Game updates/2017-03-25

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March 25 Update

This snapshot features the Bard skill, ready for testing and feedback!

Bard Skill

You can learn the skill from Rappanel in South Serbule. (He's in the inn.) As you advance in Bard skill, you will also need to improve other skills, including performance, vocabulary, and poetry appreciation. Rappanel should give you enough information to proceed at each stage. We need feedback on how easy/hard it is to advance as a bard! We also need feedback on the bard's general abilities and playability. Keep in mind that the bard is designed to be a support character. It is definitely possible to solo with the bard, but it's not going to be as fast as some other skills.

Note: the bardic music tracks are draft versions, not the finalized versions. There are small issues with the looping of some tracks, plus some pops and crackles in a few sound effects. These small issues will be fixed soon.

One other note: Bardic music is implemented as a "performance". This has many subtle ramifications, but one useful feature is that if you tire of hearing the bardic songs, you can go into the Configuration window's Audio tab and reduce the number of audible performers to zero.

Looting Changes

- Hunting groups are now capped at six players instead of 10
- When fighting elite and boss monsters, only the first group that attacks it will be able to loot it. (It will become "locked" to the first attacker's group, with a little lock icon visible to other groups to let them know.) Each member of the locked group will get their own share of treasure, just as before, but non-group members don't get any loot.
- Solo monsters now become "open-lootable" once the original looter closes the corpse. (Meaning that any other player can take leftover loot, autopsy, bury the corpse, etc.)
- Clicking on a boss's corpse can now dispel the boss curse even if you don't have loot permissions for the boss
- Previously when a monster was killed, only the player who had done the highest damage to the monster was recorded as having killed it for certain purposes (such as special behavior badges). Now, anyone who did damage to the creature is counted as a killer

Balance Changes

- Archery critical hits did way too much damage. Crits weren't properly taken into account when the last skill revisions were made. For now, we have removed treasure that enhances archery criticals, so they are "just" a +25% bonus to damage.
- The archery gear mod that boosted critical hit damage is now a +Max Power mod instead
- The mentalism and psychology gear mods that boosted critical hit damage now ONLY work for phrenology-based criticals and do not boost Archery crits in any way. Their labels were adjusted accordingly
- The Archery ability Restorative Arrow was designed to heal an ally, not yourself. But due to a bug, it was possible to heal yourself by manually selecting yourself with the F1 key. This ability has been revised so that it can work on yourself as well as allies, so it isn't necessary to manually target yourself to heal yourself.
- The Archery ability Hook Shot and the Spider ability Grappling Web no longer suppress monster shouts, meaning that when they are used, the monster's nearby allies are alerted. (That method of "silent ranged pull" is too problematic -- it's too hard to make properly challenging content for it.) We realize this makes the abilities less useful overall, so they may be replaced or dramatically changed during the next major skill revamp pass

Gazluk Keep Changes

We've made some more balance changes to Gazluk Keep, in part due to the group-size changes mentioned above. But it's likely that we'll need to make further changes to the monster difficulty in here. Please continue to send in feedback!

- Elites and bosses in Gazluk Keep have been toned down a bit, especially in terms of their Max Health. However, their Rage attacks are more powerful than before
- Different kinds of orcs now have different resistances and vulnerabilities. (This affects orcs in other areas too!)
- The Elite Infiltrators in Gazluk Keep were able to use Hook Shot on players. This was too disruptive because it could be "chained" by multiple orcs, pulling a player a very long distance, usually to their doom. Elite Infiltrators have a new debuff ability instead, plus some projectile evasion
- Gazluk Keep hallway monsters now respawn MUCH more slowly -- instead of completely refilling within 10 minutes, it now takes 30 minutes to fully refill
- Gazluk Keep's hallways are using an experimental new spawner feature that tries to avoid respawning monsters "on top" of players. It remembers where the last monster in the area died, and tries to spawn new monsters away from that spot. This should reduce the chance that a monster will respawn right next to where players were just fighting. (But it can still happen -- there are only so many possible spawn spots for monsters of each type, and since monsters can wander around, it gets very complicated. This is just an attempt to cut down on the chances.)
- Orcs in Gazluk no longer have a chance to drop guano. (It still drops from all giant bats and striga.)

Other Gameplay Changes

- For toggle abilities (such as "Howl Mode" or "Raven Form") that have Power costs to activate, you no longer have to pay the Power cost again to deactivate it
- Fixed issue when backstabbing mesmerized creatures, where the extra damage would only apply if used in the first few seconds of the mez effect
- Fixed bug where partially-completed Combos would stay in mid-complete state for a very long time, instead of expiring quickly as intended
- Fixed bugs which kept monsters "in combat" for too long, preventing them from healing or resetting their aggro lists
- Fixed more situations where stationary monsters (e.g. turrets) could keep players in-combat indefinitely (until they were beyond the theoretical max range of the turret)
- Tombstones now change appearance based on your Dying skill level (among other things). Low-level tombstones are smaller than the old ones; high-level tombstones are about the same size
- Various types of monsters now have resistance or vulnerability to Sonic damage
- A note about Sonic damage: bards have abilities that deal Sonic damage. This is a new damage type, similar to Fire or Crushing. Giant Bats also have abilities with "Sonic" in their name, but these abilities do Trauma damage. : Those abilities will eventually be revised to deal Sonic damage, but for now, they are unchanged. (Until more synergies for the new damage type are in place.)
- The list of Fire Magic abilities that boost Body Heat has been increased, and the potency of the restoration improved. The following spells now restore body heat in cold environments: Fire Breath, Ring of Fire, Defensive Burst, Flesh to Fuel, Wall of Fire. Also, just a reminder that Landri the Cold can teach cold-protection spells for Fire Magic, not just for Ice Magic. Cold Protection reduces the chance of losing body heat.
- Many variety of Panther had incorrect loot and harvesting stats (e.g. the level 15 panthers in Eltibule had level 35 skinning requirements; razorslash panthers dropped herbivore stomach contents instead of carnivore, etc.)
- NPCs who liked egg dishes liked them a bit more than intended. Egg dish gifts now yield about 20-30% less Favor than before

Other Client Changes

- Upgraded to Unity 5.5.2
- Fixed some bugs with particle leakage. These bugs could cause performance slowdowns or crashes if you stayed in the same area for long periods
- General particle performance improvements
- Fixed numerous bugs with the animation system, such as player avatars staying in a combat pose after combat has ended, and many others
- Some modest client speed-up optimizations for areas with large numbers of monsters (such as outdoor areas or Gazluk Keep)
- Added a master volume slider in the Config options
- Added a Mute checkbox in the Config options
- There is a new hotkey command to mute/unmute the volume. It does not have any key assigned by default, but you can assign a key to it in the Configuration window


This update made lots of changes under the hood. Here's things to watch out for:

- Boss music behaving weirdly (e.g. cutting out or changing tunes unexpectedly)
- Particles no longer showing up
- Loot mods that used to work no longer working
- Weird new graphical issues

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