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All posts created by Bob

I'll be doing what I can to get some useful stuff (Harvesting Kits and such) distributed so those of you who are interested can check things out, but in another bit of unfortunate timing, I'm off starting tomorrow on another quick family trip. I, along with Lisa and Cole, will still be checking in, so definitely comment on anything you find problematic or that you have questions about so that we can get them checked out as quickly as possible.
These are the Preliminary Release Notes for Early Enrollment v13. We deployed a Final Candidate for EE 13 to the Test Server on Tuesday, August 8, and plan to deploy that build to Live during Daily Maintenance on Thursday, August 10, assuming that it performs well during testing.

What Is In This Release

This release adds multiple regular activities to the game, including Harvesting (gatherers find resource “gushers” that attract attacking creatures while being harvested), Raids (feuding companies can attack each other’s vulnerable Holdings to steal bulk resources) and Invasions (creatures from nearby escalations, or just from the hex itself, can attack Holdings to steal that day’s bulk resource production). There is also a new quest to help guide new players up to Tier 2 capabilities, as well as new Town Criers to help players find and join a settlement. And to help everyone get the resources they need, raw materials were rebalanced to better match equipment needs, and muleteers were added to all +2 or better Holdings.

A new premium item, Azoth, is available for purchase and can be used to improve the output of refining and crafting projects. Azoth can also be converted into months of game time, and can be offered for sale at Auction Houses.

There are also several other significant changes, including changes to the Auction Houses (a new Active Bids view makes it possible to view only those items with bids on them, and the default sales prices try to match those of a character’s previous offers) and the addition of Take/Transfer All buttons to Vaults and Inventory screens to make transferring multiple items easier. As usual, there are also many other smaller bug fixes and tweaks.

Full Release Notes

  • When attempting to gather, there is a chance (based on gathering skill) that a Harvesting Node for one of that Gathering Node’s resources will be found instead. Placing a Harvesting Kit of the appropriate Tier (or higher) at the Harvesting Node’s location within 1 hour will set up a Harvesting Site that will begin harvesting resources immediately. Each character can only know about 1 Harvesting Node/Site per hex at a time.
  • Harvesting Kits (Expert’s for T1, Professional’s for T2, Master’s for T3) can be crafted by Engineers, and the recipes for those kits drop alongside other recipes as loot for killing creatures.
  • Harvesting Sites produce 1-5 resources (based on the gathering skill of the character who found the Harvesting Node) every 3-15 seconds (based on the tier and upgrade of the Harvesting Kit, as well as the tier of the resource being harvested) for 200 cycles. These resources are placed in a husk that belongs to the character who placed the Harvesting Kit.
  • While the Harvesting Site is operational, increasingly tough waves of attackers from the current Escalation Phase, or from any scheduled Invaders, or from the hex’s default creatures, will attack the site roughly 90 seconds after any previous wave is killed off. They will do damage to the site when nearby and outnumbering defenders, and the site won’t produce resources until the entire wave is killed off. If the site takes too much damage (determined by the tier and upgrade of the Harvesting Kit), it will be destroyed and the harvesting husk will disappear.
  • When harvesting is complete, the Harvesting Site will disappear and the husk will remain available for 4 hours, or until it is empty.
  • In hexes with Medium Security or higher, any character not in a party with the Harvesting Site’s owner will take a reputation hit for taking items from the Harvesting Husk and will be flagged as an attacker, allowing the owners to punish thieves.
  • If the attackers are from an Escalation currently infecting the hex, their deaths will count toward the Escalation strength like any other creature deaths.

  • Companies can raid the vulnerable Holdings of other companies to steal that day’s bulk resource production plus 5% of any bulk resources in the Holding Upkeep vault. Holdings are vulnerable to Raids any day that their Outposts are vulnerable to being captured.
  • Raids only require an active feud, not a 48-hour-old feud like Capturing requires.
  • The husk resulting from a successful Raid has no owner, so every character will have to take items out of the husk slowly, just like they were pulling items from a husk someone else left after dying.

  • Creatures from neighboring escalations, or from the hex itself, can invade Holdings to destroy that day’s bulk resource production.
  • Hexes are vulnerable to Invasions on any day within a company’s PvP window. If an Invasion is scheduled, then any protection that hex is getting from allied neighbors is overridden for the day. However, the Invasion will only occur if the hex has Outposts that are vulnerable during the PvP window. If there are no vulnerable Outposts, then the scheduled Invasion will simply result in the Holding being vulnerable to capture that day.

