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Darkrasp

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About Darkrasp

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  1. Coward.
  2. When I was just a raider, I'd make sure I had my consumables for the night, and then typically hang out near the front of Blackrock Mountain with a whole pack of friends and guildmates killing any horde who came in. We didn't need world buffs to progress so we didn't bother getting them, instead we just laughed at how much fun it was to kill the people who did and sabotage them. The most fun was catching <Bedlam> or <Blackdawn> trying to zone out of Blackrock Spire with the fire resist buff for Ragnaros or Vael and nuking them before they even got control of their characters. We probably set their progress back weeks just by doing that over and over until they gave up and logged out. We still did this even on nights when we weren't going to run MC or BWL because it was the most fun part of a PvP server. When I was raid leading.. I made sure I had my consumables for the night, then got my teeth grinding apparatus in position and started invites. Raid leading is an exercise in frustration when things are rough, but it is also unquestionably the most rewarding position when things go well.
  3. Human is best. I always root for the good guys. Yeah, not all humans are good guys, but the best guys are all humans. Dwarves and Tauren make up the second tier. Dwarves are like short humans, and Tauren are like the Horde version of an Alliance race. In both cases, generally amiable and honorable peoples. Orcs and Gnomes probably third tier. Don't particularly like or hate either one, as long as I don't have to hear the gnomes talking. Male gnome is right up there with troll for worst voicing in the game. Night elves and Undead fourth tier. Not a fan of the NE models at all. Dunno why, just seems like a goofy looking version of a human. Forsaken are alright looking but they are the bad guys in the WoW lore. No disputing that, they go so far as to attack and murder their own allies every chance they get. I don't like that. Trolls last. Hideous models, horrible voicing. The faux-Jamaican accent is just embarrassing. For expansion races, I'd probably put Worgen and Blood Elves (more for the aesthetic of their gear and cities/zones than their models, though they are better than the Night Elf models) into the second tier. Goblins and Draenei in the middle tier. Pandas in the 5th tier with Trolls because they're stupid. NPC races.. I dunno. Naga are pretty cool, I'd put them in the second tier as well just for the aesthetic. Gnolls, Murlocs, Quilboar.. probably all fourth tier. Troggs would go down with the Trolls and Pandaren, probably Harpies too. Can't think of anything else atm.
  4. My understanding is that Staff will have their names and obvious alternate spellings of their names reserved, this is to help prevent people from maliciously impersonating staff in an attempt to phish account information, or to besmirch the reputation of team members. Aside from that are no current plans to reserve any names.
  5. Main focus is classes, but a little bit of everything is being reported and addressed.
  6. I couldn't give a realistic estimate for open beta or release. It's also just a bad idea to make any estimate because it inevitably gets held against us, and we don't want the pressure. Suffice to say we are making good progress, haven't hit any major technical snags, and are still on track for a release this year.
  7. A lot of content changed, but the underlying mechanics are still the same in most cases. We've been building the emulator all along with an eye towards progression, so we can pretty easily convert back and forth between the two where changes are necessary.
  8. Yes and no. We don't intend to fully prepare TBC for launch before starting Vanilla, but we do want to keep it current with fixes we write and systems we prepare for Vanilla. The DBC loader, for example, is going to be used for every expansion, so it makes sense to port it forward into the TBC core immediately. For lack of a better way of describing it, it's just easier to add pieces of functionality into both Vanilla and TBC one at a time, rather than do a hundred pieces of Vanilla and then try to port all of them forward. We aren't going to bother much with TBC scripting for any content past Hellfire Peninsula until after the Vanilla realm launches, but we want to keep our TBC core functional, playable, and current with the latest fixes as we go along. It's also just a nice change of pace to work on something fresh every so often, and keeps us busy and productive when we're bored of working on Vanilla for a while, or in my case, when I'm stuck on a coding problem I lack the expertise to resolve, and Asura is too busy to deal with it immediately.
