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State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:24 am
by Administrator
[ original post by Maecius ]
State of the Server

This thread will be updated semi-regularly with administrative news and global announcements.

The parties permitted to post in this thread include: Administrators, Head DMs, Lead Developer, Lead Programmer, Forum Developer, and Sysop. All other posts will be removed.

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2019 2:57 am
by Maecius
2 January 2019

We have survived another year, and what a year it's been! As we enter 2019, I wanted to take a brief look back at some of the accomplishments we've seen these past twelve months.

These have included (just to name a few off the top of my head):

- Increases to shapeshifting and polymorphing forms variety
- Increases to summons variety
- Introduction of dynamic encounters and events
- Introduction of cooking (still basic)
- A DM campaign centered around the takeover of Dragonspear Castle by devils (which occurred last year in the canon lore)
- Introduction of a preliminary Faction Reputation system
- Introduction of the "Control Henchman" feat to allow greater control over summons
- Beregost achieved independence (throwing off the yoke of Amn)
- Introduction of the Spellswapper Djinn in the Nexus for innate casters
- Significant lootgen tweaks (increasing the frequency of decent loot and decreasing the frequency of empty tankards and rags)
- The introduction of numerous new deities for enhanced RP flexibility
- Lore refinements and beautification work around the server
- Introduction of adamantine weapons as loot drops
- Introduction of new Prestige Classes and other custom content
- Upgraded the forum
- A "New Player" Tutorial Dungeon added to the Nexus
- A graphic indicator added to help facilitate RP by letting players know when someone they are interacting with is typing

Meanwhile, players have been able to accomplish some pretty cool things too (again, definitely more to add here)!:

- The En Dharasha Everae have helped evacuate elven clans from the southern Misty Forest, as well as slow down the progress of the devils there and establish an alliance with local Hybsils
- The Northern Watch was established to protect free trade along the Trade Way in the name of the Baldurian Council of Four
- PCs founded "The Last Anchor," an inn in Ulgoth's Beard, and through their efforts were able to improve the town (adding to it an Apprentice Smithy and new blacksmithing building, as well as a new barn)
- The Rocky Creek Trade Company was formed, and began turning the sleepy town of Greenest into an RP hub and a place for their business dealings
- Meanwhile, the Golden Wheel Trading Company established itself in Nashkel
- The Doron Amar and the Elder Circle worked together to lift a curse from the Shrine of Mielikki
- PCs working together were able to save numerous people by establishing a camp for the refugees of Tymount in and around the Order of the Radiant Heart's lands outside Baldur's Gate
- The establishment of several titled PCs (including a High Captain of Roaringshore and a noble of Baldur's Gate)
- Expatriate Kozakurans established the House of the Crimson Blade on the Sword Coast
- The Everwatch Knights of Helm in Nashkel helped to broker the above-mentioned independence of Beregost
- The Zar Ut Khan unite large numbers of orcs and engage heavily in militant politics both on the surface and in the Underdark, reminding the world that Uruk Lurra exists as a political power in the north
- Certain darker factions continue to manipulate aspects of the server from the shadows

Ahead, we still have many things to accomplish if we are to meet our goals, as described in the 2018-2020 BGTSCC Strategic Planning Document. But considering we are only one year into this effort (and have all of 2019 and 2020 to complete the rest), we have made some significant progress!

Naturally, the most important part of any year is the players and staff who make the game fun for everyone to play. So thank you for all of your continued collaboration on this community project. Here's hoping we can keep it going strong into 2019 -- our "ten year anniversary" year!*

Happy new year everyone!

* The server actually opened in late 2008, but went open beta and started really attracting its players in 2009

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Fri Jan 04, 2019 4:10 pm
by Maecius
4 January 2019

Good day!

A decision has been made to eliminate Disguise-based muling via the in-character storage system. This practice has been causing issues for admins and DMs, and we've decided to correct it in order to save time and streamline our mechanics and services.

After February 1st, 2019, storage NPCs will only react to your character's real name. The disguised name will no longer have any effect on them.

Again, this change will take place on February 1st, so you have about four weeks to organize your storage accounts and make sure your items are on the characters you actually want them on.

We have not outlawed muling with this decision. In fact, we will be investigating ways to make RCRing easier and simpler, so that this system is not felt to be as necessary for the purpose of RCRing. Those changes will be announced soon.

The DMs will announce this upcoming change in-game from time to time, and I will try to bump this announcement in a couple of weeks, or a few days before the server update.

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:03 am
by Maecius
15 January 2019

We have recently caught a number of players abusing exploits or otherwise cheating, and we have, quite unhappily, had to ban people over this ill-advised practice. One exploit in particular, by which players have been temporarily inflating their HP to levels that are higher than is normally mechanically possible, has been seeing a lot of use lately.

All of the players who have been banned for abusing this exploit have acknowledged that they knew that this was against the rules, as stated here:

If it's known, don't do it, and if it's not known, report it in a private message and don't do it again. If you're not sure, chances are if it seems like an exploit, it probably is.

