Gordon “Abashi” Wrinn recently announced that, starting today, he’ll be writing the EQ Patch messages. Here’s today’s from the Test Server. I must say it’s a damn site better than “Necromancer Feign Death spell enhanced” like we would see previously…

January 5th, 8:30pm

Well, we have finally completed the hardware maintenance on the Test Server – which took quite a bit longer than we expected. Due to this hardware failure, some characters were restored from backup therefore a few hours of gameplay may be lost for them. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused.

The following changes have been introduced to the Test Server.

– Druid’s Tracking skill base has been increased.

– The behavior of the Necromancer’s Feign Death spell has been modified on the Test Server. Here’s a description of the reasons behind this change:

Feign death allows you to become an invalid target in all circumstances, providing offensive tactics that are abusive. For this ability to remain balanced, the pet should follow the same rules as invisibility. Offensive tactics used by other classes involve the creature getting a saving throw verses the effect. Since creatures do NOT get a direct save verses feign death (as you cast it on yourself), and since you can retry the combat once you have feigned death, there is very little risk to necromancer himself. As this tactic involves charming an NPC and turning it against another NPC, which could be part of the same spawn, it allows for Necromancers to solo MUCH bigger rooms than any other class could. This situation is well beyond what would preserve game balance for any other class (soloing the Bloodthirsty Ghoul room and Ghoul Lord room, for example).

While there are many examples of how the Necromancer Feign Death tactic is abusive, one of the most egregious occurs in the Ghoul Lord room of Lower Guk. The room consists of 2 Bok Ghoul Guards and the Ghoul Lord himself. Using the current system, a level 50 Necro can easily solo the room at virtually no risk to himself. The Necro can get into the room quite easily with Invis To Undead. To clear the room he uses Screaming Terror on one Bok and Charms the other. When the Ghoul Lord rushes him, he feigns. The Lord then turns on the charmed Bok and kills it, taking considerable damage during the fight. The Necromancer waits until the Ghoul Lord returns to its spawn point. When the necromancer gets back up, he is in no danger of being attacked due to the way Feign Death works now. He then charms the 2nd Bok and Feigns again. The fight goes on and the 2nd Bok is killed. When the Necromancer gets back up he has a VERY wounded Ghoul Lord AND nearly full mana. The Lord is now an easy kill, and the necro collects his special items.

Ideally, Feign Death should work like Invisibility, where summoned pets suicide and the charmed ones break Charm. We do not want, however, to adversely affect lower level Necromancers to such a large degree. What we do recognize is the need to prevent higher level Necros from exploiting key spawn points. Hence, when you Feign Death, any charmed NPC will immediately break Charm. However, summoned NPCs (pets) will NOT be affected. While this still allows the use of the Feign Death tactic with your summoned pet, it does not imbalance the game and many dungeon spawns to the degree that charming an NPC does.

We would appreciate diligent testing of this change, to insure that no unforeseen problems have been caused by it.

-The EverQuest Team