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EE 15 Preliminary Release Notes

Bob
These are the Preliminary Release Notes for Early Enrollment v15. We deployed the current Final Candidate for EE 15 to the Test Server on Wednesday, April 18, and hope to deploy it to Live during Daily Maintenance on Friday, April 20, assuming that it performs well during testing.

What Is In This Release

This release adds the ability to upgrade settlement structures, along with systems like Taxation and Development Indexes to support those upgrades. Other existing systems like upkeep, building construction, camera controls, NPC placement, coin-to-credit conversions and the crafting tutorial have also been tweaked and improved to work with those new systems. As always, multiple other improvements were also made to various systems in order to keep steadily improving the overall player experience.

Full Release Notes

Settlement Structure Upgrades:
  • Structures can now be upgraded. Upgrading a structure beyond its current Max Upgrade can only be done if the structure is already upgraded to its Max Upgrade, that upgrade is lower than the Keep's Current Upgrade (Keeps ignore this requirement), and the structure isn’t shut down. If the character is eligible to manage structures and has a structure kit with a higher plus value than the structure’s current Max Value, then the character can use up that kit and increase the structure’s max upgrade by 1. If the lowest available kit is more than one plus above the current Max Upgrade, there will be a clear warning that the kit being used is better than required. There must also be enough DI available to be banked. The structure’s Current Upgrade also rises immediately to the new Max Upgrade, and Support Structures immediately put the difference in DI Bonuses into Available DI.
  • Settlement Level no longer limits the Trainer Levels or Facility Ratings for the settlement’s structures. Those values are instead set by each structure's upgrade level. In addition, Auction Houses now have restrictions on the tiers/upgrades of upgradable items that can be sold or bid on, along with extended offer durations, each of which is based on the structure’s upgrade level.
  • Initially, structures can have their Trainer Levels, Facility Ratings, and Auction House tier/upgrade restrictions set based on the current Settlement Level plus double the upgrade value of the structure, after subtracting 3 and the number of 30-day “months” that have passed since May 1, with a maximum of 20, if that provides better values than the structure itself does. This will provide a grace period where it’s possible to maintain the equivalent of a Level 20 Settlement with just +2 structures for the first couple months, then +3 structures for the next couple months, then +4, and finally +5 structures will be required to get maximum Trainer Levels and Facility Ratings.
  • Keep Structure Kits can now be used to place upgradeable Keeps, and the existing non-upgradeable Keeps will all disappear to make room for them. Only Keeps can be placed in those locations. Adjustments were made to collision volumes, NPC placement, levels of detail, and various other visual and gameplay aspects
  • Structures can be downgraded 1 plus at a time to a minimum of +0, which returns any banked DI for the dropped upgrade immediately to available DI, subject to Max DI. The Keep cannot be downgraded below the highest Current Upgrade of any structures.
  • If the structure’s Current Upgrade is below the Max Upgrade and below the Keep’s Current Upgrade, eligible characters can up the Current Upgrade by 1. Doing so requires enough DI to bank and sufficient upkeep without 4-for-1 trades to pay the upkeep difference for the higher upgrade.
  • A substantial editing pass was made on all structures, including the previously existing versions (which are now used primarily for the +2 upgrades).
  • Facility Ratings at +0 structures are now 75 so that they're better than NPC facilities.

Development Indexes:
  • Settlements have 3 Development Indexes: Security, Civilization and Morale. These work much like Influence, with Available, Banked, Total and Max amounts, measured in units referred to as DI. Each settlement starts with 500 Available DI, plus whatever amount Banked is necessary for the settlement’s current buildings.
  • DI is generated each day after Daily Maintenance based on a settlement’s hexes, holding upgrades, and Support Structures. Total hexes controlled by the settlement through an active Holding contribute the square root of total hexes multiplied by 40 and then rounded to the nearest integer to each Index. Upgraded Active Upgraded Holdings controlled by the settlement contribute a total of 6 points per upgrade (not counting +0), with the amount per Index set in the spreadsheets. Holdings/hexes that are shut down or held by companies that only joined the Settlement the previous server day don't count. Active Infrastructure/Support Structures contribute a total of 10-45 each to DI each morning, depending on current upgrade.
  • Each Index keeps a history of how much DI was earned each of the previous 28 days, with each day initially set to Total DI divided by 30.
  • The Max for each Index is calculated each day after Daily Maintenance as well. This is done by first calculating the average DI earned by that settlement in that Index over the past 28 days, 14 days and 7 days, then taking the greatest of those averages and multiplying it by 30.
  • Small, Medium and Large structures bank DI in varying amounts from varying Indexes for their placement and upgrades. They cannot be placed or upgraded unless sufficient DI in each Development Index is available.
  • Details about a settlement’s Development Indexes can be viewed on the Development Indexes Window, available from the Keep’s toolbox.
  • If the amount of DI banked in any Development Index is above the Max DI for that Index, the settlement will shut down. Settlement leaders can set the settlement to reactivate at the next Daily Maintenance by downgrading and/or destroying the settlement’s structures until the next day's DI requirements are met.
  • Placing Infrastructure or updating its maximum will immediately generate DI. However, upgrading Infrastructure will not generate additional DI until the next Daily Maintenance.

