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#417479 Blog Post - Duende - 3/7/2017

Posted by Duende on 07 March 2017 - 06:51 PM

Hello friends! we're hard at work ramping up for v4.6, which we anticipate will be the reboot after next.

On the horizon we have a number of accessibility changes which will benefit novices, mobile players and the VI alike, such as 'where is', which will function like 'vendor where', but will provide directions to points of interest around towns, such as various types of shopkeepers, healers, the wilds, and more.

One of the large features on the horizon is a significant change to multiclassing, which we want to start discussions about sooner than later. This will not be a terminal change, but will likely represent a new plateau from which we will launch many more balance changes as new ideas, new bugs and potential avenues for imbalance arise.

Currently, multiclassing allows Adventurers to choose one each of a warrior, thief, cleric and mage class before finally becoming an archon. In 4.6, those restrictions will be removed- Adventurers can multiclass from one class type to a class of the same type, or even from one class to the same class. This means you could be a psi/witch/valk/barb, or even a wizard/wizard/wizard/wizard.

Spells currently receive +5 skillpower for each class that receives those skills redundantly- we are currently looking into expanding this bonus to proficiencies as well. This change will cause classes to not just be compared to those of the same type, but to all classes equally. This will likely be the foundation of many interesting discussions.

This feature is currently working on our dev server, and is made more salient with two spells we're playing with which could provide alternate means of curing blind for druids and witches- those spells are life invocation, life evocation, and occult eyes. They are less convenient than the normal cure blind spell, but allow for more interesting and diverse characters even within the normal framework of restricted classpaths.

We will probably examine these classes as we progress into testing these features, but we wanted to let you know as early as we could to anticipate these changes. Some things we are keeping in mind but have not dived into include things like the relative standing of classes such as bard, witch, and monk; providing additional bonuses to races with limited class paths; and providing a free class respec or two to everyone upon 4.6 launch. None of these are more than ideas, but do provide insight into the direction we're heading.

We look forward to hearing your reactions, entertaining your ideas for crazy new classpaths, and thoughts on future class balancing.


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#417367 Old Players

Posted by Balzac on 15 February 2016 - 09:24 PM

I started in 1994, but I haven't been active since 2003 or so... just decided to check this page for the first time in years.
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#417331 An Alyrian All Spirits Eve

Posted by Iyara on 29 October 2015 - 05:00 PM

Greetings, fellow Alyrians!


As the world of Alyria enters the dark half of the year, join the denizens of Sepharia, Beltane, Auryn, and Avros after midday on Friday, October 30th as they celebrate the cycling of the seasons...  See the Druids of Xaventry as they allow their ceremonial solstice ritual to be viewed by outsiders in an extremely rare event...  Guard the land from the evil that seeks to enter when the veil between worlds is thinnest...  And when you're done (if you are still alive), go trick o' treating!


Six armies have invaded our peaceful realm.  The townes of Tellerium, Sigil, Rune, New Rigel, Pirates Cove, Decara have all been affected.  In each towne there is General who, protected by the evil powers he serves, sends his minions to wreak havoc in the land.  You must help destroy these creatures of the dark, and protect our land!  


Ravens fly throughout the realm, carrying messages to the armies.  Kill these dark birds and you will gain information on how to find the Overlord. If you are strong of heart and mind, journey to the Druids and return to them the items needed for their ritual and you will be taken to kill the evil fiend who has masterminded this attack.  The location of their ceremonies each year is secret, but some careful sleuthing should produce results.  


Regardless of your strength or skill, all adventurers are needed!  Journey to the invaded towns to find the evil minions who do not fear you.  Slay them and reap the rewards!


LEVEL GROUP: ARCHONS Located in Decara

LEVEL GROUP: 181-240 Located in Pirates Cove

LEVEL GROUP: 121-180 Located in New Rigel

LEVEL GROUP: 61-120 Located In Rune

LEVEL GROUP: 10-60 Located in Sigil

The All Spirits' Eve Global begins just after midday on Friday, October 30th and will last for seven days. 

