Help wanted! We need a few experienced adventurers familiar with combat and combat strategies in Istaria. Details follow...

Some minor, yet significant changes to the combat system were made to address the following issues:

- Offensive abilities fail to activate, leaving their respective hotkey grayed out for some time.

- Any hotkey for a spell or ability, clicked before moving upon logging in, becomes grayed out for some time.

- Standard attack ("attack" button, or the default tab key) returns "Target is ___ out of range" even though attacker and target are on top of each other.

- Pathing monsters break off their attack and run away when dragged alongside their path.

- Attackers can drag monsters well outside of their designated spawn region. (e.g. Son of Gigaroth dragged to Bristugo)

- Attacked monsters will sometimes stop attacking and stand around waiting to die.

- Monster aggro is difficult to maintain and highly unpredictable.

- Weapon attack range is the 3D (line-of-sight) distance between the attacker and target, rather than 2D (on the map) distance. (Reduces chance of accidental aggro by getting too close to a cliff; also increases difficulty in pulling from the top to the bottom, or bottom to the top of the cliff.)

- Those wielding ranged weapons will now get a feedback message indicating that they got a to-hit penalty for being too close to their target. (The penalty has always been in place. The feedback indicating that the penalty has been applied is new.)

We want to make sure that the combat experience (play experience, not XP reward), except for the above changes, remains largely unchanged. Normally, this sort of testing would occur on Blight, however, in this case, code changes may be required, and those may require a shard restart -- more frequently than we'd like to happen to Blight. We would still like to get the combat changes tested before putting them on Blight, so for the first time, we're going to allow players on the development shard, Genesis.

But... not everyone. Genesis doesn't have the resources to handle a lot of players (even this limited testing may be too much!). Due to these constraints, we'll have to be selective in order to make the most use of the available resources.

What to expect:

From now until the end of June (or we're comfortable with pushing the combat changes to Blight), we'll hold testing sessions on Genesis, during which some participants will log in and, under the supervision of a Virtrium team member, test the various aspects of combat -- likely repeatedly. The duration and scheduling of these sessions will be determined by the participants' availability as well as staff availability. While some sessions may be unscheduled or impromptu, participants will not be able to log in to Genesis without the approval and supervision of a Virtrium team member.

What not to expect:

Participants should not expect any sort of compensation (in game, or monetary). Just a public thank-you. Participants should not expect to receive extra privileges on Genesis, nor free-run of the shard -- they will have specific test objectives and will be expected to test them, rather than go off and explore. Similarly, participants will not do design work -- only testing. Finally, participants /must/ not expect to have the freedom to talk about unreleased content.

Regarding confidentiality, this is the rule: Any content (such as, but not limited to: quest, item, monster, npc, structure or geographic region) not attainable on Blight or Live without developer assistance (or hacks) must not be discussed in public, or with anyone except Virtrium staff. (Discussion amongst other testers using in-game chat in a test session is explicitly permitted.) Please do not apply if you disagree with this rule, or for whatever reason, feel that you can not abide by it. We're serious. Breaking this rule will do nothing but cause harm to the game.

In the interest of transparency, however, we're going to try to keep everyone informed about the scheduling, coordination, and report-out of the test sessions, while of course, not breaching any content that is under confidence. The forums will be used for this purpose. Due to the public nature of this forum, participants' forum identities and their relation with this project will be exposed. Also, everyone, including those not directly participating in testing are welcome to discuss additional test cases and provide general feedback on this project.

Still interested? Great! Please post your questions about the project here. Please send your application to [email protected]. Make sure to include the following in your application:

- Forum name

- List of characters you would like to test with, including their shards

- E-mail address you wish to use for correspondence

- Hours of availability (Please use 24-hour time with GMT offset, and don't forget to specify days if the time range does not apply to the entire week. e.g. "15:00-17:00 GMT-7 M-F, 09:00-15:00 GMT-7 Sat")

- Alternate online contact methods (Optional. We may need a few participants for an impromptu session. We'll try to gather them using this contact information.)

- Brief description of your experience with combat and adventuring in Istaria. If you consistently have trouble with one of the combat problems listed at the beginning of this post, this is a good place to mention it.

- Brief description of any additional qualifications. Previous testing experience in Istaria is a bonus, so is a mindset for finding ways to break things.

Note: We would like to have medium and low-level characters as well as high-level ones. How long you've been a player isn't as important to us as your familiarity with combat and combat strategies, your trustworthiness, and finally, your attention to detail and instructions.

Note 2: Your application is a demonstration of the latter.

Thank you for your interest!