Greetings avatars! Last release I promised I would document the reasons behind major changes in future releases. Prepare yourself for my usual wall of text! As always, my dream is that players don’t think about the details of exactly what is happening and just play the game but for those who insist on seeing behind the curtain, here you go and enjoy! So first up, Decay has now been enabled but with tighter limits on how much it can accumulate. I’ve written many pages on the why and how of decay in the past but since there are probably some new readers out there, I’ll give a shorter summary. What is decay? When players die they will lose a tiny fraction of the experience off of all their skills. The current maximum that can be lost in a single death is 0.04% of the experience applied. Not 4% but 0.04% or 0.0004 times the amount that has been applied to the pool. So if you had a skill that was at 80, you would lose around 82 experience points off the skill. If the skill was at 100, you would lose around 500 experience points. Doesn’t sound like much but that amount is lost off every adventurer skill. Also, the penalty is roughly 0.0001 per hour so dying multiple times in rapid succession isn’t extremely punishing. Currently we have the max accumulation set at 0.0004 If you have the skill set to maintain or train then the experience will be pulled from your pooled experience assuming you have any. This is part of why last release, the application rate of experience from the pool was reduced. That change made it so players would generally have more experience in their pools to help buffer versus decay so they would be less likely see skills lose levels on a death. Why have decay? There are several reasons to have decay. First, death should not feel trivial, even for an avatar. Second, when we decided to switch to a use based skill system we had to make some decisions on how to limit players. We could have gone with hard cap for max number of skill points like UO but few people were fond of hard caps and it didn’t really make sense with our larger skill sets and more complex combat systems. We had to have someway to limit players progress so everyone doesn’t end up with 150 skills at GM. So instead of just making so players couldn’t progress any more as they banged against hard caps, we chose to go with a system of gentle decay. The decay is small but, since it is based on a percentage of a player’s total experience, over time they will get to a point where they are earning and losing roughly the same amount. So next up is the change to shield spells so they no longer stack. For those unaware, in previous releases players could and would stack 5+ shield spells all the time. The results dwarfed the effectiveness of armor and made the best tanks in the game people wearing cloth armor. The spells affected are Shield of Crystal, Death Shield, Immolation, and Shield of Ice. Shield of Air couldn’t be made exclusive just yet due to how our channel systems currently works but it will be on that list next release. During this change I also addressed some balance issues in Earth magic. The shield spells in each group were supposed to also grant an attunement bonus and in Earth magic, Earth’s Embrace actually had the bonus. I correct that and also re-evaluated the HP bonus on Shield of Crystal and bumped it up significantly to get it more inline with the target of it adding 20% extra health for players. Those sad to lose the bonus on Earth’s Embrace should still be happy because Earth’s Embrace can still stack with any shield spell. Also, Earth casters can now gain attunement without losing move speed. On to the next major change, Interruptions! The existing interruption system was actually placeholder code. When you got hit while casting some spells, it did a random 1 to 100 and if that was less than the damage you took, you were interrupted! This didn’t scale in any way. That meant that low level players rarely got interrupted and high levels frequently got interrupted. Players with 80 hit points who took 50 hit points in a single shot had a 50% chance to get interrupted and players who had 600 hit points who took 50 hit points would have the exact same 50% chance! The new system now scales the interrupt chance based on the player’s max hit points. There is also now a skill that decreases the player’s chance to be interrupted. This release interruptions will probably happen at about the same rate as in the past or possibly a little less BUT two new changes will go in for R36 that will likely increase the number of interrupts. First, a new value was added to all spells/skills that determines how likely they are to interrupt. This was added for this release but only a few skills had it set. The idea being that some effects interrupt more and others less. Second, the window where spells can be interrupted is currently small to non-existent for most spells. These will be tuned in R36. I would have tuned them for R35 but I wanted to give players a chance to level up the concentration skill. Last major game system change for this release was encumbrance! This is a change we tried to make many times but always ran into situations where it might end up leaving someone permanently stranded. Old system would slow you to a walk speed at most no matter how much you carried. It also used focus but that focus burn didn’t scale with weight. The result was carrying 2X or carrying 2000X your encumbrance limit had the same result. Worse yet, there was a bug so running out of focus didn’t stop your movement. So, with R35 the lower end of movement speed will be much slower than a walk. It will though so just being 2X over will probably move faster than before but slowing down to a crawl at higher levels. Focus use will also scale based on how overloaded they are. Finally, players who are overloaded and out of focus will not be able to move and have to wait to catch their breath a bit. This change was important for realism, local economies, and to block botting. There were players who were carrying 10,000+ weight in ore out of mines at a time without breaking a sweat. Sorry if there are any typos or unfinished thoughts in this wall of text but I’ve been typing on this while multitasking! Thanks for reading and now I’m off to fix some bugs!