  9. Good afternoon, Happy first day of Spring to my fellow northerners! Also, if you're in North America, happy free DQ ice cream day. Time for a quick development recap for the last couple weeks. We've been plugging along and continuing progress, though it's been hampered somewhat by an extremely busy IRL for most of the staff. Asura is under a heavy workload and has been working extra hours every day at his job. I had a death in the family just a couple days ago and have had to divert a bunch of my time since to helping out with related arrangements. Nonetheless, we're still putting a lot of our spare time into development and things are moving along. It's worth noting again that we are developing TBC simultaneously with Vanilla. This is paying off in a few ways because we're identifying certain limitations of our scripting engine, loot engine, etc. that we need updated for TBC, but when we backport those changes to the Vanilla emulator, allow us to do some things in a much more efficient and authentic manner. Once we got the realm stabilized after the DBC changes, Asura started doing a few test scripts before we start handing out the Lua API to scripters. He identified a fairly straightforward way to vastly improve the SQL script engine using Conditions. I think I'll explain that in a little more depth. Our core supports scripting in three different languages, each has their own pros and cons. The core is written in C++, and we can write scripts in C++ as well. These scripts have the advantage of being able to call tons of different functions from all over the core. They're incredibly flexible and powerful, and we can do pretty much anything we want with them. However, anyone scripting in C++ would need core access in order to test their code (it has to be compiled with the new scripts), and we don't really want to give out core access. For that reason, we have very little scripted in C++ anymore. Lua scripts are the next level down. Each Lua command is "linked" to a C++ function that exists in the core, so you can call that function without actually needing access to the core code. I'm perhaps oversimplifying this, I hope that any experienced developer reading this will forgive me, but these updates are for mass consumption. Scripters upload their test scripts via FTP, and then the realm just gets a simple reboot, no recompile required. It's been developed to a point where is is nearly as flexible as C++ scripting, and we can always add functionality where necessary. SQL is database language. In this case, you're just populating a table with data, and the core knows how to deal with that data. The benefit to this over Lua is that it is extremely efficient, but it's not as flexible (yet). We originally started off with SQL scripting only for creature spells, using an updated version of an old Ascent system called AI Agents. So you'd load in a line with the creature ID, the spell ID, and a handful of parameters like maximum range, cooldown time, etc., and the core would process it and the mob starts casting the spells. We expanded that to include events.. in the first case, it was either a spell or an emote that would be triggered by a single condition, such as reaching half health, starting combat, or killing a player. After that, the SQL got expanded again, so that the events could trigger more than just a spellcast or an emote, but movement, phase changes, sounds, model changes, faction changes, etc. There's a list of 26 different actions now that can be triggered by any one of 24 different events. What's been happening most recently is Asura has implemented event conditions, so that now those triggering events can be conditional. For example, one of the events that can trigger an action is AI_EVENT_COMBAT_DAMAGE, which is called when the unit takes damage from any source during combat. With conditions, we can now make it so that it only triggers if that damage is from a specific spell school, or uses a specific spell effect (ie. Stun). This most recent functionality updating came from some preparatory work on Hellfire Peninsula, where there is a voidwalker mob that changes it's phase depending on the spell school it is first hit with. If you hit it with a fire spell first, it will become highly fire resistant and start throwing out fire spells. A common strategy was to hit it with a wand of another element first, then use your primary element. In any case, we realized we had no method of handling this dynamically, and so it was implemented by Asura over the course of a couple days. I've mentioned before that we have the flexibility to implement new functionality as necessary, and there's an example. When backported to Vanilla, this allows us to properly script the slimes that share this property.. I believe they are Evolving Ectoplasms, among with a bunch of other things. Conditions for power checking, aura checking, etc. will allow us to handle some of the more complex encounters like Obsidian Nullifiers without having to resort to hacky, unstable workarounds. When this is finished and tested, we'll have a few of our scripting volunteers give it a shot and get their feedback before we release the scripting API to the public and invite everyone who volunteered to contribute as they wish. We're also putting the finishing touches on a new Reputation/Faction system that's much cleaner and more efficient than the old one. Again, so that it better integrates with the scripting system for handling more complex quests and events. There has been a bunch going on but a lot of it is minutia not really worth rhyming off here, suffice to say all the work we've been doing most recently has been focused on getting things ready for scripting, and that's finally tapering off as well. While waiting for these changes to get finalized and pushed to the Beta realm, several of the testers have been assisting with math research, formula derivations, and the tedious drudgework of loot research and preparation for TBC. I'd like to acknowledge the efforts of Nogar in particular because he's been helping out with some of the more tedious work with TBC loot preparation. Alright, so enough technical stuff. A few pieces of errata to cover quickly: Our Beta realm is currently down for updates, once it is back online, we will be bringing in another pack of beta testers. They've already been selected and notified. We're pleased to welcome Chickengrease, Cornholi, Cragus, Cruzix, Ghostly, Indi, Nogar, Soulson, Soyoen, sQweegle, Roadblock, Wolfrig and Yavannie. I think that's everyone, if I left someone out, I apologize. We're also very happy to welcome Outstanding to the staff as a CM and go-between. He's been invaluable as a community member for pointing out things that needed addressing, and being a touchstone for predicting community reaction to different ideas and suggestions we've had. We're pleased to make his role as the server's conscience official. Okay, that's all for now. My next update will be Monday, April 3rd. As always, feel free to ask questions or leave comments below. Talk to you soon, and thanks again for your continued interest in Crestfall.