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#417573 Old Players

Posted by Kabaal on 18 June 2018 - 02:59 AM

Maybe this game needs a Battle Royale mode.

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#417525 Blog Post - Duende - 8/27/17

Posted by Iyara on 30 August 2017 - 12:19 AM

Hi!  It's been a while since the last blog post, and that's mostly because we've been busy making changes and QAing them.  We recently ran the stats, and since last reboot, we've made and QAed 316(!)  Things.  
According to our changelogs, we've changed 1505 items, 300 of which are entirely new.  
1315 NPCs, 66 of which are new.  
75 skills, 11 of which are new.  
465 rooms changed, 118 of which are new.  
This is in addition to the 640 commits, brought in across 617 reboots.  
There are a lot of huge new changes, including:
* player accounts, which can register alts with, permitting the sharing of accountbound items.  
* archon classes.  
* new multiclassing options, including the ability to make redundant-classtype paths.  
* a new SCC algorithm.  
* the 'run' command, which will permit in-game speedwalks
* towne features, which will show the directions to local utilities such as the armorer, healer and post office in many townes.  
* removing the bazaar from alyria, and making it accessible from 3 different townes' recalls.  
* new stats impacting the damage dealt to and received from different races.  
* a new character creation flow optimized for screen readers.  
* a bunch of new runs, a bunch of changes to old runs, and a bunch of old npcs now categorized as bosses.  
* a bunch of new 'check' subcommands.  
* personal rewardunits, which work just like RU, but can be received for in-game achievements.  
* clan taxes get autopaid.  
* druids and witches get forms of cure blindness.  
* the ability to practice skills to 100%.  
* ...and more.  So, so much more.  
We've been taking signups for testing a handful of these things this coming week, and are eager to let people start checking these things out, both to get a sense of what the new Alyria will look like, and to identify any potential remaining bugs in these things.  With that in mind, we thought we've give everyone a preview of what might be found in the details that we haven't already announced.  
F@#$ bioessentialism
I was reading through some of Vassago's old D&D manuals that he gave me a few years ago, and was struck by how absurdly sexist several of them were.  A few weeks ago, I had a discussion with a novice about gender differences in Alyria and was struck by how many similarly ridiculous things exist here, unexamined for far too long.  With that in mind, in 4.6, women can become cavaliers and men can become valkyries.  We didn't manage to fit in everything we wanted to, so we'll continue making similar changes into the future.  
When you multiclass, whether newclass or respeccing, you can have in your inventory a token of greater multiclassing.  For each such token, you'll be able to multiclass into a class type you've already been-, or even class.  So you can become a valk/witch/psi/wizard- or even a valk/witch/wizard/wizard.  All redundant spells receive bonus skillpower, and now redundant proficiencies do as well.  Between this and the class rebalancing (witches/druids get forms of cure blind; paladins receive less damage; rangers are less thief-y; visualization skill goes away and thieves' primary stat replaces it) we anticipate there being a lot of interesting classpaths opening up, and look forward to what you find out you can do with it.  
Town features will provide directions to a set of important offerings in every town.  There are 22 features available, including lockers, reagents, herbs, the blacksmith, fountains, and more.  'where is' shows the list of features available in the current area; 'where is <feature name>' will provide directions to it.  There is no autowalk option, as that could easily get people into bad situations, but simply having the list and directions available should make novices' lives much easier.  
About a year ago, we went to go tweak how SCC is calculated- and reduced it far too much, necessitating a free-20 SCC bandaid.  The tweaks will be finalized by 4.6, and it's currently looking like path to SCC will involve class stats, maxxed class stats, class stats above 22, level and more.  This isn't necessarily interesting in and of itself, but is currently the testbed upon which we're playing with automated testing tools.  We're procedurally generating hundreds of characters, and are running the numbers across the board to verify that everything looks right before release.  
Player accounts
We don't have a ton of changes made for this, but in 4.6 you will be able to register your alts to your account.  This will simplify things such as rediscovering and recovering your alts and their passwords, and provide access to accountbound items.  Any items with the 'accountbound' flag will be able to be shared, equipped and used by all characters on the same account- even if the items are bound.  Currently, this describes neverwhen items, but we're exploring more content to add to that list.  It should go without saying, but when accounts are available, do not add as alts anyone that isn't actually your alt.  There is no way of removing a character from account without deleting them.  
Each of the three archon classes will be made available by completing a quest chain for a special questmaster.  These questmasters are available in the FP, the Underground and Sepharia.  In addition, there is a new quest chain granted by a special QM in the Proving Grounds, who grants quests to 240-241s, with problems, solutions and bonuses to be had within PG and the Domain of Arbaces.  
As you can tell, we've been hard at work and are thrilled to be able to show off what we're working on, and sliding into the final phase before reboot.  We hope to have 4.6 ready in the first half of September, and likely another blog post before then as well.  

