November 2017 marks the beginning of the ‘Earth Eternal – Valkal’s Shadow’ Era.
On November 11th, 2017, after almost two years of preparations, the Valkal’s Shadow server is opened to the public. Events and more greet the players as things finally get underway.
On November 11th, the dev team preps the live server for the unveiling of Valkal’s Shadow. Last minute bug fixes and quest tests are performed using new Sage characters which reveal a few outstanding quest issues with some of the Swineland quests among other lingering problems. Bugs are fixed up until the designated time for the opening up of the server to players which is at 5PM Eastern, 10PM GMT.
As the players finally begin logging in, a few issues with some event items crop up as the devs get the main event ready. This results in Emerald implementing more fixes and having to restart the server at least two times, forcing players to wait an additional hour and a half to two hours for the main Event of the Opening day. The players are permitted to resume their usual routines until the Event is ready.
Liska notices that Rictar has decided to login and asks him about their previous discussion. Rictar basically tells him that he had blown off steam the previous evening and was ready to help with the Event.
The devs and Sages begin porting all players to the area around the Swineland Bridge (which is now a ‘broken bridge’ for the event) while a few intrepid players manage to arrive there on their own.
The Event kicks off to a bit of a rocky start as players struggle to arrive. Shadrel, Emerald, Rictar and Heathendel serve as the event ‘players’ with Shadrel roleplaying as the player Leader requesting items to ‘build the bridge’, Heathendel acting as the guide and Rictar roleplaying as the ‘bridge builder’. As the players go off to gather the requested items, things really heat up.
A rapid series of five server crashes in the middle of the Event due to a few serious bugs threaten to derail the fun, but in the end, the event manages to be completed in spite of the issues. The latter part of the event includes Rictar ‘rebuilding’ the bridge so the players can cross, defeating a special Troll boss mob and guiding players from the Grunes Tal border to the Swineland city of Wartown for more ‘story’. As part of the event, the players are given up to five Keys to grab items from the Treasure Chest placed near the Swineland Bridge on the Grunes Tal side. This is the same Chest and the same Keys also placed in the Event version of Mushroom Isle.
A much more serious bug makes itself known during and after the event which wreaks absolute havoc on the server. Being dubbed the ‘inventory bug’, this bug liberally corrupts the items in players’ inventories, on their characters, in their Vaults and in their Buyback pages often resulting in these items mysteriously disappearing. Among those affected is Liska’s new Sage character who loses nearly all his items.
Following the Event, and also due to recurring issues involving the inventory bug, activities fall to a minimum though players continue to login. Those players who missed the initial Event are permitted to get Keys for the Treasure Chest either in Mushroom Isle or by the Swineland Bridge. For the latter chest, the Sages willingly pass the Keys out to the players.
Liska’s new Sage gets further ravaged by the inventory bug to the point the character appears with a pink skirt item and a hat item on his back where a shield would normally be even though none of these are in his inventory or on his character. Further, this character no longer loads on the character selection screen.
Emerald investigates several inventory bugs including Liska’s Sage inventory issue. As it turns out, two of the issues are actually different bugs. The one bug involves the Sage command /giveall not working on more common items such as the ‘Dragonbone’ items. Emerald discovers a change she had made to ‘activate ability actions’ is causing this one. Liska’s issue turns out to be part of the much worse inventory bug issue, but, is caught fairly early. This bug involves item IDs and character IDs being reset after being moved.
Another strange bug appears where everyone in a zone ‘jumps’ if someone logs into the game or ports to someone.
Liska notices that his new NPC in Nottingham is not only missing all it’s equipment, but is also the wrong race.
A player reports being unable to run the Camelot Bounty Boards which seem to have closed a level or two early. This is later revealed to have been an intentional change by Heathendel as he has implemented more difficult and challenging Boards for Camelot with new targets. While the same boards and rewards are currently used, the Camelot Bounty Boards are now part of the new ‘Daily’ Bounties system.
A sixth server crash happens late in the evening, though it seems to occur from a different issue than the earlier five which were discovered to have been caused by changes Emerald made to the server for the event.
