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The Chronicles of Spellborn Developer Blog

In The Chronicles of Spellborn players enter an impressive online game world containing scenic landscapes, majestic cities and the remnants of a shattered world. www.spellborn.com

Author: tcos

Contributor: TheHistorian

Scroll 5: A Helping Scythand

Posted by TheHistorian Tuesday June 16 2009 at 12:53PM
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New recruits and veterans alike will be greeted by the newly built Hawksmouth Docks at Hawk’s Landing. The Docks and the surrounding area are now home to some of the less fortunate people of the Enclave, waiting for some brave soul to help them out. They will introduce recruits to the game and offer rewards to those who assist them.

As well as this new content, a crafting quest has been added, introducing players to the crafting system by forging a brand new weapon and placing their first Sigil.

To enhance questing in The Chronicles of Spellborn, a Quest Tracker has been added for your convenience. The Tracker shows the uncompleted objectives that remain in a Quest, allowing adventurers to play without having to switch between the game and the Quest Log every now and then to check up on their progress. Players can select up to five quests to be tracked simultaneously.

Tales From the Vale, a storyline which has been open-ended till now, finds its grand finale. Players at around Fame Level 30 can now venture into a mysterious cave in Homestead to wrap up the events in the village of Waller’s Hill.

Ancestral Mages will find the behavior of their Spirit Pets improved. Pets are now better at keeping aggro of hostile mobs and at hitting moving targets. Some Pets have had their Skill Decks altered to give them specific purposes. For example, the Calaspider now has a ranged attack which reduces Physique, enhancing its PvP viability.

Players grouping up might want to reconsider ignoring Runemages for their Parties. Targets that are now ‘Burning’ will no longer transfer their Flames to melee attackers. This allows the Runemages’ Party Members to stay in the action without getting burned to a crisp themselves.

Apart from numerous Player Skill fixes, members of the Brotherhood of the Glaive have had their Skill Decks fixed and rebalanced. Their Thugs were especially notorious for stacking their ‘Expose Range’ attacks. This has been toned down and their group behavior has been improved.

User feedback, activities and encounters in the Demon Chamber of Cowardice have served for a couple of improvements to the Demon Chest. Loot will now be awarded when the third lock is opened, so it no longer requires a player to interact with what is inside. The looting itself now uses regular Group Looting mechanics, so the reward is now available as a group loot, rather than before, which had the item go to one person.

After adding new server and client-side tools to investigate the community-dubbed ‘sync issue’, we encountered several small problems. These have all been fixed, so the real-time aiming and player movement is now significantly more accurate. These fixes are paired with a new interface setting, ‘Player Lag Smoothing’. This allows players to increase or decrease the visual smoothing of other players movement. This will not interfere with accuracy.

One of the issues was more prone to occur during repeated jumping, so ‘bunny hopping’ players beware! We will continue to monitor this situation to keep the real-time combat system perform at its optimal capability.

..these and many other fixes and improvements await you in Scroll 5: A Helping Scythand.

General

  • Fixed an exploit which allowed players to create parties with more than four players
  • Fixed an issue with the chest in the Demon Room, when grouped up with other players (the loot is now offered to the entire party, instead of just the one who opened the last key)
  • Fixed an issue with Equipment Sigils not being active after death (it is no longer required to re-equip your equipment to re-activate the attached Sigils)
  • Fixed the main cause of "s_client::frame" crashes
  • Fixed the Bodyslot "Dance of Reaver" to no longer break combos
  • Players can no longer cheat death while doing certain actions after jumping off of high cliffs
  • World
  • Fixed the rocks in the Aldenvault tunnels, so that players are less likely to get stuck
  • Fixed a pair of holes where players reported falling through the map in Delvingholm, Stonedeep
  • Fixed a tower in Quarterstone Statue District so that it is now set firmly into the ground
  • Fixed several strange occurrences throughout the world which included floating light-posts, trees and rocks etc
  • Fixed several issues with the Amsell encounter in the Citadel of Ail (the fight is now repeatable and the loot drop is fixed)
  • Fixed a problem with several floating NPC’s in the Quarterstone Fountain District (these guys think they are balloons)
  • Fixed an issue with the NPC Arahn Klovic in Stonedeep, he no longer acts like a giant magnet for all the wildlife
  • Fixed so that players now re-spawn at the correct resurrection shrine when dying in Balemeadow Village
  • Added new grass and leaves to the Aldenvault area, to match it’s new feel
  • Added new High House Flag colors to Quarterstone Palace District
  • Added a new Shardship icon above the heads of the dock-masters all over the world (if the player is eligible)
  • Forgebrother Braidle Lupusin in Mount of Heroes Mines no longer meditates in mid-air
  • Players are now less likely to get stuck in Exarchyon
  • Sergeant More in Mount of Heroes South floating no Mooore
  • The doors leading to the arena in the Quarterstone Arena District are now interactive rather than acting like actual portals