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#417520 Old Players

Posted by Elaqondu on 12 August 2017 - 01:58 PM

getting older by the minute....

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#417511 Blog Post - Duende - 5/11/17

Posted by Zaergo on 26 July 2017 - 06:12 PM

I apologize if any of the following language is offensive or ill-received, I kind of put my heart out here without a filter.


While I believe more options for collecting betters is great, it is a huge disappointment to those players like me that appreciate a challenge. One of the few major elements that brought me back to this game was the fact that you had to improve through hard work, diligence and training. A handful of practices to circumvent the raw time and power required to reach a new level of mastery of a skill or spell is an insult to those like me who take pride in our efforts. Also, mastery of a skill or spell is a complete, pure representation of the word itself: mastery. You can't become even similar to a master chef by giving the cooking professor money, so why would you in the world of Alyria? I suggest re-envisioning the thought, perhaps these tokens bind-on-take and could be used to move skills/spells up to 99%, one better at a time. These tokens could be acquired through more reasonable means, such as the slaying of creatures (scatter) or on bosses perhaps. In summary, 7x pracs to move from 75 to 85 is far too little.  Paying gold to become better at a skill or spell is ludicrous. Allowing people to arbitrarily master something that they potentially have never even used is inane. This change will greatly alter the effectiveness of certain, well-defined elements of the game, such as memory drain and further devalue simple game play.

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#417491 Ranger Travels - class quest phase

Posted by Xysa on 06 April 2017 - 04:43 PM

The Leaf Pouch of Acid has now been added to the items you can buy from Pyrian in Sigil.


Thanks Duende :)

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#417484 container help please...

Posted by Iyara on 24 March 2017 - 08:14 PM

you would type: get torch 2.pack

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#417475 I'm new

Posted by Iyara on 22 January 2017 - 03:27 PM

Quite a bit of new content has been added in the last few years, including a rather extensive third class quest chain and mini just recently.

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#417454 Suggestion for a client installation guide

Posted by Iyara on 18 November 2016 - 09:18 AM

The MUSHclient bundle IS our responsibility, so we are interested in any problems you have found.  


There shouldn't be any hoops to jump through getting it to work--the process should just be: download the zip, unzip, run the .exe, and it starts up with the basics already loaded. If there have been updates since the package was posted, you are prompted to run the updater.


I'm happy to try to help people get problems sorted out. You can ask here, or email me if that's easier.



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#417449 Old Players

Posted by Katran on 06 November 2016 - 02:47 AM

Rude. :(

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#417448 Faster, Cheaper Method of Transportation

Posted by Katran on 05 November 2016 - 01:47 PM

Echo everything Shinde said.


Transportation is fine. The world is big. It's not supposed to be easy to get everywhere you need to go for your quest. And things will get easier as your character gains levels, of course.

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#417438 We need a proper classpath guide

Posted by Kurdock on 04 October 2016 - 07:09 AM


On that note, what are your thoughts on:

Half-Elf Bard-Barbarian-Monk-Druid (in that order)?

- Bard seems like a great first class with access to plenty of cool spells + decent melee skills like backstab + acrobatics and dodge

- A fighter class is very important before moving on to 3rd/4th class, due to second/third attack, enhanced damage etc

- I heard monk/druid is a very good combination?