  10. Good evening, Okay, it's been a while since my last blog post. I think the last official update is a fairly decent summation of what's happened. I would like to say that none of that caused any delays, but that's obviously untrue. Still, we've been working and a lot of stuff is getting done. The most annoying delay came around the time we gave up on the LGN. I don't know if I'm supposed to be talking about this, but I think full disclosure is important. If you followed the drama at all, there was a lot leaking out of Elysium/LGN staff chats. There was some discussion amongst the admin staff about how to identify the source of the leak, and the solution decided upon was to create some documentation and distribute it to everyone who was in the general staff chat. Each document would be very slightly altered, in a unique way, so that if the document were leaked, it would be possible to trace it back to the originator. Unfortunately, it looks like the person responsible for producing them may have been, in true "The Departed" fashion, the leaker in the first place, and they may have embedded some malicious software into the document (a PDF file of supposed meeting minutes). There was at least reason to believe the files contained a RAT. Keeping with the doctrine of "better safe than sorry", everyone on the Crestfall staff who received the file wiped our computers and reinstalled as a precaution, which obviously is a good chunk of time lost. Security on our repository, personal machines, and critical assets was also altered and augmented once again, Crogge also included additional high-level security functions and 2FA in the places we didn't already have it. I believe it's safe to say that our code was untouched, otherwise it's likely that it would have been included in the source leak that occurred last week, and despite the annoyance, everyone learned a valuable lesson in internet security. We also had a problem with the host for our repository having two of the three hard drives in the storage RAID failing, and then trying to sell us insurance instead of fixing it. After a number of angry phone calls and several days of delay, we finally have a repository again. No data loss, we back everything up in multiple locations, but more wasted time. To prevent this going forward, Crogge implemented some hot-spare drives to the new RAID which take over automatically if one of the drives fails. Basically, the last three weeks have been a living hell. From the hardware issues, to reinstall issues, to the PR disasterpiece theatre that was the LGN. Being able to put all that behind us is a relief beyond my ability to express. Now, that all sounds rather grisly, but despite all that, we've still got a lot done. After my last update I was mostly clearing smaller bugs off the tracker, until things went completely crazy and I lost my access to the core. I do have it back now, but I just got it a couple days ago, so I've been pushing out database work, and started assembling loot tables and writing NPC script for Burning Crusade content, since that's all work that needs doing and I don't need core access for that. Soulson has been a huge help and has helped convert a ton of open-source creature AI into a format compatible with our AI engine. Saves a couple dozen hours of manual labor. We'll still have to go through the data and check everything over, but it's much faster than manually writing out hundreds of lines of SQL. We've also been collaborating on some pretty intense mathematical research. Soulson, Roadblock, sQweegle and either Cruzix or Cragus (sorry, I mix you guys up) were doing regressions and other mathematical techniques only people who stuck with math for longer than I did in college understand. They worked out the Blizzlike formulae for a number of things that until now had just been approximations or estimates. We'll be implementing those new formulae into the core code, and it should give us some great improvements in content accuracy. As I mentioned, I started poking