Update of the Avatar #199 – 2016.10.21: Roving Encounters, Elad’s Lighthouse, Harvest, & Graff Island, Critical Hit Balancing, Gold Crown Merchants, and More!

Greetings Fellow Avatars!

Here’s what we have for you in this week’s edition of Update of the Avatar:


Roving Encounters

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Keith “Sannio” Quinn]

Shroud of the Avatar already has random encounters–you’ll be walking across the Novia or Hidden Vale overworld maps and, without warning, you’ll be teleported into a small encounter scene. We like the idea of running into unexpected threats on the overworld, but the “without warning” part is less than ideal… So, as of Release 35, we’re changing how random encounters are triggered.

You won’t be blindly caught by a Random Encounter anymore. We’re replacing that part of the encounter system with new overworld enemies who will trigger encounters when you get too close. These overworld enemies will be similar to the ones you’ve battled countless times in adventure scenes, except they can’t be engaged in combat. Instead, if you approach too close to the new overworld enemies and they see you, they’ll run at you. If they get next to you, you’ll be pulled into the encounter associated with them. For example, bandits will pull you into bandit encounters while wolves pull you into a scene full of wolves. Once you see the enemy, you can walk around it to avoid the encounter or run toward it to force the encounter. If the enemy has already spotted you and you’re quick, you can try to run away before the enemy catches up and keep the encounter from ever triggering.

Both overworld maps have encounters scattered about. They might be wandering in the woods, meandering along a shoreline, or patrolling along a road. Initially, we’ll be adding in common encounters like wolves, bandits, and undead. Over time, dragon encounters will return and we’ll include other rare situations like merchants.

roving-encounters

Keith Quinn
Level Designer


The Making of Elad’s Lighthouse

Elad’s Lighthouse is located in Spindrift Bay directly across the water from Brittany. It is home to Elad, who retired to the island after an illustrious career as Lord British’s shipbuilder and lighthouse builder. As with many of our scenes, Elad’s Lighthouse started as a cloned scene using one of our PRT / POT templates based off of the Forest 01 base template (aka PaxLair). However, it always had the unique feature of Elad’s Lighthouse which will continue to be a prominent feature. Now though, it will have unique terrain featuring dramatic cliffsides, a dockyard, lumbermill, and many other unique changes.

Note that when we un-clone these scenes we do NOT change lot placements. We only make cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage. One of our new worldbuilders Chris started work on Elad’s this release and we hope to have it live in the game in its newly uncloned state in Release 36.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Chris “Sea Wolf” Wolf]

Hey folks. I’m Chris Wolf, aka Sea Wolf, and I’m one of the new world builders for SotA. Today I’m sharing some screenshots of the Elad’s Lighthouse update, which is still a work in progress.

The new visuals are inspired by the Irish Cliffs of Moher and the Irish countryside. The update will include, but not be limited to, a new shipyard, a log mill, a new town layout for the NPC buildings and shops, and the ruins of an abandoned church.

Check out the screen shots and give me feedback! If you own a player home in this area, let me know what you think, and what I can do to improve your experience.

The Coast

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The Shipyard

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The Town

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elads-lighthouse-4

Chris Wolf
Level Designer


The Making of Harvest (Unclone)

Harvest was a cloned scene using one of our PRT / POT templates based off of the Forest 01 base template (aka PaxLair). It is located in the Verdantis region in the Northwest region of Novia. It is getting rebuilt in Release 35 to show the plot specific elements of the Norgard occupation and also getting a heavily agrarian theme.

Note that when we un-clone these scenes we do NOT change lot placements. We only make cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage.

[From a Dev+ Forum Post by Esteben “SorcerousSteve” Zaldivar]

Hello guys, as we finalize work on Harvest for R35 here is another sneak peek!

harvest11

Player housing lots in Harvest.

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Jord Gorge in Harvest

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Dare to cross this tightrope across the divide or fall onto the precipice!

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Harvest Cemetery

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City defense construction just outside Harvest.

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Stables located outside the Harvest Fort.

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Stay tuned for next time!

Esteben Zaldivar
Level Designer


The Making of Graff Island

Another update on Graff Island! Graff Island is located in the Drachvald region. It is in the northernmost reaches of Spindrift Bay across from Port Graff and is central to the gem trade of the region. It is the site of a factory that sculpts the gems into weapons, armor and other goods. It is also the home of the Graff family and their sprawling mansion. Note that when we un-clone these scenes we do NOT change lot placements. We only make cosmetic changes of building styles, terrain, and foliage. In the case of Graff Island, we are replacing the terrain and foliage, adding the Graff family mansion and the Graff Gem Factory. One of our new worldbuilders, Travis, started work on it this release and we hope to have it live in the game in its newly uncloned state in Release 36.

