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Today we got what *should* be a final version of 18.2 to TestLive with hopes of this version making it to Live early next week.
18.2 is what I would refer to as a "limited" update for now for one reason:
In 18.2 the AO client is now being compiled in Visual Studio 2005 instead of 2003. This is necessary in our efforts to continue integrating the Dreamworld/Conan engine and continue to get it closer to the Live environment.
It is always risky making changes of this nature, so this update is what I would refer to as "limited" so we can watch it carefully for unexpected issues without having to also worry about content being possibly enjoyed in what we would term an "unexpected" manner. Early versions of this update had both the sender and receiver of personal tell messages immediately crashing to desktop...with this kind of random occurance we need to watch this update carefully. There will be another upate like this in October to make way for the future in-game mail system.
Even with the "limited" extent of this update there are some changes we have been looking forward to for some time. Fixers will start to see some progress on the Full Auto aspect of the balancing they require. Initially the "band-aid" fix for this issue was to add the skill to new weapons...which as we are all well aware failed spectacularly. It was always our intention to properly distribute Full Auto support accross the Fixer toolset and now the first steps of this process is making it to the live dimensions with FA support being added through nanos, new and old perks and personal research. Wake Up Call will also have a reduced recharge time for now. The ongoing adjustment of all debuffs that land on players will necessitate this likely being changed again. Full Auto support for Fixers will be coming through our updates to the AI perk-lines...but that should be coming in the same update as larger changes to all professions in the very near future. This will be the same update as the adjustments to run-speed which should hopefully restore Fixers to the masters of speed that they were always meant to be...but has slowly eroded over time with the addition of run-speed accross all professions.
Also in the update we will see the introuction of the new nightclub. This is a social update that has been needed and requested for many many years. This was not work that was strictly speaking "management expenditure-approved"...but when presented with screens of the old clubs and the new club I was in significantly less trouble. The nightclub will not be open on patch day but will open in grand fashion and with proper ceremony at a grand opening party in the coming weeks. There will be advance notice of this event in the launcher and in game as time grows near (Yes..Gridstream...we need to talk about this one! For those who aren't familiar with Gridstream...you should be! http://ww.gridstream.org). The same weeks (once confirmation of the stability of the new client has been confirmed) should also see the release of the Dark Ruins Solo and team experience we have been looking forward to for some time. This update of course also contains a raft of small bug-fixes to old issues and exploit fixes...eventually we hope to kill them all.
We are working hard to speed up the release of content through the fall...I can't wait for the new stuff to make it to test...getting this update out to Live will be a huge step in getting things rolling fast again.
Have a great weekend everyone!
This "Means" Jetlag