Don't use custom .hak files or other third party programs. Evidence of cheating or using these programs will result in your account being banned and your character vault wiped clean.

If you are abusing exploits, please stop, and consider this a warning: It is very easy to identify when someone is abusing exploits. For many of them, it's just a matter of the admins running a report. For others, including the HP stacking exploit, DMs don't even have to be on the same map as you to notice that you're doing it. So just don't do it.

We'll try to get a patch in place that makes the HP stacking exploit in particular mechanically impossible, if we are able to; but this is the only warning I'm giving: If you're caught abusing this or any other exploits to unfairly advantage yourself over the server content (and, by extension, other players), you will be banned for it.

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:41 pm
by Maecius
19 January 2019

Just a reminder that Disguise-based muling via the in-character storage system will be eliminated after 1 February 2019, per the message above on 4 January 2019. Please be sure you have everything where it needs to be before this happens. There is no guarantee that any items lost because you had them stored under a false name will be refunded to you.

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:13 pm
by Maecius
20 January 2019

Just a heads up to all, Zanniej was able to get tables working again on the forums: e.g., Cleric Domains.

He was also able to get the "parchment" code working again.

In both cases, however, posts with existing tables or parchment code on them do need to be edited at least once for the new code to "turn on." In other words, all posts with a table (or parchment) need to be changed and saved again for it to work. Such a change can be as small as adding or removing an empty line.

We will try to attend to these fixes on official threads (and we'd love it if players helped point out to us any we miss), but we'll leave biographies, etc., that utilize tables, as well as all guild posts, to the players in charge of those posts in order to share the labor.

Thanks for looking into this, Zanniej!

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:49 pm
by Maecius
29 January 2019

Per this thread, I will be largely unavailable for approximately one month, perhaps a little longer. Please rely on Endelyon, and the appropriate staff group leads (Head DMs, Lead Programmers, etc.) for assistance with the things you might normally come to me for.

This is fair warning that if you try to tap me privately on something, it may go unread -- or unactioned -- during this time period, and you'll probably have to remind me about it in a month.

Thank you!

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 10:16 pm
by Maecius
24 March 2019

This is more of a "State of the Forum" than a "State of the Server" news item, but I wanted to inform everyone that the "Questions for DMs" subforum has been archived and will no longer be monitored.

It has not been actively monitored by staff for the past several years (I found myself approving messages more often than anyone else, actually), and overall it has not proven an effective way for players to communicate with the DM team.

From hereon out, to ask private questions of the DM Team, please PM the "DM Team" user group in the Groups: section of the window in which you compose a new PM. To ask public questions of the DM Team and others, please post them to the appropriate section of the forum (wherever they seem like they'd be most appropriately placed to you).

The only active thread in the old, archived "Questions for the DMs" forum -- the "Ask Arkanis" thread -- has been moved to the Tips & Tricks section of the forum, where players and DM Arkanis may continue to use it.

Let us know if there are any questions!

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 12:46 am
by Maecius
1 June 2019

Per the latest update, described here, we are now in a 100% RCR period. Until the next update, players will be able to RCR their characters for a full XP refund.

Please remember to have a friend help you with your gear and your gold. Do not use campfires to mule items. If you choose to risk it, anyway, and they are lost, they are lost. No refunds from DMs now.

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:08 am
by Maecius
2 June 2019

In the process of updating the server, the remote server had a systems related failure. We are working on bringing the server back online, both to complete the update and to make it available for play, but it sounds like it may take several hours. Perhaps longer than hours.

The issue is being worked on at the moment.

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:18 pm
by Maecius
2 June 2019

Just a quick update: We're still working to get the server back up on our ends. The news has been mostly "not good," but we have a few things we're going to try to get things back online for everybody.

Even so, it will be at least a few more hours. Actually, at this juncture, I cannot even promise that the server will be back up in the next 12 hours. We shall see! But I don't want anyone wasting their afternoons checking in over and over again when I know it probably won't be back up until this evening at the very earliest.

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 10:58 pm
by Maecius
2 June 2019

We will probably be down until tomorrow evening at the earliest.

To give folks a better idea of what's going on: During the update process yesterday, we rebooted the server machine and it didn't boot back up. Because it looks like we may have to reformat the OS, we have decided to back up the data on the drives before any further troubleshooting takes place (so that all your characters should still be there when we get it running again, etc.). We're in the process of backing the server up now, but, unfortunately, it takes time.

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 11:12 pm
by Maecius
3 June 2019

We are nearly finished with the backups, and then will begin troubleshooting with the knowledge that if we do have to reformat or even start over on a whole new machine, we at least have the infrastructure we need to spin things back up again.

Cross your fingers that we get it working without having to do either of those "worst case scenarios" though!

Re: State of the Server (2019-2020)

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:15 pm
by Maecius
4 June 2019

We, happily, were able to get everything up and running again after the backups were made. Big thanks to Chambordini for doing all the backups.

Thank you, everyone, for your patience as we dealt with the unanticipated crisis.