[A Dev+ Forum Post by Travis “Vas Corp Por” Koleski]

Graff Manor (Tower on the left = private gem stash (to control the gem market of course))

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Graff Trade Docks (a little North up the coast from the residential docks)

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Graff Island Pavilion (Crafting and trade pavilion with a patio tavern)

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That’s all for now, going back to it.
I really hope you guys like it when it goes live!

Travis Koleski
Level Designer


Critical Hit Change (R34) and Upcoming Interrupt Change (R35)

In Release 34, we made some major changes to the ways we calculate Critical Hit Chances and we only provided cursory explanations. At the request of players, Chris provided a much more detailed explanation yesterday and also gave a preview of an upcoming change on how Interrupts will work starting in Release 35. Please accept our apologies for not explaining the change to Critical Hits sooner and more thoroughly. We will do our best to explain these changes sooner and in more detail going forward.

[From a Forum Post by Chris Spears]

Greetings Avatars! Last release some fixes went in that frustrated a number of people. I clarified what changed in replies to a few angry threads, but never posted a full summary for the masses so I thought I should give a brain dump on what changed and why. In the future, I will try to be more open on these changes and explain the what as well as the why to prevent confusion.SotA_Combat_Sigil_Stone-1024x768

So the short version is that the math for critical hits was completely wrong and had to be fixed. It didn’t become clear until mid R33 what was up because players hadn’t crafted enough critical bonus gear to make the problem obvious. When I first got reports of players who got critical hits on every single attack, I dismissed it at first as people just exaggerating. Later in R33, a few people posted screenshots of them getting critical hits 10x in a row and I investigated.

So the problem became obvious once people starting getting tons of good gear. Instead of crit gear giving a bonus percentage of the crit chance, it was simply being added to the crit chance. So, if you had a 20 strength and crafted something with a +10% bonus to strength, you would immediately recognize that you would get an extra 2 strength. It becomes much less obvious when you have a 10% crit chance and get a +20% bonus. Is the outcome 12% or 30%?

Well, the way it was actually implemented was it was simply adding it — which was not intended. The result was you could pretty easily craft crit gear that would raise you over 100% crit chance. Yes, I knew people were going to be upset when I fixed, that but it never occurred to me that people would think that it was by design that players should be able to exceed 100% crit chance and not only hit every single attack but also get a critical hit. Not only did it make every hit a critical hit, but it also removed the target’s ability to parry, dodge, block, or get a glancing blow.

So, my bad for not making a big post on this in a public space and I’ll try to do better in relaying major bug fixes and changes in the future. Also, so players better understand critical hits, here is the math for them:

(BaseWeaponCritChance + VitalPointsBonus+ArmorWeakPointsBonus+DexterityCritBonus) * (100%+EquipmentCriticalBonus) * FromBehindBonus

BaseWeaponCritChance = The natural crit percentage of the weapon which is listed on the weapon
VitalPoints and ArmorWeakPointsBonus = The two skills that currently increase crit chance
DexCritBonus = Dexterity/1000 for ranged weapons and Dexterity/2000 for melee weapons
EquipmentCriticalBonus = All the bonuses from gear added together
FromBehindBonus = 1 if in the front arc of a target and 2 if in the back arc

So for an example, I’m using a longsword with 13% base crit chance, have an 80 in vital points (5%) and armor weak spots(5%), a 60 dex(60/2000 = 3%), and a total of +44% crit chance from my gear, the math is:

(13+5+5+3)*(100%+44%) = 37.4% crit chance from the front and 74.8% from behind.

Due to the bad math of just adding and them all, this would have been over 70% crit chance from the front and 140% from behind.

This is a pretty extreme case as sword are heavily crit based and that is a pretty good crit bonus from gear. Most players will probably end up more in the 10-20% range under the new system.

So that was the big change from last release. There are a couple of big changes coming up this release but possibly the biggest is a change to how casting interruptions work. Here is the next thing players can start yelling at me about.

So at some point this release I was asked, “How do interruptions work?” and my response was… uh, I don’t know! So I immediately looked into it and to my horror discovered this code (modified to make it more clear to non-coders) that was unchanged for 2+ years:

//TODO: Placeholder chance
if ( Random(0 to 100) less than DamageTaken )
{
InterruptSpellCasting
}

So basically, whenever a player was hit it picked a number from 0 to 100 and if the amount of damage was more than that number, your spell got interrupted.