  • A New Player Quest is available in the starter area that will guide players through Tier 2 while sending them on a tour around the world. Characters that complete the New Player Quest are given an Aeon Stone as a reward.
  • NPC’s who offer quests that a character isn’t qualified for will state why they won’t offer the quest when interacted with.
  • Fixed some tutorial quest steps that didn’t know which NPC to provide a waypoint for.
  • Quests won’t point to center of hex when already in a suggested hex and there’s no specific waypoint to display.
  • The pre-requisite for the Escalation Tutorial was changed to Base Attack Bonus 1.

Town Criers:
  • Settlement leaders can set up Town Criers from the toolbox in front of their settlement’s keep. The Town Criers will appear in Thornkeep near the Auction House and beckon passersby to learn more about the settlement. When interacted with, they’ll extol the settlement’s virtues and offer an opportunity to join one of the settlement’s companies.
  • Town Criers won’t appear unless their settlement is running at level 14 or higher.

  • Rebalanced raw materials for gathering and harvesting to better match the demand for each resource. For resource in a hex that are now set to much higher numbers, their quality will temporarily be low until they regenerate closer to their new maximums per hex.
  • Resources regenerate much faster, ramping from a 50%-100% chance to regenerate by 1% every 15 minutes, instead of the previous 3%-100% (based on current percentage of that resource remaining in the hex).
  • Added T3 resources to 3,1.
  • Added T3 resources to -16,17 and -13,14.
  • Changed the Bonedancer Homeland to use the node percentages for Mountain hexes.

  • Thornkeep hexes have been set to a new security level called Absolute (not available for players to set). No PvP, not even for feuds, is allowed in those hexes unless the target has been temporarily flagged as an acceptable target, such as for attacking another character in a lower-security hex, or for stealing from a Harvesting Husk.
  • Rotter’s Hold is set to Low Security.
  • Coins don't get auto-deposited when opening a vault with Withdraw Only privileges.

  • Holdings upgraded to +2 or higher have a muleteer sign that can be right-clicked on to hire a mule.
  • Bulk resources can’t be removed from Holding Upkeep vaults during active PvP windows.
  • Standardized the toolboxes at all buildings to make them more consistently clickable.
  • Fixed the occasional issue where the provided building site would switch to another nearby one as you got closer to the originally provided site.
  • Fixed the collision model for sawhorses used at various buildings.
  • Removed duplicate model from the shutdown version of the Loom.
  • Fixed shutdown signs on various structures.

  • Split the starter hexes around Thornkeep into two separate difficulties, with the ones closest to Thornkeep having the easier creatures (same as before) and the next layer out having slightly tougher versions of the same creatures. For example, the necromancers nearest to Thornkeep are still the same as before, but the ones another hex out are slightly tougher and include some new Necromancer Adepts.
  • Changed 3,1 to a standard Monster Hex instead of a Tutorial Monster Hex. The shrine there is now a standard shrine instead of a reputation shrine.
  • Changed the Hex Type for -1,1 from Badlands to Wild.
  • Changed -19,8 to Highlands, which was how all its resources were already calculated.
  • Changed 2,-5 to Woodlands, which was how all its resources were already calculated.
  • Changed 4,17 to Woodlands for Bulk Resource calculations, which will have altered its production and likely that of its neighbors.
  • Changed -13,0 and -18,8 to Highlands for Bulk Resource calculations. They’re Badlands hexes, but this change may have slightly altered bulk resource production for their neighbors.
  • Switched the default goblins in the Tutorial Escalation hex to more closely match the goblins from the Escalation.

  • A new Active Bids view is available from a new pulldown menu to list only those items that have active bids on them.
  • Default prices for offers are now based on the following (in priority order): active offers/bids, most recent sell/bid in transaction history, market history, and finally the existing default values. Some transaction history used for this will only start being recorded with EE 13, so some transactions placed in previous builds may not get included in these calculations.
  • Fixed an issue where player settlement Auction Houses might not hire out mules.

