Thank you for your continued patience with my slow updates and with our slow progress! I am feeling much better, so it’s time for an actual update.
First, an update and some insight on the Skill overhaul and Legend’s progress…
Here is a brief rundown of how we are approaching this change so you have a better idea of where we are at currently. A change this big requires a lot of steps. First we did a knowledge based search through of the existing code to fully understand how skills work in general as well as a review of the code. This is what prompted the overall desire to rewrite this part of the game. It’s quite frankly a hellish nightmare of else-if statements and inefficiency. After that, we drafted an overall idea of how we wanted to approach skills working, developed a database template with the requisite fields, and a concept flow of how a skill goes from start to finish. We looked at every existing player and monster skill in the game and evaluated it based of if it could be database driven or if it would require it’s own unique code. This is in part what prompted the overhaul of Illusionist and DK skills, as well as some changes to other skills we have not published yet. Talking about the feasibility of implementation naturally led into talking about the quality/purpose of a skill as well. Our skill change makes it so 99% of monster skills will be database driven, and all but about ~55 player skills will be database driven (an example of a unique skill would be triple arrow or foeslayer). This means these skills take a database entry with a wide variety of fields and execute their end result using the same skill code. Damage spells, buffs, and debuffs will all utilize the same code, pulling their unique attributes out of the database. Not only does this mean the code is faster (it previously essentially did an if-else for every single spell in the game each time you cast something to see what it was), it means most balance adjustments can be done via the database which is MUCH easier. It also means new skills can be created simply by adding a database entry with the appropriate values, which is essential for generating new content.
What Legend is currently working on is fully commenting all of the existing code (the comments in the source are either terrible or don’t translate well) to prepare us for replacing it. We need to map out every single place in the source the skill code touches to make sure our new code is fully integrated. This is why this task is so difficult and why it’s taking so long. Once he is done, he will begin gutting it and replacing it with the new code. From there we import as much data from the old system as possible automatically, and do the rest manually. After that’s done, we test every skill in the game (probably via script). From there we test new skill generation and implementation on a test monster. At this point Legend’s work is done and he will move on to the next task, while I work on adding abilities to the content I’ve created over the past few months. I’d say overall, we are about half done or more with this part of the project.
Speaking of what I’ve been working on, I am using our existing tools to continue to update and/or create new hunting areas. Our 70+ zone has most of its monsters, loot, and a boss concept (he doesn’t spawn yet, and won’t until we rewrite the boss spawn code). It’s essentially a rework of the valley of dragons you used to reach if you killed the “new” Antharas. Our 60+ zone has some monsters and two bosses but no loot. It’s an undead focused area in a spooky temple.
I’ve also finished revamping the Giran Count Taros dungeon. It has a better spread of humanoid monsters resulting in a more difficult progression as you go down, all with a high spawn density. Floor 1 is basic troops, floor 2 adds captains and better archers, floor 3 adds nobles and wizards. Overall it’s a relatively low health, low xp, high volume zone that should be good for melee classes that have good ER. Count Taros and Mammon are both T1 bosses with completely revamped drop lists. The Shiny Ancient Necklace will still be craftable (more on this later in the post), but the items needed have had their drop rates and sources adjusted.
I’ve spent some time re-evaluating various item slots, and am currently working on shield and guarder variety. Shields are a slot that honestly really lags behind significantly. Many classes forgo a shield for a guarder even when using a 1handed weapon simply because good shield options are not available. I am looking to address this to make sure there are a variety of options for both mid and late game shield users (knight, royal, fire elf, mage/illu). I also want to make shields vs guarders feel somewhat distinct, so expect in general that shields will have very good “defensive” related stats, while guarders tend to have more offensive minded stats. Knights especially struggle to find use for shields due to the nature of their skills. 2hs builds will still be king in PVP due to shock stun/CB, but the changes to solid carriage and addition of difficult late game pve content should give knights a reason to carry their shields to serve as tanks. Shields will be one of the few item slots that can have stun/hold resist, guarders will never have stun/hold resist.
One other change I’ll talk about briefly is crafting. We plan to consolidate most if not all of the crafting in the game to a variety of NPCs who will all live in the same general area (either Giran at the shop strip or inside a trade zone). Crafting NPCs are so randomly dispersed many players are unlikely to even know where some are. Consolidating them into one “crafting village” will make the game much more newb friendly (or people who just can’t remember where that one guy is who makes element cloaks because it was 10 damn years ago). This includes everything from Elven crafting to fidelity crafting all in one general area. Elven crafting will not be limited to just elves, and you won’t need to interact with pans/ents/fairies to craft anything.
In addition to this, we will re-evaluate and overhaul many of the recipes for items to make them more appropriate for the quality of gear they provide. Many of the recipes were balanced around live server rates/populations as well as the general itemization at the time of their implementation. This means there are a LOT of useless items, or items that take far more effort to craft than they are worth. Many of these items will either be removed, buffed, and/or simply sold in a shop. Many basic crafting materials will be removed from drops and simply sold in a shop as an adena sink / for game flavor. Other items may be utilized in more recipes than they were previously (gems for example).