away at loot for TBC. It's vastly simpler than Vanilla, which is nice. Still a lot of work, but it's nothing compared to Vanilla because the level range is so much lower. Instead of having like 10 templates just for raptor junk, no creature type has more than two junk templates. There's only one new tier of potion, one new tier of scroll, etc. etc. Quest items and tradeskill items will still be a bit of a bitch, but again, compared to Vanilla it's a dream. Hey, why all this talk about TBC? Why aren't you working on Vanilla? Again, it was largely just a time killer while I was waiting to get core access back, but getting HFP scripted and loot assigned gets us in a position where Legacy Crusade (Crogge's upcoming TBC-only realm, which will use the TBC version of the Benediction emulator. For more information, you can join the Legacy Crusade Discord and/or forums) can finally get into Alpha testing, and we can be more prepared for our own PTE experience. It's also nice to work on something different for a change, and after working exclusively with the Vanilla spell system for.. well, as long as I've been in emulation, it's interesting to script TBC content and get a feel for the differences. Also, Asura has been porting up fixes from the Vanilla version of Benediction to the TBC version, including a new DBC handler he wrote. It's important to merge those fixes up every so often so that the TBC branch doesn't fall too far behind - the longer you wait, the more difficult and complicated it is to merge. So, Asura has been working on all kinds of stuff. He fixed most of the reported bugs with Paladins and Warriors that are beyond my ability, found and fixed an issue with spellpower coefficients, identified an issue with creature AI that Drzej is fixing, wrote this fancy new DBC handler (he explained it to me, but I don't completely understand it, and so I forgot most of what he said. What I got out of it is that this new way is much faster and leaner than the old way). He's been working on refactoring the old Spell code to have a cleaner and more modern approach, taking advantages of changes in the programming language. The Spell System is a terrifying chunk of code because bloody everything is tied into it. It's not something where you can just change one thing, because five other things are always connected to it. It's largely old Ascent code, the biggest chunk remaining that hasn't already been wiped and re-written. I don't think we're going for a re-write at this point, it's just too much of an undertaking and would undermine a lot of the work we've done so far, so instead we're compromising on a thorough modernization of the existing code. Gorbulas and Daribon continue with database work, and Rodeg has picked away at a few things, though he is very busy IRL with school and so doesn't have much time atm. So yeah. It's been an interesting few weeks. Things are settling down, we're getting back into the swing of things and hammering out code every day. Within the next few days, we'll be roughly doubling our pool of beta testers, and really start pushing content out. We're finally getting close to the point where we can start giving reasonable timeframe estimates for task completion. Never thought I'd be able to say that, but there it is. I want to personally thank everyone who stuck with us through all the drama of the last month or so. I know it's been rough on you, it's certainly been rough on us. We're glad that things have quieted down and gotten back to a sense of normalcy. We look forward to sharing our progress with you. I would also like to reiterate that we don't want members of our community attacking other projects. While the LGN idea failed, even if we can't work together, we still believe that private servers and their communities attacking each other doesn't help either. That's all for now. My next update will be on Monday, March 20th. As always, feel free to leave questions or comments below. Talk to you soon, and thanks for your continued interest in Crestfall.
