What’s New In AC2 For August

Hello again. I wanted to take a minute or two to talk about the changes we’ve made for the next update. We’ve addressed several of your recent concerns. Let me give you the details.

Group Monsters Worth More XP
We’ve made group monsters worth more XP depending on how many fellowship members are participating.

1 person = 100%
2 = 150%
3 = 180%
4 = 220%
5 or more = 250%

So, a hunting group with 4 people in it will earn 220% XP than previously when killing group monsters. This 220% XP is then split among all four players as usual, based on their character level.

As an example, suppose a fellowship of four level 40 players kill a Steppe Armoredillo. This group monster is worth 48,500 XP. In the old system, there was no multiplier on the monster’s XP, so each member would get their share of the XP and that would be that. (Because all fellowship members are the same level, they would each get 35%, or 16,975 XP.) Under the new system, the monster’s XP value of 48,500 is increased by 220% because four fellowship members are attacking it. This means the monster is worth 106,700 XP to this fellowship, and each member gets 35% of that, or 37,345 XP each.

Note that you need to do more than just be in the fellowship in order to count towards this bonus. You have to actually participate in the battle. You count as participating if you do any of the following:
– attack the monster (either hitting or being evaded)
– get within the monster’s detection radius (20 to 40 meters, depending on the monster) so that the monster knows you exist
– heal yourself or others while standing within approximately 40 meters of the monster.

Note also that fellowships larger than 5 people get no bigger bonus than a fellowship of 5. That’s because hunting group monsters in fellowships larger than 5 isn’t very challenging, and we don’t want to encourage people to make larger fellowships just to get a bigger bonus. (When questing, larger fellowships can certainly be challenging and fun, but fellowships made simply for hunting should probably stick to four or five individuals.)

A few other things to note:
– Your fellowship must be an XP-sharing fellowship in order to get any of the bonus XP.
– Members in the fellowship who aren’t earning XP (because they are too high or too low in level) do not count towards the XP bonus, even if they participate in the combat.
– To reiterate, this only applies to group monsters. Solo creatures do not give any XP bonus, no matter how big the fellowship is!

Treasure on Knorr
We’ve increased the solo-monster and group-monster treasure on nearly all Knorr creatures. Average hoard size increased by 2 items per monster. We think that this increased loot better fits the danger of hunting on Knorr. Selected other monsters in the game also drop more treasure, but we have mainly focused on Knorr creatures.

KvK Shrines
Shortly after the August update goes live, new KvK Shrines will be activated in the world. By touching one of these shrines, a player becomes a KvK-anywhere player. Players from other kingdoms who also touch the shrine will be able to attack them anywhere in the world.

Here are some guidelines on how the system will work when you are interacting with other players.

– KvK-anywhere players can always harm other KvK-anywhere players that belong to a different faction, including the Neutral faction.

– KvK-anywhere players can buff and heal other KvK-anywhere players that belong to the same faction.

– KvK-anywhere players cannot attack non-KvK-anywhere players, or vice versa.

– KvK-anywhere players can always buff and heal non-KvK-anywhere players.

– non-KvK-anywhere players can never buff KvK-anywhere players.

– non-KvK-anywhere players can only heal KvK-anywhere players if said player has not engaged in player-vs.-player activity for 5 minutes or more.

– the rules above only apply to the regular areas of the world. In the special KvK and PvP areas, the old rules still apply. In KvK areas, all same-faction members can buff and heal each other, all opposing faction members can attack each other, etc.

We expect the rule about non-KvK-anywhere players being unable to buff KvK-anywhere players to be somewhat controversial. “Why can’t the buffs just turn off whenever the KvKer engages in PvP combat?” you might ask. There are several reasons. First, some buffs are useful in PvP even before the battle starts, so if they got to use these buffs before the fight begins, they would still have an advantage over others. Run buffs are a good example of this. Second, there are technical limitations that keep us from cleanly implementing the idea. It sounds simple, but the actual implementation caused too many special cases and exploit conditions. Third, we found this play style to be a bit too abusable — it is too easy for an irritating griefer to attack you and log off, achieving nothing but disabling your buffs and making your play experience less fun. For these reasons and others, we decided that the simple rules above are the better way to go for now. We will re-evaluate this issue after we see how this rule works in practice.