On the 12th, Emerald fixes the Inventory bug but not before it causes more damage. Several other issues found within the World Editor force Emerald to take it offline pending some severe bug fixes.
Various mobs and NPCs lose their appearances forcing the dev team to track these down so that they can be restored.
Being tired of the issues surrounding the /setbuildpermission admin command, Emerald tweaks the server so that the dev team members can build freely anywhere so long as the ‘admin’ tag is active on their accounts.
Several more Swineland quest bug fixes along with a few other bug fixes are rolled out in a few more restarts of the now-live VS server.
Liska asks Emerald about the last crash from the previous day and she tells him it was likely unrelated to what caused the five during the event. Oddly a log is not created by the server for the last one.
As Rictar had been having difficulties setting up the ‘completed’ Swineland Bridge during the previous day’s event, Heathendel and Emerald decide to tear down the one Rictar erected in the event and replace it. The result is a custom built ‘Junk Bridge’ that better fits the theme of Swineland’s Warpigs. Liska, while often critical of Heathendel’s ideas, finds himself really liking the new junk themed Swineland Bridge and feels it blends in nicely with the entire area. In addition, the event Treasure Chest is moved next to the bridge rather than directly on the path where it had been during the event and the area mobs are reactivated.
Due to fewer players logging in on the 12th than on the 11th, the city events in Camelot and elsewhere are scaled down and some events never take place, though Keys for the Treasure Chest are still passed out.
On the 13th, more bug fixes are rolled out both for the Swineland quests as well as a number of other outstanding issues.
While running quests, Heathendel discovers the World Boss, Kilvath L’Vithian has also been affected by the rampant bugs and has lost his appearance, prompting Heathendel to report it in a Github issue. He charges the entire dev team to start combing the entire server for any and all creatures that have lost an appearance.
Player Ranni Whiteroost reveals to Liska that various items from prior to the live server update to Valkal’s Shadow have gone missing from his Buyback among other places.
A player reveals to Heathendel that Charms equipped to players do not expire prompting Heathendel to create a Github issue for it as the player did not create a bug report.
On the 14th, Emerald continues to roll out bug fixes and regressions to changes that have caused the issues of the past few days. She tells Liska in the website chat that while there are still quite a few issues, the ‘worst’ is likely over with and things are settling down.
Liska notices that two of the shopkeepers in Swineland’s city of Wartown have been moved and changed. The General Merchant was swapped out for another NPC and the second General Merchant had been changed to an Armor Merchant. He also notices that both the Armor Refashioner NPC and Weapon Merchant NPC windows show as loot chests rather than shops.
Liska notifies Emerald who is puzzled about the Refashioner NPC as that one supposedly had been fixed already. After verifying it on a personal server, Emerald locates the issue and fixes it on her side.
After learning he could build again, Liska adds the General Merchant NPC that had been swapped out of Wartown to the Redeemer’s Camp instead. He notices this NPC, too, has the ‘loot chest’ issue. Liska then checks up on the General Merchant NPC in Front Line Camp as well and, sure enough, that one has the same issue. After notifying Emerald of these, she asks him their names and he gives them to her. She then fixes those NPCs as well.
After a server restart to roll out the latest fixes, Emerald gets online to verify the shop NPCs in Wartown are correctly displaying the proper windows for their shops. She also laments that there are no level 40+ Shop weapons. Liska mistakenly confuses the merchants in Deadwood as Weapon Merchants only to discover upon investigating to verify, that they were Armor Merchants instead.
Liska unintentionally hurts Emerald’s feelings after he blames many of the recent series of problems on her World Editor program. He tries to correct himself by telling her the program is still a very good one, but, that it still has lots of bugs to iron out that are making it difficult to use. Liska finds himself regretting his choice of words though.
A player reports having issues with getting the new Grunes Tal Keystone Sanctuary to work. Emerald goes to investigate the claim but, is unable to reproduce the issue. She asks others to try and verify if there is a problem or not.
Liska discovers that the Camelot Graveyard and a portion of Camelot are playing the ‘Undead’ environment instead of their original environments. Emerald ports to him and is able to verify this oddity.