- Half-Elf has no vulnerabilities and pretty decent stats. However I see Sidhe is mentioned more often for this path? Which would be better?

However, I also heard that bards are a bad first class. Why is this so? Does it greatly affect my character if I play a first class Bard? Would it be better in the long term to start as, say, a Barbarian/Monk?
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#417427 Materia Magica Promotions?

Posted by Ehlaelt on 15 September 2016 - 05:19 AM

They trying...  from last news they were on PAX and got article on VICE . Not sure about the outcome tho.. Some games actualy charging extra for VIP worlds with less players so you may consider it as benefit :D


I think that making some cool bussiness cards with braille and distribute them to kids at school / dedicated places where VIs are meeting could be good idea too..


Anyway by doing your daily votes you can help a lot 


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#417425 Materia Magica Promotions?

Posted by Kurdock on 01 September 2016 - 03:18 AM

Hey guys, so I'm rather new around here, but I noticed that despite MM's various features and super interesting quests, our actual number of active players (that is, excluding those on 'social' on WHO) is rather small.

Really, I think there are plenty of people who would enjoy MM. You can level up quickly just by doing quests and gaining Marks, or if you're more of a hack-and-slash person then you can also just grind your way to success. There are also clans, player housing and player shops, PK, a well-built economy system, lots of original areas as well as support for visually impaired players. There's also a 148-page long Adventurers Guide which I have found to be very interesting.

I think one of the reasons for our low-ish playerbase is the lack of proper promotions. Literally, the first thing that appears on a Google Search for 'Materia Magica Top Mud Sites' is that very famous 200k views TMS post titled 'DO NOT PLAY MATERIA MAGICA', and other smaller MM promotional posts fail to actually describe the amount of depth there is here.

So guys, it would be great if more promotions were done to show the mudding world that Materia Magica isn't 'just' another generic mud. Its a custom codebase after all!
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#417415 Dang, what happened to MM!?

Posted by Ithilwen on 16 June 2016 - 02:47 PM

Just gotta say Beefking, people are still playing, and some of those people (me) would love to see you around again. It's so nice to 'see' you, so I hope to catch you in game sometime! 

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#417396 Old Players

Posted by Niax on 19 March 2016 - 07:43 AM

i'm around. just not as Niax. (sort of, just returned... again)

  • Eledar likes this

#417360 Old Players

Posted by Katran on 05 February 2016 - 12:38 AM

oh damn, I've been here for almost 16 years. x_X

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#417317 Blog? Entry - Duende - 8/29/15

Posted by Duende on 29 August 2015 - 11:53 AM

It's been a while since we've had a proper update. Almost 3 months, in fact. There are good reasons for that, which I'll get to, but first, what is this?

We have the changelog, which is great...ish at what it does, but that doesn't really cover all of the relevant use cases for communicating with the playerbase. Hey, that's you guys! Ordinarily, this sort of thing might go on the website, but the website had some protracted downtime, and we're still in the slow, laborious process of getting it up to speed. Until such time, I/we/the other imms will be tossing out periodic updates via the news. I had considered making a new parallel system specifically for this, BLOG or something, but it wasn't going to be worth the effort to differentiate itself, and I didn't feel like waiting for a reboot. So this is a news. It's not news in the standard sense- it's not announcing anything new, no globals, no new mechanics, so you can absolutely skip this if you want. This will likely be long, but future ones will likely be shorter, per increased frequency (more than one ever).

We're working on stuff. It's large, complicated, time-consuming, ferociously difficult to QA, and utterly gamefucking if done wrong at any level. So, we're currently at ~3ish months without a proper reboot.


I promise the outcome will be worth it. We're frantically trying to pin it down so we can reboot, but we have to do it correctly, and both Iyara, who's our primary QA/point person and I are in the middle of vacation/conference season, so it's not always convenient for us to touch base, be on at the same time to discuss things, or work on things together. We should be done with our respective times off in the next two weeks or so, and then we'll be back to our normal levels of productivity. Hopefully that means an imminent reboot, but that assertion is so fraught with peril that I don't even like writing it down.