Quests

  • Fixed a possible exploit with Howler during the quest "The Brooding Dark"
  • Fixed various major issues with the quest "Deadbolt Rising"
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "The Kestel Run"
  • Fixed the caged Young Hesselbeaks problem with the quest "Teeth, Talons and Terror"
  • Fixed an issue with the re-spawn timers for the quest "He Who is Exeto"
  • Fixed an issue with the quest "Into the Pit", where Lysomey sometimes de-spawned while approaching the Pit
  • Fixed the re-spawn timers for the quest "Raw Exorcise"
  • Fixed several typos in the quest "Reclaiming The Thacklowe", the directions are now clearer
  • Fixed several issues with the challenge objectives in the quest "The Dawn Of A New Era"
  • Fixed an issue with the NPC interaction in the quest "The Core of the Problem", Okota is once again responsive
  • Fixed an issue with the NPC Ursul dying over & over, in the quest "One way delivery"
  • Fixed several issues in the quest "Legend of the Five"
  • Fixed a problem with the quest "Old and Rare", all fossils are now be gatherable again
  • Fixed an issue with the quest "Seeds of Destruction", the quest is now updating properly
  • Fixed and cleaned up various chats all over the world
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "Blood In Their Eyes"
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "Into the Caves"
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "It’s Just Business"
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "Cleaned Up"
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "Earthwalkers"
  • Fixed several major issues with the quest "Infiltration", Loritha now correctly gives out the next quest upon completion
  • Fixed several major issues with the quest chain "An Unknown Hierarchy"
  • Fixed so that the "Scales Of Trade" assassins spawn correctly during the quest "It’s Just Business"
  • Fixed an issue in the Vault of Sacrifices which concerned the humanoid pet
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "Marathon Man"
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "It Takes Two"
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "Now You Are Going To Get It!"
  • Fixed an issue with the quest "Strrrangerrrs In the Night", the Nariat Vhey are now hostile
  • Fixed several issues with the kill objectives in the quest "Silent Scream"
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "Keep Boltfort Tidy!"
  • Fixed the directional text in the quest "Wanted: Perrefin Sadirn"
  • Fixed an issue with the quest "The Seed Of Destruction", Arduan Ironhail is once again standing in the Quarterstone Arena District
  • Added a brand new mailbox in Waller’s Hill in Homestead
  • It is now possible to get to the Shardship - The Golden Scroll, for the quest "The Golden Scroll"
  • Marpin in Aldenvault is now only attacking players that are on the right quest objective
  • The dock-master in Exarchyon once again allows players to travel to Glasspool Lake
  • Tweaked the quest text for the quest "The Greatest Recruit"
  • The quest giver Ura’Mihr, in Aldenvault, is once again roaming the landscape

Skills

  • Fixed an issue where Deathhands would poison themselves
  • Ante - now triggers on all attacks (not just melee)
  • Aperture Sphere — now removes all Infuses and suppresses Infuses for 12 seconds
  • Ball Lightning — changed the setup and improved functionality
  • Bounce — increased the finisher effect on the Maneuver
  • Channeled Rage — Direct targets receive Moderate instead of Minor damage. The Blood links receive a Minor damage on hit.
  • Defense (Combo) — bonus on heals has been increased
  • Double Trouble — now hits at two distinct places in the cartwheel (the evasive is now only active during the cartwheel)
  • Draw Heart — now correctly deals Moderate calculated damage
  • Flaming — has been removed from the game (it proved to be too detrimental for grouping)
  • Frenzy — increased the heal from the drain
  • Haunt — removed health reduction and added description for the Spirit Increase
  • Void Bolt — adjusted the timing of the visual effect
  • Mute Curse — now correctly reduces PeP (temporary) as described in the skill footnote
  • Point Blank – adjusted damage to Major and updated the description
  • Righteous Hunt — reduced the Life Tap from Moderate to Minor
  • Opposing Winds Sphere — now removes all Expose and suppresses Expose for 12 seconds
  • Poison No. 5 — now applies 4 ticks instead of 5 (damage is now indeed Moderate-Over-Time)
  • Relentless — the description has been updated
  • Shattering Gale — has received an improved Buff Description
  • Snipe — increased damage output
  • Spirit Servant — fixed a problem that prevented the blood hook from executing correctly
  • Stormstrike - now additionally hits the first target (the overall damage was reduced from Heavy to Moderate)
  • Throw — fixed an issue where it would break a combo despite of hitting a target
  • Unitary Arsenal — fixed a bug that prevented Immunity to heals to become active
  • Unite — now heals nearby targets without a buff. When more party targets are in range when a heal happens, the heal for everyone is increased
  • Unite — now removes Expose de-buffs
  • Unite — fixed an issue where it would not heal the full 20 seconds
  • Void Bolt — targeting is now in line with other ranged attacks

