My fellow Istarians,
If the temperature outside where you live is anything like my neighbourhood, you've probably realized by now that summer has arrived. As the temperature rises outside, it is the perfect time to settle in behind your high powered computer fans in an air conditioned room and join your friends in Istaria. But in case the heat and humidity aren't incentive enough to close yourself into a nice cool room somewhere, let me entice you with what has been happening in Istaria and what is coming in the near future.
On the "old news is good news" side of the page, I want to make sure everyone knows that we have Heralds on each of the shards now, and to once again congratulate Takora (Herald for Order Shard), Justa Mirage (Herald for Chaos Shard), and Siluket (Herald for Blight Shard) on being chosen for their respective positions. You can read their monthly reports on what is happening by visiting the front page of our Community Website (http://community.istaria.com). Heralds report on news that has happened in the previous month on their respective shards. They're always looking for news on new dragons growing to adult or ancient status, the completion of new public structures in the world, or someone who has achieved a milestone goal as adventurer or crafter. Their reports also look at what changes have come to the shards by the development team, and so much more. You'll have to read for yourself, because, and I may sound like I'm bragging a bit, we have some really outstanding Heralds.
Heralds have also reported an increase in seemingly random Withered Aegis attacks across Istaria at various times in recent weeks. Long time players will remember these sorts of invasions as live events. While these aren't something that at this time we plan to do on as large a scale as some of the events in Istaria's history, we do hope to have more impromptu live events on all three shards to keep it interesting for players.
Bridging the gap between "old news" and "new news" is something many of you are already aware of. The first round of emails regarding plot reclamation has gone out. If you did not get such an email, you can assume that everything is fine. For those who did not get an email and are wondering what plot reclamation is about - it means that any plot or lair owned by someone without enough plot slots will have that plot or lair reclaimed and placed for auction. We'd like to ask your help in spreading the news that plot reclaims are happening soon - for any friends and guildmates you know that have been considering coming back to Istaria but have been doing some "fence sitting". We've also had players raise some concerns regarding friends who are deployed in the military or are currently unable to receive email for one reason or another. We'd ask that if you have a friend or relative who is deployed in the military, or who may not get word that their plot will soon be reclaimed, you attempt to contact them to ask what they would like to do regarding their subscription. Please help us spread the word, in other words. We will continue to attempt to contact those who are about to have plots reclaimed to ensure that they do not wish to make arrangements to keep their plots, but anything you can do will help.
As we prepare for plots to be reclaimed and made available for purchase, we are also looking closely at communities where the plots are too small to be useful. In the coming weeks the design team will be looking through various communities through the world, starting with guild communities where plots were very small, and resizing them to be larger where possible. We'll continue this "Community Revamp" past the time that plot reclaim and auctions happen in hopes of making each community as attractive and useful a place for players to build as possible within land constraints. For those interested in reading about a proposed idea on a ruleset for purchasing guild communities, you can find the announcement here: http://community.istaria.com/forum/s...ad.php?t=18496. I don't have details yet for the Community Revamp, but watch our forums for further information as it becomes available.
In other news, Amon has been discussing with players how the confectioner and death point system changes which were introduced a few months ago have been, and some changes will be coming to our test server in the coming weeks based on those talks. For those interested, the thread can be found here (http://community.istaria.com/forum/s...ad.php?t=18539). For those more interested in the short summary version, in the next patch the following changes will go to Blight for testing: recycle lowered from 1200 to 600 seconds, and removal of the post-delay. This should make eating food in a tavern after an untimely death to one of the Gifted something which can be accomplished faster. Characters will still need to eat two complete, different meals in order to receive full benefit in the shortest time possible, and be sure to eat food created for their tier, but these changes should ease a bit of the "bite" of death.
For those who have felt that they are suddenly moving faster in the world when carrying cargo to craft with, no one set your graphics to "fast forward". The design team completed their revamp of cargo disk speeds and released this patch to live last month. Players will find that speed buffs, potions, and gear are significantly more effective in this new system than previously. For those who play dragons, you may have also already found a copy of one of the two new spells for dragons introduced with this patch, Primal Health and Gift of Velocity. The formulas for these spells are "mob drops" only and can be found across all tiers.
Work continues behind the scenes across all tiers to make the adventuring experience more fun and friendly to players. We've added more quests to the quest books of NPCs so they are easier to find for new players especially. We've adjusted some of the epic level content to be available more often to players, but to be more of a challenge and more worth the effort to fight. In the next few weeks we'll start to focus on revamping the tier 2 regions around Dalimond and Chiconis in much the same way that has been done for Lesser Aradoth previously. And we'll keep looking for ways to challenge those who have reached high ratings in game as well.
Overall we plan to continue to have a busy summer tucked in our own air conditioned rooms bringing you the best Istaria we can. From the whole Virtrium team, I hope you have a fun, relaxing, sun filled summer!