  • Boxes of Azoth can be purchased at the Store in quantities of 1, 3, 6 or 12 boxes. They are added to a specific character on login using the same method used for applying other premium items. Each box contains 700 Azoth, and is opened by right-clicking on the box in Inventory.
  • Azoth can be used to raise the output of a crafting project to the next plus. It can’t be applied unless the project is already at least 10% of the way to the next plus, and the amount of Azoth required depends on the value/quantity of the crafting output and the percentage remaining to reach the next plus. The option to add Azoth is displayed once the crafting project has all its ingredients added, and is reset if the ingredients change.
  • Azoth can be used to raise the likely hood of getting additional plusses on a refining project, increasing the odds of getting one additional plus by 10 percentage points and of getting 2 additional plusses by 1 percentage point. The option to add Azoth is displayed once the refining project has all its ingredients added.
  • Azoth can be exchanged for game time at a rate of 1650 Azoth for 1 month of game time by right-clicking on the Azoth in a character’s inventory.
  • When crafting with Azoth, achievements are only granted for the plus that would have been received without using Azoth.
  • Azoth has its own subcategory under Premium for vault and auction listings.

  • Aeon Stones are now twice as likely to drop as Event loot than before.
  • Ink recipes now produce 3 batches instead of 2.
  • Added Truesilver and Stealthy keywords to Shimmering Truesilver Shirt.

  • Beneficial feats will ignore Effect Protection.
  • Quickened and Hasted were switched from the Extraordinary channel to the Supernatural channel.
  • Holdout Weapon Implement Proficiency 3 now requires rank 16 in an appropriate Feat.
  • Holdout Weapon Implement Proficiency 2 and 3 accept Seneschal as an appropriate Feat.
  • Training Levels for Combat Expertise, Feint and Evasion were evened out, and rank 6 is now available for them.
  • All standard attack bonuses now progress 1 rank for every 2 trainer levels.
  • Protective Ward 6 keyword changed from Extraplanar to Intelligent.
  • Archer 12-14 grant Stealthy instead of Quiet.

  • Added Necromancer Adepts.
  • Added Mercenary Champions.
  • Added Lamashtu Initiates.

  • All Razmiran Militants now count as Elite Cultists (some males previously counted only as Cultists).
  • Added achievement for Elite Necromancer kills.
  • Kill Events in Crystal Ogres escalation grant Targ Tribe achievements.
  • Ripping Chains Warchief grants Win Boss achievement.
  • All Tutorial Escalation Events give out only the one-time tutorial participation achievement.

  • Added Take All and Transfer All options to Vault and Inventory windows, which work similarly to Deposit All.
  • Characters can set their alignment on the Character Sheet, in preparation for later features to be linked to alignment.
  • Tooltips for training Feats now show the Ability Bonus the Feat provides.
  • Only show the PvP icon next to the mini-map when in a hex that can be owned.
  • PvP information for protected hexes is clearer.
  • Added a /LogMessage command that logs out a player-supplied text string with the same header info as /LogVaults.
  • Added timestamp and character name to the /LogVaults headers.
  • Added Help Text for Blacklist UI.
  • Corrected display names for Moloch Knights found in the wild to match those found in the escalation.
  • Crafting recipes that can’t be upgraded to a higher plus (such as Aeon Stones) won’t show the “how close to the next plus” slider.
  • Dark Elf Scouts in Gathering of Legends no longer say whether or not they’re archers.
  • Fixed a typo in Boss Crusader achievement.

  • Any creature heading to its default location (e.g. leashing) will become vulnerable to damage if it goes more than 50 seconds without getting closer. They are also more willing to decide that they’re close enough to their default location, and therefore to go back to being vulnerable and looking for enemies to attack.
  • AI’s setting up their initial hate lists don’t grab nearby NPC’s.
  • Guards at freshly completed buildings no longer briefly remember their previous owner’s feuds and mistake their new owners as enemies.

Update 1:

  • Added a comment that some gathering resources will temporarily be at a low quality until they regenerate closer to their new maximums per hex.
  • Resources regenerate much faster, ramping from a 50%-100% chance to regenerate by 1% every 15 minutes, instead of the previous 3%-100% (based on current percentage of that resource remaining in the hex).
  • Beneficial feats will ignore Effect Protection.
  • Fixed the occasional issue where the provided building site would switch to another nearby one as you got closer to the originally provided site.
  • PvP information for protected hexes is clearer.
Oh, and technically it also opens the Outposts to being captured, though again, there's no guarantee the hex will be open the next day, so that could be a lot of effort for little or no return.
Bringslite of Staalgard
Wait. Are you saying that if NPCs decide to invade a hex that happens to be ally protected, that will open that hex to player raids for that day?