Settlement Upkeep/Level:
  • Settlement Leaders can set a Target Settlement Level for Support purposes, and the settlement will pay one-half of the difference between the upkeep paid for its structures (bulk upkeep averaged across all bulk resources, coin upkeep tracked separately) and the minimum required for that Settlement Level. Settlements can wind up higher than the target if the requirements for the structures alone put them above the target.
  • On Monday mornings, the settlement sums the upkeep requirements for all the settlement structures, including any necessary 4-1 exchanges. If the basic upkeep requirements are already high enough to cover the Target Settlement Level, then it sets the Next Upkeep Settlement Level to the highest level already met. If not, it raises all the upkeep requirements by one-half of the difference to Target Settlement Level requirements and sets the Resulting Settlement Level to the Target Settlement Level. If there are enough resources in the Settlement Upkeep vault to pay that amount (including the 4-1 exchanges), then payment is made, any structures shut down for lack of upkeep are reactivated, and the Settlement Level is set to the Next Upkeep Settlement Level. If there aren’t enough resources, then payment isn’t made and the settlement is shut down, with a Settlement Level of 9.
  • The Manage Upkeep panel available under Settlement Management at the Keep’s toolbox shows a detailed breakdown of upkeep costs and lets leaders pay pro-rated upkeep to re-activate settlements without waiting until the next Monday for scheduled upkeep if the settlement is shut down for upkeep reasons. If the settlement is also shut down for DI reasons, it will remain shut down until that is fixed as well.
  • Upkeep for structures and settlement level now includes a coin cost. Coins of any denomination stored in Settlement Upkeep can be used to pay for upkeep as long as their total value is at least as high as the amount required.
  • Cottages and studios still base their Trainer Levels and Facility Ratings on Settlement Level plus their respective bonuses.

Taxes:
  • Settlements can charge sales taxes, which work like the Sales Fee on Auction Purchases and comes out of the seller's profits. The tax rate for each offer is set when the items are put up for auction.
  • Settlements can charge training taxes, which are a percentage of the coin cost for training a feat.
  • Settlements can charge crafting taxes, which are based on crafting time. Taxes for a project are set when the project is queued, returned if the project is cancelled, and delivered to the settlement when the project is completed.
  • Settlements can charge mule taxes, which are based on the tier/upgrade of the mule.
  • Settlements can set their tax rates from the Company Details tab of the Company Window by hitting Edit and then selecting Settlement Taxes from the pull-down options. Different rates can be set for settlement members, allies and unallied characters. NPC Settlements charge default tax rates of 5% on sales, 20% for training, 1c per 1800 seconds for crafting, and 10c per tier/upgrade for mules.
  • Taxes collected this week and last week are displayed on the Settlement Management Window, available from the Keep’s toolbox. They are swept into the Settlement Upkeep Vault at the beginning of the Weekly Upkeep process so that they can be applied to the next upkeep payment.
  • Exact taxes or tax rates are always shown before performing the taxed action.
  • Holdings will also charge the same taxes for the same actions as settlements, with the taxes paid to the company owning the holding. If the company is in a settlement, it will use the same rates as are set for the settlement. If the company is unaffiliated, then it charges company members (the only ones who can use the holding) standardized taxes of 12% for training, 1c per 3200 seconds for crafting, and 6c per tier/upgrade for mules.

Buildings:
  • The construction phase for buildings now lasts only a few seconds when being placed, upgraded or downgraded, instead of lasting an hour.
  • Engineer and Keep Trainers are available at structures in Thornkeep.
  • Holdings and Outposts can be downgraded when they’re shut down.
  • Fixed an issue that sometimes required a character to set a map pin before being able to place Player Housing.
  • Mentors are available at Spellcrafter's Studios.

