T5 NewsLetter Issue 1, 08/06/2010

Citizens of Egypt,

As I write this, we're days away from the release of A Tale in the Desert V. We'll go live:

Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 12:00 Noon EDT (GMT-0400)

Last Saturday, as ATITD IV concluded, we learned that Sami won the majority of citizens' votes, and ascended as Pharaoh. In electing Sami over Wahim, players voted to falsify the two monuments that were completed, and instead implore the scientists in Tale V to create seven new technologies. The following player-designed skills and technologies will be released during A Tale in the Desert V:

  • Foraging - The ability to memorize correct foraging techniques after 7 consecutive correct attempts
  • Preservation - Allows one to wrap up a fresh cooked meal that can be eaten on the road
  • Advanced Silkworm Farming - Allows changing silkworm diets by use of fresh leaves
  • Aquaculture - Ability to grow papyrus in camp
  • Herbology - Accurate prediction of aqueduct towers locations that will aid growth of herb seeds
  • Fertilization - Production of a one-dose-needed, slow-acting fertilizer
  • Molecular Balance - Comparison of the genetic weights of two plant genomes

I've made a bunch of other changes for Tale 5: I'm particularly proud of the mining system, which I've written about before, and which has undergone some evolution during our beta. I'll describe how mining iron works, though each kind of ore has somewhat different rules.
You'll be presented with a field of 7 different orestones. Some are red, some yellow, some green. (There is a colorblind-compatible mode available) Also, some of the orestones are covered by spikey crystals, some with cube-shaped, and some long and thin. The goal is to find three stones which:

All 3 are identically colored, or all 3 differently colored
All have the same crystal shapes, or all differently shaped

It takes some concentration - it feels hard at first. But when you find a set of three - known as a workload - it's worth about 100 ore. Sometimes it will be worth much more than that - several hundred, or occasionally even a thousand. When you do find one of these huge workloads, you can call over friends who can also harvest the same workload for an equally large amount.

Furthermore, there are bonuses for finding multiple workloads in one field, and for finding rare 4 stone workloads, and all of these bonus amounts can be stacked. This description doesn't do it justice - it's taken an aspect of the game that has always been tedious, and made it into something entirely addictive.

The fishing system has also been totally replaced. It's irritated me for some time that ATITD, with perhaps the most complex tradeskill system of any online game had such a rudimentary fishing system. No more: there are now 49 species of fish. You'll notice that some fish have preferences for certain bait, or certain geographical habitats, seasons, times of day, and other peculiarities. In addition to the 49 kinds of meat, each from a different fish, fish may contain roe, or scales in many colors (there's an entire science to this), or other by-products that you may discover a use for.

In addition to fishing itself being a multi-level practice-based skill, there's a whole skill devoted to fly tying itself. Another new skill, Arthropodology, will help you discover the really rare insects on which your flies are based. And finally, you can learn the filleting skill - also multi-level - to increase usable meat when a kitchen isn't handy.

There's plenty more to discover, and I'm looking forward to the most fascinating Tale yet. See everyone Saturday!

Dawn on the Nile,


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