Mobhunter: Chaos Reigns Within

There was a patch this morning to address a few issues. Here's the patch message and a commentary:

Update 2/18/04

Tribute System


- You may see a change to your accrued favor points as we implement the second change to the Tribute System. As you know, many items were overvalued and have since been reduced. Now we will be adjusting the accrued favor pool to reflect the amount you should have received for items turned in prior to the changes. We know that this may take away some of your accrued points and for that we apologize, however this change will bring the system more in-line with our intentions. We hope that you agree that it was a reasonable and necessary change.

Well, thats not likely. Deep down we all know this is a good change. Anyone who thought about how the system would have worked as it was will realize that there needed to be a change. One could turn in three items of low to moderate value and have enough points to gain some major effects or stat bonuses. Items with such effects can cost a fortune in DKP, LDON adventure points, or plat. The modified system still lets people get these effects but at a higher tribute cost.

Even if it is for the best people are bound to be upset for a few days. I'll still be using the tribute system but I won't be running around with Vengeance X all the time like I was before.

Server Stability


- We have made some coding changes to the front end to improve connectivity and stability and reduce the number of 1017 errors.

The EQ team apologizes for the server instability in the past week. This instability occurs at peak times, and is seen to our users as "1017" errors. Normally within a few minutes these users are able to log back in, but on some servers this problem has occurred more than once in a single evening.

We're working to address the problem, and expect that in the next couple of days we'll have everything resolved. In the meantime, there's a chance you'll run into this problem if you're on a crowded server during peak times - if you do, you can normally get back onto the servers within 15 or 20 minutes.

Gates of Discord has been immensely popular - many of our old customers have been coming back to try it out, and many new customers have arrived to give EQ a try. Our simultaneous usage numbers are quite high, but in addition the people who are online are also playing more and for longer than usual. Gates of Discord introduced many new instanced zones, high level content, and re-introduced the casino - this type of content is particularly taxing on our servers, and coupled with the unusually high usage, we're seeing a resulting instability during our peak times.

Our first effort was to remove the casino, which improved our server stability. Since then, we've been working on two different fixes, the first of which will go live at the 3am patch Wednesday morning (Tuesday night). The second will be later this week. Both of them are meant to improve performance during peak times and address the 1017 errors that you may be experiencing. Each of them we expect to be an improvement on connectivity, and we expect our second fix to resolve the problems.

We apologize for our service instability in the past week; we're working hard on this problem - it's cutting into our play time too. :)

We'll give you another update in the next day or two as we make progress, and let you know how things are coming.

Thanks again to Rod Humble for giving Mobhunter a deeper view into problem and how it was going to be fixed. These server issues cut into a lot of people's play time. Last night I went on my first Gates of Discord raid, some pair of priests and their pet golems in Barindu, only to hit a 1017 after a wipe out. Corpse recovery is difficult enough in Gates, but to hit 1017 right after dying hurts even worse. Sure enough, ten to fifteen minutes later I got on, got my shinies, and helped res my fallen comrades.

The following items had their "Cleave" effect removed due to stacking issues:

* Bracer of the Heartstriker
* Bracer of Exploration
* Bracer of the Stoutheart
* Vadd's Chestplate of Elite Combat
* Rayin's Chestplate of Abhorrence
* Pressl's Tunic of Balance
* Kizash's Tunic of Savage Heart
* Luvwen's Chestplate of Melody
* Nadien's Chainmail of the Archer
* Nodnol's Chainmail of the Scoundrel
* Harlad's Chainmail of Fury
* Trimdet's Chestplate of Chivalry
* Gem-Studded Band of Struggle
* Glowing Spiritstone Necklace

I don't know what Cleave is and I'm not familiar with the above items so I can't say how big a deal this is. Post a message if you have any views on it.

Over the past week people have found a lot of good information on the new lands. We are beginning to see it take shape. Once we discover more and find any potential bottlenecks that prevent large groups of players from getting to new content we will discuss it here, but for now most are still figuring everything out.

When Planes of Power came out there were a few problems. There were only four hunting zones, Disease, Innovation, Justice, and Nightmare. Soon people who hit level 65 had no place to gain significant experience. They were stuck waiting in line for pick up groups at the Executioner trial to get to Valor and Storm for some decent experience gains.

The smaller window of experience giving mobs made it all but impossible to gain levels in the old world zones and drastically reduced the level ranges of groups. This was a disaster. Many players joined larger guilds not because they wanted to raid all of the time, but because it was the only way for them to get to zones in which they could hunt with any good gain.

A few months later, when the first big guilds started getting into Plane of Time, they made some substantial changes that fixed these problems. Six new zones were opened - Valor, Storm, Torment, Bastion of Thunder, Crypt of Decay, and Halls of Honor. Level 50 mobs started to become profitable for a level 65 hunter. A level 65 could group with a level 50 and get experience. Old world zones became profitable again. Shortly after this, Lost Dungeons was released and single groups received even more content.

There does not appear to be any wall in Gates of Discord like there was in Planes of Power. The instanced content is difficult to get to and there is no built-in method to deal with painful corpse recoveries, but there is new huntable content for high level single groups. Flagging events seem to have both instanced group and raid paths, although they sound quite difficult. I've heard rumors of lower difficulty instanced encounters but I haven't been able to try them and I'm still scared to death of Barindu. There looks to be a lot of new content for the Elemental and Time level guilds, but we still have to see how much content there is for the lower Planes / Lost Dungeon equipped hunting groups.

Keep reading and we will dig into this subject more in the future. For now, pack some extra rations, tighten the straps on your worn boots, keep your cloak and hood tight, and start making a lot of necromancer and cleric friends. We're off to Taelosia!

Loral Ciriclight