A KvK-anywhere player can revert to their old state by waiting 3 real-world days and then touching a special shrine that will turn them back. This timer is much reduced from our original plan — there is no number that will make everyone happy here; some want a hardcore 30 day limit, and some want no timer at all. This time limit was chosen because it fit our existing player base and their play styles pretty well. We might change this timer depending on how it plays.

Missile Monsters
The physics of projectiles has not changed, but monster logic for using projectiles has. Creatures who are melee-oriented or who were melee/missile agnostic now tend to prefer melee more often. They also tend to break off missile attacks sooner, thus reducing the amount of “drive by damage” players take when riding cross-country.

Quest Cancel Button
The GUI now sports a Quest Cancel button for selected quests. The button appears at the bottom of the quest description. About 50% of the game’s quests can now be cancelled. (Some quests can NEVER be cancelable, as they would then be exploitable. Others simply aren’t cancelable because we didn’t get to them in time for this update.)

Skill Fixes
Quite a few minor skill bugs were corrected for this update. I’d like to thank the Vanguard Skills Team for heading up the reporting and corralling of these bugs and assisting in their prioritization. As of this writing the following issues were corrected. (There may be a couple more that make their way into the final update.)

  • Rite skills: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Au’s Grace: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Bloodbind: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Compassion: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Gift of Deviotion: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Inspiration: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Righteousness: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Sacrificial Boon: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Sigil of Valor: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Call to Duty: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Courage in Arms: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Curse of Peace: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Enchanted Arms: can be used while wielding any implement
  • Plasma Wave: scales to 1300 @ L150
  • Enfeebling Arc: scales to 500 @ L150
  • Corrosion: scales to 500 @ L150
  • Affliction: scales 1000 @ L150
  • Astral Hunters: does 600/hit @ L150
  • Lightning Strike: does 500 @ L150
  • Twin Shot: does 600/hit @ L150
  • Assassin’s Strike: does 1600 @ L150
  • Raider’s Double Throw: does 600/hit @ L150
  • Armor of Faith: can now be runcast
  • Forces and Chants: can now be runcast
  • Drudge Dance: has a buff icon
  • Pyroclastic Flow: now shoots five bolts as intended
  • Burst Skills: no longer claim to be AoE
  • Health Burst: focus cost lowered
  • Hurricane: description updated to note combat speed debuff (not knockback)
  • Oubliette: the return-home timer is no longer blocked by Screen or Drums of Immunity
  • Cragstone’s Rebuke: description updated to note increased critical hit chance
  • Crawling Skin: description updated to note fellowship propagation
  • Scorn: description updated to no longer imply that it does damage
  • Queen’s Defender: focus cost lowered

Focus On Content
As you will see pretty quickly upon logging in, the August update is a very large one, fleshing out many level ranges that were somewhat scarce before. We have added content for nearly every level range, though we focused heavily on the 20s through mid 40s this time around.

There are nearly 100 quests in total, larger than any update we’ve done before except the Legions expansion. Many of these quests are short solo quests. They are often interconnected, so that they tell bigger stories if you complete all the quests in the series. There are also some larger quests for groups, and an epic quest for high level heroes.

Two brand new monsters now populate the world, along with several additional creatures which are not technically new models, but which you’ve never gotten to fight before. This update also has far more books than we’ve ever added in a monthly update. Plus, there are some other surprises we’re trying desperately to keep from blabbing about, so they can be a surprise.

Truth is, we’re really excited about this update, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed making it.

– Citan
  Producer, AC2

Discuss this letter in our August Forum.