Yes, though only if the attack is coming from an escalation, not from the default creatures. For now, that means that only hexes that neighbor a monster hex run any risk of this. Once spreading is back on in some form, more hexes could potentially be opened up this way whenever an escalation is able to spread, and any infected hex would be unprotected until the infection is removed, but that's a ways off.

The basic idea, now that I'm reminded of it, was to make the borders just a bit more fluid, but not much. It was intended to be similar to the ability to break through protected hexes by placing siege equipment in a neighboring hex. By dropping the chance of this happening down to 15%, it's not likely to affect too many hexes per alliance on any given day, particularly if escalations are being dealt with in a timely manner. It's also very unlikely to affect the same hex two days in a row. But it does mean you'll want to consider Holding upgrades on any hex neighboring a monster hex, just in case a tough escalation moves in.
On a related note, Invasions get scheduled whether or not there are vulnerable Outposts in the targeted hex, but the Invasion won't actually run unless there are vulnerable Outposts in the hex during the active PvP window, and thus when the Holding is eligible for a Raid. This means it's possible for a scheduled Invasion to override a hex's protection, resulting in a Holding vulnerable to capture if there aren't any Outposts to protect it. However, there'd be no actual Invasion, since we don't currently allow the invaders to capture the Holding.
After testing out the Invasions and going through our change logs to write up the release notes, apparently I was misremembering how we handle protected hexes. In fact, the invaders ignore hex protection, and if an escalation decides to invade, then they override the protection for that day. In light of that, I'm going to lower the likelihood of being invaded by a neighbor from 90% to 15% (so an Escalation is likely to invade 1-2 hexes each day), and the chances of being invaded by default creatures from 30% to 3% (these don't override protection, but you still don't want a lot of internal invasions to deal with). This only overrides protection given by neighboring allies, so your hexes still aren't vulnerable to Invasions outside your 3-day PvP windows. Also, if your hex becomes unprotected on a given day, it's still unlikely to become unprotected the next day, so this really just opens you up to an occasional Raid, not so much to the possibility of losing the hex.

Update: Edited to clarify that only Escalations override protection, not Invasions by default creatures.
I'll have to do some research to figure out the original intention, and to figure out the best alternative. There's certainly an argument to be made that being allowed to use a different weight of armor still requires that you be skilled at that weight of armor, and that training an armor feat specific to that weight is how you gain that skill. Then again, the armor feats that give you alternate T3 keywords at rank 14 don't require any extra training to take advantage of that flexibility. If both kinds of flexibility are fairly similar, then I'd be tempted to allow armor feats that provide new weight keywords at rank 14 to gate those proficiencies. If weight flexibility is significantly more advantageous than just keyword flexibility, then I'd probably leave things as they are.

I've filed a bug to give this closer consideration when I have a chance.
Would the minimum chance to regenerate remain at 50% even if the current rating was less than zero?

Interestingly, when the rating is below zero, there's actually a 100% chance coded in already. The design always called for getting out of negative numbers pretty quickly, it just wouldn't actually happen much until now.
I've updated the original post to reflect that harvesting will now produce resources for 200 cycles, each cycle lasting about 3-15 seconds depending on tier/upgrade of the Harvesting Kit and tier of the resource being harvested.
Bringslite of Staalgard
Any idea how area effect spells and attacks are going to interact with guards when we are fighting Invaders? The active player base is so small that it is kind of rare to see 3 players from the same company in one group. Many players also run multiple companies and it is kind of hard to fight two battles at the same time.

Guards are apparently very touchy about being damaged, and since they're not members of your party, they're not immune to your AoE damage, or even to direct attacks. If damaged by your AoE or direct attacks, they'll add you to their hate list and strike back, regardless of which company you're a member of. Fortunately, they seem to forget about you pretty quickly when they leash back, so you can probably just run away briefly and be fine again when you come back.

Still, probably best to avoid provoking them until we have a chance to give them a more complex AI.