While incredibly simple, this is fairly silly in a number of ways. The biggest issue is that it doesn’t scale in any way. So a level 10 caster with 60 hit points get hits for 50 points in one shot, a massive nearly death dealing blow, and he has a 50% chance to fizzle his spell. Meanwhile, a level 80 caster with 500 hit points gets a fairly average hit from a hardened skeleton that does 50 points and barely moves his health bar but still has a 50% chance of interrupting him. Also, there is nothing the player can do to influence this chance.

So, the new system isn’t super complicated but might change a bit over time. First thing, there is a new skill in the focus branch called “Concentration”. This grants the player additional protection to being interrupted. The new math is roughly as follows:

When damage is applied to a player, they completely ignore hits up to 1/100th of their max health PLUS 1/10th their concentration skill. So if you have 250 health and 65 concentration skill, any hit that does less than 250/100 + 65/10 = 9 points is completely ignored. This works by effectively subtracting that 9 points from the damage for the purpose of interrupting.

So in the above example, if you were hit from 7 points, 7-9 = -2 effective damage for interrupting and nothing happens. If you got hit for 34 points, then the effective damage would be 34-9 = 25 damage.

So if any damage gets by your base interruption protection, your chance of getting interrupted is:

MAX( MIN( ( ( EffectiveDamage/health)* 200% ), 5%), 80%)

So, your chance to get interrupted is 5% or twice the percentage of your health you took, whichever is greater but with a max chance of 80%.

So in in the above example with a 34 point hit on someone with 65 concentration and 250 hps, 25 got by the interruption defense. 25/250 *200% = 20% interruption chance

If the same target had been hit for 150, then the math would be 150-9 = 141 effective damage, 141/250 *200% =112.8%. In this case the 80% max chance would be used. While that sounds extreme, remember that until this release, that would have been a 141% chance to be interrupted no matter what your health or skills were.

The exact math for this might change slightly but that is the current implementation. I’ll try to let people know if it changes in the future!

Again, my apologies for not clarifying the critical hit fix sooner. I’ll do a better job of relating big changes before the release goes live in the future.


Encumbrance Changes (R35)

Encumbrance has now been made more realistic in its behavior. Previously, players could carry any amount and still move at a decent speed. Focus would slowly drain away at a constant rate, but running out of focus would not prevent movement. In addition to not being very realistic, this behavior was also enabling some unwanted behaviors such as players mining for hours on end without the need to ever go back to town. Also, this was making it trivial to transport any amount of goods across the world with little effort.

Starting in R35, encumbrance will slow the player and use focus fairly proportionally with the amount the are overloaded. Carrying twice the amount you’re supposed to will cut your movement speed in half and drain focus at a slow rate. Carrying ten times the amount you should will make you move around a tenth your usual speed and also use ten times as much focus. There is a lower cap to how slow players can move, but focus costs continue to rise. Additionally, running out of focus will now prevent movement until the player has a chance to rest and regain some focus.

It is advised that players who are carrying an extreme amount of goods stop by a bank or their house and unload some extra weight before the patch. Otherwise, players might be in for a long slow crawl home the day after the patch! The exact math behind this will no doubt receive some further tuning based on feedback, but be aware this is intended to inconvenience players who are trying to perform what would normally be considered impossible feats of carrying far more than was intended.

NOTE: These encumbrance rules do not apply when you are in towns.


Gold Crown Merchants Update

[From a Forum Post by Mathew “Berek” Anderson]SotA_GoldCOTO_thumb

For Release 35 we are expanding the number of Gold Crown merchants in the game and also increasing the goods they sell to include many more items from the Add-On Store. We are also going to add one or two items each release that can only be purchased in game with Crowns. For R35, the Elven Globe Home and Medium Elven Tent will be those items only purchasable for Gold Crown Exclusives that are being added. We are also creating a new web page that will list all the things that you can spend Gold Crowns on in the game.

  • Elven Crown Home Merchant: This merchant will be located in the town of Vertas and will sell all the Elven homes and all the Add-On Store items that appear in the Elven Bundles (except Bundle exclusives like the Elven Wardrobes and the pets)  as well as a few exclusive items including the Elven Globe Homeand the Medium Elven Tent.
  • Viking Crown Home Merchant: This merchant will be located in the town of Harvest and will sell all the Viking homes and all the Add-On Store items that appear in the Viking Bundles (except Bundle exclusives like the Viking Chests and the pets).
  • Obsidian Alchemists: We will also be adding Fireworks (4 different assortments) and various dyes (including all the new magical dyes) to the Obsidian Alchemists to increase their inventory beyond the Obsidian Potions.