A little background:

The game is written in C; most of our data is stored in flat files, which means it's mostly human-readable, and the code parses those files and dumps them into RAM at reboot. Most of the rest of the data is stored in SQL, which is basically the same procedure, except we do a 'select * from table'instead of 'fopen()'.

The remainder of the data, which is stored in neither flat files nor SQL, is the player data. The player data save file is (probably? I don't know, the core game stuff goes back to 1993 or something. Our version control history goes back to 2006. The game transitioned from 3.21 to 4.0 in January, 2001.) probably one of the oldest parts of the game. As such, per early-90s coding standards and practices, the player data file is a 4-gig binary file, which means it's highly compressed and unreadable except within the context of the game. We have 2-ish main game servers, live (Where you are) and dev (where we work and QA things, to verify it's stable and functional enough to release to live). Dev has more debug and such running, which introduces overhead, and live has a vastly larger player database. Everything else is identical, and despite dev being on a server with significantly worse specs, and larger overhead, it reboots in 1/4 of the time that live does, sheerly because of the expense of loading the entire player database into memory before it can start. Unfortunately, due to the way the existing mechanism is structured, there's no way of loading it piecemeal or on demand. It's slow and bulky, and there's no good way of making it not be so.

The killer aspect of the player db, however, is that each player 'file'(really, more an allocation of space within the larger player file) has a set length. The structure of each character is defined and accounted for down to the per-ASCII character level. In its current state, each character occupies exactly 87688 bytes of hard drive space during reboots, and 87688 bytes of memory when the game is running. This is not trivial- The first character that exists in the database (Vassago) occupies the 1st to 87688th bytes in that player database- the second character created occupies bytes 87689 through 175376, and so on. Each character's total existence is contained within the 87688 bytes following the [# of pre-existing players at their creation * 87688]th. Perhaps you've guessed what this means- It is impossible to add any kind of new information to characters without completely rewriting the player database.


This is not a trivial matter. I've been working on this problem since at least 2011- The game's code is littered with comments about (TODO: This works this way for now, but it would be cool to add feature X after we upgrade the player db). This migration requires rewriting all references to all data structures that reference 'players' (which also technically includes NPCs), writing a migration process, QAing the hell out of it, and then doing so. This process has occurred exactly twice in the 20 years the game has existed, and you can imagine why.

However, I'm currently working on some stuff that will make this more feasible in the future. That's where June, July and the first bit of my August went. There's too much cool stuff I want to add that I can't until this happens- new spells grantable to players, more notify slots, more ignore slots, affects being aware of the skillpower used to cast them and who cast them, and dozens of more such things. I'm excited enough about this that I've learned a few new languages and core technologies to facilitate it. Now that you know where my time's gone, you can be too!

The downside is, because I'm massively overhauling how all of the game code is organized, this work can't be done piecemeal- I'm ripping everything out by its roots, replacing it wholesale, and until that multi-month process is done, nothing else can even be accomplished. The first step was testing the baseline on dev- this resulted in dev being down for 5 weeks. The good news is, it's nearly done.

We're now at the point where dev is up and working and everything is back to normal. Things load on reboots, meaning the universe exists, and save between reboots, meaning the universe continues to exist. Never take this for granted. The next step is to create a new clone of live, perform the same process to live that I did to dev, and then make sure live works. For bad reasons, the way that live is organized is completely different from how dev is organized, so live-clone won't work for a while. But it'll get better.

Once we've verified that the dev -> live-clone process works, then we can port that to the real live server, take the server down for a while (hour(s)?) And when we come back nothing will look like it's changed, despite everything being completely different. Changes that players are explicitly supposed to not notice can be tricky to communicate.

System Upgrades!

We receive a lot of benefits from these changes. Instead of propagating changes via janky shell scripts between servers, which has occasionally caused significant loss of code progress, everything is now handled via git. This has tremendous positive implications. All of the shell scripts have been rewritten in Python, which means they're both maintainable by people other than me (barely) and are significantly faster. While I was in there, I fixed big chunks of infrastructure code that had been broken for decades, which doesn't have any meaningful implications for you guys, but will save me a lot of time and make rebooting much less anxiety-causing.

