means that wolves do not need claw-weapons to use Slashing Strike and Claw Barrage -- they can leave the slots empty instead if they prefer
- "Jab" erroneously required both hands free, but it now requires just one hand free. This change applies to both animals and humanoids
- Similarly, "Bruising Blow" used to require both hands free, but it now requires just one hand free. This change applies to both animals and humanoids. (This one wasn't a bug, but a design change.)
- The "Bat Combat Belt" no longer does anything. The recipe has been retired. Existing belts still exist, but they now indicate that they are useless. This means that giant bats who want to use Unarmed can ditch the belt, but must follow the hands-free restrictions mentioned above.
- Just to make sure I'm not sending the wrong message here: no balance work was done in this update, but that work is still underway. So it's possible that Unarmed abilities and equipment may change soon, perhaps drastically. Such is life in alpha!

Changes to "Auxiliary Combat Skills"

A few skills aren't "real" combat skills, but their main purpose is to give you side-bar abilities to use in combat. (A good example is First Aid.) These skills previously gave you XP every time you used any of their abilities. This was unlike regular combat skills, and it led to some very cheesy scenarios, like people standing in town for hours applying first aid kits to their completely healthy bodies just to get the XP. These skills now work more like regular combat skills: you get XP in them if you use them when killing monsters.
Whenever you kill a monster, you earn XP in any active auxiliary combat skills you've used in the past 60 seconds. The amount of XP you earn is based on the monster's total XP. This is "extra" XP, and doesn't alter the amount of XP you earn in your main combat skills.
Because restorative abilities are often used AFTER combat, not during combat, there is a special case for them. If you use these abilities within 60 seconds of killing a monster, you get any XP you missed out on from that monster.
Also, the level curve for these skills has been revised so that it's a lot easier to level these skills up. If you used these skills in each combat, they would level up twice as fast as "real" combat skills.
The following skills are affected: First Aid, Armor Repair, Sigil Scripting, and Survival Instincts


- If players eat food containing meat from their own species, they will feel a little guilty for a while.
- Repeatedly eating your own species results in a -1% XP penalty for 10 minutes after eating it. The penalty gets more pronounced if you continue to eat your own, but it's always pretty negligible. (This isn’t meant to be a significant behavior deterrent, it's more for "world flavor": many players seem to expect something like this to be in the game, and who are we to disappoint?)
- Players that have been turned into an animal and remained in that form for at least three hours have begun to self-identify as animals and will feel guilty when eating meat from their current species. (But at that point they no longer feel guilty eating the meat of their former species... I guess they have very selective consciences.)
- In fact, currently this system is only really relevant to animal-form players, because there's lots of bacon and steaks in the game, but no human-meat dishes... yet.
- There is also a behavior badge, "Cannibal", which is earned by eating meat from your own species several times. This badge is lost after 30 days of not eating your own kind
- Also note that werewolves (in wolf form) are immune to the Cannibal badge or the feelings of guilt, because they're too monstrous for the concept of cannibalism to really faze them

Other Fairly Major Changes/Bug Fixes

- All Damage-over-time effects were being boosted by the player's Anatomy skills. For every 15 levels in the relevant Anatomy skill, each "tick" of the DoT effect did +1 damage. This was not intentional (or else it would have been documented in the skill descriptions). It's from a very old experiment that should have been removed long ago. Apologies for the screw-up.
- Fixed issues that prevented the creation of treasure that enhanced two of the following skills at once: Staff, Fire Magic, Druid, or Ice Magic. Thus Fire+Ice magic gear was not possible, nor was Staff+Druid, etc.
- Bows now have different in-game models, instead of all sharing the same single 3D model. (The icons are still all the same, however... one step at a time!)
- Items that directly give you XP when used (such as flowers and poetry books) were giving bonus XP based on any Crafting XP bonuses you had. These sources of XP are not "crafting" so they shouldn't earn crafting bonus XP
- When someone completes your player-work-order, the items are no longer magically delivered to your inventory. (This was supposed to be helpful, but turned out to usually be unpleasant.)
:::Instead, you receive a note that the work order is completed, and you receive the items when you actually go and click on the work-order sign.
- Urzab in Ilmari can raise your Surveying and Mining skill caps to 60
- Jaime Fatholm no longer teaches the Ilmari Motherlode map recipes. Those are now taught by Urzab in Ilmari.

Misc Changes

- When you create an entity in the world (e.g. grow a vegetable, drop a cheese barrel, display a statue, etc.), they now check to make sure they are positioned nicely on the ground and in plain sight. This should fix bugs related to "floating statues", "barrels stuck inside walls", "veggies spawning beneath the earth", etc. (However, if a nice clear spot can’t be found nearby, it still falls back to the old behavior. So standing on tall jagged boulders, the tops of trees, etc., may still cause the spawned entity to "float". That's not considered a bug, it's considered either you being clever or you being a dumbass, depending on if you meant to do it or not.)
- The treasure effect "For 12 seconds after using Infinite Legs, additional Infinite Legs attacks deal +12 damage" did not work
- The Spider treasure effect "of slow painful deaths" (which boosts indirect poison damage) did not correctly require the spider skill to be active. (Note: the new Knife skill has a similar treasure effect, but only for Knives)
- Lowered the effective level of the Forgotten Skeletal Mages on the newbie island. Not a lot, but a little bit might do the trick
- Tried to make the recipe for the spore bomb in the newbie island cave a little easier to stumble upon (it's a book on a shelf instead of a note on the floor)
- Moved one of the number-pedestals on the newbie island to a different position that may be more easily noticed
- Adjusted spawn spots of newbie skeletons to spread them out a bit more right near the entrance point on the beach
- For the time being, it is no longer possible to find treasure that boosts both Lycanthropy and a weapon skill at the same time. (This will eventually be a somewhat-viable combo at very high level, when lycanthropes can switch back and forth more predictably during combat, but right now it's pretty near impossible to pair lycanthropy with a weapon.)
- The particle for thornskin now has correct distance cut offs so you don't see the visual effect from miles away
- Lakrea has a few more vocabulary-related quests in her arsenal of holistic wellness lessons
- Added a new graveyard spot on the Serbule docks. This means that if you die closer to the docks than to town, you'll respawn there rather than in town. This was done for the benefit of newbies. Most new players seem extremely disoriented by respawning in town before they've even found the town.
- A cosmetic variant version of the spell "Wall of Fire 4" can be purchased with Guild Credits from the guild sign.
- Some items that give XP when used would not give you XP when you reached the "soft level cap" for the skill -- that is, when bonus levels pushed your skill level over the maximum
- If you didn't use one of your two combat skills for over a minute, and then the first time you used the skill it happened to get the killing blow on a monster, you didn't earn XP for that skill (but you did earn XP for the other skill)
- Blanche and Rita have a slightly reduced chance to begin talking to each other, meaning they'll stay silent a bit more of the time. They also have a couple more "scripts" they can say to each other

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