Recent Bans for Botting and Exploiting

[From a Forum Post by Mathew “Berek” Anderson]

As some of you may have seen in our recent Standup notes, we have been busy working on tracking down a string of botting and exploiting activities. The activity pursued by these players accounted for almost 20% of the total wealth of the game and, if left unchecked, could have seriously damaged the economy. All bankeyactivities were confirmed to be macros or bots using exploitable activity like mines where creatures were not respawning or nodes that instantly respawned.

Fortunately, we have been able to fix all of these exploitable areas and we have also put more tools in place to make it easier for us to detect these kinds of activities and deal with them much faster going forward.

We permanently banned over 30 accounts and gave 30 day suspensions to several others. Those who only received 30 day suspensions had their characters deleted (and all their goods except for items purchased with real dollars) to remove any gains they may have received from the exploits and/or botting.

Please note that any macroing or botting related to resource gathering can result in a suspension or permanent ban. We do not differentiate between “attended” and “unattended”. Additionally, you are responsible for your account and your machine. It is irrelevant if your relative, roommate, spouse, child, parent, etc. did the actual botting because we have no way to confirm that. If your machine / account is confirmed to be botting you will be suspended and/or banned, period.

If you witness or suspect someone botting / exploiting or if you are concerned that your own actions may be subject to a suspension or ban then please send an email to support@portalarium.com.


timeIsRunningOut6
Get Your 15% Black Friday Bonus Now!

For the past two years we’ve extended our Black Friday Promotion to give you up to 8 weeks to take advantage of our Black Friday 15% Bonus, and we’re doing it again this year! Here are the details:

For all new purchases (including bundles, bundle upgrades, add-on items, player owned town upgrades, and Make a Difference items) between Midnight CDT October 6, 2016 (5:00 UTC, October 7, 2016) and Midnight CST, November 28, 2016 (6:00 UTC, November 29, 2016), we will add an additional 15% bonus to your Store Credit! You can use your Store Credit toward additional purchases (which includes bundles, bundle upgrades, add-on items, and player owned town upgrades).

[NOTE: The 15% bonus is calculated every day at 1:00 pm CT for any purchases within the previous 24 hours and added to your Store Credit account; Store Credit cannot be applied toward the purchase of Make a Difference items]

You can use the 15% Bonus to save on your next purchase! For example, if you have the $45 Elven Starter Bundle and really want to upgrade to the $90 Elven Tool Bundle, you would normally pay the extra $45 for the upgrade. But using the 15% bonus you can immediately save $5. To do so, you would first purchase $40 worth of Store Credit Gift Coupons (via PayPal, Amazon, Bitcoin, or credit card; excluding existing Store Credit) then use the “Convert to Credits” option on your account page to transform the Store Credit Gift Coupons into Store Credit. Within 24 hours an additional $6 bonus ($40 x 15%) would be applied to your Store Credit account, bringing it up to $46. You would then use $45 of your Store Credit to upgrade to the $90 Elven Tool Bundle.


Upcoming Events

Oct 21, 2016 – Pending Gifts of Pledges assigned to purchasers account
Oct 27, 2016 – Release 35
Nov 4-6, 2016SotA Con Fan Convention
Nov 10, 2016 – R35 Postmortem
Nov 17, 2016 – Release 36
Nov 21, 2016 – Courtesy Automatic Claiming of Rewards
Nov 28, 2016 – Fall into Winter Telethon and Expirations (House Stacking in Bundles, etc.)
Dec 15, 2016 – Release 37
Dec 20, 2016 – R37 Postmortem
Jan 26, 2017 – Release 38

Community Activities

Visit the official Community Calendar to see the great lineup of activities our amazing community has planned for this weekend! And be sure to check out this month’s Release Events thread in the SotA forums for additional events.

New Britannia Breast Cancer Awareness Bi-Athalon

The second running of the New Britannia Breast Cancer Awareness Bi-Athalon will be taking place on Saturday October 22nd at 1pm NBT with starting point in Diamond Fields which can be accessed via the first boat on the left on the docks in Port Phoenix. This year our race will be dedicated to community member Lacey who recently passed due to breast cancer.

The race route will include 7 stops in various NPC towns and POT towns across the overland map. A race handout will detail the names of the property owner whose lot you need to locate and retrieve the checkpoint flyer from the public chest on that lot, along with some pointers on locating it.

Race Rules and a list of Sponsors can be found here.


Community Resources – Players Helping Players

SotA_NewPlayerWelcome_Forum

Visit the official Community Resources page for a complete listing of all things community.