Feats/Attacks:
  • Attacks don’t lock up when switching targets with an attack queued while having 0 or 1 pieces of ammo loaded in a container.
  • Feats that add triggers looking for incoming attacks won’t consider themselves as incoming attacks. This allows Combat Expertise to apply Parrying without that instantly converting to Riposting. Similarly, feats that apply Defending won’t immediately convert that to Replying.
  • Passionate in the Workshop provides Seneschal bonuses.
  • Increased Combat Expertise’s effects to 5 rounds and cooldown to 12 seconds.

Advancement:
  • Weapon kill achievements are based on the most recently used weapon if still wielded, or defaults to current main-hand weapon if no wielded weapon qualifies as most recently used. This allows characters to get achievements for shield and other off-hand weapon kills.
  • Medium Armor Proficiency 3 allows STR 30 or INT 30 to meet its ability requirements.
  • Heavy Blade, Light Blade, Hammer and Polearm Proficiency 3 allow STR/DEX 18 and (STR/DEX 20 or WIS 20), as appropriate, to meet their ability requirements.
  • Mordant Spire events grant the new Unshrouder achievement.
  • Seneschal achievements temporarily provide enough Social Category Points to meet Seneschal 20 prerequisites.

Escalations/Encounters/Harvesting:
  • Times between Invasion waves and harvesting cycles were reduced by 1/3 to make raids and harvesting sessions quicker.
  • T2 +1/3/5 Harvesting Kits now operate at proper speed.
  • There are more skeletal wizards available throughout Skeletal Uprising and more Ravagers throughout Undying Ogg to make the corresponding Finding Your Path stages more reasonable.
  • Returning Heroes event only requires killing 15 Bonedancer Heroes.
  • Bonedancer Puppets/Puppeteers and Broken Men Instigators stand on crates properly.
  • Some uneven encounter sites were removed from the road in hex -9,5.

Quests:
  • Crafting Tutorial provides the coins needed to pay taxes for the crafting and refining stages.
  • Sara Parnette is farther inside her hex to reduce issues when trying to interact with her while still officially in another hex.
  • Multiple typos in Finding Your Path were fixed.

Items/Coin:
  • Truesilver Shirt includes Military keyword to match Archer 14.
  • Extravant Padded Armor has the Sage, Inscribed and Attuned keywords to match Guide 14, instead of the Shadowskin, Camouflaged and Stealthy keywords.
  • Coin in inventory is converted to Abadar Credit when accessing vaults while in a settlement or at a holding, but only if the character has Deposit permission to their Personal vault at that location. Coin is not converted when accessing Freehold vaults in the wild, only in settlements.
  • Coin in inventory is converted to Abadar Credit when accessing the Auction House, Muleteer, Training or Crafting facilities, but only if the character has permission to use them.

UI:
  • Camera works much better around buildings and stairs.
  • Company Search Window displays an asterisk in front of founding company names, as well as at the end.
  • When selecting the same recipe on the Crafting Window as was selected the last time the Crafting Window was closed, the details for that recipe are properly displayed.
  • Building Management Windows will close automatically when upgrading, downgrading or updating the maximum on a building.
  • Feat Window refers to Rank instead of Level to keep terminology consistent.
  • Fixed typos in multiple feat descriptions.

Terrain/Props:
  • Collision boxes adjusted on multiple props for better Line of Sight.
  • Player Housing spots near the stairs face the nearby roads.
  • Monster hex -4,5 now has Synthesis Essence instead of Cryptic.
  • Fane of Gozreh sits on the ground properly.
  • Player traps in -17,-3 and -9,18 were removed.