  11. Yeah, this is unfortunately not actual Beta footage. 5/7 for effort though.
  12. Question and Answer I'll be answering questions that come up as a result of the post here. Q) Do I need to keep the Crestfall Discord active? A) Public channels will be muted and/or removed, so there won't be any general conversation there. However, we will keep the server running for future voice Q&A events or in order to contact volunteers who provided no other contact venue. For volunteer scripters, you can idle in the existing Discord if you don't mind that, but you can also PM me on Discord (or here) and I can add you to my personal contact list, or if you prefer, you can provide me with your forum account or email address if those are your preferred contact methods. Q) What level of transparency do you intend to have among staff members? A) We are going to have to investigate potential new staff members' past history with regards to private servers. I don't want to explain in detail here exactly how we will go about that since that would make it easier for someone dishonest to conceal any history of wrongdoing. We will not require them, however, to give us their personal information (ie. full name, location, etc.). In any case, new members would obviously join with limited access and responsibilities, and work under the direct supervision of the relevant department lead. The "old guard" of Crestfall's staff mostly know each other by name, but we have been together a long time and have a well-established trust and friendship between us. New members obviously won't have that kind of camaraderie, though we certainly hope to build friendships and a mutual respect with everyone who joins the team. Q) Will battlegrounds be linked if you eventually open more than one server? A) It's something that is technically possible but a great deal of work. We'll avoid it if we can, but if queue times or queue dodging are judged to be a serious enough problem, we can work on the implementation of cross-realm battlegrounds. I won't get into the technical details of this, but suffice to say it is quite complex. Some of the work for it has already been done, so we know it is possible, and we know how to do it, it's just low priority at the moment. Q) Assuming there only is one failing PVP and one failing PVE realm, which way would the merger go if the cash flow isn't great enough? A) We will consult with the community before any mergers to get some input on how they would prefer things to be handled. In other words, it will depend on the situation at the time, and isn't really possible to answer now. I would expect that the smaller realm being merged into the larger realm would be the most likely outcome, but again, it depends. One thing, we are investigating the feasibility of making it so that when you create a character, that name is then reserved across all realms. There's a bit of a technical challenge to this, but it would remove the worry about naming priority and who is forced to change names in the event of a conflict caused by a merger. No promises on this one, it's just an idea at this point, but it seemed relevant so I thought I would share it. Q) Will it be possible to transfer characters from Elysium to Crestfall? A) No. We no longer have any affiliation with the Elysium project. Q) Will Maraudon be available at launch? A) This isn't 100% guaranteed, but the idea is yes, we would like it to be available at launch. It makes more sense to have it available for levelling. Q) Will it be possible to transfer characters to Burning Crusade below level 60? A) Good question. We haven't really talked about this. I would think that you could flag a character of any level for transfer, it's certainly closer to Blizzlike. We'll discuss this internally and see if there are any problems that this creates, but I can't think of anything major offhand. Forcing players to level 1-58 on the Vanilla realms would certainly keep them more populated, but it causes issues with bank alts etc. that I would rather avoid. We'll address this with more finality later. Q) Where is the website? A) Our initial plan was to have a Wordpress site linking to the forums. Audio created a gorgeous one, but due to the amount of attacks going on we sidelined it due to some inherent weaknesses in that format. Our web team is slowly putting together a few things for some new web content. Soon(tm).
  13. Good afternoon, As most of you are well aware, the last couple weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. We think the idea behind the LGN was a noble one, or at least, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but later events and revelations showed we had made some poor choices. Things didn't turn out the way we had planned or hoped; we're a little disappointed, and to the community members we offended or let down, we're very sorry. We want to assure you, that's over now: we're still working, still engaged, and excited for the future of Crestfall. First, I have to address the major changes we intend to make going forward. We were unprepared for the level of scrutiny and personal privacy invasion that accompanied the most recent dramatic outburst, and for a time did strongly consider cancelling the project entirely. We have elected instead to go a different route. This weekend, we will be muting or removing all public Discord channels and ceasing all involvement on reddit. Discord will still be utilized for internal communication, but discussion with the community will come on these forums only. Our CMs and mods have been working overtime, but the amount of time spent attempting to control communication via instant messaging has proven to be too much of a distraction from the work of developing the project. Going forward, we are going to establish a better internal communication mechanism to allow our staff to more effectively answer questions and resolve situations that come up. We plan to thoroughly (within reason) examine any future additions to the staff to make sure we maintain a good reputation, and our good internal relationship, as we grow. We also plan to consult with trusted community members before deciding on any major changes or considerations so we can better predict the response and potential pitfalls. As for the server itself, our plans for the project are reverting to our original intentions. We still plan to release