Wintersebb, the new server, will open. New servers are a good thing. No unbalancing items, a fresh start for those of us who have become slightly jaded, and the overall impression that AC’s popularity is steadily growing.
The Overlord (best loot dropper in the game) will become less campable. Instead of dropping the loot on his corpse, this infamous walking Phat Lewt King\’e2\’84\’a2 will now drop a key with a one-week timer to a chest that holds the goodies. So you can kill him many times over, do the quest, but you can only pick up the key once a week. Less campability is a good thing\’e2\’84\’a2, always has been, always will be (Brad, take note). The Overlord on each server has almost consistently been notoriously camped by prominent EBayers. This is a welcome change to what is one of the few “campable” areas of the game.
The Direlands will be tweaked. The Godsend of PR to Turbine, also known as Ken Troop or just “Troop,” has promised Direland tweaks for January. The major problem about the Direlands were that it was so underutilized due to bad, bad monster balance. In order to effectively take advantage of the wonderful terrain/sky AC has, one has to suffer through hunting outdoors, which is about as pleasant as a prostate exam. Hopefully some rhyme or reason will be given to this desolate, yet huge, hunting ground. Monster spawns are just completely random, and in order to survive, one has to ignore “trash spawns” and have every single life (and creature) buff – because monsters come in such a variety, that they debuff about every single damage type known to Empyrian. Another good change (if done correctly). Hopefully monster spawns will make more sense and come in larger groups – with the Direlands divided up into “territories.”
Sword should be getting some tweaking. A new sword was promised for January, and the chances are likely that it will be of the same tech used with last months Obsidian Dagger. Meaning, for every swing at a higher power setting, a second swing is executed (Double attack!). Sword, for its cost of 16 skill credits to specialize, has always been noted as not being worth the cost – especially when compared to the cost of specializing Unarmed Combat for only 6. Sword love is a good thing.
Thistledown will be rewarded for its response to the Bael’Zharon quest two months ago. For those of you who don’t remember, the AC folks had to step in and dynamically respond to the community of the Thistledown server because they refused to release the soul of the Big Bad Twinkie Loving Demon\’e2\’84\’a2. In another unprecedented move, Turbine is actually going to reward these players for great gameplay by giving them some sort of reward on the server (possibly on all servers?) – likely in the form of a monument. This is pretty cool, it’s not often that players are rewarded – and is a step in the right direction towards the lack of ownership that exists in AC. Player retention (Turbine, take note).
On a final note, I’d like to make a small plea to Turbine to remove mana pools from Meeting Halls. For those of you that don’t play Asheron’s Call, here’s the short rundown: Meeting Halls (Dungeon-esque places designed for Guilds and, get this, “meetings”) have turned into Macro-fests because of their mana pools. Mana pools increase the rate of mana return, so macro’ers camp their little avatar’s there for days at a time with macros that self-debuff and earn them quite a bit of “free” exp. Normally, I have nothing against Macro’ers – to each his own, I say – but in my opinion, they’re doing it in the wrong place. Meeting halls are for gathering, talking, muling, and killing time – and to have each one full of 10+ people standing in a small pool just casting negative spells on themselves over and over again is quite irritating. Turbine responded to a similar situation to this once before (Macroers of Training Dungeons) by eliminating the exp given by Straw (inanimate) monsters. Hopefully, they will either remove the pools entirely, or eliminate the experience gained from casting a debuff on ones self. For anyone who’s spent any significant time in Meeting Halls, they realize the frame rate drop these macroers are casting, and their likely server drain. Begone, I say.