Sigils

  • Affinity Sway Token I — corrected a wrong value in the Rune bonus
  • Raging Shadows of Meditation I — now increases both Mind and Focus

Sound & Music

  • Fixed a problem with sound-sphere "sticking" out of the narrow passage leading downward into the Demon Room Chamber
  • Added new ambiances for the Aldenvault Fields to fit the autumn mood
  • Added new sounds for the menu fade-in, fade-out and when selecting an option
  • Added new sounds for holstering melee weapon and bow
  • Added new sounds for weapon impacts (melee) when executing or within the chain of a combo
  • Replaced the "tail slash" sound for Alligator with something that sounds a little more menacing, because Steven was threatening to do horrible things to me in Left4Dead if I wouldn’t change it. There’s only so much abuse I can take, and the sound was pretty dire
  • Replaced the "weapon impact sounds" with a more "powerful" slice sound. The overall effect makes the melee combat more visceral and adds weight to the fighting
  • Replaced the "shoot arrow sound" with something that sounds a little less like you are breaking your bow when shooting arrows
  • Reduced the volume of the ambiance in the Demon Room Chamber
  • Tweaked the "accept quest" sounds as the "writing on paper" part of this sound kept being mistaken for something else
  • Tweaked the "menu interaction" sounds, adding a new sound for a "click" on button
  • Tweaked the "weapon" sounds for melee impacts slightly, making them quieter

Economy

  • Added a new Icon for the Bear Jaw
  • Added a new Icon for the "Ancient Anchor" resource
  • Added a new Icon for the "Snake Bite Sigil"
  • Added several new Icons for the Demon Chest keys
  • Renamed items with the word "Glint" in their names to "Glinting"

Menaces

  • Fixed an issue with Old Wilfried in Hawksmouth, where he kept attacking the Wildlife rather than the player
  • Previously the menace, Duraman, sometimes got stuck at the resurrection shrine in Waller’s Hill, this no longer happens
  • The menace Daphne Bunscook in Hoggsridge has had her level decreased to accurately fit the area she roams
     

Creating a Better "Newbie" Experience

Posted by TheHistorian Wednesday June 10 2009 at 5:39PM
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"Combat is one of The Chronicles of Spellborn’s most defining features. Our enemies are not dumb and the rotating skilldeck is far more than just a rotating hot bar. But unless you have played a chunk of the game, you wouldn't really know this. We still face the problem of assumption where people see the skilldeck in its uncomplicated low-level form. It's hard to realise the freedom, strategy and personality it adds to combat later on. It's one of those gameplay mechanics which is truly easy to learn, but hard to master. It is entirely built around pre-planned strategy and fast action combat, the surface of which is barely scratched even at level 10. This is hard to imagine as there's currently no game that plays quite like ours does. Many reviews and positive player feedback will confirm this.


Differently put, we know that our game is capable of delivering the most intense action-rich combat ever to have graced an MMO. Yet, we also know we are doing quite a horrible job of "selling" this idea in the game at lower levels. The way we introduce people to our world is, simply put, not good at all.


The tutorial was designed to help even the most casual gamer to get acquainted with controlling and playing their Spellborn character. The way we then set them out on their first questing adventure in Hawksmouth, where we lead them on a criss-cross journey through almost the entire shard, is a complete reversal of earlier said helping hand. We have known this was a problem for players for quite some time and as the team has been slaving away creating extra content, bug fixes and features; a small dedicated team has been working on creating a better first time experience. Something to bridge the gap between tutorial and the actual game.


This has resulted in a redesigned Hawksmouth docks area, with new starter quests. We also removed those quests we found distracting, or downright boring.
 

 


We will show the new starter-area (a redesign of the immediate area around the docks) in more detail as soon as we come closer to the release of “Scroll 5". As you have probably also noticed, the above "beta" screenshot contains the very first presentation of the new quest tracker. This is a feature often requested by you all and it will help you keep track of your activities. Not to worry though, this is still Spellborn and we still expect you to do your own thinking while questing.


Of course, Scroll 5 also brings a whole new slew of the usual quest, bug and combat fixes. One of the more happy moments was this week’s identification of one of the causes for the "sync" issue. This seems to be directly related to jumping, it's currently in the process of being fixed and will also make the Scroll or immediate hotfix following the scroll's release, of course, granted we don't run into more problems regarding this issue. Also tackled was one of the causes for humanoid groups to debuffed your physique in one single blow, so it should happen less often. We are re-arranging enemy skilldecks to make encounters more fun and less predictable. The Pit District has received a make-over to distinguish it more from the other zones in Quarterstone and Aldenvault has received its own set of ambiences, specifically for that area.


We hope you will enjoy the new area which was indeed built on community feedback and our own critical eyes. You can expect future content to follow the lessons learned in this new area.


The new scroll will be coming soon at which time we'll be able to share more details."
 

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