Recommended Projects to Back (2)

SotA Con East 2016  sota-con-gauntlet-cloak

Special Cross Promotion: Anyone who backs both Shroud of the Avatar (at a level with Game Access) and SotA Con East 2016 ($25+) will get a special custom Clasped Gauntlets Cloak in Blue and Yellow that says “SotA Con East 2016”.

Hotel Booking Deadline Today! You have until midnight tonight to book the special hotel rate at the convention hotel after which rates go up and room availability will not be guaranteed.

sotacon_logoPortalarium is excited to participate in the first ever community organized convention for Shroud of the Avatar – SotA Con East 2016! SotA developers and players alike will be gathering together for a casual for a casual weekend filled with exciting activities, engaging panel discussions, and of course plenty of gameplay sessions.

SotA Con East runs from November 4-6, 2016 in Baltimore Inner Harbor, Maryland. Registration is still open, so get your tickets by visiting the official event site links below!

SotA Con is entirely planned and funded by the players, for the players and developers. This once again shows how our passionate and dedicated players are creating exciting opportunities for the rest of the community, and succeeding magnificently.


Wasteland 3wasteland3_launch

Our friends over at inXile have launched a crowdfunding campaign for Wasteland 3, a party-based role-playing game with story reactivity and strategic combat! The game features a deep and engaging story utilizing a newly-revamped dialog tree system from the writers of Torment: Tides of Numenera!

By including vehicles, environmental dangers, and a revamped, more fluid action system, inXile is evolving on Wasteland 2’s deep tactical turn-based combat and unique encounter design. Play by yourself or with a friend in story-driven synchronous or asynchronous multiplayer. Choices open up (or close off) mission opportunities, areas to explore, story arcs, and lots of other content.


Backer Shipping Addresses

SotA_ShippingAddressIn preparation for shipping backers’ physical pledge rewards later this year, we have added Shipping Address fields to your Account Profile page. To enter your shipping address, log in to the SotA website, select “Account” in top right corner, then select “Edit Profile” located in top left corner, beneath your Avatar image.

A reminder to be sure that support@portalarium.com is unblocked from your e-mail account!

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10 Comments


  1. Belladonna RoseBelladonna Rose

    Love the idea of the wandering encounters. Only issue i have is that overland movement is so slow at the moment that trying to run away from an encounter seems it would prove pointless. Although i have no intention of running. LOL. But i cant wait for this to go into affect. Will be cool to see things wandering around the overland map other than players. Bring on the encounters



  2. Candor of AtlanticCandor of Atlantic

    I don’t mind a bit more reality in moving large quantities of goods, however; consider the Control Point scenes like Vauban Pass. There isn’t any way to traverse the scene (when encumbered fully) to get from one side to the other side without dying. Even when ghosted, you are very lucky to get to the other side before resurrecting, if you take a straight path through the hills, otherwise you auto resurrect at the beginning. There should be a guide npc (goldsink) at each side like Eastreach Gap. Also, how many people actually spend $1500 gold to use the npc? The npc needs to be balanced (reduce price) so more players actually use it.




  3. NeiroNeiro

    “It is advised that players who are carrying an extreme amount of goods stop by a bank or their house and unload some extra weight before the patch. Otherwise, players might be in for a long slow crawl home the day after the patch! ”

    Please implement some system to circumvent this in certain situations then.
    About a month ago I was exiled from the pot I lived in (by picking a fight with the king’s henchmen), and I had to spend several hours carrying my stuff (~3500) to a new place. And I had to enlist help to get thru vauban pass first, as I couldn’t fight without focus.

    Have a transport service or something that can ‘teleport’ things from one bank to another for a fee or whatever. But being evicted would be made even worse, if you had to then spend the next 8 hours pendling between places with a tiny load each time.


  4. LordEnglishLordEnglish

    Interrupt math problem… “MAX( MIN( ( ( EffectiveDamage/health)* 200% ), 5%), 80%) So, your chance to get interrupted is 5% or twice the percentage of your health you took, whichever is greater but with a max chance of 80%.”

    The MAX and MIN are the wrong way around in the psuedo-code… hopefully this isn’t the way it’s implemented in code. The psuedo code will always produce 80% chance to get interrupted!

    MAX( MIN( Y,5%), 80%). Breaking it down: MIN (Y,5%) will produce 5% or less every time regardless of Y. MAX(“5% or less”,80%) will therefore always give 80%.


  5. RinaldiRinaldi

    Harvest is one beautiful city. And if you cross the high wire, you will see an amazing panoramic view. Nice work Esteben! I am looking for any Easter Eggs that you hid in Harvest!

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