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In the 2.23 Update, we will be making several modifications to the treasure hunting system in order to make them more appealing, a little bit more 'resilient' against tools that allow one to resolve them instantly, and we will improve the way we're taking visual impediments into account.

A note about solving tools

We do not approve of the use of external tools that abnormally make the treasure hunts easier by suppressing almost all of the challenge offered by this system (looking for visual clues hidden in the background). However, we can't technically prevent nor forbid the use of external tools that do not directly interact with the game.

So we're trying, as much as we can, to evolve the treasure hunting system so that external tools may not be as efficient as they seem to be now, and so that players who do not use these tools won't be penalized when compared to those who would circumvent the challenge the system is intended to offer.

Even if the treasure hunting system is not directly competitive, the economy that surrounds its rewards is very competitive. Players who lower the difficulty are therefore doing the players who respect the system's rules wrong, by opposing an unfair competition.

Besides, the objective of this game mechanic is to offer rewards for completing a challenge, not to offer rewards for mindlessly following some site's instructions!

Milestones

Treasure hunt solving tools are a time saver when they allow the players to go directly to their destination without having to bother with intermediary clues.

So we've decided to change the way treasure hunting works to force players into finding each and every clue. Clues are now going to be given one after the other. When the player finds (or thinks he's found) the map that matches the clue, he can place a milestone using his treasure hunting interface, and only then will the next clue appear in his list.
If the milestone has been placed on the right map, then this next clue is going to be right. However, if a milestone is placed on a wrong map, then the clue will be wrong as well. The player will be able to realize he's made a mistake if he can't find the position of a clue anymore.

When a milestone is placed, a little icon is added on the world map. Of course, in case of error or doubt, milestones can be removed.

Using a new button, players can verify if they've positioned their milestones well, as correctly placed milestones are then colored in green and the misplaced milestones are automatically removed. The number of verification attempts is limited to 4, and is global for any treasure hunt, which means the players will have to decide the way they'll handle their attempts. Of course, verification attempts that end in a step change aren't deducted from this total.

Players will then have to go through all maps that have clues in them and will no longer be able to go straight to the last clue in a step.

Thus, it will no longer be possible to 'retro-engineer' clues to find the location of one using the following ones, but as this method is partly what made solving tools so efficient, we'd rather remove this mechanic.

The hunt mechanic will then rely on the player's ability to find clues in the background and to detect improbable clues that will allow him to understand he's made a mistake somewhere on the previous clues. 

The Drhellers

In some missions, some clues are replaced with directions and a given number of maps to go through, with no visual clue to be found ('5 maps north', for instance). These steps are necessary to generate a sufficient number of missions in areas where the number of clues hidden in the backgrounds is simply not enough to generate a respectable amount of missions.

These steps will be replaced with a Drheller clue to be found. It's just a little creature present on a map. A direction will be given with a Drheller name. The creature will be present somewhere in the first 10 maps after the previous clue or the starting point.

Only the character who has the ongoing mission can see this Drheller.

It's not a particularly difficult visual clue to find, as the Drhellers have two purposes: make the old 'go X maps that way' steps more interesting, and mess with the way the treasure hunting solving tools work (as they can't possibly be know the Drheller's random location).

Colors

Some players are experiencing difficulties in differentiating some color shades, or in some cases, can't differentiate between colors at all, which makes reading the colored clues sometimes quite difficult, or even impossible.

When the treasure hunt system was implemented, we were forced to use colored clues to increase the number of different clues in the game, and thus have enough clues so that the system may generate enough different missions. With the new slew of clues added in 2.23, we can now remove the color distinctions without harming the number of missions that can be generated.

So there will no longer be any clue based on color in this update, and we'll only use shapes to differentiate between clues.

More clues

We're adding in this update a lot of new clues. Some of them are clues that weren't indexed and should have been (fixing some issues with missions while we're at it), but there will also be new visual clues to discover. We haven't added anything to the backgrounds, but we've taken new background elements into account to work as clues.

Furthermore, we've improved the mission generation system. It can now generate a lot more different missions. These two modifications will allow us to offer much more diverse missions.

More rewards

Some treasure hunts are more difficult than others, most notably so those that happen in areas containing aggressive monsters, in the Divine Dimensions, or in the Bonta and Brakmar cities  - areas that contain a lot of different visual clues.

So we've decided to increase the number of chests one can find in these areas by doing treasure hunts there.
The number of treasures to be found in aggressive areas go from 2 to 4. In the Divine Dimensions, it goes from 4 to 8, and in Bonta and Brakmar, it goes from 1 to 2.

Before, players were rather disheartened when they got missions in these areas: with these modifications, we hope to reverse this tendency.

Future improvements

We are currently working on a better way to handle clues that are in large background elements (a barrel integrated in a house background for instance). Some clues are sometimes badly handled because we can't effectively frame a clue when it's included in a large-sized background element. This improvement is still under development and will not be exploited in the 2.23 Update. We might need a few months in order to validate its good functioning and consider its in-game exploitation.

The Treasure Hunt's place in the long term

As long as treasure hunting solving tools will keep being tools giving a significant advantage to players who use them, we will willingly limit the place the treasure hunting has in the global in-game economy.

The modifications we are making to the system in the 2.23 Update will make the solving tools considerably less efficient, without stripping them of all efficiency.

We will keep on looking for solutions to make the treasure hunting mechanic evolve and make them even more resilient to solving tools.

However, the time needed to fight these tools and improve our system is becoming more and more taxing on future development and we can't guarantee our success in making solving tools definitively useless. 

FAQ

Why don't you use dynamic clues?

We have long studied the possibility of using dynamic clues (that would make referencing all clues in the game impossible). It was a functionality that we first planned to include in the game as early as the treasure hunt first development. But we encountered technical difficulties that were too important for this to be do-able in a grand scale, as our background elements do not have the same anchoring points and can't be easily made interchangeable. In the same way, the shadows and shades put on backgrounds could not adapt to a change in clues in the background. We are still looking for new solutions to make some clues less static (like with the Drhellers for instance), but we'll have to keep on using a majority of static clues to exploit the game's graphic richness.
 

Why don't you manually change the positions of the clues with each update?

It's a process that would require far to much development to be efficient. We'd have to rework a lot of maps' backgrounds, and test them after each modification. This is not a perennial solution.
 

How can I report a clue issue in a treasure hunt?

Briss made a dedicated subject on the French forums explaining how you can report clue issues.
 

Isn't forcing players to go through each and every map looking for clues a step back for experienced treasure hunters?

Veteran treasure hunters could succeed in memorizing the position of a lot of clues and take shortcuts by themselves to go right to the end of a step. They could also use the clues lists to 'retro-engineer' the locations of some clues by process of elimination. This will no longer be possible in the 2.23 Update, but as it was these possibilities that allowed solving tools to be so efficient, we opted to remove them by modifying the treasure hunting system. We are well aware that these modifications can be perceived as a regression, but we think them necessary to maintain  fairness in the game.
Category: Developement