Edit 1: Downgrading or tearing down structures in a settlement that's shut down for DI reasons will reactivate the settlement at the next Daily Maintenance, not immediately.
Edit 2: Added the following:
  • Placing Infrastructure or updating its maximum will immediately generate DI. However, upgrading Infrastructure will not generate additional DI until the next Daily Maintenance.
  • Building Management Windows will close automatically when upgrading, downgrading or updating the maximum on a building.
  • Listed various ways that structure were edited during this pass.
  • Fixed an issue that sometimes required a character to set a map pin before being able to place Player Housing.
  • Clarified that the Auction House temporary mitigations only affect the tier/upgrade restrictions. The auction duration is set purely by the structure's upgrade and gets no temporary benefit from a higher settlement level.
Edit 3: Clarified that upgrading a structure doesn't allow 4-for-1 trades, so you need to have the exact resources available. This is only about upgrading a structure that is currently below its max. Updating the max provides a free upgrade, avoiding the issue, and settlement-wide upkeep still does 4-for-1 trades both during weekly upkeep and during pro-rated upkeep to re-activate a shutdown settlement.
Edit 4: Added the following for the second Final Candidate:
  • Changed the calculation start date for the settlement level structure bonuses to May 1.
  • Added information about taxes at holdings.
  • Mentors are available at Spellcrafter's Studios.
Bob
I'll continue to edit the OP as additional changes are made to the build. If any of you have questions, or find certain parts of the notes confusing, let me know and I'll try to clear those up as well. Meanwhile, more testing and bug fixing for us here. As always, send an email to customer.support@goblinworks.com if you need test server access, or if you need anything on the test server (items, experience, achievements, whatever) to help you check things out.
Flari-Merchant
Edit: Removed. Going to make sure I grasp the system fully before I start the questions.
Maxen
Excellent write up and very excited. One correction that stood out:

"What Is In This Release

This release adds the ability to upgrade settlement structures, along with systems like Taxation and Development Indexes to support those upgrades. Other existing systems like upkeep, building construction, camera controls, NPC placement, coin-to-credit conversions and the crafting tutorial have also been tweaked and improved to work with those new systems. As always, multiple other improvements were also made to various systems in order to keep steadily improving the overall player experience" <—-Needs a period. smile
Bob
Fixed the missing period. Sadly, I'm pretty certain that won't be the only edit needed, but having something like that be the first thing pointed out is at least somewhat promising.
Flari-Merchant
@ Bob

I have a wonder about this:

"•If the amount of DI banked in any Development Index is above the Max DI for that Index, the settlement will shut down. Settlement leaders can reactivate the settlement at any time by downgrading and/or destroying the settlement’s structures until the DI requirements are met."

The whole goal is to build DI potential. Couldn't extra over max just be "lost" as it is/was with influence? Shutting down the whole settlement for going over a bit in one Index seems a bit counter intuitive to building "cushions" as well as harsh.
Bob
Flari-Merchant
The whole goal is to build DI potential. Couldn't extra over max just be "lost" as it is/was with influence? Shutting down the whole settlement for going over a bit in one Index seems a bit counter intuitive to building "cushions" as well as harsh.

If the only thing max DI did was limit available DI, and had no effect on banked DI, then alliances could essentially cycle their DI from one settlement to another. They could put all their companies (and their territory) under one settlement until that settlement had all of its structures built, then switch those companies to another settlement and do the same. Instead, we wanted the system to require keeping your DI generation high in order to keep the settlement running smoothly.

Shutting down the whole settlement does sound a little harsh at first, but re-activating the settlement will probably just require downgrading a couple buildings, and we wanted to leave the choice of which buildings to the settlement leaders. Fortunately, the settlement will start back up pretty quickly after enough buildings are downgraded, so it shouldn't stay shut down for long. It's also something that's hard not to notice, so until we have better notification systems, we figured a shutdown settlement was hard to miss.

Fortunately, we did also set things up so that the max rises faster than it falls. A drop in DI generation would take 28 days before dropping max DI all the way down to its new low, but returning DI generation back to its original number will only take 7 days to return max DI back to its original number. As long as you leave yourself a small buffer of available DI, you should be able to increase your DI generation back to what's needed before even worrying about shutting down.

Over time we can look at ways to provide more warning like only shutting the settlement down if max DI stays too low for X days (preferably after a warning email to leaders), or even buffering drops in max DI further to completely cover small temporary drops in production. As always, we wanted to start with a simpler system to make sure the basics work well, then improve from there.
Flari-Merchant
That's a detailed answer and makes sense. Thank you. smile
Bob
Unsurprisingly, we've found a few more bugs than we'd hoped during testing, so I've pushed the planned Final Candidate date to Thursday and the planned deployment to Live back to next Tuesday. As always, that assumes we don't find more issues while testing the Final Candidate, but the issues we've found so far have all been quite manageable, so we're getting close.
Bob
We tried to kick off the Final Candidate build last night, but ran into some hardware issues. We should have everything sorted out shortly, but builds take several hours to prepare, so there won't be enough time to both test the resulting build and get it on Zog today. However, we should still be able to put the build on Zog tomorrow, and that delay doesn't change the plan to deploy to Live on Tuesday. Of course, it also doesn't change the standard caveat that we might find some showstopper bugs in the Final Candidate that require preparing another Final Candidate before deploying to Live.
 
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