Imms work!

When I returned about 15 months ago, post-ownership change -> Hez+Kayde, I found that a bunch of the existing systems we'd been used had been abandoned or destroyed, either because they wanted to do something different, or as part of their destroy-all-game-data-and-the-game plot. This tabula rasa was a great opportunity, and we've run with it. We now use Trello boards for tracking issues and our respective progress on them, which has given us the ability to do proper QA for the first time in the game's history. This is fantastic. We use Slack daily, and voice chat on Mumble a few times a week, while almost entirely abandoning email for our internal communication. Slack is a very cool tool, and has tons of hooks and interplay with other tools. One of the coolest things is bots; it allows for blind CURLs, so any system which is capable of sending web requests can send data to/from slack. Not only are we informed when something happens in github/trello, i spent a few hours tossing together an asychronous multithreaded curl library for the game, so we also are alerted in Slack whenever the game crashes, starts compiling, is ready to accept connections, or whenever a script we're monitoring is interacted with by a player in the game. Every time someone gives the romantic a manual, it shows up in our Slack. This system works pretty well, so I'm considering adding new input channels for pray, novice, etc. All of this is possible due to recent infrastructure upgrades. Ideally, the next would be overhauling the much-hated helpdesk system and fixing all of the donation automation. Each piece builds off of the pieces laid before it, even if they don't necessarily seem related. It's tremendously boosted both our productivity, and honestly, morale- it's great no longer being constrained by ancient, poorly designed systems.

Other stuff

There's... A lot of other stuff. While we wait for each other, we work on little side projects which are ideally small enough to not occupy very many QA resources. These are smaller things, like new items or bosses- potentially perilous, but not capable of crashing the game or wiping the player database or anything so terrifying. Keep in mind, this information channel is not the changelog, meaning they're not qaed, and therefore not guaranteed to be in for reboot, or necessarily ever:

- I started poking around personal mounts again. Apparently I wrote almost all of the infrastructure to permit them to level, didn't finish it, and then forgot about it. Still working on that.

- All of the mayor stuff is somewhere between 'funky' and 'totally broken', so I came up with a plan to overhaul it, which should make it cooler, more interesting, streamlined, and way less buggy. I spent 2 hours writing new code, and then lost it on the plane because I somehow forgot to save my work. Annoying, but cool enough to suffer repeating the work very soon.

- Overhauled totems. Most sucked, and specifically weren't activating anywhere near frequently enough. Coyotes are cooler now.

- Added a dumb little mini to allow orc pursuer quests to be intentionally failed so another can be obtained. Time to start boning up on your orcish linguistics notes!

- Started working on a new mini in an abandoned clanhall, with some neat mechanics. It's really fun, but it's time consuming to make and will be weird to QA, so it probably won't make it in short-term.

- Decided that low level gameplay could use some sprucing up in general and be made more interesting + appealing to people that haven't spent the time necessary to find all the awesome archon content. This is kind of two-fold in related ways: All of the classes that had non-exclusive class-specific weapons got new class-specific weapons. For example, Rogue, Bard and Psionic all were encouraged to use Dagger, so i removed the (boring) dagger bonuses from Bard and Psi, and now their encouraged weapons are Hook and Whip, respectively. To make this more fun and engaging, I ran the numbers on various weapons and filled in the gaps for all affected weapons, so all weapons that classes are encouraged to learn should have a new, readily available weapon every ~11 levels, with interesting powers and scripts. I'm pretty excited by this. Shamans get mauls! We have 20 special new mauls!


Stuff is coming. You won't notice most of it, and it's not so much 'changes' as it is 'catalysts'. The new changes that they'll enable are going to be fantastic. I've also tossed in some bones, like fixing the third defense bug and researching the quest-assignment oddness, because you guys have been waiting a long time and I appreciate your patience. This is the first of hopefully many, hopefully consistent updates that aren't strictly limited to gameplay changes. Thanks for reading.
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