267 390 946 913 credits have already traded hands in the new Market (GMI), according to the snapshot taken on 28/6!
We are very glad to see how releasing the new web market and disabling the old market system has ensured that AO can run more smoothly! The old market system was not optimized for a MMO, and since the new system is running on a completely separate server (this is what allows it to send transactions across the servers), searching and creating orders will not affect the game servers anymore.
In July we’re expecting to be done with the monstrous task started in April of getting the new client to run with the old AO code. This has been a very time consuming task that we are glad to see the end of! The next large task will begin in July, and it contains getting our internal world building tool ready to export new art assets utilizing materials and tech that previously have not been supported. Once we've successfully completed this, we will be able to show you more in game engine footage, for example the new player experience areas – as they are completely built for this new engine!
New Player Experience
The ICC Headquarters is getting ready for internal testing, and this is the last large addition to the new player experience before we make it available for beta testing in July. Lots of people, players and developers, have signed up to test this with us, and you should expect a lot of test live updates while we're testing it, as we will be adjusting the experience based on feedback.
One of the things that you've already pointed out, is that our GUI could be more informative, and we agree. We’ve been prototyping what we can do with the cursor to improve the learning curve of the game. Phase one of this experiment is a cursor that changes depending on what you’re looking at. Target another player and the cursor displays a trade icon, an NPC with a quest will display a chat bubble, a hostile NPC is showing a red cursor and a friendly NPC (yourself) is showing a green cursor, and more. In addition to this, we’ve added optional icons that explains which mouse button triggers which action.
Systems Changes/Profession Balance
In the next version you will see the following things adjusted as a reaction to the new PvP-Flag rules and the Damage Modifiers affecting perks/procs/nukes.
- The Keeper Aura "Courage of the Just" will no longer affecting the vicinity, instead it has been converted to a Team Aura. This is a change that is good for letting the user gain control over who they buff, and as part of a larger attempt to stabilize our performance and get rid of some lag. The fear resistance part of this aura will be shared with the team, and the add all def modifier will be Keeper only. In addition to this chance, casting this aura will now remove fear from your team mates, to accompany this we have added a short local cooldown.
- The Bureaucrat PVP AOE Fear will now be a Single Target Fear, using a line cooldown, allowing the crat to do other things instead of being in recharge to make up for losing the aoe effect. We feel like AO does not currently fully support a fun implementation of an aoe fear mechanic, since we have no way of determining how many maximum targets can be hit, and no resistance to it once it has landed. The long term plan is to look at fears more closely as we are implementing the suggested nano changes. As you understand, this change was triggered by the initiative to convert aoe auras into team auras.
- The MA and the Enforcer Single target PvP fears will also receive line cooldowns.
- The MA proc Disharmony will be converted from a drain proc to a heal proc. After reviewing this particular perk action we feel that it needs to see some changes in the next update as the changes done to perks and proc damage being affected by Damage Modifiers, really lifted the MA's ability far more than we anticipated.The healing part of the proc will remain and even be boosted a little, but it will no longer cause damage. We however feel like the MA has received a lot of attention from their damage modifiers affecting their perks and this should be making up for the loss of the small drain damage.
Once these alterations hits Live Servers, we will again go back to working on the scheduled profession nano updates.
The Market (GMI) Improvements
Feedback has been mostly positive, but of course there are always things we can improve! The team has been paying a lot of attention to the feedback, and we’ve already scheduled a bunch of improvements! If you’re interested in the details please have a look at the Coming Update section of this newsletter!
Server Migration and Player Cities
I've been talking with some of you about the upcoming server migration.
Once everyone is moved over to the new server we will start reimbursing every Organization that have an outdoor city. The president of the Organization will be the one receiving a voucher that can be used to buy an instanced city, and a package of every building you can think of. If said president cannot be Online to receive the package – we will try to arrange for the Organization to be able to petition to get a temporary leader set up, the same thing goes if said president is a free-to-play subscriber. Organizations with Anarchy as their government form does in fact have a technical leader, this is the person who created the org. If the Organization already have an instanced city, they will keep it.
I've mentioned before that we really would like to re-purpose the outdoor city plots into something Organization/PvP related, but we haven't made any detailed plans yet. Once we have the other major commitments done we will set aside time looking into what possibilities we have.
We've released two new city decoration buildings recently, and we will see yet another building come into play shortly (the Tax Return Building, read more about this functionality in the Coming Update section) and therefore we've initiated discussions on whether we should provide different sizes on the instanced cities before the migration.
We think of a large instanced city as being specifically targeted for larger Organizations who are involved in PvP or Raiding, as these can offer better contracts and more features, while a small city would be more interesting for smaller Organizations which are trying to build up their members count or are solely interested in alien raids.
We have finished some of the preparation, but not yet begun working on the actual move, as this is something that needs careful planning from the tech team before we start. We have no estimation yet, and as soon as we do we will let you know. I late July I plan to open up a new server migration forum section, where we will be able to post a FAQ thread and discuss your potential concerns.
In the latest update we changed the behavior of PvP-Flags. The intention of this change is to bring consistency to what will flag you and what will not. Aiding a pvp flagged player should definitely flag you just as well as hurting a pvp flagged player - and this was not always the case which was creating really awkward situations in PvP.
We have however noticed some unwanted effects, specifically with some self only items that can flag the user when having a flagged player targeted. Also the keeper friendly aoe aura “Courage of the Just”. We are reviewing and fixing those instances.
The Coming Updates
To give an incentive to have many active members, we are re-introducing an Organization Tax Return, based on the sales from the Market (GMI). This feature will be available through a new City Building, and it will transfer a portion of the market sales directly back to the your organization’s bank. If you don't have an organization with this building, this money will go out of the game instead. The building should fit in any medium or large size outdoor city, and in an instanced city.
This building is already finished and should be available on test live in the next Test Live update, however, we don’t want to push this feature out to Live prematurely so it’s scheduled to be released in 18.5.2, which we estimate to be released in August.
The next update (18.5.1), estimated to be released in mid July, will include some market fixes:
- Added a message indicating to the player the mail time-outs when withdrawing an item or cash from the market inventory.
- Some items could not be used in the market due to sharing ID's with other, really really old items (Yeah, it was just as bad as it sounds, back in the days developers used scripts to auto generate thousands of items, spread out in different databases with no tools to control them.
- We’re currently working to remedy this by consolidating our data into one tool so this will not happen again). Anyway, this has been fixed for the problematic items.
Some items were mis-categorized in the market search, this should now be working better.
- "Basic” Armor is now called "Basic Fashion” Armor, to make it easier to find in the new market (gmi). Searching for "Basic Fashion" will do the trick. You are welcome to report more items like this that are proving difficult to find.
- A problem with expired items not returning from the market have been fixed and the items should be returning again.
And the update after that (18.5.2) is scheduled to include some more market features:
Unofficial AO CON!
- The ability to deposit multiple items at once
- An improved price display (9 000 000 000 instead of 9000000000) -- Note from Ilaliya: since someone is bound to ask, yes the exact separator is driven by your windows settings
- Sorting by ql/price and in page search functionality when listing items
- Allowing changing the price on your buy and sell orders
- Organization tax refund building
Two of the developers “Michizure” and “Cube” will be attending AO-Con, presented by Gridstream Productions, held in August in Grand Rapids, Michigan! Check out www.ao-con.com
for more details! I really wish I could be there too (:
I'm currently on vacation, so there will not be a newsletter in July. If want to get in contact with me, please use the forums!
Fia “Lindelu” Tjernberg