Early on the 15th, Liska is invited into Rictar’s groves to see what he has been doing since late on the previous day. Rictar shows Liska two areas in his grove that are essentially ‘concept’ ideas for a ‘side area’ in the currently inaccessible areas around Frost Peak, specifically the area where Heathendel has built a few things in the past. Rictar asks Liska to help him sort out any lore issues with his idea and Liska hears him out then outlines a counter-idea that would be lore friendly but follow a similar vein.
Later in the day, Emerald fixes a few more bugs, but, holds back on restarting the server. Among the bugs fixed are the ‘jumping’ bug, the long awaited Ear and Tail Size reversion bug and more Swineland quest issues.
Emerald is finally made aware of several bugs already reported and adds them to the ‘to be fixed’ pile. She adds that all these fixes would be in the next server restart.
Emerald also helps Liska finally ‘outfit’ his Sage now that the inventory bug is resolved, as up to this point, the new Sage character has been mostly nude thanks to the inventory bug.
Heathendel comments while building ingame that it would be nice to have ice planes similar to the water planes currently in the game. Emerald tells him the more recent versions of her IceTerrain program just might be able to create such a feature. She does mention, though, that as she hasn’t worked on them much, the most recent versions have never been made available to the other developers on the team. After Heathendel asks about this, Emerald just tells him that she would likely do that ‘soon’. Emerald does point out that the newest versions can now properly align misaligned terrain tiles which excites both Heathendel and Liska at the prospect of finally fixing up broken up regions such as the tiles for the three Spain regions.
Having noticed a Git issue regarding the /refashion command in his email notifications before logging into the game, Liska asks Emerald about it. She tells him that she has removed the command and replaced it with two new items in the Credit Shop. Due to the wording of the Git issue, though, Liska gets confused as to whether there are two or three so-called ‘Refashion Device’ items. Emerald reassures him there are only two and that one of the three names was actually the description for both items and not the name of a third.
The one use temporary item would be obtainable as either a craftable item or purchasable in the Credit Shop for 5 Credits. The permanent item would be sold in the Credit Shop for 1000 Credits. Liska tells Emerald he isn’t so sure the temporary item should be obtainable in two ways as the craftable method would likely be used instead of the Credits method. He suggests combining them so that players would have to purchase a ‘crafting plan’ for 5 Credits and then craft the temporary Refashion Device item with the needed mats. Emerald tells him she would think about the idea. Liska notices the items are not in the Credit Shop and Emerald tells him they will be part of the next server update.
Emerald then mentions that she has found the issue with the Camelot Graveyard and Camelot environments. She adds that she has also found and noted that the day/night cycle in the area seems to be changing too often and that that will be addressed as well.
At this point, Liska asks Emerald if she has fixed the spammed messages in Grunes Tal and she admits to not recalling that issue. Liska reminds her that he had mentioned it back when they were setting up the Grunes Tal Keystone Sanctuary and the Swineland Henge. He adds that a player had notice it was still happening even after Valkal’s Shadow was rolled out to the live server.
He then goes to the area so Emerald could investigate and she ports to his location. Emerald quickly finds the origin of the issue, which turns out to be a residual environment prop that had not been removed after the region’s environment was upgraded in Scourge Of Abidan, and deletes it causing the spammed error messages to immediately cease. Liska speculates that the prop might have been placed there either by Planet Forever’s admin when he restored the region or by Sparkplay when the region was first set up. Emerald agrees with him.
A bit later on, the server randomly crashes and Liska promptly brings it back online. Heathendel and a few others including Liska wonder if something Heathendel did caused it. He mentions trying to pass out a Key to one of the players at the time the server came down. Liska points out that he had given a number of them out in the past few days so they chalk it up to happenstance.
While exploring later that evening, Liska discovers that all four World Bosses have lost their appearances and not just Kilvath as reported by Heathendel earlier in the week.
What will be fixed, changed and added during this month?
Earth Eternal has had a long and hard road in all of its official versions and its unofficial private server versions.