Today I am pleased to announce the return of several defunct aspects of The Realm Online that will return to full inclusion within the game world.
As some of you may realize, this refers to The Dragon Pit, and the treasure items within; as well as several other items that were removed for the same purpose.
Before I give a complete rundown of the outcome of this announcement, a little history to give context for this news is necessary. The dungeon “Dragon Pit” was removed from the game some time ago due to concerns over its use to exploit the game, and due to several design flaws highlighted by the community (its length, the maze, and so forth). During this time, the treasure items available only within the Dragon Pit dungeon, and a handful of items added around the time the dungeon was designed, were all looked into by the current Producer.
Due to these items’ power, they were removed from the drop tables entirely. They were far too common – breaking their original intent to take years to complete a single set (in fact, several people equipped all their accounts in full sets of the equipment), and creating a secondary top-class of account owner who had access to these items and the ability to level their characters solely with these item’s help (another point beyond the original intention of the items).
The entire game had effectively become “The Dragon Pit Online” – as every element of the game had been affected. PvP was a contest of who had the most DP items; Enchanting was a hobby solely for those with the intelligence cap available from Dragon Pit, and the Dragon Pit dungeon (and all 5-6 hours it took to raid) was the main focus of hunting parties. The rest of the game world shrivelled, and account owners unable to put the time into acquiring these items were removed from the trading market with incomprehensible prices charged by their fellow player.
Development faced several options. Changing the items, removing them, keeping them or making them commonplace was all considered. However without the luxury of the 4-6 months needed to fully overhaul the dungeon and its items whilst they still dropped, the items were removed pending investigation. The opportunity was taken during the exploitation fix.
However the development team was divided over the outcome, and remained so. The community was in turmoil – and we lost a great many account owners the week those items stopped dropping. An uneasy compromise was reached to halt the exodus, and existing DP items were allowed to remain, but in a more fragile state. The lesson of altering items’ appearance and stats that were already in the possession of players had been learned from previous updates.
The time was taken to redesign the Dragon Pit dungeon properly, and the major concerns of the community were all taken into account to rectify the layout, timescale and difficulty of the dungeon. But the message boards were filled with understandably angry posts, and there was still unrest in game. Setbacks during the development of Dragon Pit version 2 only relit old fires and arguments continued for months. However the discussions within the development team did not cease. There were still hours of dialogue over whether there were more viable options. Several plans were all discussed for merit, and eventually the second Dragon Pit was released.
It found mixed reception. Some were glad to see the dungeon back – happy that it was a challenge without being too long. Some were unhappy with the quality of the new items, balanced, but their expectation warped by the impression left by the original items. This was prepared for by the development team and Community Relations. We gathered all the feedback available and continued to do so long after the update returning Dragon Pit.
Over the months, the original compromise of leaving existing items was proving to be troublesome. The prices became more and more unbelievable, and rather than reverting to trusting in practices before those items were available, there were vocal community factions intent on demanding the items back. Others went back to old ways, and some mixed-and-matched to bring about new practices. With newer items and weapons put into the game, more options were given; but still we were unable to shake the impression left by the original DP items. All sides’ views were listened to, and presented to the development team.
The discussions surrounding Dragon Pit and the treasure items have never ceased. We kept them private in the interests of civility; it would have been unfair on the community to needlessly build their hopes up too soon.
Alongside the Dragon Pit and related treasure items return we will also be introducing new areas to the Realm’s map; the south-western farmlands known as The Fallows, and the Konge province beyond. These areas are the start of a series of updates that will complete the full set of changes, including a new home for the Dragons which will include fair hunting both in dungeon and above ground for groups and solo players nearing or at level 1000. Treasure in the area will be geared towards rewarding players that have already reached the pinnacle of the levelling system, and will be as fair as possible to casual players as well to allow everyone to take part.
This is an incredibly important matter to the development team, and here is a rundown of the exact changes:
1. The majority of Dragon Pit second version layout remains. The best of both versions are combined into a fitting dungeon for the difficulty and value of the treasure.
2. The Original Dragon Pit treasure items are returning to the drop tables. These items include in full: Arch Mages Shirt, Arch Mages Pants, Cowl of Immortality, Enid’s Needle, Shield of Infinite Thought, Greaves of Fortitude, Boots of Evasion, Girdle of Might, Breastplate of Battle, Bracers of Battle, Duach’s Thorn, Ring of Power, Ring of Destruction, Amulet of Adventure and Gram. Any items that were on restricted drops will return to full dropping.
3. All other restricted treasure items are returning. These items include in full: Fafnir’s Fang, Harbinger, Finvarra’s Defender, and The Wyrd Dagger. Any items that were on restricted drops return to full dropping.
4. All returning and restricted dropping items are reverting to their original programming, and all weights and the durability of each item are returning to their original values.
5. All items that drop in Dragon Pit have had their level requirements reassessed, both upwards and downwards depending on their power and usefulness. This includes any instances of the items already present in the game. This is a required condition on the items returning to the game and is not up for negotiation; see point 8.
6. The dragon species will be finding itself a new suitable home, including above-ground hunting of a suitable challenge for level 1000 solo and team players. Exact details of this and its story are not being released in advance.
7. The second series of Dragon Pit treasure items remain, but will not be dropping in Dragon Pit, instead they will drop elsewhere, in a suitable location for difficulty and availability.
8. All returned elements will be closely monitored for their impact upon The Realm. Any tweaks required (such as clarifying the Breastplate of Battle as Chainmail, not Plate) will be openly discussed during implementation. Any changes to the level requirements (up and down) will be handled on an item by item basis after they are bought back into the game.
9. This full explanation of events will be sent to all previous and current account owners. You all have our sincerest apologies for the concern and dissatisfaction caused by the changes.
This announcement and the updates it heralds is the result of months of debate, planning, discussion and implementation behind the scenes at Norseman Games. It is with great anticipation that I write to you, the Realm community, to inform you of these events. I believe this will go a long way to putting behind us a very turbulent time for every Realm citizen and member of the development team.