by Moorgard on 2003-01-13Some Minor Inconveniences
We plan to keep an eye on the Scheduled Downtime page today, because we'll be shocked (and a bit miffed) if a new patch isn't due in the very near future. (And no, today's patch server downtime doesn't count--that just made the patch servers unavailable briefly; it was nothing that affected the game except for logging in.)
Why another patch? Well, it might have something to do with a few tiny little issues, like, oh, health bars being broken. Group members might appear to have health on your screen while their corpses are falling all around you. As healing is a rather important aspect of beating mobs in EverQuest, this issue is a tad important.
Another fun patch change is that cures don't work. This includes poison, disease, and curses--curing is either unreliable or broken entirely. While this is a minor inconvenience in most exp groups, any raid against a mob with a long-duration DoT or slow spell is screwed, because players likely can't be rescued from the spell's ill effects. And in case you haven't noticed, there are a lot of mobs with nasty DoTs throughout the mid- to high-end game.
Both of these bugs (as well as increased ghosting) may be the result of changes to the way the server is filtering data since the last patch. While throughput has improved for players in general, some data seems to not be updating properly. A thorough explanation of the recent filtering changes will be forthcoming soon.
These bugs are cripplers that really justified an emergency patch over the weekend. Since we didn't get one, we're hoping (and expecting) one to show up soon.
A Tiger by Any Other Stripe
A reader named Macavitie Hiddenpaw, who plays a Vah'Shir rogue, reminded us of another issue that has affected players since the patch:
My normally sleek and stealthy solid dark grey rogue keeps getting mistaken for Tony the Tiger. Sigh, how is a master criminal to get any respect when people just want you to say "they're GREEEAATTTTT!"
It's not just kittycats having this problem, however. A number of character models, including humans and wood elves, are also experiencing appearance problems. While I look fine on my screen, for instance, other people see me with a different character face, and I see other human monks as having different faces. It's hard to chalk this one up to server filtering, so who knows where the culprit lies.
I Will Sing, Sing a New Song
A rather significant change was slipped unannounced into last week's patch that has some bards on the warpath. Their Boastful Bellow AA skill was altered, which has ushered in both debate and controversy.
What's the deal? Well, the skill was being used as a pulling tool by bards because it had unlimited range, no line-of-sight restrictions, and didn't drop invis when used. Now it does drop invis, has a 200 or so range, and requires line of sight. Some bards are screaming that the skill is now useless and are demanding a refund of points spent, while others are responding that the skill was obviously broken and point out that it now functions exactly as the description says it should.
Sound familiar? Yes, monks went into a similar hissy fit last week over a change to one of their AA skills. The difference, of course, is that the monk change was announced in the patch message while the bard change was just sort of slid under the door. That was a bad move on Verant's part.
However, it doesn't change the fact that this was a fix, not a nerf per se. While the change does adversely impact the bard class, it was blatantly obvious that the ability was not working as intended. For people to cry foul over spending points on a skill they knew to be bugged is a bit much. In addition to kvetching, some bards are offering solutions for modifying the skill and still keeping it usable as a pulling tool, but whether SOE intends to make any further changes to the ability is unclear.
My proposed fix is for the next expansion to convert all bards into little froglok pets that follow you around playing manasong without being able to speak at all. They would be allowed to use armor effects to summon food, however.
Banned in the USA
There was a rather cryptic post made on Dev Corner last Friday:
Late last night some of our GMs saw some unusual activity on the servers. Some accounts were logging in and downloading incorrect files. This seemed out of the ordinary, and the accounts in question were suspended temporarily.
The fact that this unusual activity occurred was entirely our fault. In the future we will be careful to ensure that if we do not want folks to have access to something, we will make certain that they do not have that access.
Our apologies for the mess up. We understand patch time can be critical time for guilds and clearly this ruined patch day for several customers. Anyone that was suspended due to this issue will have that suspension lifted before 3 pm. PST. We will also be compensating those customers who lost time last night.
- The EverQuest Team
The whole story (if you can sort it out from the obligatory pissing contest) is that some people were connecting directly to the login servers rather than letting the game do it for them, as is usually the case. This was flagged as "unusual activity" by the SOE staff and folks were banned for sploiting. The irony, of course, is that the method to do this was actually prescribed by GMs in the past to resolve connectivity problems.
To their credit, SOE realized their mistake and made a public apology. It has been a while since the staff has made such a sweeping customer service blunder, but their quick and visible reaction was the right thing to do.
Now if they could just get all those game bugs fixed as easily...