We're getting closer to 4.6 and a decent chunk of changes have made their way through QA, which means we finally get to talk about them.
Betters are neither going away nor changing in 4.6. You will continue getting betters at the same rates, and the same goes for manuals, skill-rewarding marks, etc. However, betters can take a back seat in some regards, because now you're getting more alternatives.
At various (many, all?) Times in the past, we've had assorted issues with botting, uneven rules enforcement and cheat detection, etc. Many of these issues stemmed from the distinct benefits of mastering skills; all skill usage is metered by how learned at a skill you are, and the difference of your knowledge vs your opponent's, in combat. Memorization limits can be stretched or broken, and more. This has compounding effects on the game, as many reasonable mechanics are discarded to provide benefits that were disproportionately beneficial 15 years ago and have not diminished in the intervening time.
Many people have botted in order to gain the strong benefits granted by mastery, and many more have botted in order to compete with everyone else who botted. All botters, when caught, suffered serious penalties. Offenders were watched and had all skills botted reduced to 75%; repeat offenders had them reduced to 1%. Those who have never botted are at a significant disadvantage, and those who managed to evade detection are at a very significant advantage.
This is a bad place to be in, so we're planning on fixing it. Moderation is the key; given the strength of spells like Memory Drain, it's reasonable to want to have cure blindness mastered, or heal, or your favorite weapon. To facilitate that, we're permitting mastery through non-combat means.
In 4.6, 75% is no longer the maximum amount that skills can be practiced to. Practicing skills up to 75% will be the same; however, you can now practice all skills up to 99%, with progressively greater, cumulative costs. For the sake of clarity, this explanation will exclude skills that could always be practiced to 100%, like riding and scan. All skills practiced above 75% will cost 7x as many practices. Above 85%, each skill will also cost 50k gold to practice. Above 90%, a velocity token will be added to the cost, and above 95%, you will need a new item, a Token from Glacius. These tokens are granted upon multiclassing (5 each), 1 for each archon level, and 2 for every 5th archon level.
This is an experiment, and we'll see how it pans out- tokens will be granted retroactively, and we're open to making more Glacius tokens available other ways if the number available is insufficient. The number is low enough to not permit mastering a ton of things, but high enough that crucial spells can be mastered as necessary. We look forward to feedback, and figuring out how this feature might change before or after launch.
At the far end of the Southwestern Passage in Oceanus Decarus, there is a pirate hangout, the Chattering Skull tavern. A new shipwright has been accessed there, who will sell a new ship upgrade: houseboats! Dreadnoughts and super dreadnoughts can be outfitted with living quarters which will allow captains to use their ship as a recall point. Wherever the ship is, captains can recall there, as easily and frequently as they would a regular home. The accommodations are expensive in terms of space- more space is allocated for living quarters, permitting 10% more crewmembers to staff the ship, but at the cost of 30% of the maximum weight and item capacity hauled.
Due to the power conferred by a mobile home which can navigated around the wilds, this comes with the restriction of only one such accommodation being purchased per Adventurer. This is a long-requested feature, and we're happy to get to finally provide it.
We have more, equally significant additions making their way out of QA, counting down until we get to reboot and show off all of your new toys. As always, let us know if you have any feedback, questions or other thoughts.