Happy New Year to you all, hope you had a good holiday season. This is the start of what I intend to be a monthly segment, where I talk about what went on in that month, and what we're aiming for in the next. I'll be aiming to get one of these out at the end of every month. I can't promise they'll always be as long as this post, as sometimes the things we're working on just aren't ready for public discussion.
So the big thing for this month was the Teradrim event, which took up a lot of our development time. The class has gone through several changes since its initial release back in 2005. Back then they used clubs, slingshots and earthen rings! It has since gone through several changes - some of them didn't even make it out of development - before we ended up with what we have today.
A lot of people put in a lot of effort for that release, but a few in particular deserve special mention:
Slyphe: Designed not only the final class we released, but also the aforementioned unreleased version that we scrapped.
Liaisons: For testing both the scrapped and final class, and offering lots of helpful feedback.
Haern: Fleshing out the lore of the Teradrim and the Earthen.
Ivoln: Designing and overseeing the running of the event.
Teradrim marks a landmark change in the way we approach skillsets. Almost all of Terramancy can be used upon NPCs, and Golems can be made to attack them too. One big problem I feel Aetolia has in comparison to other MUDs is that almost all the skills you receive can only be used in Player vs Player combat, with only a handful that can be used against NPCs.
Unfortunately, changing this for Aetolia isn't as simple as flicking a switch in the code that says "let this attack hit NPCs", as players and NPCs are treated very separately within the code. With the Teradrim change, I introduced a new framework for skills that abstracts the difference between players and NPCs, allowing us to easily have skills affect both without the need to duplicate code for each skill. Desiccation does not share this feature yet, as the code for that was made prior to the creation of this framework.
At the moment, those skills won't actually do anything to mobs beyond damage, but the support is there to easily toggle it on in the future. This is very much a long-term project, and we'll be adopting classes to it as they get revamped.
One of the good things to come out of our Teradrim release event was the boss fight with Grumagh. A lot of people enjoyed this style of NPC fight as they had to utilize unique mechanics to contain him, rather than just tank attacks and damage him down as is typical for most of our high end ‘bosses’. One of our Celani, Jaed, has been working on a new instance type that takes advantage of this type of NPC encounter by introducing a raid type zone primarily focused on interactive boss encounters with reward drops. This is part of our attempt to add a new layer to endgame instance content that is a step away from the typical hunting encounters we employ currently in Xaanhal. Expect to hear more from him on this project during the month of January. Future instances will be more focused on this style, with a focus on unique boss fights, exploration, and the hunt for rare and unique treasures.
Next up on the revamp list are the Sciomancer and Ascendril classes. Their revamps are still in the design phase, with Slyphe handling the design for the Ascendril class, and myself handling the design for the Sciomancer class. I can't share too much on this, as the designs are far from finalized and will probably be changing a lot. We also have changes for Carnifex and Templars in the works, as well as an update to Sentinels! Keroc, our liaison head, is spearheading this project, so expect to see more of these changes pushed out in the coming weeks. Liaison reports will also be opening for submission once more in January.
Our next focus for events are the release of the Pious Wards in Delve, which Maghak and Haern have put in a lot of love and design for. This is the religious section of the city of Delve, and you can expect to find a treasure trove of lore upon the pantheon of Albedos and its multitude of cults. Work continues on this, so expect to see things coming out of it either late January, or sometime in February.
We have the Sect of the Blades being designed and coded right now. The goal behind the Sect is to provide encouragement and rewards for one on one combat, without having to mechanically enforce it. Alongside that, we also have a new tournament being worked out by Dhar, that utilizes the new knockout modification, to be run alongside the Delos Brawl. The Brawl will also be receiving its own unique modification, to make grouping up in big teams during it unviable. You'll hear more on that very soon, as the next Brawl is coming within the new few days.
Work also continues on the Communication and Espionage trees, as well as a new method of acquiring ylem. This new method is aimed at non-combatants, allowing them to assist their city in the gathering of ylem. There will be an instanced area set up for each city, with randomized missions you complete in order to secure some ylem for your city. We plan to release both the new trees, and this new method for obtaining ylem around the same time.
So, that's just a taste of things we've been working on. We have plenty more projects in the works, and lots of plans and dreams for the future of Aetolia. I hope you are all as excited as I am!