in 2017. Our closed beta for class testing is still ongoing. We will continue to invite additional beta testers as necessary and will contact them individually using the information provided in their applications. Volunteers interested in scripting will be contacted in the same method that they contacted us, whether on Discord or the forums. When we are ready for launch, Crestfall will have a PvE and PvP realm, with a 5k population cap. If the peaks begin hitting 4k, we will open additional realms as necessary to keep potential queue times down. We will do progressive content releases - as originally planned, not perfectly patch by patch, but a close approximation that will be easier for us to manage. We will accept voluntary donations but there will be no purchase of in-game items for real money. In the event that voluntary donations are insufficient to maintain the realms we will consider opening a cash shop for vanity items such as TCG items or Blizzcon pets, but at no point will we sell levels, gear, gold, or anything else with an in-game effect. We'd rather just shut down the realm than compromise our integrity in that way. When we are ready to progress to TBC, we will provide a period of time where we allow players to flag their characters for transfer to TBC. At the end of this period, flagged characters will be moved along with their entire inventory to the TBC realm in a 2.0.1 pre-patch state. This new TBC realm will experience the Dark Portal event and continue on with Burning Crusade content. At any time, characters left behind on the Vanilla realm can be manually flagged by the player, and at the next server maintenance, they will be transferred to the TBC realm. No copies of characters will be left behind, but new characters can be rolled on any realm at any time. After the new realm is open and players have transferred, we will monitor realm populations. If there are insufficient players remaining on the Vanilla realms to maintain a reasonable play experience or financial viability, we will merge realms. We will of course consult with the community before merging any realms to make sure it is handled in a responsible manner. If players are happy with their current populations, even if they are low, then we have no problem leaving them open as long as the realms are financially sustainable. While we reserve the right to make changes if glaring problems are exposed with the process, this is the plan we intend to follow for all expansion progressions. The reason we are going to do transfers rather than copies is that it bypasses a major problem with resources. We can't have people shuffling around gold or items to alts and transferring up an infinite amount of resources for themselves or their guild. We would have to implement a very restrictive cap on what could be carried forward in order to prevent duping and exploitation, which penalizes any player who earned their gold and items legitimately. This way, items that are moved from Vanilla to TBC are removed from the Vanilla economy, preventing massive imbalances. So, a player can roll on the Vanilla realm, enjoy their levelling and progression experience, and when it's time for TBC, if they want to progress to the new expansion, they can do so immediately. If they decide with their guild that they want to stay in Vanilla for a few more weeks or months and complete Naxxramas or hit Rank 14, or complete whatever goals they set for themselves, they can do that before transferring up and rejoining the main stream. Players who wish to stay in Vanilla permanently can also do so, though they will have to be prepared for the potential of a server merge if the populations drop too far to be sustainable. There's the plan. We're past the delays and back to work on our own project. Our focus is 100% on getting Crestfall up and running as soon as possible. We're glad to be free of distractions and once again excited about the future. I will continue with bi-weekly development blogs to give some insight into what we're working on, but due to this message going out so close, I'm going to push it back by one week. My next blog post will be on Monday, March 6th and will continue every other week from then on. For people who are interested in contributing to the project, you can do so by contributing to the forums, as this is where the community will always be. While we are no longer working with teams from other projects, we will continue to be respectful and polite towards them, and we also ask members of our forums to do the same. We hope you'll enjoy following along with us as we work to make Crestfall the next stage in WoW emulation.
  14. I am in the process of being briefed on, and putting together the information we have, in order to prepare an official statement & explanation of our decisions and next steps. Unfortunately this came at a terrible time because of my IRL work shift, I'm out of the house 14+ hours a day until Friday, and when I'm home the rest of the team is asleep, but we'll have something to release and clear the air entirely in the next 24-72 hours. I apologize for the delay, but we want to make sure we get all the facts out clearly and correctly, and it will be very difficult for me to communicate with the team for the next couple days. Our initial intention is to revert to our pre-LGN setup and plans, continuing the development of Crestfall as a PTE project on our own, though we do need to take a short time to consider our position and any potential changes that might need to be made. We thank you for your patience. Edit: Since this has some external links now, I'll clarify this: we have terminated all partnership and association with the Elysium project due to strong evidence of corruption in high-ranking members of their staff. The extent of the problems there became clear as we engaged more closely with them as partners, and as things were brought forward by the community, therefore we could not in good conscience remain in any form of partnership with them. It is worth mentioning that no members of the Elysium team, at any time, had access to any of the Crestfall source code, database, or networking assets - they are safe, and development work on the Benediction emulator is continuing. We are still in the process of collecting and verifying information, but we will release a document with our future plans as soon as possible.