THE BOUNTY OF APRIL [Author: Lietgardis]

Players can finally allow others to loot their corpses for them. If you wanted to be pissy, you could make a comment about how any decent game would have already had this, like secure trade; but like secure trade again, the AC community has already gotten used to life without it, and having it introduced at any point is all good. Make sure to use the commands properly there, though — QA apparently thinks everyone’s smart, and neglected to notice that just using the incorrect “/consent” alone, without modifiers, crashes the client to the desktop.

Monster hit locations were supposed to be added as well, since, you know, you’d think you’d be notice where you got hit, but that supposedly only works on a few select systems, including the systems those QA employees have. Most players aren’t seeing the new messages. Actually, I’ve heard no reports of anyone actually seeing them. But same as before — no one was expecting it, people were content without it, having it now is a nice, bright, shiny bonus. Or whenever it’s patched to work properly.

The other gameplay improvement worthy of comment doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is. Players’ health bars are now displayed with their name upon selection, like monsters’. THIS IS COOL. Support characters everywhere are celebrating, since they don’t have to examine their groups or look at their fellowship screens to see if their friends are dying. It’s not broken. It’s all good.

A whole lot of people are having to play nice this month, too — behold the EXPLOIT NERFS. Portal recall to untieable portals was finally fixed for certain locations. You have to pay your entrance fee now, Aerlinthe exploiters (unless you’re one of the quest elite and can get one of those Aerlinthe recall scrolls, an accomplishment impossible for the vast majority of us. But it’s still good). Players that cheated to get more than one hilted weapon had all of them but one deleted (helping to correct a balance nightmare, to summarize the issue for those that don’t play). And a bunch of stuff was changed on with the game’s premiere quest, Aerfalle — stuff heavily debated before the patch, but still implemented. Apparently, the quest is now broken because of it. Consider that a social life boost for the elite that do nothing but repeat the quest all day.

Darktide’s exclusive godmode users would be getting a social life boost as well; only being able to jump every five seconds now, godmode doesn’t work, unless you’re using Gear, in which case I hear it still does work. Someone who actually plays Darktide can analyze the significance of that.

While there was much rejoicing over the gameplay improvements and exploit fixes, most people logged in yesterday to check out the new content. I linked to this movie before. I’ll link to it again. It was released the night of the patch, giving players something to do while the servers were down, and showed off the major new dungeon and town — the actual structure’s been in the game for a while, but it was just now opened. And there was still more rejoicing! It’s supposedly the largest structure the game engine allows, and the mpeg doesn’t actually show how big it is. It’s big. It has quests and new items and reskinned monsters and everything.

If that didn’t give people enough to do, there are new gambling casinos now as well. Buy tokens, give them to “gamesmaster” NPCs, get junk, high-value items to sell for more gambling money, and occasionally the pack dolls we saw earlier as rewards for sitting through January’s reverts. Those dolls can go to the NPC in charge of the casino, and you have the chance to get more high-value items, a key to a nice big gold chest that supposedly holds a lot of nice things, or a small shard. The nice big chest, once unlocked, can be opened by anyone. The thieves are contributing to the seedy casino atmosphere, for now; rumor has it some are being banned (TOTALLY UNCONFIRMED, DON’T ASK ME ABOUT IT), and a login message promises more control over use of the chest in the future. People like the chests, then, but the small shard business is a bigger deal; small shards are high-value items for the player economy, and this upsets said player economy quite a bit. Wait a few weeks to see what happens.

By that time, not only will the economy changes be apparent, but I’m guessing the servers will have already been brought down to change that chest. Hopefully, they’ll also fix everything that slipped by quality assurance — /consent, hit location messages, the Aerfalle quest, alchemy (did I mention that was broken? yeah, alchemists can’t use peas anymore, a major blow for convenience) — and we’ll end up with the first great patch in quite a while.